Thursday, November 19, 2015

Favorite Things 2015

I have been dying to have a real-life Favorite Things Party, I just haven't put forth the real-life effort.  One day...one day.




Well, that doesn't stop me from wanting to share my Favorite Things!!!  It's genuine advertising for all those little things that make our lives simpler as women.  Without further adieu...

The every day:
GAP Simple Pants 



Nothing fancy.  But when they arrived, I tried them on and haven't taken them off since.  I wear them errrrrday.


Lucky Brand Jeans - Lolita









































This cut fits me great and make me feel good too.  I have them in skinny and boot cut, dark wash and light, thank you Lucky cause good jeans are hard to find.  

Audible - 
Books read aloud, I am hooked.  My goodreads.com to-do list just kept growing and growing.  I was not making the time to sit down and read, enter audible.com.  I can listen at work, in the car, folding laundry, doing chores, so far, it's been three months and I'm enjoying it.   


The Treat Yo Self!!!


Pepperidge Farm - bordeaux




















A simple crunchy sugar cookie.  I like to have them with a cup of tea/coffee and a good magazine/catalog.  It helps if the house is quiet and no one bothers you, it's a quality alone time snack.  


Graeter's Ice Cream - Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip (any flavor with the chocolate chips!)



For three years we lived in the GreatCinti area back in 2000, that is where this ice cream began.  I was homesick but THIS ice cream helped, so good. If my memory serves me right, liquid chocolate is poured in during the freezing process, so you never know what size chip you will scoop, could be a marble or a meatball.  They carry it at Fresh Market, good stuff. 



Other little favorite things - Target, HBO to GO, Netflix marathons, Apple products, wine, scarfs (still!!!), egg rolls, fried rice, Dunkin, Starbucks Vanilla Latte, crab cakes, dungeness crabs, french fries, sweet potato pie, Chipotle, pom poms, throw pillows, wicker baskets, mustard yellow, navy, monograms, Wendy's Spicy chicken sandwich, Mike and Ike's candies, Kork-Ease shoes, and TOMS, just to name a few ;)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

November Check-In



Over the weekend I consolidated two iphones (work and personal) into one.  

It was one of those things I put off forever but wasn't as bad as I thought.  I was worried about losing contacts, apps, music, pictures, etc.  Using icloud.com really helped.  Then I had the genius idea to add my AppleID (work) to Family Sharing - I gained access to all my purchases on my personal AppleID. Huge sigh of relief.  Highly recommend if you want to share music, pics, apps between family members (or your work self, ha!).

I purchased fabric a few weeks ago at JoAnn's during a big sale, I'm really excited to bring something to life with it.  I'm heavily leaning toward a long pillow for my bedroom, I have been hella tempted to cheat and copy this one though (see it above).

Have you seen the viral video about Patti LaBelle's Pie?  I'm pleased to see the pie is doing well. We all need some light and humor amid all the darkness around the world right now.

In other news, I am off for 10 days starting Saturday - so excited for a little R&R.

Let's do this again soon. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

It's Holiday Season, y'all!


Have you seen this one? How funny is Will Ferrell.  

A few weeks ago my family suggested my house for Thanksgiving.  I graciously accepted, I think my exact words were "Bring It!!!"

After I sat down and thought about the food, I sent everyone a list on Sign Up Genius.  My daughters school uses this and it's genius.  You make a list of suggested items,  (you can also leave blanks) and everyone can go to the site and signup.  As the administrator you can edit for all those Aunties who don't use the internet  :)  

Perfect when you're hosting and don't want to manage on paper.  After the signup was complete, my brain went to All the Things!!!!

How will we set up the buffet?
How many people?
We need decor, this look, simple, cute.
Extra toilet paper!!!
Start picking up butter on every market trip.
Beverage station: coffee, punch, cordials.
Desserts table, a must
Take home containers
Lots of foil
Something special for the Littles?
Extra tables, extra chairs
Hand towels, paper towls
Hand soaps
Activities, Kid Activities
Charging station
Wifi password
Basement options 
Good weather

I have my hands full, did I miss anything?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

How to create a zombie



followed this tutorial on Wikihow to make Kya a Zombie.  She really liked it, and told me "I was a really good zombie maker!"  (Isn't that what all Moms really wanna hear?)  Facial expression all her own.  

I added the wig since her braids didn't quite have the disheveled affect we were trying to achieve.  I grabbed everything from Goodwill, the blood (paint) we had on hand, I just mixed up some colors (red, black) and added water so it would be thin enough not to harden her shirt.  Pretty easy and cheap!


