The journey of a thousand miles begins with...the perfect pair of shoes.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Samhain!

Repost from a previous year.

Back before Halloween became a sugar induced candy grab populated by polyester wearing little goblins, it was known as Samhain (pronounced SOW-in).  Since there are soooo many misconceptions about Halloween (Satan, Devil worshiping, etc), I thought I'd share some information with all my readers.

Samhain, means "End of Summer", and is the third and final Harvest. The dark winter part of the year commences on this day. The Celts divided the year into four quarters: Samhain (winter), Imbolc (spring), Beltane (summer), and Lughnasadh (autumn). The Celtic year began in November, with Samhain. The Celts were influenced principally by the lunar and stellar cycles which governed the agricultural year - beginning and ending in autumn when the crops have been harvested and the soil is prepared for the winter.

It is generally celebrated on October 31st, but some traditions prefer November 1st. It is one of the two "spirit-nights" each year, the other being Beltane (May 1).

Originally the "Feast of the Dead" was celebrated in Celtic countries by leaving food offerings on altars and doorsteps for the "wandering dead". Today a lot of practitioners still carry out that tradition. Single candles were lit and left in a window to help guide the spirits of ancestors and loved ones home. Extra chairs were set to the table and around the hearth for the unseen guest. Apples were buried along roadsides and paths for spirits who were lost or had no descendants to provide for them. Turnips were hollowed out and carved to look like protective spirits, for this was a night of magic and chaos. This has evolved into today's practice of carving Jack O'Lanterns. The Wee Folke became very active, pulling pranks on unsuspecting humans. Traveling after dark was was not advised. People dressed in white (like ghosts), wore disguises made of straw, or dressed as the opposite gender in order to fool the Nature spirits.

When the Romans made contact with the Celts, they added their feast of the dead to Samhain. The Christians subverted the recognition of Samhain to honor the saints, as All Saint's Day on November 1st and named October 31 as All Hallow's Eve. This latter became a secular holiday by the name of Hallowe'en. Although using different nomenclatures, all of these festivals and feasts are celebrating the accessibility, veneration, awe, and respect of the dead, not Satan.  And now you know.

Our community had trick or treating this past Saturday (why can't they just let kids get sugared up on a school night?). Here are some photos:

Don't think I'm not wearing a costume. I'm a Muggle!

The best Harry Potter ever:

James Bond is a Muggle too!

James Bond couldn't resist trying to take a bite:

I wish you all a happy and safe Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Giveaway extension!

Hello, my lovelies. I did a really dumb thing last week. I was editing my blog settings and somehow turned comments off for a while. I got several emails telling me this, but I was offline for several hours (WHAT? I KNOW!) so I was unaware. Because of this, I'm going to extend them all until this coming Saturday, Oct 29. If you tried to enter and couldn't, I apologize. Go try again. If you haven't entered, go! Enter now!!!

Monday: Signed Book and $25 Amazon GC

Tuesday: $20 Gedanke GC

Wednesday: My Memories Digital Scrapbook Software-$40 value

Thursday: Fascinator/Hat-$45 value

Friday: Tres Magnifique Etsy Shop Giveaway plus other German goodies!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Giveaway Day 5: My Etsy Giveaway

Okay, it's the final giveaway! Have you entered the others? If not, you need to.

Today I'm giving away something from my very own etsy shop, Tres Magnifique. Have you visited?  If not, you're missing out!  I've got treasures I've found in flea markets all over Europe.  I only pick good stuff too.  Much of it you can find on PB, but I sell for about HALF (most of the time less than half) what they charge.  They are ridiculously overpriced.  Me, not so much.

Today, I'll be giving away one of my most popular sellers, a 3 stack book bundle with reproduction post card:

AND a vintage apothecary  bottle (your choice of ONE):

AND a gummy pizza!  Don't you want that???  Indy got one for his birthday (this one in fact) and was in heaven.  Don't eat the chili peppers though unless you like spicy because they are HOT.

