Saturday, December 15, 2012

Weekend Ramblings + Shop Update

Oops!  Missed my Thursday post.  I ended up spending that evening in the ER with a family member who was having some severe pain.  Thankfully, it just turned out to be a muscle sprain/spasm and not something more serious, but we were there until 3AM so a post was just not going to happen.

Friday evening was Doad's work Christmas Cocktail party.  I'm not much of a partyer partier party-er? (see I can't even spell it) but I really enjoy going to this event.  It's fun to have an excuse to get really dressed up and I like getting to know the people that Doad is spending his day with.

I also really enjoy pretending I'm rich and go to fancy, expensive restaurants on the normal - valet parking included.  Doad's company chooses a new restaurant in Baltimore to host the party each year so we have gotten to experience several fun little places thanks to them.  This year was a place called Bond Street Social.  They have amazing lobster fritters.  I want more.  The end.

When we first walked in, I thought the place looked like a very upscale, formal dining type of place.  We were in a back room behind a cool sliding door/wall with our own live music and bar.  Ooh la la :)  The party lasted until about 11 and I thought surely the rest of the place would be empty, I mean who comes out to eat at 11?  ... I'm so not a city person... The rest of the venue had now been turned into a club and was absolutely packed.  As we elbowed our way out the front door, I realized how much of a fuddy duddy I really am.  I love this stuff for about one night once a year, but I could never imagine going out like this every weekend.  It's fun, but exhausting!

So here I am, Saturday evening, JUST getting to my post.  Oopsies!

I had planned to share the newest addition to my Etsy shop.  But better late than never right?  :)  Here it is, my brand new Chocolate Floral Tote.

I hope you like it!  And I hope you click on over and take a closer look :)

Have a great weekend, everyone :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mani Monday: Reppin' My Boys

Well folks, I apologize for the most anticlimactic shop launch ever.  My only excuse for not posting since then is that I have been busy sewing Christmas gifts and new shop items to help plump up my bare little inventory.  I hope to have a shop update for you on Thursday.  I also hope that by saying these things that I will actually post it for you on Thursday.  ;)

So what else is new?  Well... lets see.  Hubby went on another business trip.  This time it was in country.  Good 'ol Kansas for a week.  I still hate it when he leaves, but I must say that my sewing machine was a good companion while he was gone.  I think this sewing thing is turning into a near obsession.  Although, I have completely neglected it all weekend since Doad came home, but what can I say?  I had to catch up on all the cuddles we missed while he was gone!

We also finally decorated our house for Christmas.  We ran out of time before Doad left so Saturday was all about the decorating!  Our tree makes our house smell oh-so-lovely and even Ava likes it.  She has completely rearranged our tree skirt and likes to drink the water from the tree stand haha.

Sunday morning we got all dressed up and took Christmas pictures!  Cute little Ava was a perfect angel and posed so nicely for us.  And isn't my husband just the hunkiest?  :)  I adore him.

I also painted my nails, because along with sewing, it's one of my favorite things to do.  And since we celebrated a wicked awesome win this Sunday (and last Monday!),  I decided to show a little team pride and do a Redskins themed mani.  What do you think?

I apologize for the blurriness - I didn't get a chance to take pics in the daylight and this is the best my lil' ol' camera could do with indoor lighting.  Here's what I used:

Base Color: Keira by Julep
"French Tip": Felicity by Julep (and Hole Punch Reinforcers from Target)
Glitter: Vivien by Julep
Top Coat: Hardwear P.D. Quick Top Coat by Butter London*

Your turn!  Do you have a team inspired mani to show me?   I'd love to see it!  Post a link in the comments and I will be sure to check it out.  :)  Have a good week everybody!  I'll see you Thursday. :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dreamin' Big

One of the reasons I started this blog was to document my journey to achieving some of my big dreams.  Although I don't always voice them out loud, I have big, crazy dreams for the future.  Dreams like having a big family, adopting, taking my big family on a missions trip to another country, homeschooling, owning my own shop, traveling the country, learning Spanish, and taking my parents back to Disney World like I promised them when I was 13.

