Friday, April 30, 2010


So here's the story:
We flew to Copenhagen and as soon as we arrived I was told that we were going to take a trip into mainland Denmark and look around for a few days. I had an hour to quickly shower and throw some clothes into my backpack....we drove a few hours across Denmark to another airport where I found out that Norbert and Indrek (our friend) had planned a short trip to Milan!!!!! What an absolutely amazing, wonderful, and SURPRISING trip (seriously I had no clue...but apparently Norbert had told everybody else, and their dog, his plans! :)

We had such a fabulous time in the few days that we were there. The flight was a mere hour and forty-five minutes, so the extra traveling was absolutely no problem. We stayed at this gorgeous hotel overlooking a lake just outside of Milan. Above, is the view from our hotel.

This is where I sat to take the pictures of the lake and town. (Indrek snapped some pictures with my camera as well and gave me some photography pointers....he is very knowledgeable. I had so, so much fun running around snapping anything and everything)

After a wonderful dinner we sat outside with cappuccinos and relaxed, talked and breathed in the fragrant, lilac-filled air.

The following morning we drove to the gorgeous, gorgeous town of Varenna.

We stopped to eat lunch in one of the most picturesque places I have ever seen.

The food was incredible, the gelato, the was pure decadence.

Next we took the ferry across Lake Como and spent some time in the town of Bellagio. Bellagio was a bit more touristy, but still gorgeous (George Clooney has a villa here and so it has brought a lot of attention and tourism to the area).

Next we went into Milan and spent the evening walking around the town square, and of course spent lots of time consuming food and drink, while having some amazing conversation absolute best tiramisu I have ever had!! By the way, it's insane how greatly dressed the people are here. I love it. I loved seeing all the older men wearing suits and quite a few sported fedoras as well. I miss this old way of is so elegant! It reminds me of old pictures of my grandfather...

I am now back in Copenhagen and I will share more photos of this area later....equally stunning as well, but before that I will be back in the next day or so to post some pics of Milan. I didn't want to overload this post with too many pictures. I have at least a gazillion ;)

So now I'm going to kick back and read until I am too tired to keep my eyes open. I can't even remember that last time I could do that!

ciao! ;)

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Upcoming trip

Hey everyone -
Sorry for the two-day delay! I meant to write in here on Friday, but somehow the last few days just slipped away from me. We had a fun and busy weekend....;)

So, I wanted to mention that I will be leaving on a trip to Copenhagen on Tuesday. Norbert and I are going to go visit his very good friend for eight days and we will return the following Wednesday. I had planned on keeping my shop open and having my mom take care of shipping orders while we were gone, but I've decided against it. I think it's best that it is only open when Norbert or I can handle it she will be taking care of my monkeys and that is already a full time job ;) 

We are so excited because it is the first time that we are taking a trip like this together...alone. That also means that  I have a teeny bit of anxiety about leaving my boys. Now, I know I will have a super fun time while there, but.......isn't it normal for mommies to have apron strings that are difficult to loosen???!! ;)

We will be doing video Skype chats while there and my boys quite honestly think the world revolves around their Nana and Papa, so I'm sure that everything is going to be just fine. I think it's just the leaving part that will be a little hard for me....

So on Monday evening I will close up the shop and I'll try to get on here once or twice to share some pictures and adventures! We were there last summer for 4 days (I wrote a bit about it here), but my little one was sick for two of them, so we saw so little of Denmark. This time our friend, Indrek, is going to take us everywhere...we have a full itinerary. We will also venture into Sweden for a day. I'm excited about this as well because I have not seen Sweden outside of Stockholm amazing, amazing city by the way....absolutely gorgeous.

Okay, I'm off to finish packing....I hope to see you all later in the week!!
bye ;)

p.s. I have a lot of news to share when we get back!

p.p.s. The April newsletter went out.....let me know if you'd like a subscription :)

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Looking, breathing, walking and eating!

These are some images I snapped on my walk with my youngest monkey yesterday.

It has been a little cool these last few days.....we've gotten some springtime rain. It's fabulous though because everything is turning an irridescent green overnight you can't tell here though! Don't you just love the smell of rain?? I think it's one of the most divine smells on earth. That, and fresh baked bread top the list!

After our morning of breathing mouthfuls of the fresh air we headed indoors for lunch with daddy.

My little monkey likes to eat absolutely everything! He's just like his momma ;)
He even loves spinach, asparagus, cabbage.....and as seen above: sushi!! We'll sometimes get pizza from Costco for the boys and sushi for us (okay I know this is not the real thing, but for store-bought sushi it's really not bad!) and he'll demand the sushi!! He wants nothing to do with the pizza. Very unlike my oldest. 

I'll see you tomorrow....I have a short announcement to make!

bye :) 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Loading 'em up!

I'm going to finally start listing now.....

It's late I know, but I got so so much done today.
I watched the boys and accomplished a ton of spring cleaning. It's been such a busy week.....

Time to roll them out now, don't you think?? ;)

Oh......but, wait. This is what I'm listening to while I'm listing.
In my mind, one of the best songs. Ever. :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cookies. Coffee. Baubles.

Heehee....this was my afternoon snack today. Those animal crackers are seriously delicious....for being store-bought cookies, that is. 

I foresee another late night. I am barely formatting pictures right now and it's 7 p.m. Monday postings have been getting really late.  I even cheated with dinner because I didn't want to take the time to make a full out meal. Instead we are eating yogurt and granola (breakfast for dinner...mmmmmmm).

Okay I need to get my butt in gear and get this fresh batch listed.

