Week 18: Then and Now Photo Challenge


Here’s my entry for this week’s iheartfaces “just for fun” photo challenge.

I took this actually a few months back as one of my 365s. I realize it would make more sense for my little self to be on the left, but I didn’t want to flip the image and the other way was awkward when I tried to lay it out.

I actually think I look like my little self in this comparison, mainly cause the angle is pretty spot on. My face is a lot wider these days, and my “big brown eyes” aren’t as big as they used to be. I think it is so weird how our eyes stay the same size, our head just gets bigger, don’t you think so too? Anyway, I was 3 in this picture and it’s my favorite photo of myself as a child. My dad took it. He took quite a few photos of me as a child, usually peeking from behind a tree. I cherish this photo cause it was very much the essence of being a kid, my hair was unkempt and I think my expression shows more intensity than you would expect of a 3 year old.

Check out the iheartfaces web site for more info on how you can participate! It’s open for everyone!

Until next time Swellions!


Play Doh Memories


Today I connected with my inner child and relived a fond memory. I have a few jars of Play Doh at my desk at work (something used for a photography prop, packaging idea or the like) and when I opened it up and smelled that Play Doh smell it took me back. I can fondly recall the days of sitting on the brown carpet in my Grandmother’s den, playing with the Play Doh factory tool and making strings of spaghetti. In fact, I just remembered that I have a pic doing just that (with some of my 3rd or 4th cousins…random, I know)!

play doh at grandmother's house

It’s funny how powerful smell is that way and how it triggers your memory. While it makes me very happy to think of the good times I had rolling out the doh and shaping it in my Grandmother’s den, it also makes me very sad to know that those days are officially gone. She is gone and her house is sold and it will never be again like the picture you see above. I wouldn’t trade those memories for the world and the happiness that I had there, so if you ever catch me huffing Play Doh (ha ha), you know why. I’m not one to dwell or live in the past, but I do like revisiting it.It just feels good to reconnect with that girl in that picture (who still feels like that same girl in a lot of ways and always will).

Until next time Swellions!

I met Candace Cameron!

This past Friday, I went to Hollywood for work. You may think that doesn’t really sound like “work”, but it was. I was very busy taking photos and twittering the day away. We (my friends and co-workers Allee and Mandy were there too) were there to create t-shirts using Tulip Fashion Spray Paint. There were a lot of kid celebrities from TV shows on Disney and Nickelodeon, as well as a lot of kid stars of current feature films. Also, there were other random people like Fred Willard, Andy Dick, Niecy Nash, and Scott Baio that were there just to name a few. I’m not a very “starstruck” person and after being on our feet for several hours, the stars seemed like anyone else who wanted to try out a make and take. They all got really excited, were appreciative, and kept singing the praises of the Spray Paint. We got a lot of great photos, comments, and positive feedback!

So, I was a little chicken to ask Candace Cameron for a photo, but my friend Allee said I should just go for it…so I did. Anytime I’ve ever had a chance to get an autograph or photo before, I’ve chickened out. I feel like it’s a bit invasive, and after all, I was working, but honestly, Candace Cameron was sooooo much a figure in my childhood. Full House was my favorite show and I loved watching her storyline and evolving style. She’s also around my age and she is more beautiful now than she was when she was younger! I wish I could say I’ve aged that gracefully!

Anyway, check out the pics of the event here.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Until next time Swellions!


My personal MJ moments

Michael Jackson was such a huge celebrity that it’s hard to have had him not touch our life in some way. I have had many MJ memories that personally affected me and I thought I would share.

the gloved one and more holographic stickers
– I remember fishing in Post cereal boxes for stickers of the sparkly glove (see the sparkly one in the photo above?). MJ stickers were a coveted item in my household that you had to get your hands on first!

– My cousins Bethany and Miranda had a giant Jackson 5 poster in their room. I remember they loved Michael the best and would kiss it before they went to bed.

– For me, I was born in 1978, so even though Thriller was released in 1982, I don’t have much recollection of it. I feel like the Bad era was something I connected with more.

– I LOVED the ending to the Black and White video. I remember thinking how cool that was that they morphed into different people. It is still pretty cool to watch; however, the technology is well beyond that point now. I totally appreciate that he was a design and visual trendsetter and that he was a storyteller.

