{me time} stolen minutes with house beautiful

Have any of you been having one of those months….you know the ones that still feel like you are at the first day of the next month, when in fact your a WHOLE WEEK IN? And to top it off you feel like you’re feet are walking through mud and getting heavier every time you try to take a new step?

Yeah, I don’t know what I’m talking about either. Never happens to me……I look at the 10 things on my To Do list and sometimes wonder how it will all happen…


Well, I did manage to throw my arms in the air yesterday as ALL OF MY CHILDREN took their naps TOGETHER. (And considering we’ve had way too many nights of interrupted sleep it was a welcome blessing!) So no, I did not wake my children up when they started to sleep past their regular time. I let em sleep. Chalked it up to a time change jet-lag, and convinced myself they all needed it.

And then I made a nice hot cup of coffee and opened my House Beautiful (that may have arrived weeks ago and I was just now sitting down to it…).

I had seen a hint of the cover on Habitually Chic. Do you all follow that blog? My Latte Fairy friend told me about it, and once again, how right she was! Seriously, Heather Lawson (the blog’s writer) is Chic beyond words. I’m loving this “Timeless” post on Paul Newman.

Even though it’s an ad, it still inspires me. While I do not love the Restoration Hardware current furniture lead times and overall in store customer service right now, I do love what their selling, and their customer service on a piece you’ve purchased? AMAZING! Would love a line up of bar stools just like this. Industrial, but functional.

Nothing over the top about this photo, except it looks like a welcoming front door. Love the black with the white painted brick. I picture a nice family living behind it.

Great mix of pieces in this room. From modern to traditional, to down right feels like a comfortable room.

Love the collection of different things that all unify in a welcoming way. Very warm, yet open and inviting.

Now see?? There’s that industrial bar stool look again, and this time in my current favorite color (gray) kitchen! Although I still like the bar stools with the backs from RH. My mommy back would kill me on these sadly.

I WISH my messy office would look this cute messy! Mine instead just looks…well…messy.

Love the single monogram for each person. The trouble with me and Hubs is the sides of the beds we sleep on + our initials, we would have an “S” and an “M”….don’t think so. I might be better off doing a 2 or 3 letter monogram.  But I like the idea!

How about you? What favorite magazines have you stolen a few moments with lately?  Even though it takes me days or weeks to get to it, I truly love my subscription to House Beautiful! It’s a welcome friend each time I see a new one in our mailbox :-)

{Me Time} A match made in Heaven!

I’m currently feeling hopelessly and completely behind the times today! A dear and amazing friend (she may have a little something to do with THIS) shared a link with me  for Matchbook ~ Field Guide to a Charmed Life….and I cannot believe I’m just now finding out about this!?!?

How many of you knew and didn’t share this????  I’m not sure we are really BFFs if you didn’t feel totally compelled to shoot me an email strait away {CG ~ this is how I really know we are BFFs! Thank you a million times over for sending!}

I strongly urge you to hustle your kiddos out the door to school, a play date, surf camp, whatever…then grab a cup of coffee in your favorite mug and devour this darling, amazing & ever so chic magazine!

I want to just high dive into Matchbook and live vicarioulsy on every page. Inspiring and oh so interesting articles, wonderful  little illustrations, thoughtful design, very well rounded. A page turner from every direction. I’m sharing a sampling of pages I quickly grabbed to share…..but truly, I’m headed out the door to pick up kiddos….the beauty in this magazine comes in seeing the WHOLE thing, and reading page after amazing page together.

Seriously, talk about CUTE and CHIC prego style!?!?!

Go now and check out Matchbook.  They don’t know me in the slightest, I just wanted to pass along a new favorite.  The only thing that would make it better than being able to read online, AND on my iPad (which you can do), would be to also have a copy in print. Sometimes things this good just need a print copy too….I may need to start a petition!

Happy reading and enjoy your weekend!

not your ordinary thursday

As I’ve said before, I’m not really one to say “No”.  I think I’m afraid that if I do, then I might miss out on something really fun or really cool.  Sometimes it’s not easy, but I love the challenge of getting it all to work. So when I was asked if my kitchen might be free, and I replied that there was a hole in my head, a hole in my wall. This is what happened….

Yum Food & Fun Magazine came over to use our house as a back drop for a photo shoot….and I thought it might be entertaining for you to see some of the behind the scenes shots.

On Wednesday night THIS is what I was looking at….(And I’m only showing you a portion of the room).

I think I sent a text to the PR Gals that said,

“Um yeaaaaaah.  You’re coming over. Tomorrow. And taking pictures. Wow. I’m getting a latte.”

And their response might have been,

“LOL. We are really good at hiding stuff.” (They weren’t kidding, for the record!)

