Thursday, March 29, 2012

Acupuncture for Anxiety (My First Impressions)

About a month ago I was meeting with my RE who said that before we do a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) I needed to try and and relax as much as I can which is not an easy task for someone with anxiety.  In the same meeting she suggested I look into an acupuncturist for the FET.  That's when the wheels started turning and I began thinking about using acupuncture for anxiety.

A year ago I wouldn't have given acupuncture for anxiety a second thought.  I wasn't a needle person and the thought of those tiny things sticking out all over my body totally creeped me out.  A year ago I was also still trying to get onto some kind of anxiety medicine hoping that they would help.

Since then I have learned that me and a lot of medicines just weren't meant to be.  For some people, they are the answer to prayers, but my path would need to be a little different.

My anxiety was passed on to me through genetics but some of  my circumstances make it worse than normal.  (Cue on-going fertility issues and another miscarriage).

I've been trying really hard not to let anxiety or depression get out of control this time around.  To some extent it has worked.  However the side effects of both are still there.  My stomach has been hurting more, food is harder to eat, I have a hard time sleeping at night, my muscles get a little tense, etc.

Originally my husband suggested that I start getting massages to help with all of the above.  Normally I would have jumped at the chance but the thought of hurting the day after a massage was a little discouraging.  I don't want to take more medications than I already have to even if its Advil or Tylenol.

The thought of attempting a FET has taken a lot of courage and faith in a hope that has been drowning.  If I'm going to do it, I'm going all in which means looking into an acupuncturist to help aid with fertility.  I didn't want my first session to be on the day of transfer, it wouldn't be good to have that extra little bit of stress.  So I met with one of the acupuncturist my RE recommended, yesterday.

The idea of using acupuncture for anxiety (and fertility) was no longer scary.  If I can give myself three shots a day I can handle acupuncture.  So I was actually a little excited.  We discussed general health, my anxiety, trouble sleeping, my stomach problems, and all things fertility.  Acupuncture can help with all of the above.

Afterwards we went in to the treatment room.  I laid on the table.  She strategically placed needles in my feet, ankles, stomach, wrists, and forehead.  It's not a poke but its not just a pressure feeling.  It honestly didn't hurt but you can tell something is being placed in those areas.

She left the room for half an hour for me to try and relax.  At first my legs would twitch at the same time with the same kind of movement.  I felt a little like Po from Kung Fu Panda.  Then I fell asleep for a few minutes.  Other than that, I honestly couldn't feel anything.  I didn't walk away from that experience suddenly feeling healed but I don't think I should expect that.  I left satisfied with the appointment.

I do think that the more I go, the more I will be able to see results with acupuncture for anxiety just like anything else it takes time.  I'm excited to going.  It is not something to be afraid of.  If it helps even just a little with any of the above it will have been worth it.

Has anyone else tried acupuncture?  

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Graduation Celebration with Tangerine Tango

It's that time again to start thinking about a graduation celebration whether you or someone you know is graduating from 8th grade, high school, college, etc.  If you know me, you know that I love photo announcements and I love options.  Some people wear the school colors loud and proud while others would rather their graduation announcement matched their grad photo.  That's a perk of semi-custom photo announcements.  Color is easy to change and customize.  After Pantone announced their color of the year, Tangerine Tango, I knew I wanted to design a wedding package and a grad announcement using this color. 

It took me a while to figure out the perfect color palette using Tangerine Tango while keeping in mind my audience for graduation.  It's not an explosion of tangerine but enough to add visual excitment and still achieve an element of simplicity.  Typography is also huge right now.  Add it all together and you get one trendy yet classy announcement that has it all.  

One feature of this announcement that I added was the optional flourish.  I really liked the flourish but sometimes people want something a little more masculine and that's perfectly fine.

This Tangerine Tango Grad Announcement is currently available in two sizes:

5 x 7
6 x 7 1/2 (For those printing at Costco)

It is available in a psd format on my website for those with Adobe Photoshop to download and add their own personal touches.

For those who don't have Photoshop or would like me to add the photos and make the appropriate changes it is also available in a jpg format.  You will email your information and photos after making your purchase.  I will work my magic and email you a final flattened jpg file, ready for you to send to the printers of your choice.

In the end I hope this color palette inspires you and your graduation celebration like it has me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Basic Adobe Photoshop Tutorial (Conte Crayon)

I've decided to post my first basic Adobe Photoshop tutorial, but first, a story.

John and Linda Williams have just welcomed a new baby boy into their family.  They are smiling from ear to ear when they look into his sweet eyes and want the world or at least close friends and family to meet their little bundle.  They decide to send out a baby boy birth announcement.  Sue has a version of Photoshop Elements that she purchased from Costco.  She's not an expert of this program but can get her way around.  She doesn't have the time, being a new mom and all, to come up with a new design all on her own.  She heads on over to and looks through the baby boy birth announcements and finds the layout she wants.  She purchases the .psd file (as it is a photoshop file).  She adds her photos to the template, changes the font, and a color or two and prints her now customized birth announcement, ready to send to her loved ones. 

