Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hello Mr. Turkey, How Are You?


My three and a half year old came home singing "Hello Mr. Turkey, how are you?" last year, and the song is back and better than ever this year.  I will spare you all the lyrics, but trust me once you start singing it, it will stay with you and repeat in a loop in your head for what seems like forever.  And while I find it kind of disturbing to talk to the turkey I am about to eat, I am still singing it and humming it all day.  I actually caught myself humming it as I picked out my turkey yesterday!

But the song got me thinking that maybe I should try something new this year with my turkey.  So here is how I think its gonna go down:  http://www.howtocookathanksgivingturkey.com/.  On the one hand this guy takes his turkey so seriously that he got the url "http://www.howtocookathanksgivingturkey.com/"  on the other hand I feel like this is a huge gamble.

The recipe kind of scares me (a) because its always scary to make a new recipe when you are having guests, (b) how bad would it be if the turkey was inedible (on Thanksgiving!), and (c) its a slow and low cook method (which has worked for me in the past for meat but I have yet to try on poultry).  (Also, I will have to swap out the butter for margarine which might be a gamble).  Nevertheless, I am getting good vibes about this one and I think the turkey gods are with me here.

Wish me luck....pictures to follow tomorrow.

P.S. I always think of this scene every time I make turkey!

THE VERDICT:  
So lets just say that the low and slow method of cooking turkey might have worked for me, had I put my turkey in the oven on Wednesday morning not Thursday.  I lowered the temperature per the recipe at 11:43 exactly, I know this because I took this picture so I would remember the time.

I look pretty damn serious in the reflection...this is Thanksgiving people! There are no second chances.
According to the plan, at 20 minutes per pound of turkey, this should have brought me to a perfect doneness by 3:43.  Just enough time to allow the turkey to cool and carve for around 5:00 and giving me about 30 minutes wiggle room. 




Well, when I checked in on my bird at around 3, nothing...no seriously, it was barely cooked.  It almost looked exactly as it did when I put it in.  I did use margarine instead of butter, which may have had an effect on the crispiness of the skin but not the cook time.  I could see that if I had the time this might be the way to go, but 12 adults and 5 children and no turkey makes for a pretty bad dinner.  I immediately cranked the oven to 350 and hoped for the best.  It took until about 5, but once I got a good internal temperature on my meat thermometer.



I took it out and carved away, not easy on a still hot bird, but I had little choice.  Tasted great but probably would have liked to leave it in a little longer (maybe I'm just used to drier turkey?).  All in all the turkey was great, but my nerves were shot.  I will definitely try this method again on a smaller bird when timing is not as important.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Fun at Breezy's

Check out the little fingers on the bottom right...they couldn't even stay away long enough for me to snap a picture!

So, its been a (really long) while since I've posted but today I did something that I had to talk about: I went on a class trip...and it was awesome!  If you're thinking that I'm a little old for class trips, you're right.  If you're thinking that my kid was in the class, you're wrong. 

My best friend Samantha sponsored a field trip to Breezy's for her daughters class and invited me to pop in and check out the action.  I got there a little early (I guess I walk faster than 5 year olds) and I couldn't leave.  This was my first class but its not the first time I went to Breezy's just to hang out.   The atmosphere is relaxed, the store is beautiful, and owner Breezy will help you find the perfect gift, in any price point. 

I would like to think that I was a kind of chaperone on this trip but in reality I was more of an active participant. Thank you Breezy for letting me stay and play!  This was seriously the most fun I have had in a while.  I can only imagine how great the adult classes are, I mean whats more fun than cupcakes, frosting and candy turkeys?  I am already brainstorming what party or event I can plan to have there next.  (You can check out the website for products and class schedules and "like" Breezy's on Facebook for giveaways and info on upcoming events.)

My kids were quite pleased with my work as you can see below.  And no they don't taste as good as they look...they taste much better! 

Yum!

 P.S.  Breezy also made sure that everything was nut and dairy free, so everyone could enjoy their creations!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Costco Culture: My Mom Bought Me Wrinkle Cream, She Loves Me

New StriVectin-SD™ Intensive Concentrate for Stretch Marks & Wrinkles
(2-pack 4 oz Each, $144.99, Costco.com)

The Costco Fairy (aka Mom) brought me a little gift last week...a tube of  the New StriVectin-SD Intensive Concentrate for Stretch Marks and Wrinkles.  Wrinkle cream may not seem like the best gift, but at just under $145 for a two pack this is something that I likely would not have tried if I was purchasing on my own.  Each tube is 4 oz. so Mom and I split the pack.

