Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rantin' and Ravin'

Okay I just have to get this off my chest so bear with me. And I might offend some people with what I have to say. I apologize in advance. My words are not directed at anyone in particular, but just our society and culture in general.

No doubt you've seen this ecard floating around on pinterest, facebook and Instagram...
We all laugh when we see this...but we secretly know its true.

I've never really been a huge fan of Black Friday shopping. That probably stems from the years I worked in retail for a check processing company and, like all other retail employees, had to work a 12-14 hour shift starting around 6 am, and deal with angry shoppers and tired, frustrated merchants. That day was always just so busy! And exhausting! And it all seemed so utterly pointless!

Three years ago someone talked me into going shopping on Black Friday. It was an okay experience, as was the year after, but I didn't feel real great about it. People were getting nasty and I found myself feeding into the negativity, anger and possessiveness of it all. I remember I wanted to buy a set of pots and pans for my mom. They were decent pans and it was a good price, I felt like it was worth it. Things were fine for a while and then as the "opening bell" was about to ring people started crowding in around me, pushing their way in front of me so they could grab the item that I wanted and had been patiently waiting for the last hour for the nice store employee to give the okay to start taking the items. I instantly hated these people! And I was disgusted with their lack of respect for the store employee who was simply there to do his job. They just could not wait 3 more minutes for the plastic to come off the boxes to take the item and were ripping it open when the employee wasn't looking. Are you kidding me?! It's 3 minutes of your life, I think you'll live! Apparently I was wrong. Apparently their lives depended on those pots and pans.

Last year there was only 1 item I wanted so I sent my strapping younger brother to fight the crowds and get it for me. Honestly I was much more relaxed.

I'm a single mom and, like so many others, a hard working American and I don't like to waste my money. I love a good sale and don't like to feel like I've been ripped off when I buy things. So I'm careful with my purchases. However, leaving a family gathering early, standing in line in the freezing cold for hours and fighting tooth and nail to save $5 on some Crayola Color Wonder books and PJs for my kid? I'm sorry, its just not worth my time. And to me it really takes away from the whole purpose and reason for Christmas.

Whether or not you are a religious person, I think we can all agree that Christmas is a time when we reach out to those in need, we give what we can to those less fortunate. We plan gatherings with our families and friends, those that we love and cherish having in our lives. Christmas should be about the people in our lives and our love for each other, not the gifts we give.

Black Friday is a tradition. I get it. According to the website "The term 'Black Friday' was coined in the 1960s to mark the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season. 'Black' refers to stores moving from the 'red' to the 'black' back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit." Does that even apply anymore? It seems like retailers are constantly in the red. Obviously they can only mark prices down so much and I think in the last couple of years we have seen some prices hit as low as they can possibly go. But yet retailers still aren't making enough money.

Retailers are getting desperate. They are trying whatever they possibly can, literally tripping over one another to fight for our hard-earned dollars, discounted or not. But does putting something on sale at 8 pm Thursday night vs 4 am Friday morning really make them much profit? It seems to me like it would cost them more money. In my basic understanding of employment law if you require workers to work on a nationally recognized and observed holiday you have to pay them 2.5 times their regular pay rate. So let me get this're going to sell me a $1,300 TV for $800, reducing your profit by $500 while at the same time paying hundreds of employees who make roughly $10 an hour on a normal day $25 an hour because it's a holiday and you expect to make a PROFIT? (Okay that's just an example and I realize my math may be a little fuzzy, but I think you get my point.Seems like a flaw in your business model.And yes, I know there is a lot more to it than that, but the theory just seems to have some holes in it.)

I feel bad for the employees that are being forced to work tomorrow who would not normally have to. I'm not a 'crusade starting' type of person, but I don't plan to go shopping tomorrow. My daughter might get one less Barbie for Christmas because I chose not to shop tomorrow and get (literally) a killer deal (cause let's face it, if no one dies tomorrow a LOT of people will be physically hurt. And that's just sad). But she will survive. If you like the thrill of the hunt and get off on the idea of standing in long lines, fighting with people you don't know when you could be at home fighting with your crazy relatives instead, by all means go for it. Just don't expect me to be thrilled about how much money you saved or impressed by the insane fights you witnessed.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Wedding...Part 2

Let's get this party started!!!

The reception was at Eldridge Manor in Bountiful. A really pretty place, I had never been to a wedding there before. Kenz wanted a romantic, vintage and elegant feel to everything....and we definitely pulled it off!

More pictures....

 Of course the beautiful Miss Sassy Pants. She was so happy that I finally bought her a dress that twirled. Apparently I've been slacking off in the twirly dress department.

 My Mom and I were in charge of the centerpieces for the tables. Thanks to some instruction-via-skype from Des in Iowa we were able to make the flowers look cool.

