Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sara's Crafty Christmas Tree Challenge Reveal!

Merry Christmas Everyone!
It's time for the unveiling! Special thanks to MegaCrafty for posing the challenge and
inspiring us to be thrifty-chic! Here she is!!

 Here's a Breakdown of what I Spent:

Sparkly pink metallic-wired ribbon- $3.18
Roll Aluminum Foil- $1.06
Ribbon- $1.06
3 Packs Floral Wire- $3.18
Splatter Screen- $1.06
Embroidery Floss- $2.53
Glitter Nail Polish- $1.06
2 Packs Iridescent Cellophane- $2.12

= $15.25

I am so happy with how my tree turned out! 

My tree topper!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Metallic Macgyver-- Sara's Crafty Tree

Mega-Crafty has made December 15th the great reveal for the
Crafty Christmas Tree Challenge,

so before I post my final tree I am going to show the other ornaments I've come up with! As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to go with a blue/purple/pink metallic theme.

It's appropriate then that the following ornaments are all made out of --metal (duh)

Glitter Screen Ornaments

Here are the supplies I started with:

Yes... that is a typical, run-of-the-mill splatter screen. Except it's also a very cheap splatter screen that I got at the Dollar Tree for $1. Also at DT, I got a bottle of chunky silver glitter nail polish for, $1. I Picked up the embroidery floss from Michaels at what I thought should have been 35cents a piece. But what to my wandering eyes should appear? Two of them rang up at $1.09... drats. A much larger hunk out of my budget than I had hoped. (No worries, when all is said and done I am way under budget!). Altogether, the embroidery floss cost me $2.53.

First, I began by weaving a piece of the floss in and out of the screens grid, in a straight line. This part is a pain in the butt very tedious as you'll want to make sure you are staying in the same row of screen openings. Going in and out of every other hole is just plain crazy talk, so skip over 4 here, 5 there--the number between each stitch is not important. I wanted mine to look random, so I just sewed in and out not even worrying about how many screen cells I was passing over; ain't no thing.

After I had made a complete line from one side of the screen to the other, I began with another color and repeated the same process. Again, I wanted my lines to be random, so I didn't make a set pattern and just picked and chose which color to use where. Just let the loose ends of the floss hang over the screen edges.

Next: Bedazzling!
I was worried that if I tried to cut shapes out of the screen, the floss would fray and unravel from the screen. That is where the glitter nail polish comes in! Over wax paper (so it doesn't make a mess or stick to the surface you are working on), shellack both sides of the screen with the glitter nail polish. I mean really let it have it...

I don't know how well you can see it here, but I promise that where there is thread- there is glitter, and lots of it. The polish helps to bind the floss to the screen and should help hold the screen together also once you start cutting.

Initially, I had wanted to repeat the striped segments multiple times, to be able to make more ornaments and extend my budget, but life happened and I ran out of patience, time, and the ability to see those tiny holes anymore. So when it came time to cut, I just poked the scissors through the screen and cut out the striped segment in one big piece.

BE CAREFUL!! As you cut the screen the edges become very sharp!

Next, I just took the rectangle and cut out circle shapes to create the ornaments!! The best part? The screen edges of the circles are jagged, and will almost velcro themselves onto the tree branch, so no hook or thread to hang them by is necessary!

Position them in front of a light and it's pure magic people :) Just look at them sparkle!

Wire Spiral Ornaments

Here's another kind of metal ornament I made out of blue, pink and purple floral wire from the Dollar Tree; at a dollar a pack, these ornaments only cost me $3.

Lastly, I used 2 packs of cellophane tissue paper (in blue and pink--also DT finds) to create a large pom-pom tree topper and the simple kite tail garland on my tree (I used some of my extra pink floss here also)! $2

Can't wait to reveal how it all turned out tomorrow!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sara's First Crafty Christmas Tree Challenge Ornament!

Sooo...I have about all of my supplies for my tree, and a few things started, but tonight I finished my first batch of ornaments and wanted to share! As explained in an earlier post, all of this thrifty tree creation-inspiration is due to a challenge presented to bloggers by Mega-Crafty--to decorate a tree for under $20. 

