Monday, June 29, 2009

Giveaway! CLOSED

To celebrate over 100 followers AND the 4th of July and the legal holiday of the 3rd of July so I still get a long weekend even though the 4th is on a Saturday this year, I'm having a giveaway!! The last giveaway was using my paintings, so this one will be using my Grandpa's artwork! (I'm ArtsAfire, he's ArtByJay, I manage both.)

Here are the prizes:

Grand Prize: One (1) 8x10 print from ArtByJay of your choice! PLUS three (3) ACEOs from ArtByJay of your choice!

1st prize #1: An 8x10 print from ArtByJay of your choice!

1st prize #2: 3 ACEOs from ArtByJay of your choice!

Here's how to enter (each method gets you one entry):
1. Visit ArtByJay on Etsy and tell me which painting/print/ACEO is your favorite.
2. Twitter about this contest and provide me with the link.
3. Become a fan of ArtByJay on Facebook and leave a comment telling me (if you're already a fan, leave me a comment letting me know that, too).
4. Blog about this giveaway and provide me with the link.
5. Tell me which of the two "1st Prizes" you'd prefer to win (because if you get picked out of the hat for one of those prizes, that's the one you'll get!)

Each person can have up to FIVE entries! That's a lot of chances to win! And you have to leave a contact e-mail in at least one of your entries, otherwise I won't know how to let you know that you've won!!

Deadline: Deadline is Monday, July 6 at 5 p.m. MST!!

Good Luck!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Currently suffering from...

...a painting block.

I bought some new supplies this week. Hopefully when they get here the creative juices will flow. Gotta try out my new modeling paste and my encaustic paints.

I sold my most "Treasuried" painting this week (by "Treasuried" I mean that it's been my most popular and has been put in more Etsy treasuries than any of my others).

I ordered more canvases of this size and plan on doing variations of this in different colors and adding texture.

And Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen was great. I really enjoyed it. Though I'm really attached to Bumblebee (the yellow Camaro) and every time he ended up in a fight I'd get nervous that he would be hurt.

Which is really unnecessary because it's a movie. I know this.

Transformers and NieNie's Birthday

Friday is here at last! Has this week been the longest week ever for everyone else? It's probably been so long for me because I've been hobbling along really slowly on my scabby, swollen foot and I think when you move slower for an entire week, time actually slows down. I've been looking down at my foot all week because the scabs burn something fierce and I just want them to go away and I've been thinking, "Man...why is my foot so fat?" It wasn't until last night that I realized that it's swollen. My other foot, thankfully, does not look fat.

I got ready for work in record time this morning (seriously, 5-7 minutes) and so I had 30 minutes before I needed to leave for work. I settled down into the couch and flipped through the TV stations. Morning television sucks. Of course there were several Michael Jackson tributes going on all the music stations (I used to be a huge Michael fan, but can I just say that the Jam music video with Michael Jordan is slightly weird?) and a ton of P90X infomercials (I have the workouts, thank you very much) and Down With Love, which I've never seen because I don't much like Renee Zellweger's "lemon" face. But I found myself kind of liking it and wishing I didn't have to come to work and so I was subsequently 10 minutes late for work.

Anyway, the whole point of posting today was to encourage everyone to celebrate NieNie's birthday this weekend by either going to or ordering from The Sweet Tooth Fairy in South Provo. All proceeds go to NieNie's family and the Arizona Burn Center. And the cupcakes are to die for. Absolutely sinful.

We're going to see Transformers tonight. I'm trying to figure out if there's a way I can smuggle some cupcakes in...

Also, bought my Harry Potter tickets this week after re-reading the last two books. Cannot wait!

Now, despite my husband's protests that I need to keep reading the book series that he is reading, I think I will start Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows again.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Black & Yellow Treasury

My Yellow "Pure Color" painting from the Mix & Match series is in a gorgeous black and yellow treasury!

This is probably all I'll post today because I'm busy at work with book-writing stuff, but yesterday's post below about my fall down ONE stair, how that affects my musical monday selection, and the 30 candy bars my husband bought as a "treat for a hurt foot" has given some people some laughs. :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Musical Monday. And I fell down one stair.

And those two things DO go together when it comes to my Musical Monday selection. So the subtitle to Musical Monday is "What moves you?" Today I'm going to take that literally and tell you what's been moving me lately--literally. Maino ft. T-Pain, "All the Above."

Best. Running. Song. Ever. I dare you to not feel pumped up when you hear these awesome beats.

So that's the song that's been moving my feet in my quest for weight loss and better health.

