Saturday, December 29, 2012

How I Survived the Holidays.

As any parent knows, the holidays are not just about love, tradition, and warm fuzzies.  The holidays are mostly about survival.  Surviving the family, surviving the parties, surviving the food, surviving your kids being out of school.  There are a few things which got me (and those around me) through the holidays in one piece, so I have decided to share them with you, in hopes they may aid you in the future as well.
  1. Wine.  The Trader Joe’s wine shop has received several visits from me over the holiday season.  And we only hosted one party.  You do the math.
  2. Philosophy When Hope Is Not Enough (Omega 3-6-9 Replenishing Oil). You know when you have too much wine? Or too much cold air? Or whatever causes too much dry skin? God bless this little blue bottle of goodness. Thank you to my cousin at Sephora for hooking me up with it.
  3. Water. Another cure for when I have had too much wine. It is a must to stay hydrated to avoid feeling like crap after too much wine. Plus, it is good for you, hydrates from the inside out.
  4. Work.  Many people enjoy the break from work.  For me, work occasionally provides a break from home.  Especially when Biggest and Littlest are trying to kill each other because they have not had enough sleep or had too much stimulation.  Sorry Hubby, gotta go to work.  But have fun with that!  blissfulbath
  5. Blissful Bath Bubble Bars and Bath Bombs.  As a long time lover of all things bath related, I was in heaven when I discovered this local gem.  Blissful Bath is a bath and body company who has an amazing line of items they call “gourmet bath treats,” ranging from bubble bars to lotions to soaps.  I have become an addict to their Romance, Relax, and I Dream of Sleeping Bubble Bars paired with coordinating Bath Bombs or Tub Truffles.  Add a glass (or bottle) of wine and a good book, and I am in heaven. 
  6.  Where do you think I get the books for my Kindle Fire to read in the bathtub?  Personally, I love historical romance novels by Julie Garwood or young adult sci-fi/supernatural/dystopian novels. bite primer I think Hubby cringes at the amount recently spent on Amazon.  Probably why Santa gave me a gift card…
  7. Bite Beauty Line & Define Lip Primer. I had grand plans to rock a shiny red lip on Christmas Eve, but kept looking like a 90 year old lady due to my lipstick feathering! Thanks to my knowledgeable cousin, Christine, and pal, Teneille, over at Sephora, I was hooked up with this wonder product. FINALLY, my lipstick is staying in place. Plus Line & Define Lip Primer plumps my lips up a little bit too. I might become an addict.
  8. Hubby.  Bless his heart during the holiday season.  He put up with the Kidlets during their terrorizing, cleaned the house for parties, and did what he could to keep my stress levels down.  What a man, what a man, what a mighty good man.  I hope he doesn’t read this or it will go to his head.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I’m in Trouble.

I’m in trouble.  Deep, deep trouble.  Starting December 31st, I am moving to a new Hot Mama location. Actually, I am picking up where my good friend, Ashley Coconut, is leaving off!   It is very exciting for me, since this is the first store I ever shopped at.  It is where my addiction began over six years ago.  I like to think of it as the mother ship calling me home.  But this is not why I am in trouble. 

It is the neighbors.

anthropologiejcrewlululemon Wrunning layout

In the past, I have always managed to keep myself out of trouble in these stores.  Mostly because they are far enough away and I am not a huge online shopper when it comes to clothes.  Sure, my kids can wear clothes without trying them on first, but Mommy cannot.  Thanks to my sheer laziness when it comes to shopping at a store besides my own or any other within walking distance, I have always been able to keep control of my spending.  Well….mostly.

Now I am surrounded by neighbors.  Neighbors who beckon me with their soft fabrics, comfy yoga pants and trendy home goods.  I will be tormented by seeing shopping bags constantly or hearing whispers of sales or new merchandise.  These neighbors will constantly call to me, begging me to shop, if not for me, for my readers.


I am screwed.

Sorry in advance, Hubby.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Own First Guest Blog Post!

Earlier in December, I was approached by, a blog I LOVE, to do a holiday themed guest blog post for them.  Uh, hells yeah!  I have not been asked to write a post for anyone else before and to be asked by a blog that I follow and love was a big deal to me.  Now, since I took the time to write the post, I feel the need to direct you all to to read it.  So click on the picture below to check out my guest blog post titled “Hello Honey!” and to get my recipe for honey caramels.  And while you are there, check out, another stellar blog!