Well, most of those dreams require a decent chunk of money and time so I am learning to have patience while I dream.  :)  But I am able to work on a couple of them right now.  For instance, Doad bought me the Pimsleur Spanish CD's* for my birthday one year and we are verrrrry slowly working our way through them.  I think we average a lesson a month haha.  But we're doing it together and hopefully one day we can travel back to our honeymoon spot (beautiful Dominican Republic)and put our Spanish to good use! [There I go dreaming again... ;)]

Another dream that I am taking a step to achieving is opening up a shop online!   As you know, I have been sewing quite a bit lately.  Several people have encouraged me to sell some of my products and I've decided to take their advice.  :)  I'm really excited and a little bit nervous.  There is a lot of planning that goes into opening up an online store. And a lot of questions that need to be answered.  Which storefront should I use?  How do I price my products?  What type of branding material do I need to get right away and what can wait?  

I've been working my little tushy off to research and prepare and sew, sew, sew!  I am planning to launch the weekend after Thanksgiving, but wanted to post about it now so that you all can share in the journey.... and maybe also give me some advice?  :) The planner in me is freaking out a little bit at all the unknown's of starting something so new to me.  However, the dreamer in me is so sooooo excited to be doing this.  I know I just need to start small and work really hard and learn as I go.  But I really would appreciate any support, advice, and words of wisdom from those of you who have been there and done that.  Some of my big questions are:

What storefront do you recommend and why?

What are your best organizational tips for running a handmade business?

Do you have any favorite resource sites you'd like to share?

I really can't wait to open up shop and show you all my latest sewing projects.  In fact, I think I might just have to give you a sneak peak now!  Tell me what you think:

Looking forward to posting more about this soon!  And to hearing all your wonderful advice *nudge nudge* ;)  Have a lovely weekend, everybody!

*Affiliate ad

Helloooo, Etsy!

It's here! I finally did it!  After being sick all week, a trip to Massachusetts and back, and dreams about my mile long to-do list every night this week I am proud to announce the grand opening of my shop, Sew So Lovely!

I'm so happy to be reaching for this dream and can't wait to see where it leads.  I have dozens of ideas for new products and am super looking forward to doing some sewing this week so I can bulk up my listings.   I hope you will check out my little shop and tell me what you think.  And just in case you need some convincing...

Click the picture to go take a look!  Happy shopping.  ;)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mani Monday: November Julep Bombshell Box

I sort of got this box by accident this month.  I hadn't decided if I wanted it or not but forgot to skip the month so it ended up on my doorstep.  I couldn't be happier about it.  I LOVE these two shades.  The colors are deep and rich and so, so beautiful.  

These packages always come so adorably wrapped and always have a cute little extra added in.  The extra this month was three of their One Step Polish Remover Pads.  I haven't tried these yet, but they are in my purse, ready to go for the next time I need polish remover on the run.  

The other non-nail polish item in the box was Pink Grapefruit Body Frosting.  Super soft and creamy, this frosting felt wonderful.  My husband hates grapefruit, so I was worried that he wouldn't like the way I smell if I used it.  But I just made him smell it (without telling him the flavor haha!) and he said it smells good!  :)  So I will most definitely be using this as the days get colder to keep myself nice and moisturized.  

And lastly, here are the beautiful nail colors.  

Trina is a beautiful deep purple with just a touch of a pinkish shimmer in it.  
Donna is described as a smokey peacock blue creme.  

I can't even put my finger on why I love these colors so much, I just think they're super pretty.  Maybe it's because blue and purple are some of my favorite colors. Or maybe it's just because the deep, dark tones are so perfect for this season.  Either way, I'm a fan and I'm glad I didn't skip this month.  