I have never used the original so I can't compare whether the new intensive treatment is really better (or worth the extra expense).  What I can say is that this stuff is absolutely incredible!  While I definitely don't have many if any wrinkles at 29 (I wear Clinique Sunblock of at least SPF 25 every single day of the year!) this cream has completely changed the texture of my skin.  My pores seem smaller, my normal skin tone of pasty white somehow looks more luminous and any small marks or red spots have faded or disappeared completely.  Since my big haircut (post to follow) I feel like I need my skin to look great because my face is so much more exposed.

I find myself slathering this stuff all over, which I fear is going to be an expensive habit, but after 2 kids, one born just shy of 10 pounds, I figured this was worth a try...and it was!  Maybe its my imagination but everything somehow seems to look and feel better. 

The cream is basically odorless and absorbs into the skin pretty quickly so you can almost immediately put your makeup right on top.  The package says some results visible after 2 weeks and by 8 weeks you should see major results.  I have been using it a.m. and p.m. for about 1 week and saw results after 2 days!  At this pace by 8 weeks I'm going to look like I've been airbrushed ;)

Now all I have to do is start saving.  If it comes down to buying food and water or StriVectin-SD, I may choose smooth and flawless over satiated and hydrated!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Eyebrow Whisperer Coupon Code


Hi Friends! Due to the huge response to my previous post and in honor of her moving to a private, new, beautiful location, Heba (affectionately known by my readers as The Eyebrow Whisperer) has offered $5.00 off to my readers.  Just mention coupon code: alanabell at time of payment for your discount.   

To book an appointment call Heba at 516-444-6469.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Messy Girl's Guide: Spring Cleaning

This is how my playroom looked after I left her alone for 5 minutes!
 When it comes to spring cleaning or organization in general, things can seem overwhelming, even daunting (please Lord, I hope that's not just me).  Quite often when I used to think about cleaning out a particular closet or organizing a room the thought of the undertaking was enough to deter me all together.  By no means is my house a museum.  I live in the real world, and I have real kids who make a real mess.  They like to pull every toy off of every shelf and eat their snacks in every room. 

Let me also put it out there that I do not find cleaning or organizing relaxing.  At all.   I trust those people who say they do find it relaxing about as much as I trust the people who swear they never watch what they eat, never work out, and just happen to have rock hard abs and a shelf butt!  (Liars!)  I put the women who swear they feel even better pregnant than they do when they're not in this category as well.  (Super liars!!!)

As a reformed messy person (I started to "nest" when I was pregnant with Ruth and never really stopped, one plus of pregnancy), I understand how unappealing cleaning and organization can be to some.  And while I don't find it relaxing I do find it rewarding.  Here are my very basic building blocks for a solid foundation in organizing and cleaning your personal space:

1. Think small, very small.  I realized that a big part of what had been holding me back on certain projects previously was thinking that the task as a whole was too great to tackle in the amount of time I had.  I love a finished job, and the idea of spending the day organizing and cleaning and rearranging until every last thing is perfect is generally what I find appealing about the whole process, but most days I simply don't have the luxury of time (who does?).  I split up a job into small tasks and tackle one area of a space or one thing in the space.  (For example, clear out one piece of furniture or if that's too much, one drawer, but not every drawer).

2.  Give yourself a budget (for donating not buying).  I find that giving away clothing is a particularly hard thing for me to do.  First, because I really like the things I buy.  I have very specific taste which basically hasn't changed much over the years (I have certain items since about the 7th grade) so I have a lot of stuff.  Second, I have a lot of sentimentality towards the things I wear. I remember particular occasions or stories when I see or wear certain items.  The obvious giveaways (we have all succumbed to the passing trends, tube top anyone?) are always easy but its that next round of decisions that makes my head spin.  So I give myself a budget.  I look at my closet and I come up with a number of items that I must find to give away.  If its 10, I sometimes find myself agonizing over the last article but I always stick to the budgeted number, no excuses.

3.  Know where your items are going.  This is key for me.  I find that when I give items away to people or organizations that I feel will really use and benefit from them, I don't hesitate to part with things.  I recently gave a dress to a friend and saw her wearing it at a party.  She looked so stunning in it.   Seeing it being loved by someone else made me far happier than having it in my closet.  (The reverse is true also.  I have been the recipient of useful or needed things, most notably the bulk of Oliver's wardrobe.  That came from the always elegant Bonnie of BonniePark.  It makes us both so happy when I tell her how much use I am getting out of everything.  She also happens to have impeccable taste, so Oliver generally looks like he stepped out of a Ralph Lauren ad).

