Blog Break

Well, I sure did not mean to take a week long break from GFK. However, I was incredibly busy and distracted. First, my mom came into town over the weekend and we had a blast! Walking, hanging, watching Roku, crafting, shopping, and of course eating. Second, work has been kicking my butt. I start a new assignment and to say that I’m taking to it like a fish to water would be a lie. I’m struggling. I know things get better with practice and time, but it’s difficult at the moment. I’m mentally really tired. I haven’t been able to craft as much lately simply because my brain is overloaded. Third, GMAT prep is just crap. Wow the positive vibes are radiating out of me here – but – spending 15+ hours a week on something and seeing no improvement is just shitty. There I said it. I stand by my claim that I’ll pray to God I’ll pull a great score out of my ass on test day, but realistically it looks like I’ll need a formal ($$$$) class this fall. Le sigh.

Things getting me through the weather, life, work, and stress of May 2014: Long walks during lunch, epic BBQ sessions at my house at night, Yoga – handstands, Runs/Gym time, Candy/Sweets/Chocolate, T-we Tea, Roku 3, and the ugly tribe.

me and katy puggy

5-2013 vs 5-2014

Onward. zzzzz.
GFK

Centered Self May 2014

Happy Monday. I hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was very nice aside from my normal GMAT angst. I’m sadly just not doing well in the practice exams anymore. I excel and make huge progress in the practice questions every night when I study for 2-3 hours, but not on the exams I take Saturday. I think, and I know it may sound like I’m ‘opting-out’, but that I may just stop taking the full length practice exams now that there is 1 month till my test. They do not help me confidence wise nor do they help me focus on my ‘weaknesses’ I seem to do poorly/strongly in a new subject each week – making it so nothing is consistent. I’m gonna try for this approach since my 8 weeks of weekly CAT exams have not seemed to help me. I realize that I am rushing, because once I ‘get it over with’ I can actually enjoy my weekend. Honestly, it’s going to come down to that day of the test. All I can do is keep practicing out of my OG book 2-3 hours a day and pray to God and to all the underdog stories of all time that I will pull a decent score out of my ass on May 31. But, worst case scenario I take a formal course with Manhattan in the late summer.

le sigh. Aside from that I had a really nice reflective weekend. I have to marvel at how much I have grown in the past 9+ months mentally and physically. I am able to do things and experience emotions I would have never thought I would work through and make work for me. Mentally, I concurred my anxiety and overcame the insecurities that plagued me for most of my adult life. I am able to accept my faults and to gain strength from my successes. I’ve kicked the negativity to the curb along with all the people that facilitate negative thoughts and actions for me. Living a life without being brought down by others is marvelous. I have never been so free in losing myself in what I love. I finally have found what true security and self-love means.

Plus, I am so lucky to have a strong support group, that only wants to support me and see me succeed. Likewise, I have found immense happiness in inspiring others and trying to infuse a positive support system from myself to anyone I talk to. That doesn’t mean I still don’t have emo or bad days, but I sure as hell snap out of them more quickly and find myself engaging in more meaningful ways of coping with ‘the blues.’ I do have a hard time with expectations, but honestly my core group of friends and family always exceed any expectations that I would have. I’m truly blessed to have people that genuinely care for me and want to see me succeed and be happy. On the physical side of things, I have never been more strong and motivated. I can run like the wind! Well an 8-10 mile an hour breeze, but still that’s GREAT! I also have achieved my handstand goals and now can do unassisted handstands for 30seconds – 1 minute. I’m working on movement poses, but with a curious unnamed kitten – being upside down and trying to switch pose positions is quite difficult. I have to say I really enjoy knowing that I am strong from the inside – humble confidence radiates out of me these days.

I also made this ADORABLE geisha girl from Benartex Panel Prints. I got mine here and it actually took about 2-3 days to receive her! I had a blast putting her together at my friend’s house (duel sewing machines!) and then hand stitching at home (which I still need A LOT of work on).

