Friday, December 20, 2013

Making Lately

A snowstorm 2 weeks ago got me on a sewing spree!  I had this minky/flannel blanket to finish up for a friend's baby girl arriving in a few weeks (DEADLINE!) and when we got a few snow days I had the chance to sit down and get it all together.  The satin edging was much more complicated and time consuming than I thought it would be (just gathering the satin edging took me hours) but it turned out so pretty:

It's the softest, cuddliest blanket I've ever sewn; I hope it keeps our friends' new baby girl toasty and warm!

I've also been on an elephant-making quilt lately, courtesy of this tutorial.  It all started when another friend of ours did up her new baby's nursery in elephants, so I made one for their new arrival and the new big brother.  They go together so quickly that lots of friends have gotten these for their little ones!  

Can you believe Christmas is next week?  We're almost done shopping but have a small handful of gifts to pick up still.  Are you ready to go or will you be hitting the stores this weekend?

Aside from that materialist bit, I was looking at our tree last night and feeling so grateful.  Our tree is full of ornaments that were all given to us by someone who loves us, and they're each a ticket to a time and a place I couldn't get to otherwise.  We both have jobs we love, our health, our families, more than we need to eat and a savings account.  We are so fortunate, and I feel this every day.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Privacy, the Internet & Social Media

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving!  The holiday season feels like it's whipping past me this year...Christmas is only 15 days away?!  Is it going by quickly for you all too?  I don't have nearly enough people crossed off my shopping list!

Social media, the internet and privacy have been weighing heavily on my mind lately.  I manage social media for my work (@VisitCape), and doing so has led me to be a more public persona than I had ever imagined. Within a few weeks of starting my job in tourism 2.5 years ago, I had local reporters and business professionals following my Twitter handle just by warrant of where I worked.  It was odd, but part of the job I had been told to expect.

Recently I added on @VisitCape's Twitter bio that @stacydlane (me!) was the voice of the account and let my Twitter go entirely professional.  Now at professional conferences its easy to go by my Twitter handle.

For a while I kept my Facebook private, completely personal and on lock down (or as much as Facebook lets that happen), but I finally gave in to having it be a more professionally oriented social media platform; I did some serious photo scrubbing I probably should have done years ago and started friending Chamber of Commerce members, travel bloggers I'd like to work with eventually and tourism friends.

Thanks to the circles employed by Google+, that platform is easy to keep a good grasp on privacy...I just wish more people were on there, haha!

A month ago or so, I made my Instagram (my personal favorite social media platform and the one I use most heavily) private; last week I went through and blocked every follower I don't know.  Now I know every single person who follows me and I feel very secure about the pictures I choose to post here.

This blog is public, but it isn't something I share on anything but personal platforms.

Gut checks help me with all of this; it feels good and right to let VisitCape followers know who the voice behind the brand is, but I also need a few spaces left private where I can post indiscriminately without worrying about the professional image that provides, privacy concerns, or anything else.  By indiscriminately I mostly mean outfit pictures without taunting, hahaha!

Raising a child in the age of all of this photo and information sharing is intimidating to me.  Ryan and I have talked extensively about how we'll tackle social media with our non-existent, entirely hypothetical children, and we reached an easy agreement that pictures of our child will not make their way onto any public platform; we'll most likely share pictures to Family and Friends circles on Google+ and on my private Instagram account, or via text.  I anticipate our families being supportive of this decision too.  This is what feels right to us (at this child-free point in our lives) and is by no means a sweeping judgement; I think that it's just important to be thoughtful about the pictures you post online.

Gut checks and soul searching all over social media and privacy....I think I see these things in a different light as social media comprises so much of my job, so I'd love to hear your views on this; what do you choose to share, to keep private, and why?

It snowed here last week!  Snow doesn't typically stick around very long:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Huntsville, AL and a Whole Lotta Hashtags!

The week before last I was in Huntsville, Alabama attending the Social Media Symposium on Travel and Tourism, aka #SOMET13US.  It's the 3rd year I've been to this conference and it's so nice to have a group of folks that I know to hang out with.

I road-tripped down with my friend Laura from Kenosha, WI and Alyssa from the outer Chicago suburbs, and we got to Huntsville on Tuesday.  The hotel was super nice (a Westin, I wanted to take up residence in the shower, heaven) and we got to enjoy the evening event for early arrivals, a "Tweet Up Tap Room Takeover" at a local brewery with food provided by two food trucks.  The watermelon wheat beer was incredible and I have a grilled "cheese"cake sandwich-2 slices of buttered poundcake with a slice of cheesecake in between.  It was just as insanely good as it sounds.