4.  Clean with purpose.  If the purpose of general neatness and order is enough to motivate you that's great.  I usually find that when I have a purpose in my decluttering I fare far better.  Passover is coming which is a great excuse to pull out every last piece of junk in the house.  Other times I want to buy a new piece of furniture or rearrange a room, so I force myself to organize everything before anything gets moved or purchased.

5.  Finish what you start.   Do not move on to another task until you complete the one you started.  I speak from experience here.  Opening up every drawer in every room usually leads to one thing: a bigger mess!  You will never be able to finish and things may get worse than they were to begin with.  If you don't allow yourself to move on it will motivate you to finish what you've started.

Next Messy Girl post will include some of my tips on storage and the products that help me help myself :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

An Ode To The Oreo



So this morning when I woke up I opened up my 90 calorie Fiber One brownie only to find an Oreo cookie stuck to the top of it.  Think I'm joking? Here's the proof...

There's my purple thumb again...looks like I need a polish change :)
I suppose this beats the time I found a spider in my unopened water bottle.  I have a photo of that too but I will spare you.  I think the universe was trying to tell me something.  Or maybe some sicko at the Nabisco factory thought that this would be a hilarious joke to play on someone trying to diet.  Either way, you know the brownie was toast and I helped myself to some Oreo's instead!

Though I hadn't intended to write a post entirely on the greatness of Oreo's, while on the topic I feel so inclined. In my house, (I am probably not going to win any parenting awards for admitting this openly) Oreo's are basically like a food group.  We are never without them, seriously.  My kids are pretty healthy eaters and I try to push fresh foods over packaged, blah blah blah, but Oreo's are simple perfection.  Not too rich, not too heavy, not too sweet.  Perfection.

Just a couple of weeks ago I was chopping vegetables for a salad in the kitchen with Ruth.  After each one was finished she asked for a taste, made a funny face, spit it out and we moved on to the next.  After a few attempts I said, "Don't worry Ruthie, we will keep trying until you find something you like."  To which she replied without hesitation, "I like Oreos."  Can't argue with that.

We generally have the Double Stuf on hand (I seriously can't believe this is my post, and yet I feel the urge to press on) but occasionally we buy the Golden Oreos.  Thinking we were being all sorts of cool we bought her the Heads or Tails (half chocolate, half vanilla).  I ended up having to make my own "all chocolate" ones for Ruth who let me know that a black and white Oreo is "ahsgusting!" (Daddy was the happy recipient of the "homemade" vanilla ones).

Got a case of the Mondays? Eat an Oreo.

PS I forgot to mention that we additionally really like the mini Oreo's in the Snack Pack container. (Just had to share).

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Weekender

Can you believe its April 1st already?  I sure can't.  I'm going to be writing a few posts on Spring Cleaning and General Organization in the coming weeks (and to my husband...no this is not an April fools joke).  As a reformed messy person striving for organization in the chaos of life, I have come up with some ways to help me stay on track.

After I got pregnant with Ruth the nesting set in and I don't think it ever dissipated.  Until next week check out these great food storage containers from IKEA.  I wish I could buy 100 and put everything I buy in them, but even at IKEA prices they add up fast!  For now I bought 6 small and 2 large (They didn't have the teeny 10 oz. ones at the store, or maybe I just missed them).

Just finished Season 3 of Mad Men...amazing season finale! So happy that Season 4 is out on DVD already...I thought I was going to have to wait really really impatiently! **UPDATE: Stepped away from writing this post to pick up the Mister from work and look what he got for me...


Check out the order date. He literally ordered it the second after we finished Season 3!  Someone is even more impatient than I am.  What an awesome surprise...so much better than flowers! (Also, that's my thumb with electric purple polish from Forever21.)  Have an awesome weekend everyone.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What I'm Checking Out...

 Sometimes, I find myself with those precious few moments in the morning when everyone is still sleeping and the house is quiet (the calm before the storm so to speak).  Usually I have my cup of coffee (or 3, depending on how long I have) and quickly click around some of my favorite blogs and websites.  Here's a roundup of what caught my eye recently:

-This dinner location looks amazing to me.  I would do this in a heartbeat! How about you? Scary or exciting?

- How much are you planning on spending on your Spring/Summer wardrobe?  I'm definitely going minimalist this season, maybe just some new accessories for me, and....this dress from Forever21.  $12.90!

- On a side note, do you Groupon?  I recently signed up and although I haven't made any purchases yet, there have been some mighty tempting offers.  I have a feeling that once I start buying offers it will be hard to stop.

