Good-Bye December

I usually love December. Christmas is my favorite time of the year, even more so now that we have children. I love all our traditions, the lights, the songs, the anticipation. This year, I felt a bit off. I was just getting in the groove when the terrible tragedy occurred in Newtown. I couldn't think. Not for days. I couldn't process it. I'm not going to write about the tragedy because I still can't form all my thoughts. I don't have words for the pain and anguish those parents and families are going through, the trauma the survivors will's too much. Many others have written more eloquently than I could. I tried keeping things normal for my kids (they still don't know, just that we've been praying for families in Connecticut who need our prayers), but I know they'll never be normal again.

We had a typical crazy, fun, busy Christmas season. We had another American Girl explosion and are capping off December with a short trip to our Property. I've already had to clean up squirrel poop from a squirrel who was apparently pooping his little pea brain out as he tried getting out of the cabin. I hate squirrels. On the upside, no mice. hooray. Sigh.

So, Good-bye December and take your pooping squirrels with you.

Monday Musings

As with most of our free weekends in the fall, my husband took our oldest daughter Em hunting this weekend. They've spent several weeks trying to get her first deer. They even went hunting on our Thanksgiving vacation to the Carolinas. They went out to our Property where she fittingly shot her first deer (strange that there is not a place in her baby book for first deer).

I now have a deer head in a cooler in my garage. Let me repeat that, I have a deer head in a cooler in my garage. I've come to terms that hunting is part of our family life, but let me state for the record that I am not OK with deer heads.

Apparently there will now be antlers in the decor of the girls' room.

We decorated for Christmas this weekend-which means I handle the inside and my husband handles the outside. I think he got the better end of the deal. We have A LOT of Christmas decorations. Which, as he puts it, may be sort of silly since "nobody sees the inside except us." LOTS of decorations. Getting them all out of storage (and a tree) totally counted for my weekend work-out. This is another reason to leave my Christmas decor up until Epiphany. It takes too long to put up, I don't want to take it down!

I am really proud that I've bought almost all our Christmas gifts this season. With one small caveat, I bought a couple of toys online on super duper sale and failed to note the dimensions. Those boxes are ginormous. Whoops. Shipping is going to be a pain. Our friends may just have to wait to get those gifts until we see them!

You know what is almost impossible to find? Cute, age appropriate holiday dresses for 8 year old girls. Holy shopping, batman. I have been to the ends of the Internet and back. Thankfully, my mom offered to buy the girls' dresses, so I leave it entirely up to her. (I wanted blue plaid dresses, which you can find very easily-for 5T and under!- Pffft).

I visited Emily in her newly done house this weekend. She joins the ranks of those friends I have whose houses should be in a magazine. Emily has serious decorating skills. Even her shelves are perfectly done. I noticed she missed one trend- no antlers or deer heads in her house! Or, maybe that's just my house...

Friday Favorite-Custom Made Dresses

San Antonio wasn't all bad. It was a great reason to get a fabulous dress. I took my husband's 20th college reunion as an opportunity to get a really special dress. I wanted something to fit my aesthetic (classic, tailored) with his request (sexy). I found an etsy seller, heartmycloset, who makes gorgeous custom ordered dresses. I ordered this dress in a beautiful purple color because what fun is another black dress?

The seller was so easy to work with, and literally walked me through the measurements. I ended up making a slight measurement mistake-all my fault which resulted in a scandalously low front slit. Much to my husband's chagrin, the slit issue was easily remedied. The dress obviously got his two thumbs up. I felt like a million bucks. It was lovely to put something on and know that it was literally made for me. I am now a firm believer in custom dressing and would highly recommend. If you have any holiday parties or special events coming up, you can't go wrong with a custom dress. In fact, if you invite me to a party anytime soon, you should expect me to wear this dress!

My Friday Favorite- custom dresses by heartmycloset

The Worst Run Ever

On Mondays, I usually muse. Nothing to muse about today. Only definites. I definitely need to write this down so I never make the same mistake again. I definitely had the worst run ever Sunday. I definitely will never run another race sick. I definitely will not run another race unprepared (even if I have stupidly done that in the past). I definitely will only run races with lots of port o potty options- seriously, San Antonio, we waited for at least 4 minutes to pee. Unacceptable. Sunday I "ran" the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in San Antonio. It was my worst race ever. I ran the 1/2 slower than I've ever run; closer to 3 hours than to the 2:30 I thought I'd run. Blech.

I was sick, ill prepared, and not nearly determined enough to make it to the finish line. I have lots of reasons things went downhill. It boils down to- I wasn't trained or ready. I ran a race sick and that was a stupid idea. I barely made it to the finish line and only because our friend was there to hold me up throughout the entire race. I wish you could see the race pictures, there is one shot where I look like I am either about to cry or murder someone. I thought about both, but didn't have the energy to do either.

I'm hoping that since I've now reached the bottom (I really couldn't run much slower), I'll turn over some fabulously fast leaf and run like the wind from now on. Ha ha ha. Nope, really I just want it in writing so I remember how terrible Sunday was so I never run sick or unprepared again. As God as my witness, I will never be so stupid (about running) again.

Monday Musings

My husband went on yet another hunting trip this week. Apparently there are more animals that need to be hunted; I doubt this claim. On Saturday, he texted me a picture of the 245 pound buck he shot. The girls and I were on the way to American Girl Café…story of my life.

Upon seeing the picture of the great hunter and his prey, Em started dancing around singing “Daddy got a deer. Daddy got a big deer.” M looked at the picture and said “Ewww, gross.”

Last season must have been a big pheasant season for my husband. I decorated for fall with pheasant feathers in everything-urns, vases and wreaths, and I still have handfuls left over.

The American Girl Café was just as fun as last time. The girls enjoyed themselves immensely. Totally worth calling 3 months ago for a reservation. Yes, 3 months!

Both girls bought their American Girl items out of their own allowances. The salesclerk was so nice to sit and wait through all the pennies.

My husband's 20th college reunion is this weekend. Since he works out of the house, he doesn't have many suits, slacks, etc. We went shopping last week and it was so much fun! Like Pretty Woman in reverse. I got to pull whatever shirts, pants, jeans I liked and he tried them on. I told him, "We should have done this years ago." I don't think he had as much fun as I did.

One of the things he bought is a BOSS suit jacket. He doesn't think it is quite as funny as I do when I tell him "Like a BOSS" every time he wears it ala Joseph Gordon Levitt on Jimmy Fallon. But, it really is funny. Really.

My big big life of leisure plans took an unexpected turn Friday when M had to stay home sick from school. Oh well, at least I didn’t have to freak out about arranging childcare. The other unexpected turn happened when I got sick Saturday. Really sick. Super fun. Oh well, at least I didn’t have to take the day off.

Friday Favorite- Life of Leisure

I've spent the past week enjoying time off in between jobs. What a blessing. I've done all most the errands I never have time to accomplish. Did you know that grocery shopping on a Tuesday mid-morning goes super fast?! It's freeing. More importantly, I've gotten to eat lunch with my girls, read to the class, and be there to pick them up after school. I've really enjoyed spending those little bits of extra time with my girls. I know the end of my free time/life of leisure will be here all too soon. I'm really trying to relish every free minute I get. I've also learned a lot-there is a whole sub-society of school moms and their understood ways of doing things. Whoa. Eye opening. The only drawback so far has been trying to ignore all the Halloween candy calling my name. I need to go and try to cross some more items off the TO-DO free time list (and avoid bite sized candy bars)! Have a great weekend.

My current (but quickly going away) Life of Leisure is my Friday Favorite!

Friday Favorite- Vintage Shine

Today was my last day at work. I was feeling conflicted- extremely happy for new opportunities and a fantastic new job, but really sad to leave good friends and familiar surroundings. So, I decided a little retail therapy was in order. I decided to stop in at BHLDN, which is full of SO MUCH pretty. Honestly, I want to have a vow renewal or big bash just to wear some of their fabulous stuff. In addition to amazing dresses and shoes, I couldn't stop looking at their jewelry pieces. They have a ton of great vintage pieces. You know I love vintage. I've been looking for a few sparkly bangles, and thought this one fit the bill.

It's in perfect shape and is priced competitively to what you would find on etsy. Plus, BHLDN (and Anthropologie) both participate in the Houston Holiday Shopping card, so it was 20% off (under $50). Score. Pretty Sparkly Score. If you are in Houston, I suggest a trip to BHLDN to shop for some pretty sparkly pieces. Don't forget to use the Holiday Shopping Card.

Vintage Jewels at BHLDN- my Friday Favorite.

Monday Musings

I'd like to know if teachers assign home projects just to mess with parents. We are on the 4th project of the school year. It is really an enjoyable way to spend each evening and part of the weekend. Oy. If you have an elementary aged kid, stock up on posterboard and glue sticks.

Not to bury the lead or anything- but I GOT A NEW JOB. I have one week left at my current job and then get to take some time off before starting a great new job. I knew I was stressed out, but didn't realize how incredibly stressed out I was until I got a new job. Holy smokes. (Hi, Jessica if you're reading. I will miss you!)

Also, I am firmly on the jeans and a blazer every day to work train. No client meetings + less than a week left = jeans. Ha.

I'm so excited about starting on a long list of "never have times"- like furniture rehab, a l-o-n-g list of projects, ironing, going through photo albums, cleaning closets, watching movies, working out whenever I want to, going for long runs during the day. I can NOT wait.

I went running this weekend and managed to not break, strain, or sprain anything. I view that as a major accomplishment. Thank you KT Tape.