BUT. I was at my aunt and uncle's house to kick start our family health/fitness challenge this weekend. We were going to run the mile together but it was raining, so we all did a Jillian Michaels' workout video together. I hate that woman--she is pure evil. But she's also a former chubby chick and since she's pretty much the most svelte person ever now, she's pretty trustworthy when it comes to "what works."

After we were all done we had a Skinny Cow ice cream pop (Yum! And only 80 calories!) and then we went to leave.

Cue Sara biffing it (I haven't used that term since, oh, the 90s) on their garage stairs. There are only two or three of them. I overstepped the first one and then there was just no hope whatsoever of saving myself. My ankle rolled one way, I tried to steady myself but over corrected and my ankle rolled the other way, then I stepped forward hoping to catch myself on the next stair with my other foot (I was relatively okay at this point--my ankle was limbered up from working out or something and the rolling didn't hurt it) but since I'd overstepped the first step I also overstepped the second step.

I went down. With my ankle underneath me and my foot was super-ballerina-flexed backward. Wanting to get it out from under me since it was in a not-so-pleasant position, I scraped it out from under me on the concrete steps. So I scraped off quite a bit of skin--it just kept getting bigger as the evening went on after Jeremy and I got home, which was weird. But anyway. Nothing is broken or even sprained, but man those scabs/not-yet-scabs hurt when I put any weight on my foot and my shin muscles and the arch of my foot are a mass of pulled muscles.

I'm a pretty useless person right now.

But all this ties into Musical Monday! Because right now, "All the Above" can only "move me" figuratively. Jeremy has forbidden me from even trying to walk slowly around a track until at least Wednesday. But as soon as I'm able to fully move again, you can bet this song will be at the top of my "Run!" playlist (and yes, it does have an exclamation point--I find it provides motivation when an exclamation point is used in my running playlist).

(Side note: I sent my husband to the grocery store for a Snickers bar because it's like Advil to a hurt person (a.k.a. me) and he came home with 30 candy bars. "Because the 6 packs were 2 for $6 and a hurt foot deserves treats." He is officially a hazard to my diet.)

Musical Monday

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Five of my Favorite Etsy Painters

Being a painter who sells on Etsy, I know about the vast amount of wonderful abstract "canvas" artists on Etsy who I look up to and today I wanted to introduce you all to five of my very favorites. I'm just going to post my favorite pieces with links to their shops. I encourage you all to go and visit their shops to learn more about them.




hwinfield (Hilary Winfield)


Today is the first day I've seen that particular Andrada painting. I can't stop looking at it. It might have to be added to my collection.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Deal: An Etsy Prize for Every 10lbs Lost

You remember "The Ryan J. and Ann B. Race for the Cure for Obesity in 42 Year Old Men" fitness challenge that I am participating in with my family this summer (Ryan and Ann are my uncle and aunt)?

I have found the perfect motivator.

Rainbow Swirlz!

There is nothing in this shop that I don't want. I love the styles, I love her hedgehog, I love her owl, I love her bags.

So, here's the deal. My husband said that for every 10 lbs I lose this summer, I can buy one thing from her shop! I really really want that hedgehog tote. So cute!

Rainbow Swirlz currently has a 3 totes (like the ones in the last picture) for $23 deal! You can choose from any of her cute, simple cotton totes. 3 for only $23!

Gotta get started on those first 10 lbs tonight.

I'm currently using the site to keep track of my runs (my gosh I hate running) and my current goals. Currently I would just like to run a mile 10 times this month, each under 12 minutes. I've always sucked at running. I always passed the Presidential physical fitness test until it came to the mile. And then suddenly I was completely unfit and stupid and ran it in abysmal times, such as 12:15. Which means I failed.

So that's my goal this month. The next month will be 11 minute miles. The next month will be 10 minute miles. And the last month will be 9 minute miles. If I can shave 3 minutes off of my mile I'm pretty sure I will win the "award of noteworthy value at the awards ceremony" in September. And actually, my mile is currently 14 minutes (I cringe as I admit that, but I have to get that out there and make myself publicly accountable) and the first time trial is this Saturday. I'd really like to shave off at least 30 seconds over the course of this week, but if I can't, that means if I can meet my goals I will have shaved off FIVE minutes. That is definitely worthy of a substantial, noteworthy prize at the awards ceremony. I have until September 26th to meet this ultimate goal. I'd definitely win.

I have another motivator, too.


We're staying at the Paradise Pier Hotel in Disneyland Resort in September and they have a roof top pool. I would like to be able to use that roof top pool during our afternoon breaks (when the park is unbearable and our feet need a rest) without being fully dressed from head to toe due to embarrassment about my thighs.

