Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dolla' Dolla' Tree, Y'all

Am I the only nut that runs into the Dollar Tree for a couple things and ends up spending $75 bucks? That's seventy-five items!! Well, probably more like seventy with tax, but still!! I find myself grabbing multiples of items because they are such a great deal- that's where I get myself into trouble. 6 Halloween chair covers? Yes please! Cute turkey crafts for Thanksgiving? Yep 1 for each kid! Supplies for treat bags? I better stock up! Oh, goodness... In my defense, with that $75 I got fall decorations for babygirl's preschool and our house, supplies for Halloween treat bags, a sweet round-up of goodies for a baby gift, and more toiletries than we'll know what to do with.

Sounds like money well spent, right?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

We were on a break; Oh, you didn't know?

I forgot to mention we'd be taking a break. For a month. Or eight. Sorry about that. Not quite sure what happened- I got busy, and then I got bored, and then eight months had gone by. But this past weekend something really cool happened. I got an email Saturday morning from a total stranger thousands of miles away who went to a concert in Vegas more than seven years ago, and who happened to be reminiscing and decided to Google the concert, and up popped a blog post I wrote about that very concert, because I was also there! He emailed to thank me for the memories, and to share his own. I hadn't thought about that old blog or that concert in ages, but it was such a fun trip down memory lane to read my words and remember that time. Blogs are online diaries for sure, and as a person that doesn't keep a personal diary, it feels good that my words and thoughts and memories are immortalized somewhere and can be accessed by me, or anyone else who may stumble upon them, at any time. Very cool (and maybe a tiny bit vain?). So, even if it's only a pic & a couple sentences, I'm going to make more of an effort to contribute to my little corner of the internet on a regular basis. And if you're interested, here's the link to that blog post about one amazing concert seven years ago- my how life has changed since then!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekend Update

Happy Monday everyone!!  I feel so sluggish starting out this week because we had such a great weekend!! One of those that you didn't want to end.  My sister & nephew came to town, and we had SO MUCH FUN!!  Having my sis & nephew here always makes me wish they lived closer, we didn't even need to be doing anything to just have fun.  Maybe one day...

Friday afternoon we were eagerly awaiting their arrival and someone got a little wrapped up in mama's tiny yarn collection.  Literally.  It was too cute!

Saturday we had a leisurely morning, and then sis & I were off to do a little shopping (& research) at a couple local baby boutiques.  We'd never been to either one, and they were filled with so much great stuff!!  I fell in love with a few things...

These over-sized cards are so cute, and I think they'd be great for teaching babgirl.  At $25 they're a bit steep, but I did find them online at Amazon for cheaper, so I may go that route.

This zebra head was adorable!!  They also had a horse and ...hmm, one other one I can't recall.  They were super cute, but nearly $200!!

I definitely want to get one of these for the bathtub.  I'm always worried that babygirl is going to crack her head on the spout because she loves to play with it, and the whale is just way too cute!

These bird cards are beyond awesome.  The art was beautiful, and I have a soft spot for bird art.  I can't remember the price, but it was very reasonable, and with some cheap Ikea 8x10 frames, I think these would look awesome in babygirl's room!

I didn't take any pics at the other baby store, and honestly felt like I had to sneak the ones above.  They were the types of places that look at you sideways when you whip out your phone camera.  Eeek!

There was a super cool home store next to the second baby boutique, so we breezed through as quickly as I could manage since my sis was starving.  It was also not a phone camera-friendly zone, but I snuck a few:

These little canisters were so cute!!  I just wish they were bigger.  I'm totally not a canisters-on-the-counters gal, but for these I'd make an exception.  The ones pictured above were about the right size for teabags, or a sugar jar.

I don't care how many times I see chandeliers like this, I'm still going to love them.  I just think they're AWESOME!

I saw this leather strap contraption and cracked up.  I can just see the hubs using this to carry our firewood in from the back.  NOT.  He would laugh me out of house & home if I suggested it.  Looks cute though.

And then my phone went on the fritz.  There were so many more goodies I wanted to show y'all.  Oh well, guess I am going to need to go back!  :)

After a quick lunch at one of my favorite places- Whole Foods Salad & Hot Bars, we were up for just a tiny bit more shopping, so we headed to Goodwill, where else?!  I spotted some great stuff at pretty good prices...

Hard to see, but this pale pink lamp shade was a great oval shape and really nice!

Not sure what this roll was intended for, I was thinking it would make a sweet dresser drawer liner for a little girl's room.

