November 30, 2011

Welcome to the zoo. (And a winner.)

I love animals.
I love rescuing animals.
From the time my husband and I were dating (2003) until now, we have had over seventy pets.
Twelve of those were fish.
We have rescued and re-homed so many wonderful animals.
Currently, our zoo is the smallest it's ever been.
It's also the most cohesive and happy it's ever been.
Today I played with my new toy.
(My Canon EOS 60D. We may have to starve for the next few weeks since we purchased it, but my photog skills are improving. Just kidding. Kind of.)

Since I never tell you my family's names, I think I'm finally ready to introduce you to a few family members:

This is Bella.
I found her in a Jack in the Box parking lot when The Girl was 17 months old (2005).
Bella was about 4 weeks old, and sounded like a crying baby in the bushes.
I was so relieved to find her.
Hubby wasn't as happy as I was... he wasn't a fan of cats back then.
She is the only pet that has lived in all five houses that we've lived in.

This is Minnie.
Hubby's aunt found her at a park when she was about 6 months old.
We kept her and put signs up everywhere; looking for her owners.
After about a week, I was done with puppy potty training and would get furious when Minnie would run out the front door and down the street constantly.
I had Hubby drive her back to his aunt across town.
She wasn't home.
Minnie is now almost 6 years old, and my very best friend.

Meet Karlo.
When The Boy was just over a year old (2008), I was searching Craigslist for chihuahuas.
Instead, I came across a listing for German Shepherds.
Totally the same breed, right?
I know.
He completes our family in the most loyal, loving way.

This is Easter.
She was being sold in an alley in Los Angeles when she was 3 weeks old.
I spent the $20 to buy her just so I could attempt to save at least one of those poor baby bunnies.
I bottle fed her around the clock for weeks.
She is now just over 8 months old.
I had no idea that rabbits were cuddly.
She's camera shy, but insanely affectionate.

This is a Russian Tortoise.
She is approximately five years old and has no name.
A few months ago, I heard a car slam on their breaks in front of my house.
A minute later, a man rang my doorbell and said, "I almost ran over your turtle!"
I said, "Oh, um, I don't have a turtle."
He said, "TAKE the turtle."
He was elderly and I could tell that a turtle was the last thing he wanted to deal with.
I brought the turtle inside and fed him an entire head of lettuce, which he ate in about thirty seconds flat.
We took her to a vet after no one responded to the "Found" signs we put up; and we found out her species, age, and gender.
We like her.

Maybe one day I'll introduce you to the rest of my family.
It's amazing how terrifying some things are for me when it comes to blogging.

Now what you've all been waiting for...
The winner of the Project Hope raffle!

*drum roll please*

Were you the winner?!

I am so thankful for everyone who participated!
Without these amazing shops and blogs, I could have never raised that much money!
I couldn't imagine a better birthday present.
Be sure to contact Laura if you would like to donate or contribute in any way to Project Hope.

November 29, 2011

What I Whipped Up Wednesday + New Blog Hop + Sponsor News

Hello, lovelies!
Before I announce the features from the last linky, I wanted to mention a fun thing that's coming to Sugar and Dots this week.

My BFF and I are teaming up for a Card Swap and Blog Hop!
Starting on December 1st, you can link up at either of our blogs (the linky will be linked together). Linking up allows you to participate in a card swap with another blogger.
We know money is tight, and we think that getting something handmade in the mail can boost anyone's mood.
Who doesn't love getting mail?!
A handmade card mixed in with a pile of bills can change your entire day.

Cards can be Christmas themed, holiday themed, friendship themed, etc.
We encourage you to get creative and send someone some sunshine in an envelope.
Be sure to grab a button off of my sidebar so that more people can join the fun!
Linking up your blog gives more than 4,000 people access to your link!
Blog hop- check out the blogs that are linked up and meet someone new!
The Card Swap and Blog Hop linky will be open from December 1st until December 7th.
On December 7th, you will get an email with your card swap partner's information.
After you get your email, you'll have until December 20th to send your partner a card.
Easy peasy!

I know Rachelle and I will be joining the hop as well- we can't wait to see who we get partnered up with!

In other news, new ads will be going up on the 1st.
With the blog hop taking place, my shop re-opening, and the end of the November Giveaway taking place, December is a GREAT time to get your name in lights at Sugar and Dots.
Big changes will be taking place with sponsorships come 2012, so be sure to snag the holiday ad deal while you can!

On to the features...

Keri from Pressed Down, Shaken Together created this beautiful Fall Hoop Art:

Jamie from Easily Dunn made this insanely fab Feather Lantern:

N*Stitches Designs showed off a lovely Zippered Pouch Tutorial:

And Natasha from Serenity You whipped up these Dark Chocolate Cookies that are swoon-worthy:

Now it's YOUR turn!
Ready to link up?
All I ask is that you be a follower of this blog to link up your ideas, makeovers, crafts, tutorials, recipes, etc.
You don't need to link back to me or add a button to your posts
(Although it is appreciated, it is not necessary.)
I am so thankful to have you here!
Link up and have fun!

