The Holiday Party.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

 It's that time of the year again. The holidays are once again upon us, and that means the inevitable calendar of events, jammed full of winter themed parties.  I don't know about you, but even though I am admittedly more of a stay at home in my jammies kind of girl, pretty much 365 days a year, I find it even harder than usual to get excited about getting dressed up this time of year, pretty much because it's just so dang cold out.  I feel like I have spent one too many a nights waiting for a taxi, freezing in bare legs and too high of heels to EVER want to do it again.  However, give me a little bit (or a lot) of comfort, and a reasonable sized heel, and I can definitely be persuaded to strip off my multiple layers of flannel to get out there to join in the holiday cheer.  Since pretty much every site is having some kind of big sale right now, I thought there was no better time to put together a few festive, but comfortable outfits for the upcoming party circuit, that can easily transition to New Years Eve and beyond.  I would absolutely wear any one of these and the best part is that no push up bras, or stockings are required!

Instead of tracking down a dozen accessories, I tried to style these in a way most of us would, using things we already own.  I used the same three pieces to wear with each outfit; a basic black clutch which most of us have, a pair of fun shoes, and a simple gold choker, which has pretty much become a staple item in my wardrobe. This once again proves that if you invest wisely in the basics, year after year you can change your entire look by just swapping out a few wardrobe pieces. 

Happy shopping. xx

(click to enlarge)
clockwise from top left
one/ two (I love this one too) / three/ fourfive /six

one/ two / three / four / five

one/ two/ three/ four

P.S. If I'm being really, real, I'd really like to just wear a piece of lulu's new glitter collection and call it a day ;). See, you can even bring the holidays in to your yoga room!

Let's Talk Turkey.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Let's talk turkey!  I always find it so strange that so much excitement and planning goes in to one little meal, but as someone who loves to eat anything with a carb in it, I have definitely changed my tune over the last decade, from "really?" to "game on!"  For most of my marriage, we have spent the big day in a very Norman Rockwell(ish) setting, and I have to say it was absolutely wonderful.  We would pack up and fly to my husband's grandmother's house on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and would spend the week eating, drinking, and eating some more.  After a few years of that, it became hard to imagine Thanksgiving any other way.  

Well, airline tickets started to dramatically rise, the weather this time of year was got more and more unpredictable, and we kept having kids (there's always that) so about a year or two ago, after seeing just how expensive it would be for a one hour flight, we just decided to stay home.  No, it is absolutely not the same, but I have to say sitting here today, getting ready for a big storm to hit the entire East Coast, I sure am glad that the four of us won't be spending tomorrow sitting in a airport, praying that we get out.  That we've done one too many times.

 Since we don't really eat meat, you may think that we don't get in to the spirit of the holiday, but let me assure you, this is the one day a year that all our dietary restrictions go out the window.  Since it seems silly to cook a giant a meal for just the four of us (considering the kids eat like birds) our new tradition includes picking up our dinner from Whole Foods the day before, and me popping it all in the oven after getting back from this fun race.  In theory, I kind of miss the idea of cooking over a hot stove all day, but in reality... well, nope. 

For those of you who do things a little more traditional, here are a few Thanksgiving themed links to help you prepare for the big event. 

Sure, turkey gets all the credit, but c'mon, the sides are the best part.  Here is what I would be making if I were cooking for a big group.  These are also great for those of you who don't have the hassle of hosting but like to bring something easy!

The one thing that I absolutely cannot seem to master is the setting of the table.  Flowers are so far beyond me, and I find that every time I try, it looks more like something the boys did than a grown adult.  That's why I am all about simplicity.  These two beautiful table settings seem like something anyone can do... even me!

Of course, you can't forget the kids table. I love this little crayon cup. and for kids who aren't big pie fans (mine) these cupcakes would definitely make for an awesome desert!

Booze.  Isn't that the best part of the day?  Now, if this were a perfect world, we would have some of our Uncle's infamous egg nog, which has been known to make ladies pass out on the table (don't ask me how I know that ;))  but since we can't have it all, these Fall themed cocktails would most definitely be a welcome substitution. 

Oh and leftovers, aka the best part of the meal.  I love this easy, updated version of the traditional turkey sandwich!

Last but not least, 5 tips for making your Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time, and a modern guide to Thanksgiving etiquette, because well, even with Family you should try to be polite. 

I hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving!  My boys are home the rest of the week, and I made quite a few promises so I'm not sure if I will be back this week, but stay tuned... next week it's gift guide time!!!

