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Saturday, December 31, 2011

What I Wore

WHEN: Sunday, December 25

WHERE: Christmas morning at church

GETTING CREATIVE: This is a new skirt and it's so pretty! It has a big rosette on the side that is hard to see from the photos. I just had to wear red to church on Christmas. I wish Christmas was on Sunday every year. It was so wonderful to go to church!

Target sweater, New York & Co. pants, Payless boots, Yellow Blackbird necklace

WHEN: Tuesday, December 27

WHERE: Family holiday party

GETTING CREATIVE: Oh Hello, Monkey Face, I didn't see you there. What? You have worn pretty much this exact outfit before? What a coincidence! Of course I didn't have that outfit in mind when I bought the sweater. You think I bought the beads just to make the necklace to copy you? No way!

Gift from Smithsonian tee, Old Navy long tee and vest, Ross jeans, Payless boots

WHEN: Wednesday, December 28

WHERE: Out to lunch with parents, and dinner in with my in-laws

GETTING CREATIVE: My MIL gave me this Rosie shirt from the Smithsonian for Christmas. Wearing under a vest was so perfect because it helped dress up the tee just a little bit and kept me warm! We all know how much I love Rosie!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you have plans for a fun weekend! See you next year, ha ha!

Friday, December 30, 2011

These are a Few of My Favorite Pins

I love this outfit. I copied Cori another time she wore this dress (outfit 15 here) and will probably do so again.

This is just so cute. The title of the pin was "Oh please let it snow!" and I agree! Christmas is over and winter hasn't even begun here in Utah. The predicted high temp today was 60 degrees!

More quilling inspiration for me. Love the bird (duh).

This is a cardboard food box turned inside out to use as gift wrap. Thrifty! Genius!

If you want to follow me on Pinterest, find my boards here.

See you tomorrow for What I Wore. I hope you have enjoyed my top 10 posts this week. I haven't had any comments on them so I hope someone is reading them! : )

Top 10 Reads of 2011

Sorry there aren't any pictures. When I try to put in the cover images, Blogger won't let me publish.

The following reviews are taken from my reviews written at the time I read the book.

#10 A Daughter's Inheritance(Broadmoor Legacy #1)

This is a great story; romantic, clean, and heartwarming.

The setting of the book was so important to the plot, that it was a little jarring when the setting completely changed. I felt like I didn't know the characters (except Jonas) outside of Broadmore Island and somehow I expected them to be different off the island.

This book made me think a lot about social classes. Classes must exist if anyone wants to experience something nice or luxurious. For example, the wealthy can only have a fancy party if there are poorer people who need the work to prepare and serve the food, etc. I have only been able to enjoy cruises because there are people poorer than me who need the money and are willing to work the crummy cruise line jobs. I am sure that most of my clothes only exist for the same reason If we were all truly socially and economically equal, we would all have to be working class, without luxuries or nice things. (Unless we all agreed to take turns serving each other...ha!) Rich only exists if there is poor and vice versa. Does this mean that I will stop wearing mass produced clothes or taking nice vacations? Probably not, but it was interesting to think about.

#9 Soul Surfer
The movie inspired me so much that I had to read the book. If you choose to read it, expect the writing of a 14 year old. It's not literature, and told a little bit out of order but a true-to-self autobiography. Bethany is so inspiring. I admire her faith, and how she is not afraid to share it with the world. I could learn from her.

I read the edition that has updated information about the movie and writing added by Bethany 5 years later.

#8 Good Brother Bad Brother

This book was a unique perspective on a subject that I am fascinated with (the assassination of Lincoln). It's a good, easy read instead of a convoluted history book. My only complaint is that every once in a while there were some poorly written, juvenile sentences that reminded me that this isn't a scholarly book, but was written for a younger audience. If you are at all interested Lincoln's assassination, I recommend this book.

#7 Newspaper Blackout
I was so intrigued by this when I found the website that I requested my local library purchase it. They completed my request very quickly so I got right to work reading the book. I am not into poetry at all, and I read this book in one setting. I didn't like the sexual nature of some of the poems, but others were clever, though-provoking, or downright funny. I am going to be trying my own version of blackout poetry ASAP.

