On the Front Burner

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

On the back burner is seemingly how things work for the modern gal, this one in particular.  Lots of lists and dates to make.  Projects, trips, tasks, etc. are all of equal importance but not extremely urgent.  How much can a back burner be expected to handle?  The last time I looked at my stove I only had two, and as I've come to grips with the acceptance I need blinders in order to make me focus, two might be one too many at this time.  Let's pay some attention to my front burner then.

When I think about the things I would like to put on my front burner, I recall the other pots I have simmering on the back burner that may have already boiled over.  Wait, did I lose the window for dealing with my tax extension?  No.  Do I have the bandwidth to plan another trip abroad?  I wish I did.  Is this finally the weekend when we will see that Mary Blair exhibit?  Will I set aside a full weekend, or just hours each day weeding out my wardrobe for donations?  Do I absolutely have to see four separate people for four separate dinners that I unfortunately don't have time for?  Is there a way to do this one recurring monthly task more efficiently?  Will I ever sit down and finish that book?  Wait, where did I put that book?  Am I going to build up a library of blog posts yet or what?  What ever happened to the editorial calendar I aimed to complete by mid August for the fall?  Where should we host that celebratory dinner?  Will we go with the other idea to do a divey bar party instead?  Are we going to have one of those pivotal husband and wife talks tonight?  I admit that there are pots that are hot and ready to consume, those that need the lid kept on them in back, and miscellaneous dishes that should be taken off of the stove all together.  Not everything needs to be warmed up just yet.  

I have had many condolences to send out on the back burner and am now writing them in tandem with other greetings because I didn't know what to prioritize.  I don't stop myself from writing the sad letters just because they are harder ... you may agree that those are more urgent.  I forgot that I know how much they mean to the recipient. Don't wait for three months, I tell myself.  Saying very little in the simplest manner is better than saying nothing to people in grief, so up to the front they went.  Sending out other thank you, congratulatory, just thinking of you and birthday greetings, like condolence mail, are a show of support, love, grace, humor and sincerity.  Those things will always have a space on my front burner.

Ratatouille keeps careful watch of his front burner on high.  c/o Bing Images.  

I would like to look at my stove and be happy about what's cooking.  Like perfectly timed Thanksgiving meal preparations, I know when I focus on those front burners my pots can produce some savory items that will compliment and not overpower what's cooking in back.  In fact, eliminating too many ingredients and small saucepans from the front burner has helped me narrow my intent which is turning things around for me.  I am starting to see what deserves to be where and how not to go crazy from all of it.  

I am coming to grips with understanding that I can still do everything I want to in all aspects of my life, but just not as quickly as an effective multitasker can.  I am not an effective nor an efficient multitasker.  Hi, my name is @blogger_bp and I am an inefficient multitasker.  I can really only do one thing at a time while wearing blinders to shield me from what is just in the wings.  It's not a bold declaration, but it's a true one.

So here I stand, in front of my front burner and seeing that what is on it is what is most important to keeping me where I would like to be at this moment in time, and will continue to help me stay on track and not give up on my plans one pot at a time.

What's on YOUR front burner?

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Sweet Treats

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

One cannot hold an affair, big or small, without giving your guests something extra to smile about.  The idea behind #happymailhappyhour was as much about supporting card creators as it was about getting together to promote the practice of sending crafty snail mail.  Receiving a well thought out and decorated card from a friend is as touching and rare as receiving a box of surprise donuts.  For paper freaks like me, good stationery is just as sweet. 

Each #happymailhappyhour guest received a generous variation of these items from participating businesses.  Guests were provided enough swag to keep on writing or to pay it forward!  Share share share!!!!

Yes, I must admit these are a bit 'Ho Ho Ho'  It's funny what one thinks of at 11:00 pm when rewrapping boxes the night before a party.

I packaged the contents for each box using USPS flat rate boxes, bright blue string and little red and white paper tags in keeping with the mail theme, but at 11pm they suddenly went from 'Yeah' to 'Meh',   Enter my green chevron paper to the rescue!   

I had the opportunity to coordinate this fun filled paper party with the support of some incredible friends.  Click on the links below to see for yourself what I believe makes these products and people  behind them so special.  I am extremely grateful to have been able to engage in some mutual support here!  

Raffle prizes:  Perpetual Parisian inspired calendar carried by Union Street Papery and beautiful Ferme à Papier cards designed by Cat Seto elicited the expected oohs and aaahs. 