The girls of TO Media show up with curtains from one of THEIR OWN Living Rooms and tack them over the hole…(the hole to the never ending project…that has become the bane of my existence…hubs has been working on it in his spare time…since last fall….he doesn’t have a lot of time…thank the world for his diligence and patience).  None the less, these brilliant girls ERASE the hole from view!

Then this DARLING girl, Vonny, shows up, that might as well have been my sweet next door neighbor and plops this beauty of a bag down. Hmmmm, that looks like a pretty helpful little number there.  I’m not even sure I could fill up all those pockets.

Wait!? There’s a matching lunch tote too!  How cute AND handy!!

But then the most wonderful thing happened! The fabulous Wade Williams of PICNIC comes strolling through my door…and not with a stroller I might add, but with a TURKEY!

Those fab TO Media gals then set my table, with my most favorite of dishes, for Thanksgiving dinner!!!  Can you and Chef Wade come back in November??  I would be ever so grateful!

The photographer starts snapping shots and we soon discover we not only went to SMU at the same time, but that he dated one of my roommates!! Small world!  Such a fun, great guy!

(Note the super cute step stool in the background, more later, LOVE the check pattern…)

Now if you were a goat cheese and beat salad waiting for your turn in front of the camera, where would you be waiting??

Yep, next to the water, Clorox wipes and half eaten muffin, me too.

I MIGHT just like brussel sprouts if Chef Wade made them for me…

(How amazing are the orange roses from California Blooms!??)

By the way, this photo WAS NOT staged, that is honestly what was on my kitchen counter.

Which is only because I wasn’t cooking it.

If it had been, you might be looking at tupperware.

Apparently the key to good brussell sprouts is bacon.

Pretty sure bacon is the key to A LOT of good things.  In this case, good THICK bacon!


My kitchen is NEVER this clean, nor does it ever look this good!

And that door?

The one the TO Media gals are writing on?

That’s the one that hides my office.

AKA Laundry Room

AKA the place where they hid EVERYTHING.

Could someone come dig me out, I’m still stuck in here.


My kids haven’t found me yet, maybe wait another day or 2.

See over there by the stove?

That’s another mom.

Not me.

Wrestling with an 18 month old.

Not mine.

Asking her to do something she doesn’t want to.

Hee, hee.

Ohhh behind the scenes times are always fun!

See that painted step stool (the one I mentioned above?)?? So, so, sooo cute!  Might need to add that to Santa’s list for the girls! (The Celebrity list is pretty entertaining too…). Great Christmas gifts for nephews, nieces, gran-littles, etc…

THEN, Chef Wade brings this bad boy out.

Good Boy?

Bad Boy?

OK it was GOOOOOD, because we got to eat this one!

While that “Good Bad Boy” was having it’s photo taken, our little celebrity read stories for a bit.

Photo shoots are all about balance and keeping everything and everyone happy.

This is Vonny, and Chef Wade Williams.  It was a true pleasure to meet them both that day!

And this was the reason for the shoot! Stay tuned for the November Yum Food & Fun Magazine on news stands in October to see what the FABULOUS bag below is, (which I plan to order at least 10 of I think, I’m saving pennies now). TRUST me, if you cook, if you entertain, if you go places, you want one!  And all the yummy food above?  Chef Wade shares the recipes in the October Yum issue so you wont want to miss it!  I’m excited for a new fun magazine to follow!!

(Disclosure: Pretty much nothing to disclose.  Someone asked to borrow my house, they did, and it was fun!  No compensation for any of the above, just a great day with new friends that I thought you might like to hear about.)

photo book fabulousness

So I started the week talking about out of the box gifts to give (inspired by my brilliant sisters).  But I also have a BRILLIANT sister-in-law (I actually have a few fabulous sister-in-laws), but one of them happened to give Addie & Hayden this amazing photo book for their birthdays.  This is a quick flip sample of the first few pages.

I have wanted to make this book since Addie was born and have just not found the time not gotten around to doing it. You can imagine how excited I was when we opened this!

My sister-in-law is the queen at photo books.

There are tons of different sites that you can use, or you could make one at home printing out photos and making a flip book with construction paper, but Blurb is my sister-in-laws current favorite:

I’ve used lots of different book sites, but made this latest one on Blurb. It’s a little higher-end bookmaking site, designed more for people who actually want to write/design, publish and even sell their own books. It’s not any more expensive than other sites, but gives you a little more control over the page layouts.

I’d had the idea of making an ABC book for a long time, but most sites wouldn’t let me make the alphabet letters bigger than the rest of the text. It’s also hard to find ones where you can put text on top of a full-bleed photo, which I like.

So, I’m a fan of Blurb at the moment. The thing about these sites is that they tend to evolve and leap-frog each other, so I try to check them all out every once in a while to see what’s new.  Blurb just added a new feature that’s pretty cool. It’s a widget you can add to your FB page to let other people view the book online.” (This widget is what’s allowing us to share part of the book at the start of this post)

But the other great thing about this widget and sharing the book, if you did spend the time to make a book and shared it with your family (you can set who can actually views it) then they have the option of purchasing themselves (you don’t need to buy for each member of your family). I love this feature!