– In 9th grade, I had some shoes with a square toe and I called them Michael Jackson shoes. I could stand on the toes and I would do the “hee hee” sound and sing “Jamone”. My friend Destiny always thought that was the funniest thing.

Me as MJ 5 years ago
– I dressed up as Michael and won first place for a costume contest at work 5 or 6 years ago. I wore a jacket my mom had made me in 8th grade and crafted fancy MJ-like shoulder accessories and the silver glove. I also wore a glitter hat with glued doll curls and face mask. I had a little “Blanket” baby that I through up in the air. I will admit, this was me portraying the “stereotyped” MJ. If you are as big or notorious as Michael Jackson, you face such ridicule. I also did the moonwalk and danced to Beat it. At one point I looked in the mirror and I saw Michael staring back at me. It was kinda creepy. Takes the song, “Man in the Mirror” to a new level. After my performance, one of the plant employees always called me “Michael”.

MJ unhung
–Lexington had a huge Michael Jackson “Thriller” reenactment each year that I attended several times. It was one of the more unique events that happened in Lex. I always wanted to participate to be a zombie in the performance, but never did. The photo above is from the reenactment. I purchased this at a local art fair in Lexington, thinking it was cool. For the reenactment, they made a giant paper maché MJ.

– I used to go dancing at a club in Lexington called “The Moon” with my Lexington friends and it was always Groundhog Day in there, meaning you knew they were going to play the same stuff over and over. Every Sat. night, you knew that the Michael Jackson remix of music would play. I always hopped out of my chair if I wasn’t on the dance floor already and boogied away. They played Thriller, Beat It, The Way you make me feel, and Black and White. Michael Jackson music is some of my favorite to dance to.

– Just last week, I posted a picture of me wearing my MJ silver glove earrings on Flickr. I had been wearing those earrings a lot as of late. It always seems weird that we make references to people or talk about them in some way before they pass.

What kind of MJ memories do you have?

Until next time Swellions!


When Swell met Scribbles


As most of you guys know, I currently work for Duncan Enterprises in Fresno, California. The funny thing about me working there is the fact that I’ve already had a 20 year or so relationship with the company, because of the Scribbles Paint you see above. Let me explain…

swell model

This was me…around age 11, 5th grade to be exact. I look very wistful in this photo (I remember specifically trying to be modelesque as my dad shot this photo-ha ha). Around this time in my life, I was a very crafty girl. This was the year I got my first glue gun to make ribbon hair bows (I even had glitter glue sticks to go with it). I also loved making macrame bracelets using my fingers as a loom out of those neon nylon loops (which I learned that year in Bible school). For me and the rest of the crafters in this country, this was also the year of the painted t-shirt and sweatshirt!

My mom and I would go to the little Wal-mart (it was super tiny) in our town and I’d scour the fabric section for the perfect print to make a custom sweatshirt out of. The designs came printed just for the size of a sweatshirt, so that you could just cut the image out, Wonder Under it onto some fabric with an iron, and then outline it with your favorite Puffy or Slick paint. The swatch below is something I’ve kept all these years as a momento from my childhood. I made a black sweatshirt with this exact same design outline and embellished, but unfortunately I don’t have it today. The print is from Daisy Kingdom. Back in the day, Daisy Kingdom had a huge line of fabrics and patterns. Many patterns featured matching mom and daughter dress designs like this. Even back then, I was totally all about Halloween and apparently cute bears (don’t ask me why about the bears part).


I specifically remember being enamored by the Scribbles Paint in the Hancock Fabrics store that we went to in Owensboro. As a kid, I would spend hours in there with my mom as she perused through the pattern books and fabric, so I was bored a lot! The fabric paint was ALWAYS something I was very much gravitated to and I remember studying the bottles and usually pulling my mom’s arm into buying me a bottle or two to make a shirt with.

So back then, I had no earthly clue where this paint was made. I had no concept of the craft industry or that an industry such as it even existed. It just is funny to me that I work for the place whose products captivated me as a child.

I make a point now to tell my nephews and crafty niece about how things are made and explain the inner workings of how our products that we buy come to be. In there era, there is so much information at their fingertips and a big ‘ol world out there for them to explore. Having some additional perspective and knowing that they have options will hopefully give them even more opportunity to go after what they want in life and a career.