(Sure, this is a cheater blog post.  But it is my blog and I can do what I want.)  

Monday, December 17, 2012

Guest Post: Lost by Evil Joy Speaks

Following the recent events at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I was unsure of how write a post to express my thoughts. Then I read the following post from my friend, Evil Joy Speaks. I loved how she shared a few thoughts and helped share the thoughts of others. So please enjoy the following guest post from Evil Joy. ~Much love, SJ&YP


 I don’t know even how write this post. My words wouldn’t be worthy. I have been desperately trying to not think about what happened. Out of self preservation I believe. I have been praying for the families. Those left behind. Some of the blogs I follow have written amazing things. Rather than stumbling through today, I’m choosing to link to them.


The Somewhat Sane Mom 

Mary Tyler Mom 

There are many, many more with wonderful posts, words, and advice on how to talk to your children, where to seek help if you or someone you know needs it…. Hug your loved ones. Say a word of pray for those who have unimaginable losses. Help someone today. Your word or act of kindness will make a difference. Remember the victims.

Nancy Lanza
Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Rachel Davino, 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Dawn Hocksprung, 47
Madeline Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
 Jessica Rekos, 6
 Avielle Richman, 6
 Lauren Russeau, 30
 Mary Sherlach, 56
 Victoria Soto, 27
 Benjamin Wheeler, 6
 Allison Wyatt, 6

Sunday, December 16, 2012


It is funny.  Getting older has never bothered me.  I know most people fear certain age milestones, but I never had a problem with that.  The older I get, the more fun I have.  So, truthfully, I have never seen the point of getting feisty over age.  Until today.  Today, I turned 35. 


Now, this is odd.  I have always loved my birthday.  I believe people should celebrate the day I was born and am not afraid to share this concept with my friends and family.  Good for my parents in my conception!  But today was different.  35 has been looming over me like a dark storm cloud.  I have been dreading it since my bestie, Marta, turned 35 this summer.  At first, I didn’t know why.  But the longer I thought about it, the more clear it became.  It is the five.  

Five is a harsh number.  It is when things happen, whether we want them to or not.  Five is when we start kindergarten.  Five is when we usually set our alarm in the morning (think 5:00, 6:15, etc.).  Five is just scary.  It means we are halfway there.  Half way to ten, twenty, thirty, whatever!  It is a halfway marker. Whether or not we fear the marker, five means we are at least halfway there.  Who isn’t scared by this??????  I will even go so far as to set my alarm to wake me up on a 3 or a 7, but never a 5.  Is that wrong?

So what am I going to do about it?  What can a girl do about getting older?  I am going to do the only thing I can do.  Suck it up.  Deal with it.  Get older.   Sure, I am 35 but I act like a 7 year old anyway, so who cares?  I keep reminding myself of what I learned from my neighbor, Grant, in the hot tub this fall.  Grant says, “If you are not getting older, you are dead.”  I will take getting older.  Even if it is a number ending in 5.  Besides, next year ends in a 6, so I am not afraid. 


Monday, December 10, 2012

Elf on the Shelf: Adorable Friend or Creepy Fiend?


We all know the Elf on the Shelf.  It seems to be the hottest holiday trend since overblown light displays.  You can find the EotS at Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart, Hallmark, pretty much so any store where parents might frequent.  There are whole websites and Pinterest boards dedicated to the EotS.  We just got our first this year at our house.  They are everywhere!  But let’s take a moment to think.  Is that Elf on the Shelf an adorable friend or creepy fiend? 

The over all idea of the Elf is cute.  A little friend, sent from the north pole, who you get to name and who gives naughty or nice reports to Santa.  From a parenting perspective, it can be a dream.  You can always threaten that the EotS will report back to the man in red.  I have already overheard Biggest and Littlest making sure that our elf, Pascal, is aware of the naughty behavior of the other sister and how good they themselves are being.  Plus, it is sometimes fun to come up with creative and silly places to put your elf.  pascalcamping

But let’s look at the flip side.  That creepy little elf reminds me of a clown, always smiling but not really.  A fake happy facial expression that seems to hide the idea that he really wants to hurt you while you sleep.  I have seen many websites dedicated to the naughty, even nasty things that the EotS has done to some people’s homes or Barbie dolls.  He can be a dirty, dirty elf.  And from the parenting perspective, there is nothing worse than realizing at 3:00 am that you forgot to move the damned thing….again.