Remember in grade school, drawing on cardboard with glue and then covering it with aluminum foil? Yea, I went there... and while the concept is EXTREMELY simple and old school, I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out:

Here are the supplies you need for these ornaments, along with totaling up the teeny dent these gems put in my budget.

Cardboard (Hello upcycle!): free
Aluminum foil: $1 Roll at Dollar tree
Markers: On-hand (pretty sure they don't count out of my budget) Everyone has markers right??
Hot Glue: Also on-hand
Ribbon: Again, I already had tons of extra ribbon around, but to play it safe we'll take another dollar away from the budget! $1

That leaves me with a grand total of...... $18.00 left towards my tree! And I made 15 ornaments with the $2 spent.

Here's how I made them: I started with drawing some simple ornament shapes onto the cardboard. I chose to use 3 different shapes--cut the first shape out and use it as a stencil so that they are all uniform in size.

Next, use the hot glue to draw designs and patterns on the cardboard shapes. Hot glue is the best option for this because it dries fast and goes on thicker for more defined lines, but Elmer's would work just as well if little ones wanted to try their tiny fingers at crafting!

After the glue has dried, place the cardboard shapes face down onto the dull side of a piece of aluminum foil. It took me a few ornaments in to realize that before you start wrapping the foil back around the edges of the shape, be sure to press and smooth the foil over the glue design on the front first. You want to have the lines as defined as possible and if the foil is pulled too tight, it will tear when you add the color later.

Use the markers to fill in the openings created by the glue lines--ala stained glass--or color directly on the lines to make the 3D patterns pop. I'm going with a metallic purple/pink/blue scheme for my tree.

Lastly, cut the ribbon into 6-8" pieces, fold in half, and glue the two ends to the back and top of the ornament.

TA-DA! Elementary School Chic!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

MegaCrafty Tree Challenge... Kayla's Tree!

So the challenge was to decorate your Christmas tree under $20.  If you know me at all, you know that I take a challenge very seriously, I love the dollar store, and I'm only mini crafty.  Here's how it all went down.

I picked up the 'ol tree from my parents house (it was rotting away on Craigslist for two years) so I gave it some love and hauled it off to my apartment.
The tree and I had a rough start - the color coding of the branches have faded away and it looked a little like a green yield sign the first time I put it together.

Once it was standing tall, like a good tree should, I headed over to my local Dollar Tree (holla dollah!).  I picked up four special things. Aka I spent $4.  If you are reading this expecting a Martha Stewart tree, I'mma gonna stop you right here.

My Special Things

My Most Special Thing
Once I returned home with my dollar bag full of treats, I got to twisting.  I spiralled the ribbon - wrapping it a few times around a pencil & then stretching it out.  And wrapped and wrapped and wrapped the crepe paper until it amazingly resembled a rose.

Say whaaat?
I placed my crepe roses and spiralled ribbon throughout the tree & then doused the tree in iridescent streamers (pretty much regretting that - they are already ALL over my apartment/I found some in my bed last night), but I was going for a white, sparkly tree... hah

Ohhh Awww!
With my Most Special Thing placed on top, I took a step back and realized that it ain't my best work, but it definitely works.  It feels a little more Christmasy in here & with a move on the horizon in Jan, I will have no guilt collecting up my sparkly, spirally ornaments and tossing them in the trash ;) (and trying, maybe a little harder at being MEGAcrafty next year).

I hope everyone has a very merry, very budget happy Christmas <3

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Crafty Christmas Tree Challenge

Once upon a time on a journey through blog land, us gals came across a magnificent challenge--and we never pass up a good friendly competition!  Meg over at Mega-Crafty has crafted up the thrifty & seasonal task of decorating a Christmas tree for under $20! Appropriately dubbed:

The Crafty Christmas Tree Challenge!


^For dramatic effect of course, because our trees are going to be epic! Keep checking in for posts on the different ornaments we whip up from cheap junk thrifty treasures!