Last weekend I decided to plant some kitchen herbs and I was so excited to see that 3/4 have already germinated! I’ll have Basil (pictured), Oregano (still waiting on it to germinate), Cilantro, and Rosemary in a few weeks! I also bought an organic Mint plant from Wal-Mart on Saturday and made virgin-zero calorie-full fun juleps/mockjitos with some lemon-lime soda water and stevia. 🙂

I also will admit my favorite treat are those super cheap ice cream cups from Wal-Mart. They have a birthday cake one that is so so tasty. I have friends that help me eat it. *note I was done eating it – I am not that gross to share food with the cats.

I attempted to ‘sun-proof’ and thus heat-proof my living room this weekend also. I used some of those emergency thermal blankets, as I read a HOW TO HERE. Boris was the foreman for this job and inspected my work. I don’t know if this is gonna last/work. The crinkly noise is kind of annoying. TBD. If this <$5 experiment does not work I may splurge and get these real thermal black out drapes. Or I’ll buy those car window black-out foam things and suspend them… God things are getting weird at my house.

This might explain what’s up.

xxx
GFK

Productive Chicago Weekend

Gosh you would think I was sitting on top of some hot-burning fire this weekend because I got a lot done. (Does that even make sense? I feel like that was my attempt at some Depression era ‘talk’) I had to go to my local USPS office to find a missing package with some very special cargo in it. Thankfully, my post office is actually super close to my house and the people who work there are actually pleasant… I know right?

that's a whole summer's worth of HK sun protection.
that’s a whole summer’s worth of HK sun protection.

I also took another practice exam for the GMAT and did an astounding 60 points better in just two weeks! I’m very pleased with this progress and know it is just an affirmation that the studying I am doing is really paying off in a big way. After my CAT, I went ahead and ventured into my craft room for some wonderful sewing projects! I just used a basic bias skirt pattern from McCall’s similar to THIS ONE. I did however use french seams and wish I had known about those sooner – I LOVE their finish.

my new gray denim skirt.
my new gray denim skirt.
adorable fox skirt for lovie.
adorable fox skirt for lovie.

I also tried to make a little tepee for the cats, but they were no feeling it. I think I need to make it bigger, they just didn’t seem to think it was very cool. Cats… they love the ‘sack’ of cloth I made for them a few weeks ago, but don’t understand this has potential for the best photoshoot ever!

abandoned tepee.
abandoned tepee.

In pursuit of the cheapskates lifestyle, I decided to price compare Wal-Mart to Aldi on a few items that I consume a LOT of. Basically, I wanted to find an alternative egg/meat source aside from Aldi. Wal-Mart does have organic Eggland’s Best Eggs for $4.98 and a very very limited non-antibiotic/steroid chicken selection. Aldi rotates organic selections based on consumer buying patterns with a ‘features’ program so two weeks ago when they had the Organic Grassfed beef I was so happy but should have bought more to freeze and use later. Anyways, I’m thinking more about the antibiotics thing because my GMAT prep test actually had an article about how the EU has banned antibiotic use, but the USA hasn’t and well….. here we go. Also in my Wal-Mart escapade today I found some awesome products that made me proud to say ‘EASTHHHER IN AMMMERICCHHHAA.’

walmart is a great place.
walmart is a great place.
vanilla creme peep - limited edition. limited lifespan - CHOMP.
vanilla creme peep – limited edition. limited lifespan – CHOMP.

Sunday, I colored my hair, and while that was processing made that fox skirt up above! Then I went to finish my Dunwich Horror with Mister Josh Howard at Pioneer Tattoo. I love it.

josh howard monster
josh howard monster

There was also a Katy Puggy siting… I keep tweeting the real Katy Perry – maybe one day she’ll see.

katy puggy!
katy puggy!

