my life is nothing without apple

so…the past few days at work have been quite interesting…….

first of all, let me rewind a little bit. back in june, the apple store had relocated into a bigger space in the mall where i work. their previous spot was significantly smaller. it was a narrow but deep space…and when i say “narrow” i mean “i’m never stepping foot in there because i will get claustrophobic.” i don’t frequently pop into an apple store like the regular apple customer (or really any customer) does. in fact, i can list every single time i have walked into an apple store: when i bought my first apple product, which was my macbook, when i bought an ex boyfriend an iPod for his birthday, when i asked, “what do i do if i might have put my iPad on top of my car and got on the freeway?” for a friend, and when i bought my iPad. i have been in an apple store 4 times in my life-and all at another location. i am an android, by the way-just to let y’all know…but i do love my iPad. oh, i love my iPad.

so, moving along…

this “apple is moving into a bigger space”- it was the talk of the town. the big news. the big deal. the big everything. it had been talked about since the beginning of the year. is it true? is it a lie? please be true. oh, how our lives were going to change forever because it was going to be right across from us, customers told us. our business was predicted to skyrocket and soar once apple’s squeaky clean and windexed sliding glass doors open. yada, yada, yada. how happy the apple-loving customers were. to be able to shop in a space about 4 times the previous store’s size (at least that’s what it looks like)! more room to breath, more walking space, more hired associates to help, more inventory available. boy, were those tech-loving customers stoked about apple moving into this big space across from us. we heard all about it-from those who actually believed the rumors.

my thoughts during the half-year process: “hm, i bet it’s going to look all sleek and cool…but i bet it’s not going to make a difference in our business…and i get to stare at cute, techy apple boys all day!”

come on, who doesn’t think nerdy apple boys are cute?

anyways.

so june happened.

and the new apple store was introduced.

and we were about to see what we were in for with our new neighbors.

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i loved the look of the store. it’s bright. it’s clean. it’s sleek. just like i had envisioned. cute apple boys in blue shirts, check. *insert high school giggle and hair twirl* oh, it was fun.

for about a good week. 

and then, over the course of a few months, it turned into this:

“hi, how are you tod-”

“I’M JUST LOOKING. i have to wait another freaking hour for my appointment at apple! *grOwls*”

*frustrated teenage customer*

“do you guys have cute iPhone cases? because apple doesn’t have any!

*our daily question of the day*

“do you know where the apple store is?”

“where is the damn apple store in this mall!?”

“how do i get to the apple store from here?”

“is the apple store on the first floor or the second floor?”

*on a weekend, the daily customer who glares at the busy apple store across the hall from our store*

“*disgusted*…look at all those people in apple…how pathetic they are…all crammed in that store as if their lives depended on a new phone…”

*customers in our store during a product launch day when there’s a 200-person line outside of apple*

“ugh! i can’t BELIEVE they would stand in line for a *insert latest product*!!!! i mean, don’t they HAVE A LIFE!?!?” *looking at me with angry eyes as if i know the answer to that question*

*in regards to iPhone cases that we sell in our store*

“what’s the difference between a 4/4s and a 5?”

*insert my blank stare*

“i’m an android. i wouldn’t know.”

*insert angry look directed towards me in return for my answer*

“it’s going to cost $15 to wrap this!?!?”

my thought in response: “yes, sir, it’s going to cost $15 to wrap the $2,000 laptop you just bought your daughter for her 10th birthday.”

anyways, you get the point.

*insert big sigh*

but that was nothing compared to what i got to experience these past few days.

*cue in horror movie soundtrack music in 50 million decibels*

as many of you don’t know, dallas underwent an ice storm. “icemageddon” is what i call it. it is the third ice storm that i can recall in the 11 years that i have lived here. dallas weather is very unpredictable-we don’t believe a word our weather man says. but he was right this time-dallas was going to ice over, and it did. now let me tell you about an ice storm in dallas. first of all, dallas drivers don’t even know how to drive in the rain. so when you throw in hail or snow, all hell breaks loose. and we had ice. texas doesn’t do ice. we don’t have salt trucks ready to salt the roads and we don’t have fancy winter tires like they do in alaska to drive on ice or snow. we just slide and scream and end up on the side of the road if we are not careful. we have 13 car pileups on a summer day. so an ice storm is a huge deal. a huge deal. we sure do have enough ambulance and fire trucks to accommodate it.

i woke up on friday morning, saw nothing but white outside. i usually wake up early enough to get ready for work and go, but i woke up much earlier because i was recovering from a cold and i wanted to make sure i was properly drugged up with medicine to be able to function at work, as i couldn’t miss another day. i decided to check on my car and it’s a good thing i did.

