Adventures in motherhood, marriage, and DIY.

Fall-ing for S&BB

by Lauren Moraca

Have you seen? Have you seen? The new fall and winter lines for S&BB???
Well, get moving, ‘cuz it’s FABULOUS.

Take a looksie!!!

Oh, and our commercial. Work it.

Copper me this…

by Lauren Moraca

When it comes to paper, glue, and ink, my husband isn’t exactly excited about my DIY projects.

But, add a hammer, pliers, and wire, and all of a sudden he’s buying me the necessities for something I haven’t done in ages: Wirework.

It all started back up again when Brian, yes him again, needed to go to Barnes and Noble to (gasp) buy the next Harry Potter book. (Sidenote: This is a miracle of miracles, and I’m beyond myself that he’s finally reading them; we’re actually having awesome comparison conversations while watching the movies.) While he was looking at the computer section, I was glancing at the craft and hobbies magazines. Then he again shocked me, grabbing a wirework mag and saying “You should do this kinda stuff again”.

Before I know it, I have 3 pairs of pliers and 3 different gauges of wire in my hands. He also wanted to buy me beads, but I insisted we wait and look through my current stash before accumulating anything new.

After reviewing my new mag, I decided to start with something easy, to get me back in the swing of things. Needless to say, my first link did not turn out so pretty, but I’m actually very happy with my finished project, and might even wear it to church tonight. Alas, I didn’t take pictures during the creating process, but I promise I’ll have pictures and instructions next time. To see the artist behind the madess, click here. Erin Strother has awesome jewelry pieces for sale right now on Etsy. Enjoy!

S&BB Accessories and More!

by Lauren Moraca
Accessories + Shelly = Super fun afternoon!

When Shelly Bort announced that she needed a blond to help launch her new line of bridal accessories, I (reluctantly) raised my hand. Little did I know it would be SO MUCH FUN helping out the mother/daughter duo and trying my own hand at subtle facial expression.
S&BB is the duo mother/daughter team that is Shelly and Barbara Bort. Both women are well known in the Modesto area as professional music teachers and performers, but few would know they are the keepers of multiple creative talents, such as crocheting, sewing, and overall fashion-y creative-ness! It’s amazing what these women can do with yarn, a yard of fabric, silk flowers and satin ribbon.
What’s the story behind S&BB the name?
Well, its simply our names, and I thought it was cute. S for Shelly & BB = Barbara Bort.:)..I wanted to add the “Accessories and Such” part because I didn’t want to stick JUST to accessories. I wanted to start with hair bows and purses, and branch all the way out to house wares and blankets, and clothes. That’s within the next year. :)
What inspired you to make accessories?
I was going to be in town for awhile, and I needed some money. I applied everywhere that said they were hiring, and not a single place called me back. C’est la vie when all you can do is music.:) So I decided that, as always, if I wanted a job, I was going to have to create one for myself, like I did with my theatre company Shelly Bort Presents.
Can you tell me about your favorite things?
In our store, definitely the Rainbow Half-Hat. I’m obsessed with it. I wear one all the time. It’s huge, andI can’t live without it. I have favorites on every page, but that one keeps sticking out in my heart. Favorites in GENERAL- are people who use correct grammar, good spelling, polite people, road trips, people who can lighten my mood when I’m upset without belittling what I’m going through, and obviously- spending time with friends.
What brings you joy?
Oops! I think I just answered that. :)Well, here’s one I left off the above list – my dogs. Foxy and Juniper. They are – literally – my reason for living. The last 2 years have been the hardest years of my entire life, the last 8 months – down right excruciating. My dogs and this business were the only things that got me out of bed for awhile. Sometimes, not even out of bed. I would create the web pages FROM bed, and the dogs would sleep with me all day. It was bad. But my dog juniper does this thing that really inspires me. Every time we leave our room to go downstairs, even if we were JUST down there and only came up for a MOMENT, she JUMPS all the way down the hallway like she’s embarking (bark, ha ha) on the most exciting adventure anyone has ever known. I’ve watched her do that every single day for a year, and it just fills my heart every time. It really helped me get over myself and focus on moving forward instead of whatever was keeping me down back in that room. Jump forward with excitement and glee. It’s the only way to live.
What’s your favorite part about the design process?
Honestly, my favorite part is execution. I LOVE building products. It’s tedious, hard and back and finger breaking (and bleeding) sometimes, but i’m CREATING. Other than music, designing our accessories has become my favorite work.
Any other tidbits?
I’d say, if you can’t get work (like SO many people in this world) STOP sitting at home complaining about how you can’t get work, and go MAKE work. I’ve done that since i was 17 years old. There’s so many things you can be doing. We all have talents. Figure out what yours is, and ATTACK it. Market it, and put it out into the world. Work your butt off and you will touch lives. It doesn’t matter if it’s care giving, piano lessons, making hair bows or saving the dolphins. It will MATTER to SOMEBODY. And if we all take a little bit better care of each other, we’ll all be jumping down the hallway with glee like Juniper, ready for the greatest adventure of our lives – simply being us. ♥
Thanks Shelly for the inspiring interview! Please take a moment to browse S&BB by clicking here, or visit Shelly’s blog here. Enjoy all the lovelies!
2 Roses Headband