- I am in desperate need of some family photos.  I literally have zero professional shots of us as a family. Pathetic, no?  I keep checking out different photographers and poking around looking at other peoples family portraits looking for ideas.  I like the idea of doing something a little more fun and organic, but I also think that maybe that's not timeless enough (and lets be honest, I see myself getting around to family portraits maybe every 4-5 years, if I'm lucky).  I thought this was fun, but who am I kidding, I am not that cool (plus I would need to hire like 4 more kids as extras to make it work).

What about you? Do you take family photos yearly? every few years? ever? How much are you spending? I have to say that while many people dis large outfits such as Picture People, I have gotten some amazing shots done there, like the one above.  I am considering them for a family photo since: (a) its cheap (no sitting fee so if the photos aren't amazing I wont feel bad; (b) its fairly local so minimal traveling; and (c) the prints are extremely affordable so I can choose a few different shots.

Then, I just have to pick a wardrobe for the family, and make sure Oliver doesn't have a black eye or scratches on his face, Ruth doesn't have boogers dripping down her face....somehow other people make this look like a piece of cake.  My kids will probably cry, my husbands eyes will probably be closed and I will probably get a zit the morning of...at least it will be authentically us!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Eyebrow Whisperer

Not me, Kim Kardashain's who uses the same stencil system.

Last week I got to talking to one of my vendors at work, and somehow (and I am totally not sure how or why) we got to talking about eyebrows.  Odd no?  For some people maybe, but anyone who knows me well, knows that I have a slight obsession with not only my own brows, but brows in general.  Seems a little vapid and unimportant, but to me eyebrows are like the little black dress of your face.  A flattering shape, much like flattering dress can change how you look. 

I have only had two bad eyebrow experiences but that was enough to literally scar me for life.  The first was my during my senior year in high school.  I blame only my youth and myself for that one.  (Ever the perfectionist I kept evening them out until they were waaay too thin.  Lesson learned.  Then about two months ago I was in a major rush and I decided to let the very persistent nail tech wax my eyebrows.  Even though she got the full ten minute "not too thin, not too thin" shpiel, I walked out practically in tears, which I held back because truthfully I didn't want to make her feel bad.

After hearing my tale of woe, my colleague immediately told me that I HAD to go see Heba at Pravana Hair Salon in Hewlett.  I called and begged and she was able to fit me in that same day.  I thought that this was going to be a five minute ordeal where I tell her I've been maimed and beg her to fix me.  No no no.  I immediately knew that this appointment was going to be anything but rushed.

Before she even laid a finger on me, Heba explained to me that shaping eyebrows is basically equivalent to plastic surgery...I knew I had met my mentor.  She explained that most women have either over plucked or improperly shaped their eyebrows at least once in their life.  It became apparent to me after watching her point and draw on my brows with a black liner that most people are actually giving their brows an entirely wrong shape -- following the rules that we've all read in the magazines.

She utilizes a system using an eyebrow pencil to show you how to shape your own brows (you can keep it up in between sessions so no more over-plucking people!).  Then using stencils she finds the exact brow shape based on your specific bone structure and measurements.  She literally gave me an entire education (probably more useful and practical than what I got in law school and quite a bit cheaper too).  Besides being an eyebrow guru, she is someone that you just want to hang out with.  I cant tell you how many people asked me if I changed my make-up or my hair...nope, just my brows.  For $25 she will change your face!  For my local readers you can call Heba at 516-766-1961 516-444-6469.

P.S. She also mixes custom Giella custom blend cosmetics on site which is super cool to watch.  I was actually planing on doing a Giella post way before I met Heba because their make-up is amazing.  Check me out soon for that post.



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I'm Winning...Really!



Yesterday when I got home, this was waiting for me.  Doesn't everyone want to get a beautiful package wrapped up like this?  It was sent by Casey of Casey's Elegant Musings.  Last week I won a giveaway on her blog and I have to say that I was kind of shocked to have won anything, let alone this adorable book, entitled Vintage Notions by Amy Barickman.

As soon as I got it I tore into it and started flipping through.  Ironically, this book is so fresh and fun, even though its based on essays and articles written in the 1920's and 30's.  I was particularly drawn to the recipes like Cream of Tomato Soup and Birthday Layer Cake (yum) as well as the sections entitled Department of Millinery, about appropriate hats for different seasons and occasions.  I love hats.  I almost got suspended in elementary school for wearing a black velvet cap with a huge flower a la super cool MTV VJ Duffy.  I refused to take it off even though it violated the school dress code.  Oooh, I was so rebellious.

This book certainly does take you back to a bygone time.  Curling up with it on the couch was like a mini vacation in a time machine.  Absolutely fabulous.  Oliver also had a good time with the wrapping paper...