If you want to become a Julep maven and gain access to magnificent polishes like these, I would highly recommend it.  You can even get two free nail colors with your first maven box by using the code FREEGIFT.  Happy Monday, friends!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Buying Your Dream Car in 3 Easy Steps

About a month ago, Doad's car finally bit the dust and we suddenly switched gears from house-hunting to car-hunting.  We've both been driving rather old, cheap cars (thank you, Craigslist) but, for a couple of reasons, decided that this time around maybe we should invest in something a little newer and more reliable.  Mainly, we're tired of taking our cars to the mechanic.... #Craigslistfail

Baby fever has also been sniffing around these parts lately, so we thought maybe we would try and find one last "cool" car before we have to trade it in for a so-not-cool minivan.  Enter: Doad's dream car.

Hello, beautiful, white, Scion TC.  Come live with us please and make my husband so, so happy.  :)

The story of how we bought this car is a little bit ridiculous in my eyes, so of course it makes perfect blog post material.  I thought I'd share with you our valuable tips and tricks for getting your very own dream car at a price you can afford.  Love me?  I thought so ;)

Buying Your Dream Car in 3 Easy Steps

Step 1.  Google. 'Nough said.

- Skip the fancy, credible dealerships you already know about.  Go for the dealerships you've never heard of with names like "Cars For Less" or "Good Credit? Get Lost".
- Ignore the ones near your house.  You want it to be at least 50 miles away, preferably in another state.
- Also, make sure you look for these after work hours so that no one is there when you call.  That way you can leave a nice voicemail and wait a couple days to hear back from them.

What We Did:
When the dealer finally called us back, we went to see the car.  It wasn't ready to be purchased for a couple days, but we loved it and told him to give us a call when it was ready and send us the Carfax and it would pretty much be a done deal.  After a week of phone tag and them refusing to send us the Carfax, we found out the car had a salvage title.  Womp, womp!  On to Step 2....


Step 2.  Ok, now go to a "credible" dealership.

- Make sure the guy you're emailing and calling is not the same guy you will see in person.  This helps to ensure that you will be able to tell the same thing to different people multiple times.
- Also, if this sort of stuff overwhelms you, don't bring your significant other with you to help calm you down and talk things out with you.  The dealers like it when you get flustered and confused.
- The best salesmen are the mean, rude ones who imply that you are ignorant and dumb.  They will also probably admit to you that they couldn't make their marriage work even though they have children and they will be dressed in wrinkly clothes with cat hair all over them.

What We Did:
I knew as soon as he walked in that I wasn't going to like this guy.  Just had that feeling, you know?  The cat hair everywhere didn't really help either.  After implying several times that we were dumb, he asked my husband outright if he even worked (are you kidding me?).  This car was about $4,000 over what we wanted to pay anyway.  It wasn't worth that much and we were willing to meet halfway, but he wasn't.  We left and told him to call us back if he decided he wanted to make a deal.  He was not a nice man.  And a horrible salesman.

Step 3. Head home from the "credible" dealership and get a text from your father-in-law about the perfect car at the perfect price.

- When you marry, make sure he has a father who is both a car genius and has a gift for generating the perfect deals out of thin air.
- If you are really into discounts and deals it's important that this is the third step so that you are good and worn out from haggling and you don't really care about getting the "best" deal as long as its a fair deal.
- When you test drive this car and your gut tells you that this is your husband's new car... BUY IT.

What We Did:
At this point, we really knew what we were looking for in a test drive and everything.  It didn't take us long to know that this was a good car at a fair price.  We got the guy to knock off a couple hundred dollars, but really weren't trying to mess around too much.  Also, we went right before Sandy was scheduled to hit our state - I think that helped.  Car dealers and hurricanes don't mix and they were trying to get as many cars off their lot as possible.  Hubby drove the new car home that day and as I followed in our other car, I swear he was practically floating he was so happy.  He also floated a little when the "credible" dealership called him back a few days later to offer him another deal - he took great joy in telling them that he got the exact same car at an even lower price from another dealership.  Booyah!

