Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Grownup : Gillian Flynn

I definitely wanted to read this book. It's a short story by Gillian Flynn, you know the author of Gone Girl, the story was originally in a collection of short stories and then it was pulled and made into a book by itself for folks like me. The book is only 63 pages and doesn't have chapters or anything, like I said just a short story.

The first part of this book is typical Gillian Flynn which is a good thing because you know really know where she will go. I like her raw stories though. The details she puts in and how the characters have weird jobs and characteristic that definitely exist but aren't told in the main stream world. For example, the main character gives hand jobs in New York City for 3 years. You know thats a real job but characters in books usually don't have that as a job haha. Which is something I love about the author. 

The ending of this story really took a turn I didn't expect and then it ended and I was like "I don't know what to think." I think that is how I feel at the end of every Gillian Flynn story which is why she is a great mystery/thriller writer. Now when is she going to write another novel?!??! Also, super easy read like takes an hour or less to finish!
love, Carlee 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A love letter to our first apartment

Photos above are from July 2013 when we first moved into our apartment.

Our first apartment has been so good to us. This is the first place that we lived as a married couple. We moved in July 13, 2013, 8 days after we got married. After I drove across the country to move from Washington State to North Carolina where Clark was stationed in the Army. I wanted to write a little ode or love letter to our first apartment since we will be moving in July 2016 (in just a few short days) and this place has been really wonderful and seen so many memories so here we go.

Dear Apartment on Duncastle,

Awwww first apartment you have been good to the Wengels for the last 3 years. You saw our first fights as a married couple. You saw us bring home the cutest little baby puppy that has grow into the best dog any person could ask for. You saw countless late night ice cream runs. You saw moving couches and rearranging the furniture when I got tired of the same layout. You stayed standing tall through numerous tornado and flash flooding warnings. You have witnessed so many Netflix marathons: The Office (about 12 times), Bobs Burgers, Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black, Parks & Rec, Friday Night Lights, The Walking Dead, Big Love, Friends, etc.

You have always been ready and accepted us back with open arms after we have been away on vacation or just gone for a long weekend. You have the best and biggest windows in the sunroom. They let in so much light and are one of the favorite things about the whole place. Your carpet is the perfect color to hide the dog hair that is probably all over the ground. You are very forgiving to our dog and we appreciate that.

We have loved you even when the AC has broken down in the summer. I am sorry that I haven’t cleaned out the oven more often but at least we know the fire alarm works. (Whenever we broil beef in the oven it gets so smokey.) You have taken every nail in the wall for picture hanging with emence grace. You have been the perfect amount of space for 2 people and a dog. You have seen Clark’s reenlistment in the army. Us learning that we are moving to Italy this summer.

You have seen me make my first turkey ever by myself for our first Thanksgiving! You have seen us celebrating our first Christmas together. You have seen three real Christmas trees and one of the tipping over and leave needles all over the carpet. You have seen 4 Halloween costumes and but only 3 Halloweens haha. You have been there through our first sicknesses as a married couple. Cleaning up throw up never seemed so sexy (haha not.) You have been when I changed from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 6 and when Clark changed from the Android to the iPhone 6 we are now officially an iPhone family.

You have been the best host apartment for 2 Seahawks Super Bowls one win and one lost. Maybe us living in NC is good luck for the Seahawks or maybe they are just a good team haha. You had the perfect amount of space for me to run my business, Little Sloth, full time and for Clark to play his video games part time haha. You have a abundance of closet places (we will probably never be as lucky).

I wish your fridge was bigger and the  bathtub was bigger. I wish there was a designated dining area and I wish the counter was a little shorter so that we could have bar stools. I wish the cabinets had knobs and the vents didn’t get so dusty so quickly. I wish there was a window and window sill in the kitchen that I could put plates on. But mostly I wish you the best in the future and a loving family for your next tenants.

You have been home for us, a truly wonderful and happy home. A comfortable safe place that we got to call our own for 3 years while we were here in Fayetteville. Whenever I get back to town after a long weekend I am always glad to see the familarity of Fayetteville and to put away my GPS because I know the streets and don't need directions. I also know that you will be waiting patiently for us to return and have yourself all done up so Knox can jump up on the couch and fall asleep instantly. Because you make everything feel so safe and so much like home. Because that is what you are. You are our home. Not for long though and that's okay. Because I knew this was always going to be a temporary place. A stepping stone in time. But a magical handmade stepping stone that held up through all there stomping and playing. And you made a great first stepping stone on our paths into marriage and official adulthood. I am so glad we lived here all three years while in Fayetteville. Now whenever I think of Fayetteville, North Carolina I will think of you and all the memories we made in such a wonderful place and that is something I am already so happy about.

