Friday, January 23, 2015

So, Let's Review

I don't know about anyone else, but one of the great things about online shopping for me is being able to read reviews from others who have purchased the same exact product I'm considering purchasing.  Good, bad and middle-of-the-road I read them all and usually make a decision based on what I've read.

So, a couple of years ago when zazzle.com enabled product reviewing on my OWN designs, I was a little nervous.  What if people hated them?  What if they left awful reviews??  Well, to be honest, sometimes it's kind of hard to please people but overall, the reviews that have come in over the years have been pretty fantastic.  In fact, checking new reviews are one of the first things I do each day to get a feel for how folks are enjoying the products (or what I might be able to fix, edit or otherwise tweak, to make it even better).  Here are some of my favorite reviews that have come in:


Without a doubt, this is my favorite review of all time :)  The person who left the review is a fellow zazzle designer (see Jerry's work here) and he was kind of enough to leave this fun review.
GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE MUG
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I'm SO looking forward to this recipe binder saving the earth!
RETRO LOOK FAMILY RECIPE BINDER
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Just the title of this review caught my attention :)
FUNNY PRESCRIPTION COFFEE MUG
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lol, frame it!
FUNNY PRESCRIPTION LABEL POST-IT NOTES
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w00t! Way to score points!
RETRO LOOK FAMILY RECIPE BINDER
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Just what the doctor ordered? :)
FUNNY PRESCRIPTION LABEL FROSTED BEER MUG
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FanFrazzlingTastic review from "That Dude".
PERSONALIZED GUITAR PICKS
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Giant, foil wrapped bar? How can you go wrong? ;-)
CUSTOM BIRTHDAY 45 PIECE BOX OF CHOCOLATES
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Notice: STICK FAMILY EATEN!
FUNNY ZOMBIE STICK FAMILY BUMPER STICKER
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I love the idea I was able to help another artist simplify their work. :)
VINTAGE CHALKBOARD RETURN ADDRESS LABELS
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Have you purchased anything from one of my zazzle shops?  I'd love to see your review, and maybe even feature it here!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Cosby, Rights, Wrongs and Rape

(I've had to do some editing on this since I posted yesterday as blogger was doing some rather odd things with the text that I didn't catch until now)

I almost didn't write this at all for a hundred different reasons but the main one is, I don't want to see any snotty, hateful, emotional, reactionary comments and/or emails, tweets, etc.  I know that's probably pretty selfish of me but I kind of enjoy an obscure, peaceful, non-confrontational life :)  So, with that said, I'm going to try as best I can to phrase this very carefully so there is no misunderstanding at all.  

Just saying that almost guarantees no matter how I say it, someone's going to be offended or read it incorrectly.  We certainly do seem to live in the age of the Perpetually Offended.  Hopefully though, this is received in the spirit it's written in, and that is one of logic, reason, fairness and justice.

COSBY

By now, pretty much everyone who's anyone, and anyone who is an unknown (and their dog, ferret and canary) has written about Bill Cosby and the allegations of sexual assault against him.  Some articles & blog posts are spot on, some are horrifically neanderthal-ish and others are somewhere in-between.  I'm not about to say anything here you haven't already read before but that's mostly because this really isn't about Bill Cosby.  It's more about the kinds of thinking and deductive reasoning I've seen online since all the proverbial doo-doo hit the social media fan.  Essentially, this is more about the way people think, than the actual case of All These Women v. Bill Cosby.

Based purely on the reaction to the Cosby allegations by so many, and even those who would be considered well-informed, well-educated and intelligent, fair-minded people, I have found myself rather stunned at some of the comments.  They simply don't sound like informed, educated, intelligent and/or fair-minded comments.  In many cases, they sound like "prepare the torches, sharpen the pitch-forks and meet me at the edge of the forest at sundown!" lynch-mob mentality.  What I find even more disturbing about these kinds of comments is that they're based on nothing more than what the mainstream media & social media is perpetuating.  Gossip, rumor, accusations, allegations, suspicions, speculations, etc.  I think it's important to remember not one of the allegations against Cosby have been validated/proven in a court of law either by evidence, testimony or any other means.  NOT ONE.  There has been no arrest, no charges, no court/jury decision, no testimony, no evidence, due process of any kind, at all.  NONE.  All of this, is based 100% on her (and her and her and her times about 27 at this point) word against his.  None of which would be admissible in a court of law.  Interestingly enough.