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i called security to see if the mall was open.

“why, yes, of course! the mall is opening at normal hours.”

while i spent 2 1/2 hours getting half the ice scraped off my car, one of my friends was texting me about how she had been out of power since the middle of the night. omg. no power in 30 degree weather. and then everyone started texting me:

“i don’t have to go to work today!”

“are you off today?”

“how are you feeling?”

“don’t go to work today! it’s not safe!”

oh, i wish i could just say, “hey, the roads don’t look good, boss. i think i’ll stay in.” some of us don’t work that way. i did what i could with my car and headed to work.

holy batman, i can’t believe i drove 11 miles on ice!

pure ice. sliding all over the place. from my driveway to the mall entrance, it was like car skating around dallas. how is the mall open in this weather!? and during my commute to work, a HUGE chunk of ice fell off of one of the highway signs and landed right in front of a cluster of cars driving in front of me. OMG!!!!!!!! what!?!? it could have possibly been a scene out of a final destination movie if it wasn’t easily (nothing was “easy” about driving on a highway of ice, really) dodged!

but i made it to work.

and guess who didn’t have to go to show up that day:

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pitch black and deserted: apple.

open mall + closed apple store = this blog post

i had heard from my apple friends that they were closed for the day, so i knew it before i got to work. but seeing it was a whole different thing. it was like seeing what your day was going to look like-i mean, who would these apple customers yell at if there is not a single apple associate around?

*blink………….blink*

you see that gift wrap station in front of apple? that’s mine.

so i was the primary target. why go to concierge down the hall when there is a human working in the hallway 15 feet away from the apple store? and the customers didn’t waste any time. and i tried answering to the best of my knowledge.

“why is the apple store closed?” it must be because of the inclement weather outside. which, by the way, was a totally unacceptable answer to them.
“can you call and figure out which apple location is open right now?” according to the 800 number, it says that all apple stores are closed for the day.
“can you see when the knox location is open?” the 800 number says the knox location will be closed for the next 4 days (it really did, as much as i didn’t believe that an apple store would be closed for 4 straight days…).
“why is the apple store closed?” i don’t know ma’am, i don’t work there.
“how am i supposed to pick up my order?” i don’t know, sir. call their 800 number, they might help you.
“what makes them think they can close when the mall is open!?” sir, a store’s closing or opening is at their discretion during inclement weather.
“i just need something to open their doors…” a hammer to the glass might be able to open their doors, but i wouldn’t suggest it, ma’am.
“why is the apple store closed?” i’m not sure, sir. maybe concierge knows the answer. 

i really could go on with all the apple customers i had to deal with while i was working at MY store. it was quite stressful. in fact, it was quite irritating, to be honest. first of all, i didn’t need to help them. but i did, because that’s what i do. second of all, i didn’t deserve the hostile attitudes and never-ending questions. i don’t work for apple, and i am not affiliated with the company. third of all, i had to deal with them throughout the whole day while i was slowly having a bad day at work myself. it was just a hot mess. so i vented about it on Facebook.

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i am not a negative person, but i really did have a bad day. that was probably the most negative post i have shared on my Facebook, but i just had to vent. and for those of you who don’t know, town east mall is what a lot of people call a “ghetto mall” so the last line was meant to be a funny joke.

throughout the day, i was texting my apple friends while they were home taking a day off from work, venting to them about their customers. they felt bad. but it wasn’t their fault. kudos to a company who values the safety of their associates and WILL prove that closing a few times a year will not hurt their business. i mean, it’s apple. does anything ever hurt their business? come on, now.

so i thought that friday was going to be the only day that apple was closed….until my friends told me that they were closed when i woke up on saturday morning.