Make your own decision regarding the Elf on the Shelf.  Find the joy in him or be creeped out.  Just remember, if you choose to host an EotS in your house, be cautious.  You never know what that little elf is really thinking or doing when you are not looking.

creepy elf

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fancy Friday with Ashley Coconut!


The Blueberries Taste Like Blueberries!

I bought this jacket two years ago from Hot Mama and haven't worn it enough.  So when I bought this blue sparkly sweater to go with the leopard jacket (yes, I got my card back and it hasn't been taken away yet, pat myself on the back), I knew it would rock with this velvet jacket to create the perfect mono-chromatic look!  When my husband saw me in my blue ensemble he said, " You look like a blueberry."  I replied, "Like blueberry in a good way or blueberry in a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory way?" I took it as in a good way. 

So, I hope this inspires you to create a yummy Fancy Friday look!


Jacket: Luii ("vintage" Hot Mama)

Sweater: RD Style (Hot Mama)

Tank: Bobi (Hot Mama)

Necklaces: Gilded and Harriet Isles (Hot Mama)


Not only do I love it when I get guest blog posts from Ashley Coconut, I love when she references Willy Wonka! ~ SJ&YP

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Christmas Concert

Tonight, I was having flashbacks to my own days in elementary school.  My mom would get me all dressed up (usually in a blouse that tied at the neck and culottes or an Eclipse sweater with matching turtleneck) and I would be off to sing in the elementary school Christmas concert.  It was an annual tradition.  This year, it was my turn to be the mom dressing up her daughter.  Tonight was Biggest’s kindergarten Christmas concert.

Now, obviously things have changed since I was in school.  The concert was for only kindergarten and first graders.  And they had two concerts!  One was held at 2:00 pm and the other was held at 6:30 pm.  I never realized so many people actually wanted to attend these things!  Who woulda thunk it?  wearingthat

I had originally planned on only attending the evening show, but when I discovered I could get off work early, I raced to surprise Biggest at the matinee.  Of course, watching my oldest baby walk up on the stage made me misty. At first.  THEN I realized all the other kids were all gussied up.  Girls were wearing dresses and hair bows.  Some boys even had dress shirts and pants on.  So what was Biggest wearing?  Well, being the daughter of a fashionista, she had other opinions on what to wear.  I had to argue her into a red sweater and skinny jeans this morning.  We are lucky she let me brush her hair and put a hair binder in.  Oh well,  I have other battles to fight.  Luckily, by the evening concert, I was able to convince her to wear a denim skirt and leggings.  Hey, it is a step in the right direction, right? 

The evening concert provided more surprises, since not only were more kids dressed up (or had their hair done fancy, clean clothes, etc), there was a wait to get in at 6:00 pm.  Biggest and Littlest started griping at me from the backseat, complaining we were going to be late.  Sorry.  It is my first time.  I didn’t know!  Thankfully, we got out of the car as the doors opened and people raced in for seats.  The three of us managed to snag some pretty good seats, trying to be conservative and only taking two (unlike others who claimed who rows for their family, friends, neighbors, friends from work, etc).  Eventually, Hubby found us (sore spot about him arriving home late) and we got to be together as a family.  cartoon_line.big

Naturally, the concerts were adorable.  How could a bunch of five and six year olds not be?  I even spotted a few of my favorite “concert standards” while at the events.  You know you have seen them (or maybe been one).  First, the kid who shouts all the words.  This kid is one of my favorites.  He can’t sing, but he gives it all he’s got.  Second, the kid who is really into it.  This kid is always going over the top with the actions and facial expressions.  He or she is definitely bound for Broadway. I laughed way too hard at this kid during both concerts. But in my defense, I think he knew he was hilarious.  Third, the kid who has no rhythm.  He or she is clapping in the back (or front) and has no clue what is going on around them.  Lastly, the kid who is so busy watching the others, they are not doing anything else.  I was mostly expecting this to be Biggest, but surprisingly she was actually performing today (after she got done doing pull ups on the bar in the back row).