Ta Da!  Ok while that isn't what happened with this particular announcement it could.  My brother and his wife recently had a baby boy and a pretty darn cute one at that.  Being the talented (and humble) older sister I am, I had the opportunity to customize one of my templates for them (another option on my website). We talked about a few changes they would like and my creative juices started flowing.  Before I knew it I had 7 or 8 different variations for them to choose from and still had more ideas.  

By this point I was actually on the phone with my mom, who was working on her own project with her fairly early version of Photoshop Elements.  She asked me if there was anything she could do to make her  background color not look so flat.  She wanted some pzazz.  "That's easy," I say as I introduce her to filters.  As I'm talking her through the steps I'm actually putting the filter on the plain grey background I had on my brother's announcement.  The above is the product and I think it looks pretty darn cool.  That's when I had an idea.

*Cue Basic Adobe Photoshop Tutorial*

Why not teach everyone how I got this textured background, aka... Conte Crayon?

Step 1:  Choose your colors.  I chose a light grey for the top layer and white for the color that peeks through.

Step 2:  Draw a rectangle, with your rectangle tool, that covers the entire page.  Before you can make adjustments you may need to "rasterize" your shape.  The layer will probably look something like the photo above it this is the case.  

How to Rasterize:
                Option 1:  Right Click on the blue area of the layer.  It should pop up
                                            a pull down menu with the option to "Rasterize Layer"

                Option 2:  On your top menu you should have a pull down titled "Layer"
                                Once you find this  you find the following: "Rasterize" "Shape"

Now you should be ready to edit your rectangle.

 Once again go to your top pull down menus.  Find the "Filter" menu and hover over the "Sketch" option.  From there you will select,  "Conte Crayon."  This should pull up a screen to show you an example of what you have selected.  Play with the different options on the right like the Foreground and Background.  You can make the pattern scale larger, more pronounced and decide how much of grey and white you will see.  Then select "Ok"  When you are done.

That's it.  Your background now has some Pzazz.

Be sure to check back here for more basic Adobe Photoshop tutorials and if you have any questions in particular please don't hesitate to contact me at  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Garden Preparation (Where to Start)

Do you recognize this photo?  It wasn't too long ago I posted about the trials and success I had with growing vegetables in containers, but guess what?  It's already time to start thinking about what I need to do for this year's garden preparation.

I'm not going to lie, I felt like a kid in a candy store as I was browsing websites looking for more heirloom seeds.  Purple Carrots?  I want some.  Ooo maybe I want to try this variation of onion.  Can I find a container big enough to grow this summer squash?

So where does one start when it comes to garden preparation, especially when doing it in containers?

Last year had such a huge learning curve for me.  I made the mistake of just planting all my seeds straight into containers.  I would set them out during the day and bring them in at night.  It saved on transplanting and I thought, hey they are getting used to being outside.  Big Mistake!!!  It turns out that some of those starts really need to have the consistent warmth.  My laziness stunted the growth of my tomatoes and peppers.  They wanted to be inside for the first few weeks.

Container gardening does have its limitations so garden preparation starts with learning about container size and soil depth.  It's true you can plant oregano in a tiny tea cup and set it by your kitchen sink but the reality is it will probably either struggle to grow or you won't get the maximum amount of produce.  Plants need to have a certain amount of soil in order to let their roots grow sufficiently to support the plant.  Most plants need to have at least 8 inches of soil depth.

The next step is to find out how much the plant will grow in width.  It's hard to find containers that are bigger than 18 inches without paying an arm and a leg.  Thus if I have a zucchini that needs 28" it probably won't do well in a container.

The great thing is that there are many books out there with ideas and instructions on what plants will thrive in containers, what soil depth is required as well as what size container to purchase.  They will even tell you what plants you can put in the same pot.  For example, in a 15" pot I can plant green onions, lettuce, spinach, radishes and carrots.  Crazy right?

This week I hope to open up one such book and figure out more vegetables to try and figure out which seeds need to be started in the the next few weeks (inside).  Hopefully by this time next week I will have a list of plants I hope to grow and can share more tips on growing vegetables in containers.

Are you in the process of making garden preparations?  What do you plan on growing?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

How To Deal With Life's Trials


Photo Source:  jam343

Do you ever feel like your life is sometime's like the games you play around the table with family or friends?  Lately I've been kind of feeling like the game of Jenga.  Obviously there is some skill to the game.  You want to pull the loose pieces out first, you want your base to have strong foundation, etc.  

Photo Source: egarc2

With the culmination of all the events that have occurred over the last few weeks I have wondered if my next move would be the one to send everything tumbling down.  In addition sometimes this game is left in the hands of another player.  They could choose to attempt to pull a piece too quickly or one that is load bearing. 

Last week seemed to be the week where everything was going to come tumbling down.  As the old adage says, "When it rains, it pours."  Not only did I feel I was being pulled in a hundred different directions but felt like I was being judged by so many other people (whether they were or not is another story).  At one point I wanted to just tell everyone... if you only knew what I was going through I bet you wouldn't say those things to me or have that look on your face.  You might actually pick up the phone and call me just to see how I'm doing, because at the moment it isn't too well.  