“nooooo! please don’t do this to me!” i texted them. they felt bad, once again. it’s not their fault. kudos, once again, to a company who values the safety of their associates because the roads weren’t any better. in fact, on friday evening, the temperature dropped to 22 degrees. nothing had melted.

so here we go with ROUND 2 of Apple iClosed. 

i already knew it was going to be an equally bad or worse day in regards to dealing with apple customers because this time, the apple was lit up in the front of the store and the graphics in the store were also turned on…which gave me the impression that the store would open later on in the day even though i knew it was closed for the next 24 hours.

the very first customer i had at work was a gentleman who snapped at me because apple was closed.

“who do they think they are!? what are they thinking being closed for 2 days!”
well, sir, to my understanding, quite a bit of associates live a distance away. and to my understanding, i think it would take over 100 associates rounded up to open the store. and to my understanding, the weather is a very serious situation for a company that huge to shut down for 2 days…
*GROWLS AT ME WITH MENACING EYES* “well, they need to get their S### together!” *cusses his way out*

*blink……..blink*

please make that the only customer i have to deal with today. please make that the only customer i have to deal with today. please make that the only customer i have to deal with today.

“nordstrom doesn’t have power.”
“customers in nordstrom are shopping with flashlights.”
“is nordstrom closed? because their doors are open….”

yes, nordstrom’s power went out (overnight, i’m assuming) and yes, customers were shopping WITH FLASHLIGHTS. hold up, wait a minute. what!? how is that POSSIBLE?

but it was so nice to have a change of topic.

until i met the lady who inspired me to type up this blog.

i was in my gift wrap station when this frantic lady comes running up to me. OUT OF BREATH.

“CAN-YOU-DO-ME-A-FAVOR-AND-FIND-OUT-WHEN-THIS-APPLE-STORE-IS-GOING-TO-OPEN-TODAY-BECAUSE-I-NEED-IT-TO-OPEN-AND-IT-CAN’T-CLOSE-TODAY-BECAUSE-I-NEED-IT-TO-OPEN-SO-PLEASE-HELP-ME-CAN-YOU-CALL-CONCIERGE-OR-APPLE!?!”

whoooooooooooooooooooa, lady! SLOW YOUR HORSES THERE FOR A SECOND!

it was so serious that i had to use hand gestures.

halt.

stop.

slow down.

breath in.

breath out.

woo sah, lady. woo sah.

“hi, ma’am. i’m pretty sure the store will be closed today.”

“NO. NO. THAT’S NOT TRUE. IT HAS TO OPEN. I HAVE TO KNOW WHEN IT OPENS TODAY. MAYBE 11? WHAT TIME IS IT RIGHT NOW? WHAT. IS. THE. EXACT. TIME. RIGHT. NOW?” *huffing and puffing*

“it’s 11 right now.”

“OKAY. SO MAYBE NOON. I JUST REALLY NEED THE STORE TO OPEN. I REALLY, REALLY NEED THE STORE TO OPEN. I WENT TO THE KNOX LOCATION AND THEY HAD A SIGN UP SAYING THAT THEY WERE GOING TO BE CLOSED ALL DAY TODAY AND I JUST REALLY NEED TO FIND A STORE THAT’S OPEN RIGHT NOW AND I REALLY NEED THIS ONE TO OPEN *shakes her head and looks at me like i don’t understand* YOU DON’T KNOW HOW ROUGH MY PAST FEW DAYS HAVE BEEN.”

*THIS IS WHERE I RAISE MY EYEBROW AS A SIGN THAT I BET I COULD PROVE HER WRONG*

“oh, really?………………………………” *leans forward in her direction even though i did not need to give her any gesture to start talking because i already knew she was going to, whether i wanted to hear it or not*

“OH MY GOD, SO I HAVE BEEN OUT OF POWER SINCE LAST NIGHT. SINCE LAST NIGHT! CAN YOU BELIEVE!? UGH! AND I COULDN’T SHOWER WHEN I WOKE UP! UGH! AND I COULDN’T EVEN CHARGE MY PHONE! *shows me her dead iPhone even though it’s been in her flailing hands the entire time* SO MY HUSBAND AND I GOT A HOTEL ROOM AND NOW HE’S AT WORK AND I’M BY MYSELF-WITHOUT A PHONE! AND I’M LIKE, ‘I CAN’T GO WITHOUT A PHONE! I JUST CAN’T!’ SO I GO TAKE A SHOWER IN THE HOTEL ROOM AND I SET MY PHONE ON THE COUNTER-”

“……oh, God.”

