Friday, January 29, 2010

Fit For A Queen

I am headed to a baby shower for a friend of mine in a couple weeks. She's having a baby girl and I decided to buy her some of the bedding she picked out for the baby's crib. It's always nice when someone registers for what gifts they like so you don't have to go through the hassle of asking yourself 'would they like this?' or 'do they already have this?'. I, however, do like to add a little something unique and custom to the gift.

Since I am on a bedding theme I thought it be great to add a cute pillow that the baby could keep until she grows up. Here are some I'm looking at. I especially love the postcard pillow.

Sitting Pretty Pillow @ Anthropologie


Sweet Dreams Pillow @ JcPenney




















Postcard Pillow & The 2nd Cutest Sheep Ever @ Olive's shop on etsy





Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Couch Potato

Several years ago I bought a beautiful Pottery Barn sectional in white. It was too big to fit in our apartment so I've kept it at my parents house in the meantime. Knock on wood, we will be moving out of this old, size of my foot apartment and into a bigger and better place soon. Every apartment we've looked at so far has a big enough living room to fit my beloved PB couch which means I need to start thinking about covering it. I am looking at several different patterns and shades. These are my top 3, what do you think?






























found on calico corners

Monday, January 25, 2010

Looking For An Escape?

Sometimes we all need a little r&r from the every day grind....a little rejuvenation for the mind, body, and soul.. As much as I would lovvvvve to hop on a plane to Mexico and plop my arse on the beach, my budget just won't allow it. So, I think I found a decent replacement, at least for the mind. UPS just dropped off 3 Bliss Trips cds. Created by Kerstin Sjoquist, each cd takes you on a mystical vacation for the mind. There are 3-5 "stories" per cd and each act as guided journey's to help you relax and find peace of mind.

My body may not be in Mexico but for 60 minutes a day my mind is!

Check out your daily bliss tip on the right hand column of my blog.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Perfect Evening

How much do I love a bath? Ahhh, sooo much!! Baths help me clear my mind and de-stress. I love all kinds of bath products- salts, sugar drops, oil, bubbles, you name it. The key ingredient is the scent. Depending on what I'm in the mood for and in need of, the scent makes the bath. Add a candle or two and good book and you have yourself a perfect evening in.

H20 Less Stress Bath Cubes













Lollia's Foaming Bath (bubble maker!)













Fresh Lemon Sugarbath Cubes













Aubrey-Organics Eucalyptus Rejuvenating Bath Soak (I reach for this when I have a headache)











Aspara-Aromatics Mandi Flora Asian spa treatment















Dr. Hauschka's Aromatherapy Bath Kit (makes a great gift)



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sleep Deprived?

I am. I don't have insomnia but I am a long sufferer of just not being able to fall asleep. Whether it's from stress, anxiety, too much on my mind, or my husband snoring, I sometimes toss and turn for hours and hours before I finally doze off. My girl over @ livit luvit suffers from sleep deprivation and I know many of you feel our pain. When I finally fall asleep I am usually awakened by a noise, any noise will do. Jason loves telling a story of how he was getting ready for work one morning and he accidentally dropped a penny on our bedroom carpet. Any normal person would sleep right through this...but not me. As soon as the penny hit the carpet I jumped out of bed and started yelling. Apparently I have very sensitive hearing!

One of the most important factors in helping me sleep is our bedroom environment. I have black out shades, a tempur-pedic bed, low lights, soft pillows, aromatherapy, and a slew of homeopathic helpers (see below). The problems arise when I am on vacation or visiting with family. I know you've all been there, especially around the holidays- sleeping on a cot, pull-out couch, or even a 20 year old twin bed. For me, there's nothing worse than waking up with a sore back, stiff neck, and 2 hours of sleep. My answer is always Get a Hotel Room! You will thank me in the morning, trust me. The $100 a night you spend on room will be well worth it. And your family will be happy you aren't mrs cranky pants in the AM.

Here are my picks for help catching up on your zzzzz's.

Melatonin. My saviour! I recommend starting with 1mg and see if that works. If not, step it up to 3mg and that should knock you out for 6+ hours. It is a non-habit forming, drug-free supplement you can find in any drugstore. Any brand will work.













Bach Rescue Night Spray. I also swear by this product. I spray 1-2 sprays on my tongue and within 1/2 hour I start to feel drowsy. 













Sprayology's SleepEase. Another great homeopathic spray. 













Decleor Night Balm. Put a small amount in the palm of cupped hands and breathe in. Gently apply to your face.













Earth Theraputics Dream Zone Sleep Mask. It's silky and thick, so there's no chance of light coming through!

Monday, January 18, 2010

You've All Seen It

But let's watch it one more time!

Now Is The Time.

Take a couple moments to watch Martin Luther King's moving I have a dream speech. I know it's a bit long but if there was every a time to reflect and learn from the heroes of our nation's past, it is now. 
"Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring—when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"


Friday, January 15, 2010

Card Collection

I am in the market for a new card collection. Every season I buy myself a new set of thank you and greeting cards. To me, there is nothing like getting a pretty little note in the mail even if it's just to say hello.

I am little behind this year on getting my winter cards but here are some note-worthy finds I caught on etsy.com

20s inspired cards from niminami's etsy shop. $7 for a set of five.


The back-up plan cards for every occasion from creativity cards etsy shop. $16 for a set of eight.














He says he can hear the forest whisper cards from HidenSeek's etsy shop. $2.99 for one card, inquire about a set.






















Bunches of thanks note cards from stationery boutique's etsy shop. $20 for a set of sixteen.





Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti Help

I just received an email from a friend who works at Verizon. Below is another way to help. The contribution will be added to your bill.

A Big Day of Giving in Mobile History
Customers of Verizon Wireless and our competitors in the United States donated more than $1 million today to the Red Cross relief effort for Haiti - directly from their mobile phones.

The Red Cross shortcode 90999 with keyword HAITI was turned live at midnight on Jan. 12. As of 5 p.m. ET, Verizon Wireless customers alone contributed more than $300,000. That's 17 hours -- $10 a message -- to the American Red Cross relief effort for victims in Haiti.

Any Verizon Wireless customer can send the message "Haiti" to short code 90999. Customers will receive a response text message, saying, "To confirm your $10 donation to Red Cross Int'l Response Fund reply with YES.”

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Reach Out

The devastation in Haiti is beyond imaginable. I had CNN on last night and today. The pictures of the dead and the survivors are shocking and unfortunately the US has limited communication with them. We will be supporting a search and rescue operation and hopefully they can save as many people as they can. I was going to post some pictures but I think they are too graphic (you can get an idea by reading any newspaper, blog, or tv station).

Haiti needs our help. Pledge your support and log on to American Red Cross to give what you can. Keep them in your thoughts....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Girlfriend Getaways

I just back from a long weekend in Cleveland, OH. Not the warmest place to go in Jan, but that is where my sister-in-law, husband, and nieces live, so Jay and I made the trek. There was lots of playing, screaming, running around, laughing, and temper tantrums to last me for a long, long time!

During one semi-quiet afternoon we got to talking about vacations and how my sister-in-law couldn't relate to the fact that I take vacations with my girlfriends, my mom, or even by myself. She's never taken a vacation without her husband and it seemed odd to her why someone would go on holiday without their significant other. I, of course, come from the opposite spectrum where I couldn't imagine not taking a long weekend to the spa with my girls, or a mexican getaway with my mom, or even a yoga retreat by myself. These weekends make for fabulous memories and serious bonding time with myself and the women in my life. I wouldn't give these up for a million bucks!

Not only do these vacations solidify the strong bond we have with each other, but also it gives us time to share stories, get advice, and most of all have fun!  Here are some great girl getaways for every age. Do you have a favorite girlfriend getaway? I would love to hear about it.

The Quick Weekender: Vegas Style
What better place to take a quick weekend off with your girls, than Las Vegas, Nevada. Sin City is the ultimate for a weekend romp. The obvious hotel choices are there but I love to stay at Mandalay Bay's THE HOTEL. This all suite hotel offers a posh atmosphere without the Vegas cheese. Check out Cirque Du Soleil's O at the Bellagio or their Beatles LOVE show at the Mirage. There are too many restaurants to name but I've always loved Tao in the Venetian or Aureole in the Mandalay Bay. Hang around late night as Tao becomes a club or hit ghostbar at The Palms. And don't forget the shopping!













The Ultimate Week with Mom: Riviera Maya, Mexico
I have stayed at several places in and around the Riviera Maya and nothing beats the Royal Hideaway Playacar. It's the ultimate in all inclusive. For me, when I hear those two words, all inclusive, I think cheap. This is definitely not the case at the adult only Royal Hideaway. Each room is set in a villa and each villa has a personal concierge. They help you make reservations at the 7 different restaurants (my fave is Las Ventanas) and any other activities you may want to partake in while you are there. They also have a wonderful high tea service which my mom and I took full advantage of. The only real catch with this resort is the beach. A major hurricane hit the area several years ago and took out a bunch of hotels and area beaches. The beach is nice and private but it is very small. Snag yourself a seat in the morning or opt to sit poolside.






















Deals in: Vermont
Looking for a ski, spa, and shopping weekend? Vermont has been promoting winter getaway deals for those who want to brave the cold weather. There are several popular places you can go- Killington, Stowe, Okemo- but I really enjoy Manchester, Vermont. For accommodations, there is nothing like Starwood's Equinox Resort. It has a spa, restaurants, and beautiful rooms. You can shop at the nearby Manchester village, go to the outlets, and go shopping for antiques. Or spend the day at Stratton mountain and practice your downhill skiing.  Another great option for accommodations is the Reluctant Panther Inn or the Inn at Manchester.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

1+1+1= Goat Cheese & Ricotta Crostini
















Lemon +















Goat Cheese +

















Olive Oil =








Goat Cheese & Ricotta Crostini

20-24 thinly sliced french bread
3-4 ounces soft goat cheese (leave cheese out so it softens)
1/3 cup ricotta cheese- whole milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup of pine nuts
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Salt & pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle or brush 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the slices of bread. Sprinkle pine nuts on each slice. Grill the bread until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes, but keep an eye on it).

In a small bowl, stir the goat cheese, ricotta, basil, lemon, and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil until creamy. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture on the bread slices and mangia!

Photos from flickr, weheartit, and murray's chese.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies



This past Christmas my mom, aunt Heidi, and I took out our reliable, never fail Joy of Cooking: Christmas Cookies cookbook and made several dozen cookies. We started with snickerdoodles, mexican wedding cakes, and spritz. We then went on to make linzer, rugala, chocolate chip, and my fave- peanut butter chocolate chip! Just about every recipe worked out well except for the cooking time on the pb&cc cookies. I had to take them out 5 minutes early so they wouldn't burn.


Now, you would think I am all cookie'd out BUT there's always more room for a some post holiday sweets. I decided to make double peanut butter chip cookies adapted from the Joy of Cooking cookbook and found on evilshenanigans.com
The only tweak I made was adding chocolate chips to the batter. Head on over to their website and fill your kitchen (and tummy) with the delicious scent of home-made cookies.

Friday, January 1, 2010

What's In Store For You in 2010?

I cannot believe 2009 is over. It seems like it whipped by us like a strong, distasteful wind. It wasn't the best year of my life but there are some bright and shining moments to remember:
  • The 3 month amazing trip I took with my husband! I have a ton more postings to place on that. 
  • My nephew was born. He's my little chunky monkey.
  • My best friend had a baby girl. She's my stinkypants.
  • And I started this blog!

Hopefully 2010 will bring lots more love, hugs, and good things. I checked my yearly overview horoscope and it's not that bad. If you are a scorpio read below, if not click here to check yours. 
Happy New Year everyone!

Year 2010 Overview

Scorpios have a certain reputation for taking things a little too seriously, and to some extent you've earned that. The next year is going to give you new opportunities to really express yourself in new ways, and to get results from all that Scorpionic intensity you've been carrying around all your life. On the one hand, there will be new pressures developing as far as a lot of long-standing issues that you've faced for a long time, and that have been building for the last few years. New channels of communication will be opening up for you, and new ways to express yourself.
There may be a sense of deep pressure building when it comes to how you live your life and deal with the Big Picture issues. The usual problems of day-to-day living -- paying the bills, dealing with relationships, making time for yourself -- may merely be the guise in which these issues present themselves. In fact, with Saturn transiting your Twelfth House of hidden issues, you may find yourself confronted with people and issues that are merely your own issues in disguise. Think of it as a psychodrama where those around you are merely playing out individual psychological factors within yourself.
The good news is that no other sign in the zodiac is better equipped to stare an issue in the eye and see it for what it really is than you. Over the years, you've developed the tools you'll need to not only make it through another year but to prosper in all the ways that really count.
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