Here are the rules as posted by Mega-Crafty:
  • $20 dollar budget
  • The tree needs to be at least 4 ft tall
  • If you have to buy a tree the cost of the tree and the lights don't count as part of the $20 budget
  • Adhesives (tape, glue, etc) are the only stash item(s) you can use that won't count against the $20 budget). But adhesives must be used to stick other materials together. If adhesives are used in any other way (i.e duct tape ornaments) the cost of the adhesive will count against the budget.
  • Fraction-ing the cost of materials is NOT allowed. (i.e. a pack of paper with 10 sheets costs $1 dollar, but only one sheet is used. $1 dollar should still be subtracted from the budget, rather than .10 cents).
  • Coupons CAN be used to help the budget stretch farther
  • Upcycling and Recycling are allowed
  • Each ornament doesn't have to be different, you can make as many of one type as you want.
  • Update- Just to clarify, any tools you have (i.e. knitting needles, craft knife, scissors) can be used and don't count against the budget. Only materials count.
  • Update 2- Some people have asked about stash items and scraps. If you are going to use stash items just subtract the cost from a virtual $20 budget. Also scraps count as upcycling/recycling so scraps are perfectly acceptable per the rules!
If you want to participate too stop by Mega-Crafty and leave her a comment letting her know you want in!

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Sara: 3 Things I'm Thankful For

    1. His name is Andrew. My sister's first kid. I am thankful that he introduced my female family to the joys of raising a little boy. I am thankful that he has more sarcasm and wit than most adults I know; that he knows more about football and sports at the age of 7 than I ever will in my entire life; that he monkey jumps into my arms when I ask for a hug--and then giggles and squirms when I tickle him but knows he can't let go or he'll fall. That he says things like "Off to another boring day of work"--as I leave in the mornings, or "I love you until forever"--when I tuck him in. That he let me talk him into being an old man for halloween last year,

    and played the part perfectly (even down to the voice and limping walk). That he asks tough questions and soaks up the answer like a sponge. That he dances like noones watching and thinks he has moves that are out of this world. That he calls me to come tuck him in at night, to play monopoly, or to invite me over for movie night. That he is such a caring big brother who is always looking out for keeping his sisters safe, and helping them learn and grow. That he ruins every picture by over smiling, sticking out his tongue, or makes random gang signs with his hands. The light in his eyes and the kindness is his heart. That he lets me kiss and hug him in front of his friends, even though he's getting older now and that is so uncool. I am thankful that he tells me I am a great aunty and that he loves me unconditionally.

    2. Her name is Ashley. The middle like her aunty. I am thankful for her beauty; for her quiet contemplative thoughts and observations. That she cries for lost relatives she's never met when looking at their pictures; that floods (The Johnstown Flood) and sickness and voyages (how many lives lost on the Mayflower) and poverty bring out a seriousness and compassion in her that causes her to stop and ask with those big, innocent eyes of hers why such horrible things are allowed to happen. I am thankful that she is wise beyond her years. That she loves to eat; that she can wink with either eye but can't roll her tongue; that she draws pictures of me with random ghosts in the corner; that she puts more thought into an outfit than me most times. For her warm hugs that melt away any worries or sadness of my day.

    I am thankful that she loves to dance and dress-up and have tea parties and craft; that she constantly tries to mother and scold her older brother when she thinks no ones paying attention. That she uses words like "actually", "usually", "especially" and other multi-syllabic words 5 year olds shouldn't be using yet. That she can read at about a third grade level; her smartness; her dittziness; her giggles; her attitude. I am thankful that this beautiful little girl will someday grow into a graceful, strong woman that will make the world a better place to live.
    3. Her name is Amber. The baby. I am thankful for her dimpled smile and crazy hair. I am thankful that she only says things like, "ewwww," or "ouchhh!" or "snack!" or "BEEEBEEE"(which means both blanket and binky). That we can't seem to stop her from climbing on tables or bouncing on furniture; that she has more attitude than a teenager; that she lights up the room with her laughter; that she hates sharing attention with her siblings; that she puts on my heels or sun glasses and walks around like a movie star. I am thankful that she rips out ponytails and bows and hats from her head like they are torture devices. The way she reaches up, opening and closing her fists, begging to be held; the way she gives kisses away freely.
    I am thankful that she is always making faces like this one just before the camera clicks. Her chubby arms and legs. The way she waddles around like she owns the place. That she is always making a mess and always up to something. That she snores when she sleeps and screams about being told no. I am thankful that just when we thought two kiddos were enough, my sister blessed our family with a third we can't imagine ever having lived without.

