Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How to Add Stress to the Holidays

The subtitle to this post should be "Why We Decided the Week Before Christmas was a Good Time to Renovate Our Bathroom." The answer would be pure insanity. Well, not completely. The bathroom was finished before family started arriving and in the grand scheme of renovation, this one was fairly minor. Did I mention this was our guest bathroom? Or that it's the only bathroom aside from the master bath? It did add a small amount of mayhem to our pre-Christmas planning and I was definitely in the final stage of frantic cleaning while my parents were driving up from the airport. But I'm still happy we did it.

Our guest bathroom is decent sized with a full tub/shower and a large vanity. The layout is fine but the features were... lacking. Though we had repainted right before Baby was born, the removal of painters tape had revealed not only the limey green layer below but the bright pink under that. There was also paint peeling off the door frame, which we had ingeniously covered with masking tape to prevent any little hands from helping themselves to a delicious paint-peel snack. The vanity was a typical builder-basic cabinet with a faux-marble countertop. The sink was chipped and the mirror was your standard wall-to-wall unframed masterpiece. Lovely. I didn't get to take a before but the Hubs did manage to get a few shots during the process.

The pink was such a precious shade of pepto that we kept joking with the contractors that we might just keep it. Don't be jealous. In the second picture you can see the unpainted section of the wall that was covered by the fabulous mirror.

The contractor is a friend and did such an amazing job. He installed a new vanity that we picked from Home Depot but feels like Pottery Barn. He got us a steal of a deal on a new granite countertop. He put in a new toilet, sink, medicine cabinet, mirror AND repainted in the same color as the shower area in our master bath. Here is the after!!

I am in love with the new vanity! The bottom drawer pulls out for extra storage. All six drawers are also functional. The center cabinet is mostly filled with the pipes and undermount sink but I don't care because of the awesome bottom drawer. In the first picture you can sort of see the shower curtain, which is hanging off its new hotel-style curved rod. It was so wonderful to show our family this bathroom update. The difference was dramatic and everyone was pleasantly surprised. It was great to have it done for the holidays but I think next time I'll allow a little more leeway before guests are expected!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Winding Down

The last month has flown by and now it's hard to believe that Christmas is over. We had a wonderful holiday full of celebration. This was our first year combining families for Christmas and it went very smoothly. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and get along, and Baby gladly took on the role of "official center of the universe." I was a little concerned that we hadn't gotten her enough presents and bought a few extra things at the last minute (even though she won't remember this Christmas). I won't make that mistake again. The grandparents spoiled her rotten.

Looking back on the past year, we have been fortunate to have many blessings, not the least of which was our fabulous wedding. Our family has been healthy and happy, and in a time when financial security is in question for the entire nation, we have been steady enough that I have been able to remain at home full time. Baby continues to grow and thrive, and I am now married to a man that I had been hoping for my whole life. I have many goals for 2010 and I feel ready to hit the ground running. For these last few days of 2009, I'm trying to relax a little, take a deep breath, and really count my blessings.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

So far this season, I'm making very slow progress on our holiday decorating. I think the biggest challenge is having to keep our decorations child-proof for the first time. Last Christmas, Baby wasn't mobile yet so valuable heirlooms didn't have to be protected from curious little hands. This year those little hands are more than capable of reaching all those breakables and the fact that they are shiny and sparkly makes them all the more desirable. I've seen lots of beautiful Christmas decorating that has me inspired but it's taking a lot more thought to make things look nice and keep them safe at the same time. I'm also trying not to buy too many new decorations and instead use what we have in new and different ways. Here are a few inspiring pictures until I get my own act together enough to share...

Melissa at The Inspired Room has a natural and simple mantel design that I love.

Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick also went for some natural touches. You can read her whole post here.

Naptime is just about over so that's all I can manage for right now. And maybe I should get back to decorating my own house. Maybe.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Some Pleated Poppy Love

If you've never been to The Pleated Poppy, you really need to check it out. Lindsey is incredibly talented and has some really fun things in her shop. Her blog is full of her creative talents and is very inspiring. One of her creations is called the Petal Pusher and it's a simple but pretty fabric flower pin. She sells them in multiple colors and they could be used in a variety of places to add some extra embellishment. For example, I recently used one of her snow white petal pushers as a hair accent during my wedding reception. I wore a long veil during the ceremony and pictures but wanted something to dress up my hair after the veil was off. (Bear in mind the picture was taken after some serious dancing had taken place so my hair is a bit undone.)

