1.31.2013

Fan. I am.

Over the last few weeks (or is it months?) I've discovered a few new things and realized I must tell y'all about them because awesomeness should be shared.
I know, I'm quite tardy to the BB Cream party.

I don't know what I was waiting for exactly, but I held off trying them just this side of forever. About two weeks ago, on a whim, I picked this one by Garnier up at TarJay because it was only in the ballpark of $12. I like how easily it goes on, gives a hint of color and coverage while acting as sunscreen, primer and moisturizer all rolled in one tube.

You can wear them alone, I guess, but I still use my Laura Mercier mineral foundation (powder) over it for a bit more coverage. I do like how I can quickly put some on in the mornings to take Annelise to school and look, you know, more alive than usual, so that's a plus.

Of course there are tons of BB Creams on the market now, and this is the only one I've tried so far. Do you have a favorite I should try?
Have you tried Revlon lip butters?

No?

Well, you should!

They are something in between a lip stick and lip gloss and lip balm but also slightly like a lip stain.

Not too heavy, not too light, just enough color and shine.

Walgreens had a BOGO 50% off sale, so, you know, I had to buy four because I really only liked three and didn't want to put one of those back. From the left the colors are, Sugar Frosting, Sugar Plum, Creme Brûlée and Pink Truffle. I like them all but seem to wear Sugar Frosting and Creme Brûlée the most (so far).
This stuff is divine.

And less than $10.

Light fresh scent, yet long lasting. Unusual but not in a bad way.
If you're a fan of fresh pineapple but hate cutting them (I always felt like I was wasting too much and hated the mess) then you must try the Vacu Vin pineapple miracle.

It's a game changer.

Fast, easy, little mess. Cut the top off your pineapple, spin this baby down, pull and BOOM, perfectly cut rings of pineapple goodness.
I thought our dishwasher was on its last legs.

A lot of our everyday dishes (mostly our glasses and Fiesta bowls) had developed this icky white film and nothing was working. I tried rinse aids, home remedies, bleach all to no avail.

Then Julie mentioned her love for Lemi Shine on her blog and I decided to give it a whirl (she's also the one that led me to the Vacu Vin) (because she's awesome) (not that I know her in real life, but I'm quite certain she is).

Dude.

This stuff works. I don't know what's in it and don't really care because my glasses sparkle again (after just one wash!).

It's the little things that make me happy.

Have you tried any of these?
What are some of your current raves and faves lately?

1.29.2013

Home Refresh: Jewelry Organization

Last week I finally tackled something that had been haunting me for years.

Because I am nothing if not timely.

:cough:

This armoire sits quietly in our bedroom, as all good furniture should. There are shelves at the top and drawers on the bottom and I use it for jeans, pajamas, undies and whathaveyou.
The top shelf is where my perfume and jewelry lived.

It was not a happy place at all, what with all the clutter and piles and tangles and mess.

Which was not frustrating in the least.

:cough:

For a good long while I looked longingly at the clever and beautiful ways Lindsey, Meg and Paige came up with to store their jewelry and of course followed the go-getter approach of doing nothing.

Until last week.

Thanks to a plain bulletin board from Hobby Lobby and my quilting pins (no, I don't quilt, I mean, at least not any more and I also mean I never finished my first quilt from 2002) this now graces our bedroom wall.
It's like art.
Wearable art.

And it's making me insanely happy.
I love seeing my current faves on display and so easily accessible. I spent so much time digging through stuff, now I can just grab and go. Fabulous!

Side note: I also have a cloth pocket shoe organizer hanging on the back of our bedroom door that holds scarves, belts and other jewelry that I don't wear that often, those clear plastic shoe organizers are wonderful for lots of other uses than just shoes (like in the pantry, bathrooms with cleaning supplies or medicine, or for small craft supplies).

