Posted in review

Paint & Sip: Shamrock Pints with Painted by the Shore

When you live in New England and it reaches 70 in February, you know it’s going to snow in March! And when the forecast for the morning is for about a foot of snow, the best way to ignore winter is coming back is to get out and try another class!! This time I broke away from wooden projects to try a Paint & Sip class with Painted by the Shore. This was not your typical paint and sip class where you’re in an art studio painting a canvas, we were back in the Mason Jar to paint pint glasses 🎨 +🍻!

With St. Patrick’s Day on the horizon, we were painting shamrocks on pint glasses (which we will clearly use year round at our house). Kristina from Painted by the Shore had the tables set up when we arrived; each of us got a table, 2 pint glasses, 2 paint brushes (an 8 flat and 3 small pointy), Kristina’s business card and a card with directions on what to do with our glasses when we got home and a clover wine glass tag. As we were arriving and sitting down, we each got a plate with Martha Stewart acrylic glass paint (dark green, bright green and a shimmery gold). There were also water cups scattered around and we each got a raffle slip to win the glasses Kristina painted during the class.

Once we were all settled, it was time to begin. We started with the only easy step – putting four dots on the glass, each about 3″ up from the bottom at 12, 3, 6, and 9 around the glass. Then we put more dots between those, one in the middle above and one in the middle below, making diamonds with dots at the corners using the bright green. Then we took our flat brush, dipped it in both greens (one corner in each) and made a shamrock over each dot, using the dot as the middle – a shamrock isn’t that hard, it’s just 3 hearts and a stem, but we only did the leaves this time. After we had our shamrocks on each glass, we added gold dots around the shamrocks, but not where a stem would be. I decided to break out and add bright green dots too! Then we took the small brush and went over the shamrocks to touch them up and make them not transparent. We also added stems at this time. Then we had the option to add some gold on top of one or two, of all, shamrocks. Some people had one four leaf clover on the glass and did that one with the gold. The shamrocks could be large, or small like I did. Really, you didn’t even have to do shamrocks if you really didn’t want to…

We did have some homework after class, we had to bake the glasses to set the paint (but Kristina sent us home with the directions on our cards so we wouldn’t forget!) At the end of class, Court had the store open for us to shop, which I did (yes, I know I shopped three days ago too)! Kristina does more than just pint glasses, she’s got a paint and sip class at the Mason Jar often – something I’ll be sure to be back for, and I recommend that everyone else try too!

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Posted in review

DIY String Art by Crafty Creations

2017 was a rough year. 2016 wasn’t all that better. I am determined to make 2018 a good year. My resolution for this year was to be better. Be a better me, Be better to the people in my life. Eat better. Do better at trying to be healthy. I want to spend 2018 getting ready for the rest of my life – get my MBA, get into a good habit with making healthy food, organize the house and learn new things. With that, specifically with the last part, I have signed up for a number of classes to try new things (remember when I tried calligraphy last year and now I use it all the time) – the first was the {Creative Pallet} class with 2nd Chance Restoration, and tonight was #2, a DIY String Art Class with Crafty Creations held at one of my favorite local stores, The Mason Jar.

I need to mention that I’m super glad that I follow @themasonjarmonroe on Instagram since they sent out their email for the class registration, and then they quickly posted on social media that the class was almost sold out, so I hit their website up to register (which was pretty easy). After registration was complete, we were asked to fill out a Google Doc to decide what we wanted to make based on the choices available – we picked a brown or grey board, a letter or the state of Connecticut, and then what word we wanted below the string art. I picked a brown board to make Connecticut with the name Connecticut underneath. Courtney (the owner of The Mason Jar) opened up the shop a little early tonight to allow us to shop, which of course I did! While we were shopping/browsing the store, Josey from Crafty Creations CT was setting up and boy did she set up quick. Josey and her sister set up each spot with a hammer, nails, scissors, tape, marker, pliers and tweezers. Once we all sat down, Josey gave each of us our board (which she already cut, sanded and stained for us), print outs of the shapes we would be making and a vinyl sticker for the word on the sign we were making.

Once everyone was there and we had our materials, we began by placing our letter or state on the board. I decided to put the state of CT above the name Connecticut on the board, so I positioned my cutout of Connecticut where I wanted it and I secured it in place with a couple pieces of scotch tape. Then starting by nailing our 1″ nails into the corners of the state, each nail went into the board about 1/4″, we needed to be sure that we didn’t go through the back of the board and that each nail was in far enough so that adding the string wouldn’t make them fall out (if the nail wasn’t straight, that was OK because we could use the pliers to straighten them out). Then we continued to add nails around the rest of the border, about 1/2″ apart from each other. After the border was done, we untaped the paper and then pulled the paper off the board – if there were any pieces of the paper stuck around the bottom of the nail, we used a tweezer to remove it. Then we added a heart inside the state, approximately where Monroe is located – we followed all the same steps, tape it down, add nails, then pull the paper off.