And I would like to get a tan while I'm there, which means that I simply must be able to wear less clothing than I would currently be comfortable with. And how cute would one of Rainbow Swirlz's tank tops be as a mini swimsuit cover up?

So here's to a new start. And yes, oatmeal will be a key part of this. This morning, it was maple and brown sugar.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ogden Arts Festival Canceled

For us, anyway.

I was going to represent my grandfather at the Ogden Arts Festival tomorrow, but Jeremy's uncle died unexpectedly and, it appears, accidentally, today. He had no known health problems.

Jeremy isn't up to going to the festival and I'm definitely not up for doing my first outdoor festival all by myself in the rain (since it's supposed to rain from 3 a.m. to 9 p.m., which encompasses all the hours of the festival, from "set-up" to "take down,") and my grandfather can't do it because he has Multiple Sclerosis.

I called and talked to the Art Festival directors today and they said I was welcome back next year and they were sorry for our loss.

But anyone who was planning on attending tomorrow still should! There will be tons of great artists and crafters at the show and tons of opportunities to purchase some wonderful handmade crafts and art.

And thank you to everyone who has been supporting me and my grandfather and to my new followers! I appreciate each and every one of you!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 8, 2009

I ate oatmeal! And sold paintings!

Those two things aren't necessarily linked.

First. Oatmeal. My arch nemesis since I was a little girl and just the sight of it nearly made me throw up. I remembered while we were at Costco on Saturday that I liked that packet oatmeal with the strawberries and marshmallows a few years back, and I needed something easy for breakfasts (and sometimes lunches) here at work. So we picked up a variety pack of instant oatmeal for me. 55 packets.

And spare me any lectures about how the "instant" oatmeal isn't nearly as good for you as the oats that you cook on the stove. It's better than Reese's Puffs.

Sadly the pack doesn't contain the strawberry one. But it has apples and cinnamon, maple and brown sugar, cinnamon roll, and regular. Probably never gonna eat the regular. Ick. Even adding your own sugar to the regular one doesn't make it good.

I had the Maple & Brown Sugar one for breakfast this morning--and I LIKED IT!! Miraculous. I think the gods must be smiling on me and my crazy eating habits because I want to do well in the family fitness challenge this summer, so the gods are letting me not choke and gag over the thought of oatmeal. And I had an apple. And I took my Lifepak Nano vitamins. (Which I would NEVER pay over $150 per month for even though I've gotta admit--they make me feel really great and energized--but someone Jeremy works with gave him a full month supply of the vitamin packs--Jeremy's always getting presents for doing his job--a golf club here, a football team issue hat there, a shirt here, $20 there, expensive vitamins here, etc...) And I had a bottle of water. And we're running tonight. I feel amazing.

Now. On to the reason(s) why I've been MIA for the past week.

1. It was my anniversary this week so there was a lot of celebrating going on.
2. I sold 7 paintings this week between my grandfather's shop and my shop, so I've been busy with orders.
3. I'm getting ready to take my grandpa to the Ogden Arts Festival this weekend, which is a ton of work.
4. I've had nothing to say.

So, there you go.

Sold this week on Art By Jay:

Sold this week on ArtsAfire:

And Jeremy got me these from the beside on Etsy for our anniversary:

And. I lost half of my Nike + iPod thing. The receiver is in my shoe, but the little dongle that you plug into your iPod--totally fell out of my purse at some unknown location. So I have to buy a new one this week.

Also, new prints are available on Art By Jay! Only $20! And the ACEOs are still only $7!

Monday, June 1, 2009

My Family Fitness Challenge

This summer my aunt and uncle are sponsoring a fitness challenge through September. And I think it's a great idea because what better motivation is there than the possible humiliation of sucking at running the mile month after month thereby proving that you have not been training, or exercising in any form, at all? This will give me a butt! So far, pretty much everyone is in. Some of us are pregnant, have recently had knee surgery, or are unable to run due to old age/disability, so there is a weight loss category for non-exercisers, too.

If you want to have a similar family challenge, here's the gist of what we're doing:

From an e-mail from my uncle Ryan:

Okay, I came up with this concept while on the stairmaster at the gym on the verge of passing out when the thousands of cookies, pounds of peanut m&ms, and billions of donuts were flasing before my eyes. That's when I pictured myself 20 years pounds ago. I remembered that while I was at BYU I was forced to take a fitness class and was actually expected to make progress toward a goal. Can you EVEN believe that? Anyway, I remembered how it felt to not just to be in better shape, but how good it felt as I was getting there. Feeling a little stronger from week to week. And knowing I had to prove to someone else that I was making progress, I did much better than I could do on my own.

