Day 1: Rhinestone Cowboy Costume


Day 1 – Rhinestone Cowboy Costume (30 Day Creative Practice)

This is by no stretch of the imagination the most profound thing I have ever created, but its a start.  P and I were invited to a halloween party this weekend and the rest of the people we are attending the party with are going as Cowboys and Saloon Girls.

Because P and I enjoy being unconventional, P is going as a Rhinestone cowboy, I am still contemplating dressing up as a olde-thyme saloon owner.  Will keep you posted as to what we decide.

The above costume was made from the following:

  • $0.99 – Cowboy hat from the Salvation Army
  • $0.97 – Wood medallion
  • $3.50 – Metallic Spray Paint
  • $2.99 – Tub of Glitter
  • Rest of the costume will be made up of items we already have around the house including, jeans, boots, shirt and belt to attach the buckle to.

I will be sure to update this post once we complete the look.  For day 1, not too bad.  Have gotten a jump on Day 2 as it might take me a while.  So far so good, I think it will look amazing.

On a side note, I shopped at Salvation Army and Walmart both stores I usually avoid like the plague.  I would also like to mention today was the first day I have worn makeup, jeans and an actual shirt since being laid off. (Yay, to being human again!!!) Let’s just say that the people watching at both establishments was entertaining to say the least and I even saved $60 on my usual grocery shopping list shopping Walmart.  This ex-Target employee gasps at that last statement, but we are on a fixed budget these days.  Who can blame a girl.

Until tomorrow!!



The New Normal

Today makes my first full week of my new ‘normal’ routine.  My first employment-free week.  While losing one’s job is on the list of life’s most traumatic events, I am determined to not let the events of the past week derail my forward progress I have made over the past (almost) year in my year of self-improvement.

What I have learned over the past year is that NOTHING, I repeat NOTHING in life happens by chance.  Each moment, each interaction, each experience is given to us as an opportunity to learn.  The universe gives us all the tools we need to be happy, we just need to pay attention.

So here we are, Old Sarah would have fallen into a disgusting spiral of anger, shame and self-loathing.  New me is looking for the silver-lining.  Here’s what I have learned so far:

It’s Better to Have Loved and Lost . . .

Our family experienced its first loss with the death of our beloved dog, Beans.  Its been a trying time for the kids, as they haven’t had to deal with the death of a non-furry loved one, but I feel fortunate we got to navigate the emotions of grieving on Beans.  We have had some rather candid conversations of what happens when you die, what we do with the body after death and appropriate ways to memorialize him.  E even found a way to make me snap out of my intermittent crying with a comment asking since Beans had been cremated, should we call him Baked Beans.  Totally inappropriate, but a great way to clear the air.  Kids are way more resilient they we give them credit for.

Beans provided a great deal of laughter, fine cuddles and memorable moments. Especially his uncanny ability to punctuate his feelings by defecating or urinating on you or your most prized possessions.  I am very blessed to have spent 11 years with him and as an acquaintance said to me at yoga the other day, I hope Beans spirit finds me again in this life.

You Spend a Whole Hell of A lot of Time at Work, Make Sure You Enjoy It!

I HATED my job.  I dreaded Mondays, I counted down the hours until Friday and wished away weeks of my life.  It wasn’t that I disliked the people, in-fact, they were the main reason I stayed longer than I should have.

I reported to a boss for the lack of any other reasonable explanation, didn’t get me and never really cared to. I kept an actual calendar with our interactions.  I once went 2 months without her even returning a good-morning or hello to me.  The universe had been telling me over and over and over again that it was time to move on, but I fought it and finally on October 16th, I was told that my position had been abolished and to collect some of my things and to find the door.  Nice.

Had I quit like I had originally planned, I wouldn’t have gotten the generous severance package I received nor would I be able to collect unemployment while I contemplate (again) the  answer to the question of what I want to do when I grow up.  What I can tell you the next job will not require me to compromise my moral beliefs, nor will be a place I feel embarrassed to say I was employed. Nor will I dread going there day in and day out.

