Monday, January 31, 2011

Riley's friends -- ON SALE!

While the country preps for this next arctic blast, spend your day inside dreaming of Spring flowers!  Lesley Evers has a ton of darling Spring / Summer dresses on sale now. 

Fall pieces as well, but I am ready to move on to bare legs and flips flops. 

And some of these beauties are only $58!!


I just ordered Margaret in Navy Frog (pictured above right).  
My little guy is going to adore the frog pattern! 

Enjoy!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Moms of multiples are freaks of nature

I have no problem talking about my bout with infertility. I did indeed require medical intervention to conceive my duo. But I can talk freely about it.

Now.

At the time, however, it was a very raw and exposed nerve. I did not want to talk about it. And I certainly could not understand why everyone felt comfortable asking me about it. So insensitive. Especially those who already had babies {sorry, but just having a baby was insensitive at the time}. The smug and condescending comments sent me over the edge -- all you need is just a good bottle of wine!

Once my duo arrived, however, I beamed. Until, that is I realized every set of eyes was on me. As if I were some circus freak. Twins, folks. Just two babies. Lots of people have them.

I literally began to feel eyes on the back of my head everywhere we went. And the questions!!!  Oh my there were so many, many inappropriate questions from total strangers.

My BFF finally gave me a stock answer for inappropriate questions of any variety:  "Why do you ask . . . ?"

Why do you ask how I conceived my children?

Why do you ask if I had to use infertility drugs?

Why do you ask if they are natural?

Why do you ask how many IVF cycles it took?

Nearly eight years later, it is now all quiet humorous. The nerve is no longer exposed. Or raw. And the twins are now less readily identifiable as twins {seems strange, but two 7-year olds running about does not cause anyone to look twice}.

This animation, however, brought it all flooding back. The questions. The inappropriate commentary. The feeling like a freak.

Luckily this time the tears streaming down my face were accompanied by laughter. Full belly laughter!

Disclaimer: I'm not certain if this is an inside joke. Maybe you have to have twins to appreciate it. I'm not sure, but it certainly struck accord with this freak of nature!

Disclaimer #2: If you do not yet have kids and are dealing with infertility, this most certainly is not funny. But I hope it is for you one day very soon.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Fill in the blank Friday.


A little something different today. I'm linking up to Fill in the Blank Friday. I enjoy these little exercises from time to time. I am always surprised  and enjoy looking back at my answers months or even years later. 

If you want to play along, just fill in the blanks and link up over at the little things we do . . . 


1.   If my house was on fire and I could only grab 3 things I would grab       my hard drive, a box from Korea by Dad gave to me before he died, and my jewelry box (filled with more cards from my kids than jewelry).  This, of course, assumes my kids, dogs and hubs are already safe.  Clearly they are my first priorities   .

2.  A smell I really like is    anything baking.  Truly, anything baking. Love it all   .

3.  Something you might not know about me is       I graduated no. 7 in my law school class. And yes, there were more than 7 students, hundreds in fact. A bit braggadocios as my kids would say, but really, I need all the props I can get on days like today.  I won't go into why, but allow me a few pats on the back every now and again   .

4.  Some of my favorite websites to putter about on are    Etsy! I can get lost in there and completely forget why I even got started. Google Reader also seems to capture an amazing amount of my time  .

5.  This weekend I will    join another family for dinner on the water followed by a hockey game.  Tomorrow we have a birthday party (to attend, not host) followed by Family Fun Night (jealous, aren't you?!?)  .

6. Nothing makes me happier than       when the entire family is together and laughing.  It doesn't matter what we are doing; it is just that amazing feeling when we are all happy and light-hearted    .

7.  A bad habit I have is      my desk, pantry, closet, garage (and anything I can hide)are all a complete and utter mess. I just cannot get motivated to clean or organize things that don't matter to me.  Wish I did.  I lust after others' gorgeous pantries. I'm just not willing to do what it takes it seems   .


Thursday, January 27, 2011

New online magazine!

I have followed Katie Armour, the Neo-Traditionalist, for as long as I have been blogging.  She loves pugs the way I love doxies. Pugs aside, she has wonderful taste. And, just yesterday, she launched a new online magazine -- Matchbook

Charmed life, indeed! It is a dazzling array of must-have pieces and well-written articles on interesting people. I do still love my true print mags, but this online eye-candy caught my attention.  

So, are you a Matchbook girl?
{images via Katie Armour - the Neo-Traditionalist)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spring it on!

