Wednesday, October 14, 2015

SOMEONE Deserves A Raise

I DID NOT want to get this machine!  I DID NOT want to love it!  I DID NOT want to own another product produced by Provo Craft..... EVER!

Years ago I fell IN LOVE with paper crafting!  Shortly after my quick fall down the rabbit hole, by sister bought me a Cricut Personal Cutting Machine.  It was the latest and greatest papercrafting tool on the market and ran on infomercials pretty much non-stop!  It came with 2 cartridges and a 12" x 6" mat that allowed you to cut any image on the cartridges up to the size of the mat.  IT WAS AWESOME..... however, ALL of the images were geared for teachers with very basic images that were child-like, and to buy new cartridges would set you back about $90..... WHOA!  But I loved it and KNEW the technology would advance, and so it did.  In fact, by the time the Cricut Expression was introduced followed by the hand-held design studio called Gypsy in 2009, cartridges were down to about $20-$30, the cutting space had increased to 12" x 24", there were THOUSANDS of GORGEOUS designs to cut and I was upgrading with the BEST of them!!!  But with all of the progress, it seemed Provo Craft the company (the makers of the Cricut products) seemed to regress in service.  They were leaders in the papercrafting world and they forgot WHO got them there.  Their quality began to slip and more importantly, their service slipped to a point that it was so deplorable (you can read all about temper tantrum HERE), I stopped using and purchasing Provo Craft products ENTIRELY..... FOR YEARS!!!  If it said "Cricut" or "Provo Craft" on it, I was NOT interested!  I bought a Big Shot, by Sizzix, manual die cutting machine and turned to purchasing individual dies.  The service at Sizzix has always been excellent!

Over the past 5 years since I stopped purchasing their products, Provo Craft has come out with a few products that I would have liked to try but my distrust of the company turned me away.... until now.  This new machine is INCREDIBLE!  It allows you to write/draw and cut at the same time, you can print and cut an uploaded image, you can cut any font you have on your computer, you can purchase SINGLE images to cut instead of an entire cartridge for the one image you need.  The design studio is now on your computer, on your tablet, your phone or the combination of the three.  You can CUSTOMIZE the colors of any of the images and simply print them out, OR you can print them out and cut them.... AND you can do it wirelessly!!!  THIS.MACHINE.ROCKS!  So I took the plunge!  I bought the new Cricut Explore Air.... but only because I have an "out".  You see, HSN recently launched Anna Griffin's Limited Edition Cricut Explore Air in a special bundle for $269.  The machine is a GORGEOUS gold color, was launched with 5 flexpays, no shipping AND I have until January to return it for a full refund.  The customer service test began the day after I bought it and was an utter FAILURE!!!  I thought I might have to return the latest and greatest machine unopened the minute it was delivered to my door.

Back when the Gypsy was all the rage, I actually WON a free Gypsy hand-held design studio.  The premise was that you could upload ALL your cartridges to this design studio and design anywhere WITHOUT having to lug around all your cartridges.  By that time I owned about 60 cartridges, so you can imagine how incredibly awesome winning it for free was to me (I did a blog post about it HERE), especially since it retailed at launch for around $500.  That would quickly drop to around $300.... as customer service noticeably slips.  Well, the catch to owning a Gypsy was, once you uploaded your cartridges to a device, the cartridge could not be uploaded to another device EVER.  Well, guess what machine is now obsolete and what is required to be able to use the new software in the new Explore Air I just purchased from HSN?  You guessed it.... I need to upload all my cartridges, but can't!  So I called customer service.  The girl I spoke to advised me to use a USB cable to upload my Gypsy which would then sync up the cartridges on it to, but I would need this special USB cable that I didn't have and was out of stock.  The representative didn't know when they would be back in stock.  I asked if there was another way because my new machine was arriving and I wanted to be able to use all my cartridges when it arrived.  Her tone changed as she proceeded to tell me that I could send her pictures of all my cartridges with a complete list, but I would need to make sure that she could see EVERY detail of the cartridges and that it was going to take her 7-10 business days to input when I could check other sources for purchasing the USB cable.  I asked her if I could just go ahead and send her the pics of my cartridges, my machine wasn't due for delivery until the following week, so this route would probably be the easiest for me.  She said "yes", but she wasn't "happy to help", if you know what I mean.  She gave me her email address, which I read back to her before hanging up.  That night I took my pics, prepared my emails (multiple pics requires multiple emails) and sent them off only to have them returned "undeliverable".  Well... this was NOT a good start.  I informed my husband that if he was home when the box arrived to refuse delivery.... I WAS NOT going to deal with Provo Craft's HORRIBLE service AGAIN!  Well, I had the weekend to cool off from my temper tantrum.  I watched a few YouTube videos on how the new machine works and decided to give  a call on Monday morning.  I got Nic who was WONDERFUL!!!  He was helpful and patient and did I say WONDERFUL!?!  He waited on the phone while I resent the emails and confirmed receipt of each one.  He even waited while I powered on my Gypsy (WOW!  Was that thing always this slow?) and went through the entire list of cartridges discovering that there were cartridges on my Gypsy machine that I never received a physical cartridge for (promos that came with the Gypsy machine as well as other promo's offered by Provo Craft) that I had completely forgotten about!!!  Thank  you Nic!  I doubt you know that you stopped a freight train.  Had that phone call gone any other way, I would have returned that machine.  Had you been representing Provo Craft years ago, that company would have gotten A LOT more money from me!!!

