Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Finding "it" in 2009

Okay, so 2009 is almost here and many of you are making New Year's Resolutions. I'm trying to think of something that I can commit to that will last, yet have it be something that I can look forward to doing. I could exercise more or try to stick to a budget, and while I need to do both, those things feel a bit like chores. I'd like to take up a new hobby or activity, and perhaps this could involve exercise. But, something out of the ordinary. Fighting the hoards at the gym for a place on the tread mill does not appeal to me.

Not sure what to do. I know it's out there, just not sure what "it" is. I work full time, I'm a wife and mother of two little ones. So, I'm in great need of some me time. In the short period after finishing his masters a few weeks ago, Hubby has already taken up skeet shooting, which he hopes to make a Sunday afternoon ritual (we'll see about that). Mom needs an outlet, too. So, dear readers (I know there are a couple of you!), what do you do that's totally for you, that is fun, engaging and doesn't get old? Have you made a New Year's Resolution and what is it? I would love to hear what folks are doing out there. Drop me a line!

Come on in...

Don't you just love these doors? Fabulous.
Photo courtesy of Southern Accents.

Monday, December 29, 2008

New Year's Eve

So, readers, how are you ringing in 2009? Hubby and I have not made any plans due to our recent bouts with illnesses, so we're likely staying in and making it a low key New Year's Eve. In the past, we've done dinner with friends at a nice restaurant and then returned to someone's house for drinks and board games. Gone are the days of the big blow outs. Last year, we met family for breakfast at a local restaurant on New Year's Day. If you're not a big partier, this is a good alternative to ringing in the new year.
Photo courtesty of Martha Stewart Living.

Back among the living

Well, I've been a bad blogger lately, but I have a good excuse. Colds, stomach bugs and various other illnesses made their way through our household during the holidays. So, needless to say, I was either too sick to blog or caring for sick people and unable to make it to the computer. What a way to spend the holidays! Anyway, I hope to be more current with my entries in the coming days. And, I need to check in on the latest with the other blogs I read daily. I feel so out of the loop!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Are you ready?

Christmas is almost here...are you ready? I have just about everything in order. Keeping the gift giving to a minimum this year made it a little easier, as well as finding ways to be creative with our gift giving. Hubby has been making his grandmother's egg nog all season and giving it to friends and family (that stuff is potent, let me tell you) in decorative carafes. That's one way to bring a smile to someone's face!

Tonight we are attending a holiday party and a holiday open house tomorrow. Lots to do. I love Christmas time!
Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart Living.

And the winner is...

...not me. Today, the winner of the kitchen contest was announced. While the kids and I were napping (it's been an exhausting week), Hubby ran over to the kitchen store to see who won the contest. It ended up being a very deserving mom with an autistic child. Hubby said she wasn't there in person, but they read her letter and then called her on speaker phone. He said she screamed with joy. Knowing that she won, made me appreciate the life I have. I have two healthy kids and a loving husband. So what if my kitchen is outdated? There are so many more important things in life. So, congrats to the winner.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Keep your fingers crossed...

A few weeks ago, I entered a contest to win a kitchen makeover. You had to submit an essay explaining why your kitchen deserves a makeover and include a photo. Yesterday was the deadline to enter and the top five finalists are supposed to be notified this week. Then, the grand prize winner will be announced on Saturday at the cabinetry store sponsoring the contest. I'm hoping to hear something today, but the later it gets in the day, the more I doubt I'll be chosen.

For inspiration, I included photos from the movie "Something's Gotta Give," which had one of the best film sets ever. I love this kitchen and dining room. Anyway, keep your fingers crossed that I hear something!
Photo courtesy of Archtectural Digest.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Visit to 'The Nutcracker'

We attended "The Nutcracker" ballet yesterday and it was such a magical experience. This was my daughter's first time seeing it and her first exposure to a ballet performance. She sat on the edge of my lap, in complete of awe of the scene. Toward the end of the first act, while it was "snowing" on stage, it started to snow over the audience. It made for such a special day and a memory she'll carry with her always.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Cards

I mailed my Christmas cards today - so glad to check that off my list. I really like the style we chose from Tiny Prints. They have a great selection. I ordered my son's birth announcements from there and was very happy with how they turned out. Above is the design we chose (minus the model kids in the photo). I also ordered return address labels with the same color scheme. Super cute.
Image courtesy of www.tinyprints.com.

