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Thursday, November 2, 2017

This is not a test!!

Guys, guess what.
I'm opening a store.
Yeah, you read right.

Little known fact about me: I've been dreaming of opening a bohemian store for a few years now. Before my kids were born I used to sell ethnic goods and used exotic home decor in a flea market booth. It didn't do well. Not because the stuff wasn't desired but because it wasn't the right place to sell that kind of stuff. The flea market I sold my goods at was mostly frequented by old ladies who mostly just bought ceramic roosters and clothes for their new grandbabies. They were the kind of people who were getting rid of their souvenirs from travels at flea markets so I don't know why I thought they'd want to buy more.

After my kids were born and the renaissance faire was in full swing, I put my dream of having my store on the back burner. I tried to revive it through little online shops, and even had a little booth at the renaissance faire but that didn't come close to what I was wanting to do.

A few weeks ago I made a rare trip to the mall and the idea of opening a kiosk popped into my head. I contacted the manager and it turns it would cost more to open a kiosk than a store and that the only storefront they have available is very affordable and directly across from the new Indian restaurant. It's our first and only Indian restaurant in town so it's getting hella traffic. This shop is in a fantastic location, it's small and will be perfect for me to start with.

I feel very confident about all of this and I feel that this is a very realistic goal to achieve. And I mostly feel really good about it because there is zero competition. There used to be a shop in the mall called Romancing the Stone (Earthbound Trading Company), but that closed last year. People were really bummed out about it including myself. But when Romancing the Stone closed down last year I knew that it was my time to step up - I just didn't know where to start.

Why, yes. Yes I do have some new locs! Cheap and fake, but new!

Remembering people's reaction to Romancing the Stone closing gave me the idea to try to raise money to open my shop through crowdfunding on GoFundMe. I figured if everybody really wanted a Romancing the Stone replacement,  they would be willing to contribute to making it happen.  I'm  taking donations on GoFundMe so that I can start this business completely in the black so that I can start making profit immediately. If you know anything about my personal life then you would know we really need it. 

This isn't just one of Hollie's wacky adventures. I know I'm full of ideas and I chase a lot of of them; but that was mostly me trying to do what I could with what I had to work with while being a stay at home mom. The path to me opening up the store that I've been dreaming of for almost 10 years is extremely clear. My biggest fear is that I'm afraid people aren't going to take me seriously and that I won't get the support that I need to make this happen. Even if I don't have the support, I'll still take out a loan and make this happen. It's got to happen soon before the Christmas season hits so I don't really have a choice but to move and to move fast.

That's my teeny tiny shop up there, 136.

I'm not posting this information to ask for donations, although that would be pretty cool, but if you want to see a sample of my stock and a little bit more about my idea please feel free to visit my GoFundMe page.

Wish me luck!

The inside of the shop, Cedar photobombing.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

I'm still here

Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii. Yeah, it's me. I'm still around doing stuff and more stuff.
So what have I been up to?
Oh, goodness.
Here's how I'll do this. I'm going to put some nonsensical stuff  (in purple italics) and photos in between the serious stuff to kind of lighten things up.

My aunt (mom's mom) passed away from cancer Sunday night. She had some drug and alcohol problems but she was still a pretty cool person and loved me to pieces for being weird. I wasn't that close to her though. The funeral is Saturday and I already have anxiety. I absolutely hate funerals so much. Dead bodies absolutely freak me out. They look gross and dry and the image of them looking like that absolutely sears itself into my brain. I'm sure it's a phobia. When I get close to a body in a casket, I feel absolutely faint. Even if the casket is closed and I barely know who the person is, I get shaky and light headed. And yes, I even get nervous around empty caskets. Not the plain wooden box types, but those huge metal super cushioned satin-lined things. :Shudders: If that's not textbook phobia stuff then I don't know what is!

I'm wearing sandwiches for shoes right now. The mayonnaise between my toes feels amazing.

What else. The house we're "remodeling" STILL isn't done. Not even close. It's been over a year and all that's been done is some deconstruction and paint. It's perfectly unlivable now so there's no way we can just move in and work as we go.

I built a time machine out of corn flakes and I plan to go back in time, introduce Ivan the Terrible to pepperoni pizza, and come back to the present to see how it has affected history.

Let's see, what other depressing crap has been happening... hmmm... 
The private school we were sending River to proved to be entirely too expensive for us so we had to take him out. Husband is incredibly against public school education (it's a loooong and ridiculous story that I don't care to discuss here) so guess who's back homeschooling.

I'm pretty sure the pumpkin patch behind the house has been wiretapped by the CIA.

Home schooling, stay-at-home-momming, and working. Sigh.
A man may work from sun to sun but a woman's work is never done.
I'm finding out how incredibly true this is and it's kind of pissing me off. Juuuust being honest.