Nic gave me hope that Provo Craft might be going in a more customer service oriented direction.  I received my new machine and am having a BLAST with it!!!  I've even called the Cricut customer service line a couple of times yesterday receiving patient support both times as well.  Time will tell.  In the meantime.... WOW does this machine ROCK!!!  And for the next two weeks I have access to SOOOOOO many Cricut images for FREE!!!  I have the entire library to play with.  And that idea is so smart...I already purchased 7 new cartridges because of those free cuts and 5 new cutting mats.  See how happy customers spend money Provo Craft?  Nic deserves a raise.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

UPDATE: Reflection

WOW, WOW, WOW!!!  So I just received the most wonderful comment on my blog from someone I've never met and it BLEW my mind because I had COMPLETELY forgotten that I wanted to use my blog for "Scribing" in my Miracle Morning program!  I have gotten completely off track with my blog while I've been focusing on my new journey.  And SO much has happened, so here is my update!!!

Well, when I started this journey (AGAIN) almost a month ago, I had no idea that stars were truly aligning!  I hoped for it and wanted to believe it, but I honestly wasn't sure.  And then support from crazy, out of this world sources started showing up... are still showing up (thank you Nancy), prayers are getting answered at lightening speed and "effortless" is not the description I would use to describe THIS fun and mental change, but more like "enjoyable".  Yep, I'm going there.... ENJOYABLE!  I just visited my doctor for my "month one" weigh in and I'm down 11 pounds!!!  This is a life that is changing!

S- I'm up to 10 minutes to sit in silence and BE with God first thing in the morning.  However, I'm also finding that I'm spending more and more time throughout the day to stop and "BE" as well.
A- I am successful and capable with divine wisdom that surpasses understanding.  I am highly favored by God receiving blessings I can barely contain. (I'm leaving this one exactly the way it is!)
V- What if we moved mountains?  The Bible says we can.... do I believe it?  Do I believe this mountain is moved?  I can see the elation in my mind's eye of slipping on that pair of jeans I've saved for the past 20 years refusing to throw them away because I refuse to give up hope.  The feeling of release, of being lighter, the feeling of ease of movement.
E- 20 minutes of Elliptical today
R- The Hunger Fix (I HIGHLY recommend!)

I'm reflecting over the past month, where I got it right and where I missed the mark, but it is different somehow.  I've stopped beating myself up!  I'm allowing myself to just be.  When I do miss the mark (and I definitely did on more than one occasion this past month), I'm looking at it objectively, deciding how I will do things differently the next day and moving on.  The one thing that has helped with that tremendously is using the MyFitnessPal app.  It helps when you log EVERYTHING!  When you look at days when you binged and then look at days when you ate perfectly within your calorie range, it puts the days you messed up in perspective.  Over the course of 28 days, I messed up my eating plan 5 of those days that means that around 82% of the time I was right on track..... 82% got me 11 pounds lighter.  I wonder what 85% will get me???

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Praying For A Miracle Day 1

I could really use a miracle!  Today is day two in whatever this thing that I'm doing is going to end up being.  I'm hopeful, as I always am, that THIS time it is going to take and my life with be transformed.  And by "it", I'm talking about overcoming my addiction to eating and living a healthy life!  Maybe now is the time!?!  I mean, when I was a smoker, I remember trying over and over again to quit and it just wouldn't take..... until it did.  And when it did, it was effortless and it was for good.  So I have experience with big, successful changes in my life.  Why couldn't the stars be aligned this time?

