2012 Wrap Up

I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at some of the most viewed posts on my blog in 2012.  Here’s what I found:

Most Viewed All Year and Most Viewed Recipe:  Beef with Caramelized Shallots

beef with caramelized shallots

Most Viewed Craft:  How to make a little somethin’ somethin’ with buttons… 

IMG_0868

Most Viewed Home & Garden:  Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into. ~ Henry Beecher, Life Thoughts, 1858

ikea socker greenhouse with african voilets (1)

Most Viewed Window Shopping Wednesday: Mini Mason Jars

Rainbow Mason Jar Cupcakes

Here’s an excerpt from the 2012 Year in Review that I received from WordPress.com:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 7,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 13 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thank you for reading my blog this year!  See ya in 2013!!

Master Bedroom… Decisons Are Made!!!

inspiration photo

So I think we’ve finally figured it out!  We’ve found a picture that both my husband and I can agree on for our master bedroom.  Even better, the bed we’ve already purchased is nearly identical to the one pictured.  Yippee!  My inspiration picture (above) is from Gary Riggs Home via Pinterest.

We already have the bed.  It’s the Erin Cute as a Button Bed from World Market. 

erin cute as a button bed

We also have our nightstands and a dresser.  They’re all from Ikea. 

Ikea Hemnes 8-drawer dresser

Ikea Hemnes 8-drawer dresser

and

2 Malm 3-drawer chests (used as nightstands)

2 Malm 3-drawer chests (used as nightstands)

We’ve pretty much decided that instead of lamps on the nightstands, we’d rather have these Ribba Frames with overhead Lights in aluminum. 

ribba aluminum frame

ribba aluminum led light

In keeping with the grey, lavender, and yellow theme of our inspiration picture, these are some pictures I’m considering for the Ribba frames. 

Yellow Wheat

Yellow Wheat

.

Lavender Blossom Branch

Lavender Blossom Branch

.

Chrysanthemum Macro Photograph

Chrysanthemum Macro Photograph

.

Stair Flowers

Stair Flowers

.

Liriope Blooms

Liriope Blooms

.

Yellow Ranunculus

Yellow Ranunculus

.

Yellow Autumn Leaves

Yellow Autumn Leaves

I know I don’t want the same photo in each frame but I do want for the photos to be similar colors.  I think it’ll take a while to find exactly what I’m looking for.  Then again, we could do black and white…

As far as bedding is concerned, I’ve found the following:

Barbara Berry Quilt in Dusk

Barbara Berry Quilt in Dusk

and this

Stella Quilt

Stella Quilt

and this

Nostalgia Quilt

Nostalgia Quilt

I haven’t had much luck finding other grey-ish lavender coverlets.  Apparently this is going to take some intensive searching on my part. 

I also found these throw pillows:

Gold Velvet Throw Pillow

Gold Velvet Throw Pillow

.

Tornado Velvet Throw Pillow

Tornado Velvet Throw Pillow

.

Chinchilla Pillow (not real!)

Chinchilla Pillow (not real!)

.

Benito Pillow

Benito Pillow

.

Purple Corner Scrolls

Purple Corner Scrolls

.

Velvet Bergdorf

Velvet Bergdorf

.

We still want to incorporate this Cuddler Chair from Z Gallerie with a throw (like the one that follows).

cuddler chair

Saffron Cable Knit Throw

saffron cable knit throw

We’ll definitely need lighting behind that cuddle chair and I think this light is right up our alley.

dexter floor lamp

In the picture, there’s a nifty yellow chair similar to this Valencia Club Chair in Butter.  I’m not sure if we’d actually have space for this chair but it’s possible. 

Valencia Club Chair, Butter

Where I get stuck is this… our floors are not that rich, warm wood tone like in our inspiration photo.  Instead, they’re a light cream color similar to this below:

cottage cream

Because the color is so similar to that of the bed, I want to use a darker rug to anchor the room.  I’m leaning towards grey.  If I choose grey, however, then what color do I paint the walls?  Do I use a light cream like the photo?  A light grey?  A grey-ish lavender?  I’m at a loss. 

Here are some rugs I’m considering:

Damask Grey Rug

Damask Grey Rug

.

Calum Grey Rug

Calum Grey Rug

.

Shag Grey Rug

Shag Grey Rug

.

The Wild Grey Rug

The Wild Grey Rug

And last but certainly not least… I’m considering doing this ‘above the headboard’ treatment with a white sheer and some sort of sunburst mirror. 

above the bed treatment

What do you think?  I’d love your suggestions.

I’ve linked up to these great parties:

bloom

hhpweekendlinkparty22

One Artsy Mama

UndertheTableandDreaming

I Heart Nap Time
 
cit

Recipe Review: Zesty Chicken and Pasta

So this recipe isn’t really all that ‘wintery’ but it’s a nice change of pace from those heavy meals you’ve probably been eating for the last few weeks.  It has a light zing and is loaded with good-for-you veggies.  This is a Kraft recipe that you can find here.

zesty chicken and pasta

Zesty Chicken and Pasta

Serves:  6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package (8 oz) fusilli pasta, uncooked
  • ½ cup light Italian dressing, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt.
  2. Meanwhile, heat ¼ cup of dressing in a large skillet on medium-high heat.  Add chicken; cook and stir 4 minutes or until done.  Add vegetables and parsley; cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Drain pasta; toss with chicken mixture and remaining dressing.  Top with cheese.

THOUGHTS

  • First off, this dish makes a rather sizeable amount of food.  This can easily feed a family of 4 with a small side salad or some sliced fruit & garlic bread.
  • I found the cooking times of ‘5 minutes’ to be rather on the loooow end of things.  It took at least twice that for me to get my desired level of ‘done-ness.’  It’s still a very quick meal and definitely suitable for a school night when you’re tired and everyone has something else that they have to get done before bed time.
  • If you don’t like broccoli or red bell pepper you could easily switch up the veggies to suit your taste.  Just choose whatever fresh veggie works for you – squash, zucchini, tomatoes, or carrots would be some good options.

I’ve linked up to these great parties:

Happy Hour Projects
One Artsy Mama

UndertheTableandDreaming

Skip To My Lou

bloom

Chef in Training

Window Shopping Wednesday – AlleyKids

I think people with computer graphic talent are so blessed.  I wish I had that gift.  I totally don’t.  Susan, the owner of the Etsy shop AlleyKids is one of those amazingly talented people.  Let’s check out some of her goodies shall we?

This weeks featured shop:  AlleyKids

I love this Forest Woodland Animal Art.  I think this would be adorable if you were doing a camp/cabin-in-the-woods themed room for a little boy.

Forest Woodland Nursery Art Animal Prints

Or, if you don’t have kids, there’s always this Deer Art Print that you could use for the Christmas season (yes please!).

Deer Art Print

This Alphabet I Love You Poster would be great for a kids room or, depending on the color you choose, just about anywhere in your house.

Alphabet I Love You Poster

This Jungle Animal Alphabet Poster is what led me to this shop in the first place.  It comes in a variety of colors and I just think it’s super cute.

Jungle Animal Alphabet Poster

I have absolutely no idea why, but this adorable Lion Print of just the lion’s bootie makes me smile.

Lion Print

All of these come in a variety of colors so if you’re not just loving the colors I’ve featured please don’t let that deter you.

Thanks for shopping with me today!

Merry Christmas!