And that, my friends, is the not-so-perfect way that we landed ourselves a pretty awesome car for an equally nice price.  Obviously, I was feeling quite snarky and sarcastic when I wrote this, and I do not really recommend all these steps when searching for a new car.  But hopefully our adventures will help someone find a car with a little more ease than we did.  And at the very least, I hope it entertained some of you.

We prayed a lot about this the whole time we were looking, and while I do feel like it could have been easier, I also really feel like the Lord led us to the perfect car and that he was with us the whole time.  Stuff never makes sense when you're in the middle of it, but we just kept trusting and God was so faithful.

This reminder came at a perfect time since I have been getting a little stressed about looking for a house.  Buying a house seems so huge and intimidating to me.  "What if we pick the wrong one?"  "What if we hate it, but have to live there forever?"  "What if we love the house, but the location is too far and we miss out on seeing friends and family?"  There are soooo many "what if's".  But after seeing how God provided a car for us, I feel so much more confident in Him and His faithfulness toward us.  I know that even if the process takes longer than we want, that He will eventually lead us to the perfect house.  I just need to keep praying and trusting.

So all in all, buying a car has been a very educational experience for me, both spiritually and street  Haha.  Who knew?

PS.  When I say that baby fever is sniffing around, I DO NOT mean that I have caught the fever yet.  Please do not expect any big announcements until after we find that awesome house that we are praying and trusting for.  :) 

That's all for now!  Later 'gators!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sewing projects #2, 3, & 4! :)

I have been having way too much fun sewing lately and have neglected to take pictures of my projects once they're done.  I finally rounded up the pieces I've made to show off to all of you!

Ta da!!!!

Project #2 was a present for my youngest sister, Jade.  She loves owls almost as much as I do and I was super, super excited to make this tote bag for her birthday.  

Project #3 was also a present.  When my bestie saw the tote bag I made for my sister, she had to have one too.  :)  I decided to make her one for her birthday as well.  She loves Tinkerbell and her favorite color is green.  Don't you just love those green polka dots peeking out from the inside??  They are my favorite part about this bag.  :)

Project #4 was sort of a present to myself. :)  My amazing, sweetheart, husband bought me an iPad for my birthday and I needed a case for it.  Not too shabby, right?  Check out that zipper!  (My first one!)  I love having the pocket for my headphones and charger cord.  And the fabric - super LOVE it!  I want to make a whole closet full of adorable items with this fabric.  Soooo so cute.  :)

*Since drafting this post I have been quite busy sewing up a storm.  I just can't get enough.  :)  Stay tuned for more sewing project posts soon.... and maybe a chance to get your hands on one of these beauties!  :)

Well that's all for now, friends!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mani Monday: Pink and Brown

Like my post title?  :)  

The creative juices are running slowly today!  That's the best I had... sorry.

A while back I got a super awesome deal on some E.L.F. cosmetics products thanks to this lovely little website here.  Awesone = I paid $1 + shipping and that's all!  :)  I got tons of goodies including six nail polishes.  I most definitely did a happy dance when this package came!

I used three of the E.L.F nail polishes on today's manicure along with some gold striping tape.  I'm definitely not an art major or anything of the sort so I wasn't sure how well the pink and brown were working together.  I think adding the gold glitter on top of the pink nails and the gold stripes on the brown helped tie it together a little better.  What do you think?

What I used:

Champagne by E.L.F. Cosmetics
Smoky Brown by E.L.F. Cosmetics
Golden Goddess by E.L.F. Cosmetics
Gold Nail Tape Stripes from Amazon

Linking up:

Happy Monday, everyone!  Wishing you all a wonderful week!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Slowly Slowing Down

So far this week, I have been sticking better to slowing down mentally than I have been slowing down physically.  It has been a full past few days, but I have felt like I actually enjoyed it more and stressed less because I was mindful about slowing my thoughts down and being engaged in the present.  

