Sunday, January 31, 2010

Valentines Card and Card Pattern Challenge

Hello Friends! My goal right now is to use up some of my scrap papers and embellishments. I have so many of them. They're all over the place! Many times, I'll punch a shape several times then don't need to use all of them. I gather all of them up in a container and look through them on another day to see if I can use any of them on my card.

Well, I found the two hearts, one is a chipboard piece and the other a punched heart. I also found 3 pink mini hearts. I decided to play in this week's "Card Patterns Sketch #49" challenge and my scrap pieces came in handy with this challenge. The sketch was a fun one!

On my last post I mentioned that I finally got my "fitness" blog started up and have been posting recipes, videos, and challenges. I'm hoping to build it up with time so there will be a lot of recipes and articles to help you with your fitness and healthy diet goals. Stop by and check it out: Fitness Towards Healthiness

There's really not much to talk about this card. All I did was follow the sketch.

I'm not very chatty today. . .sorry about that! I hope all of you are having a wonderful Sunday!

Card Details:

Stamps: SU A Happy Heart
Paper: GCD Studios, SU Pretty in Pink, Regal Rose
Ink: SU Real Red
Accessories: Heidi Grace Chip Board, SU Word Window Punch, Martha Stewart Punch, Stickles Glitter, Heart to Heart Punch, Pebbles Ink Ribbon

Friday, January 29, 2010

Valentines Gift Set - Mini Heart Album, Card, and Treats

Hi Friends!! Gosh, it's been days since my last post. You're not going to believe this but it took me 3 days to finish the mini album. Obviously, not 3 complete days but I worked on it off and on for 3 days. I am so not a scrapbooker. .. it takes me 3x as long to create a mini album than it is to create a card. It's not that scrapbooking is difficult but I always feel everything has to match. I end up going through containers of scrappy stuff looking for a "matching" color or embellishment. I have so many open packages for this reason. After awhile I got tired of looking through the containers that I decided to use hodge podge pieces of embellishments instead.

I like the idea of a gift set. . .I'm planning to give this set to my husband for Valentines day. He actually saw me working on it. . .he had walked into my craft room while I was creating one of the pages. . .oh well!

Hey. . .before I continue discussing the gift set, I finally finished up putting together my "health & fitness" blog called "Fitness Towards Healthiness". Stop by and check it out. I'll be posting healthy recipes, fitness and healthy diet challenges, articles, and work out videos to try out. Keep in mind, the information on this blog will be compiled based on various articles, recipe books, etc. I'm not a fitness coach. . .I'm just a regular person wanting a lifestyle change so come join me in the journey!!!

Here is the card I created. No rubber stamping on this card. All I did was use embellishments from opened packages.

I've had this tin basket for some time now but like a lot of the craft items I purchase, I don't use them immediately but it's nice that I did have it in my stash . .craft stuff never gets outdated. All I did was adhere a lace around the tin basket and added the treat bag.

Here is the album I created!! I used my Cricut Expression to cut a heart shape using thin chipboards. You can't see it in the photo but the photo on the front of the mini album is protected by acetate and the heart shape appears like a frame. The photo is actually recessed. I finally used my "bind-it-all" to bind the album together. I think this was only the second time in the past two years that I actually used my bind-it-all. I'm going to start using my BIA more often!! It was actually quite fun to create this album!

I used various pieces of scrapbook stickers and embellishments from various brands.

Here is a photo of my husband. . .I believe on his birthday.

This is a photo of my daughter with our dog Phoenix. The mini album has a total of 6 pages.

Anyway. . .that's it for today! I really had fun creating this gift set. I think I'm going to make more of them!

Hope you all have a wonderful Friday!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Heart Shaker 5 x 5" Box Purse Tutorial, Card Pattern Sketch #48 Challenge and Pink Cat Studio

Hi Friends! I was meaning to post this yesterday but yesterday was a bit busy and I didn't have the time to finish the tutorial. I really had fun creating this project. I always admired stampers who create coordinating sets of projects so I've been putting efforts into creating gift sets.