Dad was her escort as Jason from the old Friday the 13th thrillers. Quite the pair, I was a cat, but nobody took my picture, ijs.  

The weekend was pretty quiet.  We went to our local Amusement part for the Haunt Attraction, I did one haunted walk-thru and was ready to go.  It is so foggy you can barely see your hand in front of your face. People jumping out at you in scary clown faces, and people like that!  Not me, give me a comedy anyday.  

I borrowed a few discs from the library, SSN1 of The Good Wife and it made for good company as I finally sat down to finish the island stools that I started in over Summer.  


The were originally a light wood color, then red, then a soft yellow.  

They were everyone's favorite kitchen chairs, right at the island with all the action.  So when I saw them on sale at Target, I grabbed two more and we were back to being mismatched.  

Two yellow, two light wood.


Back in June, I used Annie Sloan's chalk paint in Pure White to give them a face lift.  I thought white would be good given we have the white counters and appliances but the stools were too much white, they stood out.  More paint to the rescue.


They would have been much easier to spray paint, with the four-sided legs and 8 round spindles on each, it was a process.  To get even coats, and full coverage, it took me about 3 painting sessions. I ended up using Annie Sloan's French Linen, I had it on hand from an old project (that still needs to be completed).  This stuff is easy to work with you just have to make the time.  The paint itself is almost fume free but the wax does have a little bit of a smell.  

All in all, it beats the sanding/painting/poly process for me.  Finally, all FOUR stools are back in the kitchen, in the same color - at your service!


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Without fail

Every year my younger sister runs around in a last minute panic for something to wear to a Halloween party.  And of course, I run to her rescue with Google or pinterest.com.  However, the last minute standbys -  just won't due.  She doesn’t want a GOOD costume, she wants a girly costume.  She’s 26 and single, I get it.  

So this year when costume pics began to surface on pinterest, I took the screenshots and started the process. 

I loved this one, cute and you don't have to explain your costume all night.

Big Bang Theory's, Sheldon & Amy.  Revenge of the Nerds Millennium Edition.

Wednesday Addams, The Addams Family
I kinda quit after this one because it was so appropriate.  She wears something black almost everyday.  Its a running joke. 

And this one was just too funny not to share. La Fawnduh and Kip would be a good costume.  When this movie came out, it caught me off guard.  I put it in the category with Forrest Gump, either you love it or hate it.  I love them both. 

This year my daughter has decided she wants to be a zombie, not a princess, Disney character or superhero - a zombie.  I wasn't quite ready for the shift but I started the process tonight...


Stay tuned.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Summer was too good.



Row 1: My Dad got married at 67.  He said it was THE happiest day of his life, to be surrounded by family on a joyous occasion.  (I dunno about that Dad, what about the day I was born?)
Row 2: The city next to us, Bethlehem, PA has one of the largest free musical festivals in America.  We didn't go for a long time but the shows have been better and we've been the last few years in a row.  Good (expensive) fair food, we've come to look forward to visiting at least one night.  This year we saw Seinfeld (he's 61!), Darius and Snoop.
Row 3: A few cloud shots that caught my eye, pretty amazing this life.    

Summer is my fave and I miss it already.  I quick checked my phone so I could share the current temperatures here.  


THIS.  Seriously?  Is that snowflake for snow, or just freezing temps?  That's exactly why I need to get this house in tip-top shape cause I need to live somewhere where there are less chances for snow in Mid-October.  Ay yi yi.

Here's to Winter going by just as quickly as Summer.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What kind of fish are you?

The Fish!

What kind of fish are you?  That’s what a friend asked my daughter at a recent pool.  This girl loves the water, the kind of love where she stays in the pool until her teeth start to chatter love.  She recently asked, “how much for a pool?”…gotta love being 8.

I didn’t learn to properly swim until college and am really considering a refresher, hopefully, it’s like riding a bike?  My mother in law recently took lessons after this.  Consider gifting swimming lessons to someone you love so they can confidently enjoy the water.  Not to mention the peace of mind and security it will give you both.

 

Friday, June 12, 2015

ACK!

One of my resolutions this year was to stay up on the blog, be intentional.  I have no excuse, none. 

Life has been really good and life has been crap.

The really, really good.

Cancun TNT

I went to Cancun in early May with a college friend.  The sun was so so good, the open bar didn’t hurt. 

My daughter had her first dance recital.  I was a ball of nerves, she rocked it!

I got a big haircut.  HUGE.  I didn’t tell anyone, I was afraid I would chicken out but I did it and haven’t looked back.  Oddly, this week, I have been missing my puffy natural ‘fro, but the ease of short hair has been great for this season of my life.

receiptsort

And now, the crap. 

My PC died.  Over the last four years, I have purchased 3 batteries and 3 chargers, somewhere in there the charger finally decided to stop powering the battery.  So that fix was over.  I bought an Apple, I’m still learning. 

My cell phone fell in dishwater and died.  All the current options at AT&T require payment plans, FOR A PHONE, ugh.  It took me over a week to come to grips with this, I am now leasing to own a very expensive iphone6.

Our vet told us we need to think about the “quality of life” of our dog.  Heavy, heavy sigh. 

I wore a hole in my most favorite jeans in four months.  Not cool Lucky brands, not cool.  (I emailed them, they responded!)

I cleaned out my purse and realized I have been shopping too much.  I let the sale prices fool me.  I really don’t need another thing.  So, I have been purging the house, again.  How do we acquire so much crap?  More importantly, how do I keep allowing this to happen?

I just looked at some of my older posts on this blog, this has been a pretty cool way to journal.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Circle Mirrors

Process1

Shortly after we put up the new mirror, I did a search on pinterest for circle mirror design.  Just looking through the images, I could begin to see the styles that drew my eyes in.

seaside

Tall1

FixerUpper

PBadv

one / two / three / four

And of course, PB nailed it, how cute is that tassel pom pom thingy on the knob.  I see a DIY in my near future.

There is a reoccurring theme in my likes, wood tones, light and bright rooms and all the mirrors have something tall and blooming close by, mostly in glassware.  And THIS is why pinterest is my jam, it helps me conceptualize my plan of attack.  It’s like having a bestie who doesn’t talk but understands your thoughts and shows you images to help with your decision making. 

Right now the mirror sits alone but I have a plan.  And you know what they say, most people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Hi. Welcome.

This is the front of my house. At the bottom of the stairs is the front door.  If you’re standing at the door, facing in, go right, living room.  Go left, dining room.  I’m standing in the farthest corner of the living room.

lv1

One of the cool things about our house is the light, it comes in really good.

lv2

When I take pictures of items, I do it at the base of the stairs, preferably with the door open.  The light here gets the colors jussssst right, there is a big window above the door too.  It warms the floor and our dog likes to lay where the sunlight lands. 

A week or so ago, I switched the lamps here.  I never heard of switching your home around for the seasons until I began reading blogs.  Now all of a sudden, the black felt heavy for Spring and this one wasn’t being used so easy update.  I haven’t mastered the vignette so suggestions are welcome for the buffet.

lv3

That’s the chair I mentioned a while back with the IKEA bookshelves purchased earlier this year.  The pillow was being tested, I really liked the colors and style, helloo affordable IKAT, but it went back.  Mostly because it was a one-hit wonder, I couldn’t use it anywhere else and I genuinely did not need another pillow.  However, if you’re interested, Kohl’s.

I really don’t hear much about Kohl’s in blogland but it’s so close to me, I like to pop in.  You can get some steals there, always, always, always go armed with a coupon.  Here are some links for coupon apps, Weekly, RetailMeNot and Shopular, all free.  Kohl’s usually has a Sunday newspaper circular too.  PowRug PowRug2

I got these two rugs there for about $13 each, I wasn’t sure which would look better, the darker color won.  Although now I look and think the mustard doesn’t compete with the curtains. 

Also, if you are a makeup newbie like me, did you know you can try on their products, I love that!  So fact is, I’m on a drugstore budget, but what is up with the packaging???  The colors on the outside do not match what is in the container.  Many a mistake has been made, many a lip gloss tubes have been tossed.  Tragic.  So, yea at Kohls, you may pay a buck or two more, but it beats wasting $8 on a color that looks horrible on.  I know some of the big makeup stores let you try on product, but none are close to me, so Kohl’s it is. 

Plus, my daughter is usually my roadie and she likes to try-on stuff too, our girl time. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

No hesitations

If I like something online, a deciding factor for me is cost: product cost, shipping cost, return cost, bonus (!) if I can return in-store.  When I noticed that Nordstrom’s is now offering free shipping and free returns, no minimums.  Game.changer.  Over the past year, I’ve made 2 purchases.  I beat that in the past month, I’m at 3.  Game.changer, yall.

I genuinely think they offer a variety of price points as well as a pretty good assortment of products.  And they Price Match, which takes the sting out of seeing it elsewhere for cheaper. 

With that said, did you know Mother’s Day is only two weeks away?  Lucky for you, I did some Mother’s Day homework and I made the shopping hesitation free – price points under $100 with free shipping and free returns.  Holla!!!