Wow! I stumbled upon EmersonMade. today and have can think of nothing else but classic Spring pieces with a little punch of personality. From the tiny rivets on the mod dress to the trademark linen flower clutches, the entire line is perfectly edited and yet wonderfully detailed. 

I'm simply smitten with this collection of timeless goodies! 




Monday, January 24, 2011

The Coconut Cure?

A few months ago a good friend told me she was advised to include coconut oil in her diet. I had never cooked with coconut oil, but my interest was immediately piqued.

This may surprise you {due to my constant stream of "try this", "love that"}, but I do not try every new "it" product or fad diet. In fact, I am convinced I am the only living person who has not tried the Atkins diet {life is not worth living if I cannot have carbs . . .  and chocolate}.  

But as I age {gracefully, of course} and as I learn more about organic or natural living, I have come to realize that simple is always better. I have changed to all natural soaps for our showers and laundry {I feel another post coming on}. I try to shop from and cook items from the outside of the grocery store {besides, of course, my trip down the beloved pasta aisle}.

And, at least in theory, the thought of a healthy oil is quite familiar {whether extra virgin olive oil for cooking or flax seed oil as a supplement}. But directly ingesting and / or cooking with what, in my mind at least, is suntan oil, still seemed a little extreme even for me.

That is, however, until I began researching the extensive health benefits. I am not a doctor and certainly do not claim to know what is best for anyone's family other than my own. That said, after reading the impressive array of references on scientific research done on coconut oil, I'll admit, I've purchased a a jar for my family. I've already used it to help heal a burn {on my finger} and to calm a croupy cough {my dog's}. 

That is where my experience begins and ends . . . for now. But after reading the extensive list of health benefits (hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength), I have replaced the bottle of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) next to my cooktop and have started dipping in the suntan oil instead.

What about you? Have you ever used or heard about using coconut oil for it's medicinal value? Or do you think I'm utterly coconuts? 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Soups on Sunday.

Barefoot Contessa Parties! Ideas and Recipes for Easy Parties That Are Really Fun
Last week I sent you to Kludgy Mom who posted what looked like a delicious recipe from Martha Stewart for Pureed Butternut Squash Soup. I love the thought of a touch of ginger in that recipe and intend to try it while butternut squash are still plentiful and the weather still dreary. I just couldn't go another week, however, without then sharing my go-to butternut squash soup which includes apples. I absolutely adore the addition of the apples and the curry. And, in my opinion, it achieves the ultimate in soup success -- a creamy soup without the addition of cream.  

This recipe, for Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, is from Barefoot Contessa Parties! It is absolutely one of my favorite cookbooks. And while it does offer many wonderful, make-ahead meals great for entertaining, it is also filled with wonderful everyday recipes -- no party required.  

This does make a large pot of soup -- 3 1/2 quarts -- so you could also cut it in half if you are cooking for just your family.  Or {even better} freeze half for a labor-free soup and salad night.


Butternut Squash and Apple Soup (via foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 large)
2 tablespoons mild curry powder (I have played with this and added a little less at times)
5 pounds butternut squash (2 large)
1 1/2 pounds sweet apples, such as McIntosh (4 apples)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups water
2 cups good apple cider

Directions
Warm the butter, olive oil, onions, and curry powder in a large stockpot uncovered over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the onions are tender. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pot.

Peel the squash, cut in half, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into chunks. Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Cut into chunks.

Add the squash, apples, salt, pepper, and 2 cups of water to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash and apples are very soft. Process the soup through a food mill fitted with a large blade, or puree it coarsely in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

Pour the soup back into the pot. Add the apple cider and enough water to make the soup the consistency you like; it should be slightly sweet and quite thick. Check the salt and pepper and serve hot.

Friday, January 21, 2011

That's a wrap.


What? 

 These adorable pink wedges are are only $29.99? 

 At Target

I heart Target! And strappy pink wedges!!!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Introducing . . .

Fritz Chili-Pepper


The newest member of our traveling circus. 

He is a wittle bitty guy. 

Until he is barking at 4:00 AM.  

At which point he has the lungs of a great dane. 


The kids adore him. 

Except when he bites them with his razor sharp teeth. 

They take it personally. 

He is just playing. 


And, of course, he has to play with the kids because the other dogs still 
look at him in complete disbelief. 

Disbelief that I would ruin their lives so completely by allowing the house to be infiltrated by a two pound terror who jumps on them, bites their ears and sleeps in their beds. 