But wait, there's more!  More?  Yes, more.  You will also get a bunch of other yummy German goodies in your package!  You'll just have to wait and see what.  We have good stuff over here!

To enter, go to my store Tres Magnifique and tell what your favorite item is.

If you'd like extra entries, do any (or ALL) of the following(leave a separate comment for each):

Heart my store or an item on my store

Follow me (or let me know if you're a follower)

Follow me on Twitter @MominHighHeels 

Tell me how awesome I am.

Happy Friday and don't forget to enter all the other giveaways:





Thursday, October 20, 2011

Giveaway Day 4: Fashion Forward Fascinators

Are you still digging the giveaways? Yeah, you are!
Today I have an unbelievable giveaway for you. You know how a after the big royal wedding I vowed to bring back hats? No? Well, trust me, I did. I even wore one to Han Solo's Christening. I was having a hard time finding some though that didn't cost a fortune. Some small hats/fascinators were as much as $250.  You'd think they were made of gold! Then, the most amazing and serendipitous thing happened! My mom's cousin's wife (catch that?) started making hats! Not just any old hats; gorgeous hats! And she was selling them for incredibly low prices! Huzzah! She didn't know where to really sell them though, so I offered to set her up an etsy shop. It's called Hat Designs by Penelope and you will NOT believe her hats! I'm not kidding! Look!

 This zebra print makes my heart go pitter-patter.  Could you die???

Look at it from the side!  The poof in the back is swoon worthy.

 Oh, and look, look, look!!!  Wouldn't you feel as smart as Kate Middleton in this?

That's actually my hat!  Squeeeeee!!!! It hasn't arrived yet, but when it does, I will post photos.

I own 3 others (all available on her shop) too!!!  You'll have to forgive the photos.  Indy took them and well...

This is my favorite:

She makes them all by hand!   Would you like to know what she's offering up?  A giraffe print fascinator!

Dear heavens you need that hat.  I need that hat!  You will truly be the envy of everyone you know when you step out in that.

To enter, go to her shop, Hat Designs by Penelope, and then come back here and tell me which hat is your favorite.

For an extra chance to win (not required), you can do any or all of the following:
Favorite her shop on etsy
Follow me.  If you're already a follower, let me know.
Blog or tweet about this giveaway, andget an extra entry for each.

Let me know in separate comments.

Don't think you won't wear it.  Don't be fashion shy or self conscious.  We are bringing hats back.  Wear it with pride!  And make sure to send me a photo of you wearing it!

Don't forget to enter my previous giveaways:

Monday: Signed Book and $25 Amazon Gift Card

Tuesday:  $20 Gadanke Gift Certificate

Wednesday:  My Memories Suite Software

And come back tomorrow when I give away something from my own little etsy shop Tres Magnifique (I've got some fab new items!) along with some German goodies!

Linking to:

Featured At Serenity Now

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Giveaway Day 3: My Memories Suite

Hello my lovelies!  Are you excited about the giveaway week?  Of course you are.

Today I have something really cool for you!  I keep saying that don't I?  Like I'd give away something bad.
Have you heard of My Memories?  If not, you are missing out!  It's digital scrapbooking software and it is AWESOME!  Seriously.  James Bond is threatening to take my computer away if I don't quit messing around with My Memories Suite.  It's so much fun though and really simple to use.  Simple is good.  You can use it to create scrapbooks, calendars, cards, movies, a banner for your blog or etsy shop and whole host of other cool stuff.  You can also order a bound copy of your scrapbook (12x12, 10x10, 8x8, etc) but, but, BUT, here's the best part (in my not so humble opinion):  YOU CAN PRINT IT OUT AT HOME!  That's right.  You can make your own scrapbook/photo book and print it out on your own printer.  How cool is that?  Of course it won't be bound in a hardcover (which you do get if you order your creation from My Memories), but still, you can print it out at home!  You can then put it in your own album or scrapbook sleeves.  How sweet is that? 