Now, to me gifts are little (or big) treats you give to someone that they wouldn’t normally purchase for themselves.  So here are some suggestions to hook up your Mom’s or yourself, I’m sure you deserve it!

This one is for the mom who likes to sparkle.  Kate Spade.  Boom!  Six colors available.

ks 

There’s always the sentimental Mom, you know her, she gushes over her kids to anyone who will listen.  So let’s help her wear it already.

aa1

armparty

I like these as a “party”, I think they are so cute, the new pandora.  You can mix colors, textures and styles.  And if bracelets aren’t your jam, how about these necklaces.  (Lisa Leonard is offering free shipping on her personalized goodies too)

How about the Mom that needs TLC, her schedule is go.go.go, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

essie colors 

Schedule a lunch date but give her the address for the nearest spa.  Grab her a gift card for a facial, massage, haircut or mani-pedi.  She doesn’t even remember what it’s like to go to the bathroom alone, a lil’ ME-time is just what she needs.  Time to de-stress and enjoy her own thoughts, be sure to throw in her favorite magazine and snack, nomnomnom nomnomnomnomnomnom.

And last but not least, this Mom doesn’t want you to spend any money on a Hallmark holiday, but you still want to show ya love.

gift wrapped flo 

Gift wrapped flowers!  I don’t care the occasion flowers make me smile, they add life, they smell great, they brighten the room and lift your spirits.  I’d also add some local goodies.  Our local fair is chocolate at Josh Early, West Coasters like See’s, Chicago likes their Garretts, you get the jest, support your locals. 

Now what about me, here’s how I would like the day to play out: 

I want to sleep in, like Im on vacation with not a care in the world.  And when I do get up, I want to go out for about 2 hours uninterrupted.  I dunno, window shop all the regulars, Target, Marshalls, etc with a vanilla latte (and maybe a slice of lemon loaf, gosh, I miss you lemon loaf but your calorie count is ridic). 

By 11, I’m hungry, so lunch, preferably something salty, Chinese, Thai, hot wings.  Not all 3.  Everyone should come.

Here’s where it’s tough, I’m full and happy, do I keep moving or go home and have a lil’ siesta?  It’s Mother’s Day so let’s assume the house is clean and quiet, I choose a nap.  Just for 20 minutes or so. 

How’s the weather, it’s beautiful out right?  Normally, I would be thinking about groceries, laundry, weekly chores, but all of that is being handled for me today.  So, I choose spa time.  A mani-pedi, facial, and back massage would set it off and I am full on relaxed.  But this Momma’ s day is not quite done.

We should be knocking on 4-5pm and I could eat.  Nothing heavy, a light dish, seafood, veggies, sangria.  And one last hurrah, the Cinema, I love movies, take me there.  I definitely want popcorn and soda, so bad but so good. 

That’s my idea of a great Mother’s day 2015 style, casual and relaxed.  But honestly, if I get none of that, the best gift I could receive is to see my children happy and living life abundantly. 

P.S. I loved this tribute to Mom by Stephen Colbert.

 

 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Flowers for me

Ran2

This weekend was a weekend about nothing…and it was fantastic.  The temperature hit 77 degrees (!!!) and all the sunshine gave me a burst of energy I haven’t had in years.  Years.

dahlia You see, the bulbs and seeds at the supermarket and home stores, somehow they find their way into my cart, but they never actually get in the ground.  That was until yesterday, I grabbed the box from the basement and got to work. 

WildMix

I warned myself cause some of the seed were old, (like they expired 2008 old) and might not grow, but my optimism got the best of me.  I figured, shoot, some of them might grow and won’t that purrrdy.  I snagged that last one from the Dollar Tree of all places just last weekend, so the flowers have multiple price points and are available everywhere.  But I have no zero experience and don’t know if they will work, but we’ll see. 

A few quick notes before you set out yourself:

Tool suggestions:

- Gloves: I can’t do bugs or worms, so gloves were a must for me. 

- Hand shovel: It looks like a shovel but mini.  It was really helpful in digging up the soil in small areas.  I worked no larger than both my arms out for a hug, maybe 3x3. I  typically just patted the soil and mulch back on with my hands after the seeds were planted. 

- Soil:  I liked having the bag around to put fresh soil over the seeds, it felt like making them a comfy bed.  Not necessary tho. 

Where will these plants go?  Does that area of the yard get sun or shade?  I love hostas but my house gets full sun, so those don’t work for me here.  I have to look for seeds and plants that like full sun.  Don’t be discouraged, there really is variety for both. 