November 28, 2011

What I Wore- Las Vegas Edition

Earlier this week, we celebrated my birthday in Vegas.
We have tons of pictures from our trip, but to spare anyone any embarrassment, I'm going to crop these to show off what I wore during my trip.

Straight off of the plane and up in our room.
Our flight was delayed. Twice.
Outfit: Old
Boots: Target
Bathroom: Amazing

Jacket: Old-ish
Dress: Windsor
Boots: Sears
I may be a homebody, but if I had it my way, I would be bustin' a move on the dancefloor at least once a week.
Hubby caught me in action:

Mama's having fun.
And in the beginning of the night, I wore this outfit with black tights to avoid the Pretty Woman look, but my friend's tights ripped, so we both ditched them and let loose.
The next day I wore flats and jeans.

Top: Windsor
Headband: Just Lovely Things

This past week has been a whirlwind, but I am happy we got a chance to get away for a bit.
Getting back into a routine is going to be a major bummer.
Hooray for our upcoming Winter Break!
I hope you are all enjoying the end of November.


November 26, 2011

Black Friday Re-Cap

Did any of you venture out last night or this morning for Black Friday?
I did.
And let me just say, next year, I will happily enjoy my food coma on my couch watching old episodes of Friends.

This was not my first Black Friday event.
I love the deals.
This year we didn't get any big-ticket items.
Lots of toys.
We saved a ton, but it didn't come easily.

So this year, Black Friday started on Thursday at 10:00 PM.
I had Hubby take me to Walmart right at 10:00, and we waited outside for about thirty minutes just to enter the store.
We entered and immediately separated in hopes of finding a cart somewhere inside the store.
I found one first.
And the hunt began.
I walked aisles, getting more and more frustrated by the minute.
After I filled my cart with too many toys to count, I walked past a line that was formed throughout the entire length of the store.
I finally made it to the end of the line.

There were hundreds of people ahead of me, and I was in the front of the store- still needing to make it to the back of the store, loop around, and eventually make it all the way to the front of the store again.
Hubby made my time more enjoyable by handing me a stack of magazines.
I probably had as many magazines as I did items in my cart.

After waiting exactly four hours in line, I saw a Walmart employee walking towards me.

She asked me how long I have been waiting, and if I would like to enter a different checkout line.

"A different checkout line? What do you mean? I've been in line for four hours now!"
"We feel badly for our customers, and the line is dangerous for shoppers, so we are now separating this large line into twenty-two small lines."

"So I could have entered the store right now and I wouldn't have to wait in line?"

Immediately after that, the hundreds of people behind me were gone.
I turned around and saw nothing but sale signs.

Which explains why I haven't gotten off of my couch today.

I hope your Black Friday was much more successful and much less stressful than mine!

Happy weekend, friends.

November 20, 2011

These boots were made for walking.

I will be taking a week off from blogging to enjoy a mini Vegas vacation with Mr. Sugar and Dots, and the remainder of the week will be spent with family from all over.
I'm off to finish packing.

List of people whom I wish could see the contents of my suitcase:
1. Everyone.

Oh new Lola boots, how I adore you.

Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!
Lots of goodies coming your way next week!


November 18, 2011


When I was in seventh grade, we spent P.E. in the multi-purpose room on a rainy day.
On this specific rainy day, I was passing notes back and forth to a friend of mine, instead of talking quietly or reading a book (my acceptable options).
She had a new boyfriend, and I told her in a note that I thought he was "so fine".
(Remember when "fine" meant "hot"?)
While writing the note, my P.E. teacher got on the microphone and said my first and last name.
She then asked if what I was writing was school work.
I told her it wasn't, but that I would put it away immediately.
(I had to yell this to speak over the talking kids and have my voice reach her on the stage.)
She told me to hand her whatever it was that I was working so hard on.
I got up, red-faced, and walked to her with the note that expressed my sadness about being single in seventh grade, and the list of "fine boys" at our school.
I was mortified to even hand it to her.
A few seconds later, she was reading my note out loud on the microphone to three P.E. classes.
After reading it, the room was roaring with laughter.
I didn't know what to do after that class.
Everyone came up to me asking if I was okay.
They made fun of the teacher.
They vowed to never write another note for the rest of their junior high career.
I spent the rest of the day holding back tears.
I was embarrassed.
I became the talk of the school for about a week after that.
I don't think that teacher had any idea that her little stunt affected me for the rest of my life.
I am now so cautious of my words.
How they will be used.
Wondering how long my words will matter.

I often use my blog as a way to express my struggles.
This is more of a therapy for myself than anything else.
While standing in line at JoAnn's the other day, I overheard two women talking about a blog.
It was a blog that I had never heard of.
"She posts about her triumphs in home-schooling, but her shop is filled with new products all.the.time! Who watches her kids?! Seriously, some of these bloggers need to get a grip. I should really write a post about that."
They continued to talk.
Why would anyone write a post about another person's lifestyle?
I wanted so badly to speak up, but I didn't.
I continued to stand in line, remembering when I stood in line for lunch in seventh grade and overheard my name for the first time.
I overheard some personal struggles that this blogger went through.
I related to them.
I had come-back after come-back for all of their comments, but I said nothing.
I then wondered how many times other women have stood in line to get fabric cut, and overheard my struggles that I have written about.
Probably never, but the thought crossed my mind.