Thoughtful Quote: 7/29/11

by Lauren Moraca

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’. ~Erma Bombeck

orange you glad…

by Lauren Moraca

In order to persuade Mother Nature to let it be summer, I decided to make an offering. Something springy, earthy, and yes, orange.

I’ve had this pair of orange flip-flops for over three years, and have yet to wear them more than twice in that time period. To make them a bit more “special”, I recycled my Valentine-Dollar-Store-orange-Gerbera-daisies, and super-glued them to the straps.

Yes, I said super glue. I tried hot glue, but with one step the flowers detached from my feet and were flung across the room! Be sure to be extra careful with super glue, cover your workspace with plastic and follow the directions. Mine said to add glue to both parties, let the glue sit for 30 minutes, then attach.

Alas, super glue takes 24 hours to set. Can’t wait to take these girls out for a spin! Enjoy!


by Lauren Moraca

I love being a girly-girl. Hence why I was a little jealous when Alex got all dressed up for prom. Today marks the final Moraca-kid prom! Makeup done by yours-truly. Enjoy!


by Lauren Moraca

Something I’ve used to store my necklaces for many years. A simple coffee mug hanger turned jewelry storage. Really livens up an empty wall too! Enjoy!

My Bestie’s Interview

by Lauren Moraca

Roberta Inscho has been my best friend since we were 12. Though junior high was horrid and awkward for me, I wouldn’t take it back for a $1,000,000 because we would have never met. She was my maid of honor at my wedding, has her own blog, and talked me into starting this one. She is such an interesting and inspiring character, I wanted to introduce her to my little part of the internet.

Tell us a little about Roberta, the woman. Ha! We could be here all day! Well, for starters, I was born and raised in Modesto, California. There was a short stay, during my childhood, where I lived in Oakdale, California, which is literally a hop-and-a-skip away from Modesto, but I try to forget those years. They weren’t happy ones. In fact, my childhood wasn’t exactly the easiest, but without those difficult times, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I guess you could say I owe my creativity to my misery.

In your own words, tell the readers out there how we first met. Oh, junior high. It really wasn’t that long ago, but then again, it was. I feel like the older I get, the more my memories get lumped together in one seemingly long and extended dream. As if I imagined it all, or perhaps it didn’t even exist. I do remember an extremely hideous haircut, in which, I cried every time someone asked me “what did you do to your hair?!?” Junior high is also where long, hand-written notes were passed in class, in between classes, and even at the lunch table. Junior high is where I auditioned for my first solo– and got it! Junior high is where I experienced my first teeny bopper heartbreak. Junior high is a time I collected Bop! magazines, and covered my walls with posters of N*SYNC, the Backstreet Boys, and Johnathon Taylor Thomas. I also wrote a angsty teen novel about an idyllic life of a young teen girl, her friends, and these totally random male-pop groups known as N*SYNC and BSB. No big deal. Sigh. But, most importantly, junior high is when I met my bestie Lauren. Lauren was my rock. IS my rock. My savior. I feel like the very first time we met, Lauren wasn’t so sure about me. I laugh just thinking about how much of a contrast we were: me, a large bundle of exploding energy, her, a quite, reserved, and observant personality. But it was fate. We were meant to be together forever. I think our worlds truly became one the day my mother met her parents. Lauren and I always joke about how MY mom wanted to check HER parents out to make sure they were okay to be around. Oh the irony. I remember being completely embarrassed and mortified. My mother wasn’t exactly the model citizen. And I remember what she wore perfectly: one of those awful shirts that barely covered her not so hot mommy belly. Oye Vye. After that day, I knew Lauren, and her family, would love me forever, like one of their own. And they did. It took that one, single, solitary visit for them to completely understand everything I could possible be going through. And it was that day, that special day in history, that I knew we would be friends– no, sisters– forever.