Yeah, yeah. yeah. I know what you're thinking. What's with the vehicles in the background all the dang time.
I take photos in front of my vehicle for many reasons:
  • The neighbor's house behind me is unattractive with broken blinds and weird curtains in the windows.
  • Privacy.
  • Covering up the fact I live in a gross trailer park.
  • Poor lighting inside my home.
  • Messy yard.
  • Hideous overgrown vacant lot to my left and more trailers to my right.

Back when me and Paul McCartney were dating, he told me in confidence that he bit a nun because she wouldn't let him have a bite of her lemon meringue pie.

Saturday, September 30, 2017


On Being a Renaissance Faire Performer + $150 Gift Card GIVEAWAY!! Bohemian home decor. Fabricadabra review. Renaissance faire gypsy. Gypsy camp decor, gypsy inspired decor.

Yeah, this post is literally just the HTML copied and pasted from my other blog.
A company, Fabricadabra, sent me some goodies to review and I used the stuff at the faire last weekend so I'm going to use that review post to share a few faire pics with you all.
Get it? Okie dokie.
AND for being awesome, there is a giveaway entry form for a $150 gift card to Fabricadabra....
You gotta live in the US to enter to win. Sorry!!!
On with the show.
More faire pics coming soon!!!

{This post is crawling with affiliate links}

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of being a performer at the 6th Annual Texarkana Renaissance Faire again! Just making sure that you're caught up on all that: I created the Texarkana Renaissance Faire six years ago. Two years ago I realized that I couldn't keep up with the fair anymore. I had just created an online business, I had a blog, a home to manage and two small children. Something had to go! I gave the faire to a friend and faire supporter and who now co-owns it and directs it with another person. The two of them are doing a very good job of continuing the faire for me. Now that I am no longer the owner and director of the fair I am able to do what I've always wanted to do, and that's perform and entertain.

On Being a Renaissance Faire Performer + $150 Gift Card GIVEAWAY!! Bohemian home decor. Fabricadabra review. Renaissance faire gypsy. Gypsy camp decor, gypsy inspired decor.

At the faire, I play a character named Daniella Noir the Gypsy Queen and I am the leader of the gypsy cast members of the faire. As the leader of the Gypsy Camp, my duties includes rounding up dancers and musicians to play gypsies at the faire, decorating the area, coordinating dances and much more. 

The camp consists of many different groups. First there's our musicians, most of whom also play pirates. They come over to visit us from the Pirate's Cove and provide us with live music. When they're not there, we dance and drum along to a hidden stereo or "fairy box" as they're called in the ren faire community.
A have some members of an American Tribal Style Belly Dance troupe from Dallas (Wild Sky Tribal) come down and they have their own dances already choreographed and they also do "follow the leader" style improvisational dances that are absolutely stunning. We have a small crew from Shreveport, LA come down as well; mother and daughter classic belly dancers and a very talented drummer from the the group Gems of Cairo.

The others are local dancers and friends who help me by setting up, drumming, dancing, interacting with patrons and more!

That's a big drum!

Sometimes I dance solo while musicians play and when I get to tired or hot, I trade places with a dancer that is waiting nearby. This year, I tried something new. We did a couple of group dances which are Jewish circle dances, or horas, that we learned on our own from online videos and came together to perform them with very little practice time beforehand! That's us doing the dance in the pic below.

When I'm not dancing I play various percussion instruments including, a darbuka, doumbek, aslatua (gourd shakers), zills and a tambourine. I like to challenge myself to see how many instruments I can play at once since sometimes we're a little shorthanded on musicians. While sitting,  I place a drum under my left arm and keep a simple rhythm with my left hand while playing my shakers with my right. I place a cheap tambourine on the ground and tap it with my foot or use a foot tambourine. It's a great workout!

Renaissance Faire gypsy camp, Texarkana renaissance faire

 My favorite part of heading the gypsy camp is decorating. I get to transform a completely blank area into a vibrant space for the patrons to enjoy. It can be quite difficult to transform a modern fairground into a renaissance themed village, but to me it's quite a fun challenge. 

I like to decorate my area with bright colors and multiple patterns and textures, especially ethnic textiles. I request that my other gypsies dress in the boldest, brightest colors they can find and they do a darn good job of it don't they!

Renaissance Faire gypsies, belly dancers, Texarkana

I decorate the camp with solid colored scarves, scrap fabric and ribbons but my favorite type of material to use is sari fabric from India. I can use the whole length of an old sari to cover modern items that need to be concealed from public view like ice chests and plastic storage bins. I can drape them over the square bales of hay we use as seating to make them more attractive, and also as table cloths and chair covers. The different materials, patterns and colors that saris come in make it so easy to add life to my gypsy camp.