#6 Heist Society

I read a review on this book that said something along the lines of how this book is very refreshing because of the vast number of paranormal and dystopia books in the young adult genre right now. I concur! I wish I would have read this book a little slower and took in the details better. It is along the same lines as "Ocean's Eleven." Very enjoyable, but I have a hard time with the morals. I don't like stories where you are rooting for the main characters to commit a crime or some other immoral act. BUT I am not sure if what Kat did in this book would be considered 'right' or 'wrong.' All that aside, it was a lot of fun.

#5 A Christmas Carol

I finally read A Christmas Carol. It was just as good as I had hoped. I really love this story and the message it teaches us about Christmas, worldly possessions, and how to treat other people.

#4 Food Rules

This book had the most impact on my life this year. The author offers 3 simple rules to eating well (eat real food, mostly plants, not too much) and many small rules to go with it. Husband Spencer and I have adapted many of these rules and are eating better as a result. I also used this is the text to teach my jr high health class instead of using my traditional lesson plans and it was a big hit! If you are looking to eat healthier in the coming year, I would totally read this book!

#3 The Fifth of March

I really loved this book. It opened my eyes to a whole new aspect of the Boston Massacre that I wasn't familiar with. The author did a great job of telling the historical story by interweaving fiction. I will be changing the way I teach about this subject because of the book.

I really wish that there was a part at the end that separated the fact from the fiction. Matthew Kilroy was really one of the accused soldiers. But I wasn't sure about Rachel Marsh. According to this website, she really was an employee of the Adams. I think the fiction part was their relationship.

#2 The Swan House
Apparently, I failed to actually write a review of this book. I read it because it was free on Kindle and it was soooo good. I purchased the second book as well. It's about civil rights in the south in the sixties.

#1 Fablehaven series

These really are a great set of books. I was so sad when the last one was over! They are so full of adventure and really capture the imagination!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Customer Service Counts... Especially for Handmade

Customer service is really important to a business. Take, for example, one of our favorite restaurants, Costa Vida. The first time we went there it was only because they were giving away free ice cream bars from a company owned by one of our neighbors. We both ordered a pork burrito, and after dishing mine, they were out of pork and told Spencer he would have to wait. By the time we reached the cash register, the pork was out and the burrito made so we waited a total of 1.5 seconds, not a big deal, but they gave us his meal FOR FREE. We were hooked. Customers for life and have returned so many times that they have definitely made their money back!! Plus, I tell that story to everyone I can and have given them a lot of free advertising. Another time I went there with a friend because I had a gift card. Their machine to read the gift cards was down but there wasn't a sign about it and I didn't find out until I reached the cash register. They gave me a free meal for that too! If there is a Costa Vida near you, go visit!

Contrast that with my recent shopping experience at Maurices. I don't really love going there because the sales people are pushy, annoying, and I really hate how they ask my name, write it on a little chalk board outside the dressing room door AND spell it wrong every time without asking for the correct spelling. I bought a pair of jeans right before Christmas and the employee forgot to take the security tag off. I didn't notice until I was home. The store is about 20 minutes and a lot of traffic away, but luckily there was another franchise only 5 minutes from my house so it wasn't a big deal. I took the pants to the close store and they couldn't remove the tag because they use a different security system. The girl did offer to exchange the pants for a pair in her store, but they didn't have the right size. She also offered to reorder the pants and have them shipped my house with no shipping charge. In hindsight I should have done that, but I wanted the pants for Christmas morning. For my trouble, she offered me a coupon for 10 percent off my next purchase. Really? Are you joking? For my trouble YOU are going to be rewarded by me purchasing another item and giving you another sale? Whatever. So I drove all the way up to the other store and the sales girl asks me for my receipt rather rudely, like she though I stole the pants. I ask her if she can apply the coupon I already got towards the pants because of their mistake. This was our conversation:

Me: can you return the pants then I can re purchase them with the coupon?
Her: sorry, can't be applied to a past purchase.
Me: but it wasn't my fault the tag wasn't taken off.
Her: well, we already gave you a twenty percent off discount.
Me: uh, that is because they were on sale. That is why I bought the pants.
Her: Well, sorry.
Me: so what can you do to make it better for me? (I explained the whole situation to her)
Her: sorry.
Me: well, if you aren't going to do anything about it I will think twice before shopping here again.