RIGHTS

Now please, as you read this, feel free to replace "Cosby" any time you see it, with "my bother" or "my son" or "my husband" or any other male close to you.  Because the truth is, this can (and does, sadly) happen to someone close to you, or someone you care about, and will most certainly change the way you might think about it, if it were to happen. God forbid.

Does this mean I automatically think Cosby is actually innocent of all these awful against him? No, no it does not.  For all I know, he's 100% guilty and frankly, that sickens me more than I can articulate here. Mostly because it's reprehensible that a man could do the things he's been accused of but also partly, because I grew up thinking he was just a nice, funny guy.  I hate the idea of thinking I was duped by his public image when privately, he may have been just another depraved monster seeking sexual gratification.  Our world is TOO full of these kinds of people already.  However, it is most certainly possible that he's 100% innocent, and for whatever equally reprehensible, sickening, selfish reasons has been targeted by people for whatever reason(s) seems justifiable to them.  Yes, that happens too.  Statistics tell us it's pretty rare, but it does actually happen.

The FACT is, I don't personally know whether he's guilty or innocent and I don't NEED to know that, to know what a US citizen's rights are under the law.

Sadly, that doesn't translate into the court of social media circus opinion.  The fact is, it does not matter if the law says you are protected under the US Constitution to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.  Nor does it matter that the same rights guarantee you protection of your life, liberty (which includes being gainfully employed without slander and/or libel affecting your livelihood) and property, until such time a court of law finds you guilty of whatever charges have been leveled against you.

For whatever reason(s), we're now all watching Cosby's 2015 itinerary shrink day by day, as more and more people jump on this bandwagon to remove him of his liberty to pursue his livelihood, as they have chosen to literally throw the baby out with the bathwater and made up their minds he's guilty as accused.  EVEN THOUGH, there isn't a single court decision that backs this up.  Not one.  Anywhere.  In any state.

Call me naive, call me ignorant, call me whatever you want, but I still believe in the criminal justice system.  As flawed as it is, and of course it is since we have flawed human beings running the show that enforce it, it's the BEST we've got to mete out FAIR and RIGHT justice.  Of course it's never perfect but its more often right than it is wrong, with all the safeguards and loopholes in place that ensure swift and FAIR justice is served.  Without it, all we have is chaos, and the kind of lynch-mob mentality those folks in the little village of Dr. Frankenstein had.  Hear a rumor, prepare the torches, catch the monster, kill the monster.  Sadly in those cases of old, sometimes the most wicked monster was the one preparing the torches to cover up his own crime.

WRONGS 

I've read a lot of commentary on this case online via twitter, FB, blog posts, msm articles, etc.  I haven't contributed my opinion in most cases because I've seen the response and frankly, it's just awful.  Mean, nasty, sarcastic, rude, obscene, etc.  And, to be quite honest, all understandable, but at the same time all inappropriate.  Why?

Understandable because obviously we all find sexual assault simply inhuman and repugnant.  Inappropriate because absolutely NONE of us know for sure, if any of the accusations are in fact, true.

Many have jumped on the bandwagon because: a.) no one voluntarily identifies themselves with sexual assault unless it's real (which is actually not true) and b.) because if they are true and factual then Cosby is the creepiest of the creeps in the last 40 years of clean, funny, family-friendly entertainment.

Well heck, hubby and I just had a conversation the other day about how it seems like the older we all get, the more we discover nearly *every* family had that "sketchy uncle".  Feel free to replace uncle with whoever it was in either your family or the family you knew of that had that perverted family member that always seemed to have his hands in places they had no place being.  Those inappropriate comments he always made, the crass/vulgar jokes, and the way the younger female members of the family always acted around him: either avoiding him completely or making those sarcastic remarks about how "weird" he was.  It hardly appears Cosby may have been the "sketchy uncle" or the creepiest of the creeps, since it seems the sexual deviant has been in nearly every family.

Yet another fact to consider is how many women/wives falsely accuse their former hubby/lover of sexual deviancy.  Abuse against themselves or their children.  Granted, it's a very low stat from all I've read but it DOES happen.  Please be honest with yourselves, men aren't the only devious, conniving, scheming, deceptive people in the world.  Women do it too.  In fact, I have to sadly admit that being a woman, and being IN the company of  women over the years, there are MANY women that would gladly and happily report this kind of thing, if it meant they'd get what they wanted at the end of the day.  Let us not pretend there aren't just as many devious, deceptive women out there as there are devious and deceptive men.  Equal rights, y'all. 

