Wednesday, November 30, 2011

You Tube

Today my friend Ben posted this HILARIOUS video on Facebook today and I was seriously DYING laughing.  Wait for the last 10 seconds. It will be so worth it.

Last 10 seconds

My aunt yesterday was telling me about this You Tube Video where a jazz ensemble plays for a herd (is that what they are called?) of cows and they get mesmerized by the music. I pride myself on being “in the know” and had never heard of this before and it was a really cute video, so I thought I would share it with you guys who hadn’t seen in yet either.  (Please tell me I am not the only one in the dark.)

Play music ‘til the cows come home

The video reminded me a lot of this story that was a sermon probably 3-4 years ago at church.  The world’s greatest violinist, who sells tickets to his concerts for over $100 a seat, set up shop in the Washington Subway.  He was greatly ignored.  Most people who stopped and listened were children who were scurried on by their parents.  The moral of the story was that we often overlook the beauty in our day, the beauty that kids still innocently see. (Read the full story at the Washington Post.) When you think about all the beauty we overlook each day, it helps give your day a little perspective.  (I promise to be back to less self-helpy posts soon :).

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Good Reads

So I am currently reading (listening) to the most hilarious book and had to share it with you guys:

Freaking.Hilarious. You may recognize Mindy Kaling as Kelly Kapoor on The Office.  She is very self-deprecating and so, so funny.  It is a quick read and perfect for this hectic time of the year.

Another fun book, if you haven’t already read it is:

And without sounding too much like you Amazon shopping cart, if you liked Bossypants, you will love “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” and vice versa.

Next up on my library audiobook queue is:

I guess I am in need of a laugh. Or just a fun read. Either way, I would recommend the first two and will let you know about Ellen’s book. However, based on the book she had in the 90’s (am I aging myself?), I am sure I will love it!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Packaging

Since I cannot get seem to get the Christmas theme off of my blog, I wanted to share with you what I am thinking for my packaging this year.

I love the look!  I saw this on Pinterest and loved the idea of the paper ribbon. It keeps your ribbon from getting crushed and still has a great look.  I ended up purchasing it from etsy seller Paperjacks, along with some labels. I am thinking of doing kraft paper as my wrap with this as my color. 

Hopefully this will motivate me to wrap a gift this year. I usually just throw them in a bag. I could honestly win an award for world’s worst wrapper.  No lie.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas

Love, love, love having my house decorated for Christmas.  Hate putting it up and taking it down.  Luckily, as I was silently cursing and coming to terms with the fact that this year we would not be putting up a tree, four angels came in and helped me decorate for Christmas. 

My mom, two aunts and a friend rang my doorbell on Friday morning when I was about a quarter of the way through putting up my décor and helped me transform my house.

Here are some pics.  I totally want to have people over all the time to make all of the decorating worth it!

Above my range:

My mantel:

Of course there would be Santa babushkas.  These used to be my moms and I am pretty sure this where my love of them began.

The nativity scene:

Holiday even greets you when you come in…which reminds me, I didn’t take a picture of my front door and the really cute doormat I have. Hmm. I guess that gives me something to blog about later in the week. I know the suspense must be killing you.

And a totally blurry picture of the tree. Sorry about that. Looked great on the tiny screen on my camera. Actually, changed my mind.  Shrunk it tiny so that it looks the same way for you guys.  It is really pretty, promise.

I think next year I am going to do a Starbucks tree. You think?  I kind of think I should get some endorsement fees for this, but I’d take some free gift cards as a trade.

Some other favorites:

My mom always had spode Christmas china, so when we got this dog ornament as a gift it was just perfect!

My dad used to love these toys. Or at the very least, he gave my sister and I one after a trip he took. We also used to get my dad Peeps every Easter. I think it was the Easter before he passed away he told us he hated them. Ha! So we may have just placed this toy in the same category as the Peeps - as a thing he “loved,” but it was really something he picked up in the airport on the way home. :) Either way, it is a good memory of him on my tree.

Love my baking ornaments! My mom and Aunt Angie gave me these.

These are Tommy’s favorites. We have a whole German section on our tree. 

This is new décor this year. My Aunt Pam was very sweet and got me all of this and set it up for me.  I love the way it looks!

The year before (or after) Tommy and I got married, my mom gifted me with my own Christmas china.  It looks so pretty in my china hutch.

My mom and Aunt Pam also gave me these trees and church to go above my media console.  It is so pretty when it is all lit up!

Can’t wait to see all of my fellow bloggers’ décor!  Since I clearly don’t have enough ;), let me know what I am missing!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A holiday must-buy

So a few years I took the plunge and bought a fake tree.  It is soooooo much easier, but I miss the smell of a fresh cut tree. I also keep my tree in our office and close the doors because Carter eats the (fake) berries off the tree. However, this leads to a stale smell from the rug in the office that permeates the room. Sorry, TMI and totally gross, but true. 

However, today I came across something that solves both of my problems (the lack of fresh tree smell and the stale air) – Scentsicles.  I wish I was being paid for this endorsement, but I just wanted to share the love.

These are scented ornaments that you put in your tree and they let out a smell that is amazingly close to the smell of a fresh cut tree.  I got mine at Lowe’s for $7ish, but they are available online here. Then, at the end of the season, you just throw them away.

You will love them!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Weekly Faves

Check out this cute turkey appetizer featured by my friend Anne of A. Party Style. She gives directions on her blog to create this adorable cute turkey.  (Anne, I tried to post a comment, but for some reason I couldn’t post from my computer!)

I have a weird love for capiz shells. Maybe it was because I got married on the beach. Maybe it is because they are cool looking. I am not sure. But I love these capiz shell Christmas Trees featured on Sand and Sisal.

If you are still looking for the perfect Pumpkin Pie recipe, I am totally drooling over this one – Caramel Pumpkin Pie – from The Farm Girl Recipes.

You know how I feel about Chex Puppy Chow Mix. LOVE.  So I was especially intrigued by this Hot Cocoa Chex Mix created by Hoosier Homemade and featured on I heart Naptime.

Another creative idea featured on Anne’s blog this week was stamped cookies. Such a good idea!  (Assuming the stamp has never been used. He, he!)

I love this idea of easy cookies to “bake” with kids like these acorn cookies featured on Sheek Shindigs.

Another great idea is this baked bread cornucopia featured on Taste of Home.  I would so eat this.

If I don’t post before Thursday, I hope you each have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Mine will be full of desserts (forget the turkey!) and Breaking Dawn. Cannot wait!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Real Simple–Faves of their Faves

So yesterday in the airport I was looking for a new magazine to pass the time and I remembered Ashley telling me that Real Simple was her favorite. I hadn’t picked it up in awhile, so I did and they had some of the cutest Christmas ideas.  I picked my favorites of their favorites to share with you. I am so clever and resourceful (aka lazy).

But before I get into that, I have to share three of my real life favorites right now.

1- The Michael Buble Holiday Station on Pandora. Love it. I can tell you that they also played my favorite holiday song – Baby, it’s cold outside – within three songs of starting it. Let’s just hope they never play that terribly depressing Christmas Shoes song.

2- Why do I love LMFAO (the band, not the abbreviation)?  Is it because I have been watching them since they were an integral part of Real World Cancun? Likely.  (Confession: I have seen EVERY season of the Real World since it began.  This is why this is a confession. It is like a deep dark secret.)  Anyway, I love this song. It is likely because it is made for people 10 years younger, but I like to think of myself as very hip still. Clearly, I identify with the younger crowd since I am still watching the Real World. Also, I work out.

Katie, honorary member of the Party Rock Crew

3- Each time Tommy and I go on a trip we try to bring back one ornament for our tree.  I bought this one in Chicago at Crate and Barrel. Can you think of a more perfect ornament???  I will confess, they had many different “looks” to their babushkas and I bought this one because it looked most like me.  It also the same reason I wanted a Samantha American Girl Doll since I was 14.  But this was much cheaper.

babushka crate and barrel

Okay, so for the Real Simple selections. They had lots of cute ideas. These were just my favorites.

I love mugs. Love them. Cannot fit one more mug in my cabinets, but thought this collection from Korin was super clever. Who wouldn’t want a squirrel tail mug?

Jackie, these next two items reminded me of things you might love. One is a makeup studio from Sephora and is only $50. It reminds me of those art sets from when you were a kid that I ALWAYS wanted and finally got from my sister about 4 years ago. 

A few years ago my friend Megan gave me a Bobbi Brown makeup set for Christmas and I am still using it today. I am sure it was supposed to expire about a year ago, but I use it every day and still have tons left and I love it.  This year Bobbi Brown has a holiday night out set for only $25.

In the magazine they had a really cute display of these scarf on a spool sets from Chloe In Style. I love packaging, and thought this was really creative and cute.

And the Best Idea Ever award goes to JCPenney for this cardboard box house. What kid wouldn’t love this? And the best part – it is only $20!  It was such a good idea Christine featured it today, too.

Is this not hilarious?  It is available on etsy store Burly Beard. They have them for adults, too!

And I will leave you with a stocking stuffer for your indecisive friends/family members – a Magic Eight Ball pen. Get all of your answers with a click of the pen. From Spoon Sisters. (Cute site if you have never visited. Lots of quirky items!)

Enjoy!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekend Away

This weekend Tommy and I went to Chicago to celebrate my friend Mindy’s recent wedding.  She got married in the Turks and Caicos and I so wish I could have been there in person.  I hope she doesn’t mind, but here is a link to her photographer’s blog with some of the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen.  Click here to view.

This past weekend she had an amazing party in Chicago for the guests who couldn’t (and those who could!) to the islands.

And….guess who didn’t take a single picture at said reception? Ahem. Me.

Tommy and I got in Friday around one and went to our hotel, had lunch and then went shopping.  I was having so much fun in Macy’s because it was all decorated for Christmas and the music was playing.  I clearly don’t get out much.

I also had to have an afternoon snack:

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When Kelsey and I went to Chicago last fall this cupcake shop (Sugar Bliss) was my favorite.  This time I had the pumpkin and peach cobbler cupcake.  Sadly, they weren’t as good as I remembered them.

Saturday morning we went to eat at Hannah’s Bretzels. I am a HUGE pretzel fan and the funniest thing is I always call them Bretzel’s since my husband is very German.  So this was a must do for me.

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Then we went shopping on Michigan Avenue.  The gardens were amazing.  They were so pretty!  We shopped around a bit, but it was sooooo crowded.  However, the Christmas season was in the air, so I loved every second of it!

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One of the funnest things we did on Saturday was visit the specialty grocery store, Fox & Obel. Loved it. I could have walked around it all day. I told Tommy if I lived in Chicago I would want to work there. :)

A pic from their site is below. Kind of like a Dean & DeLuca if you have ever been to one.

That afternoon we went to Frontera Grill, again where Kelsey and I ate last year. It was good, but not nearly as good as I remember.  I did, however, have a Rick Bayless siting for those of you who are Top Chef Fans.

We ended the day with a trip to Crumbs.  OMG. You guys – these were awesome!  They were HUGE cupcakes and worth the $3.75 price tag.  Tommy got the Grasshopper, which is a chocolate cake with a peppermint and cookie icing.  I got the pumpkin – imagine that.

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I would give these a highly recommend.  The store was cute, too.

That evening we went to Mindy’s reception, which was at Hotel Sax and was a blast.  She had tons of dancing and it was so fun to see her in her dress!!!

Today we had breakfast with Mindy’s out of town guests and family, did a little shopping and flew home.  The only down note was that my credit card company called while we were shopping (again) and said my card number had been stolen and was being used fraudulently in the outskirts of Chicago. UGH.  Not a huge deal, just a huge hassle.  But I am sure bad karma for the thief is even worse. At least I am telling myself that.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The fattened calves–an update

So remember my post begging for help on “wide-calf” tall boots?  Well, I took your advice and went to DSW.

I found a pair that actually fit and definitely didn’t break the bank:

It likely helps that they slouch a bit, but, hey, I am officially trendy now.  I got these in black, but they look weird online. I promise they are just black.

I also found a pair of heeled ones at TJ Maxx:

They are also sold at Macy’s for $130, but I got them for $85. I love a deal.

I also got ankle boots from Zappos, but don’t think I should press my trendy luck by wearing skinny jeans with the ankle boots. Ask me again in about 2 years from now. When the trend is dying, I am sure I will be picking it up.

And if you happen to be in the market for slippers, I found the cutest ones ever from the Loft.

I may have a shoe problem.  Don’t tell Tommy.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nieces & Nephews

Remind me when I say I don’t have anything to post about to just check out my cell phone pics. I am often reminded when I browse through them that I do actually get out sometime or at least have a picture to share.

I have some of the cutest pictures of my niece and nephews that I haven’t shared!

Seriously, could Max and Drew be any cuter?

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Max is so funny and at that age that you can totally give him a hard time.  In our house we have one room that is completely empty except for Tommy’s baseball cards, some toys for the kids and some random jerseys. (The epitome of a “junk drawer” only it is a whole room.)

I thought it would be fun to put a jersey on Max and have him go ask his Uncle Tommy if he could keep it.  He was a good sport when Tommy laughed and told him no. Mean uncle.

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A few weeks ago my sister and Finley came over to make pumpkin cookies. Isn’t this the sweetest picture? Ha!

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In case you are in the market for a pumpkin cookie recipe with glaze, here you go:

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze:

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze with fork.
  4. To Make Glaze: Combine confectioners' sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.

Makes 36 cookies

Moving on to Halloween…nothing like being two weeks late.  Drew went as a little German boy and wore the lederhosen we brought Max back from Germany. Honestly, have you seen anything more adorable ever???  Poor Max had strep, so he couldn’t do Halloween. Luckily, I think he was young enough that he didn’t know better.

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Finley went as Olivia the Pig. She was not in the mood to have her picture taken, so this is as good as it gets.  She was cute, though!

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A better pic of her hat ;).

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My sister and Emily threw an adorable party for the kids! Here are some of the details:

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Pardon my inability to take a good picture. You can view much better ones here!

 
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