“-AND, YEAH, I KNOW! AND THEN…I TURN ON THE WATER IN THE SHOWER…*slows her story down to make action motions of her turning on the shower*….”

“…..uh huh…”

“AND THEN WATER. WATER JUST SPLASHES EVERYWHERE FROM THE SHOWERHEAD!!!! AND RIGHT ONTO MY PHONE! SO NOW I NEED A NEW PHONE! I JUST-I JUST CAN’T GO ANOTHER MINUTE WITHOUT A PHONE! I MEAN, I CAME HERE, I LOOK LIKE A HOT MESS (by the way, she was in full makeup and in a black full-length fur coat), I NEED A PHONE, I LOOK TERRIBLE, AND I REALLY CAN’T SURVIVE WITHOUT A PHONE TODAY. I MEAN, WHAT IF I GET IN A CAR ACCIDENT TODAY WHILE I’M DRIVING? OH MY GOD, I LOOK LIKE A HOT MESS AND I’M IN THE MALL. HOW AM I GOING TO CALL ANYONE!? SO I REALLY NEED YOU TO BE 100% SURE ON WHAT TIME APPLE IS OPENING TODAY! PLEASE!”

“ma’am, let me show you my phone and show you what my friend from apple texted me about them being closed today because that is the only proof i have.”

*facial expression of DEVASTATION as i show her my phone*

it looked as if her life was over. and she vented and vented and vented more and more and more about how she canNOT go a DAY without HER iPHONE and that she was not going to make it through the day but finally snapped back into reality, saw and realized that I WAS NOT AN APPLE EMPLOYEE and that i was not obligated to talk to her or give her answers, apologized and thanked me for my help, and RAN to AT&T in her black full-length fur coat.

and then it hit me.

A SIGN.

“…i went to the knox location and they had a sign up saying that they were going to be closed all day…..”

bingo. because i knew that she saw the sign and didn’t run to the next store to throw a fit-she just simply left. and i figured that if i made a sign, they would hopefully stop bugging me.

but then i got a little paranoid. am i even allowed to make a sign for a company that i don’t work for? well, it’s their fault for not putting it up themselves. what should the sign say? will i get in trouble? i don’t care, i really can’t take any more angry apple customers getting in my face when i’m trying to work. but will i get in trouble? 

so i consulted a few people who knew about what i had to go through the previous day. and after an hour or so of discussion, we had come to a conclusion. i was going to make a sign for apple.

“due to inclement weather, we will be closed today and will open tomorrow, december 8th. thank you for your understanding.”

simple and sweet. done and done.

on my way to my gift wrap station in the hall, i saw 4 dallas cops walk by and looked down the hall to see a cluster of mall security guys standing around. and i got paranoid again. what if i get in trouble? and then a young, completely thudded out kid walked up to me, angry-faced.

“hey! so the apple store is closed!?”

“yeah, their lights are off so you’d assume they are, right?” i gave up on being nice at that moment. he gave me the.worst.glare.ever, muttered what i’m sure were cuss words under his breath as he was staring at me, and walked away.

so i grabbed strips of double stick tape, posted the 2 signs up, and went on a break.

when i came back, one of my gift wrappers flagged me down.

“hey, sierra, one of the guys from mall security-”

uh oh. i’m in trouble now. i shouldn’t have put a sign up! i can’t take it down, i don’t want to answer to more people today!

“-he likes the sign but was asking if you could put on it that all the apple stores are closed today, so they don’t have to drive around.” phew. 

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i really wanted to windex those fingerprints that are in the photo, but after putting up that revised sign, i was hoping i’d never have to deal with the store for the rest of the day.

and i didn’t have to. 

AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MY SIGNS WORKED!

