Friday, November 30, 2012

Where Elfie's Landed this Week & Elf Photobooth Printable

Posted By: Leah
Get caught up with Elfie, our Elf on the Shelf each Friday from now until Christmas here on Lovely Life of Leah.

Elfie  is always keeping an eye on Gav and reporting back to Santa every night on if he's been naughty or nice. So far Gav's been extra nice, plus knowing Elfie has his eye on him really helps. Read more about our family's Elf on the Shelf, Elfie here.

Last night our elf grabbed some friends and they created a little photo booth of awesome. They set it up a couple ways so when Gav woke up, he could join in the fun too!

THANK YOU to Living Locurto for this amazing Elf photo booth idea and printable.
Elf sized photo booth prop printables available HERE (via her FB page).

Below are the other places Elfie's landed each morning this week. Feel free to borrow these ideas for your elf! If you have a pinterest board, I have pin it buttons to make it easy for you to remember them for another time.

Elfie watches to make sure Gav is on his best behavior. That doesn't stop him from having a little fun as well. He found the water balloons and is ready for a fight.

Gav went to a deli with his dad and his dad's roommate earlier this week. He came home raving about 'the brown and white gingerbread men with chocolate in them.' I had to contact his dad to find out where these came from, but they really exist! Elfie stopped by the deli and brought them to gav. As well as a tall glass of almond milk.

Floam! Elfs (is it Elves?) love having fun, and what's more fun than colorful sticky styrofoam? Elfie created a couple shapes for Gav on the table.

This was the first day Elfie arrived. He left a long note and asked for Gav's help playing tic-tac-toe against Elfina. Crossing our fingers Elfina makes an appearance this year too!

A lot of people's elves don't arrive until December 1st. So if you have been thinking about getting an Elf on the Shelf for your family this year, it's not too late! They are available at Target, I've seen them at our local toy store, and other places too. All for around $29.99. For other resources, links, ideas, etc. check out my post from this past monday HERE.

Just remember, Elf on the Shelf is fun for the kids first, adults second. If you are struggling for ideas for where your elf will land, simply think of the things that make your kids happy. Yes, of course Pinterest and other places are great for ideas. But at the end of the day, think of your family and the perfect ideas will come to you. I promise.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Coffee Talk - All about my blog - LovelyLifeofLeah

Posted By: Leah

Every now and then I see posts about how bloggers got their start. It's interesting to read other blogger's stories. And today, it's my turn.  This week's Coffee Talk is all about my own narcissistic  awesome creation on the internet called Lovely Life of Leah.

 1. What is the meaning behind your blog name? Jamie, you know, my friend I met when I was in college, who was later nominated for a Primetime Emmy? He was the one who inspired my blog's name.  A little background (because I love telling stories about my past!) - I met Jamie through my friend Mary. Jamie attended the NC School of the Arts and Mary and I went to UNCG. Jamie's college was about 20 minutes away. He would come and hang out/party with Mary and I, I'm pretty sure just to hang out with our super hot neighbor {kim?}, but whatever, Jamie was a blast. When we weren't funneling beers (I mean... studying) we both loved being online, it was new then and very exclusive. You may have forgotten these days , but AOL was where it was at. Jame and I would chat on AIM for hours. In the summers, Jamie worked on the set of Dawson's Creek, which was filmed in Wilmington, NC.

Jamie at the 2012 HBO Emmy party via
As legend has it (according to my memory which is usually 110% when it comes to details of this nature). Jamie told me he had only been turned down by two girls ever when he asked them out (well this was as of 1999, but I'm sure it's still true). Of the only two girls who ever turned Jamie down, one of them was Katie Homes, but this was way back from the Dawson's Creek set. The other, you guessed it... it was me (pretty sure it was pure flattery, but we're going with it because clearly Katie Homes and I are in the same league).

Years later, after Facebook was popular and everyone got reconnected and back in touch, I sent Jamie a message. My sister had just entered college and wanted to study film making. At that point Jamie was already an Emmy nominated camera guy/film maker living in Los Angeles, so I wanted to connect my sister and Jamie. Maybe he could offer her some advice on getting into the film business. My e-mail to him went something like "Not sure if you remember me... but I'm one of the two girls who have ever turned you down {not Katie Homes}..."  Jamie wrote back "Of course I remember you! How could I ever forget the Lovely Leah!?"  best alliteration ever....and my blog name was born. yup. That's seriously where it came from.

Thanks Jamie! Without you this blog would probably be called Hello Kitty Obsession or something equally lame and most people would be scared to read it. 