First came this...
then this..

and eventually this...

Thanks again Casey!  We all enjoyed our gift ;)

You can get your copy on Amazon:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A "Berry" Happy Purim!



Hey all, long time no post.  Have a happy and safe Purim.  See you back here next week for a post entitled: The Eyebrow Whisperer.  Do not miss...your face will thank me!  

Monday, February 28, 2011

Pinkalicious Party



There were two big milestones in my house this weekend.  First, my little baby Ruth turned three, which is all sorts of shocking to me.  I cannot believe that three years ago I became a mother.  They aren't kidding when they say it goes by fast.  It does.  Which leads me to our second milestone, Oliver weaning.  I have so many mixed emotions about this one, but I will share more about that in a separate post, this one is all about Ruth.



Originally Ruth didn't want a party she just wanted to do something fun with Mommy, Daddy and Oliver, but after going to a friends birthday she changed her mind.  So I was given the task of planning a very last minute party.  I wanted to do a low-key [read: inexpensive] 3rd birthday party in the house for Ruth.  Since she has a class of 16 kids and at least a dozen little cousins it was way too many people.  Add in adults and that number was at about 60.  I decided on an at home party with just family totaling 35 was the way to go.

I went to Michael's to gather ideas for the party when I happened upon a huge display of Valentines crafts and decorations all on major clearance.  I sifted through everything and was able to come up with tons of all pink things, perfect for a Pinkalicious Party!  When I say "sifted" I mean I spent a solid 45 minutes picking that display apart.  Three customers asked me questions thinking that I worked there.  I was able to direct 2 out of the 3 customers to what they needed so maybe I should.

This was such an easy theme because all I needed was pink, pink and more pink!  To get even more in the pink mood I sent out this email request before the party:

We neglected to tell you what to wear,
The theme of our party we forgot to share,
A Pinkalicious Party, we hope you can come,
And wear something pink to make it more fun,
Hot pink, light pink, bubble gum too,
Whatever shade looks best on you!


Most of the kids and even the adults wore pink and everything turned out so cute.  I set up a table for crafting with glittery foam stickers, princess wands and door hangers.  It was perfect since I held the party at my in-laws and I didn't want to get too crafty (glue and markers on someone else's floors and walls was not a good vision!).




The party princess wore a pink tutu dress that I scored for a steal at Marshall's.  Its actually a size 24 months but it fit my little string bean perfectly.  The party favors were pink heart shaped chalk and a color your own pocketbook tied up in pink sparkle ribbon.  They looked like this






My mother in law is a music teacher so she provided the entertainment which was a total score and the kids loved it.  My mom helped with the cooking.  She makes the best quiche using French's French Fried Onions, I will share that recipe one day.  All in all it was a total success and a lot of fun.  Total cost for decorations and party bags was about $35, balloons were $12 plus food and cake and party dress our total was probably about $130, a fraction of what we would have spent at a party place and a lot more intimate and personal.  Can't wait to plan another party, the wheels are already turning!



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Spring Trend Watch 2011

Furla Candy Bag, $195.

There are a few oldies but goodies making comebacks in 2011 and I'm super excited about a couple of them.  Check out the neon colors above.  While I'm not telling you to pull out your coordinating lycra and srunchies a touch of brights in an accessory is always fun for spring.  So what else is on point for Spring?

First trend up: the belt purse

I guess you could say this is like the grown-up version of the fanny pack (I guess everything comes back sooner or later).  One reason I like this trend is purely the practicality aspect.  I mean (a) its a belt and a purse in one, (b) no hands required, and (c) you can't forget it at home or leave it at a restaurant (both of which I have done).  A good tip for this trend is to keep it looking purse-like, anything too pouchy will probably make you look pouchy.  I like the one below for the punch of color and also size and proportion. 

Belt purse at Jaeger London, Spring/Summer 2011, Fashionising.com

Trend numero dos is the tried and true: wide leg trouser.  We saw it done perfectly in 1977 by Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, and now its back with a modern twist. 



Following many seasons of skinny jeans and more recently the jeggings craze, the wide leg trouser is a relaxed and decidedly flattering sillouette on most figures when worn and styled correctly.  Here's a few tips from Good Housekeeping to help you avoid the pitfalls of this trend.  (Not exactly known as the pinacle of fashion, but GH always has some of the best and most practical information.)

Our last trend watch item is: lace.  Ever beautiful and elegant, this is one item that we probably all have in our closet in some incarnation.  The real difficulty in this trend is two-fold: wearing lace by day while not looking trashy or like your grandmothers doilly.  If you can do those two things you are pretty much a trend master.  Take a bow, I salute you. 