Weekend Links.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Good Morning! Hope you all are having a wonderfully, indulgent, and relaxing Sunday morning.  For the first time in about 7.5 years, both boys are upstairs watching a movie (Toy Story 3) and eating cereal together... alone!  All of a sudden yesterday, the two of them decided that they could actually play together for hours and not call out for one of us to come over every thirty seconds.  I'm sure it's just a wonderful, and short lived phase they are going through, but you can bet my husband and I didn't waste a second and have been spending as much time as we can drinking coffee in bed, and even snuck in a nap yesterday afternoon.  Crazy, I know!  The rest of our weekend has been full of excitement!  On Saturday, the LM had his first BIG skate competition and skated in the 14 and under group.  He looked so little out there, and despite being nervous, he was so brave and did a great job! This momma couldn't have been any prouder.  Today, I'm sneaking in a much needed yoga class and then it's off to another birthday party they go! 

Whatever you plans, I hope you have a great day! Here are a few fun links that caught my eye this week. 

The perfect song for a Sunday morning.

Jenna Lyons at Solange's wedding.  Stop it.  Stop it right now.  So, so, so good.

I am beyond impressed with this 13 year old yoga instructor... and she's from my hometown!

I finally caved and made my first (and only) holiday decor purchase.  I absolutely adore these little wreaths!  I like to hang one on top of another.

Why successful people wear the same thing every day.

Always late to the party, I am OBSESSED with Serial.  If you've been holding out, seriously give it a listen, you will be hooked!

... and of course, there are charts for people like me who can't get enough.

Loeffler Randall is having a big sale.  Right now I'm coveting these and these.

Why HGTV is nothing like real life... so true, and man this hits close to home after the week we've had!

Things you should always pick up at the flea market for your kitchen.

Speaking of kitchens, an incredible peek inside a legendary cookbook editor's kitchen.  What a warm space!

I just snapped these up (at 40% off) and plan on wearing them every. single. day. for the next five months.

While I don't strongly agree, or disagree, with this opinion piece, I did find the almost 500 comments to be a fascinating discussion on motherhood in this modern era.  If you are looking for a time suck, this is it.

Today, the little guy and I are going to make these healthy muffins for this week's breakfast.  I'll be sure to report back!

love all four of these 4 fall outfits.  Although, fall in New England is typically freezing, so I'm filing these away for spring (which seems really, really far away, doesn't it?)

I love this little holiday themed snack.

Finally, lately I can stop thinking about those kids from Newtown.  Maybe it's because another anniversary marking the tragedy is coming up, or maybe it's because I have a first grader and all I can see is how magical this age is, how perfect 6 and 7 year olds really are.  I have to say, after the shooting I really, truly believed something would be done to protect our children.  Clearly, that hasn't been the case.  Here is a list of all 91 (!!!!) school shootings in America SINCE Sandy Hook.  When will we say enough is enough?

(Image credit)

If You Give a Girl a Kitchen...

Thursday, November 20, 2014

 Have you all read the children's book, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?"  Well, we have pretty much been living a grown up version of this for the past 7 days, and for those of you who don't know the premise, it starts with something small, which very quickly snowballs from one thing to another, leading the main character of the story (me and my family) incredibly exhausted but very happy. 

The past week went a little something like this...

Last week, I spoke with the incredibly talented, beautiful, and lovely Sarah Winchester, from Sarah Winchester studios, who agreed to come and shoot our home on Wednesday the 19th.  That same week I wrote this post about how I was dying to do something with our kitchen cabinets, since the whole thing no longer went with the rest of our house. 

This is a picture from the morning of. 

On Thursday, I reached out to a few contractors who were available to paint the cabinets.  Early in the morning I spoke with one of them, and by noon the first coat of black paint was going up on the cabinets.  There is nothing like the thought of a professional photographer coming to your house, to really get the ball rolling, right? 

On Friday, I again met with our new contractor, after expediting the hardware, and both of us were concerned about how the finish on the cabinets was coming out.  I wanted a glossy black, and while they were definitely black, they weren't really drying right, nor was the paint sticking like it should. Late Friday night, we spoke about the project continuing through the weekend, and she mentioned that since they would still be doing the cabinets, if I really wanted the butcher block countertop of my dreams, this would be a great time to do it. 

Well, if you give a girl a new kitchen...

After a brief pow wow with my husband, we decided to go for it, and by Saturday evening our kitchen looked a little something like this. 

In the middle of the night, I woke up, and pondered whether we would have enough butcher block left over to also do the vanity in the boy's bathroom, which we have truly hated since day one.  Early Sunday, we touched base, and to my delight she said that "yes, it could be done! " Good bye horrible, horrible marble!  On Sunday, or Monday (at this point I was delirious) the countertops went on, and I tell you, they took my breath away they were so good.  For the boys vanity, I picked up a quart of Navy BEHR paint, and when I saw the final outcome, I gasped, stating that I would have chosen navy from the beginning (obviously, given my obsession) if I had known I was re-doing the countertops.  I guess the paint was going on so well, that she said if I wanted to go that route with the upstairs cabinets, this is absolutely something that can be done. OH MY GAWD, was the response I used. Oh, and at some point we also ordered a kitchen sink (it's all a blur.)