I just slid a hairclip through the pin that was already fitted to the back of the flower and then clipped it into the side of my updo. I'm sure the flower started out higher but like I said... dancing and more dancing. This little guy was a fun addition for my hair and cost a lot less than most of the floral hair accessories I had looked at in bridal shops. And now I have this sweet accessory to add to another outfit whenever I want. Definitely check out The Pleated Poppy soon. I'm sure Lindsey will have all sorts of crafty goodness going on for the holidays!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Dinner

The first year that the Husband and I were dating, we had only been seeing each other for a couple months when Thanksgiving came around. Because I wasn't sure whether we would spend the holidays together, I completely avoided the potentially awkward conversation by making plans to spend Thanksgiving weekend with a girlfriend in San Francisco. The weekend before I was headed to SF, the Husband suprised me with dinner at his house so that we could still have Thanksgiving together. A couple friends joined us for the full traditional meal of turkey, stuffing and potatoes all made by my then-boyfriend. It was wonderful and probably answers any questions about how he became my husband. What a catch, right?!

The next year, it was obvious that we would be spending the holidays together (I was pregnant at this point) but we decided to do another pre-Thanksgiving dinner to celebrate with the same friends and added another couple to the mix. By this year, it's become an annual tradition. We have just a few friends over for a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings. It's a great way to celebrate with friends since we spend the actual holiday with family. This year turned out great. The husband still takes this meal on mostly by himself. I pitch in by cleaning and setting up for guests.

Here's our table ready to sit down and grub on some delicious food (my camera was accidentally on the wrong setting so sorry for the horrendous blurry picture). I used leftover mason jars with tealights from our reception to decorate the table. I also had twine leftover from several wedding projects and used it to tie around the napkins. It was a simple way to dress up the table with things we already had around the house. I love the bunch of roses as the centerpiece. Not something you typically find this time of year but these came straight from some late-blooming rose bushes in our garden. It was a great night and definitely made me feel very thankful.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Sicky Von Sickersons

We've got the flu in our house. No tests have been done but the doc says we have that flu. You know the one. Just me and Baby so far but energy is lacking. Must go now to coat the house in lysol and burn all the linens. Will post again soon.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Our "New" Bathroom

Last weekend the Husband busted out his inner handyman and got well... handy. Our master bath shower was in desperate need of some TLC. So desperate in fact that I didn't even take before pictures because it was too embarrassing. I think the shower doors were the originals from when the house was built in the 80s and they were so full of gunk and grossness that no amount of cleaning with toxic chemicals ever made it feel truly clean. The grout was stained, the caulking was mildewy... it was horrendous. But not anymore!

The Husband ripped out the old doors and scraped out all the old caulking and sealant and cleaned with some super-duper Tilex that could probably melt the hair off a dog. This unfortunately was not a time for "green" cleaning so I took Baby out of the house until it was all rinsed and aired out. Next my fabulous spouse repainted the ceiling and walls. We really liked the existing paint color so we peeled off a paint chip about the size of a nickel and the superheroes at Home Depot color-matched it exactly. It's a nice, soothing grayish blue that reflects enough light to make the separate shower/toilet room feel a little bigger. There's only a small window so going too dark would make it feel like a cave. He installed shiny, new shower doors and re-caulked the whole shower. Here is the result...

It sort of looks like the window is in the shower but it's really not. You can see how small it is though. I am so happy every time I use my "brand new" shower. It feels clean and sparkly despite some residual scratched tile and stains. To re-tile would involve ripping out the drywall and starting fresh and that is a project for a different time. For now, we have the feeling of a new shower for a very low cost.

Here you can see the color of the walls and my cute little shelf above the toilet. I'm sure you can survive without seeing the actual toilet- just imagine it below where the picture ends. The little glass jars are just Ball half-pint preserve jars from Walmart. They actually held votives and sat on the belly-up tables on the outdoor patio at our wedding reception. Miraculously I got them back and put them to good use to add a little country cuteness to our bathroom. The tea towels are from Anthropologie (aka heaven) and were a gift from my sister last Christmas. So there you have it... our "new" bathroom!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

To the Pumpkin Patch We Go

We've started an annual tradition of going to the local pumpkin patch as a family just a couple days before Halloween to select our "carving" pumpkins. There is a great local place that does an awesome job decorating (great for family photo ops) and have reasonable deals for the most part. They really go all out making it creative so I snapped a few photos.

I love the tractor! Last year it was being driven by a headless farmer. This year the seat was empty so we propped Baby up there (with Dad hunched behind her out of view) and got a great picture of her in all her excitement.

We carved some pretty good jack-o-lanterns for our doorstep. We've done one for each of us since Baby was born and I always try to bring out my inner Martha. Unfortunately I couldn't get any good pictures of mine without the flash so you can't get the full effect but it looked great in person.

Baby's sweet little punkin

Dad's scary one

With the candle lit at night, it looks like a witch flying with the moon behind her amidst a starry sky but I just couldn't get a photo where you could see the silhouette clearly. Luckily it looked good in person. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Hint of Fall Festivity

The past week has been a little draining. Baby has been having trouble sleeping at night and I'm not sure what's to blame but it's either a schedule issue or a teething situation. Either way we've been getting lots of wake-up calls at unreasonable hours. I did manage to get a few autumn decorations up around the house.