So, what is the giveaway, you might wonder?  A free software download of My Memories Suite 2.  A $40 value.  Think of all the photos languishing on your computer just begging to be organized and printed!  Wouldn't the photo books or calendars make a great Christmas gift for grandma or that couple you know who just got married??  You NEED this software.  You know it.

I decided to play around with the software and do some digital scrapbook pages from the cruise we did last year.  Check this out (click to enlarge):

Isn't that cool?  I only showed part of the cruise photos here because I didn't want to jam Blogger up.  All the background photos are my actual photos, but as you can see on the second and third pages, you can use plain colored or even textured backgrounds (included with the software).

 I have to admit that I was really hesitant at first to do this, because I've been burned by software like this before and couldn't figure out how to use it.  It took me less than 5 minutes to figure out My Memories Suite 2.  Even if you're not tech savvy, you can make loads of neat stuff with this.  It also has a spell checker, which is genius.  I'm always spelling Mediterranean wrong (just did it again and blogger had to let me know) and the software caught it. 

My Memories offers tons and tons of different theme packs to keep your scrapbooks fresh and exciting and they even have some that are FREE (you know how I loves me some FREE).

To enter go to My Memories and look around.  Come back and tell me which digital theme pack is your favorite and what you would use the software for if you win.  And that's all you have to do!

IF you'd like extra entries (and why wouldn't you?)  you can do any or all of the following:

Become a follower and tell me in a separate comment.  If you're already a follower let me know.  I ♥ you all, BTW.

Follow the My Memories Blog

Follow My Memories on Twitter

Follow little old moi on Twitter. I promise I'm going to tweet more.  Soon.

Tweet and/or blog about this giveaway.

 Let me know in a separate comment for each one.

Even if you don't win the giveaway (winner announced early next week!), they are offering you, my dear, sweet readers, a special $10 discount on your My Memories Suite 2 download.  That makes it only $29.  Wooohoooo! When you check out, just put in the code: STMMMS44386.  I'll keep a button with the code over on the right sidebar if you decide you want it (and you do!). 

If you missed the other giveaways you can enter here:

Signed Book and $25 Amazon Gift Card

$20 Gadanke Gift Card

Check back tomorrow because I have a honey of a giveaway coming up.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

RTT: Giveaway Day 2-Gadanke

Wheeee! It's Tuesday! This is not just ANY old Tuesday though. This is a giveaway Tuesday! What??? That's right, the celebration of my 475th post continues all week.  Wait, does that mean no RTT?  Yes, but keep reading anyway, you don't want to miss this.

Since today is a day we talk about our random thoughts, I thought the was the perfect day to do a giveaway from  Gadanke.


Haven't heard of Gadanke? Well if you like words, stories and memories, this is the shop for you.  It's run by the amazing Katie, who I "met" online a few years ago.  We were both Americans living in Germany, though several hours apart, and fell in love with her blog and was fascinated by the renovation of their 45sqm (480sqf) apartment.  You read that right, 480 square feet.  Could you live in a space that small?   They are now living in the US and renovating an airplane hangar!
Katie is one of the sweetest, most genuine people you could ever have the pleasure of chatting with.  She and her German husband, Martin, are ardent believers in being environmentally friendly and strive to lead a simpler life.  I admire them for that.  I personally couldn't do it (I'm too high maintenance for that!), but I'm in awe of their experience  which she blogs about at Making This Home.

So, what's the giveaway?  I guess I should tell you that, huh?  It's a $20 gift certificate to Gadanke for your very own environmentally friendly journal.


Gadanke's motto is Celebrate your story!  With one of her prompt journals you'll be celebrating your own story in style.
Katie, what's Gadanke all about?

It's about documenting who you are and what you crave and believe. Handmade journaling products at Gadanke are filled with creative writing prompts and tidbits to make you think (and laugh!). These baby books, prayer journals, travel books, and diaries make your writing process more meaningful and fun! Plus they're totally eco-savvy with 100% recycled papers.

