Monday, August 30, 2010

Making It Lovely Over the Weekend

Taylor was sick this weekend with a double ear infection, not lovely
Because of it we did have to stay home all weekend long, lovely
Which left me with some time to do some crafting, lovely

We started a redoux of Taylor's room about 3 weeks ago, by painting the walls, putting up tongue and groove wainscoting and 6 inch baseboards.  That part came out beautiful. 
But as of Friday, books had not yet been put away, pictures had not yet been rehung, and a fun little wall art project I had envisioned had not yet been completed.

I changed that this weekend though.  While Taylor and Syd napped on Saturday, I ran out to Joann's to pick up the fabric and created this fun little display.

Now friends, please pardon the pictures.  They were taken by my camera phone.  While my dear husband, who is actually the handiest man I know, can fix almost anything, he cannot fix a Canon 30D DSLR camera.  And someone besides me needs to tell him that.  I have tried, but he keeps tinkering with it, vowing to fix it himself.  Truth be told, I think he is trying to get me so frustrated with the whole shebang that I break down and tell him he can go ahead and order the 5D Markii he's been pining over.  Well the joke's on him, I'll keep patiently waiting and taking pictures with my trusty camera phone :)
I was inspired by my the window display in my favorite cake shoppe the Sweet and Saucy Shop.  They had theirs suspended from the ceiling, but I knew they would look just as cute hung on the wall.  I picked up various sizes of embroidery hoops at Michael's from $1.29-$1.79 (I was surprised at how inexpensive they were), and then just cut out some coordinating fabric.  I hung them with blush pink satin ribbon and voila!.

Taylor's room is a horse theme, so I knew I had to incorporate some sort of a horse silhouette into the mix.  Since I don't have one of those fancy Silhouette machines, I just used my trusty old freezer paper method, and it worked out just fine. I think I will redo the silhouette of her though and use a picture of her in a ponytail since her mass of hair just sort of hides her sweet face. 

This was a fun and easy way to get my much needed creative juices flowing again.  I'm realizing that since starting back to work full time, I need to do at least one creative project a week to still feel like me.  This is just what the doctor ordered!

And Taylor is doing much better this morning, but the poor little thing is going to take the day off of school since she did have a slight fever through yesterday afternoon.

I'm linking up to Heather's Making It Lovely Monday at Blessed Little Nest!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Trend Report At a Discount

It's Give and Get time at the Gap and all it's affiliates.
What does that mean?
30% off storewide on every single piece of merchandise.
I get chills just thinking about it.
Here are some of the looks I'm dreaming of, on point with the Fall 2010 Trend Report, 
as seen here, and here and here
utilitarian inspired: anorak, chambray tunic, leggings 
chunky sweaters & layering: sweater, scarf
& instead of the skirt I would wear with a boyfriend jean
and I'm still pining over a pair of brown riding boots, 
since I have worn my black riding boots for 3 seasons straight now. 
Moms, the riding boot is the perfect fall and winter shoe since it is flat, warm and protective against the elements.  I wear mine more in the winter than tennies, Uggs and ballerina flats combined.
And ladies, mark your calendars for something even more exciting.
Target announced earlier this month that their next GO collaboration would be with Tucker by Gaby Basora
The woman that launched a brand off of a single lovely blouse, will now be available at Target from September 12th through October 17th.  I know so many were giddy when Liberty of London came to Target.  But the thought of having one of her sweet yet bold blouses at a price I can actually afford makes me swoon more than LofL ever could.  Take a look at some of the pieces from the collection:

You can visit the entire look book here
What do you think?  I'm not sure about the dresses, but I love the blouses.  The prints are bold enough to make a statement but not be too overpowering, in silhouettes that are forgiving, which is key for me.  
I'm finding that the older I get, the looser I like my tops to be.   
Anything you're pining over for your fall wardrobe?

p.s. these are all filed away under wants, not needs :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition

Do you ever hear a song on the radio and instantly become obsessed?
It's the type of song that makes your stomach flutter?
Gives you goosebumps?
Reminds you of a different time in your life, but also creates memories for the present?
Sweet Disposition by Temper Trap is that song for me right now.
It makes me think of high school, all teenage angst.
Standing in a crowded show, eyes closed, swaying back and forth to the music
Or driving fast through Turnbull Canyon with the windows rolled down, testing fate
And then I saw the video, with the singer wearing his Duckie hat, and it really brought it back to high school.
Where's my salvation army cardigan and Doc Martens?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Noah's Ark Exhibit at the Skirball Center

We did so much this summer, filling our days with lots of swimming, beaching, walking and crafting.  But at least once a week we did a "big" adventure of some sort.  One of the most memorable adventures for us was our visit to the Noah's Ark Exhibit at the Skirball Center with some friends. 

The exhibit doesn't open until Noon, so since we purchased tickets in advance online, we all packed a picnic lunch and ate outside, next to the beautiful lily pond.  The kids enjoyed cookies for Jake's birthday, and posed for pictures.
When you first walk in there's these interesting pieces of art made out of all sorts of materials.
The actual Noah's Ark exhibit is made up of three distinct rooms, all with elements related to Noah's Ark made out of everyday items.  The first room had these enchanting life-size animals made out of cooling vents, pot sticker bowls and bathtubs.
The next room focused on movement and motion.  Pulleys that made thunder, wheels that loaded animals two by two into a giant wooden Noah's Ark, and pumps that made rain.  The kids loved making things happen and watching how their movement created something tangible.  Syd came close to getting into fisticus with a few peers over the ramp that carried the animals into the ark.
Everywhere you looked there was some sort of incredible piece of art to marvel at.  It was interesting seeing how the animals were interpreted so differently in every room.

The last room was a huge climbing structure that the kids could climb in and out and up and down in.  We spent about 45 minutes out of our 2 hour time allotment in this room.
If you live in the Southern California area, this exhibit is definitely worth the trip through the dreaded 405 LA traffic.  Driving up was a cinch since we didn't get there until 11:30.  Coming home though at 4 pm was of course a nightmare.  In hindsight, I think it would have been nice to buy tickets to one of the later entrances, say 3 pm, stay till 5 or 6 and then have dinner somewhere in LA. 

A note about the 2 hour entrance window.  When you purchase your tickets, they are good for 2 hours and 2 hours only.  So come on time!  If you notice in the very last picture of Syd, they make the children wear a sticker that says their entrance time and their exit time.  There is a definite changing of the guards at the 2 hour mark where they make visitors exit and let new ones in.  While this may seem like a bummer, overall it is a beneficial system because it keeps traffic & congestion during your ticket time down to a minimum.  It makes for a much more enjoyable trip.  With that being said, I still had to take my 2 out kicking and screaming, literally.  They could have easily stayed another hour in there.

There is a nice cafe on site, but it is just as easy to bring a lunch and enjoy the patio.  There is a small gift shop right outside of the Ark exhibit, and there is also a gift shop at the very entrance of the museum that mainly carries adult only gifts.  As in art books, not XXX , in case you were wondering.

Let me know if you've been and what your thoughts were on the exhibit.  Did you love it as much as we did?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Playgrounds & Lollipops - Casual Chic

*These 3 pictures above are the only ones I was able to capture before my camera took a major dump.  In to get serviced this weekend and hopefully it won't mean big bucks.  So please excuse the lack of proper photos.

So I emailed the VP of Human Resources last Friday to confirm the dress code for my new company.  She answered, "casual chic."  I showed up my first day looking very prim and proper in this outfit, and felt completely out of place.  Friends, I came from a company where the motto in the Sales department was "Tame the mane and gloss the lips."  We were expected to show up to work everyday in heels, a full face of makeup, hair properly coiffed, and attire overall fashionable and professional.  Let's just say that my new norm is flip flops, tube dresses, spaghetti straps and shorts.  Yes, I can wear shorts to work.  It's weird to me, and while I don't think I will ever wear a pair of flip flops to work, because it just doesn't seem right, I guess it's nice to have that option.  It is also nice to wear a wardrobe to work that I can easily transition back into mom mode when I am home.