Another reason I haven't opined in many public venues on this as it pertains to the justice system is because I've seen others do it and and the response "shame on you, it's YOUR fault more women don't report their rapes".

Well kids, here's where it gets downright ugly.  Here's where possibly long time readers of this blog learn something about me they never knew before.

1. It is NOT the fault of criminal justice system adherents, that more SA/rape victims don't speak up.
2. It is NOT to our "shame" that fellow women (and men) have been sexually assaulted.  The shame belongs soley with the man or woman, who assaulted them.

I believe in the criminal justice system as much as I can because frankly, it's the best we've got.  Obviously it could use some improvements but overall, it's better than nothing.  That being said...

I was the victim of SA at the age of 3. THREE years old, folks.  I didn't understand it enough until the age of 20 to report it to the proper authorities, which I did, and had monumental support. Praise God for the ladies at Kitsap Support Services (which by now I'm sure the name has changed, but they were awesome ladies and they have a special place in my heart to this day, and always will).

I was a victim again at the age of 15.  Minding my own business, walking home from high school in the 9th grade, munching on a partially frozen King Sized Snickers bar I'd won in some random draw for something I can't even remember (amazing really, how your brain compartmentalizes seemingly useless details), I was accosted by some special kind of pervert from behind.  I turned, freaked out, and beat the living snot out of him with my semi-frozen Snickers bar.  He ran, like the depraved coward he clearly was. I stood on the sidewalk for a few seconds and just screamed... then ran home and dialed 911.  The two detectives assigned to my case believed me 100% and set me up with a local sketch artist to get an image of this pig in the local papers.  Of course as a minor my name was never in the press but eventually the local PD did catch this guy.  He'd done SO much more than what he did to me, my testimony wasn't even needed to lock the piece of garbage up.  I was totally okay with that.

There was another incident, far worse, at the age of 19.  I was dumbfounded and never reported the crime to the police because like so many others, by that time, I believed the hype that if "he" is "this" or "that" no one will believe you.Ironically at the time, I *knew* there were certain folks that *would* believe me but I was overcome with the numbers of people that wouldn't, only because of who he was. Looking back, I only wish  I would have made as much noise about this then.

 This is honestly the closest I could ever come to to the whole "Cosby" issue.  My assailant was not at all "family friendly" or well-liked or even well respected.  Fact is he was a common street punk who instilled fear in all kinds of people of all ages throughout the community due to his connections.  From all I've read, to this day he's well respected in the community and my only comfort is that God's justice will prevail.  (I'd actually long forgotten about this experience until this issue came up about Cosby.)

That being said, the super-lame accusation of "shame on you, YOU'RE the reason this is so under-reported" is 100% garbage & 100% hypocritical garbage from the very same pro-women organizations that are supposed to be 100% in support of women who have been victims of SA.

 So... incredibly ironic. No?  No, people like me are NOT the reason sexual assault and rape are under-reported.  The shame is not with me, the shame is with the MEN who commit these crimes and the PEOPLE who, in various communities, buy the lies that "keeping things under the rug", so to speak, is better for everyone.

CONCLUSION

At the end of the day, I know exactly what women mean when they say "rape culture". God knows, they're not saying anything I haven't lamented about privately for the last 40 years or so, wept about late at night during my private prayer time, and tried to discuss with my hubby so that he understands it enough to relate it to our son in his own way of "guy on guy" conversations.  I've talked to my girls and will continue to talk to them if need be, on this topic.

While we (men and women, moms and dads, etc.) have to be honest, we also have to be fair.  We have to be righteous, just, and rational.  We have to be factual, compassionate and reasonable.

We have to be... honest in our opinions, and base that in fact, not emotion or experience (as hard as that can be).

At the end of the day, as it pertains to Bill Cosby... I will be honest and admit I will be sad if it's all true.  In my opinion he always seemed to me the "clean" version of family-friendly comedy and I really dug that, you know?  But, if he's guilty of what he's been accused of then YES, dude needs to go to jail and/or serve whatever penalty he needs to serve for what he's been accused of.

I don't know.  I wasn't there.  I don't know what the situation was... neither do most other people since, none of us were in the same room with both parties and understood what the same expectations were (if anything at all).

