Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Religion, Politics and Money

My Facebook news feed has been lit up with optimistic catholics and frustrated taxpayers.

With the appointment of the new Pope Francis, Obamacare , and all the talk of paying more taxes and furlongs, I'm reminded of the dadster's wise words. "If you never talk religion, politics or money, you will never get in an argument".

Growing up sis and I were taught that it's rude to ask people who they voted for. If you were supposed to know, they would do a show of hands and not a ballot. What was in other's bank accounts is none of our business. Worry about what you have. We were encouraged to seek religion on our own. If you believe, what you believe and how you go about it are your personal choices.

***SUPER EMBARRASSING SIDE NOTE: I know NOTHING about picking a new Pope! I know your super surprised but no one has ever asked me to help pick one. So when I saw the headline, "Black Smoke Coming from the Vatican", I told my co-workers it was on fire. Yep, yelled, "OMG the Vatican is on fire". I didn't realize that black smoke meant they hadn't picked the new Pope yet! You DO learn something new everyday!

***FYI: When I told mama that, she replied, "Even I know that"? I'm not sure if that was a slam on her, me or both?

ANNNYYYWAYS, I think those are great words to live by and still live by those words today. That being said, as I have grown up, I realized there is more behind it. Those topics aren't just unspoken to save an argument!

We have a saying in the U family "shiny objects." It's been passed down many generations of U's. We start a thought and get easily distracted (AKA "shiny objects"). We lose said thought, and move on to the next thought. You can only imagine what its like when we all get together! 

That being said, I'm guessing the REAL reason we don't talk religion,politics or money because we are just that easily distracted. 

"Did you read that because of Obamacare...OMG look at that squirrel! It's so fat! I can't believe it's not breaking that branch! What was I saying? Oh yeah, what's for dinner?"

"I can't believe how much money is coming out for taxes now. If they would just cut...(play a round of words with friends, look up) Ha ha, fat squirrel is back!"

"How about the new Pope, I really hope that he....Shhh be quite the weather is coming on. Ahhh Chuck Lofton, looks so cute today!"

The moral of my story is, fat squirrels trump religion, money and politic conversations in the U family. Jewelry on the other hand, The U women have always considered jewelry a FAB-U-LOS topic and a religion of sorts. So RELIGIOUS JEWELRY, is a respectable conversation for all us to have at the dinner table! I'm not sure the dadster will agree but he has perfected pretending to pay attention to "girl talk" over the years!
You can't talk about religious jewelry without talking about Annie Kruse de Jongh, the owner and designer of Grace And Corazon.   I got the chance to met and hang out with her at our last market. She is not only EXTREMELY talent, she is HI-LARRY-OUS. 

"Grace and Corazon" features an Eclectic Line of Jewelry that is Quirky and Fun rather than Serious and Predictable!

I've been admiring her jewelry (and AH-MAZE-ING flippin boots, which I'll get to in a minute) for awhile. She is always at the fabulous Indie Arts and Vintage Market. The IAVM is always insanely busy (NOT COMPLAINING JUST SAYIN') so we don't always get time to chat up other vendors unless they are right next to you (and sometimes that doesn't even happen, right Linda). It was nice to be able to grab a drink and learn from the Marketplace pros!

Here are some samples of Annie's jewelry!

Her cuffs are da bomb

Check out her Angel and Saint Earrings

This St Christopher cuff would look AWESOME on my wrist!

If religion isn't your choice of jewelry Annie as other AH-MAZE-ING stuff! 


So, I know what you're thinking! You are in love too! You are also thinking, what about these "flippin' boots" you mention earlier?! This talented young lady doesn't just make AH-MAZE-ING jewelry she make THEEEE COOLEST "flippin' boots" EVA!

Example A. I'm not sure who to give photo credit to but the boots are all Annie!



Ms Kruse de Jongh,  might be from Minnesota, but she crosses the United States on the hunt for cowboy boots (I'm sure there are other reason, such as meet nice people like us). When she finds the right boots, she then "flips" them as shown in the photo above!
Ok, so they are already looking pretty cool, right? She has just begun, yet and I know you are eyeing a pair! She hand dyes and then adds her flair to each pair of boots. The outcome are stylish boots that are made for walking (and looking AB FAB while doing so)!

Coco and these boots = True Love Always
Make sure to "like" Grace and Corazan on facebook and check out her Etsy!  Tell her Almost Gemini sent ya!
FYI: She does do custom orders SOOOOO if you already have something in mind let her know!
"If there is no God, who pops up the next Kleenex?"
Art Hoppe

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hope and Inspiration

Hope is not just a never aging and always enduring character from Days Of Our Lives. 

In a January blog, I wrote about what I was hoping for this year. 

"My long term goal is brought to you by the letter "I". Not "I" as in me "I". "I" as in inspiration! I want to be inspired, look for inspiration, and maybe be inspirational. I'm going to pay attention to what is going on around me and always look for inspiration in everything, everyday."

When I was pondering about writing my first "I" blog, the first person I thought of was Tricia. She DOES have two "I"s in her first name, but that doesn't EVEN begin how inspiring she is. Tricia was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. She found the lump while doing an ever so important self-breast exam.

