Welcome to my personal blog!
Just as I share some of my personal thoughts and views, I invite you to share yours. All I ask is that you keep your comments appropriate. I won’t feel badly about removing comments that are offensive. That doesn’t mean you can’t be honest—I want honest feedback—but I like to fill my life with positive people and positive things. I guess that means that if you have to say something negative, say it nicely!
More than anything, I want you to leave here feeling inspired and valued—and like we've had a nice visit!
I’m up in Washington right now, spending a few blissful days with Sara and her children while recovering from the whirlwind last few weeks. Sean is out of the country for a study abroad program, and I promised her I’d help out for a few days.
Let me recap, so you know what I mean when I say whirlwind--first there was the wonderful Australia incentive trip, then I was sick for almost a week, and then I spent 10 days helping out at the Browns (first one up in the morning, last one to bed at night). Last week was our corporate retreat, which is valuable and important, but it’s three solid days of focusing on strategy and planning and making quite important decisions, which was exhilarating and exhausting at the same time.
On Friday I spent the entire day doing a video shoot for three videos (you’ll see two of them in the next few weeks; the other one is for the regionals that I will not be attending personally—only a few of those, I hope), which is also very emotionally and physically draining.
I only got a few hours of sleep the night before because I hadn’t even had a minute to prepare the projects I was going to demonstrate in the videos. I hope I didn’t look as tired as I felt! I also slipped Phoebe’s celebration in there, as well as a wonderful dinner with our Board of Directors on Friday night.
My flight to Seattle left very early on Saturday morning, and I didn’t sleep at all on Friday night. I hadn’t had any time to pack during the week, so I came home from the dinner on Friday and started that. I had to pack for both Washington and Founder’s Circle (I’m going straight to southern Utah from here), which are very different climates and temperatures. I also needed to figure out my swap for Founder’s Circle and gather the supplies for that so I could make those while I’m here at Sara’s.
Now, let me assure you that I’m not complaining. I love my life, although it’s a bit more hectic at times than I would like. But I’ve made choices and I’m happy with them for the most part. I just told you all that so I could tell you this—I arrived here in Washington about 10 in the morning, got my luggage, and Sara picked me up with all five kids in tow and we headed for Seth’s soccer game.
I had taken a nap on the plane, but I was still exhausted. I was quite proud of myself for staying awake through the entire first half of the game, but as the second half started, I told Sara I just couldn’t do it anymore and I had to take a quick nap.
So there I am, in the middle of this huge soccer park with hundreds of people (there were at least 15 different games being played on 15 different fields), and I curled up on the quilt on the ground and zonked out. Sara told me that at one point, the soccer ball hit me in my fanny, but it bounced right off my rubber butt, and I didn’t feel a thing! I’m sure people thought I had lost it, but I felt much better by the end of the game.
I read your comments faithfully, and one of you mentioned that I was a super mom. Well, my snooze on the soccer field proves otherwise! I’m just like the rest of you in so many ways—working hard to get everything done as well as I can, hoping to drop as few balls as possible and keep the right things as priorities. I don’t always take the best care of me, I don’t always get the sleep I need, I don’t always do everything as well as I’d like. But I sure enjoy trying, and when I fail miserably, I’ve found that a good cry does wonders!
Then I just pick myself up, dust myself, and determine to do better next time. Or I sneak a nap during a soccer game.
I mentioned earlier that while I was at Shalae’s, we stamped invitations for a Phoebe celebration. We had that celebration this past week, and it was wonderful!
Several people have asked how a celebration is different from a shower, and I have to admit, they’re pretty similar. The main reason Shalae wanted to call it a celebration was so guests didn’t feel like they had to bring gifts; she wanted it be an opportunity to eat, chat with family and close friends, and celebrate the birth of her beautiful little daughter. Besides, most baby showers are held before a baby is born, so it just seemed more appropriate to call this a celebration, since Phoebe has been with us for almost three weeks now.
Regardless of what we called it, it was perfect! It was a small group; we invited 20 and 15 were able to come. They were family and close friends, and there were several people I hadn’t seen in quite a long time, so it was so nice to catch up.
Because it was a small group, we didn’t think we needed any ice-breaker games. And when I announced that we wouldn’t be playing games, none of the guests seemed very disappointed. (smile)
I departed a bit from tradition by deciding to host the celebration at Dear Lizzie. Usually, I have these things at my house, and I must admit it’s a little stressful getting everything ready. Earlier this week when Sterling asked how he could help, I told him there wasn’t much to do because we had decided to do it at Dear Lizzie. “They’re taking care of the food, decorations, background music, everything,” I said.
I thought he might be concerned about the cost, but when he saw how much easier it was on me (and him!), he said we needed to do it that way every time. And I think we might!
The atmosphere was beautiful. When we walked in, the little bistro area was decorated perfectly with balloons and flowers. I think the idea of combining a boutique with a bistro is fabulous, and the guests seemed to agree. It was hard to pull them away from shopping when it was time to eat. The food was too tempting to resist for very long, though. The menu was simple but delicious—croissant sandwiches, chips, and the tastiest brownies (mint or plain) I’ve had in a long time.
And, despite Shalae’s decision to call the gathering a celebration rather than a shower, there were plenty of gifts—and what adorable gifts they were! I have never seen such darling outfits and bows and shoes. Phoebe is going to be one well-dressed little girl.