And the Journey Begins

I plan to use this blog to help me navigate my next move in life and as a platform to evaluate past experiences that I feel have brought me to where I am today.  Tomorrow I plan on starting a 30 day practice to create something every day for 30 days as a way to regain some of the creative juices I feel have been sucked from me from my unfulfilling job.

To start they 30 day practice, I started with a new look.  Here’s my sassy new hairstyle. Thanks Bridg, for the do!  Who said a new hairdo can’t make you feel like a new woman!

Good Night and Namaste Friends!

Times They are a Changing

I am writing this as I sit at our kitchen table listening to a group of 8 year old blaring Ke$ha on the radio and creating what sounds like a fairly elaborate dance routine. Hearing them in the basement has brought a huge flash back of memories (both good and bad) of years gone by.

Fundamentally, girls have not changed since I was 8, in groups they giggle, whisper and unfortunately gossip and manipulate each other. I would like to say that changes, but it doesn’t the giggling just get louder and the gossiping just get worse and the manipulating gets more crafty. My delusions of a smarter more forgiving generation are fading quickly. But that isn’t the reason for this post.

What is most surprising to me and this first sleep over is the amount of technology that was present even on the ride home. Our home is now filled with an extra iPad, iPod and a Nook. Upon driving into our driveway, I was asked if Sarah_Home was ours and if they could get the password for our wifi. My children both have laptops that were supposed to be used exclusively reading assignments and have since been taking away when more gameplay then reading was being done on them.

This was the sight I saw when I woke up with morning. 3 girls side-by-side, connected to technology.


I think technology is great and my iPhone is glued to my side way more than I care to admit. Kids today are growing up fast.  Too fast and before you know it, they will be sitting next to each other texting rather than actually talking. Not sure what the solution is to getting kids to spend time face to face, but think the first step is as parents we check the electronics at the door and lead by example.

Is it worth it?

It’s been said that in derby it’s not a matter of IF you get injured, but WHEN. As a new skater, you think that it won’t happen to you. Much like the euphoric stage of a relationship, you deny the actual risks. It won’t happen to me, it can’t happen to me. Then reality slaps you in the face when your first teammate goes down. And your left wondering is it worth the risk.

Major injuries like the three tib/fib breaks we have experienced on our team can be a life-changing event for the player. Not only does it put your day-to-day life on hold and drastically change that, but the medical bills and missed work can wreck havoc on ones personal finances.

Even minor injuries can leave you on the side lines and medical expenses spent at physical therapy, the chiropractor or like me, I ended up having weekly massages to keep my shin splints at bay can really add up.

“Is it worth the risk?” I was asked this question by a co-worker I was talking to about the most recent injury and it’s a question I have thought long and hard about. My answer is yes, playing derby for me is worth the risk.

Derby has given me a hobby, a support system and a means of exercise that I have longed for most of my life. I know that I have a group of women who hold me accountable, encourage me to push myself and are there to catch me if I fall.

Afterall, in reality nothing comes without risk and I could break my leg falling down the stairs or letting my dogs out one morning. At least a derby leg break gives you some street cred and makes a fun story to tell the grandkids.

So I will lace up my skates, try to quiet the worrisome part of my brain and hope to skate another injury free day.

We’re Cupcakes

So, its been almost 2 weeks since my return from Rollercon. And I think I have finally been able to comprehend and digest everything that I witnessed and learned. For those of you that don’t know what Rollercon is, it is a national roller derby convention that takes place in Las Vegas. Imagine 3000 derby peeps in one place for 5 days and you can only imagine the craziness that went on.

Here are the top 10 things I learned from Rollercon.

10) Mustaches make everything more hilarious.

While I am sure the whole mustache reference has a lewd sexual meaning behind it, I haven’t laughed this hard with a group of friends in years and yes, Kit E and Netty make an impressive Tom Selleck and Burt Renyolds.