Are you guilty of gossip?
Sure, everyone reads the headlines of the gossip magazines as they unload their grocery carts.
You may even purchase them and make witty comments to your husband about a celebrity.
Or maybe you gossip with other moms at preschool before you pick up your kids.
It is so easy to do.
I am guilty of it.
Some of it has been harmless.
Some of it has been ruthless.
None of it has been helpful.

Before you write a post or start a conversation, remember the word THINK.
You should always THINK before you speak.
You should to THINK before you post.
THINK before you tweet, update a status, text...

T- Is it true?
H- Is it helpful?
I- Is it inspiring?
N- Is it necessary?
K- Is it kind?

Our children already live in a world where commercials about bullying are the norm.
Bloggers are being made fun of on anti-blogger websites.
Women are being ridiculed by complete strangers in the middle of craft stores.
Join me in taking a stand on gossip.
Even if you only focus on yourself- I hope that you will pay attention to how your words are being remembered.

And to my seventh grade P.E. teacher- you changed my life more than you know.
I hope that no other child felt the shame that you made me feel.
I am so thankful that your actions took place before everyone had cell phones.
And as an adult, I am thankful that you taught me a lesson as a child.
Because of you, I have never written on paper what I didn't want to whole world to know.


Happy Friday, friends.

November 15, 2011

What I Whipped Up Wednesday + Winner Announced!

Hello lovelies!
Have you entered the mega giveaway yet?!
$567 in prizes for ONE person!
I just heard that Laura still needs lovie bears and crochet items, so if you are able to donate at all, please contact her!

Moving on...

The winner of the Sugar and Dots feathery elastic headband (you love how creative I am with names, right?) is:

Congratulations, April!
Please email me to claim your winnings!

Now on to the features...

Last week:

Aimee from It's Overflowing transformed this little table into a kitchen cart. One of my Top 10 favorite link-ups of all time:

Laura Beth from A Step in the Journey transformed her bathroom:

Becca over at From Gardners to Bergers created her own tree stump table:

Anna from Yards and Yards stitched together the most adorable little house ornament:

Susan from Compulsive in Texas put together a vintage crate staircase:

Rachel from The Traveling Spoon whipped up this Pumpkin Crunch Cake:

Thank you to everyone who linked up!
Be sure to grab a featured button off of my left sidebar!

Ready to link-up?

Please be a follower of this blog before you join the party.
You don't have to link-back, add a button, or give me any kind of shout-out... but I do ask that you follow along so that you can see when you've been featured.

As always, remember that you earn 10,000 cool points when you comment on someone else's link.
Have fun!


November 14, 2011

What I Wore- 28th Birthday Edition

Another week of unfashion.
This is the first time I allowed someone else to take my picture.
Hubby got me a Canon 60D for my birthday.
I have wanted a DSLR since my youngest brother got one when he was a teenager.
After having kids, I especially wanted one.
And after blogging...fughetaboutit.
Hubby surprised me.
Definitely the best gift I have ever gotten.

I let him play with it at the beach yesterday.
The perfect birthday in California.
(It rained all day Saturday, and Sunday was gorgeous. God is so good.)

Old Summer dress paired with a black scarf and bare feet.
Headband: Sugar and Dots (Shop re-opening soon!)

I hope your weekend was lovely.

PS. Have you entered the Project Hope Raffle yet? $567 in goodies for ONE person!


November 13, 2011

The Project Hope Raffle is HERE! $567 in Prizes!

It's official.
I'm 28 years old today.
When did that happen?!
To celebrate my birthday this year, I am teaming up with Laura from Splendor.
Like I've mentioned before, I decided on doing this raffle in hopes to raise money for Project Hope.
My goal is to raise $500.00 during the remainder of November.

Want to see all of the amazing items you can win?!




Just think: if you win, you could cross off lots of people from your shopping list!
There are so many great prizes!
That's $567.00 worth of loot!
To enter:

For every dollar donated, you will come back to this post and leave me a comment with the dollar amount you donated and your email address.

(Example: $5 donated would be FIVE SEPARATE COMMENTS that say, "I donated $5.".)

To raise the stakes a bit, I am also going to do this:
For every $10 donated, I will give you a personalized family tree PDF (Saving you $10 if purchased from my shop!).

For every $20 donated, I will give you a personalized family tree PDF and ad space for the remainder of the year.
If you donate $10 or $20, be sure to follow the same guidelines above and leave a comment for every dollar donated.
I will contact you about your print and/or ad space.
You could have twenty chances to win everything above, and automatically win a family tree PDF and ad space for your blog or shop!
*Due to so many shops being involved, and everyone having different shipping rules, this bundle is only available to US residents. However, family tree PDFs and ad space on my blog ($10 or $20 donations) are available worldwide.*
I am so passionate about this cause and can't wait to see what we can do if we team up together!
The giveaway is open on November 13th and the winner will be announced (and emailed) on November 30th.
Spread the word!
Let's give some mommies some peace and comfort with memory boxes.