Don’t be fooled by the picture.  That was taken last Wednesday. Let me take you back to last Monday, two days earlier.

Characters: Olivia (16 year old daughter) & Lori (age-not-important mother)

Location: Department of Motor Vehicles

It started at 1:00pm when I picked my daughter up at school to take her to the DMV for her   scheduled behind-the-wheel driving exam.  She was excited and nervous at the same time. 

On the way, we had a few minor disagreements about how to turn on the high beams and where exactly the windshield wiper button was.  Living in CA in 2014 has not provided much experience with driving in the rain.  Moving on.  We get to the DMV on time, only to wait in line to register her for the appointment.  She had to show proof of registration and insurance, of taking driver training course, and that she still had her permit in her possession.  This line took about 20 minutes.

We then proceeded to move the car into the line to wait for an instructor.  Think Autopia at Disneyland.  We were 6-8 cars deep and Olivia was really nervous about the wait and all the details she was trying to remember.  She was especially anxious about the automatic fail situations she’d been told about by other 16 year olds.

During the next hour, we reviewed how to turn on the hazard lights, high beams, rear defroster, emergency break, blinkers and headlights.  She reviewed the arm signals and how she was going to remind the instructor to buckle up for safety.  Rumor has it, if she did not mention this, and they don’t put on their seatbelt, it’s an automatic fail. 

Fortunately for Olivia, she had plenty of time to review everything, as we waited in the Autopia lane for over and hour.  She would start the engine, move up, break, stop the car, and turn off the engine.  Repeat.  By the time we reached the front of the line, she was convinced that asking the instructor about St. Patty’s Day and her radio station preference would take the edge off and guarantee her a pass.

Once we arrived at the front of the line, I stepped out of the passenger side of the car, nodding politely to the instructor.  Olivia was ready and there was no turning back now.  Or so we thought.

It was no more than ten minutes later, after they reviewed the instrument panel that I turned to see her walking towards me with buffalo tears in her eyes.  Oh no.  Automatic fail.  I just hoped she didn’t ask the instructor if she enjoyed green beer after reminding her about the seatbelt.

She knew every button and switch in the car and no disrespect or inappropriate questions were asked.  Here’s what happened.  After all that time, the car died.  Dead battery.  Olivia was crying and questioned why this was happening to her and I was trying to start the car.  The instructor was looking at me compassionately and the now 15 cars behind me were all staring, wondering how long this delay was going to take.  Cue perspiration.

I called my neighbor, who works from home, assuming he could get to me sooner than AAA.  (My husband was out of town and I was trying to salvage a bad situation about to get worse.)  I reminded him to drive ‘in’ the ‘out’ as I was in the front of the line clogging up DMV traffic.  While I waited, the instructors moved one car at a time through the Vehicle Inspection lane to proceed with the tests.

He arrived in 15 minutes and clamped on the cables. His engine roared.  Mine did not.  It wouldn’t start.  We waited 15-20 minutes and tried it again.  Nothing.  I decided the least we could do is push the car out of the way.  No luck here either.  The car was stuck in park and could not be shifted into neutral.  More tears from the back seat while I rummaged through my wallet hoping I took that new AAA card out of the mail pile and replaced the old one.  Whew…found it.

I called AAA, explained to them my location and circumstances.  For some reason, I felt the need to tell them how disappointed my daughter was and how many cars were waiting in line behind me.  The operator was kind, sensed a possible freak-out and pacified me with a hopeful wait time of 35-45 minutes. 

I sent Olivia home with my neighbor, tried to nonverbally apologize to the cars behind me with a subtle shrug of the shoulders, and crawled back inside the car (now known as a ‘piece-of-shit’) and started to cry.  Why?  I could explain all I had to do during those lost three hours, or tell you how bad I felt for my daughter.  But the truth is this situation was out of my control and it was a sign that I was clearly overwhelmed.  My cup had officially spilleth over.