Just to let you know, I'm emerging from my "blue" phase . . .I don't know what was going on with me for the past 3 weeks. My crafting mojo was in hibernation and I've been hoping that it would emerge soon and it did! Yay!

Honestly, I think a reinvention is in order. I've been sort of doing the same thing for the past 2 years and quite frankly, I've been slowly putting my self to sleep. Seriously! One of the things that blogging has helped me to do, other than sharing my projects and tutorials, is that it pushes me do things that I may not want to do out of pure laziness.

One of the things that I want to do is to start cooking healthy meals. Last year, I had wanted to start a fitness blog but haven't really had the inspiration to get it going. I did start it but I never made the blog public because I wanted to add a few postings before I did. Unfortunately, with the holidays and my trip to Europe well, I haven't gone back to adding any more posts. I think I'll work on getting it going. What do you think? I think it'll help me to stick to my workout routine and help me to focus on cooking healthier meals or cooking, period. I don't know, we'll see.

Anyway, enough of the chatter. Yesterday I decided to create a "shaker box purse" tutorial which I posted below. I am going to create a video version of this tutorials because I had promised that I was going to do it but for now, I posted a written version of it.

It's a simple box with a shaker feature adhered to the front of the box. The back of the box also has the heart shape. I thought the cute Pink Cat Studio "Lily in Heart Pile" image was perfect for a shaker card because Lily is already covered with hearts and I also had a container of heart confetti.

The box measures 5 x 5". I could have made it a bigger box but I wanted to stick to using an 8 1/2 x 11" card stock and the largest box I could create was 5 x 5". The depth of the box is 1" so if you want you could probably fit a few square cards, maybe 4.5 x 4.5" in size. I don't have square envelopes that fits that size cards so I didn't create any card set for this box purse. I'll probably add a few crafting goodies or maybe a bag of candy to place in the box.

Here is the shaker portion of the box. As you can see Lily is covered with hearts.

I created this card for the "Card Patterns Sketch 48 Challenge". I really liked the layout so I decided to play along. One of my goals is to start playing in more card challenges just to keep me motivated. I colored Lily with my Copic Markers and added Crystal Effects to part of the image to give it a shiny 3D appearance.

The punched hearts were created using my Sizzix die which by the way, I had "lost" and recently rediscovered in time for Valentines. One of the things that drive me crazy when I reorganize or clean up craft room is that after I'm done, I can't remember where I put everything. LOL!

Anyway...try out the tutorial. It's fairly easy if you've created shaker projects or it may be a bit complicated for those who have never made one. If you prefer, you don't need to add the shaker component and just add the heart shapes to the box.

Well, I hope you all have a beautiful Tuesday!!!

Card/Box Details:

Stamps: Pink Cat Studio Lily in Heart Pile digi image, SU (senitment)
Paper: SU Pretty in Pink, Rose Red, GCD Studios designer paper
Ink: Copic Markers, SU Rose Red
Accessories: Basic Basic Ribbon, Deja View Brads, Heart Confetti, Crystal Effects, Sizzix Heart Die, Coluzzle Circle Template, Fiskar Scallop Scissors

Heart Shaker 5 x 5 Box Purse

Saturday, January 23, 2010

3.75 x 6" Keepsake Box Tutorial and Coordinating Cards and the Happiness Project

Hello Friends! Do you know ...when I post a card or project, it's a good indicator of my level of happiness? When I first started paper crafting and stamping, I found it was a great stress reliever and when I was unhappy or feeling a little down, I would step into my craft room and create something and it made me feel better.

Fast forward to about 2 years ago, I've noticed a change in my behavior when it came to crafting. Rather than crafting to feel happier, it changed to my having to feel happy in order to craft. As time went on, it became more pronounced. I don't know why the shift occurred. One of the factors could be that the "novelty" wore off

I'm sure you're thinking that I'm taking this all too seriously but the truth is, I'm the type of person that comes alive when I'm doing something new and different. I love the feeling of starting on an adventure, starting a new project, anything new and different. . .I've always been this way. Well, the past week or so, I've been wanting to start on a new hobby which is crazy. I already have too many of them already.