And speaking of Phoebe, she was the perfect guest of honor! Shalae fed her right before we started, and she slept peacefully for almost the entire time, waking up right at the end, She loved being snuggled by family and friends, and she let her mommy visit with everyone there. And everyone there, of course, fell in love with her—just like her grandmother already has!
I love getting on my blog to read the comments you leave. I’m not able to do it nearly as much as I’d like, but every time I do, my heart is warmed as I feel of your concern, support, and love.
I enjoy reading your questions as well. While I don’t have the time to answer them all, I will try to answer as many as I can. I thought I’d start by answering a handful today.
Will Phoebe attend convention next year?
I smiled when I read this one. I don’t even have to ask Shalae about this—I know the answer already. While my girls will bring babies who are still breastfeeding to convention, once a baby is weaned, convention becomes sacred ground—for adults only!
The girls love the chance to spend time with grown-up family members—which includes you, by the way! Sterling and I, along with our girls and their husbands, love to spend what time we can during convention together, eating, chatting, just enjoying a few brief days without our youngsters. Don’t get me wrong—we love those children, but it’s nice to have a little time set aside for just the grown-ups, and that is what convention is for us.
So, I feel fairly confident in saying that Phoebe will not be winning your hearts at convention. But you can bet you’ll see plenty of her right here at SoShelli.com!
How did Megan get her name?
I’m assuming you ask this question because our other four girls all have names that begin with “S,” right? Megan is our oldest daughter, and Sterling actually brought her with him into the marriage. Yep, I’m a stepmother, although Megan assures me that I’m not a wicked stepmother!
We didn’t plan from the beginning to use “S” names for the rest of the girls. We loved the name Sara, and so we named our first baby that. And when we were expecting our second baby, there were several “S” names on the potential name list, and since our names started with “S,” at that point we decided to go with it. So that’s the story.
How did we choose the name Stampin’ Up!?
Vonna, Sean (Vonna’s husband), Sterling, and I were literally sitting around one day brainstorming names for the company. We wanted something catchy, upbeat, and positive. At that time, our primary (and practically only) focus was stamps; we had a few papers and ink, but nothing worth mentioning. And at the time, we weren’t really planning on doing much more than stamps (how times have changed!).
It was Sean who came up with the name, and it sounded perfect the minute he said it. We added the exclamation point because we thought that emphasized the energy and passion we felt that we wanted to share with others. An artist friend came up with the logo, which also had a light, happy feel to it. And the rest is history!
Do I have my clothes made for me?
Heavens, no! That would take away all the fun of shopping! And I do enjoy shopping, hunting for a bargain and finding that perfect outfit that I love.
My tastes and styles have changed over the years; I’m sure much like yours do. For several years I loved Ann Taylor, but my new favorite clothes stores are Anthropology and Dear Lizzie (you’ve probably heard me mention Dear Lizzie several times!).
Will I ever design fabric?
While I’d love to design fabric, there are no current plans in the works for that. I manage to find plenty to do without adding that on my plate! However, you’ve also probably heard me say, on more than one occasion, never say never. So don’t hold your breath, but don’t close the door.
Does the jacket I’m wearing in the photo at the top of this page feature Stampin’ Up! artwork?
Isn’t that funny that so many of you asked that? Frankly, I can’t remember which I saw first—the jacket or our artwork that features similar images. I loved both, but the similarities are only that—similarities. The two are not connected at all.
We just wrapped up Day 2 of a three-day Corporate Retreat, our annual meeting where Stampin’ Up!’s corporate team hides away for three days and focuses on the future. We talk about where we are, where we want to be, and how to get there—it’s a wonderful few days that I look forward to every year
On Monday, the day before the retreat, I decided I wanted to do something fun for the wonderful people I work with (I feel so grateful to have such a talented, dedicated group of co-workers), so Sterling and I made a batch of cupcakes for me to take to the meetings.
The recipe I used is one that Shanna (who loves to cook) discovered, and I have yet to find anything to compare. I wasn’t surprised at all when one of the corporate team members commented that the cupcake was possibly the best cupcake he’d ever tasted. So naturally, I thought I’d share the recipe with you!
Let me know what you think!
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use olive oil cause its healthier)
3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups plus 1 Tbsp flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 1⁄2 tsp salt
1 pound carrots, grated
1 cup raisins (optional)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
3⁄4 pound cream cheese at room temperature (I usually just use 1 lb because its easier to measure, then I might add a tiny bit of everything else till it tastes good)
1⁄2 lb butter at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 pound confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup grated or shaved carrots
3 Tbsp good maple syrup
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper liners.
Beat the sugar, oil, and eggs together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light yellow. Add the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together 2 cups flour, the cinnamon, baking soda, and salt
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Toss the carrots, raisins, and walnuts with the 1 Tbsp flour. Add to the batter and mix well.
Scoop the batter into the muffin cups until each is almost full. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack.
Makes approximately 3 dozen cupcakes.
For the frosting, mix the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until just combined. Add the sugar and mix until smooth.
For the decoration, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat; add the carrots and maple syrup and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until the carrots are tender. Spread them on a paper towel to cool.
When cupcakes are cool, frost them generously and garnish with big pinches of sautéed carrots.