2. How long have you been blogging? What made you start? I've been blogging forever. Ok not foreverever-ever but since the late 1990's. I've been keeping journals my whole life. I have a need to write. Most of my old blogs are long gone, however I do still refer to this Vegas Blog I created (hey, most of the tips are still good!) which was from 2003.

Aww I was 23 and at the Luxor, adorable!

The Lovely Life of Leah blog was created on Wednesday, March 4, 2009. Here is my very first post. It's about Hello Kitty, Bumpit, and a Hello Kitty tattoo I wanted (not much in my life has changed lol.)

My sister, Sarah is the one who actually inspired Lovely Life of Leah. She studied abroad several times in college and created blogs. Mostly so she didn't have to recap the same stories to people over and over. I  have always liked writing. I am not the best at spelling or grammar, but I have a lot to share. I rarely look at the underlined red misspelled words, because I'm always making up words and grammar, what's that? lol.

I'm also a super positive person, always looking for the awesomeness in the everyday, and wanted to let other people see things I liked too.

Also, being on Etsy is actually what really got my blog going. I was on Etsy Chat (which is no longer around, sadness) and people would offer deals and share their blog links. This is where I met Amy of Ponder and Stitch. She mentioned she was a sponsor and offering a giveaway on my teacups in peony. I was like wait... what... there are more blogs around, and all sorts of cool girls read them? It's like a network? Mind. Blown. From there I discovered Summer of  B is for Brownie aka Athena in the Middle. Through these ladies I found so many other awesome bloggers I wanted to follow. These three ladies have always been so inspirational to me in their own way. Each have had ups and downs in their own life, they are so honest, truthful, and amazing.

When I first started dating BF last year, I must admit, I really let the blog slip. I stopped taking photos for it, stopped posting my every move. I wasn't really comfortable telling the world I had become a single mom and was dating again. When I finally shared this information, I was actually a little taken aback when people said they always thought I was single. I was like yikes! no! the first 2 years of this blog I was married. But clearly I have focused this blog around myself, and apparently only talked about myself. Oh well.

This was the day BF told me I was his gf in Brooklyn, NY at Barcade last year

This year BF is the one who encouraged me to blog more. It's not that I didn't want to blog, I just didn't really feel comfortable putting all my personal business out there. I live in this bubble where I think the only people who read my blog are the followers you see on the right. And of course a few close friends and family. Throught some awkward run-ins IRL, I learned this wasn't the case. My blog gets around 1,000 unique page views a day. Some days it gets 10,000 or more. I thought this was a google error. It wasn't. There's a huge group of followers that have me bookmarked and (stalk) lurk what I'm up to. This realization really made me feel uncomfortable. The fact that people I know, but not really know, and total strangers read what I write everyday totally is weird. But guess what I did? I got signed up with Google so I get paid based on traffic to my site. I also signed up with Clever Girls Collective and have sponsored posts. So now I welcome anyone and everyone to read my blog. You're making me money just by reading these words.  Thanks.

3. What is your blog generally about? It's completely narcissistic. People who know me IRL (In Real Life, if you're reading this and are thinking "where is Irl?")  Anyhow, those people I actually know for real cannot believe how much I can write about that is all about me. I have a son, but don't talk about him all the time on here. I have a job, but don't talk about that a lot on here either. I have a boyfriend who I talk about sometimes, but at the end of the day, this blog is all about ME and no one else. People who know me casually, but have been fwd my blog have commented "YIKES! Leah talks about herself A LOT." But that's what blogging is. If I'm the only blog you follow, then I'm sure it's intense.

4. Do you have any funny blogs you would like to share? I have no idea what that means. I'm taking it to say? You're Hilarious! What are your favorite blog posts?  Here are some of my fav's from the past:

Blackberries and story about Cheap Trick, the band.

Hipster Sister Adventure in NoDa before I knew what a hipster was, but we pretended.

The special bracelet I wear because I'm a Bachelorette Reality Show Stalker

Gav and Mama Trip I had been un-married for about a week and we did it up big.
Well it was a work trip but still...

NYC Epic Happiness the day BF asked me to be his GF even though I don't say it in this post.

Bonnaroo pt 1 of 4 seriously the most fun ever. like forever ever kind of fun.

Pin-Up Preview I should have been born in the 1940's I have such a classic look. Who knew?

Story of how BF and I got reunited after HS, like 15 yrs later. Because I made it happen.
He just made it all next level awesome.

...ok there's more but these are good for now and from last year,
so you probably missed them/forgot about them.

