Collins Family Christmas

For the Collins family, Christmastime means nerf gun battles in the basement, my dad dressing up as Santa for us “kids” and watching blackmail-worthy home videos that will hopefully never step outside of my parents house.

This was Pete’s first Christmas with our crazy posse and he managed to survive without any bruises (probably because he was the winner of our nerf gun battle). This year came with a looming snowstorm, so we had to leave late on Christmas evening to take my brother and his wife back home to New York City. Overall, it was a 7 hour trek from Delaware to NYC to PA, but we had Betty White to keep us company in the car during our trip home in the wee hours.

The Grinch made a frightening appearance this year, and came bearing Halloween gifts (only in our family do you get Halloween decorations on Christmas).

As one of my gifts to Pete, I painted him a Boba Fett Munny to go along with his other hand-painted Star Wars Munny dolls for his desk at work. Last year, before we started dating, I had him as my secret Santa (this is when we worked in the same office), so I made him a Stormtrooper Munny. My plan is to paint him a Star Wars Munny every Christmas…or until he gets sick of them at least.

I also painted a Munny for my brother—a not-so-cute character from one of his plays, Americana Kamikaze. I really enjoy making custom Munny dolls and would love to make a lot more in the future for my Etsy shop, so if you have any requests, let me know!

I’ve been super excited to play with my new lens from Pete (a 24mm 2.8). I’m also looking forward to baking him a birthday cake this week while wearing my new Anthropologie apron from my brother and his wifey. What were some of your favorite gifts this year?

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Christmas Time is Here…

Another item is crossed off my 30 before 30 list! Pete, Betty White and I picked out our first Christmas tree together (and my first ever real tree) at Shady Brook Farm. It was absolutely arctic outside, I felt awful for thinking Betty White would have fun with us since she spent the entire process shivering. She really liked standing next to the trash can fire by the tree helpers though.

Pete gave Betty smooches to warm her up while we had our noble fir tied to the roof of my car. She was super content with this, since he is not usually one for bathing her with kisses.

I got Pete his first ornament for our tree—a heart with buttons—since the other ornaments are mine from growing up and I didn’t want him to feel left out. Nothing is ever going to top the baby with the plastic bag on its head (courtesy of my grandfather), or the flamboyant elf and mouse sitting in a tree (k-i-s-s-i-n-g).

Now that I finally have a wee bit of free time, we’ve been spending our evenings by the fire and watching Mad Men marathons. It’s absolute perfection. I’m so incredibly happy and look forward to what 2011 brings.

The redesign has launched!!

As you may recall, up until today, youwannatalkjive looked a little something like this:

The original design was thrown up there quickly because I wanted to transfer all of my posts from Blogger to WordPress. I didn’t have a chance to customize it, apart from adding a background pattern and a rushed header design. Luckily my boyfriend Pete offered his fantabulous design and coding skills and revamped my entire blog in a matter of days.

I provided Pete with a few illustration concepts (I wanted to include our pets in the header) and patterns I liked, but he really went above and beyond anything I could have expected from a personal blog. His attention to detail is fantastic—he immediately understood where I was coming from when I said I wanted to mix vintage patterns with playful graphics.

If you are considering giving your blog a makeover, be sure to contact him or find out more about pricing here. He offers all sorts of customizable packages so it’s pretty darn easy to personalize.

Do you have any new features you’d like to see around these parts? Don’t be shy with suggestions, now is the time to throw them out there! Thanks for visiting the new digs, let me know what you think of the fresh look!

Youwannatalkjive redesign to launch this week!

I’m excited to announce that the newly designed youwannatalkjive will be launching sometime this week, thanks to Pete at Philmadelphia. I’ve been really busy lately with photo shoots and work, but I plan on returning soon with much more rambling and posts from my lovely guest bloggers! If you’re interested in being a guest blogger feel free to shoot me an email and submit a topic idea. Also, this is the time to let me know of any new features you’d like to see on the website, so I (and by “I” I mean Pete) can make it happen!

I’m so not a nature person.

Pete and I went to Shadybrook Farms recently to go pumpkin picking and embrace autumn at its best. Pete claimed he had never carved a pumpkin before, so I wanted him to have the whole let’s-go-on-the-hayride-and-pick-out-our-own-pumpkins-Charlie-Brown-style experience. We roamed around for the perfect pumpkins and spent our evening gutting and sawing away until our tiny grocery store-bought jack-o-lantern knives were destroyed. I carved an owl (no surprise there) and Pete went for an abstract design that ended up looking like this after a week of wear and tear on our porch:

Those darn stink bugs definitely liked using it as their new home. Speaking of bugs, the day after we went pumpkin picking, I noticed a target-shaped bite mark on my upper thigh. It itched like crazy and I thought it was just a normal bug or spider bite and told myself not to obsessively search WebMD for bug bite photos. A day passed and the target mark only got worse so I nagged Pete with my many hypochondriac-y questions: “Do you think it’s from a brown recluse? My leg feels numb, do you think it’s just asleep or am I going to have to get it amputated? Does the target look bigger to you now? How bout now? Have you seen a spider with a dark violin shape on its back in our apartment?!”

I decided to call the doctor so I could stop torturing Pete, who was convinced it was nothing, but strongly suggested I go to the doctor for his own sanity. Anyway, turns out I managed to get lyme disease (does this make me a total hick?)! Luckily I caught it fast and was prescribed antibiotics to kick the darn thing out of my system. Plus I got a delicious lollipop from the doctor (there shouldn’t be an age limit for lollipops from the bank or doctor), so there are no complaints on my end! Needless to say, these sorts of things don’t exactly make me want to explore the great outdoors.

Has anyone else had a similar experience that made them want to stay indoors 24/7?

The Neurotic Adventures of Betty White {the dog}

Since our move to Bucks County, Pete and I have been trying to make a habit of visiting Tyler State Park every weekend with Betty White. She is absolutely terrified of everyone and everything (except us), so she could use a little doggy socializing time. Since she was previously abused (she was adopted from the SPCA four years ago), she has a lot of trust and separation anxiety issues. She’s even prescribed for doggy Prozac to help with her constant anxiety. A day in the life of Betty White consists of nervous foot licking, hovering underneath our feet, hiding from dog toys and shaking uncontrollably at foreign noises. Needless, to say, we’ve been taking baby steps to try to help her make friends and loosen up a bit. I’ll be sure to post updates on her progress for those of you who are curious about the neurotic adventures of Betty White.