So we survived our first Christmas concert at school.  It was nostalgic and fun, creating new memories for us to carry into the future.  And reminders for the future:  show up early and fight the wardrobe battle.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Silver Screen Gems!

Have you ever been watching TV and become captivated by a movie you have seen hundreds of times, maybe even own on DVD?  This happens to me all the time.  It drives the hubby crazy.  There are so many movies I love and that I can hardly keep track.  However, there are some which have permanently etched their way into my heart for various reasons.  These are the movies I will some day watch with the kidlets (when they are old enough, in many cases), which for one reason or another needs to be shared from generation to generation.  Yes, you may notice a few are holiday themed.  What can I say?  I love this time of year! 

So here are the SJ&YP favorites.  How many have you loved on this list?  How many have you missed?  How many are you going to run out and watch immediately?

Gone with the Wind (1937)– Scarlett O’Hara is the original strong, powerful woman (and maybe a little bit of a bitch).  holiday-inn-movie

Holiday Inn (1942) - Bing Crosby and Gary Cooper.  Singing, dancing, and a love triangle.  What could be better?  Am I the only one who longs for the days of dinner and floor show?  

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) - They just don’t make them like George Bailey anymore.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) - One of my all time favorites.  Mountain men tamed by love.  AND it is a musical. 

White Christmas (1954) - Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye with Rosemary Clooney? Yes, please! I always cry during the tribute to General Waverly. (I might be watching this movie while I type this post….)

Love in the Afternoon (1957) - Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper in a May – December romance. He is dashing and she is gorgeous as always.

Swiss Family Robinson (1960) - I always had a soft spot for Fritz.  And the baby elephant.

Urban Cowboy (1980) - John Travolta as a cowboy. Riding a mechanical bull. In the early 80’s. Classic.

Clash of the Titans (1981) - Some of the best special effects of its time, thanks to Ray Harryhausen. Much better than the remake.Valley_girl_poster

Valley Girl (1983) - Popular girl goes against the in crowd for the boy she likes. With 80’s music. And Nicholas Cage. Yay!

Labyrinth (1986) - David Bowie. Jim Henson. David Bowie. Jim Henson. I could watch this movie repeatedly. And the sound track is superb.

That Night (1992) - Juliette Lewis, C. Thomas Howell, and an extremely young Eliza Dushku dealing with coming of age and young love. If I could find this movie on DVD, I would be in heaven.

Dazed and Confused (1993) - Except for the bell bottoms, does this movie remind anyone else of being in high school?

10 Things I Hate About You (1999) - I dragged my sister to this movie in the theater. Ten minutes in, she turned to me and said, “I am so glad you made me see this.” Julia Stiles is amazing.  supertroopers

Super Troopers (2001) -  The movie that created some of the best one-liners ever.  Would you believe I saw this in the theater?

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) - The first time I saw this was holed up in a Las Vegas hotel room, avoiding a night out. It was a great decision on my part. I love the idea of embracing your crazy family.

Sweet Home Alabama (2002) - You can still have roots and wings. Plus you can have Josh Lucas.

Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) - If this movie doesn’t make you want to move to Italy, I don’t know what will.

Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) - Another movie with some of the best one liners in history. Will Ferrell, you are a genius. Shake and bake!

Sex and the City (2008) - The music, the fashion, the fabulous four. I can’t believe they were able to turn such a fabulous show into a fabulous movie. That is no easy feat!

Mama Mia (2008) - Yes, I love musicals. Sometimes, I sing along. I did not love Pierce Brosnan’s singing, but I will give him credit for trying.avengers

The Avengers (2012) – Classic hero movie, straight out of the comics.  Plus, way too many hot guys to list here.   Except Tom Hiddleston.  There is always room for a little Hiddle….

Wreck-It-Ralph (2012) – A movie for the mom, the gamer, and the kid in me.  This is one of the best “hero” movies I have seen in a while. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things.