So often I make a something that everyone else loves and wants a copy of, but we would be in the poor house if I bought them for everyone! And just to be clear, this book is around $20 not $500 (Currently Blurb does not have an option that limits the purchasing of a book when sharing it online, you can make it private for certain viewers and you can set the price. You also can see who has purchased it, you just can’t stop them from buying it when they view it.) We figured you would REALLY have to love our kids to want to spend $500 on them!

Love the design of it, love that it’s under $20, love all the options!

You can use it to make a photo book to introduce your kids to out of town relatives and friends, to teach “ABC’s”,  different foods, truly so many possibilities! Just takes a little time (which I KNOW we are so short on) but who knows where you might carve out a few hours minutes – goodness knows the recipient will love ya for this gift!! I think we read ours everyday!!

Enjoy and happy photo book making!!

(Disclosure: I have no affiliation with Blurb.
This is a sample of the actual book we were given from the girls’ fabulous Aunt.)

friend favorite ~ jane monreal ~ budget friendly beauty aids

Jane Monreal, who has worked more than 15 years in TV and radio broadcasting in the Los Angeles market, was most recently the traffic and features reporter for KABC-TV’s Eyewitness News in the morning. After joining KABC in 2004, she took on roles as segment producer and writer, anchored its inaugural live webcast of the Academy Awards Arrivals Show in 2007, and served as the station’s “Resident Dance Expert” for the hit ABC show, “Dancing with the Stars.”  Previously, she was the lead afternoon traffic reporter for KFWB News 980, where she earned a Golden Mike award in 1999, and was featured on smooth jazz station, 94.7 the WAVE.

Meet the fabulous Jane Monreal

Here are Jane’s budget friendly beauty aids!

I’m one to appreciate a good facial and pay up the wahzoo for it.  But even my aesthetician told me a long time ago, that the best way to maintain healthy skin (in addition to staying away from cheese) is to exfoliate.  Nancy could have recommended some expensive French facial scrub.  Instead she told me to go across the street and pick up exfoliating gloves.  2/$8, I bought a couple of packages.  I could wipe gently with a dollop of Cetaphil 2-3 times a week and throw it in the wash.  They last forever.

Another great recipe (literally, a recipe using baking soda), is from Beauty and Anti-aging expert, Louisa Maccan-Graves and her doctor-recommended book, “Hollywood Beauty Secrets: Remedies to the Rescue. In the book, there are so many good recipes to try:  a moisturizing yogurt mask, a papaya foot bath to soften up the soles.  Budget or no budget, this is a great reference book for beauty tips.

My beauty tool of choice is a great pair of tweezers.  Like the father on “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is to Windex, I am to my tweezers.  I pluck everything:  my eyebrows, upper lip, my arm pits (too much info, sorry), dry skin at the end of my nose that my exfoliating glove didn’t slough off.  With the closed end, I push down my cuticles.  You get the idea!  My favorite tweezers actually came from a men’s grooming kit.  I thought I lost them once.  Imagine my delight when I found them tucked in the back of the vanity cabinet.  Next step is to get another pair.  Whee!  I found Tweezer Pro. These folks know what they’re doing.  I love the slant tip.  It’s like my original favorite men’s tweezers.  Like my multi-vitamin Nutra-paks, I need to get a few pairs of slant tip Tweezer Pro tweezers and store them everywhere.

*** Thanks for the Favorites, Jane!  LOVE getting Favorite Tips from the experts! I need to check out the Hollywood Beauty Secrets and the Tweezers, both look fabulous!  I already love the exfoliating gloves.  If anyone missed my post on them, check it out here. They are also listed in the Beauty Favorites Gallery.  And I’ve heard baking soda mixed with Cetaphil makes a great facial exfoliator too!  Check back for more great tips from Jane soon!

valentine book love

So on the same road as Saturday’s post that I just have not felt like cooking, Sunday morning was the same.  So we went to Fashion Island, enjoyed a little Pain du Monde yumminess and then let Addie run around since all the stores were closed. As you can see, she REALLY dressed up for the occasion!! (We had to wear rain boots and we had to bring our pet balloon, AND that is her bed head….)

We ended the morning at Barnes and Noble.

I thought we should get some cute little Valentine books

to start introducing Addie to the holiday.

I found 3 that I really liked!

How Do I Love You?
By P.K. Hallinan

Super Sweet little poem listing all the ways the little boy is loved.

“How do I love you?
Let me count the ways.
I love you on your very best…
and very worst days”

Sweet illustrations, catchy poem and lots of great way to love!

The second is darling and quickly becoming a Favorite!