After we had all the nails on the board and the paper was removed, we picked a color string to use. Since Tom and I have the same favorite color, I picked green. Starting in a corner, we took the end of the string and tied a double knot around the nail, leaving a bit of excess hanging off. Then taking the string, we were able to go from nail to nail, looping the string around a nail and going across the board in no particular order. The only rules about the string were to make sure you stayed inside the shape (sounds obvious, but you needed to be sure that anything like that little notch at the top of the state stayed a notch) and with the heart, we didn’t go inside it since we would do that in a different color. Once we were content with the string coverage inside the shape, you made your way back to the nail you started with and then went from nail to nail making a border going around each nail in order, then once we got all the way around on the outside, we doubled back making the border outline on the inside of the same nails. When we again reached the first nail we started with, we tied the string to the end that was already hanging off from when we started. Then we put a small dot of super glue on the nail next to the one we started on and pulled the string there, holding it in place until it was secure. Once that was done, we were able to cut off the excess string (but be very careful you only are cutting excess string, not the string on your shape). Then we repeated the same within the heart – I did my heart in white to allow it to stand out against the green.

With the string art portion of the project complete, we applied the vinyl sticker to the bottom of the board. In my case I had picked the name of the state, some people did the zip code and people doing a letter did their name. But it could really be anything, or nothing. The final step was to nail a bracket on the back so that we would be able to hook it on a nail and hang it on the wall. And with that, we were done! Josey was a great teacher and was super helpful through out the whole class – and Court was a fantastic host who supported us all throughout the evening. I highly recommend that if you’re local, you try out a string art class with Josey or stop into The Mason Jar to say hi to Court, check out all her awesome merch and try a class there!

Posted in review

{Creative Pallet} Rustic Home Decor by 2nd Chance Restoration

When I moved to Monroe, one of the first things I did was try to get involved in the Youth Commission – it was something I did in Ridgefield and I wanted to bring my experience to help my new community, and to meet some people in my new town with similar interests to mine. One of the first people I met here was Kelly Plunkett, the then Chair of the Youth Commission. In addition to being an active mom and on the Youth Commission, Kelly was involved in what seems like everything in town, plus had a full time job, and had a side business – 2nd Chance Restoration – where she redid furniture kitchen cabinets and furniture. Since then, Kelly left the Youth Commission and her full time job to focus full-time on her own business. Recently Kelly branched out and instead of just upgrading your kitchen or furniture, she started classes for the other DIY folks in the community. Thursday night was the 1st class for her {Creative Pallet} class, with a rustic home decor theme.

As soon as sign-ups we’re up, I registered (super easy registration process, btw) and then on Thursday night I headed over to Kelly’s classroom and workshop for class. Kelly had what I thought was an overly ambitious plan for class – we made a scrabble letter monogram, a tea light candle holder and a rustic barn door type tray. While I wondered how we would accomplish all of this in 2 1/2 hours, Kelly had a plan. We started with the easiest project first, the Scrabble letter. Kelly had already cut all the wood to size before we came, so we had to sand the 6 sides and break the edges to start. Then using carbon paper, we traced our letter (I did G for my last name) and the corresponding number (how many Scrabble points the letter is worth) onto the wood. Using a Sharpie oil based paint marker, we colored in our letter and number and then started in on our tea light candle holder, sanding the sides, breaking the edges and adding a small nail/tack to the top four corners. Kelly also used a paddle bit to drill in a hole in the center of whichever side we deemed the top to hold a tea light.

Once everyone was done, or at least almost done, with their first two projects, we began on project three! Kelly had two 14″ board and four 21″ boards for each of us – that meant there was a lot of sanding!! We all sanded our boards and then assembled our tray upside down, using a power drill to screw in nails into the end of each 21″ board to attach it to the 14″ board that ran perpendicular to it. Once our boards were attached, we had a tray! But before we could move onto staining anything, we had to drill holes for our drawer pulls which would serve as the tray’s handles. With all the sanding and drilling complete, we moved into the other room to stain our pieces. I went with a medium brown stain for the scrabble letter and candle holder and a grey stain for the tray. Staining the letter and tea light brought those two projects to completion (just needed to put the candle in the candle holder). The tray needed drawer pulls added to each end and furniture pads added to the bottom corners of the tray and viola, our trays were complete!

Kelly’s plan for the {Creative Pallet} classes is to have different projects each month, learning new mediums and tools. It is something I plan to go to again and would definitely recommend to anyone in the area!

Posted in Dear Mom

Every day. Every minute.