Le sigh Monday….

xxx
GFK

Denver April 2014

Home Sweet Home. Well sweet old home. I flew into Denver for a quick visit Friday through Monday and boy was it fun! I got to see my family, go for a wonderful hike, eat some delicious food, finish my fantasy sleeve, hung with my badass super babe crew, visited Allegro Coffee headquarters, and attended a Game of Thrones premiere party! I will do a separate post on the Allegro visit and the Game of Thrones party in the next few days. Let’s roll the footage!

first stop!  The Curve for some effing good green chili.
first stop! The Curve for some effing good green chili.
Alisha Rice finished my sleeve! Guess it's time to work on something else!
Alisha Rice finished my sleeve! Guess it’s time to work on something else!
my homie TWINKIELOVE24/7 painted this super super adorable portrait of me and my ugly tribe. xoxoxo
my homie TWINKIELOVE 24/7 painted this super super adorable portrait of me and my ugly tribe. xoxoxo

CHECK OUT HER WORK HERE 🙂

the artist known at twinkielove24/7 and I hiked dinosaur ridge in morrison.
the artist known as twinkielove24/7 and I hiked dinosaur ridge in morrison.
it was pretty muddy on the downslope.
it was pretty muddy on the downslope.
but worth it. gorgeous view of red rocks/the hogback. le sigh i miss mountains.
but worth it. gorgeous view of red rocks/the hogback. le sigh i miss mountains.
i made this amigurume dragon for out GoT party hostess Alisha Rice.
i made this amigurume dragon for out GoT party hostess Alisha Rice.
the Allegro Cafe - super amazing there.
the Allegro Cafe – super amazing there.
BEST VISIT EVER.
BEST VISIT EVER.

Life Around Here.

the hipsters are restless in Logan Square.

Life has been so busy lately. I’ve been studying for the GMAT, knitting the Heliopath KAL, running/working out, and taking care of my tribe.

First things first, the GMAT. I have to say I’m enjoying working through the workbooks for this exam. I have never studied for a standardized test before so all the strategies and methodologies are fascinating. However, the testing material is intense. Nothing is ‘complicated’, but the way the exam is designed is to make sure you know the basics in-and-out. So I’m re-memorizing my geometry proofs, my algebra rules, basic grammar skills, and reasoning strategies. I have faith I’ll get the score I’ve set as my goal, but these next 9 weeks will be full of practice problems, practice exams, and workbooks.

The Heliopath KAL is coming along – I’m about to start the arm shape-ing. Honestly, I’m pretty tired of the cables so I took a few days break from working on it. Tonight I’ll get one side done and hopefully start on the back-piece/make head way on that. I did however rearrange my entire house/address my clay cat-litter ‘situation’ I ended up switching to World’s Best (again) so fingers crossed my asthma/Boris’ allergies are improved.

DIY face mask I made to clean/rearrange my space. Asthma, suck it.

The gym has been great. I got an outdoor run in on Sunday since the weather was lovely. I also ‘splurged’ and bought new running shoes, which I desperately needed. These New Balances are great. I honestly feel like my momentum and speed are soaring in them!

My new New Balance Carnival 574s
Logan Square. 5K Sunday Run.

The Ugly Tribe. I spend so much time at home, these guys really make me so happy. Although during my first full length practice exam on Saturday, Vladimir would not leave me alone and would not stop fussing with stuff in the kitchen. I don’t think the GMAT people had a pesky sphynx in mind when they designed the exam. I may start going to the library to take those exams since I had to get up three separate times to sternly warn my eldest cat to GET THE EFF OUT OF THE SINK / QUIT KNOCKING OVER CLEAN BUT DRYING DISHES. Anyways here’s some photos of my weekend with them.

Boris waiting for some string cheese.
dont’ go run mom, just stay here and hold me.
you gonna share that mom?
pug – spooning.
lay with me you little sh%t.
I take nap here. zzzz.

ONWARDS.
xxx
GFK.

Ghostfacing March Goals

Well it’s the first Monday of the month! Can you believe that it’s March? It seems like I was just back home in Denver eating green chili, nut bread, and getting tattooed for Christmas! Time flies when you’re having fun! That being said, I think every beginning of the month I’ll do a new ‘monthly goals’ challenge. That way I can measure, record, and obtain short term and long term goals for accountability.