A lot of jewelry that I never ever wore any more or that was broken was thrown away (why was I keeping it?), I passed down a few things to Annelise and gleefully organized the rest.
Favorite bangles now rest on milk glass.
Earrings now hang on hobnail and depression glass. Smaller post earrings are inside the green glass.
My favorite chunky silver rings are no longer lost among the fray but stacked on a ring holder (a novel idea, no?) and a few other small pieces are in the crystal heart.
This project was simple, fast, cheap (the board was 50% off at Hobby Lobby and I had everything else),  the end result looks nice (yes, I could have covered a plain board with linen or burlap,  and used nicer tacks or pins which would definitely fancy it up more, but that would have required a bit more effort on my part) and most importantly...it's DONE.

Is it weird that when I visit my newly organized space I clap my hands, squeal with unabashed glee and possibly dance a little jig?

No?

Good.

1.26.2013

Six for Saturday

A few randoms of late:

01.) We started Saturday at the crack of 10:00 at IHOP.
My own carafe of coffee is why IHOP will always be tops in my breakfast book. And the pancakes aren't too shabby either.

02.) Annelise is torturing me  working on her first science fair project. The good thing is they work on everything in stages and are responsible for completing (and having the teacher review) each stage before moving on to the next so there's no way she (we) can put the entire thing off until the night before. Not that that would ever happen or anything. The other good thing is I may or may not have steered Annelise to a fairly easy, low-key (at least that's our hope) consumer science-y project, to which she was agreeable and interested in (ish) about which bubble gum lasts the longest.

03.) Scott and I went on an impromptu date (ish) last night once Annelise decided she wanted to have an impromptu sleepover with Pappo and Grandma Peggy. We had this long roundabout discussion about where to go and why or why not and how we wanted to go somewhere that Annelise wouldn't feel gypped and not somewhere we always go as a family (we're fairly boring), and of course this discussion followed a drawn out diatribe on our poor eating habits of late along with scant exercise blah, blah, blah.

At first we though about Ghengis Grill but talked ourselves out of that because we normally go there for lunch and didn't want to pay for dinner bowls and it was later at night and we (okay, me) worried that the buffet choices might not be restocked or as fresh, so we decided on Pei Wei even though I am always slightly disappointed with my selections there (I don't have a go-to fave there).

However.

On a whim we went to Bonefish Grill instead. Scott had been there for lunch before but I hadn't so we thought, why not try something new (ish). While it was very, very good, it turned out to be um...fancier and pricier at night than we expected. We were definitely underdressed for the hipster crowd that congregates there. Oh well. We laughed though at how we hadn't wanted to pay for dinner bowls at Ghengis Grill (like what, $10-$12 each?) and ended up almost tripling that. Oh well.

04.) So, on a semi-whim I became a brunette earlier this week.

With bangs.

(brace yourselves, it's drastic)
While I loved my bold, blond highlights, I was ready for a change, something more all one color with more subtle highlights.

Now I think going sooooo brown has triggered an identity crisis of sorts.

I'm still in shock every time I pass a mirror.

Who is that woman? Wait. Is she wearing a wig? Is that me? That IS me. And what's up with the bangs?

I feel like it's such a drastic change and possibly too harsh.

I mean, it's almost black, y'all.
I feel like one of the Real Housewives of New Jersey or something.

(okay, not really)

I've been playing with my make-up a bit (smokier eye, a bit more blush) because otherwise I feel too washed out, but wearing more make-up feels weird too, like, whoa.

So I've been in a bit of an insecure heap.

But then sometimes I like the new me.

05.) I was going to do a Five for Friday post, but then didn't. Obvs.

06.) Hence the Six for Saturday post instead. Obvs. Except I don't think I even had five things to share, so I definitely can't scrape up six now.

You are ever so welcome.

Happy weekending, y'all!

1.24.2013

Home Refresh: Mantel

Believe it or not, I do not have the constant urge to re-do or redecorate our home.