So anyway…that’s how Swell met Scribbles! Hope you enjoyed!

Until next time Swellions!


Some of my random holiday memories

Tree through the spiral staircase

Everyone has them. Those indelible memories that stay forever stuck in your mind from holidays of past. I have some ups and downs and I thought I would share a few with you, my loyal Swellions! By the way, the pic above is of the tree and spiral staircase at my childhood home. Many of my Christmas memories have happened in this spot!

1) My biological mom’s side of the family (she passed away when I was 6) always used to have these gigantic shindigs each year at various Catholic recreation centers. Well, they would usually involve all the cousins getting into some kind of crazy mayhem…see my grandparents had 13 children, so there were a LOT of kids around. I remember one year us having a big pinata that we broke open. Since I was like 3 or 4, I wasn’t the first one to get to the candy and when I finally did, all I remember was that there were just red disc candies left. I really am not a big cinnamon candy fan, and apparently I wasn’t back then either. I cried and cried. I think one of my cousin’s ended up giving me some of theirs.

We also ended up playing Red Rover in one of these rec centers as well one year and I remember how much it hurt when I held on so tight as my cousin broke through my arms. My arm stung so bad. To this day, I still HATE that game.

2) Two of my cousins that I loved being with during Christmastime were Miranda and Bethany (they’re sisters). They were a hoot…I always laughed so hard when I was around them that my stomach ended up hurting! We are all around a year apart so we always had the best time on holidays. I remember for several years, they had this special McNugget promotion at McDonald’s where you got like 20 nuggets with fancy dipping sauces in a holiday box. For some reason, we thought this was so cool! It’s funny how such little things like that make your day when you are a kid.

3) When I was 14, I had a yellow cat named Kitty (I know, very original) that was a stray that had just showed up one day. Well, he was an outdoor cat and honestly, he didn’t like me all that much. I remember he always scratched me alot. I always wanted to love on him and wanted for him to like me, but I think he was more annoyed by me than anything. Well, in toward the winter month he had been acting really strange. He would jump on cars and fall off. We took him to the vet and she said it was something to do with his inner ear. Well, he never got much better and continued to act strange and make moaning noises. Well, since he was an outdoor cat, he liked to climb up in the attic of my dad’s workshop where insulation was and sleep where it was warmer. Well, a couple of days before Christmas, I pulled down the attic stairs and went up to check on him. He was laying there sleeping. I thought, “Aww, Kitty’s sleeping!” Well, when Christmas day rolled around, I still hadn’t seen him, so I checked on him again. He was in the same exact position!!! I ran inside and told my dad and brother and they checked on him. My brother found some kind of stick and poked him and said, “Yep, he’s frozen solid!” I was mortified. I cried and cried! I’m really not trying to be morbid (he was an outside country cat, and subjected to the elements…I’m afraid he probably got some form of cancer we weren’t aware of).

Even though it was very sad, a few hours later, while we were opening gifts, I looked out the window and saw a striped Tabby kitten running down the hill in the snow. I fed it some food and that cat stayed with our family for over a year. So, even though it was sad, it was still bittersweet to get a new kitten that same day as a special gift!

4) I remember being really sick one time on Christmas day. In KY, it snows on Christmas day like 1 year out of 5 and this was a year with snow! My whole family got bundled up and went out in the snow and my dad pulled the sled up the hill for everyone with his tractor. I swear, all I could do was look out the window and wish I was outside! I was really, really bummed!

5) We had a little lady neighbor who lived in the trailer across the street who would bring us the best baked goods each year on Christmas Eve. I remember her name was Mrs. Renfrow. Well, she would always make two of my favorites: peanut butter pie or Pumpkin cream cheese roll! My mouth is watering as I write this! She was such a sweet lady. I think that she had been in a car wreck, so she had trouble speaking and walking and it made her appear older (along with her hair in a bun). Up close, she had the most beautiful face and clearest skin. It was so weird, because you wouldn’t know that if you saw her from afar.