At first I gawked at the price of these candles- almost $7 at Goodwill.  But then I smelled them, and they were divine.  Probably worth the $7 bucks!

These woven trays were really cool.  I'm not sure how functional they'd be, But I could see them stacked on a leather or cloth ottoman/coffee table.

These porcelain ornaments reminded me of something my grandma would like.

I love fall decorating.  They don't look like anything special, but both of these pumpkins were cute.

I'll probably regret not picking up those three shelves, they were a great price, I just couldn't think of where to use them.

I liked both the laptop case and those plastic heart plates.  They'd be fun to use for kiddos just on Valentines day!

These embroidered cocktail napkins were great, and brand new, but I'm just not a martini drinker and I think that's the only way they'd make sense.  I don't know any martini drinkers either.  Oh well.

I liked the shape of this lamp, and the color wasn't bad either.

Not sure what this is, I saw it on the way out and we were both kind of pooped, so I just grabbed a quick pic.  Maybe a duvet cover?  I thought the print was super fun though!

Sis & I both made out with some great deals.  I'll show you one of them later this week!  We headed home, had some dinner, and then the whole gang went to our new favorite place, Barnes & Noble.  The cousins had a great time playing at the train table together.

After playing we stopped for a scoop of icecream on the way home.  The local shop is known for interesting flavor combos, but tonight we totally struck out.  For whatever reason, I decided I had to taste the Peanut Sriracha- DEEEE-SGUSTING.  I mean really bad.  I asked the girl scooping how hot it was, and she was all, ehh, I dunno, a little.  So I tasted it.  Apart from instantly scorching my throat, it was just the grossest combo.  I usually trust their "weird sounding combos", but I instantly regretted it.  (I ended up having to grab a bottle of water b/c I couldn't even speak from the heat of the sriracha, no jokes.)  So sis & I both ended up with Salted Caramel, which should have been a no-brainer.  But it was so S.A.L.T.Y.  Like, it was hard to enjoy it was so salty.  Sis ended up dumping her scoop and eating the cone; I had a cup so I suffered through.  Oh well!

Sunday morning we headed to church, where we snapped snapped a few pics after service.

Afterwards we headed to our neighborhood coffee shop for a light breakfast in the sunshine.  Then home for naps and relaxing the rest of the day.

All in all, the best kind of weekend- not hectic, no work, just lots of fun family time!!

Hope y'all have a great week.  This one should be interesting around here- we hired a nanny who starts on Tuesday!!  Hoping it goes well...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Recipe: Strawberry Shortcake

I'm about to share a super secret family recipe.  It's my go-to, no-fail dessert that I pull out when I need something quick that everyone will enjoy.  So, are you ready...

Strawberry Shortcakes made with BISQUICK!!  I know, it's not original at all, but it's such a yummy treat, and nearly impossible to screw up.  I grew up eating this dessert at my grandma's house, and if my grandma isn't too good for Bisquick shortcakes, than neither am I!!

Start by slicing up some strawberries.  Of course it tastes best when strawberries are in season and sweet, but the grocery had them on sale this week, and I just couldn't resist.  Sprinkle a little sugar on if you like, then stir and keep them in the fridge while you make the shortcakes.

The recipe is on the side of the box, but it's 2 cups Bisquick, a couple tbsp of sugar, a couple tbsp melted butter and 1/3 cup milk.  I barely measure things out though, I mostly eyeball.  The recipe is very forgiving as long as it's not too wet or too dry.

Don't over-mix, just stir until it comes together and isn't powdery anymore.  It won't be smooth, that's okay. The less you mix, the more tender your shortcakes will be.  Trust me.

I just drop them by spoonful on a baking stone.  I like the rustic look.  :)

And out of the oven.  Don't over-bake these!  They'll dry out and taste awful.  Bake til golden brown.  The middles may look a bit wet, but just let them sit a few minutes and they'll be perfect.

In my family we split the shortcakes while they're still pretty hot and butter them, then add strawberries & milk.  If you've never had shortcake this way, you HAVE to try it. My hubs used to turn his nose up at the milk, but it honestly makes the dish.  The shortcake soaks it up and becomes this delicious buttery, milky, hot and cold wonderment.  It's insanely good!!

