Getting my craft on!

Those of you who know me are familiar with my craft obsession–making cards, scrapbooks, unique gifts, etc. I’ve always loved giving handmade gifts and cards more than something I thoughtlessly pick up off a shelf at Target (although I’ve been known to do that in a pinch!). So about a month ago, I purchased a Cricut Expression from my favorite craft store (Crafts Direct, or “The Craft Mecca,” as I call it!) during their Bag Sale…and took my crafting to a whole new level.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Cricut, it’s a machine that creates die cuts of letters, shapes, cards, calendars…basically whatever your little heart desires. It’s basically a crafter’s Dream Machine. So I started making cards…and cards…and cards…to the point that I have to physically pull myself away from my Cricut most nights. I just love the card creation process, from choosing the paper to putting the final rhinestone embellishments on. (I know some of you reading are throwing up your “Nerd Card,” and I’m totally okay with that!)

I created an Etsy store and Facebook page called “Handmade for You” to showcase and sell the cards I’m making. I love personalizing cards for people and can change the color schemes to match the most unique ideas! I hope you will check out my pages and give me feedback–what do you like? What kinds of cards would you like to see on the site? I’m already working on some cool changes based on the advice of some family and friends and I’d love to hear more! Before I get back to my “real job” (which helps pay for my crafting obsession), I wanted to share a couple of my current cards…enjoy!

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#NOH8MN – My Turn

On May 21st, the Minnesota Legislature approved a measure that will put a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage on the ballot in 2012.  That night I joined the #NOH8MN twitter campaign with thousands of Minnesotans–straight and gay–who are gravely concerned with this decision. I’ve heard arguments on both sides of this issue and for me it simply comes down to this:

LOVE

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, love is “a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.” To love and be loved is one of the most natural things in the world. I don’t want to be told who I can love, and I can almost guarantee you the 70 legislators–both Republicans and Democrats–who voted for this amendment would say the same thing. I understand this isn’t a “same-sex love” ban, but denying someone the right to marry who they love sounds just as ridiculous to me. Someone recently asked me why this “whole gay thing” was my problem.

But that’s exactly the point.

It is my problem because while I could marry any man of my choosing, one of my closest male friends from college can’t. It is my problem because I have three amazing nephews and a beautiful niece that deserve to grow up in a world that embraces love, not hate. It is my problem because I give a damn.

If you want to get involved, I encourage you to check out the following resources:

“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illumines it.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Blog Absence

Whoa…it has been a long time since my last post!  I know there are hundreds of people out in the blogosphere waiting with baited breath to read my posts (err…just my Mom, but whatever!) and I apologize for leaving you hanging!  Let’s just say that April is a ridiculous month for admission offices and I’m still trying to catch my breath.

Never fear, my Pay Day Friday donations have continued and I’ll be back with more regular programming now that summer has arrived!

Go Twins!

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Falling in Love

Ten years ago,  I was months away from graduating high school and so excited to head off to college. I had my life planned out–go to college to be a high school choir director, get married after college and start a family shortly after that. Sounds perfect, right?

Fast forward to 2011 and here I am–working in higher education, finished with my Master’s degree, not married and the happiest Super Aunt ever. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better life ten years out of high school, yet it is so drastically different than I imagined. So what happened?

To start with, 9th grade boys helped me decide I didn’t have what it took to be a high school choir director and I fell in love with college so much that I decided I never wanted to leave.  After a long-term relationship in college, I made a conscious decision after graduating from Gustavus that I wanted to take some time for me.  I moved to the far-off land of Morris, where I lived for three years while working at a local college.  Life was simple and I was establishing myself as a young professional.  It was during my last year in Morris that I started realizing how unhappy I was.

Instead of working to live, I was living to work.  I was stressed out, making unhealthy lifestyle choices and feeling pretty low.  I loved the people I worked with, but was unhappy with who I was.

So I made a change.

I moved to St. Cloud in June of 2008 for a new job and I can honestly say the last three years of my life have been transformative.  I have found a job I absolutely love working with people who value my strengths and challenge me to improve on my weaknesses.  For the first time in my short-lived professional life, I have found a healthy work/life balance that has allowed me to reconnect with who I am. 

I’ve totally fallen in love with me.

I’m opening my heart up in new ways and allowing others to love me in return. I am surrounding myself with people who make me laugh but also make me think. I’m living more in the moment and less in the “coulda-shoulda-woulda” world, and I’ve never been happier.  I don’t know where I’ll be ten years from now, but I know there are plenty of beautiful tomorrows to get me there…

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Strong and Independent Woman

Bossy. Loud. Bitchy. Opinionated. Brash.