I get things the way I like them and I tend to leave them that way for a good long while.

I mean, sure, occasionally, I want to switch things up or get carried away with I Want It-itis.

And, yeah, sure, a new couch would be rad.

Someday.

But I'm making a (more) concerted effort to be content.

So with a little effort (not always my strong suit), a bit of strategic rearranging and the addition of a few new finds (on sale!) it feels like we've spruced up our family room just by freshening up the mantel and wall decor (more on that in another post).

(Does that make any sense?)
The ginormous clock (because go big or go home is often playing on repeat in my head) is from Marshall's/Home Goods and the open frame and letter S are from Hobby Lobby. Everything else is the same. Ish. I just swapped stuff around a bit and the canvas is just leaning now instead of hanging on the wall. The smaller photos are from our trip to New York two years ago (sob, time flies!) but they still make me happy.

It's a little busy.

I know.

I'm okay with that.

Stay tuned...more family room changes coming soon.

1.23.2013

What I Wore Wednesday

Thanks to our flakey south Texas winter weather I have learned to transition my summer outfits to winter, usually with just a few simple pieces.

Tossing on a denim jacket and pairing my summer maxi dress with my cowboy boots not only gives me a bit of warmth (some days that's all you need here) but gives the dress an entirely different look.
maxi dress & denim jacket: stein mart

Add a few bold, fun accessories for color and punch and you're all set!
mint necklace: groopdealz
earrings & river bracelet: twisted silver
cowboy boots: lucchese
There you have it, just a few quick changes and a laid-back summer staple can easily stretch into winter.

At least a Texas winter. :)

What are some of your favorite transitional pieces?

I'm linking up with Lindsey's blog again, be sure to pop over there for tons more fashion inspiration.
pleated poppy

Happy Wednesday, y'all!

1.18.2013

Five for Friday

Like The Cure said, "Friday I'm in love..."

That's totally random and popped into my head once I titled this post.
I know, how highly 80s of me.

01.) Speaking of love though...
This girl. And homemade chocolate chip cookies. Does life get much better?

I may have finally found the perfect chocolate chip recipe based on the original Nestle Toll House (and of course you have to say it like Phoebe did on Friends after Monica baked eleventy thousand batches)

Remember?
Anyway. It's a version of Nestle's back of the bag, Lindsey's recipe with 2/3 cup oatmeal (but not the white chocolate, though that sounds dee-lish) and Mel's recipe with the vanilla instant pudding and milk chocolate chips and the result, in the words of Chandler Bing, they are perfection (of course he was talking about gum to Jill Goodacre while trapped in an ATM vestibule).

02.) Did you know I love to sneak away and take myself to the movies?  I do. Well, I guess I'm not really sneaking away from anything except the laundry or other house chores, but whatevs.
I did just that yesterday and went on a date with Bradley Cooper.

Although he'll always be Will Tippen to me.

(Any ALIAS fans?)

It was funny, sweet, sad, highly dysfunctional and a bit too much swearing with a side of dancing.
03.) You heard it here first, I'm committing to send more good mail this year.  Or start sending it again since I pretty much stopped these last few years. I used to be so much better at writing notes--on real paper--with ink!--and sending little treats occasionally and I miss doing that.

So I'm bringing it back.

Pen pals anyone?
04.) This is Spooky, one of our two cats (Spunky is her sister), and she has had quite the ordeal of late. What started as a skin irritation under her collar back in October has dragged on and on and has left her looking more like the cat from Pet Cemetery (the one Stephen King book I could not leave in my room once I finished reading it way back when). She's scratched her neck to pieces (along the sides and under her chin, not seen in photo and you're welcome, believe me), has been more reclusive than normal and leaves a trail of scabby fur bits wherever she goes. We've been giving her steroids (a la Lance) and changed her diet which helped at first, but then she'd flare up again.