Normally my mind is whirring and on to the next five things I want or need to do - just ask my husband.  :)  I ALWAYS have a plan for EVERYTHING.  And probably a couple of back-up plans.  And I can get pretty bent out of shape if someone or something messes with that plan without my permission.

I think that part of slowing down for me is letting go of some of that need to control "the plan" all the time.  Instead of being distracted by trying to make sure things go exactly as I planned in my mind, I am learning/trying to engage more in what is actually happening.  I am savoring the "flavor" of the moment instead of rushing through it to get on to the next check point.  

It helped a lot that we had a mini vacation this weekend for Doad's birthday.  We "unplugged" almost completely and spent our time just soaking up the weekend of rest and celebration.  We napped, we read, we walked, and we enjoyed each other's company immensely.  I still found myself planning out our time in my head, but with that vacation mentality it was a lot easier to let go of the need for plans to go exactly as I had mapped it out in my mind and just soak up the fun time that we were having regardless of what we were doing.  

The trick will be if I can keep this mindset in the everyday normal stuff when I have real responsibilities and chores on my check-off list.  I really enjoy the peace that comes with this kind of flexibility and slowness.  I also think I'm more productive when I'm actually focusing on what  I'm doing instead of trying to map out the next couple of hours in my head.  Shocker!  My natural tendency is to try to cram too many activities into one day and I end up disappointed and frustrated when certain things take longer than I allotted for in my plan.   As you can guess, I've often ended up frustrated and disappointed.  :/ 

I'm still figuring out the balance between prioritizing and getting all the day-to-day responsibilities done while minimizing the stress and disappointment of not being... well, super-human, I guess.  It's tricky, that's for sure.  But there's something to this whole slowing down, being mindful and aware thingy.  It's good for my spirit and I'm hoping I can make this a mindset that sticks.

How is the balancing/slowing going for everyone else?  What moments have you "savored" lately?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Time to Slow Down

Well, life has just been speeding on by.  I don't even know where its all speeding off too, but it's easy to get into this "hurry" mentality and let everything happen around you in a blur.  I feel like that's what I've been doing the past few weeks.  And ya know what?

It's time to slow down.

My sister-in-law, Ellie, has been writing some awesome posts about slowing down and they have struck a chord with me.  Despite my lack of online presence here lately, I'm usually always "plugged in" in some way or another.  My phone and iPad come with me just about everywhere I go and if I'm not texting or facebooking on them, then I am probably on a computer working, chatting, or emailing away.  I love my tech gadgets.  But I think it's getting to be too much.  I'm feeling a little out of balance.

So this week, I'm really trying to be mindful of slowing down.  I'm gonna unplug a little bit.  I'm gonna make my bed ;)  And I'm gonna try to savor the moments and silence instead of rushing through them.

How about you?  What are your tricks to balancing fast-paced responsibilities with a slower, more mindful lifestyle?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Playing Catch Up

I know, I know, I have been neglecting the blog again... :(  I'd blame it on busyness, but the whole world is busy.  Honestly, I just haven't made it a priority - that, and it seriously bugs me to have tons of unread posts in my Google Reader, so I've been trying to catch up on those in my free time instead of writing my own posts.  I'm thinking I may be following too many blogs to keep up with this pace.  Anyway... back to the point of this post.  Here is what I've been up to lately:

After recuperating from our adventure in New York,  we rescheduled our Woo family birthday celebration.  Complete with burgers, presents, and Eclair cake, Jadie and I felt very celebrated and loved.  I love just getting to hang out with my family like that.  We played with my new iPad and laughed til we cried over hilarious Ellen Degeneres' YouTube videos.  I also got to give Jadie the present I've been working on - Sewing Project #2!  I was so excited to finally give it to her.  :) I hope she loved it.