Recently, I've been fascinated by the subject of happiness. I found this interesting website a few days ago. It's called "The Happiness Project". The author of this website/blog post happiness challenges each week and after reading a few of her articles, it got me really excited. I thought "what a brilliant idea!!". Well, I signed up immediately and I'm excited to get started. Why don't you check out the website and tell me what you think about it. If you decide to join in, let me know. . . .I'd love to go on this journey with you.

I created this card to match my coordinating "Keepsake Box". I posted a tutorial for the keepsake box if you're interested in trying it out. The box measures 3.75 x 6" inches. You can use it as a true keepsake box or it can be used as a treat box. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to check out the tutorial.

I was wondering, would you like tutorials on only "more involved" projects and techniques or would you like that I add tutorials for simple techniques as well. The reason I ask is that I always feel that I need to create tutorials that are a bit more involved but I know there's a lot of new stampers out there that are just learning the basics of paper crafting and stamping and probably find the complicated projects a bit overwhelming. Do you think I should post tutorials that are less involved along with the more complicated projects? Let me know. . .

To create the punched border on both the box and card, I used a large Martha Stewart punch and layered the border so it looks the way it does on my card. I'll create a quick tutorial tomorrow on how I did it. I heat embossed the sentiment and layered it on to the Nestabilities Scallop Circle.

I found this decorative pin at the bead aisle at JoAnns. I added the white beads to decorate it a bit.

Here is the "3.75 x 6" Keepsake Box" that I created. It's a very simple box to create. This box in particular stays in the closed position using a ribbon. I created a second box which I posted below using Velcro to keep the box in a closed position.

Here is the box opened up. You can decorate the inside of the box as well for a better presentation but I wanted to get it done and have it posted so I didn't work on the inside of the box. It's not necessary but it's just an idea.

Card/Box Details:

Stamps: SU (Not sure which one)
Paper: SU designer paper, SU Blue Bayou, Soft Sky, ACE Foil card stock
Ink: Versamark Ink
Accessories: Silver embossing powder, Nestabilities, Martha Steward Punch, Grosgrain Ribbon, Decorative pin, beads

Here is the second coordinating card and project I created. To color the flowers I used a technique that I posted about a week. Click Here for that Tutorial. With this project I decided to incorporate some lace to give it a femine look. I love lace.

Here is the box opened up. I decided to add a bag of treats. This box remains closed using Velcro. The tutorial shows you both options.

Here is the coordination card. Not much to say about this card.

Anyway, try out the tutorial. It's fairly easy to create so it won't take you very long to create it.

I'm going to spend some time crafting tonight. Hopefully, I'll be able to finish something so I have something to post tomorrow. I'll see if I can finish resizing some of my European trip photos so I can post a few of them in the next day or so.

Hope you all have a beautiful Saturday evening!!

Card/Box Details:

Stamps: SU Flower Fancy, Sentiment(?)
Paper: SU designer paper, Regal Rose, Kiwi Kiss, Blue Bayou
Ink: Scribbles Iridescent Paint, SU Cameo Coral, Pink Passion
Accessories: Nestabilities, Lace, Sizzix Leaf Die, Martha Steward Border Punch

3.75 x 6" Keepsake Box

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pink Cat Studio Digital Stamp Release and Zen Habits

Hello Friends!! Do you like to read non-crafting blogs? Do you have a favorite? I have a few that I read on a daily basis mainly because they lift my spirits, make me feel optimistic, and want to be a better person. There's many great blogs out there but the Zen Habits blog is one of my favorites. I stop by this blog when I feel deflated or pessimistic and I always find an article that changes my mood and want to conquer the world. .. :) Well, that's an exaggeration but it does bring me out of my little box and want to charge ahead in life. If you have the time, check out the Zen Habits blog. . .I think you'll find an article there that you'll enjoy reading.

It's raining here in California but there's a bit of sunshine today! Today is Pink Cat Studio's digital stamp release! Whoohoo! It's all about robots this week and they are absolutely adorable.