How did you first get involved in theater? I wasn’t involved in theater until well into my high school years. I knew all my life that I would be a creative person of some kind. I was always drawing, coloring, designing clothes, or play-acting and singing made-up songs to myself. I was never one of those little girls that played “house,” or dreamed of being a doctor of some kind. During elementary and junior high I was more interested in singing. I joined choir when I could. Sometimes it was hard to fit in those after school programs, because I had to walk or bus home, and I always had a early curfew.

But, high school opened up a lot of doors for me. I auditioned for my first musical, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, assured I would get a lead role. But I didn’t. I was devastated. The next show was a play, Twelve Angry Jurors, in which I was originally the stage manager, but 2 weeks before we opened, Juror #4 had to drop the show, and I filled in last minute. It was a great experience. My leading, star performance was for a comical murder mystery, in which I played a character named Dodo. The show was a riot. And I remember that being the show, and the character, that made me realize that I wanted to be an actor.

What has been your favorite role in a play or musical? This is hard…I think I have at least one favorite in both musicals and plays, but I would say my absolute favorite role was when I played Mercutio in a modern adaptation of Romeo & Juliet. R&J was the last show I did at my graduating college, Cal State East Bay, in Hayward, California, and it was one of those roles I wasn’t ready to let go of. We did two weekends of performances, but I was hungry for more. I also received a rave review in our college newspaper. All-in-all, it was an amazing experience, and I learned a lot about myself, and what I wanted to accomplish in my post-college life.

You’ve been my inspiration for beauty and fashion for as long as I can remember. What draws you to all things pretty? I actually don’t know…if I dug really deep, I would have to say that I learned how NOT to do things from my mother. Unfortunately, my mother never had anyone to teach her the basics of beauty. Actually, I would say she was very pretty when she was younger. A classic beauty. Very Farrah Fawcett, though, with her hair. But after she had kids, she didn’t do anything to maintain her natural beauty. She never used sun screen, but of course it was popular then to slather yourself in oil and grease and literally bake in the sun, and she never followed fashion or general makeup “dos” and “donts”. So, I would have to say that I learned everything by deciding I never wanted to look like my mother when I grew up. I know that seems a bit harsh, but it’s the truth. I had to learn what I liked all by myself. No one taught me where to go to find beauty information; I had to educate myself. Ironically, I just had this conversation with my mom. So, it’s not like she doesn’t know this. She knows. I’m actually starting to now teach my mom how to take care of herself. Oh, irony.

I know you love makeup and are always trying new things. What is your current makeup obsession? Well, anyone who knows me, would agree that I have an unhealthy obsession with lip gloss. I love lip gloss. To. Death. I have every Origins lip gloss color. I’m pretty sure I have most of the Victoria’s Secret colors, and my last purchase was a Lancome Juicy Tubes holiday gift set. Love them! But, I would have to say, one of my favorite, newer, obsessions would have to go to M.A.C pigments. Pigments are loose, highly colorful and sparkly eye shadows that pack on a lot of vibrant and energetic color. They seriously make a lazy makeup day easy. They even double as a super easy way to do a “smokey eye.”

I also know you love good skin care product. What’s your all-time favorite product and why? Lets see…my favorite would have to be anything hydrating. I know that’s a bit vague, but I’m like the Sahara Desert over here. My face and my body both need constant hydration. My ultimate favorite is an overnight mask from Origins, called Drink up Intensive. It has apricot kernel oil in it, so it smells amazing, and of course, my favorite part is that I never wake up in the morning feeling dry. I feel like one of the mistakes people make, more often than not, is not properly caring for your skin at night. Depending on how much sleep you get, you’re getting about six to nine hours of rest for your skin, and trust me, it needs it! We all work stressful jobs, or lead stressful lives in some way, shape or form, and I think we owe it to ourselves to take care of our skin overnight, so we wake up feeling more refreshed and awake.

How did you first get involved in blogging? What inspired you? I would have to say blogging started as a creative outlet for me while working in retail. I had a bit of a creative lull in the theatre department for awhile, because I was working so hard after graduation to pay off some of my loans. Granted, I haven’t even made a dent in my student loans yet, but I used blogging as a way for me to be creative, especially during those times where it’s hard for me to find theatrical work. Hell, it was free, and that’s all that really mattered to me at the time.