I think this dress is so beautiful, and gasp...modest!, but still so sexy.  Leave it to Valentino to get the job done right.

Valentino, Spring 2011
If you're looking for more sexy than sweet, I die for this dress, and this trench is kind of genius. 

Side note: Notice how the stylists are using a nude shoe, so elegant with a black look I think.  For me it really takes away the heaviness of the all black look.  Love love love. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lara Logan: Brutal Attack Fueled by Anti-Semitism

Lara Logan moments before her attack by a mob of 200


Dear Readers,

I was sickened by the recent news that CBS news correspondent Lara Logan had been badly beaten and sexually assaulted at the hands of a mob of 200 in Cairo.  As reported by all of the major news outfits, Logan had become separated from her crew and security in the frenzied chaos while reporting on the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Both the New York Post and Fox News reported that the mob was chanting "Jew, Jew!" and that Logan and her crew were accused of being "Israeli spies" the day before.  As an American, as a woman, as a Zionist and as a Jew my heart breaks for Logan (who is not Jewish) and her loved ones.       

Shockingly, while this story was reported by countless major news agencies, including the New York Times, NBC, and Logan's employing network CBS, only the New York Post and Fox News reported on the anti-semetic nature of the attack.  Although my posts are usually not political, I felt that to sit by in silence was to accept this crime as the attack the mainstream media has portrayed it as and not as the anti-semetic and hate-filled crime that it was.

We as Americans have to stop denying the vehemently extremist nature of the Middle-East and acknowledge these attacks as not only anti-American, but also anti-Israel and anti-semetic.  What is being perpetuated in the news media is not the full story and so I am using this post to fill in the blanks.

I say to my readers, stand up and listen.  I hear the mob shouting "Jew, Jew" and I know that they are calling my name.  I hope that more of us will stand up and call back to them with the truth.

-Alana

PS After I completed this post I discovered this article by Anthony Martin.  Thank you for honest journalism.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I'm not usually a Valentines Day Type of Gal, But It's Walt So...


SOMETIMES with One I Love

SOMETIMES with one I love, I fill myself with rage, for fear I effuse unreturn’d love;
But now I think there is no unreturn’d love—the pay is certain, one way or another;
(I loved a certain person ardently, and my love was not return’d;
Yet out of that, I have written these songs.)

-Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass          

  
Like I said, I'm not such a Valentines person, but I do think rather than celebrating with flowers and chocolates, it is a nice day to evaluate all of the relationships in your life, friends, family and romantic.  Are you feeling fulfilled? happy? valued?  Likewise, are you loving the people in your life with your most authentic self?  Don't just look at your romantic attachments.  Do you have amazing parents? A best friend that sees you through everything and anything?  Children who make you feel like Super Woman?  Tell them, honor them and love them, today is as good a day as any.  And then tomorrow go and buy up all the chocolate half-off :)    

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Weekender



Well, the week is coming to a close and for those of us New Yorkers, I think I speak for all of us when I say that I am not sad to see the giant black mountains of snow melting away.  Perhaps Punxsutawney Phil will be right this year and an early Spring is on the way.  In other news, Malverne Mel was kept in due to ice, but I never really respected his judgments anyway.  I always thought he was kind of a wanna be.  I mean seriously, ice? Did you see Phil complaining? Nuff said.

Here are a few things that have been passing the time while I've been thinking about Spring:

-In my house the dining room is essentially our multipurpose room.  We eat all meals there, play all of our games there, and I even sew and craft there.  Needless to say my dining room table has seen better days.  I thought the white heat marks that I accidentally made over the years were permanent until I saw this post on Little Green Notebook.  Haven't tried it yet but I will let you know if it works!

- I'm totally digging this tutorial  on how to accomplish an "undone" side pony.  This is making me rethink chopping off all my hair, but this is what I've been thinking about.  Or maybe this.  Not sure if I'm brave enough, but maybe I will surprise myself. My big fear is that I will end up looking like this.

- I usually look forward to the Anthropologie catalog to at least give me some inspiration and direction for the changing seasons but I was totally disappointed with the latest catalog. All sorts of long and frumpy silhouettes and gypsy inspired head scarves.  Not my thing.

Happy weekend all.  Hope you are enjoying the sunshine even if its accompanied by 20 degree weather.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fashion: The Best Medicine?