Here's a little preview of the boy's bathroom.

Tuesday, the cabinets were painted at her house.  At ours I laughed, I cried, I cleaned an entire apartment full of construction dust and debris, but dammit, I had stunning countertops. 

 On Wednesday, literally at the crack of dawn,  the cabinets were installed and the final touches were being put on as Sarah was walking in the door.  The hardware arrived a day late, leaving my sister and I to install it, which somehow us amateurs were able to do, and the rest, as they say is history. 

I'm not going to give away the full reveal (I know, such a tease) but here is a little peek at the final outcome. 

Just seeing this picture brings a tear to my eyes! This little (turned big) project really was the last piece in my 6 year renovation.  It's like what people say about the number of children they have, you only know you are done when you KNOW you are done.  I can unequivocally say there is not one thing I would change in my home, and I can only hope that we never move.  Every inch reflects my personality so perfectly and I feel so incredibly blessed and grateful that I get to call this my home.

Tonight, I get to cook in this kitchen for the first time, and I can tell you that nothing that could make me more excited!

So, so much more to come... stay tuned!

Really, really, really, REALLY long hair.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

 The other day my sister and I were flipping through the channels when we were both stopped in our tracks when we fell upon an old Sex and the City episode.  No, it wasn't the actual content (although, c'mon, it's still pretty good even though it's definitely on the cheesy side) but what had both of the wheels in our head spinning was her hair... her really, really, really, REALLY long hair.  Obviously, she was wearing extensions, which I personally won't be getting ever, but it did make me question whether I should give long, long, long hair one more go.  It's not that I don't love short hair, but you know, you always want what you don't have.  I'm not sure I have the patience to really go for it, but it's definitely one to file away for the future. 

Here's a little long hair inspiration.  Proof that young or old this is one style that is always on trend. 

One Last Thing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

You know, I'm a firm believer that if you don't like something in your home, just paint it.  It's the easiest and by far the cheapest way to bring new life in to a space and if you are willing to do the work yourself, you can essentially change an entire room for less than 100 dollars.

Which brings me to my next, and final project in the house.  After going back and forth, my husband has finally agreed that it's time to have our kitchen cabinets painted.  This one actually pains me because when we bought our home, it was a demolished space and we could have done anything in here.  At the time I had no idea what I was doing, and basically copied what I saw in every model home around the country.  The standard, cherry cabinets, gray marble, cherry floors.  Totally and completely beautiful, but 7 years later, now that I've actually found my style, our kitchen sticks out like a sore thumb when combined with the rest of the house, which is anything but traditional.   If I could do it all over again, I would absolutely go with navy cabinets, white marble and brass hardware, but since you can't go back in time,  I've figured that the least expensive way to breathe new life into our space is a fresh coat of paint on the cabinets, coupled with some fantastic new hardware.

The question then becomes what color?  Of course, I would love to do navy, but I don't think it would look that great with our backsplash (which I still love with ever fiber in my body) and the dark counter.  Originally, I planed to just match the blueish turquoise in the tile, but now I'm thinking the way to go is something more dramatic. Way more dramatic.


But not quite black.

Black with dark blue undertones.

Inky Black.

 After a lot of thought, I  think it will be the best way to mask the counter that I'm not in love with, and will also add so much drama to the space, especially paired with the brass hardware.  The more I think about it, the more excited I get! The black also will make the kitchen so much more modern, which will blend so much better with the rest of the house.

I've looked it to it a little bit, and I was surprised at how affordable it can be to have your cabinets professionally sprayed. Because these are newer, And without and damage, the whole thing can be done rather affordably and quickly! 

Okay, I'm sold. 

This is not something I'm planning on tackling before the holidays, but you can bet by the time Summer rolls around our kitchen will be looking shiny and new!  Here is the current state of the space.  Again, it's totally, perfectly just down't really go with the rest of the house. 

I am absolutely keeping this tile backsplash, and will probably have this somewhere in every house I live in for the rest of my life.  

The inspiration. This is exactly the color I'm looking for. 

Right now, these are the top three color contenders. They look much lighter on the screen than in person. In person they are dark, dark, dark. 

F&B Pitch Black

F&B Off Black

FB Blue Black (the frontrunner.)

The hardware is pretty much my favorite part of the plan, and I'm absolutely going with these babies from Schoolhouse Electric. 

Can you guys see it?  I think it's going to be really fantastic.  I'm not going to lie, I'll probably paint one or two cabinets myself just to make sure this is the right choice (versus going with the obvious creme) and will make sure to let you know how it turns out! 

Out of everything that we've done with the place, I have to say this is the one I'm most excited about!!!!

To be continued...