Shoes: Calvin Klein via Marshall's for $15.  I almost got them 2 weeks ago for $25, but put them back.  When I popped in last night to return the Coach boots for $200 that I decided I didn't need, I found that these little numbers had been further marked down.
Shorts: Vera Wang for Kohl's.  I love the color of these shorts and the fact that they're not the typical boring khaki color.  They look good with just a plain black of white tank.  The fit is a little odd, as is most of the Kohl's Vera Wang line, so always try on first before buying.  I have learned my lesson with this brand.
T-Shirt: Forever 21
Blazer: Nordstrom TBD Department.  I really wanted a casual blazer in my wardrobe because I am always cold and it looks great with jeans, shorts, a dress, etc.  So I actually bought this for my interview and I love it.  It was $79, a little more than I wanted to initially spend, but after searching Forever 21 and the Brass Plum department and finding cheap fabrics and poor fitting styles, I went with this one for its quality and perfect fit.  I know I will get a lot of use out of it.

On another note, our offices are located in the beautiful city of Vernon, originally made famous for it's conglomerate of meat packing warehouses & slaughter houses.  Interestingly enough, the fashion industry has carved out its own little niche in this community, with Lucky Brand Jeans down the street from us, as well as BCBG.  So girls, if you ever need some sausage from say Farmer Johns, or some 80/20 5lb packages of ground beef product from Moran's, I'm your go to girl.  I've got you covered.  I'm a giver like that.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A List

Things I Miss:
Hugs and Kisses
Syd's smelly feet (who would have thought)
Quiet time
Pick Up time at K

Things I Am Enjoying:
My car has never been cleaner
Looking at numbers, I guess I'm a freak
Fun clothes
Talking to adults about things other than temper tantrums, poop, eating issues, play dates, etc.

The End

This post brought to you by the mom that has a job, that she sort of is on the verge of liking, but really also likes being home and thinks that maybe if I don't show up tomorrow they won't notice and I can keep collecting that nice check.

Do you think they'd notice?

What have you all been up to?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tears and Onions

Hello friends.  It's been so long, about a week now, right?
I just wanted to do a little touch base to say hi and thank you for all of your sweet comments and support last week when I wrote this post.  I am sorry I haven't had a chance to respond individually to your comments like I normally try to do, but I have just been trying to use all of my precious moments to spend with my family.
The week ended nicely, with a little weekend getaway at a local hotel with my brother and his family.  We all had a wonderful time and I stayed in denial that I was going back to work until about 9pm on Sunday night.

I must say that the anticipation leading up to starting work was just about the toughest thing.  I officially started yesterday, and although it has been hard, I can see how we will make it through this adjustment.  My mom is a saint and has been so supportive this week.  I thank God I have her and my dad.  My father in law had cataracts surgery today, which left my mother in law unable to watch the kids this week at all (she will take 2 days and my mom takes 2 days, with our great sitter Marin taking Fridays).  Anyhow, my mom has stepped in to help this week transition smoothly.

Poor Syd came down with a cold last week that he wasn't able to kick, which included a nasty cough.  Finally this morning Art called and made an appointment for him to go in and sure enough, he needed an Albuterol breathing treatment.  Art has been very supportive so far, and has really stepped it up.

Within hours of starting the job, the CEO pulled me into his office and asked if I would be interested in a different role.  Actually the same role, but for a different account, which would mean no travel at all.  As much as I was looking forward to visiting NYC again, and taking the family with me occasionally, I knew at the end of the day it would be so much easier on all of us if I took that option, so I did.  Ha, changes already after only 1 day!

I got my yogurt stolen out of the community fridge on my first day.
But then I got to pick out my clothing allowance, so that made the tragic loss of my yogurt an easier burden to bear.  This is one of the first things I ordered.

I did want to share with you a little something I made last week.  I was feeling quite melancholy all week long, so on Thursday I decided a little home cooking was in order.  We have been receiving 3-5 lb. Maui onions from our CSA box every week, and I was beginning to wonder what in the world to do with them all.  My mom suggested onion rings, so I started a little search, and discovered this delightful food blog written by an 18 year recent High School graduate.  I tried out his recipe and it was amazing.  I don't feel right re-posting his recipe, but would rather include the link so you have to go and have a look at his great blog for yourself.

So I greeted Art with a face covered in tears and flour, wearing my favorite vintage apron, holding a plate of onion rings, his favorite guilty pleasure.  Not pictured above, but also on the menu, a beautiful filet mignon and slices of a yellow crimson watermelon so sweet it makes your mouth water.  When I popped one in his mouth his eyes lit up and he said "Where did you get these from?!?" 
A note on the recipe, it calls for a quart of oil, and by golly, you will need a quart.  I know, it makes you shudder to think about it, but trust me, these are worth the grease and oil and guilt.  I also did not have garlic salt, only garlic powder, so I just added some sea salt to the mix and it was just fine.  My friend Ali, whose husband is from Memphis and loves to fry up a thing or two, also advised me to strain the oil and pour it back into the container so you can use it next time.  I wished I would have known that beforehand because I would have saved myself at least $10 in peanut oil.

In other news, I am working with a blog designer to revamp my little corner of the blog world here.  I am excited about some of the new things I want to showcase here, but it will take some time.  I think I will be focusing pretty much on the designing aspect for the next week or two, so posts may continue to be a bit sporadic.  I plan to do some giveaways with the launch of the new blog, so please continue to check in and maybe even say "hi!"

In the meantime, wishing you all a pleasant end to summer, only a couple of weeks left right, and sweet dreams.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

An Elevator Ride

You're having a hard time taking a little nap before we head to Nana's house for dinner so I tell you to hop up on my bed and snuggle with me.  You lie down on my belly and I stroke your hair and face.  Your lanky legs dangle off the side of the bed, fidgeting as you try so hard to lay still.  I think how this time next week I will be somewhere else and Grandma will be doing this with you.  Yes, there will be other days to lay and snuggle, on the weekend, on vacation, but not like this.  A full day of Kindergarten, daddy's at work, little brother is napping in his crib.  I get that gut wrenching pull when I realize just how numbered my days here like this with you are. 

I think back to the first time I left you at a year old.  How miserable I was, even more so knowing that I did it to myself.  Stupid girl.  My heart ached every day until I fell pregnant with your baby brother just 5 months in.  I was scared to let out my secret, but secretly so happy to  know that soon, I would be back home with you.  By this point the tears are streaming, like they are now, and you look up and say "What's wrong Mama?"  You stroke my face and hop down and grab me a tissue.  You are spunky but so good, right down to your soul...

I took your baby brother on an adventure yesterday.  After we dropped you off at school I asked him, "Where do you want to go Bubba?"  He said he wanted to ride rides.  So I took him to that fancy mall down the freeway.  We went to the smaller side, with the little bitty carousel, where it's nice and quiet.  He rode the carousel 4 times, and took turns on Princess Guinevere, King Arthur, and an unnamed horse with an orange saddle, his favorite color.  He kept asking me, "Can I ride again Mommy?" and of course I had to oblige.  I sat down on the little bench meant for babies and just watched him.  I started to cry, as I am now, and the man across the way getting his coffee looked concerned for me.  I guess it's not everyday you see a mom crying on a carousel. 

He wasn't satisfied with the carousel, and asked to ride more rides.  So we went on the escalator ride, holding hands, up and down, at least 15 times.  I started to get dizzy, but that was okay.  Bubba wanted to get on and off all by himself, until he almost fell, and gently asked for my help on the next turn.  After the escalators, he declared "More rides mommy!"  So I said, "let's go on the glass walled ride" and we rode the glass elevator up and down, up and down and he got to push all the buttons.  Yes, there will be more days like this, but on the weekend it will be more crowded, and impatient shoppers will not look on so kindly to the little boy with the curly hair, insisting on taking the elevator from down to up, to ground floor, to down and all the way back to the top.

Here I get set to leave again, and I am scared shitless.  Terrified really.  Oh I know that overall, in the hands of Nana and Grandma, you will both be just fine.  But I may not.  3 weeks ago all I could think of were words like opportunity and security and 401K and Sep IRA and benefits and on and on.  Now it's like a Peanuts voice in my head going Wah Wah Wah Wah Wah.

Come Monday I will again take on a new vocabulary.  Words like pee-pee and potty and yippee and good-job will be exchanged for fabulous, amazing, incredible, NYC, LA.  Yes, I will take on my role and do what I'm good at, because that's what I do.  I work, I work, I work.  Even in the last 3 years at home with you, my lovelies, I find countless ways to fill my life with work.  In my next life I vow not to work so much.  In fact I want to be a lazy, good for nothing slob.  Okay, maybe not, but I really want to master the art of laziness.  Can I take a course in that?

I had to unsubscribe from a blog recently because I just couldn't take the stay at home rhetoric anymore.  It became like some sort of self inflicted torture, seeking all posts she ever wrote on why she is a stay at home mom.  There are at least 20 of them, no joke.  Lots of good fodder for guilt inducing thoughts.  The sacrifices she makes to stay at home.  I thought about writing her an email explaining how women that return to work also sacrifice, but I let the PMS hormones simmer down a bit and just clicked the unsubscribe button.  I torment myself enough, I do not need to add more guilt from a woman 2000 miles away that I have never met.  I should have been Catholic, I swear.

So here we are back to the bed and I think to myself, we may be back here in the same spot, a year from now, 2 years from now.  But will it really be the same?  Will you still lie on my belly? Will you still stroke my face and tell me how much you love me?  I don't know.  I hope so, oh how I hope so.

Oh God what have I done?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lani Can Suck It; OR How Our Garden Grows

One of the last items to check off of our Summer List was to plant tomatoes and lettuce in our little side planter area.  It's a good size planter, at least 4 ft. deep by 12 ft. long, and South facing so it gets lots of nice sun.  So I enlisted the hubs to tear out all of the agapanthus that was uselessly filling this spot and cleaned it up so it looked like this
I added about 4 bags of this
 We carefully plotted out our plants, and got to work
in less than two weeks I am overjoyed with our results.  Remember back in March when I was all pissy because we had lost our community garden plot when we moved?  Well eat your heart out mean old Lani, because looky what I have here, right outside my very own kitchen door!
I started at the left with some herbs including thyme, parsley, basil and sage.  The red stalk of flowers are Yarrow and are well known for repelling some bad insects and attracting ladybugs, which eat aphids.  I also planted a border of marigolds for color and for their tendency to also attract ladybugs.  I despise aphids, so  take whichever precautions I can to combat them.
Next to the herb garden are 1 zucchini plant (believe me, you only need 1 to feed a family) and 1 pumpkin plant.  Again, you only need 1 of these as well.
Of course we had to throw in some tomatoes, a beefsteak variety and yellow golden cherry type.  Taylor was drawn to the Japanese eggplant, so we threw in one of these as well.
I love peppers, so planted an unusual miniature chocolate bell pepper and a golden yellow bell.
And to round out any good garden, we had to have plenty of lettuce.
If you are new to gardening, I encourage you to give lettuce a try because it is almost fool proof.  I have never had a bad experience trying to grow lettuce and there is just something so "naturey" about going out and picking your own lettuce.  These pictures were taken 5 days ago and since then the lettuce you see above is all touching.  It's growing by leaps and bounds and, once I harvest this bounty, I can just plant some more all year round.  That's the beauty of lettuce!

This time around since I was getting such a late start, I did fill my garden entirely with starter plants, as opposed to using seeds.  There are things such as beets, lettuce, chard and squash that I usually have very good luck with when started from seeds, actually they seem to thrive even better.  I just didn't want to risk their growth being stunted if we should start to see a heat spell come on.  Typically you would want to plant your seeds by May at the latest.  I figured either way though, our garden should turn out okay since this summer has been so gosh darned mild.  2 weeks in, I think I'm right!

When choosing plants at the nursery, there are a couple of things you want to be aware of:
1. You don't want to necessarily choose the largest plant with fruit already growing.  It's more ideal to just choose a smaller, sturdy looking plant, and let the growing and fruit bearing happen in your actual soil at home.  Larger plants may tend to go into shock once removed from their pots and transferred to your soil at home.
2. When choosing a plant, give it a squeeze and see if the soil feels loose, or is it tight and hard?  If it's tight, it may be root-bound and look like this:
Try to avoid this because typically the roots are so tightly wound together that they will have a hard time loosening up and grabbing hold in your soil.  When you transfer the plant into the soil, gently try to loosen up and unwind the roots so they have a better chance of survival.  This Swiss Chard was one of the last things I grabbed and I was loosing my powers of observation as two screaming kids went barreling down the nursery aisles with the flat bed cart.

Well friends, these have been our adventures in gardening over the last two weeks.  I do slightly miss my roomy 500 square foot garden plot I once had, but I don't miss the crazy Gustapo.  It has been so nice to just walk outside my door and water at my leisure instead of having to hop in a car.  The kids love watching the daily progress of our little garden as well.  Do any of you have a little spot in your yard for a vegetable garden?  What do you grow there and do you have any tips for me?  I'd love to know...

Happy Gardening Friends!

Friday, August 6, 2010

I Knew This Day Was Coming

August 6th, 2010

Kindergarten drop-off, Syd's gymnastics class, carwash, etc.

Jean Cutoffs: Made by Me (originally Jo's)
Sweater: Gap
Shoes: Converse All Stars

Holy Crap!  That's all I've got to say.  Okay, not really, I actually have a lot to say.  But holy crap pretty much sums up all the feelings of this week and the craziness.  As you know, Taylor started Kindergarten on Wednesday.  I will bullet point the first three days for you, my dear readers:

1. We were late the first day.  Awesome.  But so typical US.  We are late to everything.
2. We live right ACROSS THE STREET from the school, and we were still late.
3. Every morning has been a scramble to get there on time now.  Hair brushes flying, dishes left on the table, crumbs on the counter, beds unmade, etc., etc.
4. I have warned my dear husband that this day was coming, when he would have to start getting up before 7 am to get ready for the day.
5. My husband is a night owl + he owns his own business = he'd rather stay up late to work than get up early to work.  He usually doesn't get up until 7:30 and gets to work by 9 am.
6. That equation cancels out when your daughter starts Kindergarten and we have to be there at 7:55 am!
7. That equation also cancels out when we attend parent orientation and we discover that if your child has more than 3 tardies in a certain period her file will be reported to the school board!  WHAT the WHAT?!?

Let's just say that we have overall been doing our best to try to keep the frantic looks off our faces each morning as we struggle to get Taylor ready, but this morning after we got home from drop off, Art and I looked at each other and just sort of laughed and screamed.  We literally said with our eyes, "what just happened?"  This is a whole new world for us.  And we were not ready.

To put it mildly, Kindergarten has knocked us upside the head, given us a swift kick in the butt, snatched my first born child, and left me with zero fashion sense.  Here's to next week!   

So my apologies for not delivering the most fashion forward, well thought-out, fully accessorized outfit this week.  Friends, as we make this transition, it's all I can do to brush my teeth.  If you look closely at the pictures, you can see last nights makeup smeared on my eyes.  I was too tired to wash my face last night and too hurried to do it this morning.

But didn't I tell you I was going to be a hot mess this week?  See, I did not disappoint!


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