I hope you’re all having a very Merry Christmas this day and are surrounded by family, fun, and lots of wadded up wrapping paper.  I know I am! 

christmas wallpaper

One reason I love snail mail (part 8)…

Well my friends, this is the last chapter in this particular love-of-snail-mail story.  I have cancelled my membership to BirchBox.  I thoroughly enjoyed getting these nifty boxes of samples in the mail, but truth be told I’ve only used a few of the things I’ve been sent.  I’ve gifted several of them to others, which is nice, but in the end I’ve decided that it’s just not a good enough value for me right now.  So, without further ado, here’s my December BirchBox…

Here’s the rundown of what was in my box (prices are for full-size product):

No 4 High Performance Hair Care Clarifying Shampoo:  $32
Per-fekt Lash Perfection Gel:  $28.50
Tea forte Skin-Smart Antioxidant Amplifier Teas:  $6 (varies depending on what you purchase)
Juicy Couture:  $90
Frownies Eye Gels Under Eye & Eyelid Treatment:  $29.95
Rent the Runway $50 off your dress rental of $125 or more:  $50 

TOTAL:  $236.45

Since I paid $10 for the trial size box I saved $226.45 (if you figure I could have purchased these in their full-sized varieties).

No 4 High Performance Hair Care Clarifying Shampoo

N.4 High Performance Hair Care

Weekly deep cleansing therapy that doesn’t strip moisture or color.

Since I perm my hair I’m not really supposed to use clarifying shampoos on it very often because it supposedly makes the hair frizzy.  That being said, with permed hair I have to put a bunch of product in it every day so I still like to clarify my hair once in a blue moon.  Yay for free stuff that I can use!

 

Per-fekt Lash Perfection Gel

Per-fekt Lash Perfection Gel

It’s more than a mascara! lash perfection gel is a silky smooth color gel that per-fekts and enhances the appearance of the lashes offering an easy alternative to traditional mascara, lash primer, conditioner, and enhancers.

Just by looking at this product as well as the description above I can’t really tell a difference between it and regular ol mascara.  I’ll give it a shot though when the mascara I’m using dies. 

 

Tea forte Skin-Smart Antioxidant Amplifier Teas

Tea forte Skin-Smart Antioxidant Amplifier Teas

Delicious skin-smart tea works with your body’s chemistry to help protect and take care of skin from within. These progressive teas support the detoxifying effect of abundant plant-based polyphenols and catechins, a strong tool in skin recovery and the fight against visible signs of skin ageing. With an integrative approach to beauty, these delectable teas are intended to promote a more youthful looking and feeling appearance.

I love tea.  These babies are staing in my desk drawer at work for sure.  I’m SUPER excited about the swiss apple and coconut lychee flavors which, naturally, aren’t part of the sampler I received.  I got the cherry marzipan, cucumber mint, and honey yuzu.  I’ll probably purchase the swiss apple and coconut lychee though.  Hopefully I can find them at Kroger or something instead of having to order them online.

 

Juicy Couture

juicy couture

Long live the scent of couture. With top notes of wild berries and juicy mandarin gently tempered with honeysuckle, gardenia, and jasmine. Underlying it all are warm tones of amber, caramel, vanilla, sandalwood, and praline. Boldly bottled with Juicy charms and rocked in fuchsia wrap.

I’m surprised I actually like the scent of this but I do.  It’s a little sweet but for whatever reason, it appeals to me. 

 

Frownies Eye Gels Under Eye & Eyelid Treatment

Frownies Eye Gels Under Eye & Eyelid Treatment

Anti-wrinkle treatment for puffy bags under the eyes contains powerful anti-oxidants that help protect your skin. With one 30 minute anti-aging treatment 100% of women testing Frownies eye gels saw a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and dark circles.

I’m not much of a partier or drinker so I’m not certain that I’ll actually get much use out of this but perhaps I’ll find someone who can. 

 

Rent the Runway $50 off your dress rental of $125 or more

rent the runway

So unfortunately RTR is one of those things where you have to join for free in order to delve into the website to see what this is all about.  I hate websites like that.  Anyways, the gist of this is that there are designer dresses of all styles, shapes, and sizes up for grabs.  You can rent them for a period of time instead of having to invest a ton of money to buy them.  It’s a nifty concept and I have some friends who use this service.  I won’t get any use out of the coupon since I’m plus-size but I’ve offered it up to my friends. 

 

Thank you for joining me over the last couple of months to take a look at my BirchBox goodies.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Remembrance

I know I’m a few days behind but that doesn’t mean that this is any less poignant.  It’ll be Christmas in a few days and guess what, there are several families in Connecticut and around this world who will be spending it without a beloved member of their family.  This will not be a Christmas morning filled with joy and laughter for them.  Instead, it will undoubtedly be filled with sorrow and tears.  My prayers go out to the families of those affected in this absolutely senseless tragedy.  When you are with your family on Christmas I hope you’ll take a moment to lift those families up in prayer and to hug your family members just a little bit tighter. 

I saw this on Facebook the other day and I had to share.  It made me cry.

 sad santa

Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38 when 20 beautiful children stormed through Heaven’s gate.

their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there

They were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.

“where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse. “this is heaven.” declared a small boy. “we’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”

When what to their wondering eyes did appear, but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.

He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same. then He opened His arms and He called them by name.

and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring those children all flew into the arms of their King

and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace, one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.

And as if He could read all the questions she had He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”

then He looked down on earth, the world far below He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe

then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand, “Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”

“may this country be delivered from the hands of fools” “I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”

Then He and the children stood up without a sound. “come now my children, let me show you around.”

Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran. all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.

And i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight, “in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”

written by Cameo Smith of Mt. Wolf, PA.

I wish I was this talented…

The other day, I came across this masterpiece in a blog I read.  I am so insanely jealous that this lady not only owns this piece, but stained that fabulous top herself.  I cannot tell you how much I wish I had that much creativity. 

She turned this:
Stain-1-Before

Into this:

please pin all pictures from the original source of this incredible piece!

please pin all pictures from the original source of this incredible piece!

To read more about this project, click here

*note – please pin all pictures from the original source of this incredible piece!

One reason I love snail mail (part 7)…

So I know we’re well into December at this point but I’m finally getting around to telling you about what I got in my November BirchBox goodie box. 

Here’s the rundown of what was in my box (prices are for full-size product):

Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme Cologne Absolue:  $195
Lulu Organics Lavender + Clary Sage Hair Powder:  $30
Miracle Skin Transformer Vanish Instant Imperfection Corrector:  $58
ModelCo Fibre Lashxtend Lenghtening Mascara:  $24
Chuao Chocolatier 7pc Assorted ChocoPod Box (I got the potato chip):  $7.95

TOTAL:  $314.95

Since I paid $10 for the trial size box I saved $304.95 (if you figure I could have purchased these in their full-sized varieties).

 

Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme Cologne Absolue

Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme Cologne Absolue

Rose Anonyme, a breathtaking seductress caught in a stolen affair between light and dark, Turkish Rose Absolute sparkles and intrigues beneath notes of spicy Ginger, enwrapped in sultry veil of Velvet Oud, Indonesian Patchouli, mystic Papyrus and Somalian Incense.

I happen to like the scent of rose so I was really hoping that I’d love this perfume.  It’s a bit granny-ish for me and I feel like it’s something I would have found when I was a child digging around in my grandma’s drawers.  I might keep this one for days when I want to just run errands or work around the house though.  It smells better than sweat!

 

Lulu Organics Lavender + Clary Sage Hair Powder

Lulu Organics Lavender + Clary Sage Hair Powder

An all organic, TALC-FREE hair powder for hair on days of unwash. Inspired from our college days, this silky powder is perfect for on-the-go styling and leaves your hair smelling as fresh as a day one wash. Sprinkle a dime size amount of powder into your hands and rub through the roots of your dry hair.

I haven’t tried this yet but I’m super excited about this product.  I’ve been wanting to have a dry shampoo product on hand for those days when I need to just get up and go and don’t have time to shower.  I’ll definitely be keeping this one in my bathroom drawer. 

 

Miracle Skin Transformer Vanish Instant Imperfection Corrector

Miracle Skin Transformer Vanish Instant Imperfection Corrector

This concentrated skin treatment addresses fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, environmental stresses, dark spots, and dullness. Delivering a mix of imperfection blurring optical diffusers and powerful active ingredients, this silky-smooth texture virtually becomes one with your skin. Targeted powerful antioxidant vitamins C and ergothioneine are delivered deep into the skin where they are most effective while skin-correcting ingredients diminish the appearance of dark spots and age spots. It improves the skin’s collagen content, decreases UV-induced pigmentation, and smooths surface texture without irritation. Acting as a disappearing act for imperfections, skin texture becomes refined and a new level of skin clarity is revealed.

With my sensitive skin I’m always skeptical of products like this.  It’s highly likely that it’ll be too harsh for my skin and will end up causing more problems than it solves.  Nonetheless, the next time I get a break out, I’m going to give this baby a whirl (ok ok, so perhaps I’m going to test it out on my husband instead). 

 

ModelCo Fibre Lashxtend Lenghtening Mascara

ModelCo Fibre Lashxtend Lenghtening Mascara

ModelCo’s innovative formula is made with tiny fibers that attach to your lashes to elongate and thicken them. You’ll be shocked at how much richness and length you can get with a single coat— apply two for serious drama. Plus, each tube features a handy built-in mirror for easy on-the-go application.

So I’ve been on the hunt for a good ‘fake falsies’ mascara for a while now.  I have very blond and short eyelashes and I never feel like I get the kind of look I want from other mascaras.  I’m definitely looking forward to trying this mascara and finding out if it’s the secret!

 

Chuao Chocolatier ChocoPod Potato Chip

Chuao Chocolatier 7pc Assorted ChocoPod

Don’t knock these unusual flavor combinations until you’ve tried them. This 7-piece set includes: Potato Chip (kettle chips and sea salt in milk chocolate), Sweet and Salty (milk chocolate with a hint of salt), Maple Bacon (crisp bacon with a dose of maple sweetness and smoked sea salt in milk chocolate), Honeycomb (amber honey caramelized into crispy pieces in dark chocolate), Salted Chocolate Crunch (toasted breadcrumbs with sea salt in dark chocolate), Spicy Maya (a spicy blend of pasilla chile, cinnamon, and cayenne in dark chocolate), and Firecracker (chipotle caramel fudge dotted with popping candy and salt in dark chocolate).

So I’m not gonna lie, I think these flavor combinations are WEIRD.  I haven’t worked up the courage to try my chocolate covered potato chip yet.  Chocolate and potatoes???  It just sounds weird in my head.  I did make potato chip butterscotch cookies years ago and I remember people telling me they were really good so who knows.  Perhaps this could be a baking breakthrough. 

Have you tried any new products lately?

Window Shopping Wednesday – Aldo

Even waaaaay back in the day when I was ‘skinny’ I still had huge calves.  I’m not sure if this is just genetics or if it has to do with my swimming background and now, the fact that I wear heels 5 days a week.  Nonetheless, I’ve never been able to wear boots.  And this makes me super sad because I love them.  I was out doing some shopping the other day and went into to Aldo with a friend and ran across a pair that I just adored on sight.  I thought I’d share some of my favorite boots with you today.

This weeks featured shop:  Aldo

Here’s the pair I fell head over heels in love with.  They’re called Caltabiano.

CALTABIANO

These Fastrost boots would look great with a pair of jeans and a button down shirt.

fastrost_37_rg.jpg

These Elumina boots would be great paired with a floral print dress, tights and a cardigan (a la the picture below).

ELUMINA

floral_dress

I think a staple in any ladies wardrobe should be a pair of formal black boots.  This Wiegel boot fits perfectly!

WIEGEL

These Cowher boots are just fun.  Rocker-chic at it’s best.

COWHER

I love the rouching on these Chicoa boots.

CHICOA

If I lived somewhere where the weather was cold enough to necessitate cold-weather boots then I would definitely be bringing this Laske pair home with me.

LASKE

Thanks for shopping with me today!