1 year.
12 months.
52 weeks.
365 days.

It’s been 1 year, Mom.
1 year to reflect and remember the good times.
1 year with a flood of memories and emotions coming and going.
1 year of holidays without you.
1 birthday without a call from you.
1 less Christmas card to mail.
1 school year begun without making a seating plan for your classes.
1 year of wishing I just had 1 more day with you.

It’s been 12 months, Mom.
12 months of measuring time since you were here.
12 months of adventures.
12 months of trying to live my life to the fullest.
12 months of feeling guilty for having fun without you.

It’s been 52 weeks, Mom.
52 weekends that I look out the window hoping to see a cardinal to know you’re nearby.
52 Sunday masses saying a prayer that you’ve been reunited with Grandpa in Heaven.
52 weeks that I count my blessings and remember all that I still have.

It’s been 365 days, Mom.
365 days that I’ve wanted to call or text you.
365 days that I’m reminded of the little ways you always helped me.
365 sunrises and sunsets you didn’t see.
365 days when I’m hit with tears from nowhere.
365 days that I hope I would be making you proud.

1 year.
12 months.
52 weeks.
365 days.
Every day. Every minute missing you still.

Posted in life

2017…another year in the books

2017 has reminded me just how grateful I should be, how thankful I am for the amazing people in my life and how blessed I am to live this life I have!

I’m not going to lie, 2017 started out as a rough year. 40 days in, my life changed forever. Dealing with my mom’s passing was rough, and I really thought it was going to define the year. While I am sure I will always remember that as the most influential part of my 2017, I have been blessed with a multitude of other experiences to make this year enjoyable in the days since. Here are my top 17 highlights from 2017:

  1. Monroe got a new yoga studio – Blue Lotus Yoga, opened by a dear friend of mine who has entrusted me with help her with her social media and website, and all the while it has only made Elaina and me better friends.
  2. My friend Mary came to visit from down south just to keep me company and be with me for a tough weekend. While it was a short visit, it is one I will always remember as she but her own life on hold for the weekend to be there for me at the drop of a hat.
  3. I got my 3rd tattoo – it’s my mom’s handwriting and says “Love, Mom”, taken off the Christmas card she wrote me last year.
  4. Tom and I went to see Jake Owen in concert! (I have to get at least one country concert in each year.)
  5. Once I finally had a chance to leave home for a bit, I visited Jenna and saw Oregon and Washington for my first time! We went beer tasting around Portland (along with whiskey and wine tasting) and even had a flight across the gorge in Washington! I was also able to see Mulnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge before they were hit with a devastating wild fire. Also, while in Portland, Jenna took me to my very first professional soccer game – and I will admit that I loved it!
  6. I spent Mother’s Day weekend in DC with Emily – wine tasting around Virginia and taking in another Nationals game.
  7. I completed my 2nd Warrior Dash with some awesome ladies from my softball team.
  8. I got a dirt bike!!!
  9. Spent Labor Day up on Cape Cod with Tom, Jenna and her family to wish her farewell before her next chapter of life and adventures in Cambodia! And since it was me and Jenna, rum, gin and wine tasting were all on the menu! Along with a 20+ mile bike ride on the rail trail. And we even caught a sight of seals off the coast in Provincetown.
  10. Finally took in a Bridgeport Bluefish game at Harbor Yard before they left town for good.
  11. And even though Hurricane Irma rained out the Tampa 2017 installment of #ktomandlamargotimlbtour, we booked a last minute trip to Cleveland where we saw the Indians win 21 straight games (and then break their win streak two days later). Plus we saw the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and cruised on the Great Lake to see a different side of Cleveland.
  12. I finally made it to Canada thanks to a work trip to Montreal. And though I didn’t have time for sightseeing, there was time to pick up pure Canadian maple syrup to bring home! Work also sent me to Atlanta, so I finally stepped foot outside the airport. And was able to experience some southern BBQ while we dined. My final work trip sent me to Torino, Italy for a week. And included a 7 hour layover in Frankfurt, which gave me ample time to go walk around the city instead of just hanging out in the airport.
  13. After wanting to learn for a long time, I dove in and took a calligraphy class at Joyful Noise Paper and have been enjoying practicing my new hobby ever since.
  14. I spent November writing my 30 Days of Thanks and looking back on all of the blessings I have in my life.
  15. I was elected chair of Monroe Youth Commission.
  16. I survived 3 straight days of Christmas baking – making 100 raspberry thumprints + 121 chocolate chip cookies + 3 Irish soda breads + 81 meringues + 45 chocolate covered pretzels…all for the weekend before Christmas. And that doesn’t include anything I made for Christmas itself, which we hosted for the 1st time this year.
  17. The Gotimer family grew again as Lizzie and Brian got married!
Posted in 30 Days of Thanks