And I walked out. And I meant it. Unless I get desperate and can't find long enough jeans I am not shopping there again.

It is even more important to have good customer service if you are running a small handmade shop. I had a poor experience with an Etsy shop lately (I won't name the shop. It seems different to call out a fellow Etsy seller like I did the large corporation Maurices.)

This Etsy seller was featured on a blog I read and I was really interested in her product, but took a couple of weeks to decide exactly what to buy. By the time I made the decision she has closed her shop for the holidays. I sent her a message asking if she would be willing and able to open to sell to me, and if I could get it by New Year's Eve. She promptly replied and opened. Unfortunately, the price of the items had gone up from $10 to $12.50. I explained how I had been waiting for so long and asked if she would be willing to sell me the item for the $10 price. She responded with "do you want more than one?" I said no, and then I never heard from her again. Her shop was closed again and she never responded to me.

What poor customer service. A good response from her would have been:
"Thanks so much for your interest in my shop. I have determined that in order for me to stay in business and make a profit I need to sell my items at the $12.50 price. I hope that you will still order from me. I will be sure to get it to you by New Year's Eve."

A better response would have been:
"Thanks so much for your interest in my shop. I have determined that in order for me to stay in business and make a profit I need to sell my items at the $12.50 price; however, since you followed me here from the giveaway and are so interested in my shop I would be willing to sell the item to you for $11. I hope that you will still order from me. I will be sure to get it to you by New Year's Eve."

And of course the best response would have been:
"Thanks so much for your interest in my shop. Since you followed me here from the giveaway and are so interested in my shop I would be willing to sell the item to you for $10. I will be sure to get it to you by New Year's Eve."

I definetely would have purchased with the best or better responses, and would have considered purchasing if I would have got the good response. I also would have posted about my purchase on Facebook, and linked to or mentioned her shop on my What I Wore posts everytime I wore the item. That advertising alone would have been worth the $2.50. But instead she made $0.

What do you think? Do you base your return to a store on their customer service? Do you have any good stories to share? Any businesses or shops to promote due to their great customer service? Leave a comment below!

Top 10 Favorite Outfits of 2011











Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Shout out for January Sponsors!

Advertise Here

This is a great opportunity for small blogs/Etsy shops, etc. to get a little more exposure.

Yellow Blackbird is still small but is growing bigger literally every day. I currently have about 480 followers (check the side bar for the most current number) and receive between 8,000-10,000 visitors per month.

I post at least 3-4 times per week and link to many blog parties, including "What I Wore" at Pleated Poppy which brings a lot of traffic to my blog.

I am offering ad space for January for only $5 per month. What a deal! This price also includes 1 GROUP blog post about your blog/shop/etc. sometime during the month.

Maximum ad space is 185 X 185 pixels. Email me if you are interested! Your ad will go live as soon as I get it! (Paypal address is

I will only be accepting family friendly, G rated ads!

Top 10 Favorite Projects of 2011

#10 Valentine's Day Book Page Garland

#9 Book Page Flowers

#8 Anthro Inspired Necklace

#7 "Create" Book Page Garland

#6 Gray and Yellow Photos


#5 Gray Wedding Jewelry

#4 First Skirt

#3 Anthro Inspired Bracelet

#2 Toilet Paper Art
#1 Quorra from Tron: Legacy Costume

Monday, December 26, 2011

Yellow and Gray Photos

How was your Christmas?? I hope it was amazing! I had a wonderful day! I was so exited to give the gifts I made. Here is one of them...

A good friend of mine has a ggorgeous pinboard of gray and yellow home decor. One pin in particular shows a black and white street scene with just the [yellow] leaves in color. I recently completed a 6 week Photoshop course and I felt confident that I could make that for her for Christmas. I used photos that I took myself (two of them are from the tulip photo walk I did with Amber so that was kind of special I guess) and some Photoshop tricks to make these:

I gave her a 4x6 of each photo, the files on CD (sans watermark of course), and a gift card towards future printing and framing when she gets her dream gray and yellow room.