I occasionally share in their disbelief. 

Last night he peed in Little Miss Thang's bed at precisely 8:30 -- bedtime. 
But don't worry, I don't mind changing the sheets and doing a another load of laundry. 

Of course, while I was changing the sheets he poo'd in my Little Guy's room.

As if my evening is not hectic enough with the hubs traveling.

But, I remind myself: 

I willingly took this on myself. 

There is no one to blame but me. 

But really, this would be so much easier if there were someone, anyone to blame. 
And when he curls up in my lap and sleeps {as he is right now} I wonder:

How could I ever be mad at this wittle bitty morsel of preciousness?

AND

Why in the world was I up at 5:00AM so he could be asleep again at 5:30AM?!?!??!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another item to file under "Brilliant!"

Brilliant indeed. And quite honestly, I'm surprised someone didn't think of this sooner. Nonetheless, I commend the busty woman who'd finally had enough of the horrid gape and did something about it!! 



The Shirt by Rochelle Behrens, $88-94.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy MLK Day.

Today I am thankful for people daring enough to dream. Strong enough to stand up for what they believe in. And courageous enough to face adversity head-on.

Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: - 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'
Martin Luther King Jr., Speech at Civil Rights March on Washington, August 28, 1963

via
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

via

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Soups on Sunday.

There is no soup on this particular Sunday. We had friends visiting this weekend and I walked away from my computer for the entire weekend {applause please}. Ok, I realize it is still technically the weekend, but the friends departed a few hours ago and the hubs is already on a plane and headed out of town as well. 

So if you came looking for Soup on Sunday {I do hate to disappoint my few loyal soup followers}, please take this opportunity to visit Gigi over at Kludgy Mom.  She posted a delicious recipe for Pureed Butternut Squash Soup. The pictures look divine as I'm sure the soup tasted!!  I have a similar purreed butternut soup recipe with the addition of apples. I'll share that with you soon. 

I'd love to taste them back-to-back. 

Martha Stewart vs. Barefoot Contessa.  

Who do you surmise would win? 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Two of my favorite retailers . . . together at last!

When blubbering on and on about my love for tunics, I steered you to Calypso St. Barth, one of my favorite shops. Their beachy vibe and easy silhouettes work perfectly in my mommy-who-doesn't-want-to-look-too-mommy world. I have one of their dresses in 3 colors and a darling shirt in 2 colors. They look effortless and fabulous at the same time. I've been a loyal fan for years after stumbling into the boutique in Palm Beach.

So imagine how elated I was to hear Calypso is collaborating with Target to bring their beachy label to Target stores and online beginning May 1st.

For a glimpse of the brand's crisp, coastal aesthetic, take a peek at the label's Cruise 2010 collection, online now and pictured below.

Or, get ahead of the curve and check out their sale pieces now -- and take an additional 50% of the sale price by entering JANSALE11 at checkout. Earlier this week I ordered a darling summer dress for $25. 

Target prices without the wait!  Win-win!




Thursday, January 13, 2011

Friends.

Sometimes in life I realize, through all my words and thoughts and prayers, 
I simply do not have the answer and cannot fix every problem I encounter or hope to fix. 
Or maybe that is the answer. Maybe there is no solution or the 
problem cannot indeed "be fixed." 

I do not like when I find myself in this position. 

Not one bit. 

I also hate vague blog posts like this which discuss some 
clearly weighty issues but do not dish the dirt. 

Rude.

I know.  I know. 

But that is all that is on my mind and heart right now. And it is simply not my style to 
dish the dirt {at least not this publicly}. 

So I leave you instead with your own thoughts on friends and life and 
loss.  Or if you, like me, have no coherent thoughts of your own, 
I leave you with those quoted below.   


You should never second-guess the motives
of your true friends. You don't even have to
analyze their actions because you know
at bottom, that whatever they do or say or think
flows in some fundamental way
from the fact that they love you.
~Star Jones

To lose a friend is the greatest of all losses.
~Syrus

True friendship is like sound health,
the value of it is seldom known until it be lost.
~Charles Caleb Colton

True friendship brings sunshine to the
shade, and shade to the sunshine
~Thomas Burke

To give counsel as well as to take
it is a feature of true friendship.
~Cicero

I don't need a friend who changes when
I change and who nods when I nod;
my shadow does that much better.
~Plutarch

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cute as a cupcake!