Why does blogging work for you? Why does blogging work for me? Well, I’m sure it works for me, the same reason why it works for you: it’s a creative and safe environment for me to express my random thoughts and musings. I’ve always loved that word: musings. It’s just a lot of fun to say. And read, I think. Which is why I named my blog as such: my MUSEings. Why, the emphasis on MUSE? Well, MUSE is also a band, and one of my favorites, I might add. So it seemed fitting for my blog to pay a little tribute to that band that often makes me “ooo” and “awe” at their own creativity.

Ever since I can remember, you’ve been obsessed with discovering new music, and have created your own Monday Music Madness on your blog. Why is this, and what is your latest discovery? This is a hard one, especially since I haven’t blogged in awhile. Frankly, I just haven’t had time. I think about blogging all the time. Every day I ponder to myself, “oh that would be fun to write about!” It’s just hard to actually make myself do the writing when I’ve been living a gypsy lifestyle the past couple of months. I’ve been commuting to work a lot, and also working, oh I don’t know, like three or four jobs at once. So it’s been a little difficult to blog, let alone, find some new music. Seriously, though, the easiest way to discover new music is through Coachella. Coachella is a music and arts festival I frequent almost every year. Just imagine, three days, five stages, DJ tents, and art galore. How could one not find some new music? So, there. My secret is out. Go to Coachella. There you will discover loads of new music. Go, my grasshopper, and explore.

What is your ultimate professional goal? I feel like this changes daily. Ha! Right now, I’d say that my ultimate goal, no matter how far fetched it might be, is to one day create my own musical. Clearly, I wouldn’t do it myself. The beauty of theatre is being able to collaborate with others. But one day, oh yes, I will try to take over the world…one musical at a time.

What’s your next step in the theater world? Grad school. I ache to go back to school. Currently, I’m researching my options. But I do know that I want to obtain my theater MFA in the near future.

And some favorites:
Color: lime green
Coffee: a good capuccino always wins me over.
Movie: This is hard. I need categories. How about for classics: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and modern: Across the Universe
Male actor: I’m kinda obsessed with Billy Crudup. And Johnny Depp. And Ewan McGegor. Oi. It’s too hard to pick one.
Restaurant: Chipotle has become a staple. But, I love me some PF Changs, too.
Band/singer: Like I’ve said before, MUSE is high on the list. But Radiohead and Thom Yorke are also up there too. Depending on my mood, they fight for my attention.
Female actor: Kate Winslet and Marion Cotillard fight for my top spot.
Vacation spot: Indio, California for Coachella!
Clothing brand: BCBG. I’d buy everything there if I could afford it.
Outdoor activity: Camping. I love camping. And being out near the water.

As a special treat, Roberta and I want to treat one of my dear readers to the ultimate beauty sample package!

To enter, simply leave a comment below and say hi!

For an extra entry, hop on over to Roberta’s blog and leave a comment mentioning her interview.

Also, if you want to triple your chance at winning, follow me on Twitter by clicking here.

Please enter by Saturday, February 12th at noon.

Good luck! Thanks for supporting me and my bestie!

Toses are Roses!

by Lauren Moraca

For years I was against Forever 21, and for good reason. I had the hardest time finding things that fit, and I was never impressed with the whole hooch factor they seemed to emit for young girls (I don’t believe in junior high clevage or skirts a foot above the knee). But lately in new ways I didn’t think possible, they have started to appeal to me. Although I have yet to buy actual clothing, I have bought two articles in the genre of accessories, and I’m quite pleased with them.

The first is a chunky necklace I snatched off a manakin while browsing through an upper level with my bestie, Berta. I loved the combination of pearls with cloth flowers, and the color pallet makes it easy to adjust to almost any outfit. But, it’s definitely a show piece, and can’t be worn with anything else loud and demanding of attention.

The next item from the 21 I got specifically for my other bestie Kellie’s wedding. I like to wear the colors of the wedding, and hers were brown and green, with bright fall colors mixed in. I decided on brown because I already had the perfect dress, but thought it needed something. Again, Berta went with me and we found the cutest headband ever, with three burghandy roses. I was able to hide the sides in my hair, and it looked like a clip rather than a headband. Love-love-love.