I am sorry that I don't have a tutorial for you. I used a different process for each photo and am not savvy enough to write PS tutorials. Try looking here for instructions.

Most of the rest of this week will be a year in review. I will be featuring my top 10 favorite tutorials, outfits, and even books I read. I do have a few more Christmas gifts I made that I will try to post here too. And lucky for me I received a lot of Christmas gifts that will help me be creative and have even more fun stuff to post!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

What I Wore

Kohls shirt, Ross belt, handmade by my mom skirt, Walmart tights, Yellow Box shoes

WHEN: Thursday, December 15 and Sunday, December 18

WHERE: Work, then the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert and church

GETTING CREATIVE: Red tights and tucking in. I love the pop of color.

Charlotte Russe shirt, Old Navy cardi and jeans, Madden Girl boots via DSW

WHEN: Wednesday, December 21

WHERE: Running errands and lunch out with mom.

GETTING CREATIVE: I was trying to look festive for day time so I wore a glittery shirt and cardi. Pretty simple.

WHEN: Friday, December 23

WHERE: Running errands and dinner out with husband Spencer

GETTING CREATIVE: I am wearing the necklace sideways. The large cowl neck covers up the clasp and other beads.

The bangs are bag in town! I have had a master plan this whole time to go back to bangs. My straight across bangs had become too thick so I grew the whole chunk out. When they reached my chin I wanted to cut a few bangs back to where they used to be, and blend the rest in. I was able to get a haircut from my friend Whitney again. She does such a good job on my hair. I love it!

I hope you have a Merry Merry Christmas! I will be linking up to Clothed Much, Momma Go Round, Pleated Poppy, and Cute and Little.

Friday, December 23, 2011

These are a Few of My Favorite Pins

It's Friday... that means it's time for me to share some creative inspiration. This week I will be sharing some of my favorite pins.

I think this is perfection in an outfit. Mustard cardi, boots, not too over done. Yes please.

This may appear that I am looking towards Valentines Day already. Certainly not! I just think this is a beautiful way to wrap that could be incorporated into many occasions.

Bird's nest made out of book pages?? Does it get more Aubree than that?? I have to make one for my craft room!

This is a great tutorial to get this photo effect in Photoshop. It's on my to-do list!

Paper Christmas Trees

I really didn't mean to go the whole week without posting. I had several things planned, but I had more to do to get ready for Christmas than I thought. In fact, I still have a few gifts to wrap and my entire house is covered in spray adhesive and glitter, but I am going to take a minute to share one of the Christmas crafts I did this year (and I will do a second post on my favorite pins since it is Friday). It's likely too late to be of any use to you now, but pin it for next year!

I originally saw the idea for these paper trees in my paper copy of Better Homes and Gardens and didn't look twice at them because there weren't any instructions in the mag, rather one was to go online for the template. Later I saw them on my favorite local lifestyle show and have even linked you there before. The pattern was posted so I downloaded it and printed it off.

They were really easy to make. I filled the trees with candy and a little gift for the recipients.

The guest on the TV show suggested using wrapping paper... because that is what company she represented. Wrapping paper is decidedly less expensive than scrapbooking paper so I tried it. The wrapping paper I used was too lightweight and the trees collapsed a little bit. I gave them to some eight year old girls in my church and would wager that by the time the trees got home a few no longer resembled trees. You should make some, but I would suggest using heavier paper.

Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

What I Wore

I have been thinking a little bit more about photos doing a better job showing how an outfit looks than the mirror. I have changed my mind from what I said a couple of weeks ago. I think I was just in denial. :) There are cases of bad photos, but I just have some clothes that don't look good on me at all. As I look through my style inspiration pinboard I notice that all the outfits have one thing in common.... the clothes all fit really well! I have set a goal to really clean out my closet and get rid of all the clothes that just don't fit. To help me figure out what really works for me I started a new pinboard where I can pin pictures of myself in outfits that work. Hopefully I will notice patterns and start selecting clothes that not only fit better (part of that has to do with me changing sizes over the past year or so) but actually flatter. I tend to buy something because it's really pretty or a good deal even if it isn't the best fit on me. I bought an orange jacket at H&M recently because I have wanted one for awhile even though it has hideous buttons and makes me look like a box. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I will be taking it back. Here is an interesting article on the same topic.