Upcycled sari garland from Fabricadabra

Fabricadabra's amazing sari scrap garlands helped to transform this drab modern pop-up canopy into a luxurious rest area for me and my other dancers. Each garland is a generous 7-feet long, the tassels are 9-inches and they are skillfully handmade in India.

Upcycled sari garland from Fabricadabra

As you can see I use many different items from all over the world to decorate my camp. The character I play travels the world and has picked up a souvenir from everywhere she's been. Even though I order all of my clothing and decor online, it is true that it comes from all over the globe! 

Daniella Noir the Gypsy Queen, Texarkana Renaissance FaireDaniella Noir the Gypsy Queen, Texarkana Renaissance Faire

{Photos above by Scott Johnson Photography}

The maang tika, (jewelry over headscarf), silver necklace and skirt were made in India. My pink vest is from Turkey, the large glass bead necklace and beaded belt are from Afghanistan. The green overskirt, brown leather tankard strap and black leather cincher belt were handmade by local artisans. The bracelets attached to my belt that I give to patrons for free were handmade in Peru and my parasol (which is also from Fabricadabra!) was made in Rajasthan, India!

On Being a Renaissance Faire Performer + $150 Gift Card GIVEAWAY!! Bohemian home decor. Fabricadabra review. Renaissance faire gypsy. Gypsy camp decor, gypsy inspired decor.

Since sunglasses aren't very period appropriate and the sun can heat up all those layers of garb in a heartbeat, parasols are absolutely necessary for faire characters. Now, the cool thing about this particular parasol, is that it adds SO much more color to my costuming and it can also be used as home decor! When I finally get all the faire decor stuff tucked back where it belongs, I will totally display my parasol and upcycled sari garland in my living room until it's time to use them again for next year's faire!

On Being a Renaissance Faire Performer + $150 Gift Card GIVEAWAY!! Bohemian home decor. Fabricadabra review. Renaissance faire gypsy. Gypsy camp decor, gypsy inspired decor.

I've got a special treat for you guys...


Fabricadabra would like to give YOU a $150 gift card to spend in their shop!

Not only does Fabricadabra have amazing parasols and garlands, they have gorgeous ethnic textile throw pillows, bed covering, place mats, floor cushions and more! 

This shop is a bohemian DREAM! 

See the gizmo below to enter to win!
USA entries only!!
Ends 10/20/2017

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

yes way no way

Oh, my goodness!!
Look at what the cat coughed up.

It's me!
Where have I been?
Riiiight here.Yup. Right here inside your PC and/or mobile device eatin' up all your wires and stuff.

These photos are from Sunday after Church. 
Anyone else run to the fridge to grab a beer right after church or is that just me?
For real though, I had a terrible lingering hunger headache after I ate and sometimes beer just does the trick.

I would have still drank the beer sans headache tho. Ain't no shame in my game.

Shawl thingy - Ross Dress for Less $5.99
(Had to sew it together down both sides because  most of the stitching was completely gone and it was being held together on one side with three loose stitches.

Sari Magic Wrap Skirt - one of 6 from a wholesale lot.

Camisole - Old faded worn out $1 Walmart find.

So what did you guyz miss while I was lost in cyberspace?

River started Pre-K.
Yeah, his face says it all.  This was taken the morning of the first day. I don't think he's ever had to wake up at 6AM before and I'm sure the last time I had to wake up that early was to get to my scheduled C-section appointment to deliver Cedar.
So, yeah. We've been pretty tired.

Aaaand Cedar turned 3!

So what have you guys been up to?
Well I guess I'll find out soon when I go blaaaaawg reading.
See you laterz!

Monday, August 14, 2017

the grass IS greener

Don't let the little smile fool ya.
I wish I had something good to say, but these past two weeks have been just awful.
This YEAR has been awful. Probably one of the worst years ever for me.
I don't even know where to start and I don't really feel comfortable going into too much detail on here but I will say that my husband and I are having some "adulting" issues. Not adultery issues.... ADULTING.
You know, the act of being an adult?

Yeah, we're sucking at it.

I've been doing a lot of just sweeping thoughts and emotions under the rug and I'm feeling kind of numb. I know that sounds dangerous but in my case it's actually rather nice.
I love not feeling anything right now. 
I know I'm going to crack and that's ok. I need to.
It'll happen in due time but for now I can say things like, "Look at my pretty dress!" and mean it!

As usual, this dress came from Ross Dress for Less. A little more than I care to pay for a dress at about $12 but I was shopping with gift money from a very special friend. I'm not sure if she'd want her name mentioned but you know who you are!

I've been lusting after this style of dress for ages so when I saw it at Ross I just couldn't resist. It's a 2X is which should be plenty big but for some reason this dress didn't allow for much room in bust. Too lazy to go exchange it for a bigger size I just forced it over the girls and took made sure to breathe very carefully so I didn't bust any seams. 

