Friday, December 31, 2010

Thank you to 2010 for....


farmers markets


hats, big and small

legs to dance with


exploring new places

little hands (that need be trimmed, ok, give me a break)

BIG artwork

beach days (and cousins)


AND COCKTAILS (just being honest here...this is an honest blog) :)

good friends(ok,this was a coincidence, not a cocktail theme occurring here)

family photos (and battery operated flickering candles from Pottery Barn -so that I don't burn the house down)

and for family, friends, and my blog family. Big thanks for stopping by, I appreciate all your comments and your inspirational blogs!
All the best for 2011!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Perfect Holiday Red

The perfect holiday red.
Essie shade: Macks

j'adoring it on my nails as i type

The perfect holiday red.
Alexander Valley Cabernet

j'adored it the other night but not the other morning

The perfect holiday red.
The Red Sharpie (to label my gift bottles of cranberry orange infused vodka)
Many Thanks to Torrie! Click here to check out her amazing blog.

The perfect holiday red.
Mac Red.

Wishing everyone a holiday filled with love and laughter!

Get those New Years Resolutions lists going...see you in 2011!


Reposting some of my faves next week.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Snow Globe Family

One of our favorite seasonal reads.

One more post tomorrow and then taking a break for the holiday.
Back next week with some reposts from the early days (aka last spring).

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stroller Cam

Urban Holiday from the stroller perspective
(4yr old photographer)


That's about all I got today....sick child and fighting a cold myself plus trying to wrap up (literally) everything for Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Moroccan LOVE

I've never had a favorite shampoo. Ever. Ok, I take that back. There was a time when I ONLY used Salon Selectives...back in the early 90's for my high school hair. Once in awhile, I'll catch something in the air (usually in a candle store) that brings me back to that good old salmon colored bottle of clean and getting ready for a date. Getting picked up in a mustang convertible, listening to Fine Young Cannibals, and going miniature golfing. Ahhh, the days.
But, since then, I haven't had a go to shampoo OR conditioner. I go in phases and keep several brands in my shower, incuding Pantene 2 in 1, for those days when showering is a luxury and I have limited time. But now, I am in love and will never stray from my new found love. MOROCCAN OIL Shampoo, Conditioner and the OIL itself.
The girls at works were talking about these products over the summer and I was shocked slashed appauled - being the product junkie that i am - that I hadn't heard of them and coudn't get in on the convo.

My hair is naturally fine, thin, and pretty much lifeless. This shampoo gives it an amazing sheen, withouth weighing it down. It blow dries perfecty straight after using the shampoo/conditioner combo. I have also learned (since leaving my precious bottles of wonder at my parents house over Thanksgiving) that using the oil alone - applying to wet hair - gives the same sleek shine. There is also a light version of the oil - for fine hair - but the regular oil works just fine if used in minimal amounts - i mean just a drop, rub on both hands and smooth through hair. Because you don't need a lot, I have had the same bottles of all three products since July 31 (I only know the date because I purchased this stuff the day I left for my girls weekend and I don't forget girls weekends)!

I thought it would be nice to take a break from all the holiday posts for a day. Is it just me or does it seem like the holiday season is really long this year? Not that I am complaining, I love this time of year, it just seems (even though I still have a million things to do) that Christmas should be here by now!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Staycation

Winding down from a lovely weekend spent with family. We all decided to stay in a hotel downtown (which is only about two miles south of us) and enjoy a weekend in the heart of the city. Saturday was spent ice skating at Millennium Park and admiring the window displays at what once used to be Marshall Field's (ok, it Macy's now). The evening was filled with wonderful food and wine at the restaurant in our hotel. Now, the hotel was actually an old-school city club and I thoroughly prepped (maybe threatened) my children to be on very best behavior at the fancy nancy restaurant. And, with the help of many tricks pouring out of my sleeve (little gifts, new markers, dry erase placemats, etc.), they sat through a two-hour dinner like perfect little angels. Phew! Phew! Phew!
my homemade antique gold frame dry erase placemat!
It was so fun to enjoy the excitement of a hotel through the childrens eyes. One night away (even in our own city) felt like a mini-vacation. With all the family activity, I was even able to squeeze in an hour of "me" time at the gym/spa. And I think that I can live off of that simple little hour for a least a week. Just think what an entire girls weekend could do.

The one thing our little staycation did make me realize is that getting everything together for a real vacation does not sound like a vacation at all. It's more about the quality family time without the daily distractions that gives it the vaca feeling. It took me all Saturday morning to pack our biggest suitcase (yes, suitcase) for one overnight. Plus the stroller AND the bag with all that misc. kid crap that you can't phathom leaving home without. Getting to the airport and on a plane, fuggedabutit.

Other things I am thinking about this week....

my new favorite hair product that i can't live without

easy shmeasy holiday treat (image via)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Homemade Hot Fudge

Rhoda's Peppermint Hot Fudge

With all the amazing blog posts of holiday recipes, it's hard not to try every one. And with all the extra time we all have this time of year, it's so easy (insert kidding face). Who has time to squeeze in all this baking? So, I went for the fudge. Minimal ingredient count + minimal prep time = I will try it! The recipe was from the list of 40 Homemade Gifts from the Kithcn.

Here's the recipe for Rhoda's Peppermint Hot Fudge. I decided to make the non-peppermint option and it was DELISH! I did not even think about straying from the recipe - couldn't risk it.

I don't have a double boiler so I had to do it the old school way by holding one pan over another. After ten minutes of continual stirring with one hand and holding the 80 pound all-clad pan with the other I thought my arm would fall off. What a workout (great, didn't have to go to the gym that night...not that I was going to haul my arse outside in 15 degree weather and walk there anyway)!

This recipe makes me want a double-boiler. Hard to justify when that CuisineArt Food Processor is still hanging out on the bottom shelf IN THE BOX (the crate and barrel wedding box, that is). Cringe.

Happy Baking to all! Oh, and HaPpY FrIdAy too!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Remember these?

image via

image via

I just wasted a whole bunch of time trying to research the name of the little gold tins! Even though, I have researched these little gems before, still, every few years I look them up again.
Can't beat the classic KISSING potion either!
Hope everyone is checking stuff off of their to-do lists and not procrastinating like this Santa.
Kiss! Kiss!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jenny Doll 1976

Once in awhile, I get on major retro toy kicks and research every toy that I can remember. Christmas and toy buying brings floods of memories back and I found myself on ebay the other day researching classic Lite Bright. This brings me to Jenny. My mom still has my Jenny doll and she pulled it out over Thanksgiving for my 2yr old to love.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Distracted Santa

Ok, Santa is getting really distracted by all the things you can buy on Amazon...AND distracted by reading all 84 reviews of a product AND distracted by the fact that you can buy beauty products AND so distracted that Mrs. Santa is going to have to pay expedited shipping costs if she doesn't stop browsing and just push ORDER already.

Santa has had about 8 items in her cart for about four days now and can't seem to pull the trigger as she keeps removing and adding, removing and adding. If she reads one more review on the pros, cons and differences between the LeapFrog Explorer and Leapster 2, she may just eat another cookie and call it a day. Which is precisly why nothing is getting accompished here at the North Pole (otherwise known as Chicago, Illinois, USA).

Egyptian Magic! Just another one of Santa's distractions. People swear by it as a night cream, lip balm, cuticle cream...and it's 100% natural. Sold. Now, how much magic are we talking here? Will it magically research, purchase and wrap all of Santa's gifts too?

Monday, December 13, 2010


Fun little simple craft project we worked on over the weekend. The XO tag. Basically, two pieces of posterboard glued together with ribbon in the middle, glue and GLITTER. Could be used as a gift tag if you leave one side blank.

Sidenote: I had to ignore my usual "glitter free house" rule for this project. If you have ever tried getting glitter out of a two year old's hair and eyes, your house would be glitter free too. Not to mention the fact that there's glitter everywhere: between our floor boards, on our cushions and in our food ;)

Inspiration (slash copying from): The XO's from West Elm.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Crew Cuts

A while back I was trying to locate this sweater or find a cheaper alternative. In doing so, my friend Rachel commented on a great alternative she saw at Crew Cuts. Let's not rule out shopping at Cuts...because, in the boys section, the sizes go up to XXXL...which is probably the equivalent to a women's small but I haven't been able to confirm this yet.

Anyway, I did see this AMAZing little sweater girls...and of course it's sold out. If they made it in my size, I'd buy one for me AND my two year old. I am not against cheesy mother daughter dressing alike if the STYLE IS RIGHT. :)

Serendipity - Sucker!

Ok, I am a complete sucker for romantic comedies...especially the old school classics (considering i haven't seen a film in an actual theater in foreva read: post babies, classics are what I know best). Caught Serendipity the other day...still as good as the first day I saw it with friends long ago. And it has a bit of a holiday theme so it was perfect! Sipping tea ok, maybe eating a hot fudge sundae by my x-mas tree with a litte John Cusack and Jeremy Pivon....made for a perfect little evening. I probably shoud've been checking things of my long to-do list instead.

Then, I was in the bagel store and they were playing the entire soundtrack. Serendipitous?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Life Stinks

Let's face it, since having children, I have developed a huge paranoia of chemicals. Parabens, PBA, apple skins, plastic sippies, classic pink baby creams, canned tomatoes, canned baby food, canned anything...aluminum, you name it, they all scare the bejibbers out of me. (Ever heard that prhase? I hadn't, but found it when looking up bejusus and didn't want to use crap)!

So, when I stumbled upon the Duggan sisters booth at the One of a Kind Show over the weekend, it was one of those AHHHH moments! They have developed a natural deodorant (that actually works). Its called LIFE STINKS and comes in an adorable little canister with a six month supply of powder. These three sisters are delightful and their enthusiasm is contagious. The packaging and marketing equals perfection.

They also make amazing soaks and offer free trade soap (which they only make .20 a bar on) made with coconut oils, palm and rose oils. All CHEMICAL-FREE.

I think I'm in love...

LifeStinks will be available at Whole Foods soon or you can order on their site.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Another point for Aquaphor

Lilly Van Der Woodsen says she slathers Aquaphor over her face nightly. She says that it plumps her face naturally and smooths wrinkles. Well, if it's good enough for Lilly, it's good enough for me. I can't remember where I read this but upon googling it, I came across this interview.

I posted about Aquaphor in 07 (when I thought that I was actually going to work on this blog)! But Lilly Van Der Woodsen...that seals the deal on this product. PERMANENT medicine cabinet staple!

Ok, I know we are not really talking about Lilly...are we?


We stumbled upon this idea at Michael's Craft Supplies over Thanksgiving. It's so fun and easy for the kids (and adults) that I couldn't resist stocking up on acrylic paints and clear plastic bulbs.

The instructions are pretty self explanatory. You squirt paints directly into the ornaments...tilting the ball as the paint covers the interior and lands at the bottom. Experimenting is where you can come up with some great designs.

Two things to keep in mind:

1. After you have covered the interior of the ball completely, you must drain some of the paint, but not all. We discovered that the paint started drying out inside after a day or two because we drained too much. We are still experimenting with this...seems after a few more days they continue to dry out..may to have to change up the paint.

2. We found that using the paint that was drained to completely fill a new ball worked really well and produced the best looking balls (i wish there was another word i could use instead of balls - its reminding me of that old "npr" spoof skit about holiday BALLS).

I am not too crafty over here, but this project was a lot of fun.

Sunday, December 05, 2010


Lots to post about this week. Saturday morning we awoke to a winter wonderland here in Chicago. This set the holiday tone for the weekend!
The first snow is always exciting and appreciated.
(Ask me about the snow in February and I may have a different attitude).

Saturday, December 04, 2010

One of a Kind Show

I am so happy that I popped over to Nicole's Making it Lovely blog today! She reminded me that the One of a Kind Show is in Chicago this weekend and I have always wanted to go. Mainly to pick up some goodies from beebopandwally. I used to buy their stuff at the outdoor market in Soho...maybe it's just nostalgia....but their stuff IS super cozy!

Renegade Holiday Fair + One of a Kind Show = Pretty Perfect Saturday
(throw in a beautiful snowfall and a starbucks latte and it's over the top)


Friday, December 03, 2010


Clothes that come with directions intrigue me! Maybe it's the idea of getting a 2 for 1 deal that I like, but clothes that can be worn several ways are just smart. Several years ago I stumbled upon Calvin Tran's brick and mortar shop on Halsted Street in NY. I was looking for something to wear to my husband's holiday work party(I may have been newly pregnant, I can't remember) and was not having any luck. I got lucky at Calvin Tran. I walked out with several pieces that all came with instructions: A sleeveless wool shirt that could be worn three ways. A skirt that doubled as a tunic and/or wrap. All beautiful pieces and very well made. I just wore the skirt to an event the other night and I am still in love.

My tivo automatically recorded the Fashion Show this season and I didn't think I would watch it. But one night, while searching for some mindless television, I decided to watch the first epi. Ok, The Fashion Show tries really hard to be like Project Runway, but Bravo, you gave that up and nothing can replace PR. However, I was surprised to see Calvin Tran participating in the competition. More than that, I was surprised at his behavior. I couldn't get beyond the first epi, and I've heard that he gets better, and I don't know if this we deter me from entering his store on Halsted again, but I did think about it.

A couple images from his Winter collection

Thursday, December 02, 2010


My 94 yr old Grandmother is my idol! My mother made her coffee cake recipe over Thanksgiving and it was DElish!

The kids couldn't resist helping.

Grandma’s Coffee Cake

1 c brn sugar
4T flour
4 tsp cinnamon
4T melted butter
1c chopped nuts

Sift together:

3 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1.5 C sugar

Cut into this: ½ C shortening until fine as cornmeal

To the flour mix add: 2 beaten eggs, 1C milk, 2tsp vanilla

Beat until dough is smooth

Pour ½ of dough into greased 9 x13 pan.

Sprinkle ½ topping. Pour rest of dough. Then topping

Cover with wax paper and put in fridge.

Bake 375 25-30 minutes

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

My husband thought for sure that I had sabotaged our computer (like I threw it against the tile floor or something) to get a new one. I assured him that my mac md would be able to fix it (why I was so confident, I don't know because I know jack about fixing computers). My husband also thought that I had let a piece of plastic go down the kitchen drain, thus clogging it, thus requiring a call to the plumber. He also claimed that this was going to be a $500 fix. So, this plus $1200 for a new computer = about $1700.

This was my text to my husband today:

Sink fixed: 95 dollars

Computer fixed: 125 dollars

Texting my husband that I told you so: PRICELESS

Renegade Holiday Fair

Planning my Renegade Holiday Fair gameplan now. The day to go, what kind of latte I will have in hand, when I will meet up with Meg, etc. Looking forward to it.