I decided to work with metallic card stock and initially, I didn't think printing on metallic card stock would work with digital images. But it does! If you want to print on them, you will need to heat set the ink or it will never dry. I tried embossing the ink with clear embossing powder but it only faded the black ink and it was barely visible. You could try embossing the ink with black embossing powder but I decided to just heat set the ink and it worked quite nicely.

To create the blue center of the robot, I printed the sentiment on to vellum and colored the back of the vellum with SU markers then heat embossed the front with iridescent embossing powder. I did the same thing with the punched stars and photo corner to give them a glittery shiny effect. I really had fun creating this card.

Card Details:

Stamps: Pink Cat Studio Boy Robot
Ink: SU markers, Versamark Ink, Scribbles Iridescent Paint
Paper: AC Foil card stock, SU Tempting Turquoise, Bordering Blue
Accessories: SU Photo Corner Punch, Large Star Punch, Marvy small star punch, JoAnn brads, Nestabilities

With my second card, I decided to paper piece part of the images. I stamped the image once on a designer paper and on white cardstock. I colored the images with my Copic Marker then cut out the head, arms and legs and adhered them to the stamped designer paper.

Be sure to stop by the Pink Cat Studio blog site and check out all the fabulous cards and projects the design team created!!!

Alicia Weiman
Emily Leiphart
Inge Groot
Kerry Donovan-Casey
Kristen Catalano
MacKenzie Bruckler
Maria Bell
Suzanne J Dean
Tracey Cuccia
Tori Hemmingway
Vicki Garret
Mariska van der Veer

Card Details:

Stamps: Pink Cat Studio Girly Luvbot and Boy Luvbot
Paper: SU designer paper, Regal Rose (I think), Tempting Turquoise
Ink: Copic Markers
Accessories: Stickles Glitter, Heart template, Fiskar scallop scissors, SU Key Tag punch, Coluzzle Circle Template, Satin ribbon

I'm sorry I'm not chatty today. . I have to work on resizing my trip photos, do the laundry, vacuum my house, do the dishes, and hopefully fit in some crafting time!!

Hope you all have a beautiful Thursday!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Unity Stamps Adventurous Card

Hello Friends! My goal today was to create a tutorial for this card but it didn't end up working out. Hopefully I can create it tomorrow. I hear ya'. . ."slacker". LOL! I'm not sure what is going on with me but I have this incredible desire to do nothing. It's like my brain decided to go on a vacation as soon as I returned from my trip. It's unusual for me to not want to do anything. . .I usually get bored very easily but lately, it seems doing nothing is all I want to do!

Well, I did muster some energy to create this card. I even used a bit of technique to this card that I really want to show you. Again, I'll try to focus on getting a tutorial done tomorrow.

Do you see the lace? Well, the lace was originally gathered in a way that it wouldn't lay flat on my card. All I did was cut out the netting that held the gathering together and it worked out nicely. I really love using lace. . they make a card look so feminine.

I really don't have anything much to say today. I still need to resize a bunch of my European trip photos so I can post them. . The file size are so large that it takes forever to upload. I'll try to work on them tomorrow as well.

Anyway, sorry for the short post today! I hope you all have a beautiful Tuesday evening!!

Card Details:

Stamps: Unity Stamp January KOM
Paper: SU Regal Rose, Pretty in Pink, SU designer paper, DCWV DP
Ink: Versamark, SU Marvelous Magenta
Accessories: Hologram embossing powder, Basic Basic Ribbon, Lace, Eyelets, Fiskar scallop scissors

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Embossing with Acrylic Paint Tutorial and European Trip - Brian Haw and Prince Albert Memorial and Hall

Hello, Friends! I'm sorry I haven't posted anything for the past 3 days. I've been having difficulties getting into the crafting groove. Normally, I'm gearing to get started but the past few days, instead of crafting, I've been doing other things.

If you've been reading my blog for a while now. . .one of my goals is to become healthier through exercise and eating a healthier diet. . .basically, a life style change. I've been very good with the exercise. . .which surprises me. If you were to ask me to workout a few months ago, I'd probably avoid you! LOL! I've actually come to enjoy it! AMAZING!!! I'm not doing as well with the healthy diet but I am reducing my intake of fatty food. I'd like to be better at it but I guess it's one step at a time. Eventually, everything will fall into place. I just need to be patient.