5. What are your hopes for your blog? It's tough writing and feeling like I'm not sharing enough, not connecting with readers,  blogging feeling like a job, being concerned with numbers, etc. I'd be lying if I said it doesn't make me a tiny bet bummed when I lose a follower. I think my blog is a little bit niche (I mean how many other 32 year olds do you know who are this obsessed with Hello Kitty?) but that's okay. I'm not the typical 'mommy blogger' and I don't want to be. My goal is for you, the readers, to see a relatable version of me. I hope I'm someone you might want to be friends with or high-five if you saw me at Target in the clearance section. My hope is as you read this you think 'wow, she's a single mom, but she has an awesome life, and doesn't let the small stuff get her down.' Also any references you all want to make about me looking like Zooey Deschanel or Dita Von Teese are appreciated as well.   And if you think anything about me or my blog is adorable / pure comedy, that works too.

So that pretty much wraps up my Coffee Talk with Natalie all about my blog. Anything else you want to know? I have always been scared to do one of those "ask me anything" posts. Not because I don't want to answer. But because I'm scared no one would ask me anything :/ That said, I'm probably one of the most self-confident people you will ever meet. However I come across on here, amplify that and that's me IRL. I have no shame, I think I'm awesome and pretty much the coolest person ever. I've always felt that way. And no, I wasn't brought up to be all self righteous. I have this internal drive that tells me I can do anything if I put my mind to it. If you disagree, I'm okay with that. I only focus on the positive.  You're reading this, so clearly you're pretty awesome too ;)

Coffee Talk with Natalie Blair

Random Thursdays - My Winter Survival Items

Posted By: Leah

It's that time of year again, when the weather gets cooler and I can't leave the house without a jacket, and sometimes I even have to scrounge around and find socks that match, too. Winter is by far the most high-maintenance season. Some compain about summer's humidity making their hair poof. I complain about the 15 extra articles of clothes and accessories necessary for me to go to work. Oh and the winshield scraping in the morning. That's the very worst. Almost as bad as leaving work at 5pm and it being pitch black.

Whoever says winter is their favorite season has more time and energy than I do. Winter is not for the lazy, that's for sure.

Somehow I, like everyone else, manages to survive the winter. I've put together a list for this week's Random Thursdays of my personal Winter Survival Items...

1) MukLuk slippers. Muck-a-what? you're asking... these haven't been  popular since probably 2009 but I don't care. Riding the coat tails of the first round of the Ugg boot/slipper craze, MukLuk slippers are the much cheaper and uglier step-brother of Uggs, made of  a fairisle knit with a fleece interior. The toggle keeps them on your feet. I have had the same pair for years and wear these bad boys ALL WINTER LONG. I wear them to sleep (because I always lose my socks),  I wear them over my skinny jeans and leggings. I'll wear them over boot-cut jeans around the house and look like a  fashion emergency. I don't even care, I freakin love these things.

2) Lipsmacker's chapstick in softdrink flavors. I don't care if this stuff is designed for 5 year olds and provides no real protection against the elements. All I know is it is the only brand chapstick that I use and never lose (I have a problem misplacing things, this is real). I have Barq's root beer flavor on right now. I got it at World of Coke last December when I was in Atlanta with BF. Before that, I used Coke flavor. I apply it all the time and it lasts for years. In the summer, the air doesn't make my lips dry. But mid-fall, the lipsmackers comes out in full force.

3) Victoria's Secret Flannel Pajamas. I have, seriously, at least 5 pairs. I ask for them every year for Christmas and they are the very best in winter sleepwear. They last and last and look brand new. I don't need a new pair, but I like the option of having them just incase. They fit the very best, are crazy comfortable and always have pockets. This is important in sleepwear.

4) Hello Kitty Plush Fleece Lounge Pants. Sometimes you are hanging out at home, and wearing an all-out slumber party jammy jam fllannel pajama set is just too much. That is when the fleece lounge pants come into play. My pick are the Hello Kitty ones from wal-mart, that cost $6 and are warm, comfortable and cozy. Plus, if you are a serial item mis-placer like I am, there is no matching set involved. These PJ pants pair well with everything.

5) Shoe grips. Have you ever broken your wrist falling on black ice? I have. And it sucks. I ordered some similar to those pictured above and wear in any icy/snowy weather. I have't slipped since. They fit on all styles of shoes, even heels (that get a big AS IF!? but I'm set even if I lose my mind and think heels are a good idea for winter footwear).

6) Down Comforter. I get super cold in the winter. Like shivver me timbers I can't move I'm so cold. I have 2 down comforters on my bed, a down throw blanket in my livingroom. These are the only blanket that works for me in the winter... along with my flannel PJs and mukluks to keep me warm.