Thanks for being you and for accepting us with open arms. You will always be our first home together. You will always have a place in my heart. And that is definitely something to write home about.
love, Carlee
Apartment photos from October 2015 (looks basically the same as this is going live in June 2016)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Disposable Camera || Roll 7

Roll 7 of my disposable camera series! I stared this back in February 2014 and I know one would probably think I would be way farther into it then roll 7 but one of the reasons I like doing this is because it takes me about 6 months to go through 27 exposures of film. I know that sounds probably crazy haha. But I keep the camera in my purse and every once in a while I remember to pull it out. I think the reason I love it so much is because all these photos aren't taken or seen anywhere else. They aren't on my Instagram or Camera Roll or my big camera because when I pull the disposable camera out is it usually not a 'photo' moment which I think it makes it the best! They are awesome photos that capture real moments. View my disposable camera series.
love, Carlee

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Question of the Unfamiliar Husband: E.J. Copperman, Jeff Cohen

I absolutely loved this book. This is the second book in a series called an Asperger's mystery series. I actually read the first book back in 2014 which was called The Question of the Missing Head which is written by the same authors and the reason I read it was because I was scanning the new realeses shelf at the library and I loved the cover art and the title was interesting so a few days ago after I
finished Carry On I was looking around to see what book I might want to read next. I remember how much I liked the Question of the Missing Head so I looked it up on Amazon to see if there was any recommendation and I realized they had written a second book that followed the first one and it was a available at my library! So I picked it up first thing.

It should be noted that the books should be read in order just so you have more background on who the characters are. The story could stand alone but you might be wondering why some of the information seems random but if you read the first one it will make total sense and you'll get to know the characters better. I think the reason I liked these books so much it because they are thriller/mystery without the gore and sinister side (hello- Stephen King and Gillian Flynn) so they are fun quick reads because you want to know what happens but there isn't any real pyschological torment which is nice haha. Not that I don't mind that once in a while.

This book definitively kept me flipping the page and wanting to continue to read it. It has really great cliff hangers at the ends of some chapters. One thing that I didn't love was how rushed the ending seemed. It was a lot of build up and then like one page of explanation. I think I need to know a little more why and it seemed a little bit like the authors didn't know exactly how to finish it strong. But it was still good and totally worth it. I did love the gesture that Samuel did to the female detective at the end of the book, he is such a nice guy. Also they are releasing another book in the series in September and I am super excited about it! 

I realized that my 'book reviews' aren't very good book reviews. I don't give insightful commentary about the themes of the book and so on. I also don't want to give any spoilers so there is that. I hope y'alls Thursday is off to a good start!
love, Carlee 

Monday, June 20, 2016

The best of Fayetteville, NC

Clark and I have lived in Fayetteville, North Carolina for three years now so I think it was the appropriate time to write a post the best of Fayetteville, NC. I know three years isn’t that long in some cases but I am the type of person that really tries to make the post out of every place they live or visit so I really do think I have had a good time here and can recommended things that the wide internet might not be able to tell you. So here is goes my guide to/ the best Fayetteville, NC. On another note, I think there are lots of places that I missed that are definitely worth visiting so this isn't a end all be all guide.

Food & Drink
- Will’s Grill: This place is a family owned and operated joint and have the best burgers! Make sure to order your burger with the famous pretzel bun (it’s their signature!)

- Lindy’s: This place is advertised as a spaghetti and pizza restaurant  but if you go to their Yelp reviews all anyone can talk about is there breakfast! Maybe they just don’t have time to get a new sign. But let me let you there breakfast is pretty darn good. Go on Saturday or Wednesday and get the S.O.S (Biscuits and Sausage gravy). Also they serve breakfast all day so don’t worry about sleeping in late on the weekend.

- The Coffee Scene: This place is a great little coffee joint with a really good atmosphere inside. So cozy and they even have a loft. People buy there coffee and study or work. Also they have gelato! Get the cookies and cream it’s delicious. They also have Krispy Kreme gelato although I will admit I haven’t tried it!

- Rude Awakening: we love this cute coffee shop downtown and it is our go to place for awesome fruit smoothies.

- Luigi’s: A really great Italian restaurant!

-Crazy Fire: is a Mongolian grill restaurant. Where you pick out your choice of meat and vegetables and the cooks grill/fry it up right in front of you. We have one of these back home in WA that is to die for and this one is pretty good to satisfy the craving.

-Shoguns: We had showguns with our good friends it’s a great hibachi restaurant. It’s on Ramsey Street and is really good. I recommend the steak hibachi dinner. Clark loves there sushi and you can even get there sushi rolls deep fried and Clark totally loves it that way. (All you have to do is ask.) You can also sit at a table and have them make the dinner right in front of you we just opted for the regular seating.

-Mash House: This is an American food restaurant, steaks, mashed potatoes, salads, sandwiches, burgers, etc. They even brew there own beer and rootbeer. I got the rootbeer float and it is great! I heard GREAT things about there blondie dessert and there onion rings and steaks are fantastic. 

M & D’s: A great little pancake, waffle, and breakfast house! My friends loves it and wants to go like every single morning on the weekends haha. I think they like it so much because you get SO MUCH food with just one order.

Mary Bill’s: I personally haven't been to this restaurant but a lot of our friends have and it has wonderful reviews.
Things to do
- Airborne Special Operations Museum: we have only been here once and it was one of the first things we did when we moved to Fayetteville. It is a really cool museum and I know they have new exhibits about every month.

-Caver Falls: so this little awesome waterfall is actually on the ziplining property. We having done the ziplinning before but we did hike to the waterfall and it was so pretty. We did see a snake in the water and that is about the time we left. I cannot handle the water snakes here in NC, ugh. haha

-Cape Fear Regional Theater: A theater that puts on live plays and musicals. Here is a post about when we went and saw Spamalot.

- Cameo Art House Theater: This is a great little local theater in downtown Fayetteville. They play indie alternative movies and you can even order beer and wine while you watch your movie. They have really comfy seats and a great atmosphere.

- Lake Rim: In western Fayetteville toward Raeford NC. There is a fishing dock and some awesome trails and on the far side of the lake there are houses. You can't walk around the hole lake which is unfortunate but it is a big lake so it would take a while to walk around it anyways.

- Downtown / Market House: The market house is definitely what the Space Needle is to Seattle. If you see a postcard from Fayetteville it usually has the Market House on it which is in the round about in the middle of downtown. It is actually a place where they use to sell slaves which is a weird bit of history. During special events the upstairs museum is open to go into.

- Gillis Hill Farm: A family farm that sells pumpkins in the fall and has a corn maze. They also have a little market during harvest season to sell other produce and they sell homemade ice cream year around!

- Clark Park/ Cape Fear River Trail: This is a trail that is 5.3 miles one way so it is a very long trail that can be enjoyed. It goes along the Cape Fear River and has bathrooms along the way and even water stations.

- The Climbing Place: This is a rock climbing place that is pretty fun. They have belaying or free climb. We have only free climbed here because you have to do a little class to belay but I don’t think it’s that long.

-Fayetteville FireAntz: They aren't the best hockey team in the world but a little fun sporting outing is a good time once in a while. They play at the crown colosseum by the Fayetteville airport.

-Just Claying Around: This is a paint ceramic place that is awesome. They have all sorts of ceramics to paint and so many colors. Reasonable priced.  And you get your pieces back within a week, fired and done.

-Arsenal Park: a post about time at the park.

-1897 Poe House: read more about the Poe House here!

- Putt Putt Fun Center: Such an awesome place to putt putt, there are batting cages, go carts, and an arcade.

-Fort Bragg: For Bragg is the largest military installation in the world and has lots to offer actually. Golf courses, ice skating rink, museums, bowling, lakes, etc. Also, just driving around and seeing all the soldiers at work is pretty cool.

Things to see
-The wisteria in the spring
-Babe Ruth marker (where he hit his first home run)
-The mini Eiffel Tower in Fayetteville.
- Gilchrist Bridge, this is a cool little old bridge near Raeford.

- Cumberland County Fair
- Dogwood Festival
- Dickens Christmas
- Zombie Walk
- Christmas in the Park
- International Folk Festival

-The Krispy Kreme in Fayetteville has a really cool old vintage sign.
- There are some really cool murals/ painted walls in Fayetteville.
- There is a small version of the Effiel Tower here.
- This road side market is the best. Beautiful flowers in the spring/summer. Pumpkins in the fall and trees during Christmas.

A little ways away.
- Antique Street Fair in Cameron NC
- Raven Rock State Park in Lillington NC
- Carver’s Creek State Park in Spring Lake NC
- Gross Farms Pumpking and Strawberry Picking
- Weymouth Woods
- Martin Park and 50 acre dog park

I think it's so fun to live in new places and really take advantage of that. Since we are a military family we will be moving around a lot and this was our first duty station. It was awesome to get to know a town in North Carolina and really make it feel like home. I can't wait to get to know more towns just like this one across the world and the USA.