Today, she had her third vet visit and along with a new pill she is now sporting nail guards on her back claws to help stop her from scratching herself to bits. Fingers, er...paws crossed this helps.
05.) Okay, me seeing two movies in one week is so totally not the norm, but since Scott was off today (his having every other Friday off is so rad) we went to the early bird show of Zero Dark Thirty. I feel weird saying it was good since it involves such real life difficult truths like torture, but it was interesting watching everything unfold and see how persistent Jessica Chastain's character (the CIA officer, Maya) was and seeing that singular focus finally pay off. But parts were definitely uncomfortable and disturbing yet you (at least we) were left feeling proud of all the unnamed people working behind the scenes and risking their lives to stop OBL.

And? I really want a pair of REAL Ray-Ban aviators like Jessica Chastain sports in Afghanistan.
We also hit Ghengis Grill for a late lunch and when we got home I wondered why our house smelled so, um...mulled ciderly. As it turns out, I forgot to blow the candle out before we left three+ hours earlier.

Oops. 

Close call.

Sooooo thankful everything was okay!!

Happy weekending, y'all!

1.16.2013

The Urge to Purge {Round 1}

I am so disgusted with myself.

Well, I suppose that sounds overly harsh.

Does it sound better if I say I'm disappointed with my choices?

(You know, along the whole love the sinner, hate the sin vein.)

Either way, I am ______ with me.

Case in point: last week I bought a large box of 30 gallon trash bags so I could start a 40 bag in 40 days (or something) project, you know, go on a huge purge bash around the house and de-clutter and organize and whathaveyou.

By Saturday Scott asked me if the (unopened) box was going to sit on the table forever.

So I moved it to the laundry room counter instead.

I finally tore open the box this morning in an effort to simplify my side of the closet.
I spent 30ish minutes weeding through my clothes of things I no longer wear, haven't worn in a year, never should have bought in the first place, et cetera and managed to fill up one bag almost to it's limit.

And if you look on my side of the closet you can hardly tell.

I still have too many clothes.

I plan on making another swoop (and having Scott do his side) before heading out to Goodwill, and this time I must show no mercy to myself, really go into hard core purge mode. To be fair, I do keep summer and winter clothes in the same closet, so that might be why it looks like I barely got rid of anything, but I know I should make another purge just the same.

I know I almost always wear variations of the same types of things (t-shirts, casual tops, tanks, cardigans, jeans, dresses for church) so why do I hang on to other stuff? How much can I possibly ever wear? Why do I buy more? How much do I really need? That's what makes me sick when I realize the casual spending that's taken place over time on things I did not need, but I wanted at that moment.

It's shameful.

I think about how small the two (two!) closets were in my grandparent's house and how there was still room to spare. They each had a small assortment of every day clothes, some older things for gardening/house work and church clothes. That's it. And they were content.

I truly only need a handful of basics, tanks, t-shirts, a few long-sleeved tops or things I can layer, light sweaters, jeans, and a few dresses to rotate through for church.

But can I let most everything else go?

Can I?

Will I?

Could I be content?

The thing is, I'll probably weed out, simplify my closet, commit to no more less frequent clothes shopping do well with that for a few months and then I'll get the itch for something(s) new and things could spiral back out of control.

Which is eerily similar to the exercise in the morning bake cookies in the afternoon and eat pizza for supper cycle.

Highly self-defeating.

Not that I'd know anything about that.

::cough::

1.14.2013

Monday Miscellany

In keeping with the theme from my last post and the general speediness (and greediness) of time, our weekend was a bit of a blur. Not that we were unusually busy or had anything to do that was out of the ordinary, yet we blinked and here we are at Monday again.

Sometimes I think I should only blog the *big* things that happen in our family, like milestones or trips or accomplishments  and skip the mundane, but then I would hardly ever blog because 90% of life happens in the mundane, ordinary moments. You know? 