 Me and Miss Sassy Pants. Boy was she on one that night!
 Mom and I were NOT in charge of the rest of the flowers...thank goodness because if we had been we probably would have been pitching in to buy Des a plane ticket back here! The florist did a great job.
 I really liked the bout's (I can't spell the whole word so I'm not even going to try). I love how simple they were. Those dahlia's were gorgeous!
 Sweet Miss Gracie

 Chris and Billy
 Chris and Rachel
 Me, Chris and Mom
 There was a huge armoire with mirrors that the kids all gravitated to for a bit. Sassy was showing them all how to twirl properly.
 Oh Erik...
 Gracie, Ashley, Ellie, Billy and Banxton. Such a cute family!
Garrett and Holly....they're up next! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

McKenzie's Wedding....Part 1

My cute, sweet step-sister McKenzie found the man of her dreams in Cache. These two are so stinking cute and will have gorgeous babies.
They were married on Friday in the Salt Lake Temple. I was glad that I was able to go.
Of course, I HAD to take my camera along and basically shadow the real photographer to get some good pictures. Hope she doesn't mind :)

I haven't made it through all the pics yet, but these are the ones from the Temple. Sassy was at school so you'll have to wait until the next post to see the 8 million pictures I took of her. :)
 Jocelyn and her son Talmadge
 Miss Gracie
 And Ellie bug!
 Me and mom
 Step-brother Garrett and his fiancee Holly (can't wait for the wedding in June!)
 Right before coming out of the temple. (We actually had to wait about 15 extra minutes for them to come out after they were ready...the poor photographer's car broke down on her way! But it was worth the wait)
 Mr. & Mrs. Cache Hawkes

 The family L-R: Me, Billy, Ashley, Jocelyn, Cache, McKenzie, Rich, Mom, Erik, Holly, Garrett. Kids: Talmadge, Gracie, Ellie (Chris was at work and Banxton and Sasha were at school. Jocelyn's husband Cody couldn't make it. He's doing his residency out in Fresno and couldn't get the time off.)

 The sisters: Me, Ashley, McKenzie, Jocelyn and Holly. WAY too much beauty in one place!

 Poor Tal did not want to be in any more pictures...he was done!
 Jocelyn and her cute baby boy, Tristan

 LOVE this pic I got of my mom.
More to come later...we can't forget the reception!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Life update

So what's new with me? Well, if you want an ACTUAL update instead of just the polite and socially accurate answer of "Well, not a lot" because you don't REALLY want to know what's up with me, you're just asking to be polite....then read on my friends!

So in the spring I told you I was moving in with my brother and his cute family. This is them....

Things were great. Sassy loved getting to play with her cousins all the time. Des is a great cook so I was well fed. And it was nice not coming home to an empty house a lot. 

And then they moved. 

To Iowa. 

Freaking Iowa!!! 

Why you ask? Well, my brother (who is a therapist) found a great job with good pay and he can pay off those pesky student loans A LOT sooner than he would if he stayed here in Utah. 

So they moved. 


That's far. 

I miss them! 

But we're happy for them because Ryan is busy with work and the kids are doing great and really like it. 

So where does that leave me and Miss Sassy Pants? Well, fortunately the sweet folks that own the house Ryan was renting aren't ready to put it up for sale and agreed to let me stay for the same really great rent that they were charging Ryan. Which is definitely a HUGE blessing because when I looked for places to rent that were close or comparable to what I am paying now...well let's just say they weren't exactly the kinds of places I wanted to live. Or wanted my child to live in. Ever. 

The other bonus is that my youngest brother Chris...
(isn't he cute?)

...decided that, when you're 19, it's much cooler to live with your sister than your mom (no offense, mom, we  totally love you!), so he moved into the basement and is sharing the house with Sassy and I. It's pretty great having my little bro around to chill and watch football with. 

There's the latest on us. Catch you in another couple of months? Ha ha

A few of my favorite things...

Okay, I know I totally fell off the blogging wagon! But life is just so....busy! So here are a few of my favorite pictures, stories and moments from the last couple of months....

Mom and I took Sassy, Oliver, Penelepe and Violette to the Dinosaur Park up in Ogden. It was so much fun! I'd never been there before and the kids had a great time.

Sassy and I took a drive down to the UC and did part of the Nebo Loop. It. Was. Gorgeous. The leaves were absolutely perfect and so beautiful! 

I love this one of Sasha. It's my background on my home laptop and it makes me smile every time I see it.

Halloween!!! This year Sassy went as Cinderella. I didn't like any of the costumes that were already made so I recruited my mom to help me make her costume. I think it turned out SO CUTE! She absolutely loves it and was asking to wear it every day after Halloween!

With our friends Daxton and Drake Green (My BFF Amberly's little boys)
So since I (helped) to make her costume, I guess that makes me the Fairy Godmother, right? My sweet friend Truly made the cape for me and it. is. awesome! So the truth is, I was sort of jealous of Sassy's poofy, sparkly tulle skirt and I wanted one for I recruited another seamstress to make me the cape and I did the skirt (cause there was NO sewing involved) and I got glitter EVERYWHERE! But it was totally worth it and so fun to listen to Sasha tell people that she was Cinderella and I was the Fairy Godmother.
Mom's birthday! I won't say how old she is cause...well...I will probably need more sewing help in the future. But she looks MUCH younger than she actually is! We had a fun little party with the family at her house, after she, Sassy and I went to get mani/pedi's. It was a fun day.

So there, you're all caught up. ;)