Our front door needed a little love. The wreath was a $3 find at Walmart with some gold-trimmed copper colored ribbon from the Dollar Store. The little basket and its arrangement were on clearance at Michael's and cost about $7 total. Not too shabby for only $11. Today I'm going to add some extra details for Halloween. With Baby still being so young, I just don't feel the need to have our house all spooked out for the entire month of October. But I am excited for a trip to the pumpkin patch. Here are last year's jack-o-lanterns...

I also spiffed up our mantel inside with some fall decorations. I'm hoping this can last through Thanksgiving but the mini pumpkins will probably need to be traded out. I don't know if it's the warmth or the humidity but I've only had them for a week and they are already starting to discolor. Bummer. The leaves were another Michael's score for 60% off. It started out as a garland that had all these hideous corn cobs hanging on it. I snipped them off and broke up the garland into swags to make it lay right on the mantel.

I have a couple other fun house updates to share later this week. Let's just say my husband really showed off his handyman skills last weekend!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Polka Dot Details

While our colors were navy, white and khaki, we ended up using polka dots as a fun accent throughout the wedding. I wanted it to be a cute detail but not overwhelming so I used them in small doses. The bridesmaids and I wore navy shoes with white polka dots and the groomsmen wore navy ties with pin-point white dots. The cake tiers were encircled by the same ribbon that we used to accent the shoes.

The guest bags, as shown in my last post, were tied with the same ribbon as we used on the shoes. I ordered a really cute polka dotted sash for Baby's dress but it didn't arrive in time unfortunately. The night before the wedding I used little blue adhesive pearls from Michael's to spell out "I do" on the bottom of my shoes. I think our photographer got some pix and the Husband thought it was hilarious when I showed him.

The little jars are baby food jars that I cleaned and saved for months while Baby was still eating purees. I soaked off the labels and then one of my very loyal bridesmaids helped me scrub the label adhesive remnants off 120 jars. What a good friend! We dropped a white tealight in each jar, tied on simple navy blue ribbon and the jars were scattered around each table at the reception to add a little more ambience. Because I would have had to buy the baby food anyway, the total for all the centerpiece jars was about $25 for the candles and ribbon. Much less than if I'd bought tiny tealight holders even at somewhere cheap like Ikea and the labor involved was very minimal. All the little accents helped tie together different parts of the wedding as a whole. I was really happy with how it added a little personality to our wedding!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Welcoming Our Guests

One of the main reasons we chose our venue in the first place was because we anticipated a decent number of guests coming from out of town. The club that hosted our ceremony, reception and rehearsal dinner boasts an on-site hotel with reasonable rates and we loved that guests would be within walking distance of all the main events. We put together goodie bags for all the out-of-towners which included snacks, drinks, sunscreen and information about the weekend. I bought simple brown paper bags at Target for about $0.50 a piece and we tied the handles with navy blue & white polka dotted ribbon, our signature accessory. I found little round tags and used those to label each bag for the front desk staff at the hotel.

My sister designed the insert that we added to each bag, which provided guests with a schedule of events, a map and of course a welcome message. The design mimicked the invitation to my bachelorette weekend and was perfect for the contemporary but cute look that I wanted. The hotel provided a map of the grounds and my sister doctored it with additional info and some cute details to make it feel custom-made. I had them printed and folded at Fed-ex which took all of 5 minutes and was totally worth not having to mess around with double-sided printing at home. The map and schedule of events helped save us from answering questions about where people should go and what time they needed to arrive. Plus once they were dropped off at the hotel, the bags were automatically given to guests in our block of rooms. Such an easy way to (sort of) personally greet each guest.

The final product... love it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bridesmaid Gifts

When I first started thinking about the gifts for my bridal party, I knew I wanted something unique and personal. I looked at many options but eventually decided on something handmade. I purchased the Market Bag pattern from Sandi Henderson of Portabellopixie and loved how it turned out. You can purchase the pattern from Sandi's online shop here.

The pattern is easy to follow even if you have only a moderate knowledge of sewing, and the end result looks much more complicated than it actually is to make. The best part is that I was able to choose fabric based on each girl's taste and give them a one-of-a-kind bag. Making five bags was no small feat but by the third one, I felt like a pro! (I can only imagine how many Sandi has made in order to create a pattern.) Here are the five completed bags for my five fabulous girls.

The girls seemed very excited about their personalized bags and it felt great to give them each a gift that I had invested so much into. I'm sure the new Husband will be happy to see the dining room not taken over by a sewing machine, piles of fabric, thread and pattern pieces, but even he was very impressed by the end result. He's even suggested making more bags as Christmas gifts, but after making five in the last five months, I might be on a bag hiatus!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wedded Bliss

It's official - I am now a wife!