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Sara: Wine and Cheese? Yes Please!

    I love planning things.
    Wine tours for us gals, dinner dates and nights on the town and of course--PARTIES! So when I first saw the idea on Pinterest for a wine and cheese party, my little head and all the thoughts in it could not seem to concentrate on anything else. Ask any of the other gals--I annoyingly party planned out loud to them via emails, phone calls, and get togethers for weeks until the party actually happened last Friday.
    So here I am to share with you the inspiration and details for my Wine and Cheese extravaganza. It all started with this innocent little pin:

    The chalkboard/cork/wine combination was just too classic to mess with. So it was from this pin that my party was born. It started with the invites that I made. I bought an off-white blank card and envelope set, cork scrap-booking paper with an adhesive back, chalk board scrap-booking paper (all from Michael's), and olive and burgundy toned paint swatches that I stealthily stuffed my purse with at Walmart (yes I'm that girl; and the idea is seriously too ingenious to let the embarrassment of potentially being seen stop you!)

    I'll put a better picture on here if I can find
    one, but for now.. that's as good as it gets.
    This is what I came up with:
    The invite asked each guest to RSVP, and as they did I gave each guest a particular wine to bring along with them. Nothing fancy, just the average liquor store or local winery variety, any brand. (I was shooting for the $10-$15 range so that no one would have to break the bank!)

    After the invites I began some party prep. I bought enough wine glasses for each of my guests and painted the tops of their bases with chalkboard paint, so that everyone could claim a glass of their own and mark it with their name or designs. I used Martha Stewart Chalkboard paint in black. First I taped around the stem of each glass to keep the lines crisp. I found four coats of paint gave me the perfect opaque matte finish I was looking for, and voila!

    I made the cute little sign by putting a piece of the chalkboard paper in a cheap antique looking frame, and hanging it on the wall above the wine glasses the night of the party!

    I found an ingenious pairing website, hellovino, that gave me all of the ideas for the food I would make, and the cheeses I would offer for each wine! Here's a portion of my wine list, and the food I decided to serve with each:

    Cabernet Sauvignon- Gouda, Cheddar,  & Camembert Cheeses; and Hershey Kisses

    Chinati-  Fontina & Fresh Mozzerella Cheeses; and Pizza

    Grenache- Cheddar, Gouda, Swiss & Fontina Cheeses; and Herbed Italian Mini Meatballs (great recipe!)

    Syrah- BBQ Pork, Cornbread, Twix candy bars (I didn't make this up! visit hellovino for other strange pairings!)

    Tawny Port- Blue Cheese; and Hershy Kisses & Almonds
    Chardonnay- Brie Cheese; and Cornbread and pumpkin dip (Do yourself a favor and beg Kayla for this easy-peasy recipe!)

    Pinot Grigio- Gouda

    Gewurztraminer- (This wine is one of my most favorites. If you haven't had haven't lived) Swiss & Muenster Cheeses; Mini Quiche Lorraines

    Riesling- BBQ Pork, Caramelized Onion Apple Bites (Strangely savory & delicious) & Gingersnap Cookies

    Sauvignon Blanc- Goat Cheeses; and Spinach dip & Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp (Everyone raved about this dish!! Thank you Pioneer woman, you've done it again!)