9) There are people who know more about derby than you, but you may know more than others as well and information should be shared.

Some of my greatest learning moments were from the other skaters in the on-skate classes I took. Veteran skaters are such a wealth of knowledge and their willingness to help us newbs out, is so valuable.

My greatest learning moment was from SooKee Tsujimoto. She was in an advance pivoting class and she taught me more about my role as a pivot and actually performed a backwards whip on me and it was AMAZING!!!!

8) Love for Honey Badger is universal.

If you haven’t seen this video you must watch it, it’s HILARIOUS!!!

I met the most interesting people because of my honey badger t-shirt and anyone who loves the Honey Badger is OK in my book.

7) Your hero may need some encouragement every now and then.


Boller is my favorite Maiden. I admire how effortless she looks when she skates and hope to some day skate like her.  Despite her natural abilities she can use some words of encouragement every now and then.  Especially when pelvic thrusts are involved.

6) Family friendly isn’t so bad.


I am glad our league doesn’t have names like this that I have to try to explain to my kids.

5) There are derby girls and derby athletes.

There is a whole derby subculture that exists.  It’s crazy and wild and there are those that live derby in every aspect of their life.  There are also a segment of the derby world that are serious athletes.  All I can say is that as this sport grows there will be an interesting divide between the derby athletes and the derby girls.

4) Crazy shit in GR, is nothing to some in the world.

I have seen things I will never be able to unsee.  EVER!  The Rollercon Black and Blue Ball was an experience that is not for the faint of heart and I am still trying to sort out some stuff that I saw.

3) Good Friends are Blessings.


God bless the friend that will spend 5 solid days in a 300 square foot hotel room with you and your equipment that smells like a goat and your sensitive digestive system and still call you the next day to talk because they miss your company. If you have this person in your life, go buy them lunch or flowers or something because they are rare and you should treasure them!

2) No matter how you pack it, it all gets home.



While my packing method makes Kellie twitch, both of our bags made it home proving that you really don’t need to spend more than 5 minutes packing for your flight home.

1) We may be Maidens, but we are cupcakes.

In the derby world we are cupcakes and that is ok.  We may be sweet and mild mannered, but we’ll kick your ass on the track and there is nothing wrong with that.

So Long Cocktails, Hello Pilates Reformer.

While its no big secret, I have struggled with my weight my entire life.  I have fluctuated up and down.  I have tried every fade diet from Weight Watchers to Herbalife, to every exercise crazy from ZUMBA! to Kettlebells.  While I am sure all of things diet plans/programs work for some and have for me to to some extent, they really haven’t had lasting effect.

Roller derby for me was going to be that magic bullet, that one thing that was going to give me back that 17 year old body I once possessed (even though at the time I thought was fat).  While derby has certainly helped with my self confidence and for once in my life I actually feel ok in my own skin, I now just want to look better,  I want to be faster on the track, I want to hit harder, I want to be me just healthier.

This is a far departure from my old train of thought that if I lost weight I could________________(fill in the blank with whatever accomplishment or task) I had continually used as a procrastination tool.  I started a Roller Derby team, I helped pull together a great group of smart, fun women, I learned the sport of derby, I made new friends and have grown more as a person in the past 11 months than I have really in my entire life.  This body, this person I am is really capable of doing anything in the state that its currently in.  No change needed, but am I the healthiest I could possibly be.

Life’s Little Reality Check

This past weekend on our annual 4th of July trip to our friends cabin, our friend, Pete, ended up with gout.  A condition I am only familiar with from an episode of King of the Hill when Bobby gets it because he was eating too many chicken livers from a New York style deli. Upon further investigation, we found that diet is the primary culprit of gout and your body’s early warning sign of future health problems including heart disease and diabetes.  Pete’s too young to be dealing with gout and it made me start reflecting on my own habits both good and bad.