Tomorrow it's more gardening, some spring cleaning all while trying to keep the boys from re-tearing up everything!
(how exciting am I ?? ;)

EDIT: Okay, one day I'll get this all done on time....I'm exhausted. It just totally hit me and I am crashing. New work tomorrow!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spring on Pearl Street

We had a wonderful went like this:

-woke up to waffles and strawberry jam
-walked to the park (decaf coffees in hand) with friends
-more coffee and freshly toasted bagels at a local favorite
-jumped and played in the dino area and then spent some time lusting and perusing in Crate & Barrel
-took a nice looooong nap to the sound of rain
-woke up to a slice of homemade pizza
-sped off to Pearl St. for ice cream and fresh air
-had good conversation with a Swiss couple while there - whose little girl attends preschool with my monkey
-listened to my husband speak German to them, which I found quite sexy ;)

And now I am heading to bed to read for a bit.....nice, huh :)

I am SO easy to please.

Friday, April 16, 2010

If only I had more time in my day....

I would do this so much more.....

How do you all get everything done?? I'm struggling with this.....having two little ones, a husband and a business, while also trying to fit in some little time for me isn't quite balancing out so well. Currently, my energy ratio looks like this:
50% to the boys
45% to the business
3% to Mr. Melnikov (so sad I know!)
2% for me!! (pathetic!!!!)

Okay, I admit....some of these numbers are a bit skewed, but really being a parent is such a full time job. Is it horrible of me to say that as much as I love that we are the center of their world, I am also really looking forward to their increasing independence??

It's a good thing they're cute!!! and even cuter when they are quiet in their beds ;)

Have a great weekend! I'm off to bed with a cup of chamomile and a stack of magazines :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekend wrap-up

(my mom and I)

Our little trip just flew by in a flash. We had a lot of fun while there, though.
The driving....not so much (the boys were really cranky when we got in last night :(

(Norbert....staring me down ;)

We mainly hung out at my sister and brother-in-law's house as well as his restaurant.

The birthday boy got a serenade from a local performer...and he kept a poker-face the whole time!
He wasn't sure what to make of all the racket I guess.

I can't say that I got a lot of rest....don't you just love coming back from 'vacations' (even mini ones) exhausted! I foresee a lot of early nights in my near future.............

- Alysia :)

p.s. I have a huge load of work this week, so I am going to postpone my 'shop update' for next Monday.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Heading south.

After a wonderful weekend filled with multiple Easter egg hunts (and yummy food) and visiting with friends, we are hightailing it out of here :) Actually it's my little nephew's first birthday, so we are off to help celebrate (he is my sister's first child so this is rather important!) We are leaving tomorrow and we're heading back early I am not closing my shop down. I will place an announcement on my shop page that all orders placed between tomorrow and Sunday, will go out first thing Monday morning.

I am exhausted from a full, full day of running around like a headless momma ;) Here's the rundown:  I helped out at my son's school first thing, ran errands, completed orders, fed big and little people, packaged orders, picked up my boy from school, returned convos/calls, made a fabulous dinner, made a sh*tty cheesecake, did a mountain of dishes.......oh yeah, and packed for tomorrow (did I mention the good workout with my vacuuming arm?)! I did have to have a glass of wine while cooking though, because my two monkeys were driving me absolutely insane....that took care of it ;)

I'm looking forward to hanging out with my's been a busy couple of weeks, but I've been doing really well. I started running again and it has made such a big difference. Amazing what those endorphins can do for your head! Plus, my pulled nerve seems to be healing well....I've really been baby-ing that side AND I'm working hard at releasing all of that pent up anxiety/crap that I went through. Negative energy be-gone!!!! ;)

p.s. I have new pieces going up next week!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happiness in running a small business

Weekly Business Post

Happiness is of extreme importance in starting and running a small business. Starting a business takes a lot of time, in most cases significantly more than a traditional 8-5 job. So, you better be able to incorporate what you love into your business, or your business is not going to be successful. Alysia and I have really tried to understand what we want out of Blue Hour Designs and how we can shape our business to fulfill our desires. Alysia is a very artistic person, she gets extreme satisfaction out of being able to express herself artistically. I, on the other hand, have always loved the idea of running my own business. So, starting Blue Hour Designs really made sense for us. It’s a leap of faith, but we decided to go for it… We have also realized that Alysia needs to be able to come up with new designs frequently, otherwise she would be depriving herself of her artistic outlet. Business wise, it might perhaps make more sense for her to come up with only a few really popular designs, and focus on marketing those (many jewelry designers do exactly that in the form of their bi-annual collections). This however doesn’t make any sense for us since Alysia would quickly start disliking only making the same designs over and over (there is a balance here), and pretty soon she’d be to the point where she hates our business… And that would almost certainly result in the failure of Blue Hour Designs and on top of it all, I’d have a really grumpy wife at home (the latter being a much worse problem) :)

It dawned to me that some of you might be thinking that having your own business leaves you no choice, but to also have to deal with all those things that you hate. I agree, there are always going to be these parts that you dislike about running your own business, but you can certainly try to minimize the tasks that make you unhappy and maximize the ones that you enjoy doing. Also, delegating some of the work you hate might be an option. Alysia and I are lucky to have each other in this business as she enjoys many things I don't like and vice-versa. Even if you have no partners or employees, look and ask around for people and resources that might be of help, you’d be surprised what you can find. We have definitely found the small business world to be very helpful and supportive of each other. Just as a simple example, let’s say you dislike marketing, but love working on your craft or art form (as many artists, including my wife, do). Why not offer a trade in the form of your product to a blogger who can market your product for you. A well connected blogger can do tons to promote you, especially if they have one of your products at home and absolutely love it and just feel like raving about how awesome this artist who made it is (that’s you, and some awesome promotional press!). Alysia and I have done this very thing many times and I believe it’s truly a win-win scenario for both parties.

Next week, I’m going to write about time management…. have a good rest of your weekend.

- Norbert