So, what gave you the idea for your journals?

A couple of years ago, NPR's StoryCorp was in town. It was also my grandma's 90th birthday.
The two of us decided to hop into the recording studio to capture some pieces of her story. I had all sorts of prompts to help her with her story telling. (I was always the listener, the one who asked question after question.)
The only problem?
My grandma couldn't remember. Too much time had passed.
Later, my dad turned to me and said, "Katie, I need you to write down your story." I knew he wished he had his mom's stories. So I started writing. I started wondering about all of the other women who have stories deep inside of them, and I started thinking about how my tendency to just listen and ask could help put those stories onto paper. Gadanke was born with fabulous writing prompts and recycled papers. I feel so lucky to be living my dream.

Isn't that wonderful? Don't you want to preserve your memories in one of these lovely journals?
Some of my personal favorites are her Love Letter Mini Books:

Vintage Fabric Covered books:

My absolute personal favorite though is the SHE: Me, My Heart, My World Personal Journal:

It's full of of prompts, quotes and enclosures to make sure future generations will know who you really are.

To enter, go to Gadanke and look around.  Come back here and tell me which journal you'd like to celebrate your story.  Easy, huh? 

If you'd like extra entries: you can do any or all of the following.  Come back and leave a separate comment for each one you do.
Follow Katie on Twitter
Subscribing to Katie's blog  Trust me when I say you will find her blog a fascinating read.
Follow my blog because I am awesome.  Obviously.  If you're already a follower, let me know in a separate comment.
Oh, and follow ME on twitter at www.twitter//MominHighHeels I don't tweet much yet, but once I get my smart phone, I'll be all over it.  This will get you an extra entry too! 

Thank you Katie for this wonderful giveaway!

If you haven't entered yesterday's giveaway, go here and enter for a chance to win a signed book from my friend Michele Feltman Strider and a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

I hope you all have a fantastic RTT and I promise I'll be back to my regular, smart, funny, witty (self-obsessed) RTT self next week.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Post 475! The giveaways begin!

Remember a while back when I said I thought the 500th post shouldn't get to have all the fun and I was going to do some giveaways when I hit post 475? Well that's today my friends! An entire week of goodies are going to be given away to my lovely readers.

I love a good read, don't you? Of course you do, that's why you come to my blog. 

For the first day of my week long celebration, I have a special treat from an author that I personally know and who is funny, witty, and loves a good cookie.

Michele Feltman Strider is an author, actor and bon vivant that I have known since we were in college together back in 1992 a few years ago.   I recently interviewed her (and by that I mean we exchanged many emails) about her book Homecoming:  A Novella, which is part of today's giveaway and this is what she had to say.

Michele, when did you start writing?

I started writing novels in 2009 while on medical leave from my job training attorneys on the use of legal research software. (Imagine such exotic ports of call as Fresno, Bakersfield, and Redding!) I decided I needed a job that was less physically challenging and since writing involves a lot of sitting on the couch, drinking coffee, and surfing celebrity gossip sites, it seemed like a natural transition. (Others tell me the last item is not strictly necessary to the writing process, but they are clearly mistaken.) I was also drawn to the idea of being able to purchase/read as many books as I wanted and call it "research."

Genius. I ♥ you. Where do you get your inspiration and what it your writing process?

In the tradition of so many great writers, I often search for inspiration at the bottom of a bottle. Kidding! (I don't think she is.  I've read her FB updates!)  Actually, I tend to get my best ideas A) in the shower B) during my morning hike, and C) riding on the back of my husband Jim's motorcycle. I get my worst ideas sitting in front of my laptop "trying" to come up with an idea. In fact, when I get writer's block, the best thing I can do is to turn off the computer and walk to my favorite coffee shop for a cookie. Works like a charm... (and even when it doesn't, I still end up with a cookie.) Though I tend to most of the actual transcription in the afternoons, when I'm working on a story it pretty much consumes my thoughts at all times. It is a possibly unhealthy level of self-obsession and leads to many burned dinners.