The unmistakable yellow tow truck met me in the front of the line 45 minutes later.  He attached the cables and my car started immediately.  I asked why it wouldn’t start for my neighbor, but can’t remember the technical explanation.  It was something about possible cable size. At that point it didn’t really matter.

The manager of the DMV kindly rescheduled Olivia for two days later, first thing in the morning.  I spent the next two days letting her drive my car instead of the POS, and tried to recognize what happens when we play role of a Super Hero and think we can take on more than is humanly possible.

A week has passed and I’m happy to be laughing about the situation as I type this post.  Olivia drove through Autopia on Wednesday morning like a pro.  She was confident, calm and passed her test.

I’m trying to adopt that calm approach to my daily list of chores and realize that I can’t control every situation.  But I can control my attitude and reaction when faced with an unanticipated surprise.  Ususally, the outcome is more of an inconvenience than a catastrophe.

I wonder if the DMV offers any classes on this because I would be the first to wait in line and sign up.

Candidly yours in the passenger seat,



Like everyone else, my daily journey through social media involves several swipes through my Instagram feed.  There are fabulous images, foodporn, features and funnies.  Here are some nuggets from a few that I follow. 

1. hellotosha - gold and silver ombre edged business cards.  Swoon.

2. lucismorsels - reese's peanut butter cup cookies.  Need I say more?

3. theropesmaine - the original rope bracelet.  Totally obsessed. 

4. blairritchey - she does bags, tassels and apparently watercolor.  Talent-O-Plenty.

5. spikethepunch_ - a macaroon to melt in your mouth.  Brambleberry and coconut.

6. carde_blanche - Dior "Diorshow Fusion Mono" a mouthful I know…but a must. (I have four).

7. sincerelyjackiepaper - a hidden Dove of dark chocolate.  Helping a day of madness we need to try.

8. paperandposte - pink striped envelope liners.  An invitation requirement.

9. theeverygirl - a white bar cart? Sold to the lover of white. 


Candidly yours,


MONDAY MADNESS: How do you Lafko?

This weekend I engaged in some spring cleaning and organizing.  In case you didn’t know, I function best when things are put away.  And there are certain things I love looking at…even more so when they are neat and tidy.  So what does this have to do with my blog question? 

Stay with me here.  I struggle with strong fragrances and any lotion or scent that’s over powering.  I can’t walk through the fragrance department without getting a headache.  (Just ask my sisters or daughters…they are banned from wearing perfume around me.  Selfish, I know.)

But I do love candles and clean-smelling rooms.  I have found Lafko candles to be the perfect solution.  Because they are soy based, they burn clean for 90 hours.  After that, these oversized hand-blown glass vessels take on a new life and can be used in almost any room of your house.

For me, then end up in the office housing my favorite Copic Glitter Pens.

  Oh…you like the glitter pens more than the candle?  That's ok.  Grab your favorite colors   here  .  Now, you're tempted to get that candle and copy me,   right?  Ok, get the candle   here.

Oh…you like the glitter pens more than the candle?  That's ok.  Grab your favorite colors here.  Now, you're tempted to get that candle and copy me, right?  Ok, get the candle here.

Or, they find their way into my bathroom to showcase my lip-gloss collection.


The third candle burn through allows my important kitchen utensils to be at my disposal.

So, I ask you again, how do you Lafko?  If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience it, grab your first Lafko candle here.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.  And just think, you’ll have 90 hours to decide its afterlife.

Candly yours,


PS To clean your Lafko candle after it has burned to the bottom, simply place it in the freezer for a half an hour (after the remaining wax has solidified).  Then take a knife to pop out the bottom wax portion.  Wipe clean.  Wash with soap and warm water. Dry.  Done.

PSS Yep, the first vessel I cleaned out made its way to the coffee station to hold my beloved Nespresso pods.  That was a given.


MONDAY MADNESS: What time is it?


Good Morning.