We are now entering my favorite time of year.  Christmas, baby!  I love the spirit of the season (no, not consumerism).  The thing I might love the most is all the traditions.  We all have them.  Those holiday traditions which we have done since childhood or the new ones we created with families of our own.  I love the ones my family has created but I also love hearing about other people’s as well.  That being said, I wanted to share an abbreviated list of my favorite holiday things:


The Christmas Tree  tree

Picking It :   love picking out the Christmas tree.  When I was younger, my mom always went and got one. She would get a Frasier that was tall and fat.  While my family still gets a tall, fat Frasier Fir, it is not just mom who picks it out.  It is a family event.  When possible, we try to cut your own, but we have run into a couple occasions where the weather or small children (who shall remain nameless) prohibit us from getting a tree in a timely manner, so we will resort to buying pre-cut if needed.  I expect the kidlets will tell stories in the future of mom dragging them all over tree farms to find the perfect tall and fat Frasier Fir while dad rolled his eyes until he was needed to work the handsaw.  

This year is no different.  Hubby is still complaining about the weight of this year’s tree and the effort to cut it down, even as I am typing this out. I think he needs to just get over it.  I helped him drag it in….  wonderfullife

Decorating It:  Since Hubby and I started getting trees, it has always been up to me to decorate.  Sure, he will help with the lights (which caused a few fights at first regarding deep inside the tree versus outer branches).  However, the ornaments are all me.  When putting them on the tree, I love to turn on “It’s a Wonderful Life” and drink hot cider.  Now that Biggest and Littlest are old enough to help me, I hope this tradition will continue.  Or I can watch my movie and have my cider while I move all the ornaments from the bottom front of the tree to everywhere else their little arms could not reach.


Putting Up Christmas Decorations  halleholidaydecor

Every year, I love to put up Christmas decorations in the house.  This is something I refuse to do until the day after Thanksgiving.  Call me traditional, but I like to take my holidays one at a time.  Sometimes, the kidlets help me.  That is how, a couple years ago, we ended up with several canned goods and a container of chicken stock mixed in with the Christmas decorations, thanks to Littlest.  This year I did it myself, since the kidlets and Hubby were gone this weekend.  However, I did make sure to put out the super annoying singing snowman from Hallmark.  The girls will be psyched.  Hubby will be annoyed by the end of the day.

Christmas Cookies

xmascookies Since I got my own place, I have been known for my Christmas cookies.  I would make anywhere from 9 to 11 different kinds of cookies every year, giving them out at parties, as well as to friends and neighbors.  I would rarely participate in cookie exchanges, preferring to make them myself (yes, I am a control freak).  Once I had kids, I realized I would have to allow them to bake with me sometimes.  *sigh*  I guess. 

These days, I have paired down the baking tradition.  Last year, I even participated in a cookie exchange.  I am realizing, that I need to reprioritize my time and patience.  I might only make 3 or 4 different kinds of cookies this year.  I might even let the kidlets help me.  To my loyal Christmas cookie followers, I promise I will always make the homemade caramels.


Saying Merry Christmas

OK, I know it is no longer OK to say this, but I love it when someone says “Merry Christmas” to me instead of “Happy Holidays” for the sake of being politically correct.  Let’s take it a step further.  If you want to wish me “Happy Kwanza”, “Happy Hanukah” or whatever the holiday wish from your religion is, I welcome it.  You are simply wishing glad tidings in your own personal form.  I highly encourage everyone to do so and not be offended when you are presented with something different but no less genuine.   


All 368

Family Pictures

At our house, family pictures were a necessity.  My sister and I would sit back to back in front of the tree every year, posing for picture after picture.  Once we got older, my sister actually would start staging the photos herself, making sure the lighting was correct, we were sitting good, moving furniture, etc.  Because of this, my kids are now subjected to the same thing.  Naturally, this means we need to coordinate the outfits we wear to church, just so we all look good together in the photos.  Hopefully, some day my kidlets will learn to smile nice for the camera, not just give the cheesy, strained quasi-smiles they are becoming famous for when posing.


All 441 Opening Presents

I know every family does this different.  In my house growing up, we always did opened presents on Christmas Eve as a family, watching each person open one gift at a time to see what they got and their reaction.  My dad would always gruffly yell, “Turn the crank and save the box.”  That is one of my favorite holiday memories.  Now, how many years later, Hubby and I do the same thing with our kids, minus the “crank” comment.  Well, sometimes we throw that one in, just for fun.  I love watching the kids open their gifts.  The facial expressions are priceless.  Who doesn’t remember the joy of opening Christmas presents?  Watching my own kids is like being a kid again myself.


These are a few of my favorite holiday traditions.  I could go on and on, but you would get  bored with my rambling.  So, now what are YOUR favorite things?