I’m always amazed when I hear women being described by these words. My immediate thought is: “I should probably get to know her better.”  Why? Because when women are described using these words, it’s usually code for:

Strong and Independent Woman

Most don’t consider it sexy to speak up and have a voice.  But I do. It’s taken a long time (and some dark moments) to get to a point where I am comfortable speaking my mind. But I’m there.

And if I ever stray or feel like I’m not strong enough, all I need to do is take out my favorite poem “Phenomenal Woman“, written by Dr. Maya Angelou. So stand up and be heard, women. We’re worth it.

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

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Do you Tweet?

Among my family and most of my friends, Twitter is still a new phenomenon that is relatively unused. I’ll admit–it wasn’t until I got my first smart phone last spring that I really started using it, but now–4,447 tweets later–I can say I’m addicted. I’ve found it’s pretty hard to explain Twitter to people who don’t use it.

“Isn’t it just like Status Updates on Facebook?”

“I don’t need people to know what I’m doing every second.”

But it’s so much more than that! One day I came across a tweet that explained my relationship with Twitter and Facebook perfectly:

“Twitter makes you love people you’ve never met, while Facebook makes you hate people you’ve known your entire life.”

And it’s so true! I have “met” people (who I affectionately call my “Twitter Friends”) who are some of the most inspiring, passionate and fun people I’ve ever known! And how do I know that? Because of what they tweet.

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know several people from Twitter IRL (which means “In Real Life” for you non-Tweeters–don’t worry, I had to look it up!) and can honestly call them friends. We’ve had “Tweetups,” which is when you schedule a time and place (via Twitter) to meet. And no…we don’t sit around and tweet while at a Tweetup. We meet new people, talk about life, have a couple drinks…and then usually end up tweeting about it later. Sound crazy? Maybe…but I’ve met some pretty sweet people via Twitter.

Take the Polar Plunge for example: next Saturday, I will be jumping into Lake Pleasant outside of St. Cloud with 11 other people as part of Team I am MN Nice. Who else is on my team? People from Twitter. (Here’s the shameless plug: DONATE HERE)

And what is “I am MN Nice?” Funny you should ask…I met @IamMNnice (his real name is Ryan) on Twitter. He runs the website www.iammnnice.com (check it out!) and is in the business of promoting all things Minnesota: products, people, and events just to name a few. He also sells some pretty great t-shirts. Not to mention he’s pretty much amazing. =)

So if you don’t tweet, don’t knock it until you try it. And if you do, follow me at @jhiscock. And until next time…

Paz y amor,

j.

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My Super Bowl Party Recipes

So tomorrow is the big ol’ Super Bowl Party and I’ve been busy getting food and drinks purchased and ready for the game.  So what will I be bringing?

I love the WeightWatchers recipe for Hearty Turkey Chili, so I’ll be making a crockpot of that, which will be served along with saltines and reduced fat shredded cheese. I typically add a can of black beans to the recipe as well, which slightly increases the POINTSPlus value of the chili.

I’m also going to be making JELL-O Football molds in Black and Yellow for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green and Yellow for the Green Bay Packers.  My lovely mom gave me these molds about 4 years ago when I hosted my first Super Bowl party and I’ve been using them every year since!  Making the black might be a little tricky…but with a little mixing hopefully I’ll be able to get it right!

My last food offering is a Spicy Black Bean Salsa that my mom introduced me to…it’s SO good and full of veggies! Again, I modify it a little bit and don’t use black-eyed peas but add an extra can of black beans instead. I love this salsa because it isn’t very “tomato-ey” but is full of flavor! Check it out!

Last–but certainly not least–I needed to get some chilled beverages for our little shin-dig.  I’m a huge beer fan and attended the St. Cloud Craft Beer Expo a couple weekends ago. There I was introduced to Finnegan’s Irish Amber, which is a super tasty beer (and only 144 calories!), but even better is that 100% of their profits are donated to local charities! Talk about a beer with a conscious!  They’ve even donated to one of my Pay Day Friday charities, Admission Possible–how cool is that?  I picked up a couple 6-packs (and had a warm fuzzy feeling doing it!) and look forward to introducing my friends to it tomorrow.  I urge you to check it out–you won’t be disappointed!

I hope you’re having fun getting ready for your own Super Bowl parties (don’t forget to download my Super Bowl BINGO cards!) and have lots of good food and drink to share!  I’ll make sure to share pictures next week of our gathering!

Happy Super Bowl!

Posted in Living Life, Pay Day Friday, Sports | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments