happy terrific two

today is my 2 year anniversary of blogging. 

first of all, i want to say thank you for reading my blog. and all of its randomness. 

i have enjoyed meeting as many of you as i can (via blog comments, emails, facebook, instagram, etc…). i have enjoyed reading your blogs. i have enjoyed trying your recipes and experiencing your life through your stories. i have enjoyed reading about ingredients i don’t even like, and have not “enjoyed” reading about your dating woes and disasters. but you are all fantastic writers, and that’s what keeps me reading. 

there’s nothing sophisticated or themed about my blog. it’s just a bunch of random experiences that i want to share. 

and with that said, stay tuned for more random experiences that i will still be sharing!

may you all have a fantastic week. =)


sierra lei











30 for 30

my sister turned 30 this year. when she turned 21, i took her to get her nails done and i bought us matching outfits and accessories. i wasn’t too fond of fake nails, but i kept the tradition of dressing alike for her birthday for a few years. here are some pictures of my sister and i dressing alike, some on her birthday and some not:





aside from dressing alike, i have taken my sister out to dinner or have arranged for birthday dinners for her. we had fondue one year, just the two of us. i took her to her favorite restaurant another year, the old warsaw. a big group of us took her to dinner at a japanese buffet restaurant, tokyo one. dinners are always the main part of birthdays, but i wanted my sister’s 30th birthday to be very different than the others. for my 30th birthday last year, i had an awesome dinner with friends, followed by an after-party at a bar. i pretty much celebrated my 30th birthday all week. well, my sister doesn’t do that. she doesn’t go out much, she doesn’t go to bars, and she surely does not go to clubs. she’s on her last leg of school and currently student teaches third grade. she gets up at some ungodly hour of the morning, goes to school, comes home, prepares for her next day, and is in bed by 9. her birthday was on a monday and i wanted to do something on her actual birthday instead of on the weekend prior, so i took all that information and came up with giving her 30 gifts for her 30th birthday. before i came up with the idea, she would always say she needed “teacher’s clothes” and i would hear stories about the rules that teachers had and stories about her students. after i came up with the idea, i took the stories and incorporated them into the gifts that i would get her.

i started my 30 for 30 project by listing all the things i wanted to get my sister. aside from the teacher theme i was going for, i also had down a list of things that i knew she wanted or thought she would enjoy. she’s very much into the paris theme at the moment, so that helped with some gifts. i called my dad the day i came up with the idea, and he made some great gift suggestions.  i told some of my friends, too, and they came up with some neat ideas. of course 30 gifts would cost a ton of money, but i tried to play it smart-to shop sales, shop clearance, use coupons, etc. i had about a month to shop, so i did every chance that i got. working in a mall helped because i was able to swing by a store on a break or look around for ideas. she had been wanting good eyeshadows in neutral shades so i got her the latest mini naked palette that came out by urban decay. i love my naked 2 palette, it’s amazing and i use it all the time. she had been obsessing over a bobbi brown lipstick of mine, threatening to steal it, so i brought it out while shopping and found her a few lipsticks in a similar shade. i got her some gift cards so she could buy whatever she wanted from certain stores. i studied her closet to see what she had been recently purchasing to figure out what to buy as far as teacher’s clothes go. some major department stores were running ridiculous sales on top of their clearance so i would spend what seemed like forever going through every piece of clothing. i found amazing dresses and tops and belts and accessories at ridiculous prices. the prices were so low that i was putting multiple gifts in one box. my 30 for 30 was probably 80 for 30 or something, if we counted every item. haha. some gifts were gag gifts. bath and body works had an anti-bacterial soap sale and i got her a bunch of full-sized soaps “because her students have germs.” she student teaches third grade. i also hand made her a “survival kit for naughty students” which consisted of a yardstick, a roll of duct tape, a bar of soap, and a dunce cap. as far as the paris theme goes, i got her an eiffel tower necklace, sets of notecards with her name personalized on them, and the very last gift she opened was an amazing memory board that my friend/co-worker handmade for her. my friend, amber, makes memory boards and sells them on etsy and she couldn’t have made it any more perfect. i was SO excited when i got to see it in person and i was SO sure that it was going to be my sister’s favorite gift out of all of them, so i made it #30, the grand finale. if any of you want custom-made memory boards, you really should check out my friend on etsy. she is very talented. i’m having her make one for my new black/gray/pink bedroom and my co-workers have thrown their orders in as well. if you want to look at her work, click here.

also, my sister was not a big card person. how funny, since i’m the complete opposite. so…i thought it would be funny to attach a card to all her gifts. hahahaha.

if any of you think of doing this for a birthday, for any age, it’s really fun and it doesn’t have to cost much if you shopped like i did. sign up for email alerts or rewards memberships from stores and use coupons. shop sales and clearance racks. hand make things. but allow yourself enough time to get everything together-and wrapped. i am a professional gift wrapper, so of course everything had to look perfect-and it wasn’t as hard, because i think wrapping them all was the most time-consuming part.

aside from the 30 for 30 gifts, we took my sister out to 2 nice dinners within her birthday week. it was fun and delicious.

here is a captioned photo gallery of my 30 for 30 project. enjoy!



one of the first gifts i wrapped...with a card.

one of the first gifts i wrapped…with a card.


hiding gifts results in only one thing: putting them in the trunk.

hiding gifts results in only one thing: putting them in the trunk.


hiding fully wrapped gifts in a closet.

hiding fully wrapped gifts in a closet.


while she was at school, i took the day off from work to set up.

while she was at school, i took the day off from work to set up.


i had my sister blindfolded when i brought her in the house. this is her shocked face.

i had my sister blindfolded when i brought her in the house. this is her shocked face.


gift #1: bread pudding, one of her favorite desserts.

gift #1: bread pudding, one of her favorite desserts.


teacher's kit for naughty students. the dunce cap.

teacher’s kit for naughty students. the dunce cap.


this was a gift that wasn't on my list but was perfect for the teacher's kit. like a boss!

this was a gift that wasn’t on my list but was perfect for the teacher’s kit. like a boss!


dad's idea. chicken soup for the teacher's soul. we grew up reading chicken soup books. it was perfect.

dad’s idea. chicken soup for the teacher’s soul. we grew up reading chicken soup books. it was perfect.


she knew what this gift was. i made her try on a NIQUEA.D necklace from papyrus and she fell in love with it and wanted it so bad. so i got it for her.

she knew what this gift was. i made her try on a NIQUEA.D necklace from papyrus and she fell in love with it and wanted it so bad. so i got it for her.


putting her necklace on.

putting her necklace on.





gift #30!!!!! the memory board that my friend hand made for my sister!

gift #30!!!!! the memory board that my friend hand made for my sister!



we used my niece as a prop. she's a great actress.

we used my niece as a prop. she’s a great actress.


one of my sister's 2 birthday dinners.

one of my sister’s 2 birthday dinners.





november at a glance

november 2: we have fun at work. this here is samantha sporting one of our 2011 holiday ornaments…

NOVEMBER 8: these are the fashion glam earrings i want from NIQUEA.D PAPYRUS NORTHPARK.

NOVEMBER 9: this is what boys do in pool halls in between games. they arm wrestle to prove…um…who’s stronger?

NOVEMBER 12: i helped decorate and attended a quinceanera. 

NOVEMBER 16: i did a radio interview with 103.7 LITE FM for a segment called “READY, SET…CHRISTMAS!” which was released on november 27. it was a fun radio interview, but the funny thing is that the interview got released on paige’s “NOT SO PERFECT PARENT” website, and it was completely shortened and…..not really anything i had said. haha. but CLICK HERE to read the 8-10 minute interview that turned into a 1 question, 1 answer article.  here are some pictures from the interview. what happened was that i brought a wrapped display and one of the deejays was suppose to copy it as we were doing the interview. it was hilarious. the last picture is just of a display i did for our northpark location.

NOVEMBER 17: over 5 years later, i am still in love with my nephew. i came home one night to capture this. 

NOVEMBER 18: my buddy, tony, and i went to the JEAN PAUL GAULTIER exhibit at the dallas museum of art. of course, we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the exhibit, as it was exclusive to dallas and there was security ALL OVER THE PLACE, but that’s what the entry way was for.

NOVEMBER 19: my lovely friend, mishi, invited me to a party and i got to dress up! this was such an amazing weekend!

NOVEMBER 20: chromeo was in town (*tear*) but after work, 2 of my girlfriends and i went to visit a friend of ours that got out of surgery the week before. his mom made lemon bars, pecan pie, and starbucks coffee for us……so yummy!!!!!! we all just lounged around the living room, watching tv, and gossiping. fun times!

NOVEMBER 24: thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year. we spent this holiday at my brother’s girlfriend’s house. my nephew was obsessed with the trampoline, so he was on it all day. we opted for lunch instead of dinner, so we got to take naps in the evening. the weather was nice. it was fun. =) 

NOVEMBER 27: select papyrus stores came out with a signature wrap for the holidays. the toppers were handmade by yours truly. i spent the next few days wrapping displays for our 4 dallas locations and training them on how to do each topper.  these are 4 of the 6 wrapped displays: 

NOVEMBER 30: some co workers and i got together for dinner at chuy’s in dallas to wind down from our hectic past few weeks. these are some of the amazing people that fulfill your custom printing/gift wrapping/jewelry/gifting needs in the dallas (northpark, dallas galleria, southlake, and the shops of willowbend) market: 

i apologize for not blogging lately in the past few weeks. as you can tell, the holiday season has kept me quite busy. i have been at our northpark location for the past 3 weeks, so it has been quite an adventure in that store. i still haven’t completed half of my christmas shopping, so i really need to get on that. other than that, i hope y’all had a wonderful thanksgiving and will have a fabulous christmas!


how to gift wrap

hello, my name is sierra lei, and i am here today to teach you how to gift wrap. how to make a bow will be later. =) that seems to be the one everyone wants to know more.

i don’t quite remember how talented of a gift wrapper i was earlier than 5 years ago. i must have been decent because a few people would have me wrap gifts for them. but then again, i might not have been decent-they might have just REALLY not wanted to wrap their own gifts. who knows. but i did enjoy wrapping.

when i got hired onto papyrus, i was told we were going to be doing “a lot of gift wrapping and a lot of custom printing.” awesome and awesome.

and then i got trained to gift wrap and………………….they used double sided tape?

double sided tape is your best friend.

for every roll of regular tape we use, we probably use 4-5 rolls of double sided tape.

it’s my #1 supply at work in between the months of october to january. when october rolls around, must start stocking up on double sided tape. must order two times more double sided tape. must never run out of double sided tape during the holidays. never. it will ruin my holidays at work.


“oh my gosh, that gift is sooo pretty!”

“you have to teach me how to wrap like that one day!”

“look at that bow!”

“how long did it take you to learn how to wrap like that?”

five minutes.

five and a half years ago, while i was being trained at our northpark location, a customer walked in with about 5 gifts (what is up with the common number here?) on a busy day.

“i’d like to have these wrapped.” all i remember was that they all came in tumi boxes. nice.

the manager looked at me and said, “alright, i can now train you to wrap.”

i watched her measure out her paper, put one sided tape here, lots of double sided tape here and there, fold, fold, fold, crease the corners…

she grabbed some ribbon, tied some around the box, rolled the rest up, snipped both ends, tied it to the ribbon on the box, fluffed it out, snipped excess off…

…then handed me the scissors and said, “okay, there you go. do the other 4.”

and there you have it. the only commentary i got while learning was, “then you do this…then this…then tape this…then do this…then crease this…then you’re done.”

last year i wrapped about 250-300 gifts in between thanksgiving and christmas at work. just at work. that’s not including wrapping OUT of work. i have 2 big clients that i wrap for-they are both sweet ladies. i have been wrapping for one of them for over 4 years now. there are 14 people in her family (from her parents/in-laws to her grand children) and i wrap for all their birthdays, graduations, and other holidays (easter, valentines, etc.) throughout the year. i feel as if i know every member of her family just through wrapping their gifts! every single gift for this client is detailed to the tissue paper in the box matching the wrapping paper which matches the ribbon, which is always a double bow, not a fluffy bow. if she brings a neiman marcus gift box in with neiman marcus tissue paper and a silver neiman marcus sticker on it, that tissue gets thrown in the trash and replaced with a new pack of tissue to match whatever roll wrap she chooses. little details matter to certain people. oh, and she never wraps more than 3 gifts with the same roll of wrapping paper. heavens, no. my second client, on the other hand, doesn’t mind how many gifts are wrapped in the same paper. but she wants her gifts to look like money. they have to look grand. that “little” $500 gift card needs to be put in a pen box with a BIG, FLUFFY BOW. her choice of wrapping paper leans more towards our sheets of handmade paper. they used to be priced anywhere from $3.95 a sheet (which is about 20 inches by 30 inches-enough to just wrap one gift, really) to $12.95 a sheet. whereas my first client would buy out our entire district’s stock of holiday spooled ribbon (i’m not kidding, she’ll buy out all 4 stores), this client would buy out all the sheets of wrapping paper. these ladies mean business, y’all. and when they want their gifts wrap, they want it done right. and if you don’t do it right, they’ll make you redo it. and…if you don’t do it right that second time…..they’ll make you wrap it again. =) it has happened! (not to me, haha) i will refer to my clients as MRS. D (client 1 who i have wrapped for in the past 4 years) and MRS. T (client 2 that i have wrapped for in the past 2-3 years) because i already know that i will be blogging about them this holiday season. they always make it on my facebook, so they will eventually make it on my blog. =) they are just very giving ladies. i wonder if mrs. d’s son is still single…….hmm…..

that was a joke.

gift wrapping isn’t everyone’s cup o’ tea. it might not even be a big deal to others as far as doing the task, whether they like doing it or not. and to some, it is what makes the entire gift, regardless of what is in it.

if you’re going into a shop and having someone wrap your gift, you’re either:

A. not wanting to wrap it yourself because you’re terrible at it

B. wanting it to look REAL GOOD

C. lazy

and there is a price tag that comes with all of the above. having a bottle of perfume wrapped could range from $10 to $30, depending on what you would like to have your gift wrapped with. there’s lots of different ways to have your gift wrapped: just with the wrapping paper and nothing else, with tissue and in a gift box, with a few yards of ribbon, with a shoestring tie bow, with a fluffy bow, with more that one style of ribbon, with a topper, or with an enclosure card. some people don’t care. some people really care. it completely varies. but we do have promotions in which we can gift wrap for 99 cents, so you get to save some money every now and then.

i know i have taken y’all on a long journey through the history of sierra’s gift wrapping experiences when all you wanted to read (and see) was how to gift wrap.

so without further ado, let’s do this.


this is how i do it.

first, we have our supplies (paper, box, scissors, double stick tape, regular tape):

measure at least 2/3 of paper on the sides of your box:

if the under side of your paper does not have a grid or pattern that can assist you in cutting a straight line, fold the paper across and just cut on the crease:

place your gift upside down and bring the edge of one side (the side closer to you) to the corner of the box:

carefully release that side of the paper and bring the other side to tape down to the box:

place double stick tape along the edge of the side closer to you (you can barely see my double stick tape):

bring it over to the edge of the box and tape it down:

doing that creates a seamless look:

next, take the top flap of one side and tape it down:

fold in a side flap, double stick tape the edge, and tape it to the paper (repeat on the other side, duh):

fold a little bit of the bottom flap in (to get a straight edge), double stick tape the 3 sides, and tape to the box:

take note that we are wrapping the gift upside down, so that flap will end up facing downwards in the final product. repeat the last few steps on the other side of the box and you are done wrapping.

although the paper gets wrapped tightly around the box, it still causes a round edge around the corners:

simply run your fingers to crease the edges of the box:

and this is what your corner will look like:

and there you have it. your “no tape showing” gift wrap tutorial.

that was actually a gift i wrapped for a display at work, so i had no choice but to use that or a silver wrap, and the silver one would have been more difficult to see. in the next few days, i will post some pictures of my store display because one of the rolls i used is SOOOOOOO GORGEOUS, we’re all going nutty over it this season.

more pictures, tutorials, and blogs to come from the past week. i must hurry, as this weekend is going to be FILLED with fun and over 300 more pictures!

have a good day, y’all!