cliff’s “practically-annual” visit to texas

my cousin (cliff) came to texas for a weekend 2 months ago. i should blog these under “throwback thursdays” since i blog so late (you can view more recent photos on my instagram: @sierralei and then read about my experiences 2 months later, haha).

it was my brother’s birthday weekend, which also fell on restaurant week (as usual). cliff usually visits without me being able to plan ahead and take days off from work, but in this case, i managed to plan accordingly. we had a pretty jam-packed weekend.

on friday, my brother and i picked up cliff at midnight and went to IHOP for a late grubbing session. we probably slept at 3-5 a.m. and woke up in the afternoon to take my brother out for a birthday lunch at a sushi buffet restaurant, japan house. cliff had to work for a few hours during the day and at night (my brother had to work on his birthday), a small group of us went to our first restaurant week spot, THE MERCURY. wonderful restaurant in dallas, by the way. after dinner, we met up with more friends and bar-hopped. i was VERY glad that cliff got to meet my close friends. he had been visiting dallas since 9 years ago but i was never able to introduce him to a lot of my friends. friday was just an absolute blast.

saturday was pretty fun. cliff, clint, and i woke up early to head out to waco for lunch. my brother was determined to take us to vitek’s for their gut pak (yes, there will be photos), which blew his mind. we drove over 2 hours for lunch, yes. hey, we will go where there is good food! on the drive, my cousin educated me on the navigation app called WAZE. if you don’t have it, get it. moving along. we got to vitek’s and i thought it was a VERY COOL place. it was definitely worth the drive. after lunch, we went to the dr. pepper museum and that was fun. it was a first for all of us so it was pretty exciting. we took some superfun pictures there. we had to drive back to dallas because we had our second restaurant for restaurant week later that night at BIJOUX. oh, bijoux……oh, bijoux. if any of you live in dallas and have not gone to this restaurant, YOU MUST GO. in fact, i think i will make an entirely separate blog on just this restaurant, it was that amazing. saturday was such a great day.

sunday was still packed with fun! we took cliff to a rangers game! and oh, boy, did the weather turn up-it was nice and cool the past 2 days and then it turned into a furnace on sunday. cliff is an island boy and former marine-i think 70 degrees makes him sweat. poor thing. we tailgated with raising cane’s and beer before the game, which was fun since i have never tailgated before. after the game, we had to go straight home to get ready for dinner with cliff’s former marine friend. we had dinner at a korean bbq restaurant (ah-mazing korean food) with cliff’s friend and his beautiful girlfriend. i can’t believe i had never known of this korean restaurant in carrollton, it was so good! we had yogurt after dinner and it was amazing.

and then cliff left at about 5 a.m. on monday morning. and all the fun was over. but it was such a FUN FUN FUN WEEKEND. it was such a fun weekend, it was ridiculous. i took hundreds and hundreds of photos but there were some that just stood out over the others.

here are the fun photos from cliff’s recent visit. enjoy.

xoxo,

sierra lei

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work bling.

i have been feeling a bit under the weather the past few days. for christmas, i got sick. boo! so here i am, at 1 a.m., sippin’ on some orange juice, listening to the tunes of feist on my itunes, suckin’ on a cough drop, blogging in bed…

i have been working at my company’s northpark location for over a month now. it’s been over a month of playing dress up and wearing the NIQUEA.D jewelry line that the store (the only store in the state of texas) showcases. i’ll admit that sometimes when i get ready to go to work, i base my outfit on what possible jewelry i will be wanting to wear. and i’ve been wearing a ton of dresses. it’s been fun. 

the otazu trunk show has been featured at the store for over a month now, and it has been my guilty pleasure. i love clear jewels (swarovski crystals), so you will see me wearing a lot of them. i should wear more colored pieces so i can show them off on the next blog. but for now, enjoy….

these first 4 are by (rodrigo) otazu. i love them all. i want them all. the second necklace was bought by a client that asked her husband if she could buy it before she made the purchase. she collects accessories. i was so sad that it left my store. i told her (linda is her name) to wear it the next time she came to visit. i loved that necklace…and how the crystals just dripped everywhere. ugh…so amazing, these necklaces…linda ended up buying the same bracelet that i had on at the time (that i own-pics further down) and a few other crystal bracelets that i need to take pictures of because i love them. we have the exact same taste. that makes me happy. 

these earrings are from our holiday collection. aren’t they AMAZING!?!? the shades of blue are just gorgeous! 

this bracelet and necklace is also from our holiday collection made by sorrelli. the bracelet makes me feel fierce with the gunmetal and crystals. i love how it looks like a blingy cuff. the necklace is from sorrelli’s french blush line and i obviously love it because i love pink and black! i want the entire french blush line. it’s super pretty! 

this next set of pictures is called our fashion glam collection. when i become a bazillionaire, i will shop otazu…but because i’m not, i shop fashion glam. =) one great thing about our NIQUEA.D line is that there is something for everyone. the first piece of NIQUEA.D that i bought was the pair of earrings in my previous blog, new ear bling. the second piece i bought was the wrap bracelet in the last 2 photos. i love chains and grommets and studs, so i fell in love with the bracelet when i first saw it. HAD. TO. HAVE. IT. i laid it out so you can see how long it is. i actually can wear it as a choker around my neck! i will do that one day-out of work. i don’t have a dress that it would look nice with as a choker. that is the bracelet that linda bought because she loved it on me. =)

these last 2 pictures are of me and my girls at work, wearing some serious NIQUEA.D bling. we love jewelry, and we know you do, too. =)

xoxo! 