“Wait.  What time is it?  It’s so dark outside.  I thought it was supposed to be lighter earlier?  Or is it supposed to be lighter later?”

It’s 6:30am.  Does that mean it’s really 7:30am outside or 5:30am outside?  I can’t keep it straight.  All I know is I’m tired, it’s dark and I need coffee.

What’s the point of changing the clocks?  Or better yet, what’s the point of disrupting our (ok, my) sleep pattern?  Daylight Savings Time (DST) occurs the first Sunday in March and runs through the first Sunday in November.  We set our clocks ahead one hour during the warmer part of the year so the evenings have more daylight.  Ok, this makes sense.  Arizona and Hawaii have opted out of this ‘longer, hotter days’ for obvious reasons.

DST is great for baseball season (go Oakland), outdoor BBQ’s, and simply not feeling tired at 7:30pm when it seems like 10:30pm.  I love the idea of longer days.   Now, I won’t feel like putting on my pajamas before dinner.  Hopefully, this additional hour of daylight will allow me to be more productive with my to-do list.  It’s just a struggle with the initial loss of one hour of precious sleep…a commodity hard to come by, the older I get.

How about you?  Any residual effects of losing an hour of sleep this morning?  Were you sleepwalking through the morning routine?  Or, are you the ‘up-and-at-em’, no problem kind?  Let us know how you’re doing this fine Monday morning…second day of DST, first day back to work.

While you type, I’ll be in the kitchen brewing another cup of coffee?

Sleepily yours,



By definition, Surplus is something that remains above what is used; an amount greater than needed.  At Carde Blanche, we specialize in custom invitations for lifecycle events such as Weddings, Bar / Bat Mitzvahs, Anniversaries and Birthdays.  We match colors, coordinate envelopes and embellishments, and always have enough supplies for unexpected additions to your guest list.

That being said, our surplus of supplies is starting to take over the space allocated.  We've decided to share these extras at a discounted price, as we know there are lots of designers and DIY'ers that may only need 25 Aubergine colored envelopes…not the entire box of 200.  Our surplus is ever changing, so if you see what you need, grab it before it's gone.

If you're note sure about the color, texture, or size, request a sample.  We'll send it to you free.  We know it's not only important that the colors match, but touching the actual product helps verify the quality.

Should you ever need a certain color envelope or ribbon, contact us here, because it's likely we have a surplus.  Until then, check out our current supply of Surplus items here.

Candidly yours,




What’s the first thing you think of?  Mount Everest and the guide that carries your pack and hiking gear?  If so, you are correct.  How does this relate to me?  Not too long ago, I received another kind of Sherpa as a gift.  Being a pen lover, I was fascinated by it and decided to purchase them for the Carde Blanche shop.

The Sherpa.jpg

So, what is a Sherpa in my world?  The Paradise Pen Company agrees with our description above and explains it further.  “The Sherpas are a well known community that have helped make history by guiding several adventure seekers to the top of Mt. Everest.  Sherpas have the unique ability to withstand high altitudes and its effects.  This community has acclimated itself throughout the years to the unusual conditions that occur while climbing a massive mountain. Just as the thrill seeking hiker needs a guide to climb Mt. Everest, the Sherpa pen guides your writing instrument to the next level.
 The Sherpa Pen is a unique pen shell that holds a variety of disposable pens and markers including Sharpie, Pilot pen, Uni-ball pens and Accent highlighters."  The Sherpa comes in a variety of colors and designs, and is designed with an innovative cap to keep the color of your marker or pen bold and fresh every time.

For those of you obsessed with your writing instruments, this is a must for your collection.  A Neiman Marcus employee described The Sherpa best.  “Finally your Sharpie can be dressed for all occasions…casual in colorful stripes, or classy in pearl white.”  Need I say more?

Pick up your favorite color Sherpa here.

Candidly yours,


PS Still not sure about The Sherpa?  Watch this short home video for more clarity.