PS, I know Bisquick contradicts my previous statement about buying things that I can easily make myself.  Don't worry, I'm going to make my own Bisquick mix once this box runs out!!  ;)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

DIY: Beauty Secrets

Don't worry, you're in the right place!  I've never done a beauty post before, and I'm definitely not a fashion or beauty expert, but I thought I'd share two awesome beauty secrets I've discovered this year.  Remember my post about Taco Seasoning?  I mentioned one of my unofficial resolutions for this year was to try and MAKE more things I could easily make instead of BUY.  This was partially motivated by saving money, and partially motivated by being more healthy and reducing the harmful ingredients we ingest every day. 

My first order of business was homemade deodorant.  I'm not going to get all preachy about how bad deodorants & antiperspirants are for you, if you're interested, just do a little research and see for yourself.  I decided a long time ago I wanted to try and limit their usage.  That's not easy for me because I both 1) hate to be sweaty and 2) have a tendency to be sweaty!  But I've been giving it a try during the days when I'm home with babygirl and we don't go anywhere- I just don't wear anything.  And most days I don't sweat or stink- hurrah!  But, it's the dead of winter and I'm not doing anything crazy active around the house, so I knew it wasn't foolproof.  I started looking around and found lots of recipes for deodorants, most with similar ingredients- coconut oil, baking soda, essential oils, and sometimes arrowroot or other natural things.  I was up for trying it, but then I came across the most simple recipe of all (really wish I remembered where so I could give them credit!!).  It wasn't even a recipe, actually, just one ingredient:

You're probably rolling your eyes just like my sister did when I told her, but here's the thing: baking soda is so dang cheap, and I'm sure you probably have a box in your pantry like I did, so what's to lose?  Try it & see.  I grabbed a small plastic container and poured some baking soda in it.  Then I went through my makeup and found a large powder brush I wasn't using anymore.  Dusted a little baking soda under the pits and went about my day.  By the end of the day, no smells.  Tried it again, same result.  Amazing!!  Now I have to clarify I haven't tried this in the heat of summer or during a workout or any otherwise stressful/sweaty situation, but even if I have to use my old antiperspirant/deodorant for those occasions, I'm okay with that.  I'm saving a ton of money, and being much healthier in the process!!

Now if you thought baking soda was crazy, you're going to think I'm certifiably insane on this next one, but I promise it works!!  Dry shampoo.  I'm a big fan of the idea, not a big fan of the products out there.  I don't wash my hair everyday, I usually strive for every other day, or every third day.  It's better for your hair, and I just don't have time to wash, dry & style my hair everyday with babygirl!  (I'm working on some DIY shampoo & conditioner too, stay tuned!).  So in the past I've tried several dry shampoos with really disappointing results.  The Bumble & Bumble Hair Powder, apart from being expensive, was way too dark for even my dark brown hair.  It also rubbed off on anything that touched my hair, including my fingers, and just looked generally unnatural. 

So then I went to the other end of the spectrum and tried a drugstore brand: TRESemme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo.  The price was great (around $5), but the result was not.  It cast almost a grey look on my hair.  And trust me, I don't need any help in that department!!  It was also sticky & stiff, almost like hairspray, so my hair just felt really yucky when I used it.

And I think we've all tried the Baby Powder trick once in our lives- talk about making your hair look grey!!  I think this only works if you have blonde hair.  It smells nice, but looks crazy!!

Enter my new trick: 
Now, this will be best for folks with brown hair, or dark roots, and I know it sounds crazy, BUT IT WORKS!!!  I also can't recall where I read this trick first, but I filed it away thinking it was a little nuts.  Then, I had an appointment, and no time to do my hair, and decided to give it a try.  I pulled my hair back into a ponytail and then dabbed my fingers into a little of the powder and ran it across my hair in sections, starting near the hairline and running back toward my ponytail.  I was AMAZED at how well it instantly worked.  Not to mention, it gave me a look of subtle highlights- very pretty!!  After I went all around my hairline, I took my ponytail out and brushed through my hair a couple times to really integrate any areas I might have been heavy-handed with the powder, and then pulled it back into a ponytail.  My hair looked fresh & clean and had a very, VERY subtle chocolate smell.  :)

What do you think, will you try these?  Or have you already?  Any other great secrets I should know about?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Weekend Update

Happy Monday friends!!  Hope y'all had a great weekend and are staying toasty warm.  It was COLD in Atlanta this past weekend but we had plenty of sunshine so it didn't feel too bad.  Saturday morning started out perfect- the hubs let me sleep in while he hung out with babygirl, so I got to catch up on some zzz's!  We did a little thrifting in the afternoon, but didn't come away with much.  I always like to snap pics while I'm thrifting of fun stuff that I don't buy, but the place was SO picked over there was nothing to take pics of!!  Seriously, when we pulled in the parking lot there was nary a parking space.  I don't think I like that thrifting has gone mainstream!!  :)

Sunday was church & cleaning and then a little window shopping at Hancock Fabrics.  It's not my favorite fabric store, but there's inspiration to be found everywhere.  Here are a few of the fabrics that jumped out at me (these are apparel fabrics, not home dec)...