The next morning I had a fabulous run with my friend Jessie from Arkansas and then a breakfast to write home about:

Chocolate chip banana pancakes with homemade whipped cream, 2 fried eggs and a cheesy hashbrown casserole.  I didn't eat again until dinner, haha!  Freaking outstanding diner food.  Thank goodness this place doesn't exist where I live, I'd eat there too much!
We also shopped a bit in the outdoor mall attached to the hotel until the conference started at noon.  There were educational sessions all afternoon and then a welcome reception at the Space and Rocket Center!

We ate under the Saturn V rocket and then were set loose to explore.  Here's a peek at Space Camp (which they have for grown-ups, if you missed your chance as a kind like I did):

The Space and Rocket Center had a DaVinci exhibit going on, where they actually built the devices that DaVinci sketched, like his precursor to modern helicopters:

The next day was a full day of educational sessions, then another reception at a very cool outdoor venue that evening.  Friday morning I had a phenomenal run in the workout room, then more educational sessions.  We left around lunchtime and road-tripped back to Cape, where Laura and Alyssa dropped me off and headed on their way north!  Ryan had done all the grocery shopping and had dinner ready, which was a really nice welcome home.  I spent the weekend doing laundry, getting in some good quality time with Ryan and my family and loving on my dogs.  Now I'm working to take all of the knowledge I collected and apply it to the social media I manage at work.

Huntsville seemed like a really fun place, and its only 5.5 hours from Cape...good to know if Ryan and I can ever get away for a weekend trip!

Everything has been pretty low-key since that trip, so nothing exciting to report other than everyday things!  What have you been up to lately?   Have you gone anywhere fun for work?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Homecoming Weekend

Posting about this past weekend on Thursday, AND this is a homecoming weekend post with zero homecoming pictures....oops!

I went a little overboard on Fall this weekend, but I couldn't help it.  The leaves were at their peak, the sky was a bright blue and the air was a crisp 50 with almost no humidity.

Friday night we kicked off the weekend with dinner and drinks out with friends; Ryan had some guy friends in town for Homecoming.

Saturday morning I watched the Homecoming parade and checked in on the newest member of the family, Karma!  My parents 8 year old mini schnauzer has cancer (a tumor was pressing on one of her eyes, which was removed a month or so ago, but we know that her time is limited) and my mom has been having a really hard time with it.  She wanted to bring another dog who needed a home into the family to help with the transition.  Karma showed up on my vet's Facebook feed needing a home; she's 4 and her family had to give her up.  She'd been at the vet for almost a month in need of a new family....she and Mia are getting along SO well!

Holy Fall you guys....

Saturday Ryan and I went to the 1 year anniversary party at our butcher's which was really fun (lots of free samples, and a local winery was there).  We rounded out the day on the couch watching the Cards in the World Series.

Sunday morning I hit the trail with Oscar and Ninja for a run, which we all loved:

Ryan made a big breakfast for everyone (his friends were still here) and I headed out to Trail of Tears State Park for a hike, again with Oscar and Ninja (hike quickly followed by a bath/combing to combat poison ivy and ticks):

I made pancetta+arugula pizza (this crust is so good) for dinner and there was more puppy cuddles on the couch Sunday evening...

It was the first weekend in months that we've had with both of us at home (Ryan didn't have a meet this weekend); it was so nice to kick back and relax.

How was your weekend?  What do you have cooking for this upcoming weekend?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Laura Ingalls Wilder Homesite

I had a conference for work in Springfield, MO earlier this month.  Luckily my co-worker is as much of a history buff as I am Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, so I got to make my 3rd trip to Laura's Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, MO!

For a mere $10, you get a guided tour of Laura and Almanzo's home and you gain access to the museum, where they have Pa's fiddle on display, as well as lots of other family things any fan of the books would recognize (quilts and needlework done by Laura and her sisters, the writing desk where the $100 bill almost got lost on the way to Missouri, and lots more).

You can't take pictures of the inside of the home, but here's an awful shot of the postcard I bought of Laura's kitchen:

The kitchen has always been my favorite part of Laura's home.  It was the original cabin on the property, and Almanzo crafted the entire kitchen to be as handy as possible for Laura, who was under 5 feet tall.  She hated baking bread, so he built a built-in hoosier cabinet flanked by windows to make the chore a little easier.  Sap alert:  I got all gooey because Ryan is SO my "Manly;" he loves to make things easier for me around the house with his woodworking.  Sap now over.