Self-obsession is a good thing! Or so I tell myself. Can you tell my readers a little about your book?

"Homecoming" is the story of a girl transitioning into womanhood. (Oh, dear god, but that sounds so lame... Take 2...)

"Homecoming" is the story of Caitlin Pearson, a bright, but somewhat naive, college freshman on her first trip home from school for Thanksgiving. In addition to the normal host of challenges presented by a family holiday -- a drunken, controlling mother, a charming scoundrel father, a less charming and more scoundrelly ex-fiance, and an oversexed and under-dressed cousin -- Caitlin must also endure a humiliating ceremony to officially end her reign as her alma mater's Homecoming Queen. So, obviously, it's a romance.

Are the characters based on yourself or anyone you know (who couldn't kill you if you revealed that information)?

When "Homecoming" first came out, people asked me who the characters are based on. Truthfully, I think they are all aspects of my own personality. After I'd finished writing it, I found that the mother "Caroline" was my favorite character, as her insecurities and neuroses (though not her personal habits) are most like my own.

See how awesome she is?  She has graciously offered up a signed copy of her book Homecoming: A Novella to one lucky reader and a $25 Amazon gift card.  A good book and money to buy more?  Who doesn't want that????   The book will be shipped to you (signed!) within 3-5 days of drawing and the Amazon gift card will be sent via email.

I won't make you jump through hoops to enter, simply leave me a comment and tell me your favorite book (Mine is The Good Earth, in case you were wondering).  Easy enough, right?

If you'd like extra entries (and why wouldn't you?):

If you are a follower, let me know in a separate comment.  If you become a follower, let me know.  You don't have to follow me to enter, but if you do, you're in for a treat.  I'm funny.

Blog or tweet about this giveaway for an extra entry.  Leave me the link in a separate comment.

The giveaway is open until noon (EST) Saturday, October 22.  Winner will be announced early next week.  Even if you don't win though, you should get a copy of the book.  They're available in print and electronic formats (the Kindle version is only $4.99!!).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

RTT: Boy clothes and boobs


Quite a title, huh? Yeah, I knew that would grab your attention.
So, RTT again and once again, I have slacked on my bogging. Darn it.   There's always someone needing my attention.  The kids need to be fed (what's up with that?), Han Solo needs a diaper change (ick), the dogs need love (they're so codependent-too bad I'm allergic to and dislike cats) , James Bond expects me to be awake in the evening, blah, blah, blah.  Who has time to blog?

*I get that little girl clothes are cute and pretty and fun.  Truly, I do.  However, little boys need clothes too.  I had to go buy both Indy and Han Solo clothes the other day (they just keep growing!) and there were racks and racks and racks of precious, pink, frilly girl clothes and maybe 2 racks of boy clothes.  This is common at every store.  I like for my boys to look decent, not like miniature thugs, skaters (skull and crossbones on baby clothes?  Really?)  or covered in product placements (I hate character clothes). If you don't have boys, trust me this is the majority of what's out there-even for babies.  I have always put Indy is classic clothing like polos, sweaters, chinos and jeans.  Simple.  Or so you'd think.  It's hard to find that stuff.  I have finally given into a few graphics because otherwise they'd just be naked.  We searched and searched a few stores and came home with some clothes, but not nearly as many as I'd hoped.  I don't like shopping online for their clothes because who can tell with the fit when they grow so much?  Ugh.  I did find a few things though.  Look how cute my boy are:

*I love PBS.  That's right!  I do!  They produce some really good shows.  I love the series they'd done taking people back in time and living like their ancestors would.  Some of my favorites are 1900's House, 1940's House and Manor House.  There are several others and it is fascinating to see how hard it is for modern people to live within the constraints of the various periods.  It's mostly good for the men, but not so much for the women.  Watch them and you'll see why.  Most libraries have copies.  Anyhoo, all that to talk about boobs.  I know, huh?  Trust me, I'm getting there.  I am currently watching one set in one of my favorite historical periods, the Regency (early 1800's England), called Regency House Party.  The clothing of the time was interesting.  It was indecent to show your ankles, but the dresses were cut extremely low, so as to show off a woman's, um, ample bosoms.  I was watching an episode the other day (it's 6 hours total) and James Bond walked in.
JB:  Good God!  What are you watching.
Me:  Regency House Party.  Why?
JB:  It looks like she's got 2 basketballs up there.
Me:  {LOL}
JB:  Seriously, what's going on?  And why are her boobs up to her chin?
Me:  {insert long explanation of Regency clothing, customs, etc}
JB:  {eyes glazed}  Uh-huh.  Still, wow!  She's about to pop out of that dress!
Me:  Did you hear anything I just said?
JB:  No.  I couldn't hear you over the size of her boobs.
Me:  Nice.

*We're supposed to move in 14 days (they extended it by 5 days,otherwise it would be 9) and still James Bond has no orders.  If you're not familiar with the military, you must have paper orders in hand to do anything, like set up the packers to come get your stuff.  So, we wait.  Grrrrr.

*Why do I keep getting ads for a larger penis in my email?  They go straight to spam, but sometimes I check that folder and it always makes me wonder.

*I'm teaching  Han Solo to sign.  I taught Indy too and it was brilliant to know what hewanted before he could speak.  Last night Han Solo signed "milk."  James Bond and I nearly jumped out our seats we were so excited.

*I feel like there should be more.  I need to keep a notepad with me to jot down all the random stuff I think about during the week (which is a lot).  I'd probably misplace it though.

*The large text is weird enough, but be sure to read the smaller text too.  Poor WA State Patrol..

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

RTT: Growing baby, time wasters and other nonsense


Wheeeeeeee! It's RTT! Look at that, I made a rhyme!  Sit back and enjoy.

*Stacy's been holding down the RTT fort for so long, I think it's just permanent.   Accept it Stacy!

*Indy told me the other day that he wants a shirt that reads "I love Latin!" in Latin. Sigh.

*Thank you ABC for allowing your programs to air directly in (so I can get my Castle fix).  CBS, I'd like it if you took a page from ABC's book.  Your programs through hulu are linked directly to and they "aren't authorized in [my] country."  Boo, CBS.  Boo.

*Six months ago, my RTT was about how I'd had Han Solo the day before (that's right, I'm so dedicated to RTT, not even childbirth could keep me away). Today my sweet little man is 6 months old! How did that happen?

*Every month (on the 4th) I take a photo of Han Solo with the Teddy Bear Indy gave him on the day he was born. Here are his birthday photos (I wish I'd thought to take one without the blanket on) and this month's photos:

He's grown quite a bit.  Maybe on his first birthday I'll post the entire series.

*Still no official paper orders from the Army yet.  We're supposed to move in 16 days and without orders in hand we can't do anything, except sit here and wait.

*I've found a new favorite time wasting site. *Warning!  Do not go there if you're easily offended.  Here's just a small sampling (of the ones that don't have curse words in the caption-I don't want to offend anyone for now)

Work it girl!

Who thought this up?

And seriously, WHO thought this was a good idea? Look closely, it's not what you think.

*Oh, oh, and!  I love this site so much it hurts.  *Again, don't go there if you're easily offended.
Here are a few of my favorites.  Well, actually some of my favorites are not really appropriate to post here, but these are pretty darn good too.

*What's up with Blogger today?  I can't post photos from the Compose page, but I can from the Edit HTML page.  Get it together Blogger!

*Okay, I think I'm done.  No wait!  I haven't posted my funny sign!

Not a "show" I want to see:

*Click the button above to read the other randoms and link your own.

PS.  Dear other RTTers,
I know I've been slacking on the commenting lately, but I have actually read your RTT's.  I promise to try to do better on commenting, cause some of your RTT's are awesome.

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