Get your party shoes on

Wish I had a place to wear these. kate spade, you never fail to please.
Photo courtesy of katespade.com

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Baby News

Congratulations to my brother-in-law and his wife on their news: a baby due in June! This is the first child for both of them and we're all just thrilled. Oh, how life is about to change in a big way!
Image courtesy of Martha Stewart Living.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I ♥ John Krasinski

I am a huge fan of NBC’s “The Office.” I love the writing, the acting, everything about it. Knowing what a fan I am of the show, a friend sent me this You Tube clip today, featuring Aimee Mann and John Krasinski singing a duet of “Winter Wonderland.” Enjoy!
Photo courtesy of nbc.com


I’ve been looking for new candles for the dining room, so I think I may order some striped tapers from Ana Candles. There are a variety of holiday colors to choose from, but I really like the “Bamboo Mint” tapers, which I think would look great on my dining room table any time of year. We’re having family over for lunch on Christmas day, so maybe I’ll also order the Morris Green – Scarlet or the Mistletoe for a more festive setting. Besides tapers, they also have pillar candles, stationery and other good things.
Photo courtesy of anacandles.com

Monday, December 8, 2008

Raising Sand

I never grow tired of listening to my “Raising Sand” CD, the collaborative album between Robert Plant and Allison Kraus. I got it for Christmas last year, and then saw them in concert over the summer. It was amazing. I’m sure many of you have already purchased this album by now, but if you haven’t, I highly recommend it.

Boxwood Wreath

When purchasing our tree on Saturday, I noticed a lovely boxwood wreath for sale at the tree lot. I really liked it and I now wish I had bought it. But, it was snowing, freezing cold and it was enough just getting the tree.

In addition to boxwood wreaths, I also like magnolia wreaths, from The Magnolia Company. They have some beautiful wreaths and home décor. We currently have a faux pepper berry wreath hanging on our front door, but it has seen better days. Depending on how well it does this year, we may have to retire it soon.
Photo courtesy of The Magnolia Company.

Cookie Swap

I’ve never participated in a cookie swap or attended a cookie swap party during the holidays. It sounds like it would be fun, but with all of the other commitments in my life, it’s a little difficult to carve out time to host a party. So, I did the next best thing recently and watched the Food Network, as Paula Deen hosted a cookie swap in her lovely home. She collaborated with designer David Bromstad, who has a show on HGTV, to help gussy up the cookies with ribbons and other cute packaging.

So, if you are participating, or even hosting, a cookie swap this holiday season, check out Paula’s recipes. I’m always looking for something simple, so this recipe for Savannah Bow Tie cookies looks pretty easy. And, dear readers, if any of you have a cookie recipe you'd like to share, I'd love to see them. Perhaps when I take some time off over the holidays, I could attempt some of these recipes, and you could too!
Photo courtesy of Food Network

Friday, December 5, 2008

I'm dreaming of a white kitchen - part two

Isn’t this oak cabinet fabulous? It’s an antique that was originally made for a retail shop in France. Another entry for my kitchen wish list!
Photo courtesy of www.housebeautiful.com

Amsterdam Bikes

For the last few months, I’ve been thinking about getting a bicycle. Hubby and I have said we ought to bike more with the kids, possibly getting baby seats for the adult bikes. But, our kids are quickly outgrowing that option. Our daughter rides a hand-me-down bicycle, given to her by the sweetheart-of-a-girl down the street. It has training wheels and she’s getting pretty good at riding it (I think it helps that they ride tricycles around the playground at preschool/daycare).

We have a mountain bike that once belonged to Hubby’s stepdad. It just needs a new tire and it should be good to go. But, I’m really drawn to Amsterdam and Townie bikes. I just think they look so cool. I love seeing those bikes with big wicker baskets on the front, although I don’t want to look like something out of the Wizard of Oz. Electra has some very cool offerings, but the prices are a bit steep. Schwinn has some sport and classic cruisers that a little more affordable.

So, here I am, in my mid-thirties, and I’m thinking of asking for a bike for Christmas. Some things never change.
Image courtesy of www.flee.com.

Gifts for the difficult to please

We all have at least one person in our lives who is difficult to shop for, so we agonize over what to get him or her for the holidays. And, perhaps now that the economy is in the toilet, it won’t be an issue for you this year! But, if you are in the market for a unique gift, the New York Times has a great list of items to buy that hard-to-please/person-who-has-everything in your life (some are reasonably priced, some fall in the "well, that's just crazy" category).

These Mariposa recycled, pearl salad servers are nice and aren’t too pricey - $47 at Saks Fifth Avenue. Or, perhaps these Ghost Tumblers from Impulse ($85 for a set of four), available at Nest Interior in NY City. Visit the New York Times Style section for the full list.
Photos courtesy of www.nytimes.com.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Banff - The Canadian Rockies

With recent snow flurries, I’ve been thinking back to when Hubby and I traveled to Banff, in Alberta, Canada. He was there for a conference and I flew up to meet him (this was before we had kids). It was right before Thanksgiving and the ski slopes had just opened. My husband is a good skier, but I had never skied in my life. So, we hit the slopes of Sunshine Village in Banff and I took my first lesson. Not too bad for a rookie. And, to think that my first skiing experience was in the Canadian Rockies, well, that’s something special.