Our wedding was beautiful and wonderful and everything I hoped it would be, with the exception that it went by way too fast (as everyone told me it would). We are joking that our wedding was the last day of summer because we had perfect weather and the next night was downright chilly to the point that I had to wear a real sweater. We spent a fabulously luxurious honeymoon week in Palm Springs with Baby staying nearby with my sister. I can't wait to post pictures of some of the fun details from our big day but for now I'm swamped with laundry and post-wedding chaos in our house.

As a side note, it finally feels like fall here and I'm so excited to get our home dressed for the season. Shockingly, I read on Simple Mom that there are only 11 weeks until Christmas, which is absolutely insane. For now I'm just ready to pull out all the cozy, comfy goodies that make fall wonderful.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Off Duty

Consider me MIA for the next week or so. The wedding is Saturday... as in this Saturday and I have a boatload to do still. Luckily my mom gets here on Wednesday and I have bridesmaids ready and willing to lend a hand. But as for blogging, it's definitely on the back burner until after the fact when I can post fun pictures! Wish me luck!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weddings and Birthdays and Showers, Oh My!

image from

Given the touch economic circumstances, like many families, we are trying to make an effort to curb our spending. This hasn't been a very aggressive effort so far but particularly with the holidays coming up, we want to be more careful about how our one income is utilized. Granted we are hosting a wedding in two weeks and that has not been a careful study in budgeting but we were fortunate to receive help from both sides of the family.

One of the areas that we struggle with is gift-giving. We are lucky to have a large group of generous friends who have showered us with gifts for Baby. Although we asked that guests not bring gifts to her 1st birthday, all but a few came armed with presents. Of course I'm very grateful and appreciate the kindness of our friends, but how then can we attend a birthday and not bring a gift? This summer we've attended 3 weddings, 2 baby showers and multiple birthdays. The fun we've had at all these functions comes with a high price tag but one that we're more than willing to pay. Our response has been to spend less than we would normally so that we're able to give gifts, but I admit that sometimes has me worried that we'll appear tight-fisted.

For our own wedding, we were both concerned about registering for gifts. We've lived together for two years and have the things we need. Would I love some new pots and pans? Definitely. Do I need them right now? Not at all. If we hadn't been living together for so long, I would have felt differently, but we've already replaced a lot of the mismatched things that come from combining two homes. We felt like registering was unnecessary for us because of our living situation. That led to "registering" for a charity. We have asked guests to make donations to the hospital where Baby was born in lieu of traditional presents. That way guests who wanted to give a wedding gift could put the money towards the hospital instead of something that we already have.

How do you handle gift-giving without spending a fortune?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Halloween Costume??

I am loving this costume idea from Martha Stewart for Baby!!

I'm thinking I might use different colored felt to turn it from an owl to maybe a robin. I love the owl, but I can't resist the idea of making it a little more girly. I'm thinking that a red cap and wings with a pink front would be adorable. Not that I have the time to make a costume right now but I figure there's a whole month between the wedding and Halloween so I might be able to squeeze it in.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Hint of Fall

photo from
This morning I managed to snag a shower before the Fiance left for work and when I stepped out, a breeze from the open window made me hug my towel tighter. It was the first indication that even in sunny southern California, fall is approaching. While we won't lose our warm weather quite yet, there was a crispness in the air this morning that served as a reminder that summer is on its way out. I secretly hope that it is still somewhat warm on my wedding day (only 20 days away!) but I wouldn't mind a cool evening during the celebration. Our reception is indoors but opens onto a large stone terrace and a little chill in the air could be refreshing after a few rounds on the dance floor.

I also couldn't resist picking up the Martha Stewart Halloween special issue. I look forward to it every year around this time for all the creative ideas and inspiration. Plus something about seeing all the Halloween decorations in the stores makes me anticipate fall and all the fun that it brings. One of my favorite days last year was when we took Baby to the pumpkin patch to pick out some nice pumpkins for carving. I'm loving all the fall decorating that's popping up on blogs and in magazines. It's funny to think that in some parts of the country, it's not still 75 degrees during the day. Fall will be here too before we know it!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Making a Life

As we get closer day by day to our wedding, I can't help but be a little introspective. Along with the chaos and craziness of making sure all the details come together, my overarching feeling is that in 22 days I get to marry the love of my life. I have found someone who I not only like to spend time with, but who also cares for me in a way that I never imagined. If I made a list of all the important qualities that I would want in my husband, the Fiance would have every one. In the simplest of terms, I feel very lucky.

I received an email recently about an interview with Maya Angelou on "Oprah." One of the things that she said was "I've learned that 'making a living' is different from 'making a life.'" Personally I would much rather make a life and I've realized that my soon-to-be husband and I work towards that every day. Of course making a living is necessary but making a life seems to be more about the big picture. We choose to make our family a priority. In addition to making sure that Baby gets an abundance of love, we also focus on fulfilling that same need in one another, knowing that the happiness of our family is dependent on the strength and quality of our relationship.