Didn't Laura and Almanzo have a pretty view from their front porch?

I always get a picture in front of the chimney built with rocks collected from around the property (scrunched up face, sun must've been in my eyes):

 A family was there on our tour, and the tour guide asked if anyone was 4"11 while we were in the kitchen to illustrate how perfectly fitted for Laura the kitchen was.  One of the girls in that family was, and the tour guide very sweetly said "Well then you're our Laura today!" and that girl couldn't have grinned any wider.  Even the brother was into it (here's where I don't get on my soapbox about gendered books, my friend Stephanie is reading through them with her 5 year old Jack and I'm hopeful they can be "boy" books too); it made me think about bringing our hypothetical, non-existent kids there someday.  The Little House books are some of my very favorites, and I hope to read them with (hopefully) future little ones someday.

Have you ever visited her home site in Mansfield?

Monday, October 14, 2013

1st Etsy Sale!

Last week I had my first Etsy sale!

Thursday night a very sweet woman sent me a conversation, asking if I could get a certain hanky to her by this Thursday, October 17th.  I did some quick checking on the USPS's website and found that a Priority Mail envelope would get it there in 2 days.  I set up a custom listing to cover the extra shipping, quickly scanned my Pinterest boards for a cute packaging idea (packaging is super important in Etsy world, it seems, and I know I appreciate thoughtful packaging in orders I've placed) and got it all race ready.  I used some butcher paper we had, sewed up a little "bag" and used some silvery baker's twine I had on hand.  I do need some sort of card with my shop's name on it, though...maybe a Moo Card or sticker?  What do you guys think?

Sold:  My Jane Eyre hanky!

She was kind enough to message me letting me know it had come in this weekend, so she'll have it in time for the book-themed bridal shower she's throwing her friend!

With that sale, all future sales will run in the black; that first sale covers listing fees and supplies.  

My phone made a "ca-ching" sound when the sale went through, haha, I LOVED IT!

Needless to say I'm over the moon.  I have a fresh pile of hankies I need to get listed, woohoo!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Disc golf, a jacket and a haircut

Sunday night we played disc golf at my favorite park; my family minus Mary, Ryan and all four dogs.  It was Mia's first big outing since she got her eye and a big chunk of her brain tumor removed.  Seeing her so spunky, so back to herself, so joyful about life was amazing.  I guess she had been feeling poorly for longer than I realized, and as hard of a decision as it was to get her eye out, it seems to have tremendously improved her quality of life.

My mom is the dog whisperer.

Disc Golf.

I saw this at Wal Mart and now my niece is getting a Halloween present.  And it was only $3.25?!

It's cooler in the mornings, finally, though we're still getting up in the upper 70s by afternoon.  I'll use any excuse to wear my new trench coat, I'd been on the hunt for a khaki, short to mid length trench coat for a while:

Also I got my hair cut!  I got about 3 inches cut off and some layers put in on Saturday.  It looks MUCH healthier and put together, versus way too long and awfully scraggly.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Quilt Show

Last weekend the Glenn House, a restored Victorian home that acts as a museum here in town, had a quilt show.  Quilt groups from around the area lend quilts to display.  I work with the lovely folks at the Glenn House through work and they were kind enough to show my MeeMaw's quilt.

This quilt is a treasure.  We lost my MeeMaw to Alzheimer's; she burned her house down leaving coffee on the stove before going out to work in her garden all day, so the fact that it survived is incredible.  She had quite a hand for applique.  

The Glenn House was packed with gorgeous quilts.  I've always loved the Dresden Plate design:

This scrappy design was another favorite:

I'm fortunate enough to have a quilt from both of my Grandma's.  Do you have any family heirlooms?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Ben Affleck is here you guys

He is, that is not a joke.  Ben Affleck is my town filming a movie directed by David Fincher that also stars Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry and Neil Patrick Harris.

Back in February, a location scout visited my office about potential locations for the film adaptation of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  The book is set on a Mississippi River town in Missouri....which I live in.  My boss and I had lunch with the location scout and crossed our fingers that it would work out.

In April another location scout, Steve, showed up.  We'd sit around the conference table with our staff + Steve, and he'd tell us what kind of backdrop they were looking for and we'd map out spots that might work.  We were expecting MAYBE 2 weeks of filming, mostly exterior shots, with the high likelihood that tax credits wouldn't go through or the director would get into town and hate much could've gone wrong.