That weekend, Doad and I headed to Vermont for another family adventure.  We stayed at a quaint little Bed & Breakfast and enjoyed a Smith family reunion at our fun out-of-town wedding.

The next week was quite full as well.  On Tuesday we met with our buyer's agent for the first time.  So exciting!  :)  She was so awesome and answered all our questions.  Then she gave us some homework to do until we meet with her agan to go look at some houses.  I can't wait!

Thursday night, my  mom, sister, and I went wedding dress shopping with Lauren and her other bridesmaids.  Talk about a girls night!  There were about ten of us there and it was so fun and special to be there to help her find her perfect dress.  It is beautiful and fits her style so perfectly.

Our weekend was just as busy.  We spent Friday night celebrating with Joel and Lauren at their engagement party.  Then I got up bright and early on Saturday to do hair for a wedding.  Four hours, five updos, and 10,000 bobby pins later I headed back home to get myself cleaned up for my own Smith family birthday bash.  :) We broke out our cornhole boards (finally!), pulled out our Dominican rum (did anyone even drink it??), fired up our tiny, baby grill, and had a blast! 

The Cuteness was there in his finest, cuteness form.  He enjoyed watching our fishies swim in their tank, taking one bite of every chip in the bowl and then handing it off to grandma, and petting the "hop hop" (our bunny, Ava) ever so gently.  He also played a duet with me on our piano.  Couldn't you just eat him up?? 

The family also surprised me with a brand new sewing machine!  I had told Doad that I would like to find an old $10 one on Craigslist so that I wouldn't have to pack everything up and monopolize mom's kitchen everytime I wanted to sew.  Imagine my surprise to open up this little gem! It is amazing and SOOOO much nicer than the ones I was looking at.  I love it!  I have been sewing away already and can't wait for my next post to show you all my sewing projects that I've been working on.  I feel super spoiled and blessed with such a generous, thoughtful family.  :)  Thank you, thank you, thank you, family!!! :)

So that's what I've been up to lately.  It's been a pretty full couple of weeks if I do say so myself.  And this weekend is no different.  We are off to Ohio tonight for another out-of-town wedding!  (Hopefully I will take more pictures this time! )

 I hope you all have been enjoying the end of your summer days.  I gotta say I'm looking forward to boots and scarves and pretty fall leaves.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Time I Got Stranded in New York

Another overdue post.  *sigh*  I'm just having too many adventures to keep up with lately.  So let's dive right in, shall we?  ;)

A couple of weekends ago, my brother, Joel, asked Doad and I if we would go on a special trip with him and his girlfriend, Lauren.  They wanted to spend the day in NYC (and Joel wanted to propose!) so we decided to go with them (and help Joel out).  ;)

We got up early on a Saturday morning and were on the road by 8AM.  There was even a beautiful rainbow wishing us well as we started off.  I think we got to the city around noon after searching for parking and all that fun stuff.  

We spent the afternoon shopping (LOVED this shirt!), 

eating delicious pizza, 

and wandering ALL over (from Central Park to Macy's and back - don't ask me WHY we didn't take the Subway, I still have no idea).  

One of the things Joel really wanted to do was get some cool night shots of the cityscape once it got dark.  (This is where he wanted to propose too.)  Obviously, you can't be IN the city if you're trying to take pictures of the city.  Joel didn't really know where to go so I tried to find out some of the best places to get these shots and most of them suggested that you go across the Brooklyn Bridge where there was this park.  

So we went back to the parking garage to pick up Joel's car and drive across the bridge.  We found a parking spot on the street, fed the meter, and raced off to get some awesome pictures before our hour was up on the meter.  This turned out to be a way longer/complicated process than we planned.  It involved a lot of hiking, Doad racing to refill our meter before we got towed, and lots of stalling til Joel could find the perfect spot to propose. 

Proposals are hard work!