T-we Tea based cocktails that I affectionately named 'Happy' and 'Hammered'.  Mix up the ingredients and you'll know why.

Two types of deviled eggs (1. lobster; 2. pimento & jamon) next to letterpressed coasters designed by Mo Seder carried exclusively at the Union Street Papery and a 'Happy' cocktail with cards.   Photos by @_lovelyletters_

I grabbed the opportunity to have my dear friend and blog buddy, Brittany of Kitchenette prepare the gluten free and dairy free (except for the polvoron I brought back from Manila) menu.  When we get together for happy hour, we certainly like to toss back a few, but even moreso, we want the accompanying bar chow to be just as tempting.  How could I NOT ask her to cater the party?  She knocked our socks off, I tell you!  When it came to the drinks, Christopher and Kier at T-We Tea thoughtfully provided the fresh tea leaves for their two cocktail suggestions.  I took the liberty of naming the concoctions Happy and Hammered because frankly... well... 

Cocorosa with a lovely prosecco was light and refreshing, very HAPPY, if you ask us.  Maybe it was because we used about 90% of a bottle of Bombay Sapphire with their Guurl Grey base that after about two servings I was happily HAMMERED.  I stuck to drinking water after that.  Delicious though.  You must try them.  What, you haven't heard of doing tea based cocktails yet?  Get. On. It.  When you serve them, make sure to do so on proper coasters!  I particularly loved the letterpressed coasters from the Union Street Papery because they were designed by the fabulous Mo Seder, who designed the motif and calligraphy for our wedding stationery suite as well hand addressed each of our envelopes (is there any other way?).  It was a hoot to see guests picking up their coasters and slipping them directly into their journals or purses for fear of getting them wet.  True paper aficionados.   

White bean, rosemary, and fennel crostini, assorted Filipino polvoron, and Brittany's Nuts Over Nuts (my name for these bad boys)  

Jamaroo Kids Studio, our host venue, included a gift certificate for two complimentary classes.  To whom will I give mine? 

Of course JamaRoo's generosity went beyond hosting us at their great studio, but my gal, Jamaica Stevens even provided each Happy Mail Box with a gift certificate for two free classes.  If not for a child of one's own, why not give the gift certificate to someone who can actually use it?  Hmm.... still deciding to whom I will give mine.  A portion of each attendees #happymailhappyhour ticket sale went to supporting JamaRoo's Kickstarter Project providing free dance enrichment classes to six underserved Bay Area schools.  I am ecstatic to say that I found out tonight that their goal was reached!  Time for another party?  Always.  

So that is my recap of our #happymailhappyhour Sweet Treats.  It would be paper perfect to share some of this with you too, whether you live near or far but within the United States please.   Tell me in the comments below who you would have written a card to if you were at the party, and which of the participating stationery suppliers you favor.  I will randomly pick a winner from my blog comments this weekend and will announce the victorious one on Monday morning, what do you think?  For an extra entry, tweet your answer too, tag me, (@blogger_bp) and share this post on Twitter.  You could say it may be a Sweet Treat for your Sweet Tweet.  

Happy Hump Day to you!  And Happy Mail Day very soon, I hope!

UPDATE:  8/25/2014
Congratulations to Laura (LMSVirgina) for winning her very own #happymailhappyhour box of sweet treats!  Thank you to everyone else for engaging on the blog and I hope you all subscribe to the newsletter for more exclusive surprises coming during the festive fall season!!  

Get Happy - A Snail Mail Social

Monday, August 18, 2014

What a fun time I had last Thursday hosting my very first #HappyMailHappyHour.  My Pinterest addiction for cute packages and kawaii paper products borders on slightly obsessive.  "Post more!  Share more!  I want to see more cute pictures of happy mail!"  I shout to the computer screen late at night when I cannot sleep.  So here I am sharing with you the fun evening held at JamaRoo Kids Studio in Lower Pacific Heights for a small group of paper addicts and card collectors.  The studio space is still bright and cheery after hours, perfect for gathering a gaggle of gals or bevy of bloggers before the weekend begins!  