Were these private encounters mutual agreements/expectations?  Possibly.  More than likely, probably. Is that gross and disgusting for us who are still so delusional that they believed Bill and his his wife Camille were 100% monogamous and 100% devoted to one another?  Well... yeah. Duh.  At the same time however (and we're talking about the 60's, 70's and 80's) do many of us understand that at the *time* it was considered part and parcel of the entertainment industry overall, despite marital status?  Yep. We get that too.

Fact is, at the end of the day, none of us really now for sure what the deal was, between anyone and anyone else.  The entertainment industry has been RIFE for decades with this kind of thing and based on all I've read, it's always been expected that everyone just keep their mouth shut about it.  So, based on that, none of this really takes me by surprise.  No matter how much I really want Bill Cosby to be the one exception, the one truly decent man, the one genuinely family-friendly stand-up comic in the Hollywood industry.

In a nutshell?  God help us all.  It's only going to get worse. Truly, God help us all, to read between the lines, think rationally and make the right and just decisions.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year's Day Dip!

Once a year, New Year's Day, I make this wonderfully delicious dip.  I first had it many many years ago when our church had a monthly fellowship lunch after the service and one of our church members Mike, would bring this dip every time.  For years, we just called it "oh wow, remember Mike's dip?" 

Then, several years ago our oldest daughter brought a variation of it for Christmas eve.  Ever since then, it's become a New Year's Day staple.

We've never had an official name for it, so we'll just call it 
Layered Cream Cheese Salsa Dip.  There are lots of ways you can make it, so here's the basic recipe:


2 bricks of cream cheese softened to room temp
1 tub of sour cream
1 cup of salsa (mild, med. or hot, depending on your preference)
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
2 cups grated sharp cheddar (or a mix of cheddar and monterey jack, or tex-mex style)
*sliced black olives
*guacamole or avacado chunks
*sliced jalapenos
*salsa

In a large bowl whisk together the softened cream cheese and salsa.  Spread into a pan and cover the bottom completely with this first layer.  Use the same bowl (saves on clean up) and whisk together the sour cream and taco seasoning, then spread that over the cream cheese layer. Cover this layer with your choice of olives, avocado chunks, jalapenos, salsa.  Sprinkle your grated cheese over that.  Serve with tortilla chips.


I'm not going to include the nutritional info.  Suffice it to say, it's REALLY fattening. Hence, it only shows up in our house once a year. :) 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Happy Birthday to ME :)


So, the other day I bought myself a little present for my birthday tomorrow, and it arrived today.  I don't even know where to begin to describe how much I love this product so let me just say, if it were possible to fall in love with a pillow, THIS is the pillow to fall in love with. Really.

I create custom designs for other people all the time but rarely do I create them for myself.  Just busy doing other things, I guess :)  But this idea popped into my head the other day and it came out exactly on canvas (so to speak) as it appeared in my head, and I was very happy with it.  I decided to go with a burlap design for the background and red for the heart and names to match our dark brown couch and my super soft red throw blanket that lays on the back of it.  It was a perfect match!

Now about the product itself:

zazzle offers these pillows in either Polyester or cotton, and I decided to go with the Polyester as customer reviews always mention how silky soft it feels.  They weren't kidding! Super smooth to the touch, and very very soft. It has a hidden zipper enclosure at the bottom seam and that's the zipper pull you can see at the bottom right of the pillow above.

The pillow insert itself is SUPER fluffy, which is awesome. I chose the 20"x20" size (they also come in 16"x16") because I require large pillow-fluffy-ness :)

Two more added bonuses: both the cover and the insert are machine washable and this product is made in the USA.

As for the printing:  zazzle's print quality never fails to blow me away.  Depending on the product (fabric, texture, etc., the final color may be a shade different than what you see on the screen, and that was the case with the pillow.  The faux burlap background is slightly lighter, a more muted shade, but still the same color.  The red I used in the design is actually a much deeper red in the final product and that worked out wonderfully as well since it matches my throw blanket almost exactly.

Overall, I couldn't be more pleased with the final product.  I do offer customization on these (both top and bottom lines of text can be changed, as well as all the names on the right and left), so if you'd like one for yourself or for a gift for someone special, please contact me here and I'd be more than happy to help you with that.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

'Tis the Season to celebrate


It's hard to believe it but once again Christmas is just around the corner.

Everywhere you go, in every store you'll see all the un-sold Halloween decorations whisked away to the "reduced for quick sale" bin and the shelves that held them just a week ago... filled with Christmas *everything*.  From cards, to lights, to decorations in every size and shape and color.  Even some new sizes and shapes and colors you've never seen before!