Getting married makes me think about what our life will be like 30 years from now too. I wonder how our family will have grown and how we will have changed. Maybe that's only natural but when I imagine this life, I feel an incredible excitement and also a deep peace at knowing who I will spend it with. And that says a lot to me about the commitment we are about to make and how right it is in my heart.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Polka Dot Preview

Happy Labor Day! We have enjoyed a very nice weekend with some beach time, some lazy relaxing around the house and hopefully today will mean crossing a few jobs off the to-do list.

With only 26 days until the wedding, the list is still pretty lengthy but day by day we are crossing things off. One of the most recent tasks in front of me was doctoring the shoes that both my bridesmaids and I will wear. Since the girls' dresses fall just below the knee, I wanted shoes that would go beyond basic and have a little personality. I spent many moons searching high and low for the perfect navy blue and white polka dot shoes but to no avail. The shoes that came up on the numerous searches looked like they were made for either a grandma or a stripper with nothing in between. The one beautiful pair that I found were Michael Kors and with a $400 price tag went way past affordability.

Finally one of my brilliantly creative bridesmaids found an article on Martha Stewart Weddings (shocking I know) that suggested using ribbon to add fun accents to standard bridal shoes. We decided to give it a shot and ordered basic peep-toe dyeables from David's Bridal. We opted to have them dyed navy blue to make things easier and this is what arrived a few weeks later.

Not a bad start and certainly these would have been just fine, especially considering they come from a different store and still match the bridesmaid's dresses perfectly. But I have been all about adding little personal touches here and there to our wedding to make it feel like ours. So when I saw the article from the fabulous Martha, I knew it could be just the thing to kick these shoes up a notch. So here's the result after a little creative doctoring by my wonderful bridesmaid...

I love them!! Even up close, you still can't tell that they weren't originally made like this. I'm also very excited that I chose to wear the same shoes as my girls because I would be very jealous if they got to wear these cuties and I didn't. I'm already looking forward to getting some pictures of all of us wearing our matching shoes. The shoes were pretty reasonable to start and to dye them was only an extra $3. The ribbon is $3.99 for 4 yards and covers many shoes. I can't wait to see everyone in their adorable matching shoes. Just a little preview of the upcoming nuptials! Let the countdown continue...

Update: This post has been linked up with the Thrifty Decor Chick's Before & After party. Even though it isn't a room re-do or a home decor item I couldn't resist!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Perfection is Not the Point... Obviously

We're doing our best to babyproof the house in order to keep up with Baby's ever-increasing mobility and interest in things other than her own toys. One of our biggest problem areas was the shelf in the living room which held all the tv components (dvd, cable, etc.) Baby viewed this area as a juicy steak just ready to be devoured. It was a constant process of pulling her away from the shelf and diverting her attention. We searched high and low for some type of armoire or enclosed shelving but everything was either the wrong size or way too pricey. Part of the problem is that we have a giant old-school monstrosity of a tv, and while a new one is on the wishlist, it's not in the budget right now. So finally this weekend we made the switch using an existing bookcase. The components don't quite fit and it's not a very eye-pleasing setup. It may not be perfect, but at least we can rest a little easier knowing that Baby is safe.

Here's the shelf before on one of its worst, most disorganized days.

And here is the new arrangement. You can see the components hang off the edge and they are on separate shelves because they need space to ventilate. But at least it's more organized and out of Baby's reach. You can also see the edge of our ginormous television. Sigh.

Perfection wasn't really possible at this point but the priority is safety so until we can afford a new setup, this will get the job done.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Perfection is not the Point


I love this cartoon because it completely captures how I feel some days, especially now that I'm running around after Baby who has decided that she can go wherever she feels and do whatever she wants. Forget the fact that she can't even walk on her own yet. She'll get where she needs to go whether I'm involved or not. There are times when I can barely keep up with her, let alone get a shower or keep the house clean.

There's a lot of pressure (mostly internal) to be the perfect mother and have the perfect home at all times. The reality is far different. When I was pregnant, I imagined all the time I would finally have to do projects around the house and what a great homemaker I would be. I'd be super fit because I'd be taking walks (or better yet runs) using our fabulous baby stroller every day. I would have home-cooked meals ready and waiting for the Fiance every night. Donna Reed would have nothing on this mom. But most days, the amount of free time I have is pretty limited. Naptime and after bedtime are the only parts of the day when I'm not preoccupied by her ransacking the pantry for the item most likely to be labeled a choking hazard. Once she is asleep, there's a long list of tasks to do and sometimes it's hard to know where to start. Perfection is no longer the goal; survival becomes the new target.

Simple Mom recently re-posted an article from a tongue-in-cheek series she did last year called "How to be Disorganized & Unproductive." Coming from a blogger who is somewhat of a home management icon, I really appreciated lesson #2: Aim for Perfection. As she says, "When you aim for perfection, you're defeated before you even start..." Thinking that you can achieve this goal is setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. I'm still working on many areas where I'd like to improve when it comes to our home, but there are a couple things that I aim to do every day that help me feel I've accomplished something despite the level of chaos.