 I love the vibrant colors & graphic patterns in these purple & orange prints.

These too!  So fun and funky.

My eye is always drawn to black & white.  There was nothing special about any of these, but i liked the gathering as a group.

Speaking of pattern, these batiks were fun.  The colors were a lot more vibrant in person!

Especially this yellow & grey one.  There is a shadow over it, but it was the sunniest yellow & so cheerful!  I could see babygirl in a sweet sundress in this pattern.

Stripes, gingham & buffalo check are always classics you can't go wrong with.

Amid all the pattern, this aisle was like a soothing balm.  I love the neutral muslins & the ticking stripes.  The textures are what make these fabrics so appealing to me.

Especially this white cotton ruffle, I just adore it!

After Hancock the fam took a trip to Barnes & Noble.  We hadn't been there in ages, and we thought babygirl would enjoy it.  Boy were we right.  That gal was literally like a kid in a toy store!  We had no idea B&N had bulked up their toy selection, and they had some great brands and beautiful educational toys.  I'll totally head there first from now on when I need a baby/kid gift!

I've been shopping around for alphabet flashcards for babygirl.  She's a total sponge right now, and is starting to mimic everything.  I'm constantly amazed by the little things she recalls from books we read or things we've said to her. These look like a good option, but I passed for now.

This was the cutest darn purse I've EVER seen!  I grabbed it to show babygirl, and she instantly put it over her shoulder and hugged it tight.  For almost the whole time in there.  It was so cute.  It nearly broke my heart to see the $22 price tag.  Sheesh!  Honestly, it's probably not bad, but it's also not in the budget.  :)

And lastly, I see now why parents invest in train tables.  The kids were like magnets to this thing.  Riley had a great time, and met some nice new friends too.  It was the perfect way to end the weekend!  We're adding B&N to our list of places to visit more often!

So what were y'all up to this weekend?  I've got a busy week ahead of me with lots of fun new projects on the horizon, so stay tuned!!  Have a great week!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I'm So in Love...

...with black interior doors!!!

 You thought I was going to say my hubs, didn't you?  Well, yes, of course!  But recently a friend asked for my advice about black paint for interior doors.  I'm a big fan of the look, though I've never done it in my own homes.  Several years ago I painted the trim in my kitchen & family room black and LOVED it.  I was scared to dip that paintbrush and paint the first strokes of black, but once I did, I knew it would be amazing. Painting interior doors is the same- it instantly elevates the look of your rooms!  As I was doing a little research for my friend I was reminded of how much I love the look, and am wondering what it will take to convince the hubs.  Here are some looks I love...

I like this pic because this is about how our upstairs would look if we painted all the doors.  There are five, yes FIVE, doors at the top of our landing, but I think this looks amazing!

I like this one too- we have a couple glass doors and this is a great visualization of how they might look painted black.

I don't care for this one.  It may just be the lighting, but it's too gray for me.  I'd prefer a true black, or a blue-black rather than a grey-black.

This one scares me because I don't think it looks too hot.  Again, it could be the lighting, but I feel like you can see the roller marks.  Eeek.

original source unknown
My jaw about dropped when I saw these doors.  I'll take two please!!  Oh my goodness, how great are they?

This one is just a weeeee bit too glossy for my taste.  You want a little gloss, but this looks almost lacquered!

original source unknown
These are utterly gorgeous- a mile high and lovely glass knobs.  Love Love Love.

Perfection.  And can I tell you how much I love those draperies?  Wow.  Check out that link, she has several more beautiful examples of the doors she painted in her home!

So, what do you think?  Have I convinced you to paint your doors black too?  Oh, and I learned a couple things in trying to find pics to post here:
1) It seems that every blogger has done a 'black interior doors' post sometime in the past 2 years.
and 2) Said bloggers generally suck in sourcing the original poster of the pic.  There were so many more pics I wanted to include, but couldn't track back to the original author.  I always try really hard to track back to the original author of the photo, or just not post it.  It takes a little longer, but they really should get the credit.  Now I see why so many folks watermark their photos with their web address!!

Hope y'all had a great Valentine's Day with your loved ones, we sure did!