Photos by @BeachCrabPhotography and @_lovelyletters_

A love of stationery means a love of playing with gorgeous cards pressed, painted, and printed by a variety of makers, made even more personal with our own special touches.  Seeing how each guest personalized her mail for mom, sister, friends, and her beau was enough to make anyone remember how precious a piece of mail can be.  Why not send a letter today or stick a note in somebody's pocket and add a bit of extra pizzaz?  Particular encouragement and inspiration for this party came from Egg Press and Hello Lucky's joint venture #write_on.  Learn more about it here.
Heads down and concentrate!  Moments of silence between all of the laughter and chatter- writing is the focus.  

Egg Press/ Hello Lucky #write_on cards, Julie Ann Art cracking us up, RockScissorPaper keeping it sweet and sunny.  Photos by @BeachCrabPhotography and @_lovelyletters_
Our group of lovely ladies played with an assortment of cards by my friends at Rock Scissor PaperJulie Ann ArtPennie PostMint Chip Inkb-spiredInk and Smog EditionsEgg Press and Hello Lucky.  We washi-taped, stamped, drew, strung, and stuck to our hearts' content with a collection of colored pens and paper pieces (origami hearts, tags, stickers, baby envelopes, etc.) taking it from regular mail to Happy Mail!  Thank you to Beach Crab Photography for the photos as well as to my great guests for sharing their positive energy and pictures.    

It's not just about the mail at this event, it's about the company too.  Attentive listeners having T-we Tea cocktails!
Assorted cards.  Awesome in attendance: Pooja Dang and venue hostess Jamaica Stevens with moi.  Photos c/o @MontgomeryFest, @reginaelaine_ (here with her creations) and @BeachCrabPhotography

What I enjoyed most about this event was seeing how much fun each guest had due to the warmth of the environment and the chemistry of the ladies.  Everyone wrote at least three notes or cards for loved ones and that makes it a happy mail day for me knowing somebody's mailbox will have something extra special in it this week because of this party!  Hooray hooray!  Granted, I did not get to sit long enough to make anything of my own, but I will get cracking later in the week before I hit Create + Cultivate in L.A. this weekend. 

In my next post I will show you what delectable treats we had during this happy hour and the goodies each participant brought home.  A lucky reader here on my blog may even win a Happy Mail Happy Hour box of his/ her own.  Let's see each other then, shall we?  

Happy Mail Happy Hour

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Origami hearts to brighten up any mailbox or craft table.

One of the nicest things about being a blogger is that when I think about a fun event, there is not only nothing stopping me from just doing it, but I feel slightly obliged to see the idea through.  Do it for me, do it for friends, do it for our community. After sending letters to friends and crafting little happy mail packages of cards, funny stickers, and cute inserts to far away family or to the children of my pals, I thought it would be a lot of fun to host an off line event for my IG community and blog family who share my obsession with stationery and love of all things snail mail.  Being a personal narrative blogger does not mean that all I do is sit and ponder.  I also am pretty engaged in my life, and often like to make things happen rather than wait for them to come about.  How many times have I attended a little paper crafting workshop and thought, I would love to host one of these!  How often have I thought whether anyone out there can somehow relate with what I have to say and decided to write about it?  How often have I discussed girlie concerns like skin and makeup and trading tips with friends?  Why not take an opportunity to host a little shindig for that?  How many other people like me would love to sit around and look at cool cards while talking about their own stationery addictions while sipping cocktails and nibbling over happy hour?    Why not just plan one?  In walked my   #happymailhappyhour concept (use the hashtag on twitter and IG to see what's up!) and now another idea is turning into a bit of an awesome reality!

A delivery of cards from one of my favorite foul mouthed stationers, Julie Ann Art

Not only do I know that there are friends out there who love cards and the art of the personal greeting, every stationery company out there wants us to get writing too.  This snail mail social idea has received such a genuine and enthusiastic interest and would love to have you tag along by checking out the fun on Instagram (@blogger_bp), or revisiting my blog on Friday!  Okay, maybe Saturday... let's be realistic here...  

Better yet, how about you come join me on Thursday, August 14?  Write some mail, meet new friends, check out some beautiful cards and share some of your personal stash for a swap with other card loving guests!  Oh, and yes, there will be T-We Tea cocktails, a killer box of Happy Mail for you to take home, and some rather yummy bites catered by my gal, Brittany of Kitchenette, Click below to get all of the event and ticket information, but you better act fast.... very fast!   

See you Thursday!!!

A sampling of the amazing stationery goodies guests will go home with.  Get your ticket!

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