So that's where the "Ryan J. and Ann B. Race for the Cure for Obesity in 42 Year Old Men" comes in. We're (I'm dragging Ann into this because she's the brains of this organization, I'm just an idea guy) sponsoring the above mentioned "race" or fitness challenge, if you will, because I need some motivation and some people behind me pushing me. [Sara's Note: I, too, do much better when I know there's a monthly schedule that I will be held to.]

The Challenge, should you choose to accept it....
On a monthly basis we meet at the track at the stadium - chosen because it gives no one in the family home field advantage and and also because it offers evening shade and I like shade if I'm going to sweat. We will run or walk - your choice - a mile. The objective is to improve your time. The idea being that to improve your time, you (and especially me) will have to be training on the other days in order to do so. The person with the most improved time at the end of September, will receive an award of noteworthy value at an awards ceremony the weekend of October General Conference. After each monthly time trial, we will meet at our house for a healthy snack or "treat" of some kind. It will be good I promise. That way you can get ideas and recipes to take back and help you in your own quest, if you are on one.

What if I can't run or walk for distances like that?
If you have physical difficulties that prevent you from this sort of exercise, there's something for you too. If exercise won't work for you, there's a simple weight loss category, and a prize for the non-exerciser who loses the greatest percentage of their starting weight. However, if you can do the walking or running, I encourage you to participate in that category.

What if the H.S. stadium is too far from my house?
If you live too far away and don't think you can get to the stadium each month, we still welcome you to participate. This is a nationwide event. In addition, should you plan to be in SLC Conference weekend, please plan to attend the big Awards Gala and Fireworks Show. Simply track your time or weight loss and email me. If you can manage to run on the same day, that would be good just because I think it would be really cool.

What else?
* I'm likely to schedule some optional fitness related group activities in between time trials. Examples of these activities may include bowling, short hikes, walks along the JR parkway, etc.
* If you've not been exercising, be sure to start slow and mix up your exercise so you can avoid any repetitive use injuries that will take you out of the game.
* If you're doing the run/walk challenge you might want to incorporate some healthy eating choices, as it will help in the fitness quest. If you need ideas, we can do a group therapy session on the kick off night.

* Saturday June 20 - Kick off - Meet at the stadium, 7:30 PM for first time trial. No sandbagging this just to have a good final time, you better be sweating profusely or breathing so hard you can't talk when you cross the finish line. Snacks at our house and recording of times, weights, etc.
* Saturday July 18 - Second time trial, 7:30 PM, Snacks after at our house
* Saturday August 22 - Third time trial, same time same place, Snacks, ditto
* Saturday September 12 - there's a 5k in conjunction with the Greek Festival that I'm challenging you all to participate in.
* Saturday September 26 - Final time trial, snacks again.
* Sunday October 4 - Awards Gala, Fireworks Show, Concert, laser show and group hug.

So. How about it blogging friends? Are you up for a little summer fitness challenge? If so, do this with your family and your friends! And anyone who wants to participate in a summer fitness challenge but doesn't have anyone to check in with or to race against, I'd be happy to virtually work with you. We can keep the same schedule of time trials to keep each other motivated!

And I strongly suggest the Nike + iPod set up (shown in the picture above) if you're going to be keeping track of how well your training is going. It's just way easier than writing everything down. I use it. It keeps track of how far you've gone, how far you have left to go if you have set a distance, calorie, or time goal, how many calories you've burned, etc... Plus, you can upload each training session onto the free online site (the site is in the information that comes with the receiver--it's accessed through and keep track of your progress with graphs and everything.

And you don't need the special Nike + iPod shoes for it. They're handy because they have a spot underneath the insole for the iPod receiver/pedometer, but in my last pair of shoes I just hollowed out a little spot underneath the insole for the receiver--couldn't feel it at all. But if it IS time for some new shoes for you, I'd seriously give these some consideration. There are a TON to choose from--at least three pages at, and you can find them locally--got mine at Kohl's. It just clicks in and you go--you never have to remove it. You can wear them all day and if you keep your iPod in your pocket and you're walking around, it'll keep track of how far you've gone that day, how many calories you've burned, etc...And my particular pair are pretty and green.

It's a great $29 invention. Plus, someone comes over your music occasionally and says something like, "You've burned 250 calories. Only 100 left to go." Keeps you going!

But, of course, pen and paper work just as well. :)