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my day was peaceful and quiet after that. no more dealing with angry customers (just the occasional, “WHAT THE F###! APPLE IS CLOSED!?” as they walked by)-at least from that store. one father/son team did discuss the store while my assistants were wrapping gifts for them:

*all-knowing dad*
“oh, they’re probably closed because they sold out of product,” he told his son. hey, i’ll take that-it was the first thing said about apple from a customer that made me laugh.

my day got busier-too busy to take photos of customers reading my awesome sign. i thought to myself, “man. i really wish i could take photos of the angry customers that i saw yesterday. and i wish i took photos of all the customers waiting outside the store this morning.”

and then my second idea hit me.

take photos of my sister acting like different types of apple customers. 

so we waited until we closed (early because 90% of the mall had shut down by 6 p.m.) to work on PROJECT iCUSTOMER IN iDESPAIR THAT APPLE IS iCLOSED.

my other associates were so excited and wanted to partake in my photography adventure and this is what i came up with: a few photos depicting the reactions and exaggerated reactions of customers when they found out that their beloved store was closed on a non-holiday.

so this is what i came up with:

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the angry, cussing apple customers………

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the apple customers in despair…

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the apple customer in MAJOR despair…

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the apple customer whose life is over…

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more apple customers whose lives are over…

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the apple customer who refuses to believe that the store is closed and WAITS for hours until she gives up…

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the apple customer who stands, frozen, in front of the store, looking at everything she can’t buy because the store is closed…

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more customers in despair and desperation…

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the customer determined to open the store…

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and the customer who wanted to break the glass to get in…

so there you have it. the multiple types of apple customers and their reactions to apple’s closing in the past 2 days.

now, this is definitely not a blog bashing apple. not at all. i didn’t post this blog to get anyone in trouble or start anything. it was just very entertaining to know the effects that the company had on their customers. and it was VERY entertaining to know how IMPORTANT our technology is to us. last month, it had been a year since i left saipan to come back to texas after 3 months of being gone, and i came without a cell phone, because my contract had expired by then. getting a cell phone was not the first thing on my list. or the tenth thing. in fact, i didn’t get a phone until 3 months later. because it wasn’t a big deal. i had a watch to tell time and i had my macbook and my iPad. yes, my friends were very frustrated because they couldn’t text me to get a hold of me, but other than that, i was enjoying the peace and quiet of not being available to everyone 24/7.

first world problems, folks. we suffer from first world problems every day. my friend who didn’t have power for over a day has a baby. those are the problems that worry me. while she was sitting at home, wondering if her power was going to come back on, i was dealing with customers who thought their phone being dead was a world disaster. first world problems. the newspapers showed one of the highways filled with cars that were stuck for almost an entire day. try sitting in your car for 18 hours in the middle of nowhere with what gas you had before you realized that you were going to end up stuck and freezing and THEN listen to someone talk about how they were having a bad day because their phone died.

*sigh*

but that’s how the world works. if it was a perfect world, it would be pretty boring, right?

the most fun that taxes will ever get

i have a co-worker named kim.

kim is fantastic. she’s funny, she’s beautiful, and she’s super awesome-you know, the perfect co-worker. i like to write her notes at work.

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kim is so sweet. she always brings snacks to work (she got us girls into gluten-free pretzels. have you tried them? they’re FLIPPIN’ AMAZING! all $7 of the bag!!) and would get me drinks while i worked my gift wrap station during the holidays (i was so busy that i pretty much never had time to even get myself a drink or a snack) or on any day, really. she brings me little gifts. for my birthday this year, she gave me flowers and a balloon!!!!!!

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kim is my mom’s age and what’s great about working with her or knowing her is that she is definitely more wise. she has dated, she has been married, she has kids, she has grandkids, she owned companies, she travels, she has had her shares of ups and downs, and she gives great advice. she’s great to talk to and confide in, and she’s non-judgemental. she’s very caring and kind. like i said, “the perfect co-worker.”

well, now we go to her husband. he’s pretty perfect, too. talk about a power couple. you want to hear a good love story? you talk to kim. kim and her husband are just a fantastic couple. the couple you look at and think, “i want THAT.” you can also look at them and want to cry and eat a 10 pound tub of ice cream because you don’t have that, but it depends on how you look at it-so think positive. haha. they are very loving and fun and romantic and sweet. they are so great together, i really could hear kim tell me stories all day. well, i’m not going to dive into their personal history (she really could write a book about her life, let me tell you), but kim’s husband’s birthday had passed a few weeks ago and i had the pleasure of being a part of it.

kim asked if i could make her husband some cupcakes for his work (and if so, she would cancel her cake order at a bakery). he loves white cake with white frosting. it can’t get any more simple than that. he’s a CPA. she thought it would be cute to put mini pencils on the cupcake. i suggested writing his name on the icing in front of the pencils. white cake, white icing, a pencil, his name. done?