WHEN: Friday, December 16

WHERE: Work, then a family get together at our house

GETTING CREATIVE: Is color blocking still trendy? I finally did it again, now that I have solid color bottoms that aren't just black. I thought the gold accessories helped it look festive. BTW that shirt is a really bright turquoise but looks pale blue in the photo. This outfit was even more colorful than what you see here!
WHEN: Sunday, December 11

WHERE: Church, family dinner, and church choir festival and sing-a-long

GETTING CREATIVE: This is the most versatile skirt I own. I have styled is so many ways and adding the brown boots was another way to do so. The curve of the faux wrap sweater isn't looking so good from this angle... yikes! Again, I was hoping the gold would make it festive so I could save my red outfits for the Sundays closer to (and on!) Christmas.

WHEN: Monday, December 12

WHERE: Work, then out for ice cream and Christmas shopping for FHE with husband Spencer

GETTING CREATIVE: I finally wore my black blazer after months (maybe even years) of neglect. Plus, check out my photoshopping skills!

Yesterday I posted the first of a new feature called "Be Inspired|Get Creative." Please let me know if you found any of the links helpful!

Linking up to Pleated Poppy and Momma Go Round

Friday, December 16, 2011

Be Inspired|Get Creative

I would like to start sharing inspiring links that I find with you to help you be inspired to create. It will be a few times a month on Fridays... that way we can all be ready for a creative weekend!

Creativity and Color:
If you haven't seen this article called "How to Steal Like an Artist" hurry go! Read it! I love it so much! My favorite is #1. I love sharing and collecting ideas. I really don't like it when a blogger posts a tutorial with a notice that it isn't to be reproduced for sale, especially when it's for something like a flower that could be used in a myriad of ways. Did the blogger really have the idea all on her own? She designed the fabric, invented the needle, created the idea of a basting stitch and came up with the fabric flower trend? I think not. She got the ideas from someone else. If a crafter uses that tutorial to make a flower and then uses it in an entirely new way and sales that product on Etsy what is the harm in that? If you don't want your idea shared, don't put it on the Internet! (Don't hate me if you disagree.) I love the article so much that I already pre-ordered the book. It's very cheap on Amazon.

Fresh color combos for outfits, but can apply to ANYTHING.

Amazing website to help you find that perfect color pallete.

DIY & Crafts:
Here's a lot of ideas on repurposing that soon to be outdated calendar.

Fabulous ideas on using a trash to treasure approach to decorating.


I found a favorite new style blog. Check out Hello Monkeyface for some great style inspiration!

Awesome ideas for getting more use out of your tights.

Monkeyface has a great series on bloggers who take their own style pictures. It's really inspiring and led to me finding a lot of new fun blogs.

Diversons is one of the blogs with a detailed article on self-photography.

Want to take perfect photos of your Christmas tree? Emilie teaches you how.

Super creative ideas for Christmas treats.

Now, go and create!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gingerbread Houses- Ultimate Creativity!

I love making gingerbread houses. It's such a fantastic way to explore creativity. You are given a limited amount of materials and the sky is the limit as to what you can make. It's a great experience to make candy and frosting into something new. This year husband Spencer and I made the Snoopy's dog house from the Charlie Brown Christmas movie.

Spencer made this amazing Snoopy lying on top of the house out of a marshmallow Santa. I was blown away.

The poor sad Charlie Brown tree was made by drawing it with melted chocolate onto wax paper and putting it in the freezer (mom's idea), then Spencer added the Fruit by the Foot leaves and fondant ornament.

My best contribution was the 1st prize ribbon from a peppermint and Fruit Striped Gum.

My brother and sister-in-law got creative with the green frosting and made a Hawaiian hut. Can you say creative? They melted candy for the water and used cereal and brown sugar to replicate the elements of an island.

And check out that tree! It's made from fondant, then frosted and decorated to resemble a palm.

Of course our littlest brother (actually the tallest?) always has a grand time creating his gingerbread house.

Remember last year when we made a Grinch Who Stole Christmas house? If you have made a gingerbread house leave a link in the comments below so I can come check out your creativity.

P.S. Thanks Mom.

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