How are you all doing with your New Year resolutions? I read that the 3rd week of January is a period when most people start to feel a little depressed because around this period, many start to break their resolutions and begin to feel a bit defeated. Well, where crafting is concerned, I think I've hit a low. . .:) I've already broken a few crafting resolutions mainly because I've been sick the past 2 weeks. I think I need to give myself another chance at it now that I'm over my cold.

Well, I do have a tutorial for you today! Yay! I'm hoping with time I'll improve on my tutorials. I don't follow any notes as I create the tutorials, so I'm basically winging it which is obvious sometimes when I lose track of what I'm talking about! LOL!

Today's tutorial is focused on creating an embossed background using an embossing folder, acrylic paint, and embossing powder to give the appearance of a textured faux plastic. It's sort of artsy-fartsy but I think it's a fun way to jazz things up a bit. I have a confession to make. . .the reason I created this tutorial is because I have I think every color of the Making Memories Acrylic Paints. I stumbled upon a sale at my local LSS where the Making Memories Acrylic Paints were on sale for 50% and I think I bought every color they carried. Ugggh! Unfortunately, when I got home, well. . .like anything I buy, they ended up in a container never to be used until now! LOL! I know. . .I have to admit, it's quite sad.

Anyway. . .to view the tutorial, scroll down and check out my YouTube video. With the first card above, I decided to keep the card simple because I wanted the embossed card stock to be the focal point. With this card, I cut the embossed card stock using my Sizzix die to create the layered flower.

Here's another angle of the card to show the 3D appearance of the layered flower with the embossing. I added Scribbles Iridescent Paint to create the dots at the bottom of the card.

Here's another view of the flower. . .do you see the rich texture and shine to the flower? I love it. I provide more details about the card on the video. Check it out when you have a chance. Hey, if you could give me an honest opinion of my videos, I would really appreciate it. I don't mind productive criticism. . .honestly, it's the only way I'll improve in creating these tutorials. If you like them, fabulous. . .if I need improvement, let me know. . .:)

Card Details:

1st card: Stamps: Unity Stamps December KOM
Paper: SU Melon Mambo, Pretty in Pink, Sage Shadow, GCD designer paper
Ink: Making Memories Acrylic Paint, SU Melon Mambo, Scribbles Iridescent Paint
Accessories: Clear embossing powder, organdy ribbon, SU Heart to Heart Punch, button, SU Scallop Edge Punch

2nd card: Stamps: CTMH Thing of Beauty
Paper: SU Pink Pirouette, Sage Shadow, K&CO designer paper, GSD designer paper
Ink: Making Memories Acrylic Paint, Black Ink, Scribbles Iridescent Paint
Accessories: Nestabilities, Basic Basic ribbon, Accents Daisy Brad

European Trip - Brian Shaw and Prince Albert Memorial and Hall

England, like in the US, have their share of protesters. I'm not sure if you've heard of Brian Haw, an anti-war protester in England, who has been camped out in front of London Parliament Square since 2001. He first protested against the United States in Afghanistan, then later protested against the Iraq war. I took a picture of his set up in front of Parliament Square. From what I can see, he's now protesting something in regards to Sri Lanka. Because of Brian Haw, there's a new law in England that prohibits protests in front of London Parliament Square but Brian Haw is exempt from this law because he was there before the law was enacted. Boy, he is tenacious isn't he? In the US, they would have probably hauled him out a long time ago. . .I believe we have a law that prohibits camping out on public streets! LOL! I took this picture because I thought it was an interesting shot!

Not a very good picture of us in front of the Prince Albert Memorial or otherwise known as "the Albert Memorial". It was quite early in the morning. One of the benefits of traveling to Europe in the winter is that many of trees are bare so you are able to view many of the monuments and buildings a lot more clearly. During other times of the year, the trees cover many of the views and you would have to walk up close to the different attractions to actually see them. The drawback is mornings come late and evenings come early so you have a tight window to view the attractions during the daylight hours.