The details of the dress are quite lovely. It's crinkle rayon(?) with machine embroidery and little tassels. Seriously one of my fave dresses now. 

Sorry for the poopoo phone photos. It was pretty cloudy and had just stopped raining. I didn't want to wrestle with a real camera in those conditions.

Sooo.... how are things with you?
Got into any good arguments lately?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

blow your horn

I'm taking a break from my work to blawg over here for right now. I need to talk. I need adult interaction and sometimes my blog is the only place I can get it. 

**SOBS** It's been a terrible week!!! Kids and poop and pee and disobedience and PMS and housework and bills and cooking and laundry! UUUUUUUGHHHH!!!!
And it's SO HOT outside! The heat and humidity is outrageous!!

It's only getting up to about 90-95F outside which isn't so bad when the humidity is low but that rarely happens here. It's HUMID here. HUUUUUUUUMIIIIIID.

Texas summer hasn't even reached it's peak yet. It gets up to about 102 and even as much as 104  when things get into full swing. Add humidity to those temps and well... you ever been in a sauna?

I went grocery shopping Saturday and I felt like I was about to have a heart attack from just walking to and from my car. No lie. I was sweating buckets, I was light headed and having heart palpitations! 
But wait... is it really THAT hot or have I gotten that fat???

I'm sure it's both.

I've been spending most of my days indoors, only going out to take the trash to the dumpster and let the kids play with the water hose after the house shadow has covered the entire yard.

Enough of my complaining.
I scored this dress at Ross Dress for Less for $9. I love it! I love the way it fits. I got boob room, nothing tugs or pulls and the two slits in the skirt let the breeze in... mmmmm... swoooosh...
It's wonderful! It also came in burnt orange. I'm getting super into bold colors these days but I think I  might go back and get  that one too because this simple dress is stellar.

And here's little Cedar girl in her new-to-us Vietnamese blouse. I found it on and it came with lavender satin pants. I'm not sure if that was the outfit or if the store paired it like that but it wasn't a good match. We went for white leggings instead for church. You probably can't tell in the photos that it's chiffon over satin. Fancy!

Since I'm only taking a break right now, I might not be able to get to blog reading until tomorrow. 
Sooooo I'll see you guys around hopefully sooner than later! Byyyeeee

Monday, July 17, 2017

winning good art and bad steak

I did a something! A cool something!
I won the City of Texarkana's photo contest a couple weeks ago.  I won the "community events" category and Best in Show with this photo below:

The photo is of my friend (and ren faire merchant and supporter) throwing beads in the Mardi Gras parade a couple years ago. The photo isn't the best quality, but I chose it because it features a faire person, Mardi Gras, downtown and a historical building. I guess that's what they were looking for and I won!

I didn't even know there was a real prize. I was quite content to only have my photo featured on the city's website but it turns out the prize was a staycation and free dinner at a local hotel. Woooo!! Me and the husband sent to kids to spend the night with my mom and started the evening at the TRAHC's (Texarkana Regional Arts & Humanities Council)  29th Annual Juried Exhibit Opening Reception for some art and wine.

We arrived fashionably late. Wait. Let me stop there.
Ok, what's the deal with people not dressing up for events anymore?
The public invitation stressed business attire but I guess blue jeans and Hawaiian print shirts are the thing now? Me and the husband have been to a few local events... FORMAL events where people have showed up in work uniforms, jeans and tee shirts. We once attended a formal charity banquet and I was absolutely appalled to see that my husband and I, the volunteers and one doctor were the only one's in formal attire out of about 200 people. One woman's dress was so short, she squatted down to pick something up and I could see all that she wasn't wearing under her dress. I rushed over to her to inform her and she was quite grateful for the warning. Dress appropriately to folks. No one should be able to see your cooter at a formal event.

I brought my camera but totally left the card at home so I had to use my phone to snap pics from the evening.  All of the is from artists in the region.

A middle aged purple haired pianist with an eyebrow piercing? Yes, please!

The hotel lobby ^^
After the reception we picked up booze at the liquor store, got to the hotel, checked in and headed for dinner. It was almost 9pm so the dining area wasn't very busy but there was only one server who was being ran between waiting tables and a room service. It took foreeeeeeever to get our food and drinks, we were starving and the prices were outrageous! 

Luckily dinner came with the contest winnings because we would never ever pay that much for food unless it made us poop diamonds. The food was decent but my salmon was absolutely crusted in salt that had to be scraped off to make it edible and husband's steak was super poor quality. Not worth the price at all. Snobby snob meat talk. Blah, blah, blah.

We got to the room and realized that we were too dang tired for any "special relations" so we sat on the couch and drank and watched cartoons just like we do every single night...
And it was great.
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