    Prosecco- Chicken Cordon Bleu (I cheated here... I cut down chicken tenders into bite sized pieces, and halfway through their baking added a slice of ham and swiss cheese!) & Lemon Chiffon Pie (mmmm)

    There was so much food and wine that I couldn't make my display as picture perfect as my inspiration board, but I'll take more food over presentation any day! Here's how the night turned out:

    Note the cute little cheese flags in the photo above? Super easy: cut the flag shapes out of cardstock, poke two tiny holes on the triangle's fat end--one above the other--insert toothpick end in and back out the holes, and write on the type of cheese! 

    For each bottle of wine, I made these cute little tags that the guests could tie on with green rafia as they arrived! Each tag had the wine name, the pronunciation for those not so familiar with wine lingo, and the back listed any cheeses or dishes that were recommended to try with each variety.

    I also gave some door prizes for the guests who could guess the closest number to this trivia question's answer: How many gallons of wine can be produced from an acre of grape vines? The answer: 800! Here are the prizes I gave pictured below; The closest two got these mini grapevine wreaths I made and the next four got these "charming"  grape ornaments/wine bottle charms!

    Happy guests and a table full of food! We are still polishing off the leftovers!

    Me and some of the wine loving gals

    Check out the chica on the left at her blog, Team Studer!

    The collateral damage--altogether, 16 girls finished off 10 bottles of vino, and left 2 half finished! Not bad for a nights work!

    Now, I have the daunting task of emptying the remaining bottles.... poor me, however will I do it? ;)

    Happy Party Planning!

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    Ebates + Online Shopping = a very happy Kayla

    Thanks to getting my BIG FAT CHECK in the mail today, now I'm on an Ebatesmania spree.
    What's that you say? You've never heard of Ebates?
    Well lucky for you (and your online holiday gift shopping) I am here to fluff your wallet!

    Ebates is a wonderful little website that gives you CASH BACK just for stopping at their website before you head on over to your favorite shopping site of choice.

    Let's say you've been scoping out a new pair of flats from Banana Republic...

    So you go straight to, order the shoes and pay $110.00 plus shipping, get your cute flats in the mail, wear them all over town, and feel happy and pretty. 

    But wait!  Now that I planted the seed of Ebates, lets grow this little gem into a sweet money making deal! 
    How about you go to FIRST, find the link for Banana, where you will also discover that you can get 10% cash back, free shipping AND 25% off of your order! Sweet Lemondrops!

    So instead of paying $110.00 plus, you are now getting the SAME pair of adorable flats for $82.50 AAAND you earn $8.25 just by using!!! Now you can prance around in your new flats while you wait for the mailman to deliver your BIG FAT CHECK!

    And he will

    Look how happy my BIG FAT CHECK made me :)
    Yes, this $8.60 is going towards another pair of shoes.  Hooray!

    Happy Holiday Shopping (& saving!)

    Saturday, November 5, 2011

    Sara: Current Beauty Obsessions

    Key word for this post: OBSESSED.
    disclaimer: do not read if the obnoxious use of colored text offends you 

    (1) Sephora Natural Tea Tree Blotting Papers: I recently picked these up, and ever since have been, well... obsessed. I already consider blotting papers a gift from the beauty gods, but throw in the invigorating tea tree scent and it's heaven. Tea tree oil also has some natural healing and restoring properties so I'm hoping to reap some of the long term benefits too (I'll keep you posted). The papers literally suck up all the oil on my face, to freshen up mid-day without leaving behind dry skin or messing with my makeup! Also comes in Lavender and Vitamin C & E varieties. Collateral Damage: $8

    (2) Nano Eyeliners: Another gem from Sephora. I scooped two of these up in Midnight Black (classic) and Khaki Green (beautiful! a very earthy almost brown with slight shimmer). They glide on super smooth stay on all day, and are adorably pocket-sized. Only downside: you need to buy a special mini sharpener too.
    Collateral Damage: $5 each ($3 for sharpener)

    (3) ANEW Clinical Derma-Full 3x, Facial Filling Serum: I don't even think they make this anymore, because I can't find it on the AVON website... bummer. The product lasts a long time because you only need to use very little. I smooth it on before bed and notice a huge difference in the evenness and smoothness in my skin the next day. It's pore minimizing magic makes my face look more awake and fresh in the A.M.
    Collateral Damage: Free gift from when my sister used to sell Avon! but I think as far as Avon goes this line is on the higher end of their pricing

    (4) Johnson's Shea & Cocoa Butter Baby Lotion: I love, love, love babies. But I don't always want to smell like one. Regular baby lotion has been a long time favorite of mine. No other lotion has ever left my skin softer, for a longer period of time, without feeling greasy. Perfumey lotions have always been too much for me, so when I found this baby lotion in such a light, natural scent.... obsessed. Collateral Damage: $3

    (5) SEPHORA by OPI in Spark-tacular: This nail polish is a party in a bottle. It reminds me of party confetti, or birthday sprinkles and it was obsession at first sight. Technically its a Top Coat, because the actual polish is clear with multicolored medium and chunky glitter. I've been seeing tons of pictures on pinterest using chunky glitter like this on nail tips, and fading down into the nail. Tried it on my toes with a slightly metallic fuschia and it looks amazing. Painted my sister's nails a very bright Robin Egg's blue and glittered only one finger on each hand..... even more amazing. (No, ok? I don't have any pictures of that... get off my back)
    Collateral Damage: $9.95 

    (6) One and Only's Argan Oil: This, in my opinion, is one of the best kept secrets in hair care.Which is why I am here to tell you that you NEED to drive to Sally's right now... and buy this product. The oil treatment is derived from Moroccan Argan Trees. My hair tends to get a bit greasy after a full day, and when I use this I notice it a bit more so--but I typically wash my hair every day so that's no biggy. If your looking for obsessively silky, soft hair for a night, with no frizz (!!!) look no further than Argan oil. One tiny drop is all you need, rub it around between your palms and run it through wet or dry hair. I usually wait until my hair is half blown-dry then I apply the oil. Avoid going too heavy on the scalp to avoid greasiness faster, but this will make your hair so soft with brilliant shine and it smells great too. (It makes me feel exotic when I catch whiffs throughout the day :) Don't judge me) Collateral damage: $0.99 (Yes! That's right, not even a dollar for this amazing find!! I got a small sample size about 6 months ago and still have plenty left. They do sell it in larger bottles however!)

    Sunday, October 30, 2011

    Sara: Mama D's 50th Birthday Surprise

    My mom turned 50 today, October 30, 2011.

    She is a loving wife, best friend and mother to 3 daughters, and super-grandma extraordinaire to 3 beautiful children who call her "Gaga."

    Gaga is, however, only one of her nicknames. We have also lovingly dubbed her Kitty. Ever seen That 70's Show? Remember Eric's closet drinking hysterical mother? Well my mom also enjoys an occasional cocktail and has been known to spike her coffee with Kaluha.

    The fellow gals with which I share this blog, have also provided another nickname for my mother: Mama D. It all started when  we decided to go to trivia night at a local bar, invited my mom, and named ourselves, "Mama D's Chickadees." From there it stuck, and became forever added to her list of alibis.

    Anywho. Mama D has turned 50. This weekend we planned a surprise treasure hunt for her around town. I wrote cute little rhyming phrases that would lead her from one stop to the next.

    So her travels led her all over our wee village, starting at a flower shop where she picked up a pretty bouquet I pre-ordered for her and her huge obnoxious-look-at-me-I'm-50-birthday-girl-pin.
    (The Birthday girl pin I made for Mama D! 50 years later and still as cute!)

    From there, she ventured on to a local pizza shop, where both my sister and myself have worked. Here, she picked up an over night bag with a wrapped gift inside (PJs) and another clue that led her..... to the drive-through at the bank! They ladies here sent her out her next clue and a travel-sized toothpaste (all wrapped up of course--she was under strict orders not to open any gifts yet!). She was then directed to the local salon where she goes to ger her hair done, where she was presented with another gift and clue (mini shampoo and conditioner, and her favorite perfume). The next clue, which I'm sure was her favorite, led her to the local bar we frequent for a much needed "OMG I'm turning 50" drink. Next, the clues took her to the grocery store in town where she went to pick up her chocolate peanut butter birthday cake :)

    (As a side note here.. when my sister went to check that everything was in place on Friday, the clueless woman behind the cake counter was fully prepared to write "Happy Birthday Pick" on the cake.... because I had asked the lady who I gave the order to, to just put in a pick that said happy birthday. )

    Finally she was led to a local Italian restaurant, where she was told she would be picking up take-out for her dinner. When she arrived, however, she was greeted by 11 smiling faces and a very off-key rendition of happy birthday in which we all called her gaga.

    It was here that she opened her gifts, and put it together that she would be going somewhere! My dad had made arrangements at a Bed and Breakfast nearby for the next evening. Her treasure hunt had also helped her pack :)

    This birthday surprise was very special and couldn't have gone smoother. My mother is an amazing, kind-hearted and completely self-sacrificing woman. She has been the ultimate role model for me and I was so glad to be able to put something like this together for her special weekend.

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Bryn: The Introductions.

    Throughout my 26 years I have always had a group of girlfriends.  My very first friend was my little sis Jill. Although we were oil & vinegar in the personality department, we have always been close and have remained closed. Then I had my tight clique of pals throughout grade school (nicknamed JAB for our initials…brilliant). Then onto high school I had my new besties. (nicknamed the Fab Four…vain?) College came & I joined Chi Omega sorority and made some exceptional friends there as well.

    I have always appreciated the gossip sessions, shopping buddies, and junk food movie marathons that come along with good friends. It was great having my pals through the silly little breakups, school dances, college parties, and lazy summers. But it wasn’t until a few years ago when I got a true grasp of real and longstanding friendship. Kayla, Sara, & Kayla are the kind of friends that you hold tight to and don’t let go. My friends let me be my crazy self. They are funny girls who don’t stare at their cell phones at a dinner out or laugh at everything a cute guy says (unless its actually funny of course). They aren’t the type to only hang out when its “time to party”. My girls are interesting to listen to and are the very best listeners themselves. My friends don’t compete with each other for attention or try to outdo the other. They don’t take a mistake and never let you live it down. I can talk to KS&K about beliefs & fears or shoes & travel.  These 3 girls are really everything you could want in a gal pal.

    It took me a long time to write my entry because giving the girls the credit they are due seemed like a daunting task. It was hard to know where to begin when the moment I think of one wonderful thing to say another pops into my head.  I could literally go on for pages and pages letting the world wide web know what makes my friends so special. Instead I will keep it simple.

    If a tornado swept me up to the land of OZ I would need my girls. I would need Kayla to be my heart.  Kayla sees the beauty in every person she meets. She loves people without condition and there never seems to be an end to her kindness. There isn’t a grudge Kayla has held or an unkind word spoken to a friend. With Kayla, what you see is what you get too. There is no sugary sweetness to a person’s face that is followed by a nasty remark behind their back. It’s amazing to me just how genuine this girl is. I am so grateful to have reconnected with my old friend. Sara, I’d need her there to be my brain. She is 3 years my junior and because of her maturity I have to remind myself that she hasn’t reached her quarter life crisis just yet. Sara is thoughtful about every decision and is detailed in her planning. She is constantly taking the reigns on organizing wine tours, festival outings, and outdoor concerts. If it weren’t for Sara “the gals” would not have as much together time as we have.  Sara has the initiative to make things happen whether it’s weekend fun or finding the job she wants and deserves. Sara never seems to stop learning either. She has a thirst for knowing that I wish more people had. This girl has got her act together. K2 would obviously need to be there to be my courage. Nothing shakes Kayla up. She is brave and bold and afraid of no one.  Even when the going gets tough, Kayla carries on taking control of her own life. I love that Kayla says what she means and means what she says. When I am out with Kayla I feel like we’re the coolest people in the room because she just oozes confidence and sex appeal (weird? I hope not kayla!) Guys love her and girls want to be her. If ever I feel insecure, Kayla talks sense into me and genuinely gives me the encouraging words that I need.