With that in mind, New Year's Eve is fast approaching as well.

If you're planning a festive New Year celebration this year, whether it's an intimate gathering of friends and family for a dinner party or a few drinks and appetizers, or a full out corporate affair for hundreds of clients, you'll be be sure to find the most classy, elegant and festive New Year's Eve party invitations at Reflections zazzle.

The New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball invitation shown here was the signature choice for an elite country club in Desert Hot Springs, CA last year, for over 500 distinguished guests, and virtually everyone just absolutely loved it! The reviews, (while private and unable to show you here), were simply phenomenal.

Here's a sampling of what's new and popular for New Year's Eve 2014.

With every invitation design the goal is to utterly WOW your guests, at the attention to detail on the card you've chosen to showcase your event.  Every sparkle, every glitter, every letter, right down to the shimmer or shadow across the printed card.

Whether you're planning an indoor event with mood lighting, an outdoor event with fireworks, or a whimsical event for close friends and family, there are over 150 styles and themes to choose from to make your NYE party, an event to remember!

Click HERE to see the entire collection.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Women are Watching? GOD is watching...

Earlier this evening while scrolling through my twitter feed I saw this image of a t-shirt design.  So, I clicked because tees are sort of my thing.  This is what I saw. I don't know every last detail of the back story on this but it's essentially a tee design from a loud-mouthed pro-abortion celebrity backing a pro-abortion industry. That's really all I needed to know. If you need to know more details, you can read about Lena Dunham and Planned Parenthood here.

So allow me to explain why I'm blogging this.

A.) It infuriates me that this message of "kill your baby, it's totally okay" has become so mainstream.  Really, folks have gone to great lengths to whitewash this but that is in fact, the root message.  It's a baby.  Abortion kills it.  It's NOT okay.

B.) I'm a designer, and designing eye-catching designs is what I do, so that's what I did to counter the message on this nasty, pro-abortion tee.

Now allow me to explain, briefly, what this message says.

• It says all life is precious, and every human being is created in the image of God, to be treasured and protected. At all costs.  Even at the cost of the mother's convenience or lifestyle.

• It says LOVE is a verb. Not a fleeting, subjective feeling.  It doesn't matter if that baby was planned or not, choosing to make the sacrifice needed of your personal self (and your figure, career, lifestyle, finances, living arrangements, etc.) shows you put that baby's life above your own comfort and convenience.

As a mother of seven beautiful people (none of which were "planned") and four beautiful grand-people, I know first hand how difficult it is to wrestle with the "oh no, we didn't plan for this, what are we going to do!?" difficulty.  I know it multiple times over and I know it's NOT easy to put your selfish feelings aside and consider what is best, what is right, what is good and what glorifies God.  Is it easy to accept and embrace an unplanned pregnancy?  No, no it's not, especially for those who are unmarried and completely unprepared but even for those who are married, stable and perfectly able to care for a new baby but also completely unprepared for this news.  However, God does honor those honor Him, and He does provide for those who trust in Him, and He does comfort those who bring their doubts and pain struggles to Him.  You remove God from the equation and you will be left with what modern culture is screaming at you: kill your baby, it's totally okay.

You add Him back to the equation and you will find hope, support, comfort, peace and encouragement, not matter how hard it gets.  I've BEEN there, I know.  I've been on my knees at the side of my bed, weeping to the Lord and asking for guidance, wisdom, and peace.  He was always faithful to provide exactly what I asked.  ALWAYS.

I don't talk about this subject much online only because I've already gone through that stage of "hey, let's argue the abortion issue online!"  idea and have seen the kinds of arguments used on both sides that never result in anything tangible...  back in the 90's when I first become active online.  I've since read those same arguments & commentary and seriously, nothing has changed except, more people being brainwashed into thinking it's "totally okay".

For those who know me, it's clear: I'm a Christian and I believe in 100% pro-life in any situation and regardless of the circumstances. Period.  It doesn't mean it's easy or all rainbows and puppies and sunshine, but it does mean there is a living, breathing, thriving baby that was created in the image of God, by His hand and for His glory.

So this is my contribution to the pro-life message of today.  I don't have any outspoken celebrity models to show you (yet?) wearing this design, but there it is, all the same.  Simply click the image if you'd like to support this message and order one for yourself.

To God be the Glory.