Well, I believe they have.  And I'm not ashamed to say that I'm tapping into WHATEVER I have in my arsenal to take it on.  My Body For Life workout schedule, a daily Bible devotional, becoming addicted to self-help books (already there really) and taking advantage of a newly retired husband who can prepare meals (I always wanted a live-in chef)..... stars aligning???  Well, to help tip the scales even more, I'm also employing the help of Mr. Hal Elrod with his masterpiece, The Miracle Morning.  I've read it before and attempted to do it, but fell off the wagon (seeing a pattern?) and quit.  I am SO ready to quit quitting!!!  Time to exorcize a really bad spirit and start exercising a really good one.  Today is Miracle Morning Day 1:

S- 5 minutes to sit in silence and reach for God.
A- I am successful and capable with divine wisdom that surpasses understanding.  I am highly favored by God receiving blessings I can barely contain.
V- What does being successful and capable look like?  How am I interacting with those around me with divine wisdom, favor and blessings from God?
E- 20 minutes of Elliptical today
R- Psalm 37:18-19 The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance.
S- Praying For A Miracle Day 1

I am going to spend the day increasing my productivity.  I am going to focus on connecting to God.  I know that in Him is my success.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Giving It Another Go

A few years back I joined my local Curves and jumped on the Curves Complete bandwagon with HUGE success.  Since then I moved to an area that doesn't have a Curves, my husband was forced to retire from his job, I started a new job and life has been FULL of fun and mental changes (some not-so-fun).  How do I respond to a whirlwind of changes that gives me whiplash?  I stuff my face and DON'T do what I know I need to do to stay healthy and reach my goals.

Welp today I'm giving it another go.  I may not have a Curves near me, but I AM still part of the Curves online community and I have access to some pretty great resources and included in those resources is a meal planner complete with recipes and even an "on the go" menu that I lived on today until dinner.  While not advised to do on a daily basis, having "on the go" options means that you can stay on course when you are in a pinch! 
  • Breakfast:  Dunkin Donuts Ham and Egg Wakeup Wrap (went through the drive through so that I wouldn't be tempted)
  • Morning Snack:  Starbucks (iced latte, YUM)
  • Lunch:  Firehouse Subs, Steamer on wheat, no cheese, no mayo
And finally that leads me to dinner!!!  I ran to the store today and picked up everything I needed to make this INCREDIBLE Mediterranean Spaghetti!  This one features garlic hummus as the low calorie cream sauce and is loaded with chicken, tomatoes, onions, peppers, fresh basil olives and feta cheese to garnish.  And using quinoa noodles made this one gluten free and OMG so yummy!!!  This one is definitely a comfort food disguised as a healthy meal!!!  And the new Curves Complete recipes now has a new feature where you can control the amount of servings and it automatically adjusts the shopping list for you.  That feature didn't exist the first time I was on this program.  I'm hoping that it is little conveniences like that to give me the boost I need to make this happen..... FOR GOOD!!!!  Here's to giving this another try.  Now to dial it in on the exercises and 10,000 steps per day.  I KNOW my Curves Complete pedometer is around here somewhere!!!!

**** To the ladies at the Ahwatukee Curves... I miss you guys more than I can put into words!****

Friday, January 2, 2015

More Than Just Playtime

I hadn't realized until just recently what a blessing my "mostly stocked" craft room is.... honestly, that little space of heaven might really be saving my life!!!  Not a bad way to start off my new year!!!

My husband and I recently met my sister and her husband for one of those "paint nights" where you meet at a bar, recreate a masterpiece and have a bit of fun.  When my husband asked my sister why she decided to plan this outing she explained that as part of her breast cancer recovery, her holistic doctor recommended she take up something artistic to help relieve stress.  She was quick to point out that I've always had paper crafting for stress relief and artistic expression and I realized that she was right!!!  When I sit down to work on a project, I can COMPLETELY lose myself... truly not a care in the world.  HUGE chunks of time can fly by unnoticed when I'm in the throes of creative inspiration, even if it is only recreating a masterpiece....

This is the WONDERFUL project I copied from Karen!  Check out her blog HERE!!!  Big "THANKS" to my dear friend (and local Stampin Up Demonstrator), Cindy, for being game to help me recreate this incredible project!!!  Using the iridescent ice with the silver ink for the snowflake was utter brilliance!!!!  If anyone in the Chandler, AZ area is looking for a local Stampin Up Distributor, you can check her out HERE!  There's only a couple more days to order to get your hands on a couple of the items I used to recreate this gem (they were seasonal items)!

I really had a blast tonight with my friend Cindy making these curvy keepsake luminaries and I definitely had a blast with my sister and her husband at paint night.  I made a mental note that the "sharing" of artistic expression and relieving stress is truly an added bonus and an even bigger blessing than if I'm holed up in my craft room.  I think it's something I need to do a little bit more of.  But that being said, there is NOTHING like shutting the craft room door and getting lost in creativity!!!  Here's to a healthy 2015!!!

Life Is Beautiful... Countdown to Holiday Mini Release

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