    It’s amazing what good girlfriend can do for your mind & soul. I feel like I am a better person for associating myself with these ladies. I really look forward to turning this blog into a story of our friendship.

    Thursday, September 29, 2011

    Kayla: Introductions

    For a long time, I believed that I could survive in this world without girlfriends. 

    I have two amazing sisters that have always been there to talk about boys, life, and our parents.

    I have two amazing parents that have always been there to talk about boys, life, and my sisters. 

    And all through growing up I’ve always had a crew of funny, energetic, easy to talk to guy friends that I didn’t have to worry about hurting their feelings or getting caught up in silly drama (a habit I tended to frequent with the females in my life). 

    I made it to age 22 having never experienced the techno colored joy that can only be brought into your life by true girlfriends.  The first person to tip my balance was Kayla<3. 

    Kayla and I had known of each other’s existence for many years before we actually became friends.  We attended the same high school, I was a year ahead of her, and we never spoke to each other.  We walked around the halls of our school avoiding each other at all costs.  It wasn’t until we attended a college Halloween party together that I realized I had wasted a lot of time not spending it getting to know her, and I was sure that I wanted us to be “the kaylas” for the rest of my life. From the very beginning, she has been someone that I can tell anything about myself without the fear of being judged.  She is my trusty sidekick, and I am hers; always there for each other in a pinch, or no pinch at all.  Her witty banter has me laughing for days and her inner strength is something to be witnessed.  I have been through more with her than I have with anyone else.  We were meant to be; two kaylas in a pod. 

    College also did me the solid of bringing me another soul mate, Sara Dee.   Sara and I realized we were MFEO during an exercise in our Communications class where you had to introduce one of your peers.  Sara and I paired up.  Everything that one of us said about ourselves the others response was “ME TOO!” We are both the middles of three girls, love to play games, enjoy volunteering, and are obsessed with corny humor.  I remember going home after that class and wondering how I could get Sara’s phone number and ease into a relationship – I felt nervous about it like a high school crush – but when you know  you know. It wasn’t long until we were inseparable.  Sara is a cheeseball.  She is an optimist to the core.  She volunteers more of her time than anyone I’ve ever met.  I think her mission in life is to make everyone happy, all of the time – a seemingly impossible task - but she is impressively good at it.  She is one of the very few adults I know that still has child-like wonder for the simplest of things.  She inspires me. 

    Bryniee is my oldest friend. We were introduced to each other at a young age, because our parents believed that it was fate.  Both of our dads worked (and currently still work) at the same water treatment facility, and both of our mothers worked at the Holiday Inn.  During workday chats, they realized the connection and that they both birthed daughters in 1985; it would be going against our destiny if we never met – and still to this day I believe they were right. Bryniee and I lived across town from each other and got most of our hanging out in over the summer months.  We’d spend weeks at the others house trying to win the Hot 9 at 9, chasing boys and feeling like we owned Windber Rec.  As we grew older and became more involved in High School, we’d only hear from each other on birthdays and holidays.  A few years ago fate stepped in and brought Bryniee back to me.  I was still working on my undergrad at UPJ and she came back to get her Masters.  I’m not letting her out of my sight this time.  Bryn is a teacher and it courses through her veins.  She has such elegance about explaining things to people that you can’t help but be memorized and while she is hypnotizing you, you osmosisly absorb what she is saying.  When I need her, she is there, with a bottle of wine in hand ready to tackle my demons with me.  She is a DIVA; part of her charm is that you can’t help but want to take care of her.  She is my listening ear and my little queenie. 

    Without these ladies I would be a mess.  They are who I turn to for advice, gossip, adventures, laughs, and comfort.  When we don’t get to see each other for awhile, I can feel their absence physically.  I need my gal time; my time to unwind, with a bottle of wine, and catch up on all of their busy lives.  This blog will hopefully serve its purpose of keeping us connected despite the two hours of distance between us.  This quote always reminds me of the bond I share with my girls: