Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I Want...You Want??


Oh the Decisions.....


So today we've left at 6 am to make sure we are down in Columbia, SC before 4 pm.  Alexa has to take her foreign language placement test at University of SC at 4:30 that day.  Then the next 2 days are orientation and registration for classes.  She actually has to spend the night in the dorm one night with fellow students (hehehe) and James and I have our own schedule of events to do as well.  Then Saturday we head down to Orlando thru the 24th for the REAL vacation at Disney...Mickey has missed me y'all ;)  Gonna get my lil Olaf and I will be posting him all over the place on Facebook and Instagram...stay tuned.

OK SO I NEED HELP...well I need lots of help most days..but truly I do....
I have been looking at these bags and drooling, clicking on them, changing them, adding them to my cart....I'm pretty sure if they keep track of site-clicks they are probably laughing at me right now.  I really, really want one but can't decide which one I want....so I will keep clicking till I get back from vacation hehehehe!

So in case you want to customize, personalize and have fun clicking to make your own bags too....check out Barrington Bags HERE!  (PS..I'm not affiliated with them so I don't get any free or discounted...just a fan of the bags sharing with you)

Here are my top 3 picks for ya....can't decide on color or pattern. I need like 10 but I'm pretty sure the hubs is NOT on board with that decision LOL!  OH and you can get them monogrammed them with your initials too...bonus :)
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Here's it in a fun chevron navy pattern:



Or in Red...my fave color:



or in a neutral camel/tan houndstooth pattern that goes with anything?



So many options...oh the decisions......
What do you all think?  
Did you play and make a favorite? What is your fave?



Saturday, July 5, 2014

Hello..Again!!



CATCHING UP......

I'm sorry, I'm sorry.....I've not been 100% healthwise and some days I just haven't had the heart to work on projects right now.  I am knee deep IN projects though...although none are finished enough to share but one...which I will share this week with you all. 

So bear with me please....this spring and summer are a bit crazy.  With graduation (that's done thank goodness), summer vacation and then getting Alexa settled in college....there isn't a whole lotta down time to work on things.  
MAYBE by fall it will settle down again? Yes? LOL!

Anyway this is just a catch-up post in case you don't follow me on Instagram or Facebook where I post often.  
I won't be posting much the next 2 weeks since we leave Wednesday for University of South Carolina for Alexa's orientation for 2.5 days and then down to Disney World for the rest of the time.  A much needed BREAK for everyone that's for sure.


Aren't these snowball hydrangeas gorgeous?  Mine haven't blossomed yet but these were at the outlets and just too beautiful to not take a picture of.


I may or may not have done some shopping at the J.Crew, Banana Republic and Gap outlets last week.
Lots of awesome sales....sundresses for $29, tank tops for $15 and shorts for $15...I stocked up!


I went for happy colored flowers in my table centerpiece that my Dad made me...love the bright colors.
You can read more about the centerpiece HERE if you missed it.


One of the Father's Day gifts I got the hubs finally came....a signed baseball by Ian Desmond of the Washington Nationals.  It helped benefit a great charity so it was a win/win for everyone!



I took the kids down to DC on Thursday to watch the USAvs.Belgium FIFA Soccer game...always fun to watch those in a big crowd. We got a great table surrounded by TVs early and ate a few appetizers while waiting for the hubs to get there. Unfortunately TeamUSA lost but it was fun anyway. Then we mozied on across the street to watch our Washington Nationals play a game (2nd time that week lol).

Lots of lettuce coming out of my garden lately....I've been giving it to everyone LOL!
Tomatoes are pink so I should have some before we leave....told my neighbors to take whatever they wanted while we are gone on vacation to enjoy.


Thank you Hurricane Arthur for the FABULOUS weather we had on Friday for the 4th of July....in the mid-70's with a breeze & bright blue skies...gorgeous!

We celebrated at our fave crab shack Lowry's for some yummy steamed MD Blue Crabs covered in Old Bay for lunch...so good!


I was actually chilly enough by 4 pm that I had to change into jeans...so this was my 4th of July style.
Abercrombie skinnies, Gap t-shirt and Gap white jean jacket.

We went to see "TAMMY" at the movies and it was pretty good...definitely funny but with more serious moments.  NOT as funny as Bridesmaids, The Heat or The Other Woman...but good.

Then we had a late night dinner at our local IHop...for some of our Dean antics...I'm sure they groan when they see us come in because we always are acting goofy and laughing loudly LOL.  Naw, they love us there...I think ;)

Alexa snuggling with Winston....I think he's ok with it this time...somedays he's not LOL!


Tonight we are off to see the fireworks at our neighborhood Golf Club and then I'm down at my mom's tomorrow to drop the doggies off (sniff sniff). The boys will be at a Nationals Game and Alexa at a friends so mom is on her own ;)

Have a great weekend!




Saturday, June 28, 2014

I Cheat..Do You???



YUP, I'm a CHEATER!!!

In case anyone thinks I have it together 110% of the time I'm here to dispel those very silly notions.  
I, like you go through each day just trying to keep up with everything that happens in a normal or abnormal day.  And with 2 active teens, a husband who works late & travels much, and 8 animals there is ALWAYS something going on.  And some days I need any help I can get to do my best and look like I'm keeping up ;)

So here are a few things I cheat with to save time, feel better and look better:



I love dry shampoo...it not only freshens up your hair but gives it some volume too.  I wash my hair every 3rd day because my hair is dry and unless I'm sweating heavily it just doesn't need it.  I've tried a few expensive dry shampoos but I always come back to this Dove one...it has a faint, nice smell and its easy to use and gives my hair some body. And best of all its under $5 and lasts a long time. Walgreens has it for $4 here.



Shapewear....I love it and have a drawer full of it for every occasion.
Hey I'm 40, I've had 2 kids and lots of surgeries...I need all the help I can get some days.
I have some Spanx but the one piece I love the most is Flexees by Maidenform Women's Fat Free Collection Hi-Waist Boyshort. Its under $20, fits fabulously without rolling up or down, is thin enough for most clothes and will smooth out the lumps & bumps ;)  Now if its 95 degs outside with 90% humidity you won't find me wearing this...don't ask me about the time I did and tried to take it off in a bathroom stall, in the heat with sweaty skin...not a pretty site & very joke-worthy ;)



I wear a BB face cream (Ponds Luminous BB Cream) every day even if I'm not wearing makeup...it has spf and is moisturizing and evens out my skin enough to make me look somewhat less zombie like.  So when Jergens came out with their BB Body Cream I had to try it...and I LOVE IT!  Its great as a lotion and has just a teeny bit of color and some highlighters in it that smooth your legs. Now its not a heavy coverup so it won't cover scars, veins, birthmarks but it does just smooth things a bit.  It doesn't sweat off and leave marks either. I really like it a lot and it comes in different tones and is under $12...you only need to use a wee bit so it lasts too.



Before I put on makeup I use a primer of some sort...I have many including Smashbox more expensive one...but I love anything that can smooth out my skin and pores a bit and keep my makeup on especially in the summer.  My newest obsession is L'Oreal Paris RevitaLift Miracle Blur Cream ...Amazon has it fairly cheap at $14 (free ship with Prime too) so I order from them...my drugstores have it for around $19. It just fills in your pores and with or without makeup makes your skin look smooth.



I love coconut oil...I mean I love it!  I get mine from Tropical Traditions after reviewing them all online last year I found it to be one of the best.  I use it to cook with, I put it in my smoothies, I use it on my dry feet and nails and I use it as a hair mask.  Its all around good stuff.  Much better for you to cook with than traditional oils too.  And I swear by it for dry skin.



I use Crest Rapid WhiteStrips a couple times a year to keep my teeth nice and white.  But I use this Listerine Whitening Pre-Rinse every other day before I brush.  Yes, that's right...you rinse your teeth FIRST and then brush.  Its kept my teeth nice and white and kept me out of the dentist's chair for fillings too :)  It is my #1 secret to keeping your teeth white without a huge $ investment. Check your drugstores because its usually under $6 (I buy mine from Walgreens for $4).



Let's face it...we can all use a bit of a bump to help us look brighter, fresher and for me MORE AWAKE.  I use highlighters like its my religion...seriously.  Many eons ago I was a makeup artist for Clinique & Lancome and I learned the benefits of using highlighters to help you out and I've always had some in my arsenal.  I really loved Benefits Watts Up highliter stick but its pricey so was thrilled when Sonia Kashuk came out with something almost identical for a lot less HERE. $10 compared to $30...def a good trade in my opinion.  I use this on top of my cheekbones, brow bones and inner corner of eyes. It just brightens you up and it goes on smoothly and stays put.  I've even used it as a pretty eyeshadow during the day as it just brings light to your eyes and makes you look like you had a fabulous night's sleep...something I lack in ;)
Whoever invented the crock pot needs lots of rewards...one of the best inventions EVER!  I own 4 crockpots LOL...I have a round one that is 20 years old that was an engagement present & works fab and then this one above which I love because it holds longer items better like roasts and tenderloins. My friend Pat got me a zebra one that I use for parties and then I have a mini one I use for hot dips. This Crock-Pot Programmable Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker  is a fave of mine because of its shape, also programmable time settings (30 mins to 20 hours) and it is easy to transport if you are going to a pot-luck!  And all that for under $40.  ONE-POT-WONDERS I call them...I have an arsenal of recipes, always looking for more but have never been disappointed by my crock pot.  Especially nice during summer because it doesn't heat up the kitchen and you put your food in and forget-about-it. Great for days you are short on time...prep in the morning and just GO!
ZAQ Dew LiteMist Diffuser
 I am a HUGE fan of essential oils...I've been studying up on them for the past few years and try them out for many different uses (some of my fave uses & recipes soon to come on a post).  The less chemicals and toxins in my house, body and garden the better.  I mentioned I have 8 animals (6 cats and 2 dogs) and I HATE smelling them...I don't want my house to smell like a kennel...you feel me?
So I use an organic cat litter (clean all 6 boxes multiple times a day) and I use these Essential Oil Diffusers (I have 3, one on each level of my house).  I use the Purification Oil to dispel odors in the house...they work beautifully and keep my house fresh organically.  I like this one the best because it has auto-shut off and seems to put out the right amount for my house.  There are many on the market and you can use a tealight diffuser but I like the electric ones because I can run them without worry.
An easy way to deodorize or scent your home.


Maxi dresses
They hide a multitude of sins, make dressing for the day easy, and are definitely on trend.  I have 3 and Alexa has 2 Lush maxi dressees from Nordstroms...they are usually on sale for less than $40. They fit great and I love them for traveling because they don't wrinkle much.  Slip one on add some jewelry and sandals or wedges and you are DONE. Easy peasy for those days your brain can't handle putting an outfit together LOL! (Patterned & Solid Dresses STILL on sale for $38 HERE)



What's Your Favorite Cheat??




Thursday, June 26, 2014

How Does Your Garden Grow?


SUM.SUM.SUMMERTIME!!


Do you plant a garden every spring & summer?  Do you love going out your back door and picking some fresh produce. I know I sure do....one of my favorite things about summer.  I don't use any pesticides on my plants so I know exactly where and how my produce is grown.

There is just something about the smell of a tomato plant that always symbols summer to me.
And when you cut fresh herbs....a little bit of heaven on earth I think.
Nothing better for you or more inexpensive than growing your own veggies and herbs.
Even if you have a garden in a pot....so worth it!!



This was my garden a month ago....everything coming in nicely and anticipating some yummy veggies and herbs.



And this is today!  Everything is growing in beautifully and we've been eating already from the garden most nights.


My zucchini plants are looking great....lots of beautiful blooms so I know we will be eating fresh zucchini by the time I get back from vacation!

I plant both the zucchini and cucumbers with seeds every year and have always had success with them.  In fact other than my tomato and pepper plants everything is planted by seeds.  For under $25 you can have a garden full of yummy produce for the summer....can't beat that!



I always plant 5 different types of lettuces in my garden...super easy to grow and OMGosh it tastes so good.  We have fresh salads, BLTs, Caprese Salad, Burgers...everything has fresh lettuce on it. And once these crops dwindle, I pull up the leftover stalks and plant new seeds. I usually have lettuce thru October most years. And enough to share with neighbors and friends too :)  Even though I use no pesticides the lettuce still has dirt on it...so everything gets washed and then I use the OXO Salad Spinner to dry it out (love my spinner).



I'm most excited about having some fresh tomatoes real soon.  There are some biggun's already growing and a ton of cherry tomatoes...I expect to have them for next weekend's Fourth of July...mmm. Can we say tomato sandwich with Dukes Mayo and a bit of pepper...YUMMO!



My basil plants are stunning...no doubt about it...they look beautiful! Planted by seeds and I have enough for 1000 Italian dinners LOL!  We've already used it in Caprese Salads, Chicken Parmesan and Italian Meatloaf.  I like the sweet basil so that's usually what I plant.  I also have chives, cilantro and rosemary planted that we've been using too.


This is one of my pepper plants...I don't like peppers nor do I eat them.  However the boys love them so I always plant a mix of green peppers and habanero peppers for them.  Those are my cosmos coming in nicely to the right of the peppers.  I like to plant flowers in my garden as well....they look pretty and deter the animals.



This is what I've been pulling out of the garden most days....along with bowlfuls for friends.
Soooo yummy!


Salads most nights with my homemade Caesar Dressing or Balsamic Dressings.


And chicken parmesan with fresh basil....so good...non-paleo yes but very good indeed ;)



So...How Does Your Garden Grow?



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Beach Reads!


GREAT SUMMER READS

When I go on vacation, I love nothing better than reading a GREAT book or two or three....well let's be honest sometimes its as many as 12 LOL!  And some of my favorite authors have books out or coming out which means my Kindle is really, really happy!



 First & foremost I cannot wait....I mean I'm ecstatically giddy about his book release.  Its the third and last in the series...and its tops on my list to read on vacation in July.  The "All Souls Trilogy" by Deborah Harkness and the last book is "The Book of Life".  I've already informed the family that I will be reading this like a madwoman during vacation evenings...I cannot wait!  If you haven't delved into this trilogy..well what are you waiting for...its sooooo amazingly good!


I love most of the Southern women authors and their books...I have yet to read a bad one by any of these authors.  I'm saving this one for next week so I can't give a review yet but it sounds REALLY good and I'm sure its a page-turner like the rest of her books.



This is the second book in the trilogy by Mary Alice Monroe. Her books always make me happy when reading them and they never fail to be great stories...usually about women, friendships and life in general.  The first book was the opener about 3 half sisters brought together to a beach house by their grandmother....it involved a dolphin named Delphine that of course made it more special.  I'm halfway through the second book and so far its as good as the first book.



Under a Summer Sky
All of Nan's books are great reads...usually family sagas that make you want to keep turning the page to read on.  I haven't delved into this one yet but its next on my to-read list so I'll let you know...but I'm sure it will be a good one too!  My fave book of hers (all were good) is "More Than You Know" and its on sale for only $2.99...that's a bargain for such a great read!


The Accidental Book Club
I just bought this book yesterday...I'm a sucker for books about book clubs hahaha...but it sounded good too.  Its on the to-read list as well!



Magnolia City
This is a sweeping saga set in the 1920's...I'm a sucker for historical based novels and a friend recommended this book to me.  Looking forward to reading this one!




So there ya go....a few great beach/vacation book reads to make your R&R even better!
Let me know if you read any of them and if you love them!
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And join my cyber book club "BookEndz" on Facebook to get even more suggestions
and reviews!!




 
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