Shure Daisy Girls Dress-Up , $23.99 Amazon.com

My almost three year old has been home sick the last two days with strep throat.  Seeing her so sick just makes me want to cheer her up with something special.  Day one was just kind of sad and pathetic, with her refusing any food or drink laying on the cold wood floor for hours on end barely moving, but after two doses of "Pinkalicious Medicine" (hey, its all in how you sell it to them) she woke up this morning feeling more like herself.  By the afternoon she was back to smothering her little brother and I must admit I was daydreaming of how passively she was laying on the floor not 24 hours earlier.

She wasn't really up to doing much today but when I took out the Shure Daisy Girls Dress-Up her pale little face lit up.  She immediately got to task on naming her dolls, dressing them, redressing them and then dressing them again!  She is absolutely smitten with this toy.  I'm not one to buy tons of toys and this one has actually been waiting in my secret basement closet since Chanukah (still wrapped up in the draidel paper and all!)  My Mom bought this for her along with about a dozen other gifts too.  My general rule is one or two toys the day of a birthday or holiday and I put the rest away for a rainy day or sick day as the case may be.  I find that too many toys at once is too overwhelming and toys, even good ones, get cast aside in the chaos.   I'm happy I saved this one because it really got the attention it deserved today.  All the pieces are perfectly sized for little hands and the magnetic backing makes this ideal for younger kids who may have a hard time dressing a real doll.

My little fashionista was also the lucky recipient of Pinkalicious: Pink around the Rink (I Can Read Book 1) and Pinkalicious: Tickled Pink which as I noted came in extremely handy when trying to administer Amoxicillin. I have to say that I am not the biggest fan of the original Pinkalicious, but these two books are really adorable with sweet little messages about being true to your (pinkatastic) self.  Just enough sugar to help the medicine go down without giving you a stomach ache.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Costco Culture: Stila Cosmetics



In a cute post about Martha, the lovely Bonnie of Bonnie Park wrote "Oh Marth how I love thee..."  I'm a fan of Martha myself, but this week my affections are one hundred percent focused on Costco, so to borrow a line...

Oh, Costco, how I love thee.  Let me count the ways...

One...  Stila Major Lash Mascara ($22)
 Two...  Stila Kajal Eye Liner ($18)
Three...Stila Eye Shadow Pans in Starlight and Storm ($18, each)

Total cost for the regular shopper, a whopping $76.  Total cost for the Costco shopper $12.99! Outrageous!  I have no clue how they do it but honestly I don't care. The best part is that this makeup is amazing. 

I was wandering the aisles of the Boca Raton Costco last week while my father was doing a return.  Besides the fact that this was the most beautiful Costco I have ever seen, they had some really amazing products.  After a long week of shopping I didn't have room for much else in my suitcases but when I saw this I grabbed it (I grabbed but Dad paid so this really was a bargain for me!).  I haven't gotten over to my local Costco to check if they have this item or any other colors but you can bet I will buy them out. 

I have very sensitive skin and eyes so I was really taking a chance on this but hey, its Costco so you can always return it!  I usually go pretty light on my makeup and I usually leave the smokey eye to the professionals but I had a wedding to go too and I figured why not (that's me living on the edge!).  This stuff was so easy to apply that I may just be wearing a smokey eye to do carpool and grocery shopping this week.  It looked so beautiful and lasted all night without creasing or running like a lot of black liners do.  The mascara has the biggest brush I have ever seen and covered all of my lashes in one swipe (then I did about 10 more for fun). I did reapply the bottom liner once during the night just because I liked how it looked but I could have done without as well. 

Thanks again Costco, you rock!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bead & Ribbon Necklace




So I know that this week was supposed to be all about T-Shirt redo's and it still is, but my new sewing machine and I are still in that getting to know you phase and sewing flimsy t-shirt material is kinda like going all the way and lets just say things have been a little awkward for us.  The next t-shirt project is super cute but not perfect just yet, so I didn't want to blog it just yet.

While I had the machine out I wanted to make a really quick and cute bead and ribbon necklace.  This tutorial is really easy so don't be scared of the sewing part, really, I promise.  If you can (basically) sew a straight line you are golden. There are so many versions of this out there and I had anticipated doing this with an old t-shirt instead of ribbon, but my giveaway bag of old things was in Oliver's room and I generally sew during his nap.  If my kids didn't wake up from a creaking floorboard three houses away I would have grabbed something and ran out but I never chance these things.  Two hours to craft, cook and straighten up is too precious.

What You Will Need:
Ribbon (or any lighter weight material) about 44" long
Beads (about 10 depending on size and desired length)
Sewing Machine with matching thread to your fabric
Ribbon
Embelishments of your choice

1.  Fold the fabric or ribbon around one bead and leave a 1/4" on each side for your 1/2" seam allowance.  Next cut the fabric or ribbon to size.