The memorial was a dedication to Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert. For more information on Prince Albert's Memorial: Click Here

We were told by our tour guide that there was another memorial dedicated to Prince Albert but Queen Victoria was not satisfied by it's lack of grandeur and instead, had commissioned a new memorial much more fitting for the Prince. The new memorial is the one pictured above.

Across the street is the Royal Albert Hall; again, another dedication to Prince Albert. They have summer concerts held there each year. It's a beautiful building. Hey, do you see the snow? Boy, I have a story to tell about this snow. . .:) We were told that the snow was a surprise to many of those in England. It started to snow the day we arrived in London. Snow don't usually arrive this early; typically, snow comes in late January and early February. Actually, we were told that this winter was one the harshest winters in England in the past 10 years. Wow, lucky for us to be there when this occurred. Honestly, I loved the snow. I live in sunny Southern California where there's no snow so this was actually a fun experience for me. Unfortunately, it did cause us a HUGE problem. I'll tell you what happened when I discuss our trip through Belgium and the Netherlands in a later post.

Okay, that's it for today. Hopefully, I can get my crafting groove back soon! Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday evening!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pink Cat Studio Release, Heart Shaped Window Card Tutorial and European Trip - London Shopping

Hello Friends! I was suppose to post this earlier today but well, life don't always work out the way you want it. You know, I was beginning to feel a bit defeated because I'm a bit behind on everything. I had this grand plan to start off the year on top of things and well, I got sick and it took longer to recover than I had expected. But. . .on the brighter side, maybe it's meant to be. . .and everything after this will be wonderful.

I have a tutorial for you today. . .yup, I am trying to stick to my resolution on creating video tutorials more often. I'm getting better at creating the video. . .it's always hard learning a new computer program but as I go through the process, it's getting so much easier! Hooray for that!!! Now, if only it could upload to YouTube a lot faster everything would be perfect. . .:) LOL! Patience, Maria . . .I do have to learn to be more patient. I always want things to happen instantaneously which you all know is a ridiculous thing to expect.

Okay. . .now let's get down to the fun stuff! Guess what today is? Well, today is the release of Pink Cat Studio's digital images, which by the way is every Thursday. New stuff each week, how fun, huh!! I love seeing what's in store at Pink Cat Studio each week. It's always something cuuuute. . .and this week is no exception!!

I decided to create a heart shaped card with a heart shaped window! Scroll down for the template. Click on the template photo and right click your mouse and "save as" to you computer file. Store it as a picture file. When you are ready to print it, open up a new "Word document" and insert the file to your page. Resize the template as desired. To resize click on the photo on Word and drag the corners to the size you want. I resized my template to measure 5.5 x 5.5" because I wanted my card to measure that size.

Melissa of Pink Cat Studio created background images as well which I used to create the heart on the inner panel of the card. I colored the background image by using the same technique that I used to color the images on my previous post. Click Here for the Tutorial.

I also created a video on the process of creating this heart shaped card if you care to check it out!! I colored my image with my Copic Markers and added a few dots using Scribbles Iridescent Paint. I also embossed the front of my card using Stampin Up's textured template to create the dot texture. I don't think you can see the embossing too well in the picture.

Anyway. .. check out the video and see how I created this card.

Isn't this image cute or what? I really love this image. I had fun creating a card for it. To create the glittery heart on the image and the punched hearts, all I did was heat embossed them with glittery embossing powder.

If you want information on the materials I used to create the two cards, feel free to email me. My post is rather long so I'm not going to add the recipe to this post.

Be sure to stop by Pink Cat Studio and check out all the cute images they have to offer. The Pink Cat Studio design team also created such awesome cards and projects for this release, be sure to check them out!