I Love You, Good Night
By Jon Buller and Susan Schade
Illustrated by Bernadette Pon

“I love you like I love blueberry pancakes”

“I love you like I love strawberry milkshakes”

I mean honestly, who can’t relate to love like that?!

Again, love the illustrations, and great examples of love!

The third one they were sold out of, but I ordered on Amazon when I got home

as I just love the “If You Gave a Mouse a Cookie…” books!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse!
By Laura Nemeroff
Illustrated by Felicia Bond

I have not read the book yet, but I LOVE all the “mouse” books

so I can’t help but think this will be a perfect Valentine addition!

I think these will surely become new favorites for your family! They are quickly starting to in ours!

Have a great week and if you still need a good meal plan, check out my boycott

Can’t wait for Flame Broiler tonight!!

book club babes


Honestly, I have the BEST Book Club group of friends ever!
I so wish you could meet them as they are a FAVORITE group of girls!

They can multi-task like nobody’s business!!
And are amazing examples of what moms and friends should be.
(I can only hope that Addie & Hay will know friends as fabulous.)

Last night was our Holiday Book Club Party which is the one book club each year that EVERYONE makes it to no matter what schedule conflict may arise.  And I love it!  The group ranges from girls that were a few years ahead of me in highschool, to wives of guys my husband grew up with in a different city way before we knew each other, to girls that married friend’s brothers from grade school & high school, to completely new friends.  What is especially great about this group is that because there are girls that span all different stages of family life, you are SURE to get an answer to anything you are in search of…

Pediatric dentist

Best new work out class

Good surf camp

How to help your kids read

Potty training tricks

Cute boutique vendors

Karate classes

You name it, they have an answer.

The reason I can so often share a tip or trick when asked for it, is because I listen to friends around me and then share, share away! So trust me, you are all thankful for this Book Club with the wealth of knowledge!

Every time I leave Book Club (which is typically every 6 weeks), I am usually clueless to what the book is or was (and I can’t even blame alcohol since I’ve been pregnant the past 3 years), but I leave with a wealth of new info! And a full heart from a fabulous night with friends!

And last night was no different.

First off, I had emailed the group for good book recommendations (since they all read much more than I do) and I thought these would make good gifts or at least some good reads for you over the holidays. So I’m passing them onto you. Can’t say that I’ve personally read them (I’m lucky to read my emails each day), but I trust these recommendations and look forward to reading them someday…..

When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa

Amazon Crocodile

The Help

Amazon The Help

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Amazon Dragon Tatoo

The Glass Castle: A Memoir

Amazon Glass Castle

Her Last Death: A Memoir

Amazon Her Last Death

The Piano Teacher

Amazon Piano Teacher

Remember Me?

Amazon Rem Me

The Undomestic Goddess

Amazon Undomesticated

Second, I  thought you may have a few gift exchanges coming up and wanted to share some of the great ideas from last night.  In years past we have had gift exchange themes of:

Favorite Lingerie Product
(Hanky Panky was a huge hit that year)

Favorite Beauty Product
(Trish McEvoys Mascara & Eye Brightener were big
The Brightener is also in the Beauty Favorites Gallery.
Other big hits, a great flat iron and an Armani brow pencil.)

Best $40 ever spent
(Trader Joe cookbooks, Return address stamp – muck luck slippers not such a hit)

and this year was Best $20-$30 ever spent.

Here are a few of the goodies:

Spanx Power panties with tummy control

Amazon Spanx

Trish McEvoy Essential Pencil (Plum) and Eyelash Curler
(I also love the color Barely There)

Nordstrums - Trish Pencil

Nordstrums Eye Lash

Rene Furterer Naturia Dry Shampoo

Amazon Dry Shampoo

Anthropolgy Belt

Anthro Belt

Trish McEvoy Curling Mascara

Nordstrums Trish Curling Mas

Lippman Collection, The Stripper
and Sarah Smiles nail polish

Beauty Polish RemoverBeauty Lipman Polish

Strivectin Neck Cream – 1 oz

Amazon StrivectinLancome Gift Set

Nordstrums Gift Set

Black leggings, and a pair of patterned tights
with Rococo nail polish – “Gothic Lolita”

Vintage Ring

Leather & Bead Wrap Bracelet

Darling boutique necklace

It definitely helps that all the girls have really great taste too!  But don’t think that stops the stealing – it’s most definitely a ruthless game! I wish I had taken my camera last night to show you everything.  Not everything is online for images…but hopefully this gives you some fun ides for any gift exchanges that you are invited this holiday!

Would love to hear any fun favorites you’ve seen, or good books you’ve read!
Please comment below!

Have a fabulous Saturday!


I think we are going to take the Littles out to see some magical Christmas lights Saturday night,
and ride the train to see Santa on Sunday!

Check back on Sunday for the Juliska winner!!