Let me know if you have any recommendations to add to this list.
love, Carlee 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

State of the biz : shop update

As you may or may not know, we are moving to Italy!! Read this post, for more information on that. One of the things that I had to work out when we were thinking about going and then once confirmed was what is going to happen to my business and what is it going to look like going forward. Or can it go forward at all. As you may know I sell greeting cards, mugs and pins in my shop Little Sloth and have for 3 years now. So a couple things, I can't run a business from a military address in Italy. There are rules against anyone running a business from a military address because the military is then associated with that business and of course they have enough worries. Also, if I was going to be running my business from Italy I would have to file Italian taxes and all that stuff because I would have to run it out of an Italian address (per what I said above.) Also the majority of my orders are from the USA so the shipping to the USA would be twice as long and more expensive from Italy. So basically all things pointed to me not taking my business along with me to Italy.

So where did I go from there? First I talked to Clark and my mom and my friends about the issues then I decided that if I could I would transfer it back to Washington State and have a fulfillment partner run the shipping aspect of it. I then talked to my accountant about how and if something like that would work. He said that it would work just fine and that I could just run the online business aspects because you can run an online business from anywhere and I could keep the shipping part of the business in the United States.

At this point, I have officially transferred all my product to Washington State and that is were it will ship from for the forseeable future. I have a fulfillment partner there that is wonderful and that I trust and that is super excited about this venture with me which in turn is making me even more excited about coninuting designing and illustrating. That leads me to my next point, I will still be designing and illustrating the products, running all the customer service, promoting, paying bills and ordering
supplies. I am just now out sourcing my shipping. At first I was really nervous about this transition but now that we are about 3 weeks into the fulfillment partner running all the shipping and there hasn't been any hiccups just a few phone calls, I am super happy. I actually think this move will be a good thing and help my business grow which I did not expect. If anything I excepted my business to shrink from this and thought maybe it would continue but at a smaller scale and I would produce just a handful of mug designs and a couple dozen card designs but after the awesome transition I am excited to keep all the products as is for now and I even plan on expanding in some areas.

With that said, there are limited product quantities as of right now in the shop. If you go to purchase a card or mug and there is none available then that product is sold out at least for a little while until I can stock back up. So if there is anything you have your eye on make sure and go grab it while it is in stock in the shop. This also means that I am no longer doing custom orders. I used to take a handful of custom orders and also change colors upon request but I can no longer do that. Basically what you see is what you get now.

For me, designing and illustrating will mostly be in my future which is fun because that is the best part. It's funny because 3 weeks ago when we transitions I got back to North Carolina with none of
my products and no rush to ship orders and felt a little weird. Like I have all this time what am I suppose to do haha. But I have filled it, of course. Did you see I am now designing iPhone cases on casetify?

So yeah that is the shop update for now. Basically everything will continue to run as normal just from a different location and stuff is not directly shipped by myself anymore. I, of course, still oversee everything and take full responsibility for any errors or mistakes. Okay thats it for now! You can shop my handmade products here or my iPhone cases here!
love, Carlee

Monday, June 13, 2016

I'm now selling on Casetify!

Hey all! Exciting news... I am now a verified artist and have my own collection on Casetify! I am just currently designing iPhone cases but I hope to do Mac book sleeves and Apple watch bands too. I only have a handful of designs right now but I am so excited to design more and more. So fun to have a new medium to work with! Check out my favorite designs below and shop here! Also click through to see all of my designs!
love, Carlee

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Carry On: Rainbow Rowell

I LOVED this book! I actually stayed up until 1am to finish it on Tuesday night. The book is about 500 pages and I was on page 400 and just couldn't put it down until I knew how the story turned out. Of course, that meant I was WAY too tired on Wednesday. I have read every book by Rainbow Rowell I just love her story telling ability and so I knew I had to read this book. Even though this book was a little different then her other ones. This one was based in a magical fantasy world in the UK. 

I loved Simon and Baz's story. It was my favorite thing. That is why I couldn't out it down. I had to see what happened with them. The magical story was told well even though at times I was a little confused but once you keep reading all the parts will fill together. I think those are the best stories that keep you hanging on and then all the cracks fill in later and it all clicks. 