7) Tea. BF has helped me step up my coffee game. You know, stepping outside of the Starbucks Frapp cone of safety and having an actual adult cup of coffee (with creamer). But my heart will always belong to tea. It is so warm and comforting. I prefer to brew loose tea instead of using a tea bag. And Aveda's tea is pretty much perfection. No sweetener needed.

What are your winter survival items? Link up below!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

So What! Wednesday

Posted By: Leah
I haven't linked up to So What! Wednesday for a few weeks now, I know everybody's been missing it (maybe). It's that time of the week when I can vent  share and no one can judge.

So What! I'm almost done with my holiday shopping. Crazy, right?! And when I say 'Almost Done' I still have like 5 more people to shop for. I have the little note app on my phone where I type thoughts as they come to me on what to get different people. I even have a section for what I want too, because my parents always ask and I never have a clue.

So What! Am I the only one who has a lot of people to shop for at the holidays? I'm not complaining. I just wonder if everyone shops for 15-20 people or is it more like 10 or 2 or does your family draw a name from a hat at Thanksgiving or what? I like finding people really random/awesome/unique gifts. So I'm good even if I had 100 people to shop for, I'd have a blast. But what is the average number people shop for? Now I'm all curious.

So What! I also use my note app for ideas on where Elfie, our Elf on the Shelf will land every morning. I'm already seeing people post on FB how stressed out they are on what to do with their elf. Planning people. Take like 5 minutes and plan. Just make a list. It's easy. Hit up the dollar section at Target for fun things for your elf to bring. Or check my 2012 Elf on the Shelf Resourse Guide post. I'll do a recap at the end of this week on all the places Elfie's landed so far. My creativity's at an all time high... so I need to keep rolling with it lol!

So What! I REALLY love the idea of the Inappropriate Elf contest over on Baby Rabies. And I want to enter. I just have no clue of what to do. It's a PG-13 contest, so of course you guys can see my entry when I think of one. I just need to get super creative and come up with something that no one has thought of! These are the times I need to have some Barbies in the house. Most of my ideas involve Elfie and the ladies...

So What! I swore I found the #InappropriateElf contest... and I even blogged about it yesterday. Then today in my newsfeed not one but two other people (who I'm pretty certain do not read my blog they have like 5000 kazillion followers)  posted about it. So either 1- they DO read my blog! 2- I did not find this contest and other people know how to use the internet to find fun things like this. womp.

So What! I have already heard people talking about their New Years plans. What? It's so early. I can't think that far ahead. SN- I have zero pictures from last year's New Years which is crazy, I know because we went to dinner and a concert and even out after that! And I'm pretty sure BF and I looked adorable (when do we not?), but there are no photos. sadface.
BF and I, just not on N. Years

So What! Every now and then I run into an Etsy seller who is pure evil. Who says they can make a custom item when they really can't. Then when the product comes out every sort of wrong, they send it to me anyway. Then I complain and they refer me to their shop policies which of course says no exchanges or refunds. Just today I ran into another Etsy seller like this and it seriously makes me so mad. I want to just go out to Target or Wal-Mart and get the supplies to make the item myself. No, it wasn't a christmas gift it was something for my own Etsy shop. I'd put the seller on blast, but I don't want to give her any more publicity. She sucks. The end.

So What! When I was at my dad and step-mom's house I found a product I'm totally obsessed with. And no this is not a sponsored post. It's going to seem like it, but for real this is me, Leah, being 100% honest without the sparkle of free stuff or cash making me biased. So I'm at my parent's house over Thanksgiving and go to sleep in the bed in the guest room and I think "OMG these sheets smell amazing!" I should back this up and say I have very little sense of smell. I like to call it a 'bad sniffer.' Which can be a blessing in some gross situations. BUT anyway, for real the sheets smelled SOOO good. Like not perfume-ie, just like they were washed and dried with the best dryer sheet ever that very day or something. So then it's the next morning, I'm sitting in their den watching the Macy's Parade and am wrapped up in a blanket. The blanket smelled so good too! So finally I asked my step-mom what detergent she used. And she was like 'oh I was at Target and saw these Downy Unstoppables and got them.'
She took me into her laundry room and showed me her variety of the scents. I like the 'Lush' the best (pictured above). Anyhow, the next time I went to Target  I picked some up for myself! All you do is add a little cap-full of these little pill-looking-things in with your clothes in the washer. The clothes come out of the dryer smelling AMAZING! Or if you lay sweaters or whatever flat to dry, they smell amazing too! So of course I've washed clothes like crazy since getting the Downy Unstoppables. It's the little things that get me motivated lol... but seriously, I love this stuff!