nope.

the night before i was to make the cupcakes, i decided to google images to think of other ideas for the cupcakes and i came across this:

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of course, i took a look at it and thought, “hm, i can make that better.” i like to look at cupcake decoration photos and try to make mine better, yes. i mean, who doesn’t try to be better? now, whether my decorations were good or not is up to you. i made a few “tax-themed” cupcake decorations until 4:30 a.m…i made mini 1040 forms. mini 1040 forms!!! try piping THAT! a ziplock bag was needed to pipe the finest lines i’ve ever piped. i also made another basic calculator and a monthly calendar of april, circling april 15, tax day.

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of course i did the 1040 form wrong when i put “2013” but that’s okay. i knew i was going to do something wrong somewhere. the office still loved the cupcakes.

i thought it was funny that i was planning on making simple cupcakes but ended up doing what i always do-staying up late with an exacto knife. it was fun-it was surely something i wanted to put on my blog (and duh, it was on instagram the day i made them-so i know i’m way late!) because i notice how rare these cupcake decorations are. i thought they were fun to make and i’m surprised not many people made accountant-themed cupcakes. i hope i impressed some of my accountant friends, and of course, my co-worker’s husband.

i made vanilla cupcakes with a vanilla buttercream icing. i decided to dye the icing pink because it’s kep’s favorite color-and mine. i couldn’t find my wider piping tips, so i had to improvise. i really need to invest in 2 of every wilton piping tip, i swear. and a case to put them all in.

well, here is my final result. what do you think? =) thanks, kim, for liking my last-minute designs for the cupcakes!

xoxo,

sierra lei

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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. =)

xoxo,

sierra lei

 

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june in pictures

here are 10 random cell phone photos of june with captions.

enjoy!

xoxo,

sierra lei

 

a day at the dallas arboretum with my friends. we like to color-coordinate when we go out. this photo was thought of by our friend, alexis (in the hat). it was hot as HELL that day but it was a blast!

a day at the dallas arboretum with my friends. we like to color-coordinate when we go out. this photo was thought of by our friend, alexis (in the hat). it was hot as HELL that day but it was a blast!

oh. just a photo at 3 a.m. after i took my hair down.

oh. just a photo at 3 a.m. after i took my hair down.

i bumped into a mustache necklace at forever 21 one day. dang that store, they have so many impulse buys there! but i do love my mustache necklace. i'm not into the mustache craze by any means, but i had to have that necklace. and i even wear it to work.

i bumped into a mustache necklace at forever 21 one day. dang that store, they have so many impulse buys there! but i do love my mustache necklace. i’m not into the mustache craze by any means, but i had to have that necklace. and i even wear it to work.

my nephew will love taking photos when he grows up. i am to blame. when we are sitting around, we will take a thousand pictures of ourselves...and this is one of a series of photos taken while we were waiting for my sister to finally come out of hobby lobby. my nephew has the best faces, i could make an entire blog post on all my favorites.

my nephew will love taking photos when he grows up. i am to blame. when we are sitting around, we will take a thousand pictures of ourselves…and this is one of a series of photos taken while we were waiting for my sister to finally come out of hobby lobby. my nephew has the best faces, i could make an entire blog post on all my favorites.

my friend/co-worker, christine, had a baby boy at the end of july. her diaper drive was so adorable. the cupcakes were so cute. i did not make them. haha.

my friend/co-worker, christine, had a baby boy at the end of july. her diaper drive was so adorable. the cupcakes were so cute. i did not make them. haha.

my new neighbor across the hall at work. the bigger and better version of apple northpark. i get to stare at apple boys every day! how cool is that! the girls are pretty nice, too. haha.

my new neighbor across the hall at work. the bigger and better version of apple northpark. i get to stare at apple boys every day! how cool is that! the girls are pretty nice, too. haha.

i write to a little russian girl back home. she spends her summers with her grandmother in russia. her grandmother did the silver design on the plate BY HAND. it is one of the most amazing gifts i have ever received.

i write to a little russian girl back home. she spends her summers with her grandmother in russia. her grandmother did the silver design on the plate BY HAND. it is one of the most amazing gifts i have ever received.