My short list for March to-do’s:

1. Go to the Dentist – for many this is a simple chore, for me (someone who has had EXTENSIVE dental work over my short lifetime) it is a living nightmare. No joke. I had a great dentist in Denver who did my “laser gum surgery” (say it like Dr. Evil) and I haven’t found one here that I’m comfortable with. I specifically need to find an office that respects that I am terrified and not just ‘being a baby’ or ‘high maintenance.’ Okay now that I’ve thrown that out there I can wait until the end of the month to resolve it.

fact: chewing on your hand makes your teeth super strong.

2. Cheapskates are the best skates – I’m tired of spending money I don’t need to. I stopped shopping at the regular grocery store at the start of the year, and it’s cut my grocery bill in half. Plus I eat more (+1600 calories a day) and eat out WAY less (once a week out of pocket / 3 chipotle visits with gift cards). I’m going to only buy my clothes from thrift store from here on out, because I’m just sick of spending money on things. I’m not ‘broke’ by any means, but why spend the dough if I don’t have to? I’d rather have a GIANT savings account and some new tattoos than ground beef from whole foods or a new cardy from Target.

massages are not consumption.

3. Lent – Sigh. I’ve been a ‘terrible’ Catholic lately. In the sense I haven’t been to mass since last Easter, but as a person I think I’ve been more ‘faithful’ than ever. I digress, Lent, whether you believe in the tales or not is a good time for restraint and reflection in general. PLUS, it’s easy to commiserate with other ‘lent-giver uppers’ during this time. So my plan is to give up snacking completely after dinner. I’m a huge fan of the rolling dinner from meal to bed and it’s got to stop. It just makes me feel bad and gross. I need to eat more during the morning/afternoon, not at 10pm. ALSO this one is HUGE. I’m restricting frozen yogurt to once a week on the weekends. TEARS. But froyo doesn’t really fit with my whole lifestyle change and cheapskates regime.

a family out of control

4. I’ll save the best for last. This month is about positive energy. I’m really focused with surrounding myself with inspiring people. Everyday, I meet new folks either in real life or the interwebs that make me think that this world and life is so awe inspiring – this month of March I’m going to continue to surround myself with PMA and people with enthusiasm. Believe me I’m so happy with my family and friends and to add to that stellar roster is exciting as hell.

Okay I think that’s a great start. Dentist, cheapskates, Lent promises, and PMA. March, I’ll do right by you!

XXX
GFK

Together

Well it’s Valentine’s Day. It’s always a day full of such great expectations. If you have a typical Valentine good for you. I’m flying solo, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have awesome family, friends, and the tribe to send me love all year long. Plus…. Motley Crue.

Happy V Day. Whatever it means to you.

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Love yourself the most.

xxxx
GFK

February Health Challenge

I’ve decided to do something a wee bit different in terms of challenges this month because obviously I NEED to get back into the flow with writing daily blogs – I was doing so so well before the holidays. Life just gets so busy! I’ve done several things this past month that I have been proud of. I started running again which I love. It’s nice to run for mental well-being and fitness/stamina than just ‘to lose weight.’ I’m making HUGE progress on my vintage patterned sweater. I taught myself how to fair isle. Also I learned to crochet and have been having a blast learning the ins-and-outs of that art.

crochet mummy
crochet mummy

Oh and Lois visited over the weekend and we had a blast!

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Anyways this challenge. It’s just a daily reminder about health. This picture I found on Google Images for “February Blog Challenge” is old and I’m not guessing the correct blog for this is even working, but I hyperlinked the photo to the address on there despite it seeming like that domain has changed owners. I thought it would be a great way to get back in touch with some mental/physical well being.

Old Feb Challenge I'm Hi-jacking.
Old Feb Challenge I’m Hi-jacking.

So I’ll just jump right in at #4: Relaxation. This one is always tough for me, because I operate at high energy and anxiety levels 24/7. However, I do relax by knitting and embroidering. Most projects I work on become pretty therapeutic. Especially embroidery, the ‘risk’ of messing up or ‘ruining’ the project with a simple mistake does not exist.

embroidered tea-towel for my Grandma's birthday.
embroidered tea-towel for my Grandma’s birthday.