6) I was always in church plays as a child and they were always kinda cheesy. One year, it was about a group of hoodlums who got locked up in jail, cause they had vandalized a nativity scene. Well, as payback, they learnt about the true meaning of the holiday and had to participate in a live version of the nativity scene. There were a couple of funny things that I remember about this performance: A) I had on high waters and I mean high water pants! and B) My crush (his grandmother went to my church) was in the audience. At the end of the play, I had to be Mary and wear a towel on my head. After the play is over, everyone comes and congratulate you on a job well done. Well, I took that towel off of my head as fast as I could and stood mortified when he came walking through the line. I’m sure I mumbled something to him (if I said anything at all, believe it or not, I was shy back in the day)…I was the most awkward teenage girl EVER! It was pretty painful!

And on another random note, here’s some of my favorite gifts I got over the years!

– pogo stick (I never mastered it! One of the many world records I did not achieve).
– keyboard that had the default song of “Wake me up before you go go” by Wham!
– Mickey Mouse watch that played “It’s a Small World” (my grandmother still asks me if I wear it)
– A Christmas tree for my first apartment.
– Contacts when I was 15. Geez, I wanted them so bad back then and wore them religiously. Now, I HATE wearing them.

Do you have any funny Christmas stories to share?

Hope everyone has a joyous season. Next week, I may be away from the blog for the holidays. My friend Zach is also going to be updating my computer, something it desperately needs, so it will be out of service. Thank goodness for my trusty Iphone!

Until then Swellions!


Let’s here it for the toys…

Every now and then I think back on some of the things that used to be a part of my life. I think in general, it’s actually quite sad how easily we forget the things in our life that brought us so much joy. It’s funny how a picture or seeing a random image on a web site during a routine google search can bring back so many great memories. Today, I wanted to really do some searching and think back to my childhood and the things that brought be happiness. I didn’t have a lot of toys compared to what we see with kid’s these days (I always yearned for a Snoopy Slushie maker, Barbie dream house, Teddy Ruxspin, and actual “real” Cabbage patch kid…mine was homemade without the Xavier Roberts on the butt), but I wanted to share my thoughts on a few of my childhood treasures…

Peaches and Cream Barbie
peaches and cream barbie
I thought this Barbie was so beautiful. I loved her chiffon peach dress and the iridescent sparkle of her bustier. I think I actually ended up dying the hair on the doll pink with Kool-Aid (she suffered far less than the pretty brunette barbie I gave a mohawk to). I think she’s still in an old musty suitcase at my parent’s house and the dress tossed in there somewhere too. I should rescue her before anything might happen to her.

The Barbie Hair Twirler
hair twirl
I was in constant awe of this thing. I’d twirl Barbie’s hair, then my own, and back and forth. I think you could even add in ribbon to add a ribbon twirl. I do remember; however that the little clips would never stay shut and midway through a twirl, the hair would pop out and you’d have to start over.

The Popples
So technically, I never had an actual plush Popple, but I really wanted one. The closest thing I got to it was this lunchbox. Sad to say, it’s prob. rust in a landfill somewhere. This makes me sad.

Pop Beads
I guess this was my early foray into beading. These were always so much fun and I remember giving these to Jessica Wong and Korey Gray for their birthday (they were cheap too – my mom made me pick out the least inexpensive gift for the both of them) when we were in 3rd grade. It was a sleepover and I remember all the girls played with these things into the night as we watched the Goonies.

Rose Petal Place Daffodil and Rose Dolls
I had both of these dolls. They were very petite little plastic dolls and they actually smell like their respective flowers. I love the little sweet details in this yellow one’s dress and the rose on top of the other one’s head.

Other toys I remember having:

– Jem (her earrings never lit up and I lost a the plastic part that held the battery in place on her back so she had a huge hole in her back…also, she had the BIGGEST feet)

– My Little Pony Castle and Stable

– A purple cute bug that lit up that also smelled good. I would use it as a flashlight at night, though it didn’t emit that much light.

– A mini plastic care bear (I never had the plush kind)

– A ballerina Barbie knockoff on a pedestal that would spin around and do different moves. My cousin Bethany wore it out the first night that I got it and it never worked again.

There are a whole lot more toys out there that I had, but they elude me and even the best google search proved fruitless! Maybe one of these days I’ll stumble upon one of them and it will bring back another long lost memory!

Until next time Swellions!