And to make this long story moderately shorter, they've been filming Gone Girl here in town for about 3 weeks now.  Crew has been here since the spring renovating locations and getting everything set up.  What started out as a handful of exteriors has turned into WAY more shooting than we'd thought we'd get.  Turns out they're filming right about half of Gone Girl right here!

Cape Girardeau will be masquerading as the fictional town of North Carthage, just like in the book:

This is actually a city police car they leased and changed the town name on:

In the book, Nick owns a Bar:

It's been surreal.  Huge lighting rigs are all over downtown, there are signs up in locations lawns to not cut the grass, and it seems like everyone has had a movie star encounter but this girl!  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Overall the economic impact is going to work out to be enormous, and regardless of how Cape is portrayed in the film, the publicity is a gold mine.  Plus it's just been a very unique experience overall.  

Rumor on the street is Ben is super nice, he's been happy to take pictures with all of the excited locals that have fun into him.  TONS of local folks are acting as extras.  I just can't wait to see Cape on the big screen!

Have you read Gone Girl?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Making:  Stuffed elephants for the little one's of friends.
Cooking:  Ryan is making homemade pizza tonight!
Drinking:  The last of my summer beer.  Sad.
Reading:  Brand new stack of books from the library...just started Wither today.
Wanting:  To go hiking this weekend at a local state park with my sister.
Looking:  Out my office window, wondering if it's going to rain.
Playing:  Harry Potter Lego, Years 5-7 on the XBox.
Wasting:  Water.  Our toilet is running in our guest bath and our water bill was HIGH last month.
Sewing:  Elephants, and alphabet letters for a Christmas present.
Wishing:  Fall would arrive in full.
Enjoying:  Banana chips I bought in bulk today at the health food store.  Yum.
Waiting:  For Tuesday.  Our family dog Mia is having surgery and I'm sad for her.
Liking:  A Facebook post on Stephen King at the Boulder Chautauqua talking about Doctor Sleep. WHYYYYYY aren't I THERE?!
Wondering:  How long I should wait after lunch to eat those banana chips.
Loving:  Ryan and the pups.  Life in general.
Hoping:  That I can make it over to my Grandma's tonight.
Marveling:  That Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike are down the street from me today.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, directed by David Fincher, is filming here and it's bizarre.
Needing:  A nap.  Always.
Smelling:  My Lovestruck perfume.
Wearing:  A top I haven't worn in a while, sandals and black skinnies.
Noticing:  How bright my office is right now.
Knowing:  That I am going to be OK
Thinking:  About getting some e-newsletters out this afternoon.
Feeling:  Fulfilled.
Bookmarking:  Best social media campaigns to take notes from.
Opening:  New tabs in Chrome.
Giggling:  Over the Meta Picture.  Love it.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Halloween Hats & Pencil Skirt Over-Wear

When Ninja was discharged from the emergency vet after the awful brush with rat poison, they gave us 60 Vitamin K pills for her to take twice a day until they were gone.  They were horse pills, and Ninja was a champ about taking them.  Yesterday, we finished up the bottle!  I'm thankful every day for her health; she brings me so much joy.

Have you guys checked out my friend Nikki's awesome giveaway yet?  It is not to be missed, and Nikki is a good blog buddy of mine from back in the wedding planning days!

I love my yellow pencil skirt so much, I have to restrict myself to wearing it once a week!  I always save it for days when I really want to feel kick ass about what I'm wearing.  Do you do that, save your power outfits for days when you need them?  I'm wearing it again this Thursday, I have to give a presentation on social media to an area Chamber of Commerce luncheon (gulp).  

On a sad note, our family dog Mia was diagnosed with a brain tumor last week.  Mia is 8, and she's the first dog we ever had; without her I would still think dogs were stinky and dumb.  My parents took her up to St. Louis to a canine ophthalmologist who did an ultrasound and found the mass behind her eye.  Her eye is actually being pushed forward by the tumor so it bulges out a bit.  We had a lot of family discussion (and buckets of tears) and decided to have her eye removed, which will take away current discomfort and give us an idea of what kind of a mass is back there.  Her surgery is scheduled for Oct. 2nd so please send healthy, healing thoughts her way.  

And what's a blog post here without gratuitous pictures of Oscar and Ninja?  I discovered the dog Halloween hat section in Target with my mom and sister last week and we had FUN:

The side eye in this one, you guys:

Ninja honestly thinks I'm punishing her when I put it on, that stinker.  My mom bought Mia a pirate hat...because soon she'll be one-eyed....I love my family and their sense of humor!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


My Etsy shop is open for business!

I wanted to do something that I enjoyed doing, something that got the creative parts of my brain whirling. Something that supported small, local businesses and something that might make me a little bit of pin money some day.