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!

xoxo

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.

ruin.

“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.

DO YOU WANT TO LEARN HOW I GIFT WRAP?

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!

xoxo

new ear bling

one of my girlfriends, jessica, went to LA for the adobe MAX conference a few weeks ago.

she is one of the most thoughtful people i know.

…a little bit about jessica…

we have known each other for a total of about 8 or 9 years now. i could actually say that i have known her the longest out of all my girlfriends. she was more of an acquaintance when i first met her, and then became closer as a friend in the past 4-5 years. we got much closer as friends when we started shooting in our pool league. here is a picture of the first team we were both on together:

that was our winning team…*sigh*…i miss getting all those shiny trophies…

anyways, back to jessica…

here are a few random pictures of us:

i think the highlight of our friendship definitely has to be the fact that i got to be a part of her wedding this year.

she jokes around about how we are such good friends because we share the love of PINK! haha!

anyways…that’s my little friendship with jessica in a photo gallery of goodness.

when we shop, we see cute things and think of each other-and then we buy each other a bunch of things.

although it’s not pink, she bought me these pair of earrings, which i SUPERlove:

thank you, JEP! ❤

of course i wore them to work the day after she gifted them to me. and, of course, i have a necklace that happens to match it!

another pair of new earrings i got are NIQUEA.D, the new jewelry/accessories line at our northpark location.

i figured i’d wear them to work and chat up my customers about the new brand since they always compliment me on my earrings.

i love these:

i love my new ear bling.

xoxo

october 21-october 23

the past 7 days have worn me out.

last friday, i worked in the morning and found out that there was a dress being overnighted from LA for me to be modeling at the unveiled dallas bridal show. the dress was designed by rami kashou of project runway (season 4). kashou started working with papyrus last year when he was asked to design a paper dress for a fashion night out event. this is what he created, which you will see on our papyrus posters around the country:

 

here is a model wearing the dress that was unveiled last year at the century city mall papyrus location:

 

i knew this was not the dress that was being overnighted, for two reasons:

1. i can’t see how someone would ship a box THAT BIG and that quick.

2. the model looks 6 feet tall. there’s no way i’d be able to fit in that dress.

if you are curious to see more of rami kashou’s paper dresses, all you have to do is google “papyrus paper dress” or “rami kashou paper dress” and look at all the images. they’re fabulous.

 

anyways, back to my story from friday morning. my boss called and wondered what dress size i wore. he asked, “are you a size 4?” and at that time, i didn’t know why he was asking, but i was so tempted to joke around and yell, “ARE YOU CALLING ME FAT!?!?” i held back, though. that was when he told me about the rami kashou dress, and i immediately thought, “i better eat 7 meals a day for the new 2 days if i want to fit in that dress!” my boss said that i was going to be the only one wearing that dress, and we were going to MAKE. IT. FIT. he was informed that it was a size 4, so we discussed everything from the realistic options like having to wear padding or stuffing the dress to the ridiculous options like getting last minute boob implants. haha! then we just decided to wait until the dress got in so i could drive over and we could figure it out.

obviously, i needed shoes to match the dress…so i hopped over a few stores down to look at what cream/gold/bronze/copper shoes they had since my boss said it was in that color range. i narrowed it down to two pairs:

 

i chose the one on the left…and after i purchased them, my boss chose the one on the right. of course.

after my shoe purchase, the dress arrived at northpark, and i was on my merry way to take a look at it.

good thing we didn’t stress too much about the dress being too big, because the dress fit. the dress is not a size 4. the dress is a size 0. perfect, minus the fact that i couldn’t breath in it for the first 2 minutes. after a few breathing exercises, i had everything under control.

i had to try on the dress in front of the store because it was the only spot that had room for me to walk around in and have people around me, so we tried on some jewelry. our northpark location is the only location in dallas that sells our NIQUEA.D jewelry/accessories line. i got to try on some awesome blingy necklaces and earrings as customers gawked at the fact that i was wearing a paper dress. people were walking by the store, staring in and pointing at the dress. some came in to touch it. it was pretty funny because i had on an argyle sweater and black tights underneath, so it didn’t look as great. but it sure did knock everyone’s socks off as they walked by…

the fitting was successful and my jewelry was set aside for sunday, so that was awesome.

after work, i met up with some business partners and shoe ladies at blackfinn in addison. i decided to take the opportunity to break in my new heels. the ladies noticed my shoes and loved them. awesome. there were some pictures taken of our shoes, but i have yet to receive a copy of that. i mingled around for a little bit before i headed off to regal beagle to meet up with some friends. i didn’t stay long as i knew i had to wake up early the next morning.