Alicia Weiman
Emily Leiphart
Inge Groot
Kerry Donovan-Casey
Kristen Catalano
MacKenzie Bruckler
Maria Bell
Suzanne J Dean
Tracey Cuccia
Tori Hemmingway
Vicki Garret

European Trip - London Shopping

Shopping. . .hmmmm, that's a fun subject, huh! The photo above is the famous Harrods Department Store. Remember Dodi Al Fayed? The man that was in the car with Princess Diana when she passed away? Well, Dodi's father is the owner of Harrods. Did I go into the store. . .nope! What was the point. . .I couldn't afford the prices anyway! LOL! Actually, I didn't shop much in London or a matter of fact, anywhere else in Europe. Really! The exchange rate from dollar to pounds was I believe, 1.5%. . .and the dollar was weaker, by the way. Basically, the dollar was worth only 71 cents or somewhere around there.

London sure had a lot of fabulous stores inside beautiful buildings. Not at all like in the US where stores are in malls. Many of the stores were situated in historic buildings. . .so beautiful. I loved it. Let's talk about fashion. The Europeans do know fashion, that's for sure.

Here is a little advise when you travel to Europe. Don't dress like an American! LOL! Why? Well, you'll stick out like a sore thumb. At our hotel, there were ladies in their pink sweat pants and sweat shirt, white jogging shoes, with their colorful ski jackets. I'm sorry, their outfit SCREAMED "tourist" and "pick my pocket"! I have nothing against sweat pants and shirts. .. not at all, I wear them all the time. . .at home! In winter, it seems, Europeans wear only 3 colors, black, grey, and brown. LOL!

What's wrong with looking like a tourist? Well, one thing you have to be conscientious of. . .safety. Our tour guides kept reminding us that Europe is notorious for pick pocketers and if you look like a tourist, they will target you immediately. Another thing is if you dress rather shabby, many Europeans are not ashamed to deny you service. It's an assumption that if you dress shabby, you're, how shall I say this. . .. cheap. Forget the concept of "customers come first". LOL! It doesn't apply to all stores and restaurants. . .but many European shop owners are not shy about denying you service or literally kicking you out of their store. It happened to one of our group members when we were in Italy. . .I mean, literally shoved them out of the store!

Some of the members of our tour group were ignored at a bar that they were hanging out at when we were in Switzerland. Why? Because they wanted to share their drinks and I guess the waitress felt they couldn't afford the prices. Switzerland is a whole other story. I cannot even begin to tell you how EXPENSIVE the restaurants and bar prices were. I'll save the story when I get to my "Switzerland post". LOL!

Back to shopping and fashion. In winter, scarves, snow caps,boots and coats were the "in" fashion wear. I must say, their boots and coats were lovely but the prices, forget it! Every time I stepped into a store, I would evaluate the prices and would come to the conclusion that I could probably buy them in the US for half the price.

This photo is of the "Burberry Department Store". I don't know if you ever heard of Burberry. It's quite a popular department store in London. I have to wonder how people in Europe survive considering how expensive the prices are. The US average income is higher than all of Europe but many people in Europe, in general, dress better than we do. It's just a generalization and don't apply to all Europeans or Americans but from what I saw, they do love to dress up. I guess Europeans are wise shoppers. Maybe it's more about quality rather than quantity.

Before our trip, I read articles on what is the proper dress wear for Europe. I didn't want to look out of place and my clothes consisted of only black, brown, and grey. LOL! The article was right! Keep in mind, this applies for winter wear and not for summer. If you're traveling to Europe in the summer, the dress wear is different. I brought two nice coats, boots, and several black/brown slacks and 2 nice jeans. I also brought a few turtlenecks and clothes that I could layer. It worked out great and I actually fit in perfectly.

There are Starbucks, Pizza Hut, McDonalds, and Kentucky Fried Chicken in London. In Belgium, Burger King seem to be the big thing. According to our tour guide in Paris, McDonalds is one of the most popular place to eat for Parisians! McDonalds! You've got to be kidding me!!! By the way, Parisians is what people in Paris call themselves. .. not "French". French is a generalization of people who live in France but "Parisians" apply to those who live in Paris. Anyway, that's my story for the day. . .:) I have more to share but I'll save it for next time!

Anyway. . .hope you like my commentary of my trip today! LOL! Please keep in mind, what I wrote are primarily my observations and some of them are information that I learned from our tour guide and not necessarily hard facts. Okay. . .I better end it here. I hope you all have a beautiful Thursday!

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