I collected the prettiest vintage hankies from local antique shops I could find and hand-stitched a dozen or so with words that I thought might resonate with someone for their special occasion.  The up-cycled hankies purchased from local stores (that feed into a big sense of community I have here, as I'm buddies with most of the shop owners) are a bit of a throw back with some modern sensibilities as well.

This Tiffany bow hanky is one of my favorites, the bows are really beautifully hand appliqued onto the handkerchief:

HAD to throw some Jane Eyre into the mix!

Fashionable Wife Nikki has lots of Etsy shop experience with her Delightful Designs Shop, and she was kind enough to share her experience with me as I got set up and tested the waters.  I've been following along with Laura of Luckiest in Love since she was wedding planning, and she has had a very successful experience with her Thoughtfully Designed Shop.  I'm grateful to the help and inspiration of both of those girls!

We'll see how it goes!

Do you have an Etsy shop?  Let me know, I'd love to follow you!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Books and Babies

We spent the weekend in St. Charles, packing in lots of lovely visits with old friends and meals with his family plus a first birthday party with the cutest little birthday girl I've ever seen.  That birthday girl brings me to the books...we found ourselves in Barnes & Noble on Sunday while waiting for a table for brunch with my in-laws and decided to pick up a birthday present for Hannah.  We found the sweetest dog book with lots of fun pull tabs and dogs that look like Hannah's furry brother and sister, so we had to get that.  We also got her a Grouchy Ladybug board book, one of Ryan's childhood favorites.  I had WAY too much fun in the kid's section.  Introducing our future, hypothetical little ones to books is something I am most looking forward to about being a parent, so getting to thumb through all the books was a blast.  (They also had the new Harry Potter boxed set where the spines make up Hogwarts, which was fun to see.)  

I got to love on 3 babies this weekend-my niece, our friend Rebekah's sweetheart of a daughter and the birthday girl herself!

I've actually been collecting kids/young adult books for a few years now, picking up old favorites at thrift shops, book sales and garage sales.  We have a whole shelf going:  

Any Mrs. Piggle Wiggle fans?  I just loved her.  I still go back and re-read some of these when I'm in the mood for them.

We also got the chance to see one of Ryan's cousins' art shows.  I'd seen pictures of her work, and being pretty ignorant in the art department, didn't realize what a different experience it would be seeing everything in person.  The pink weights were part of a hot pink/glittered barbell installation, and the crazed Dexter-look-alike body builder was part of a mixed media piece called "Arnold's Fairy GodDad's".  It was great to see Lauren in her element and see the world through her eyes, and lots of Ryan's family was at the opening too.

What were Oscar and Ninja up to while we were out of town?  They were being sewn customized squeaker toys by their Grandma.  Her house is like Doggy Disneyland.  I love that my dogs love my mom so much, and we do not take for granted how generous my mom is to watch them while we're out of town.

How was your weekend?

Friday, September 6, 2013

DIY Face Scrub

Happy Friday!  Being a short week I was hoping this one would go by faster but it has just crept along...anyone else having that happen?

When we visited friends in Colorado in July, Beth mentioned that she used a mixture of ground up oatmeal and baking soda as an all natural face wash/scrub.  I've been using it about 5x/week for the past month or so and I LOVE it.  

The humidity has been over 80% for months now, and when I work out/bike I sweat around my hairline and it makes it hard to keep my skin clear (especially my forehead).  This oatmeal/baking soda scrub has been just what my skin needs right now.

Make up free this morning/no filter in my super cool logo wear for a Chamber of Commerce coffee hour after a month of use 5x/week:

I keep it stored in an upcycled yogurt container.  I eye balled the amounts; I think I pulverized about a cup of oatmeal in my food processor along with another cup of baking soda.  I put about a tablespoon and a half into my hands every night, wet it down and wash/scrub my face like normal, then rinse a couple of times to get it all off.  I'm still using my normal face wash (Cera ve) 2x/week.

Next time I'll process the oatmeal longer, as there are some sizable clumps in here.  The oatmeal has some moisturizing properties and the baking soda exfoliates.  

It's as cheap as it gets, all natural, easy to make/store/use and I always have the ingredients on hand.  All of which make it a keeper on my bathroom sink!  I'm pretty wary of the homemade beauty products I see on Pinterest as I tend to get all excited to make them just to realize that tracking down the ingredients is going to be a pain.  This one fits my lazy ways very nicely.

How do you combat the summer heat/humidity's effects on your skin?