1. I make our bed. Even if the laundry is overflowing and the bathroom needs cleaning, if the bed is made it makes me feel much better. It also helps me feel more relaxed when I get in bed at night because the room doesn't seem quite so much of a shambles.

2. I pick up the toys. Because we spend most of the day in the living room, it makes sense that Baby would have a supply of toys at her fingertips. These toys spend the majority of the day scattered in all corners of the room. But before I go to bed, I try to corral them into some sort of organization so that the next day we start fresh. I don't wake up in the morning to complete disarray.

I generally try to clean off the counters in the kitchen too but that is dependent on the status of the dishwasher at bedtime. These may seem like small, insignificant things but they can make a world of difference when I try to unwind and go to sleep. And truthfully I would rather not get a few things done and spend the time playing with Baby than cross off my entire list of chores while she is stuck in her jumpy watching a Baby Einstein dvd. When it comes down to it, in 20 years I'm not going to care if the house was always spotless but I will definitely care whether I took advantage of the invaluable time with my daughter.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bachelorette Bonanza

The weekend has finally arrived. Tomorrow three of my girlfriends and I will head to the Pink Palace for my bachelorette celebration and Saturday about ten other gals will join us. I am almost completely in the dark on this one so I'm pretty much ready for anything. My maid of honor/sister and two of my bridesmaids have put a lot of time and energy into planning a fun weekend for me and my friends and I could not be more grateful.

This weekend getaway comes at a prime time when the details of our wedding are starting to become overwhelming. We had one of "those weeks" when you just feel like nothing is coming out the way it was intended. I can't think of a better way to recharge my batteries than to blow off some steam in the desert with my girls! The Fiance is on full dad duty and seems genuinely excited for his daddy-daughter weekend.

The activities that I am aware of include dinner, dancing and time relaxing by the pool. Did I mention it will be 103 out there?! That's actually cooler than I was anticipating. I'm obviously not packed yet but I figure I won't need much besides a bikini and a fun outfit for Saturday night. In my mind I'm already sitting in the pool raft with a magazine and a drink. It's sure to be a fun and memorable weekend for this soon-to-be-mrs!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Bonafide Rant

I really try not to focus too much on life's little annoying moments because overall I'm very blessed. But this morning I obviously woke up on the wrong side of the bed and then had a very obnoxious experience at Starbucks. Because I've worked in many jobs where customer service was the primary focus, I know what it feels like on the employee side but that makes me more annoyed not less. I know that the people who work in stores, restaurants, COFFEE SHOPS, etc are trained to treat customers a certain way so here is my response to this morning.

Dear Starbucks employees,

I know that at 8:30am you are busy and responsible for helping a lot of customers at the same time. I try to respect that and wait patiently for my order because after all, I'm not usually pressed for time the way others might be. However, I paid for my drink like everyone else and expect to be treated as a customer and not as someone preventing you from getting things done. I order the same coffee beverage every time I go to Starbucks and have a good idea of what it is supposed to taste like. I also know that when this order is called out at the bar, it comes out as "caramel frappucino" so if you say "caramel frappucino with coffee" it gives me the impression that there is something different or unique about this particular drink. When I question this, there is no need to look at me like I'm an idiot and respond with irritation.

Please try to keep in mind that I paid for my drink and that people like me paying for drinks is why you have this particular job. My desire to have my drink taste the way it should is not an insult to your entire being and if I'm not being rude, I don't expect to be treated like I am. If this drink cost $0.45 I probably wouldn't be as picky but it doesn't. It costs $3.45 and that is not a small amount for coffee. Try to have a little understanding that I just want my money's worth. If you paid $3.45 for a chocolate milkshake and it tasted like vanilla, you would care.

Thank you for making me another caramel frappucino this morning so that it tasted the way it is supposed to taste. I appreciate you indulging me even though you made me feel like an a-hole when I was patient and polite. Have a nice day.


Friday, August 7, 2009

The Alphabet Game

Yes I have been completely MIA lately because I have a crazy to-do list that keeps getting longer. We are now under 60 days in the wedding countdown and that means that we have a lot of details to manage so that our big day is not a big disaster. I also want things done in advance and in a very organized fashion so that I can enjoy our wedding day. I saw some version of this on a wedding website but I've looked at so many that I honestly can't remember which one it was so I can't link back to the post unfortunately. Here's my version of the Alphabet Game, Wedding Style.

A- Appointments need to be made for manis/pedis and hair for myself and all my bridesmaids.

B- Bridesmaid gifts need to be completed. I can't reveal what these gifts are but they are handmade by yours truly and a bit more time consuming than I imagined (possibly due to procrastination on my part.)

C- Ceremony order has to be decided, including the who goes with who in the processional.

D- Dress is being altered and needs to be picked up in 10 days. Yay!