Thankfully, we finally got it right, he popped the question, and she said "yes"!  :)  

All was happy and right with the world.  And as we scurried to get back to the car before the meter ran out again, all I could think of was how nice it will be to crash into bed in a few hours after all the walking and running around we did today.  

And this is where the story really begins....

It is now 10:00PM in the jolly little city of Brooklyn... and our car won't start.  Won't even make a noise.  Nothing.  


So Joel calls home to try to get dad's AAA information and see if we can get some help.  Keep in mind that we have been roaming the city all day, texting and instagram-ing, so our phones are all on low battery or dead.  Meanwhile, Doad and I are praying that some nice person will stop and give us a jump.  And poor Lauren is just dying to call and tell her family the biggest news ever... and also to let them know we're stuck in New York.  Some seriously nice man stops and offers to help us jump the car.  We hook up the cables, charge it for a second, and then turn the key.  Still nothing.  :(

So now Joel is calling AAA and telling them we think it's the alternator, blah blah blah.  They tell us they're sending someone out and he will check the battery for us and if it won't start they'll tow it for us.  Ok, yay... 

An hour and a half later (a little after midnight), AAA dude comes driving along - not in a tow truck, but in a van.  A van!  Where is the tow truck??  Well, apparently all the tow truck drivers have gone home for the night...  So he checks the battery, tells us it's dead (um, duh!), and charges it up for us.  The car starts on the first try.  And then as soon as he unhooks the cables, it goes out like a light.  :(  He then proceeds to tell us that we've got a bad alternator (thank you, that's what we told you on the phone!)  

No tow trucks will be able to help us for another 2-3 hours.  Well, we are not about to hang out on the streets of Brooklyn for another 3 hours.  So we decide to leave the car there (thanking God that they don't tow cars in that area on Sundays) and walk to a hotel... 1.5 miles away.  Again, what were we thinking not taking the Subway!?!?  

We stop for a quick bit at a McDonald's since the last thing we ate was the pizza at noon and then we finally find a hotel with vacancies around 2AM.  

Four hours later, we wake up so Joel can call AAA again and ask for a tow and try to figure out where he can get serviced on a Sunday.  They tell him to wait until 9 when sears opens and see if they can fix it.  (Secretly, I'm hoping they can't so we can just rent a car and get home and worry about the car later, like after sleep and fresh clothes and real food - I know, I'm a horrible sister).  

But as luck would have it, they can fix it and they promise to do it in a two hour time frame.  Pardon my french, but Sears is full of $#!*.  

We waited there for four hours before they even started working on our car.  
Lauren finally broke down and started crying which got the manager to come out... He then proceeded to tell us that it was our fault the car hadn't been worked on yet because we should have come to him hours ago... excuse me?  And told you what exactly?  That you lied to us?  That you need to fire some people in your shop for taking a three hour lunch break?  That you should do your job and manage your employees?  

I'm so glad he didn't stick around 'cause I definitely had some words for him that would have gotten me in trouble.  :/  Fifteen minutes later the car was ready to go.  So pissed and so happy all at the same time.  Happy that it was ready and we could finally get out of there.  Pissed that we could have seriously been home already if he had done that when we first got there. 

So we left New York around 4:30PM.  What should have taken us 3-4 hours MAX to get home turned into 6 hours thanks to the rush-hour/weekend traffic we hit.  I blame the mechanics for that - I think they timed it that way on purpose.  I also blame them for making me miss my own birthday party with my family.  :(  And for missing the closing ceremonies of the Olympics.  And for global warming.  JK, but they made me mad.

Doad and I came back smelling like cavemen, and needing another weekend all over again, haha. But, I'd venture to say it was a successful trip for Joel and that's what matters.  He came back with a fiancee and a new alternator and battery for his car...sorta  (It died on him a few days later and he had to replace again - have I mentioned that I don't like Sears?)  But we are ever so happy for Joel and Lauren and can't wait to see what the future holds in store for them.  Love you two!!