On Skin, Part 2.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

 Last year I wrote about my decade long struggle with adult acne, and how this product pretty much changed my skin and how I felt about my appearance in general.  I still use it every day, and believe that if there is one miracle product this is it.  Well, I think there might actually be two miracle products because after getting my first facial since Gray was born, the woman enthusiastically recommended that I use a serum, specifically this serum, to help with the dullness and fine lines that I was complaining about and OH MAH GAWD, this stuff is a miracle.  Seriously.  I basically cleaned out my beauty arsenal leaving only the Acnefree, the serum, and a light moisturizer with SPF (I love this one) and that's it.  Every morning I wash my face, apply 4 drops of the serum (which at first feels a little matte and sticky) and after that has absorbed, apply the moisturizer.  The serum only needs to be used in the mornings, and lasts 2-3 days, even after washing your face.  I've been using it for about a week now, and I cannot believe how amazing my sin looks.  Dewy without being oily, uniform with no colored tint, and my fine lines have basically disappeared, leaving behind plump, soft skin that I haven't seen since my early 20's.  I seriously feel like I have been photoshopped, without taking a picture.  It's that good.  I have never used a serum before, so maybe they are all that good, but this one is oil free, doesn't contribute to my acne situation, and is lightweight. As I said, a miracle product.  If you are looking for something to reboot your skin, I cannot recommend this enough!

Weekend Links.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Happy Sunday!

What are you all up to this chilly weekend?  I've spent the majority of it watching my little man on his skateboard, which is fine by me, given that this change in daylight savings has unfortunately brought forth a new surge of energy in the boys, and I'm just happy to have somewhere for him to expend it!  All of a sudden our home seems very small when two big boys are running through it like tasmanian devils  After a long day outside, last night we all piled on the sofa and the boy's watched Home Alone for the first time.  I have seriously never seen these kids laugh so hard!  I have a feeling we will be doing exactly the same thing tonight with the sequel! 

Whatever your plans, I hope you all had a great weekend. Here are a few fun links on this lazy Sunday. xo

Awesome. (not)

GIRLS is coming back in January! My excitement is palpable.

A great gift for the burly men in your life. My husband is definitely getting this in his stocking this year!

Instant wardrobe updates, from the experts.

I love these little glass shadow boxes.

A natural fix for A.D.H.D.  This is one of the best articles I've read on this in a long time.

It's November, which means there are more than a few men rocking some abnormal facial hair. A TED talk from the man behind the movement.

After an inspired trip to a market in chinatown on Tuesday, I made this, this and this. All three were so good! Tonight, I'm going to try out this one with some ground tofu in lieu of the turkey.

A pre-k teacher, and the trouble with lockdown drills. While I agree that it's better to be prepared, I am still so incredibly disappointed that we live in a society that accepts this as routine or normal.

On Winter skin... ever since I read this I've turned down the heat in my shower.

An easy alternative to a gallery wall.

The 5 worst states for women.

I love the emoji. In fact if I could just communicate with them, I probably would. Emojipedia is the ultimate source for what they actually mean.

25 famous women on their college lives.

These hats are stunning! Sadly, I have learned over and over that I hat person I am not but for those of you who are, you can't go wrong here.

New life for Jenna Lyons' famed Brooklyn townhouse. I loved this side by side comparison.

I have a serious girl crush on Nicole Cohen, and even more so on her awesome book that has tear out pages to be used for decoration. What a genius idea, and a great way to get inexpensive art in your home.

Finally, I loved watching my favorite bloggers compete in the one room challenge this year.  This roundup slays me.  I cannot believe that this is what people came up with in just 6 weeks!  That dark bedroom... I die.

Curent Style Inspiration: Maja Wyh

Thursday, November 6, 2014

It turns out that you can only pin the same girl about 10,000 times, before you have to take the time to figure out who she is.  Well, for me, the current "she" is Maja Wyh, and let me tell you, after stalking browsing her website I have found myself so inspired!  Talk about Maja (pronounced MAJ- ahhhhhhhhhh) Style! See for yourself...

Besides the obvious, perfect body, perfect hair... I think the thing that I am the most drawn to is how she is able to elevate everyday basics to a whole new level that I like to call "rockstar chic."  It seems like the key to this look is lots and lots of slouchy layers, a killer pair of heels, and a keeping a slim silhouette on the top or bottom.  Can you see the wheels in my head turning... hey I can do that! 

I also love how easy this style is to recreate, and on a budget!  You just need a great faux fur vest, like this incredible one from Zara (which I have and love), a pair of super, super skinny jeans, like these from Madewell, a fierce pair of round sunglasses, topped any pretty much everything else you already have in your wardrobe.  I mentioned before that lately I feel like I've been in a bit of a fashion rut, and I think this is just the inspiration I needed to break out of my comfort zone. 

 WWMD? (What Would Maja Do) Answer: rock it!