So I blog about them. So be it.
Annelise and I popped into the library after school Friday to pick up a few holds that were ready for me (I know I've told y'all before about my infatuation with the online hold system, it's fabulous, and you should see if your local library has one, it totally elevates the library's street cred) and Annelise picked up a few more Geronimo Stilton books. They're a formulaic adventure mystery series involving a mouse, Geronimo, and sometimes his sister Thea. The thing is, like always, they're fairly quick reads and certainly not very thought provoking or brain growing, but Annelise loves them. She would much rather read 10 short easy books over committing to a longer, more developed book that she might read over several days (or longer). She's all quantity over quality right now.

How do I encourage her (without coming on too strong, which, hello, can happen) to choose a more challenging book--and stick with it? We keep trying different genres, authors, topics, to no avail, especially if it's a book of more than 100-200 pages. Imagine my frustration. 

However, we did start reading The Hobbit out loud as a family, and although it might take us just this side of forever since we just finished Chapter 1, we certainly are enjoying the story.
Here I am Saturday morning on my way home from Mugs and Muffins (a monthly devotional/breakfast for the ladies at our church). The topic this month was modesty and body image, which is always relevant since we live in a world that constantly skews our perspective. 

I think in this photo I am sporting day 4 hair, but thanks to the miracle known as Suave Dry Shampoo I was able to hide that fact. I lightly spray the underside of my hair, mainly the roots and along the sides of my face, let it sit a few minutes, then brush though and add a few curls with my curling iron and BAM, I'm out the door. Y'all should try it, such a game changer.
You know how you tell yourself you wish your family played more board games together more often like other families but then you don't do anything about it? Yeah. That's us.

(We do play games together it's just not a regular thing and there's usually a big dry spell in between, so it's not like never, but there's certainly room for improvement, isn't there always?)

Saturday night we actually followed though with our (my) intentions and gathered around the dining room table to play a few rounds of Dutch Blitz (a fun, fast card game). I almost lost my people when I said why don't we play something else and then proceeded to wrench Quiddler and Settlers of Catan from the bottom of the game shelf, still in their plastic wrap. No one wanted to learn a new game, no one was interested in either of these, but I soldered through just the same and broke through the plastic on Catan. There was barely a whisper of interest as I set out the board and divvied up game pieces, we almost threw in the towel as we tried to make sense of the directions (easy to follow they are not) but we rallied and gave Catan a fighting chance.

By Round 2 Annelise confessed that this game might not be so bad after all and after a few more rounds we were completely hooked and hated to call it quits for the night. Y'all. Catan is so much fun! We had no idea! We are losers!

We'll pick up where we left off tonight after supper (Annelise has already set this in stone).

How was your weekend?
Any must-read-can't-put-down book recommendations for the 9 year old?
Have you played Settlers of Catan?
What are your favorite family games?
Is it gross to not wash your hair for 4 (or 5) days?

1.11.2013

Five for Friday

Is it just me or has this week flown by for you too?

Seriously, January, calm down.

I'm still writing 2012 on checks (yes, I still write the occasional check, often at the grocery store just to annoy the people people behind me in line).
01.) First things first, I'm rather proud of myself for getting three (shortish) weekday runs in (which was my goal). I mean, I know it's not that big of a deal, but since I'm known for not following through with things, I'm celebrating the small victories. I also did two CLX strength workouts, so that's good too. I'm planning on a slightly longer run (5-6 miles) tomorrow morning if it doesn't rain.

I didn't realize I'd gotten so far off track over the holiday break, but I went from working out 5-6 days a week and eating fairly clean to 1-2 workouts a week (um, maybe) and eating all kinds of junk. I feel like I'm starting over. Almost.

02.) I've been thinking a lot about goals/changes/resolutions and what have you for this bright and shiny new year (I know I already told y'all this) and as of yet I have not written anything down (surprise!) but I am still stewing and brewing and mulling and culling.