******SIDE NOTE: I just realized Tricia, plus the I in her maiden makes THREE "I"s. Tricia has three, so does inspiring. I'm guessing this is not an accident! Her parents knew what they were doing!

ANNNYYYYYWAYYYS. Let me tell you about the path that lead me to Tricia. Long story long, (I know, I always say that). If you know me, I meet people easily. BUT if you really know me, you know I don't always meet people the easy way! (Especially people that make a big impression on me)!

Picture it 2009, someone I knew at the time came to me and said (NOT A REAL QUOTE) "Wanna raise a couple thousand dollars and walk 38 miles?". That would be each of us raising that much money and each of of walking that long.  I would love to say I said, "HELLLLLZZZ YEAH, SIGN A SISTA UP". What did say, "I would love to, let me think about this". (or something similar to that)

I went to my magic eight ball aka mama. She said, "BITCH YOU BE CRAZY"!  Well, that is what her eyes said. What she really said was, "You always do what you set your mind to. If you want to do it, you will". Please cue the "AWEEEEEEEEE"s. I went back to my friend and told her to sign me up.

Thus started my adventure that lead me to Tricia!

So, I mentioned I had to raise a crap ton of money! Each walker had to have the money before they could even walk the walk! PRAISE the Lord above for mama! Every time I come up with an idea, mama goes right along with me! My fundraisers became her fundraisers too!

We had a garage sale. LOOK AT THIS MESS!

We sold T-shirt and some funny Cozies

We took a break from fundraising to ride bikes and grab cocktails.

All fundraising and no play make Coco and Mama no fun! Also, since I got "Roxie" my fab pink bike that year, it goes with my theme.

I walked miles and miles with  "Fanny, the fun pack". I practice with my water bottles full and fanny pack stuffed. Tissues-Check. Change of socks-Check. My phone to call for help if I walked to far and didn't want to walk home-CHECK!

*****SIDENOTE: I'm sad to inform you that "Fanny, the fun pack" didn't even make it through the first day of the event. It was sad and heart breaking. I guess I filled her to full at the actual walk. I miss that Fanny!

SOOOO, I raised the money I needed and a little more. I had practice my walking for miles and was set to take on the two day task. Unfortunately, I couldn't say the same for my team mates. FORTUNATELY, my mom's "work daughter" was in the same boat. She had the money and no teammates.

Sara and Courtney are HEEEEERRRRREEEEE

So Team SarCo was formed and really I couldn't ask for a better walking buddy. One thing I should mention about Sara is that she is what the kids call "popular".  Chick knows everyone, including but not limited to...

Tricia's Team 2009

At the time of the walk, Tricia was in the middle of her battle with breast cancer. She had just had recent surgeries and was still walking! That being said, she might just have been the most determined person to walk the walk. The "lonely" guy in the picture is her husband Matt! I loved that he also did the walk. That means their family had to raise 2xs the money. It was hard enough to raise money for one person to walk. I couldn't dream of doing it for two!
The crazily amazing thing is....

This many people had raised the money and agree to spend two days walking around THE ENTIRE INDIANAPOLIS AREA. I mean the ENTIRE city. To this day, I pass streets and think about walking down them. I'm not sure that I can actually put into words what this walk and experience meant to me. If you see me out and about ask me about it!

Have you ever seen such happy faces. We all made it across the finish line and accomplished something AH-MAZE-ING! I've only had the motivation to do the walk once. For me, it will always be a "once in a lifetime event".

Tricia's team on the other hand had just gotten started! "The Replacements" have changed their name to Tricia's Hope.  Since our fateful meeting in 2009 Tricia and her team of amazing friends have raised over $54,000 toward cancer research. YEP that is FIFTY FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS. I'm impressed and I hope you are too!

After our 2009 walk, Tricia was looking for other ways to raise money. As I mention before, raising money for charity is hard. Asking the same people to donate year after year is even harder. While looking for other ways to raises funds, Tricia started to "fight cancer one bead at a time".

With my bracelets I never set a price, I just ask for donations and explain to customers that all of the beads and time are donated, and 100 percent goes directly to help cancer patients?charity or Women of Hope? “I truly believe that giving it to God has increased the success of Tricia’s Hope as it brings out the generosity of others,” Rausch said.

Tricia is now in the process of making Tricia's Hope 501(c)3 status. Filing for federal non-profit is not cheap or easy. She has found the help she needs on the business side from her newly formed board of directors! Which is amazing, but she still needs help raising the $800 it costs to file the paper work. Please check out and "like" her facebook page for details on how to donate. All donations are 100% tax detectable....JUST SAYING!  

I haven't had a chance to tell her yet, but Almost Gemini will be donating 10% of the money we make at April 6th Indie Art and Vintage Marketplace to Tricia's Hope. Maybe if we are lucky, we can talk her into stopping by and bringing some bracelets for us to sell, too!

I've been lucky enough to be part of her journey and lucky enough to know such an inspiring person! I know very soon she will be running a VERY successful charity! Almost Gemini and I always there whenever Tricia and Tricia's Hope needs!

Don't forget to do your monthly breast exams! It could save your life!

If only women paid as much attention to their breast as men do- unknown




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