E- Emotional... that would be me, the bride upon seeing/hearing any wedding related show, music, etc.

F- Flowers are decided on and out of my hands. Luckily I trust our florist so this is the least of my worries.

G- Gifts for parents and groomsmen need to be decided and purchased.

H- Hairstyle has been chosen and needs a trial run whenever I find a hair salon.

I- Invitations to the rehearsal dinner/baptism of Baby need to be ordered or made and sent STAT.

J- Jubilation is what I feel when I think about the fact that we are actually going to be married in less than 2 months!

K- Kiss, as in the first kiss... do we practice? do we just go with the moment?

L- Lingerie for under my gown needs to be purchased.

M- Map of the country club grounds needs to be put together for the welcome bags for out of towners.

N- Nails- will I go falsey for the wedding so that my hands look extra pretty in the pictures??

O- Officiant is going to be wonderful and we're so happy that we already know him so we don't have to worry about whether he will make our ceremony special and meaningful.

P- Payment schedule needs to be mapped out so we know when vendors need final checks.

Q- Quiche... not on the menu. Quail... not on the menu either.

R- Rehearsal order needs to be written and sent to officiant and wedding coordinator at the club. Let's all be on the same page.

S- Shoes are ordered and need to be picked up for modifications to be shown later.

T- Topper for the cake needs to be found if I think that would be cute and kitschy and old school and kind of fun.

U- Uphill... the direction I need to be walking on a regular basis to keep shaping up for the wedding.

V- Vows need to be determined. Traditional? Yes. But what version?

W- Welcome bags need to be designed and necessary items need to be purchased/made.

X- eXactly what was I thinking when I decided to wait until the last minute to finish the rest of the bridesmaid gifts?? I claim temporary insanity.

Y- Yummy dessert or cake needs to be decided on ASAP.

Z- ZZZs... I could use some!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Surprise Project Part 2: Before & After

In case I didn't say it clearly enough in my previous post on the Fiance's surprise project, I love that he painted our kitchen cabinets while I was out of town! I appreciate him so much for taking care of this monster job on his own and working so hard to do something nice for me. I will also say I was very happy to be able to reorganize and put everything back after living without a kitchen for two days. I don't know what I would do with a full-scale renovation like we dream about where we would potentially have no kitchen for weeks!

Having said all that, here are the pictures showing the kitchen midway through when we returned from our vacation (unfortunately I don't have a good before picture of the full kitchen.)

And here's another beauty showing everything on the counter instead of in its proper place and all the drawers missing...

And here is the result after touch-ups, once the tape came down and everything was back in its place...

The pictures are a little dark but at least it proves that our kitchen is sometimes clean. The counter is on the list of things to replace but at least I can gaze at my clean, un-chipped cabinets in the meantime.

This last one shows the pocket door that hasn't been painted yet and shows the previous color of the cabinets contrasted against the new color on the trim.

Next on the list... black hardware to put on the cabinets and drawers, which up until now have been without knobs or handles. I also have some leftover black and white fabric to make cafe curtains for the yet to be replaced window. I'm sure I'll get to that someday.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Surprise Project Part 1

We are finally home from our long, relaxing trip to Colorado. Visiting with my folks was great and they had a wonderful time playing with Baby. The weekend was a little chaotic but the wedding itself went smoothly and the bride and groom looked happy and in love. I still can't believe they are married but much more shocking was the realization that the next time I walk down the aisle, it will be at my own wedding!

At some point last week, the Fiance revealed that he was working on some sort of project at home but absolutely refused to tell me what he was doing. Don't worry because he told plenty of other people just to drive me crazy. Nevertheless I was able to contain my impatience and wait until we got home for the big unveiling. I should mention that when he flew to Colorado to meet us for the wedding weekend, he told me that he needed to apologize in advance because the project was not finished and the house was a disaster. Awesome. I tried to focus on the positive and remember that he had taken on a large task with the sole purpose of making me happy. And he did.

The Fiance painted our kitchen cabinets!!

I was so happy when I saw what he had done that I didn't even care that every single item from the ktichen was spread across the floor of our house. Our kitchen was in dire need of some TLC and I desperately wanted the cabinets and drawers painted. Before Baby arrived, he painted the walls a calming blue/grey color which was a very welcome change from the previous goldenrod. The cabinets were a cream color with a lot of chips and dings that made them look so sad. Now they're a fresh, clean white. I'm headed to IKEA today to find knobs and I'm thinking black... like a cast iron sort of look. I will post pictures of the during and the after once everything is put away.