my new favorite card line, old tom foolery. this is a card from their footnote collection. they're hilarious. and fun. and i love all their collections. and i follow the owner on instagram. and i met her mother at my work a few weeks ago. i'm a big fan. the cards are so awesome.

my new favorite card line, old tom foolery. this is a card from their footnote collection. they’re hilarious. and fun. and i love all their collections. and i follow the owner on instagram. and i met her mother at my work a few weeks ago. i’m a big fan. the cards are so awesome.

i was my friend's guest at a wedding. it was such a fun wedding. the dress was beautiful, the ceremony was sweet, the food was awesome, the cake was amazing. it was a very sweet wedding, i enjoyed it very much. and i got to capture this funny photo.

i was my friend’s guest at a wedding. it was such a fun wedding. the dress was beautiful, the ceremony was sweet, the food was awesome, the cake was amazing. it was a very sweet wedding, i enjoyed it very much. and i got to capture this funny photo.

um, yeah. this is self-explanatory. representin' my texas rangers!!!!!!!!!!!!!

um, yeah. this is self-explanatory. representin’ my texas rangers!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

taste of addison 2013

yesterday, i posted about my friend’s wedding on may 18, 2013.

that wasn’t the only event that happened that day-but my friend’s wedding deserved her own blog. just like my friend’s birthday, which was on the same day. which was also the taste of addison weekend. YUM.

i have attended the taste of addison for probably 5 years now. i will admit that years ago, i was always excited for the food…but now i’m usually excited for everything else but the food. different restaurants set up booths to serve smaller portions of what they usually serve at their establishments, which is good, but it’s just the usual chain restaurant food, really. i prefer fine dining and chasing down food trucks that i see once a year. that’s more my thing.

the craft/art booths are my favorite things to see at the taste of addison. the atmosphere is what i enjoy there, as well. i like touristy, upbeat, exciting events like this. on top of it all, blue october performed. i was so stoked. i love watching blue october perform live.

i have decided to post only 10 photos of the evening. here are my 10 random photos from the taste of addison.

enjoy!

xoxo,

sierra lei

 

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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:

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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!

xoxo

 

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.

 

oooooohhhh.....

oooooohhhh…..

 

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.

 

 

 

 

the dallas arboretum

i love flowers.

i’m an absolute sucker for flowers. i take pictures of flowers in grocery stores, i take pictures of pretty flowers on the side of the road, i love receiving flowers from anyone, i just love flowers. they make me happy, they cheer me up, they’re beautiful. i grew up around plumerias and hibiscus and gardenias, which are always going to be an island girl’s favorite flowers, but i just love all types of flowers-especially pink ones. oh, and did i mention that i love flowers?

the dallas arboretum held their annual DALLAS BLOOMS festival and i ended up going 3 times within the month. in fact, during my first visit, i got myself a yearly membership to allow me and one guest to visit the gardens for free with free parking (2 adults plus parking is $40 a visit and an individual membership is $79) but by the third visit, i upgraded my individual membership to a family membership which allows me to now bring 4 other guests (it was less than $50 extra). with the fun concerts coming up this summer and fall, i am sure i will be going to the gardens with my fun group of friends.

here are some fun photos i took during my 3 visits at the arboretum with my friends. this place is truly heaven on earth.

purply flowers...

purply flowers…

amazing flowers!

amazing flowers!

of course i had to do a jump shot!

of course i had to do a jump shot!

my friend, jennifer, who went with me on my first visit. i thought this would make a fantastic facebook profile photo for her. =)

my friend, jennifer, who went with me on my first visit. i thought this would make a fantastic facebook profile photo for her. =)

the pansy garden.

the pansy garden.

 

on the second visit, i managed to get a picture of the sign.

on the second visit, i managed to get a picture of the sign.

lots of photo shoots were going on all over the gardens.

lots of photo shoots were going on all over the gardens.

derek and i in front of SNOWBALLS!

derek and i in front of SNOWBALLS!

derek and i in front of a water wall.

derek and i in front of a water wall.

 

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azaleas!

azaleas!

 

pink flowers!!

pink flowers!!

 

the tulips were thinning out but still pretty!

the tulips were thinning out but still pretty!

 

i had a blast. obviously i took more pictures than  these but i had to put up some of my favorites.

 

this is the prettiest place on earth.

 

xoxo