While during the derby season, I averaged at least 6 hours of physical activity which was great.  But as my activity level improved,  My eating habits declined.  Fresh fruits and veggies were replaced convenient foods and regularly meals consisted of take out.  Here’s a graph representing what my diet has looked like over the past 11 months.

Mmmm. . . . .Bacon.

With derby came large amounts of stress and a general lack of time for things like cooking, grocery shopping and sleeping.  I thought once the season was over, I would have more time to get back to the healthy eating of years past, but the first month of “off-season” was just as busy if not busier than our regular season.  I would spend evenings relaxing, enjoying a cocktail and after that second cocktail some chips and salsa sound tasty and before you know it not only have you consumed too many cocktails but there is an empty bag of Dorito’s left on the counter. Pete’s gout was that reality check that as my physical appearance wasn’t keeping me from things I had wanted to do, my bad eating habits weren’t from lack of time – they were habits and needed addressing. I was the only one that could really do anything about them.

The Gameplan

The week prior to Pete’s gout I had started packing my own lunches and breakfast to bring to work.  This was a good start, but we still needed to work on the evening routine of junk food and liquor.  Because as of late I can’t seem to do anything without dragging Kellie along with me, we decided to clean up our act and hold each other accountable.  The first being laying off all cocktails.  The second was to stop the junk food and replace it with healthy meals and snacks.  The third was to incorporate more physical activity and somehow SHE had talked me into doing a pilates reformer class with her.   I perhaps should have looked at this before signing up the class is tomorrow and I will keep you posted on how it goes.  All I have to say is that I am glad we purchased a private lesson.

So, so long cocktails and hello pilates reformer.  Here’s to many more healthy choices.

Hello, My name is Sarah and I am a sew-a-holic.

Olivia for the past couple of months has desperately wanted to sew and design her own clothing.  In fact, she received a creative award from her Kindergarten teacher in which she was named a future fashion designer.  Not 100% sure where this came from, but as we say here in the Bignall Family, “Let your freak flag fly!”

On a recent trip to Duluth we purchased a small and crappy sewing machine.  Seriously, this is one of the WORST creations ever.  Trying not to discourage Olivia’s creativity, I fashioned a dress form for her American Girl doll out of duct tape and batting.  Olivia went crazy on making her own creations, but still struggled with the construction of them once she got them pinned on there. Enter my obsessive compulsiveness.

The Addiction Takes Hold

It all started quite innocently as all addictions do I am sure, it started small.  Feeling inspired by some upcylced clothing Liv and I saw, we set out to design some re-purposed clothing of our own.  We started with an old tank and came up with this creations which I like to say is Grecian inspired.  Very cute, its all innocent enough

I just need one more fix . . .

Grecian dress turned into racer back dress, which turned into a small wrap, which turned into a me cutting up my old Poison t-shirt for a rocker look.  I then found myself savaging the house for the perfect shade of red in a 100% cotton jersey knit shirt.  Sure I might have just bought that last month, but it was for a good cause.  Right . . .

I would like to share with you that the obsession stopped there, but no.  It did not.

I need to be  fair to both kids. The kids, right .. .

Ethan started feeling left out my all the creations that were being made so I HAD to make him something. This sparked a series of original creations.  And the addiction continued to grow.

These sleep pants turned into this. A simple pillowcase dress that needed to be jazzed up a bit.

And Here We Are

I would like to say that I stopped there, but I didn’t.  I ended up creating another dress for Liv off the same pillowcase this morning on a rare morning off of work.   I had intended to clean the house, workout or do something else otherwise productive, but instead I made another dress.

While I know spending this much time crafting is probably a bit compulsive, it has been a great stress reliever and I have found that the creativity I thought I had lost so many years ago is still there inside me.  I fully intend on scaling back the creations as 7 pieces in 4 days is a bit ridiculous, but like any junkie, I won’t give it completely up.