Ironically the Inspired Room had a nice post yesterday about white kitchens and of course it made me so very happy. I can't wait to see the finished product!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sweet, Sweet Vacation

We made it. For the past two days I have been relaxing. Really and truly relaxing. And it feels so nice. Playing with Baby and spending time with my folks is pretty much the extent of my responsibility. Hopefully this will continue for the next week before my friend's wedding events start rolling. Then things will be a little more chaotic but I'm really looking forward to watching one of my besties walk down the aisle. Hope to get some pix up of beautiful Boulder sometime this weekend but for now I'm enjoying the peaceful easy feeling of doing practically nothing.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Our Big Adventure

Boulder, Colorado. My hometown. Jealous? We leave Wednesday and I'm very excited! I haven't been back since I was about 3 months pregnant and it should be a great trip. One of my bridesmaids is getting hitched in Boulder in two weeks and I decided that Baby and I would make it an extended vacation to spend time with Nana and Grampy. We don't see them that often because of the distance so this is the perfect opportunity to get some good quality time. The Fiance is going to fly out for the weekend of the wedding but for the next 9 days, it's just me and Baby... and of course Nana, Grampy and Auntie M.

I'm nervous and excited all at once. This will be the longest I've taken care of Baby by myself and while I'm obviously capable, there's something a little daunting about being away from the Fiance for so long. Fortunately I will have some help and might even get a night out with the other soon-to-be-mrs so we can celebrate properly. But it's also the longest the Fiance and I have been apart in a long time. I'm just saying that I might miss him. Maybe. A little. But I'm focusing on the positives that I get a vacation from housework and for the first time, we get to spend time with the grandparents on their turf where I don't have to be the hostess and to me that sounds very relaxing. Boulder this time of year is beautiful and I'm actually stoked to take Baby around to some of the fun spots, even though she won't remember it. Here's to vacations!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday Finds

I cannot believe the 4th of July has passed. Where is the summer going?

I found a new site that I am in love with. It's called Crafty Nest and it is all about DIY projects. It's really wonderful and inspiring. Here's a bookcase made from old kitchen drawers.

This idea is pretty cute too. I could see doing it with sweet, girly patterns for over Baby's bed someday.Finally here's a treat that I was hoping to make for the 4th but it didn't happen. I'm thinking I'll take the recipe on our trip to my folks' house and make it for a bbq next weekend. The recipe comes from Better Homes & Gardens and I posted it below in case anyone else thinks it looks too delish to pass up.

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam
  • 4 cups small whole strawberries, halved or quartered


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil beyond the edges. Set aside.

2. In large mixing bowl beat butter and peanut butter on medium to high for 30 seconds. Beat in sugars, baking powder, and salt until combined. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can with mixer. Stir in remaining flour.

3. Spread dough in prepared pan. Bake 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned and toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

4. Cool completely on rack. Remove from pan by lifting foil. Spread jam and top with berries. Cut into bars. Serve at once or refrigerate up to 6 hours. Makes 24 bars

Make Ahead: Wrap the peanut butter base in foil; store at room temperature up to 24 hours. Before serving, top with jam and berries. Or freeze the peanut butter base in a freezer container up to 3 months.

Happy Belated 4th of July!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Time Management or Time Wasting??

I was born a procrastinator. Really. I came a week after the due date. I have a genuine and sincere ability to put things off until the last minute possible. I'd like to say that I've gotten better about this over the years but that would be a lie. When I moved out of my apartment and into the Fiance's house, I was literally throwing clothes into garbage bags as he was carting other boxes out of the room. Luckily I was preggers at the time so not too much was expected of me but still.

One of my resolutions this year was to be more organized. So far not much has been resolved in this department. I am fairly organized with wedding details but that's more out of fear that losing something important would spell doom for the big day. Our daily routine is somewhat organized, but only because Baby has a predictable stream of events throughout the day, sleeping, eating and whatnot. The in-between parts are less organized and I tend to do things pretty haphazardly. I've been researching some good tools around the web. Simple Mom is great at this sort of thing. I don't feel the need to be rigid, just feeling that we'd all benefit from a little more structure. I'm always open to suggestion...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Double-Take Tuesday

I almost didn't make it but here are some great fixer-uppers from Centsational Girl who is absolutely brilliant at DIY makeovers. For example...
The shelf on the left is hideous. The re-created shelf on the right is adorable as an outdoor storage unit for all those wonderful summery nights when you can eat outside.

Awful. No further explanation needed. But then...

So charming. If I had a guest bathroom that wasn't currently being invaded by a one-year-old I would definitely want something like this sitting next to the tub. You can find other great transformations in this post. She's great at explaining her methods too so wannabe DIYers can try to replicate some of her great ideas.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Baby's nursery has unfortunately remained fairly incomplete. It's pretty barren compared to many of the beautiful nurseries I've seen in magazines and online. There are odds and ends of the useful variety and toys filling space on the rug and a few framed pictures on the wall but I still haven't gotten much else done. Honestly we don't spend much time in there so I guess it hasn't bothered me a whole lot. But I'm feeling the urge to get it looking a little more finished. So here are the "befores" and hopefully the "afters" will come soon. Obviously these are the "way befores" when all we had done was paint and put together the furniture (and by we I mean the Fiance).
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