 

…the next morning came fairly quick. as in 5:45 a.m…

here are a few pictures of the next 12 hours…

 

i had more pictures, but they aren’t loading. ugh.

but yes, it was just a day of shoes, shoes, and SHOES. shoes in my car, too. i am a closeted shoe freak. no one can tell because i only wear black shoes to work and i wear a select few to shoot pool, but i have……a ton of shoes. i just want to own 1,000 pairs of heels and boots and i’ll be a happy camper.

 

after my day of shoes galore, i had to run home to get my things ready for the bridal show. i was going to be spending the night at my coworker’s place in euless, so i had to make sure that i didn’t forget anything.

the absolute worst part about the next 9 hours was finding black bobby pins. it took 3 hours around plano and euless to find black bobby pins. seriously!? i’m just glad we found them before the insane thunderstorm arrived!

as the internet was acting up due to the thunderstorm, it took us a while to figure out hair and makeup for the bridal show. my boss wanted “dramatic makeup.” he sent us a picture of how he wanted my hair, which was a casual updo that the beautiful jessica alba had done with her hair. she had her hair braided down the side and the rest thrown up into a messy bun (no, my picture is not uploading…ugh!).

we ended up “taking a nap” from 4 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. which was brutal.

the next 3 hours were spent on my hair and makeup. all i did was sit as bobby pins were stuck in my head and half a can of hair spray was applied to my hair. i later counted how many bobby pins were in my hair. to get a “casual updo” for my hair, it requires 89 bobby pins. we totally overestimated, as we bought about 200. the most bobby pins i have had in my hair was 180+ and that was about 10 years ago. when i was in my beauty pageant (2001 MISS NMI UNVERSE), my sponsor (who was a hairdresser) had turned my hair into a bouquet of flowers. imagine that! yeah, that required an entire bottle of conditioner to detangle. but it was beautiful.

here you go…the DALLAS UNVEILED BRIDAL SHOW:

 

if you look behind those stunning ladies in this last picture (ha!), you can see the first rami kashou dress on the posters. and if you look on our necks, we are sporting some serious NIQUEA.D jewelry from the northpark store. it was fun.

the day was fun. i completely forgot that i was only running on an hour and a half of sleep. papyrus happened to be the only custom printing/stationery vendor at the bridal show, which was awesome. we had brides submit their information to enter into a raffle for $250 off their wedding invitations. they were all about that!

there were flower vendors…photography vendors…bridal dress vendors…linen vendors…cake vendors…entertainment vendors…there was a mini donut vendor. of course i tasted a few samples! as well as the cake booth that was giving away samples of their 4 layered cake slices and the booth that was giving away sandwiches (jonathan: “who serves sandwiches at a wedding?” good point, but i’m not complaining).

i hope our picture makes it into D MAGAZINE. the photographer for the magazine took a few pictures of us, and well…it’s not like there’s always a girl wearing a paper dress at a bridal show, right? look out for their upcoming issue. i know i will.

i wish i took more pictures, but my camera just wasn’t working. i had to bring my ancient kodak digital camera that takes AA batteries. i bought a new pack of batteries, but for some reason my camera would not turn on. i was so bummed because my sony digital, which died in march, could have taken some AMAZING pictures of the bridal show…and of that ridiculous dress in the faux wedding scene hallway (which i did take 2 pics of from my camera phone and showed you above). but i hope you enjoy what i posted. i thought the peacock wedding cake was awesome. the peacock theme and teal/purple color scheme was pretty big this year with my clients.

after the bridal show had to come an end, i drove home and passed out for 14 hours.

wow.

friendship is one mind in two bodies

work

shoes

boys

“why hasn’t he texted me back?”

“why doesn’t he call?”

dr. p.

charlie

children

family

learning

school

the future

intimidations

fears

rejection

dating

“we’re such girls”

self consciousness

worries

“i need assurance that he likes me”

friends

compromises

differences

compatibility

“we just have so much fun together”

aquarius

pisces

cancer

saggitarius

“i remember the first time i met him…”

connections

culture

parenting

inspirations

business

goals

time

patience

maturity

“she needs to grow up”

divorce

money

discipline

communication

“that’s why the world hates americans”

LIFE

i don’t remember the last time i had been on a 4 hour phone conversation.

thank you to my beautiful, beautiful, beautiful persian friend, mishi, for having the best conversation with me about every aspect of our lives and the people in it.

you add sparkle to my life.

xoxo