I also really enjoy how Rainbow Rowell ends her books. They are like real life endings. Normal people, normal life. Not these ... 'happily ever after moments' although it does feel that way even if it is real life. Even these fantasies stories are better with real life ending. Although I hope Simon gets better, I feel a little bad about a part of this ending but I don't want to ruin anything for anyone. So I'll keep vague posting haha. I would give this book a 5 out of 5 raking! Thats how much I liked it. 

love, Carlee 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Cliff jumping

One of the best things that we did while we were in Washington State visiting family was go cliff jumping. This was something that Clark and I did a lot in high school with our friends and so we decided that it would be cool to take my little brothers as well as Clark's sister. We actually ended up going twice. The time pictured below and one day we took my little brothers out of school to lunch (they are in middle school) and then ended up playing a little hooky and taking them cliff jumping then as well. Luckily, my parents are super cool and since we were only there for a few days they didn't mind if the boys skipped a little bit of school to see us. 
The GIF I made above is actually of my little brother doing the jump called junior suicide. It is the second tallest cliff jump you can do. The tallest being suicide. Clark has done junior suicide before but I have never seen anyone do suicide before. Although, Clark said he has seen a couple crazy guys doing it. 
The photo above is a joke photo. Clark's sister is just pretending to push my little brother. That is like the one rule of the cliffs. NO PUSHING anyone in. 

It the dead of summer cliff jumping is awesome because the water isn't so cold and the weather is so hot that all you want to do is play in the water! When we went these two times it was a little chilly so most of us only jumped off one or two times but one of my little brothers is fearless and jumped like 6 times and swam in the water a lot. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

1SE - Washington State (video)

We had so much fun in Washington State for a couple weeks in May. We got back last week and while I was there I used the 1 Second Everyday app to document our time using the freestyle function. I have been using 1SE app to document the year so far and this was the first time using the freestyle function which was really cool. You don't have to follow the timeline and can post whatever you want. It was really cool to use. And it is fun to have about a one minute video of our time in WA. It's also fun to see my family and friends in live motion! 
love, Carlee

Monday, June 6, 2016

Garden Party

On the last Sunday that we were home, my mom and I hosted a bridal shower for my brothers fiancé who I am also going to be a bridesmaid for. Since I am moving to Italy in July and won't be able to be apart of the other bridal shower festivities I wanted to make sure I did something special for the bride. There were many people there around 10-15 and I actually loved it this way. It was super intimate and we all got to talk and tell stories and everyone heard each other. It was a lot of fun and my mom made the best cake.
My mom actually used to design wedding cakes in the past and she made my wedding cake and is going to make the cake for my brothers wedding. They actually want a naked cake which is really popular right now and she has never made one before so she wanted to do a little practice one at the shower and also make some flavors for them to try. The cake is amazing and the bride loved it. The flavor that they really like is lemon and my mom made a really good lemon flavored cake. Even though I am not a big fan of lemon it was really yummy! 
Have any of you heard the song Garden Party by Ricky Nelson.? My mom was singing it on the morning we were setting up for the shower and then she explained this story that went along with it and then we listened to it on my phone and I only knew about 6 words that first day "I want to a garden party...." But since then I have had the song stuck in my head and I only know about two lines so those same two lines go around and around in my head haha. Its the worst. But every time I think of this day I will think of that song and now I know who Ricky Nelson is! 

Also, this drop waist dress is amazing. I got it at Ross and it is my first drop waist dress and I love the pattern. 
love, Carlee
Ross: Dress
Sandals: Toms

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Winthrop Washington

Winthrop Washington is one of the cutest towns in all of Washington State. I know that is a big statement but it is 100% true. It is an old western town suppose to look like a mining town in the late 1800s. The city put in an ordinance in 1972 when the North Cascades highway was being built to keep the town looking western. So any new building has to be built to look like a 1890 mining town. It is such a pretty town with a river running through it. The town is awesome and we used to driving through it every time we drove to my grandmas house on Whidbey Island Washington. 
My mom and stepdad just opened a nightly rental suite in Winthrop WA. It is super cute and in downtown. It's on the river and like 100 steps from some amazing homemade ice cream. It is called Riverside Retreat and if you are ever looking into staying in Winthrop you should check it out. My mom took Clark and I up to see it which I was very excited to because my mom has been talking about it and the renovations for about two months now so it was awesome to finally see it finished. Memorial Day weekend was the first weekend it could be rented and they got a reservation right away! I am very proud of my mom. She keeps me inspired to start new adventures and projects! She totally rocks.
So while my mom had to meet with some people for the rental, Clark and I strolled around town. We even got western photos taken which was really fun! We of course got ice cream at Sheri's Sweet Shop. I got blackberry and maple nut in a homemade waffle cone and clark got chocolate peanut butter in a cup! It is so yummy. And the shops in Winthrop are so darn cute! I loved the bookstore, the Wine Shed, and the Courtyard Quail! 
Happy Thursday
love, Carlee
Tank: Old Navy
Shorts: Target
Sandals: Teva
Cardigan & Purse: JCPennys