I do know I am craving some order in several areas of my life. I feel a purging coming on. I also know I'm craving simplicity and contentment, and call me crazy, but I think all three go hand in hand. I'm beyond sick of stuff, stuff, stuff, more, more more. Blech! Enough!

So, um...yeah, I've got some work to do.
03.) Tuesday night Scott and Annelise got flu shots at Walgreens. Wednesday morning Annelise woke up with a low fever, so no school for her. I'd forgotten her tendency to run low fevers after vaccinations since it'd been a while and last year she had the flu spray instead of the shot.

So she got to be my sidekick on some errands, like the bank and HEB, in the rain.

Whee.
04.) Along with my as of yet unspecified goals, I am striving to be more intentional and productive with, well...everything, my time, resources, talents, choices, etcetera, etcetera...etceteRAH (said in my best Yul Brynner voice, side note: Annelise and I watched The King and I over the holidays and she couldn't believe I was crying when SPOILER ALERT... the King died. I can't help it, that movie gets me).

So I've been cooking supper more this week, which I know is what normal people do every day but we'd slipped back into the habit of eating out or grabbing take-out all the time. Not that I'm planning on cooking every single day--no way--but at least a few times a week and we'll have leftovers and still eat out some.

For some reason, I guess as part of being productive, I decided to bake my own bread yesterday. Actually, I baked some Wednesday but the yeast was dead so I was left with two pitiful pans of dough that never did anything, so I bought fresh yeast yesterday (two trips to HEB in two days, joy of joys) and tried again. It wasn't hard at all, thanks to my Kitchen Aid mixer and the miracle bread recipe (I made whole wheat) and made the house smell all delicious and homey. It also gave me a weird feeling of even if I do nothing else today, hey, I baked my own bread, so jump back Jack.

Annelise requested cinnamon sugar toast for a snack yesterday and declared she was in bread heaven. Love that. Although she did later admit she liked the store bought bread a little better because it was thinner and all the butter-sugar-cinnamon-y goodness can seep all the way through. Oh well.
05.) I've written about memorizing scripture before and have made several noble attempts these last few years to store more of God's word in my brain. I've worked on memorizing two verses a month, which has been not only quite doable but highly beneficial, but honestly I've always fizzled out mid-way through the year. 

I decided to take on a new memory challenge for 2013, and yes, it's a doozy, but I think it's totes doable because it's broken down into bits and pieces across the whole year. I wimped out on memorizing Colossians a couple of years ago and skipped impressing the Sermon on the Mount firmly into my brain last year, but I am going to try to memorize three chapters of Romans this year*.

Sometimes you just have to jump in.

I will.

Wish me luck. 

(I can quote the first two verses, yay!)

(And feel free to join me, even if it's another scripture memory project, we can still cheer one another on.)

*Instead of printing out the cards or cutting and gluing the pages into a moleskin journal I decided to save on printer ink and just write the verses on ringed note cards. Writing also helps me learn the verse.

1.09.2013

What I Wore Wednesday

Thanks to the colder weather we've been having lately in this part of Texas (and which I am loving) I've been able to wear boots and scarves more. Several times over the last week my go-to item for a quick bit of pizazz has been a scarf. They add color or pattern, draw attention upwards and provide warmth.

They're a win-win!

I tend to choose lighter weight, gauzy scarves because I don't want to be too warm, especially indoors.

This is what I wore Sunday for church:
Black Ponte knit dress & charcoal tights & brown sweater vest: Old Navy
(I think this dress will be a great basic and can be dressed up or down based on accessories.)

Floral scarf: Target (I also bought the same scarf with a cream background)

Frye Jane boots: Zappos
Bangle bracelet set: Groupdealz
My sweet girlie popped in for a photo too, her outfit is all from Old Navy.

There you have it, short and sweet this week.

I'm linking up with Lindsey's blog, be sure to pop over there for tons more fashion inspiration!
pleated poppy
Happy Wednesday, y'all!
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