Banff is a beautiful place. It’s a pristine village in the middle of a national park, so it’s not overrun with commercialism. We hope to one day return with the kids when they’re a little older.

Pretty Things

Ah, J Crew. Gotta love it. Even in this day and age of online shopping (which I do a lot of), I still like to sit down with my J Crew catalog and pour over the pages. I sat in bed last night, pining away over cashmere sweaters and gorgeous skirts with tulle peaking out from underneath. Such pretty things.
Photo courtesy of www.jcrew.com.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Lobster & Swan

One of the things I love about blogging is venturing into new worlds via the Web. It's like opening a beautiful door and seeing what's inside. I find some of these sites just fascinating. So many of you are witty and include such amazing imagery on your blogs. One recent discovery has been Lobster & Swan - love, love, love this site. Plus, the blogger lives in the U.K., which is oh-so-cool. You gotta love anyone who calls their mother "mum." And, she recently blogged about the extended version of the "Sex in the City" film, which I finally got to see the other night. Gawd, love that Vivienne Westwood gown on Carrie. Anyhoo, cheers to Lobster & Swan. Your blog is a delight!


I’ve been a longtime fan of Caswell-Massey, one of the oldest apothecary companies in America. They’ve changed up their offerings a bit since opening their doors in 1752, but they still sell some of the most wonderful smelling lotions and perfumes. Elixir of Love #1 lotion is a favorite. It’s been a while since I’ve had a bottle sitting on my vanity, so I may need to plant a seed for Christmas, or just order it online myself.
If you're looking for a holiday gift, this is always a good choice.

Christmas is coming...

Okay, so I’m starting to get in the Christmas spirit. I’m seeing more twinkling lights in the neighborhood and I’ve been listening to my favorite holiday jazz CD a lot lately. And, our first official Christmas card came in the mail yesterday.

Keeping with the Christmas theme, I just had to share the cutest photo of my cousin and her hubby. They’re the sweetest people and so creative. I love what they’ve done with their home. If only I had that kind of talent!

Merry, merry!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cocktail Rings

I don’t know why, but cocktail rings with big, shiny baubles make me smile. They’re fun, stylish and are begging for a fun party to go to, paired with a fabulous dress, of course. You can score some great buys at local vintage shops or on ebay. If you have the cash to spend, kate spade and J Crew have some cool costume jewelry. It’s a fabulous accessory that can really make an outfit.
Image courtesy of www.katespade.com

Christmas Tree - Real or Faux?

I'm a purist when it comes to decorating for the holidays. I gotta have a real tree. We always had real trees growing up and for many years, my family traveled to a nearby farm to cut our own white pine. Since I've been married, Hubby and I always get Fraser firs. They're so beautiful and smell wonderful. Unfortunately, we can't cut them here - most are shipped in from North Carolina. So, we go to the the tree lot and purchase one. Some may think that cutting down trees is a wasteful practice, and I can see your point. I do admire the folks who buy live trees and then plant them after the holidays. But, since we don't have a plantation home on 40 + acres, we'll continue our tradition. We do hang a faux wreath on the door, so I guess I do bend the rules a bit there.

So, dear readers, please share your Christmas tree preferences with me - faux or real? I'd love to hear from you. (And, thanks to my cousin, P., for the suggested topic.)
Photo courtesy of Southernliving.com

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cyber Monday

Sorry I've been a bad blogger, but the Thanksgiving holidays had me in a tizzy. I didn't hit the stores on Friday, but in an effort to get the kids out of the house on Saturday morning while Hubby studied for grad school comps, I managed to score some deals at the Gap. First, we got hot chocolate at Starbucks and then went to story time at Barnes & Noble. Afterward, we walked around the shopping area to look at decorations and ducked into the Gap to avoid the cold (American commercialism as it's best, huh?). Of course they were having a buy one, get one 50 percent off sale, so I got this fabulous sweater, a turtleneck and flats. We were attending a casual dinner party that night, so I managed to justify the purchase. Of course, Hubby just gave me that "Stop the spending, for the love of God" look.
Anyway, today is considered "Cyber Monday" in the retail world, since so many people return to work and get online to take advantage of sales. Not sure if I plan to shop online today, although I really need to get moving on my gift buying. Due to the economy, we are going to downsize the gift-giving this year (which means I should probably stop shopping for myself at this point, huh?). Let me know if you find any great deals today. I may check it out.