Day 30 – Thankful for Everything

Today I am thankful for all that I have. I am thankful for all the opportunities I have been afforded in my life. I am thankful for all the opportunities I know will come ahead. And I am very thankful for taking on this #30daysofthanks challenge – it opened my eyes to all the blessings I really do have. If you haven’t seen my month’s worth of posts, here is what I have been thankful for:

Day 1 – Tom
Day 2 – Home
Day 3 – Serenity Prayer
Day 4 – #charlieandcharcoal
Day 5 – PDX & ATL
Day 6 – #ktomandlamargotimlbtour
Day 7 – Democracy
Day 8 – Coffee
Day 9 – Communicating Worldwide
Day 10 – Plentiful Harvest
Day 11 – Backyard
Day 12 – Family
Day 13 – Friends
Day 14 – Time Off
Day 15 – Being a Millennial
Day 16 – MYC
Day 17 – Calligraphy
Day 18 – Bible Study
Day 19 – Wanderlust
Day 20 – Yoga
Day 21 – 💚Mom💚
Day 22 – Traditions
Day 23 – Christmas Time
Day 24 – Grandma’s Tree
Day 25 – Hosting the Holidays
Day 26 – Education
Day 27 – My Job
Day 28 – Frankfurt
Day 29 – Torino

Posted in 30 Days of Thanks

Day 29 – Torino

I am thankful to now be in Italy, experiencing a new city; Torino. While I am spending most of my time here in meetings, I have a chance to see new sights and eat new foods. After arriving yesterday, we took a short walk in the nearby area and went to a mall that is inside the old Fiat factory! (And speaking of Fiat, I was in a factory next to the current Fiat factory today.) Last night we had fresh ravioli for dinner, tonight we had risotto and crepes and are going to have pizza tomorrow! And I learned tonight that the area around Torino/Milano is full of rice fields. And in addition to factories and food, we have a beautiful view of the Alps from down the street, and especially when we drive towards them for our meetings…

Posted in 30 Days of Thanks

Day 28 – Frankfurt

I am thankful for a 7 hour layover in Frankfurt. While 7 hours is normally considered a long layover and most peacocks wouldn’t want it, I was pleased to have a long enough layover to leave the airport and explore the city of Frankfurt. Now, I didn’t have enough time to fully explore, but I had enough time to explore an area around Hauptwache. The reviews I read before going told me there would be new and old architecture and lots of stores, so I figured a great place for a tourist. Now I know starting my layover at 5:30AM was a bit early for shops, I didn’t want to go shopping, rather walk around and take in the sights (plus put my camera to good use), but what I didn’t expect was the entire area to be quiet, nothing open, but the alleys filled with Christmas markets (though they were closed, I was able to experience the decorations all over the area). While I would love to make it back to Germany again, I’m glad I finally made it, even if for a brief visit!

Posted in 30 Days of Thanks

Day 27 – My Job

Today, one the one year anniversary of starting my job, I am thankful I for my job and the company I work for. I started at an interesting time in my personal life, but my coworkers showed support from the very beginning. I have not worked on a better team in my whole career. I am extremely thankful to work for a company who understands there is more to live than our jobs and values time with your family. I live a balanced life, my work time is work time and personal time is for me, my friends and family. I am blessed to have the opportunity to work remotely half the time, which also saves me time from commuting, plus saves on gas and wear and tear too! This job comes with some wonderful benefits and a decent amount of time off too. In addition to having ample time to travel for myself, I’ve been given the opportunity to see four new places this year, Montreal, Atlanta, Frankfurt and Torino, all as a part of my job (granted Frankfurt is only a short trip as it’s whatever I can squeeze in tomorrow on my long layover). I’m in a job at a company that wants to know where I want to go next; there is plenty of room for growth in the future and I don’t fret about the stability of my job or company. Finally being at a company that values its employees as people, not just as another chip in their pile, is a wonderful feeling.

Posted in 30 Days of Thanks

Day 26 – Education

I am thankful for the education I have received, and still have yet to complete. I was blessed to grow up in a town whose schools were constantly ranked best in the state. When I went to college, I was able to attend Bentley; a school that was just right for me. Going there afforded me many opportunities that have allowed me to get to where I am today. I am also thankful I went back for my masters a few years ago – it pushed me harder and helped open some new doors. And now I am thankful that I have the opportunity to complete my MBA, on top of my masters, to ensure other doors will be open for me in my future. I’ll be headed back to New England College mid-January to begin my MBA program, and am thankful some of my classes from my MSM carry over so at least my MBA will be completed quickly. And I’m even more thankful that all of my school debt has been paid off and is behind me!