So What! I JUST (like even after I hit publish on this post) signed up for an ornament swap! So much fun, right!? I can't wait to take part! If you sign up too, maybe we'll get matched up!

What are you saying So What! to this week?!
So What Wednesday

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Elfie's Back! Elf on the Shelf 2012 Resource Guide

Posted By: Leah
The holidays are a magical time of year for all ages.

A new tradition in so many families is Elf on the Shelf. Yesterday morning was the annual arrival of our elf, Elfie! He landed this year with a lengthy note and a marshmallow game of tic-tac-toe.

I purchased our Elf on the Shelf last year because honestly, I thought it was cute and would be a fun addition to our holiday decorations. I didn't know the whole story - that your elf watches over your family and reports back to Santa on whether the kids have been naughty or nice. Or that your elf is magical - he listens to your secrets, but doesn't speak. And if you touch him, he loses his magic and cannot fly to tell Santa how good you've been.

As an unexpected discipline tool last year, our elf, Elfie, came at the perfect time. Gav is usually well behaved, but he had been getting in trouble for talking at school when he wasn't supposed to be. After Elfie arrived, with just Gav 'knowing' Elfie was watching him, Gav whipped himself back into shape and even earned Eagle Status at his school, the highest honor and he got to be on TV. All thanks to Elfie!

Elfie 'lands' in a different location each morning. Sometimes he even brings small gifts or treats! If Gav is acting up, I have been known to threaten to touch Elfie, making him lose his magic, and Gav gets himself back on tract immediately. Elfie is truly a magical elf!

The location ideas for where Elfie lands each morning could be as easy as simply 'on a shelf' where Elf on the Shelf origionated from. There are countless pins on Pinterest with ideas... I even have my own Elfie board. But thanks to Instagram and the hashtags #ElfonTheShelf #ElfonTheShelf2012 etc. there is never a shortage for inspiration. From now until Christmas I will post on my blog and instagram where our elf lands, and what he's doing.

For $29.99, Elf on the Shelf's price seems a little steep. But I HIGHLY recommend getting one for your family, especially if you have kids or plan to have kids in the future. With the popularity of Elf on the Shelf, I think the cost of the elf will only increase. There are 'knock offs' and that's okay... you don't have to have the exact shifty-eyed rosy cheek elf. The benefits of getting the origional is that it comes with a book and storage box. Also, there is a TV movie and the elf matches the ones flying around.

Thanks to the popularity of Elf on the Shelf, there are lots of adorable accessories available for your elf on Etsy. I put together a 2012 Elf on the Shelf Resource Guide... this is everything you need to have the best Elf on the Shelf experience ever!

You can purchase the Elf on the Shelf Mischif Kit from The Ravenna Girls.  Instead of driving around town, searching for the perfect sized cookie cutters or mini toothbrush, you can purchase some of the most famous 'elf tricks' right here!

I'm obsessed with cute little things, and The Christmas Elf Accessory Kit for Boy Elves from Two Paper Pals (there is also a girl elf version) doesn't disappoint. This kit has the most perfect tiny paper products and Elf outfit accessories! Check out the tiny sock monkey.

Print Your Party has you covered with a Personalized Elf Note Set delivering printable notes from Santa himself! This note would SERIOUSLY get Gav's attention

Why keep all the fun to yourself? Little and the Girl has Elf themed Holiday Cards using your own family's faces. 

A boy elf is okay for our house, but simply add a skirt by Paper Crush Crafts and your he can turn into a she!

Doll house miniatrues are the perfect size for your Elf on the Shelf. How fun would it be for your elf to arrive with donuts for your whole family, and some in his size of course too? (We're Krispy Kreme fans down here in the south). Lulu Miniatures has you covered!

Kids have a lot of questions. Gav spent a good 20 minutes this past weekend asking Santa everything he could think of. He even tugged on Santa's beard to see if it was real.

We talk about Elfie 'flying in' but unless our Elf  flies down the chimney line Santa, how does he get inside? One Hip Sticker Chic knows... Elf on the Shelf has his own door!

Gav is 6 this year, and the magic of the holidays is more fun than ever at our home. I will keep you all posted via @LovelyLifeofLeah on Instagram and on this blog of Elfie's latest suprises.

Does your family have an Elf on the Shelf?
What tricks has s/he gotten into?

...And, yes I know about the inappropriate elf contest. 
Link up your not-so-kid-friendly photos HERE and good luck! 

Here are a couple go get you inspired...

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