2.  Fold the fabric inside out and sew along the edge to form a tube.


3. Turn your tube right side out.  Place your first bead at the center point in the tube and knot on both sides.  Continue using the same method for all of your beads.



4.  Fold the ends inside the tube leaving a finished edge.  Measure to make sure both sides are even.  Insert your ribbons into the tube and sew down.  I secures the ribbons twice to make sure they dont pull through.



5.  To finish you can use a fray sealer so the ribbons wont fray but I decided to glue two black rhinestones around the edge for a more finished look.

That's it! Pretty stinkin easy.  I didn't have anyone around to shoot a picture of it on but I promise it looks really pretty.  I will upload one later.  This was my snow day project with Ruth.  She put each bead into the tube and I tied them up.  It took me all of 15 minutes and if I didn't have the best 2 1/2 year old assistant helping me it would have taken me under 10.  It did feel a bit like life coming full circle sewing with my daughter Ruth who is named for my grandmother Ruth.  When she passed I was only 12 but I gave my father strict instructions that I needed to have her sewing machine, sewing box and vintage buttons (which are amazing!).  She taught me how to sew many many moons ago and I still use her sewing kit and tools to this day.   Now I'm making new sewing memories with my little Ruthie and it feels very special.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Weekender

Image from Sweet Paul


So its been a while and it feels really good to be back in the game.  I have so many exciting things planned for next week so here's hoping that I can get my act together and post about them.  I can't believe its supposed to snow again this weekend.  This has been a crazy winter so far and it just started!  I remember snow days being much more fun when I was the kid not the adult.  Don't get me wrong one snow day is great but the last blizzard kept us inside and home from school for five days...not so fun (although Ruth did get potty trained so it wasn't all bad).  Here's what I was thinking for this weekend:
  •  Do you remember these? I picked them up on my last trip to Ikea and I've been waiting for the perfect time to break them out.  Good thing my iron is ready from my last post!
  • I think the snow is the perfect time to bake something homemade.  I saw this on this recipe on Sweet Paul and it looks perfect.  
  • Do any of you watch Mad Men?  I Just finished Season 1 Disc 1 from  and Disc 2 is set to arrive this weekend.  I cannot believe that I am just getting into this show now!  Super awesome in every way other than the fact that it gives me the urge to chain smoke and drink cocktails throughout the day. Thank you to my awesome brother Jeremy for always being on top of all good things pop culture.  One day he promises to do some guest blogging and let us in on all things cool, one day...
In other news, here are a few things that I thought were cool:
  • I just used the Martha Stewart Living Paint Collection available at Home Depot for my husbands new offices and man did those colors come out awesome.  There are very few things that Martha can't do right (well there was that one big thing around 2005...I kid, still gotta love Martha).  
  • Have you ever hear of Alt. Summit?  Its a super great resource for bloggers that takes place ones a year in Salt Lake City, Utah.  This years guest speakers are none other than Mondo Guerra and Seth Aaron from Project Runway!  I am jealous of everyone going...I have major L.O.V.E. for Mondo.  Air kisses Mondo... 
  • I saw this video on Design Mom and I had to share.  This is one of the coolest pieces of technology that I have seen.  I am awed by the people who create this stuff.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sparkle T's



Over the next few posts I will be doing a few easy tutorials on how to remix some t-shirts for your kids (or possibly yourself).  The posts will start off at the easiest and fastest  and gradually get a little more advanced.  Today is the most basic of remixes the super simple sparkle t, and older child could easily help you with this with proper supervision.



First start with any plain t-shirt, mine was $2.49 on clearance at The Childrens Place.  Any t-shirt will do, but a cotton shirt tends to work best for this. My shirt actually got a pizza stain after one wear and would have otherwise been relegated to the pajama drawer if not for this redo, so its a great way to salvage an otherwise good shirt.

Wash and dry your shirt, but skip any fabric softener.  Almost all of the manufacturers directions are the same but make sure to read yours carefully.  My decals came from Michaels (where else?) and cost $0.99 each. 



Peel off your iron-on and place onto your shirt.  Heat iron to the cotton setting.  Flip garment inside out.  Hold iron firmly in placefor 15 seconds and then move in circular motion for an additional 10 seconds.  I generally find that I need more time than this, but take it nice and slow because if you overheat the decal wont stick.  I like to press with the tip of the iron until I see the glue on the rhinestones adhere though the back of the shirt.

See I told you is was simple.  Voila! You're all done! This shirt cost under $5 and took me 5 minutes to make.  Doesn't get easier than that. Already working on my next t-shirt, be back soon...