Do you like to change them up or are you happy with your faves?  If you like variety, you should get annuals, they require planting each year.  However, if you want to fix it and forget it think perennials, they give you a show year after year. 

And yall it seriously was so easy, most only required an inch or two of digging.  I’m genuinely excited to see what will come of it. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

We all family

 

PJ 

bwahahahaa!!  When I hear Family Reunion, I think of Poetic Justice and Cuzn Pete.  Finding this pic definitely made me a little nostalgic.

Anyhoo, Haik’s family does a family reunion every year, on both sides of his family. We don’t always make them, but we always try to hit at least one.  This year they are hosting the reunion locally, so there is lotsa planning going on and this weekend the meeting is at my house. Like tomorrow.

It’s all very casual, but all week I’ve been cleaning the nooks and crannies, you know those areas you mean to get to, like behind the coffee maker, windowsills and under the dog bowls.  The funny part is, when my family comes, they know the routine, what you see is what you get.

On top of the cleaning, we need something for these folks to eat.  All week I’ve been thinking, what am I gonna feed everybody?  How many people…how many kids….I want to keep it as simple as possible and here’s what I’m thinking hotdogs.   I kid, I kid, small plates, tapas, ya know appeteasers:

Mini Pizzas

Mini pizzas: Quick, easy, inexpensive and fresh. I make these all the time for the fam.  Bonus, they reheat really well.  The only con is you have to remember to take the rolls out in the morning, so they have enough time to rise, I’d say you need a good 6 hours.

Nachobar

Nacho bar: I tried the crockpot version for the Superbowl but it kept burning my cheese.  I have to do something different this go ‘round, cause I still really like the idea.  I mean look at all those toppings!!  Salsa, black beans, jalapenos, green onion, chicken, sour cream, guacamole and melty cheese. The best part, customize-able, e’erybody can chose what they want and pile it on. 

This was unintentional, but notice how both of these dishes can be meat-free. With all the dietary needs and restrictions these days, you just never know. 

And just in case you have an event soon and need ideas.  Here are a few other tried and true favorites:

Buffalo dip, it’s not pretty but it’s a crowd pleaser.  If possible, use fresh cooked chicken instead of canned, serve with celery and tortilla chips.  Keep the recipe handy cause you will get asked.

Buffalo wings, just the smell makes my mouth water.  I like them extra crispy, seriously, just say no to soggy wings.  And if you need a new flavor try this sauce, around here they call it hot and honey.  These look really good too.   

Oh well, wish me luck.  I hope you have a great weekend, it might actually hit 70 degrees here tomorrow and I can’t wait!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

For weeks, months even, I have been on the look out for a fireplace mirror.  Specifically something like Emily A Clark’s, it has just always caught my eye. 

RoundMirror emily 

RoundMirror1

36” diameter - Rafia

RoundMirror2

38”, banana plant, online only

RoundMirror4

36”, mango wood

I tried all the usual suspects, WestElm, PotteryBarn, Target, WorldMarket, local Goodwill.  And as per the usual, once you’ve begun a search, similar items will pop up in your ad sidebars.  So, I’ve been looking even when I wasn’t looking. 

But nothing fit my budget or comfort level with buying online.  I could not handle the idea of trying to return an oversized mirror ($$$) and I was really concerned about materials and size.  I can be picky, not Bridezilla picky, but picky nonetheless. 

Well Gang, on Friday, I got an email from PB, 15% off everything for your walls.  So, I quick looked again and the Wood Sun Mirror caught my eye. 

round mirror5

35" diameter, mango wood frame

It took me a good whiiiile to pull the trigger cause PB is not exactly cheap.  On sale $340, regular $399.  Whimper, whimper, whimper, my budget was closer to $250, preferably less. But as I get older, I realize something’s require top dollar, like good fitting jeans, cute comfortable shoes and a big ol’ mirror for your mantle. 

So, when the local store confirmed they had it in stock, the scales tipped.  No S&H and a hassle-free return (if needed).  Ok, still hesitant, but sold. 

After a little measuring yesterday, the mirror was up, honestly yall, it took less than 30 minutes.  I forgot to mention, the mirror came packaged with the necessary wall fasteners, looooved that!  No extra trips.  I really love the color, shape and details.  It definitely fits my neutral vibe and once I find some complimentary accessories, I think she’ll be fantastic in her new home. 

 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

When it rains, it pours

after these message

I’ve had quite the eventful couple of weeks.  So much of it is not my story to tell, but I will say, the fog is starting to lift.  Thank Heavens!