I think that’s why I’ve enjoyed learning to crochet as well – the ‘ripping out’ is so simple and not as scary/severe as when a small mistake is made in knitting. Sometimes, like last night I just crocheted a little ‘doo-dad’ and watched TV all evening. It was so relaxing and just what I needed after a jam packed weekend with Lois.

just a shriner fez for the tribe.
just a shriner fez for the tribe.

I can’t believe it’s already February. Time flies!

xxx
GFK

Fair Isle Goat Pillow DONE

Well, it’s done. It only took total 10-11 hours which is not that bad considering it was my first real Fair Isle project. I’m really pleased that I did NOT try this as the glove. I think it would have turned into a AMF knitting project (angry mofo), if I had tried DPNs with my first time Fair Isle. Anyways, there’s a few mistakes – it happens. I really dig this as a pillow and will be doing more pillow/tapestry designs in the future. I will however go a step further and knit in the round next time. All my mistakes were on the purl side (WS) so being able to see the knit side the entire time would aid in banishing those little flubs.

Finished pillow front being 'blocked' it's acrylic so it's not like that did anything.
Finished pillow front being ‘blocked’ it’s acrylic so it’s not like that did anything.
added some 'french knots' to cover up a missed black perrie. oops.
added some ‘french knots’ to cover up a missed black perrie. oops.
i really like the split in the goat.
i really like the split in the goat.
finished pillow. pug mildly impressed.
finished pillow. pug mildly impressed.
shhh mom, just shut your mouth.
shhh mom, just shut your mouth.
new sweater blaster - embroidered 'B" for the baby boris.
new sweater blaster – embroidered ‘B” for the baby boris.
one half of hall and oates. this is what i do on saturday nights people.
one half of hall and oates. this is what i do on saturday nights people.

Pet Projects: The Animal Knit Bible

After my ‘finishing faux paw’ (harhar) on Boris’s new sweater of sewing the arm holes closed I realized I’ve knitted too many pet sweaters to be making such a silly mistake! So I’ve been inspired to share a few of the patterns I’ve made here.

a cat straight-jacket is okay with me too.
a cat straight-jacket is okay with me too.

Obviously I knit a lot. I knit for people and of course animals. I have talked a little bit about the knitted items I’ve made for the animals before, but without a doubt all the patterns are from Pet Projects: The Animal Knit Bible. I can’t even tell you how many sweaters I’ve made for mine and others’ pets, but here are a few of the patterns and a lot of sweaters I have made from this book. (PS If you click the book link it takes you to the Ravelry page with other knitters’ works too!)

Despite his grumpy demeanor he's warm.
Despite his grumpy demeanor he’s warm.
This was for a furry friend. Too short for Vlad.
This was for a furry friend. Too short for Vlad.
All dressed up and no where to go - also ever since I took this photo I've wanted to make an all grey 'knight' suit for Lee.
All dressed up and no where to go – also ever since I took this photo I’ve wanted to make an all grey ‘knight’ suit for Lee.
My first sweater for Vladimir then it became Leopold's.
My first sweater for Vladimir then it became Leopold’s.
Although short, he prefers this sweater because he can run around.
Although short, he prefers this sweater because he can run around and you know grab a cup of coffee.
Pet bed, perfect for two.
Pet bed, perfect for two.
Vladimir's favorite summer spot.
Vladimir’s favorite summer spot.
"The Anti-Firework" Balaclava..... aka "The Laugh Hysterically at Your Animal Hat"
“The Anti-Firework” Balaclava….. aka “The Laugh Hysterically at Your Animal Hat”
Again "Laugh Hysterically"
Again “Laugh Hysterically”
I modified this hat to make Lee transform into RASTA PUG MAHN.
I modified this hat to make Lee transform into RASTA PUG MAHN.

They have a LOT of wonderful color pattern knits in this book too. I think I’m gonna turn the page from the sweater section and start making a few other fun animal items. Coveting it now? Buy it here.