Then this week happened and I've come to a couple of realizations.

1.) It's true I may fall as the result of my own hand or someone else's but I won't be left to pick up the remaining pieces by myself.  I have been so overcome with gratitude for those people in my life.  Monday I opened the door to a man delivering flowers from my husband's co-workers letting both him and I know how much they cared.  Tuesday our doorbell rang at 9:00 at night, which is a peculiar thing.  There on my doorstep was a loaf of hot zucchini bread and note from some anonymous person, telling me what a great person they thought I was.  Yesterday, I logged into my Facebook to see a note from my childhood best friend with her kind words.  With each event I am almost brought to tears, knowing I'm not alone in anything.  

2.) Most of us are all in the fight of our lives and somehow we keep on going, yes even those people who we feel have wronged us.  In the last couple of days I have talked with a lot of our immediate family.  One brother and his wife have a new baby who is battling to sleep for more than an hour because of Acid Reflux.  I have a brother-in-law who just broke a bone and is prepping for surgery.  I have a nephew who is allergic to more foods than I can count and is striving to find foods that he can and will eat let alone gain weight.  My mom is with my grandma as she struggles to leave this world leaving my youngest siblings and my dad to fend for themselves.  On the outside many of these family member and others seem to have the "perfect" life, no trials whatsoever.  The reality is that they are just like me, wondering how much more they can be expected to take let alone find the way out.  

The answer:  through the thoughts and actions of those people like the anonymous bread giver (that is their official title).  Its through me and you and those other people who can support them.  I may not have answers to life's problems but the power of a phone call, flowers, or even just a kind note can do wonders, I've seen it.            

Now it's time for me to Pay it Forward.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bridal Trends 2012 and the Orange Invitations

It's finally here, my first wedding package!  I suspect that as Tangerine Tango is the color of the year and showing up in all kinds of retail stores it will also start popping up in bridal trends 2012.  Orange wedding colors were already making a comeback and will be most popular in the summer and fall.  It's such a fun color.  So to keep up with the bridal trends 2012 I have created this wedding invitation package which include the following:

- 5 x 7 Wedding Announcement
- 4 x 6  Save the Date
- 4 x 5.5 Save the Date
- 4 x 5.5 Thank-you
- 4 x 5.5 RSVP

I try to keep my sizes with the standards most printing companies have.  If you are wondering what some of my favorites are for the mainstream public it would probably be Costco and my latest find Mpix.

This package is available in a PSD format on my website for those with Photoshop.  The perk to downloading these files is that you can alter color, text, and even size to meet your personal needs.

It is also available in a JPG format for those who don't have Photoshop or wish for me to insert your photos and information.  After you purchase the JPG version you would then send me the photos and information you want used, I will work my magic and send you the final jpg copies, ready for you to print.  If you are interest in this package but different sizes please email me at

Below is a close up of what this particular package includes.  

This is the 5 x 7 wedding announcement/invitation.  Not only is it included in the above package but is available as a stand alone purchase in both PSD and JPG format on my website.

4 x 6 Save the Date

4 x 5 1/2 Save the Date (Is is the exact same just in a different size for convenience)

4 x 5 1/2 Thank-You

4 x 5 1/2 RSVP

In addition I will be adding one more size of the Wedding Announcement, 6 x 7 1/2 for those print at Costco.  

Now onto a Tangerine Tango Graduation Announcement.  Be sure to check back for more details.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Beauty of Fresh Flowers

Nothing brightens up a day or a room like fresh flowers, even more so when they are sent from those that care for you.  Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

St. Patrick s Day Printables

I think it's about time for another free Download of the Month and what better for the month of March then St. Patrick s Day printables?  Like my other Downloads of the Month the idea is that you print it on a regular 8 1/2 x 11 size paper and trim it down to fit into an 8 x 10 size frame.  I took just a little less than  1/2 inch from top and bottom while taking a little less than 1/4 of an inch from the sides.

You can find this and other free downloads on my website.  Be sure to look around while you're there.

I love the bright colors of these St. Patrick s Day printables and that they aren't in your typical rainbow colors.  If you compare the two photos above you'll notice a little bit of a difference in color.  This brings up a a good topic to discuss.  Sometimes, when you go to print things on any printer you'll find that the colors are off.  Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.  Printers need to be re calibrated every so often to adjust the colors back to what your screen is showing.  Why?  Printing causes a lot of wear and tear on the machines themselves.  I'm guessing the printer at Staples is getting close to needing to be re calibrated.  If this happens to you, there are several courses of actions you can take.

1.)  Ask them if there is anything they can do to get your print closer to what your screen is showing.
2.) Find out when there machines are due for their next tune up.  (If it's not for a while and the color is pretty bad I would probably find a different company.  That's poor service.)
3.)  Ask for a refund.
4.) Take it somewhere else.
5.)  Take it as it is.

I chose number 5 this time.  The color wasn't terrible and I didn't mind it.

I hope you enjoy these St. Patrick s Day Printables :)