I adore this gift wrap idea from Sweet Paul.  And it is perfect for any time of year.

I've said it before and I'll say it again:  I'm not crafty, but love simple ideas such as this that do not require a trip to the craft store and a detailed tutorial.  I can do this.  With things I already have around the house -- cupcake liners and twine!

Read the full details / see the tutorial at Sweet Paul

Monday, January 10, 2011

Just call me "foster mom".

Anyone who knows me or has been reading for long knows I have a thing for dachshunds. My Shadow is my favorite little doxie. He is beyond spoiled and cannot get enough attention. He is loyal to a fault and absolutely my biggest fan. He even has his own little wardrobe complete with a festive Christmas smoking jacket, a sporty fleece and {what he is wearing today} a green faire island sweater. {slightly embarrassing, but quite true). And yes, I do indeed even have Doxie notecards

I think I've sufficiently painted my self-portrait for you:  crazy doxie lady. 

But, really, can you blame me?!?  This is what was presented to me {by the hubs, though not the hubs at the time} on my 30th birthday.  



Love at first sight.

Suffice to say, I am a doxie lover through and through.

So, when a friend posted this pic on Facebook stating this little morsel of love was in the hands of animal control and looking for a home, well, you can imagine what I did.


I called and calmly stated screamed, "I want him!" Did I talk to the family about this decision? No. Did I even bother to call the hubs first {he is currently stuck in the blizzard in North Carolina}? No. 

Because, you see, this is a matter of the heart. He is a rescue dog. And a doxie. And besides, I've only agreed to be a "foster mom." I'm just giving him a warm home . . .  for now.  

So, I'm off to shop for a baby doxie wardrobe {it really is cold and I don't want him or her -wow, i didn't even ask - feeling like the neglected step-child}. If you don't hear from me over the next few days it is because the new baby is not sleeping at night {they warned me he is quite a screamer}! And if you see a wittle bitty head popping out of my tote, come introduce yourself. I do love it when they are small enough to carry about town! 

So, who wants to start the wagering? I'm pretty sure the odds are 50000:1 on me keeping him.  Really, hubs, are you going to say no to that face?!?!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

11 Step Program {for those thinking of having kids}

I'll admit upfront: this is not so much a post as it is a way to share a very funny note I happened upon on Facebook (via nolaParent). It was penned (presumably) by someone named Amy Lawrence.  At least she posted it, so I give all credit to her unless someone informs me otherwise. 

It's a good Saturday giggle!

You're welcome. 


11 Step Program for those thinking of having kids:

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the paper.
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.
Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out...
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.
Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8

1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

This is all very tongue in cheek; anyone who is parent will say 'it's all worth it!' Share it with your friends, both those who do and don't have kids. I guarantee they'll get a chuckle out of it. Remember, a sense of humor is one of the most important things you'll need when you become a parent!

Friday, January 7, 2011

The wonderbar (not bra, bar).

I'll admit it (and I cannot be alone here): I have spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars trying countless beauty products claiming to solve every problem under the sun. One firms the skin. Another brightens and tightens. The list goes on. And on. It all just looks and sounds so promising and who wouldn't like brighter, tighter, firmer skin?!?

Well, I'm not sure if I just discovered the fountain of youth or if this is yet another trip down the proverbial rabbit hole, but the Wonderbar promises to solve all problems with one small bar of soap. Okay, sorry, it is not actually "soap", but it looks like a bar of soap. Here is a list of the conditions it promises to solve / address:

Brings baby skin back / Brings balance to skin – oily skin becomes less oily and dry skin less dry / Firms, lifts & puts a glow on your face in as little as three minutes / Minimizes the redness associated with Rosacea / Continues working throughout the day / Tightens and minimizes facial pores / Removes free radicals & toxins from your face, and replenishes it with the right nutrients / Fights Eczema, Acne & Psoriasis / Gives your face a natural, healthy radiance / Lightens pigmentation and freckles / Cleanses, Tones, Exfoliates and Moisturizes… / all-in-one and cost effectively Moisturizes skin after every wash (due to Chlorey’nahre) / Works equally well as a shampoo as it helps improve the scalp and hair to become soft and shiny / Works well as an aftershave treatment to reduce razor burn and the incidence of ingrown hairs.

All they left off the list was curing cancer. 

Seriously?

So someone, anyone, please tell me you've tried the wonderbar and have baby soft skin. Truly, with that list of claims . . .  well, we all know I'm going to have to at least try it! 

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