This weekend, I achieved a parenting feat we all look forward to- I was the "best mommy ever" and it was M's "favorite day ever" on Saturday. By Sunday I became the "meanest mommy ever." M is prone to exaggeration.

Sunday I rediscovered the real reason we Catholics have wine at Mass. No, not the miracle of transubstantiation. It's because you might consider drinking by that point in Mass. Yes, my children were a special kind of embarassing during Mass.

Harry Potter Party- Class Schedule

Before I forget (like I did with her Nancy Drew party last year), I figured I should document my daughter's Harry Potter 8th birthday party. I have to say that this was one of the most fun themes: 1) because we are big Harry Potter geeks, 2) because the Internet is literally full of thousands of great inspiration parties. It's so easy! The only hard part was deciding what to do since my girls were full of TONS of ideas.
We started in the Owlery. The girls were supposed to make owls by gluing feathers on Styrofoam balls. They ended up just sticking feathers into the balls in weird alien ways. Oh well, at least they seemed to have fun. If I did it over again, I'd plan better and follow this tutorial for felt owls. I even have a ton of felt I could have used-grrr. Crafter/Party Planner's remorse. Sigh.
Wand Selection- I made the wands after googling and went for the easiest option. I ended up using dowels (I already had a bunch lying around), dripping hot glue over them, and spray painting with regular spray paint then with some glitter spray paint I had. My mom played the role of McGonagall and gave them wands after the sorting hat ceremony.
Potions Class- my dad played the role of Dumbledore and he was excellent. I wish I prepared more experiments for the girls/wizards. I really liked the experiments from this party and used two of them. My dad showed the young wizards Liquid Enemies (above) and then everyone made Exploding Elixir. It was a big hit.
While the girls were working on their potions, I took pictures of each girl in the Harry Potter Photo Booth I made inspired by this Sirius Black photo prop. I repurposed the Barbie photo booth- I knew that huge box would come in handy.
Defense Against the Dark Arts- I drew a bunch of evil monsters, trolls, etc, and had Hagrid (my husband) equip each wizard with a fighting potion (silly string) and they just went crazy. Silly String is part of each of our parties now; I have to find a way to work it in. The girls love the Silly String fights. It was funny to see my husband running around with a giant Hagrid mask, trying to see where he was going.
Divination- we gave the girls color changing drinks to tell their future. I think the colors we used were: Blue for Loyal Friend, Green for Fame, Yellow for Smart and Hard-Working, and Red for Love. I was most excited that I could use my horrible Craft Fail as part of the decoration in this room.

Of course, we ended with a trip to Honeyduke's sweet shop. The girls got to try Bertie Botts Every Flavor Jelly Beans (yes, that even included flavors like dirt and vomit) and Butter Beer. I found the jelly beans and butter beer at a local candy store-they just got them in that week. thank goodness for a late September birthday! Note- I bought a couple Bertie Botts and mixed them with Bamboozled jelly beans to save on costs and little tummies.
I didn't get pictures of the two classes I was in charge of, so here's the whole school schedule: Owlery-owl craft and goody bag decorating
Sorting Hat Ceremony
Wand Selection and Readiness
Herbology-paint flower pots and plant seeds
Horcrux Hunt- scavenger hunt
Defense Against the Dark Arts-Silly String Craziness

We planned on playing Quidditch at the end of the party, but it was just too hot. I decided to just turn on the first Harry Potter movie and let them chill out for a few minutes at the end of the party-being a wizard takes a lot of energy.

In case you are wondering, our goody bags included the "owls" they created, flower pot and plant, wand, candy and a Harry Potter themed cookie.

Friday Favorite- Amazing Lips

I am powerless against pretty lipsticks. I own a ridiculous number of lipsticks. Sadly, I rarely put on any of my pretty lipsticks. Until about two weeks ago when I found this little number.

I'd been looking for a lip pencil for some time. I love NARS lip colors, so I picked this up during a wekend tour around Sephora. Love it. It's smooth and lovely and a great color. I like it on its own, but also works well as a base coat. So good that I bought another color (Never Say Never and Damned). You should too, and then maybe send me one of the colors I don't have.

NARS Velvet Lip Pencil-my Friday Favorite.

Tuesday Thoughts

My husband had been gone for about a week. When he said, "What's next on your wish list shopping list? You should go ahead and buy it now." It means that he has a hunting trip planned for this week and feels sort of bad about it.

I got 2 bouquest of flowers Sunday. This is 2 more bouquets than I've gotten probably all year. My husband usually thinks, "If you want flowers, you should buy them." So romantic. Apparently all I had to do was watch the Longhorns lose a football game in the last 5:25. Espinosa and Fera, I'm looking at you.

We had a little bit of a weather change this week-meaning we had Fall temps for one day this week! While looking in the girls' closet, I found outfits I bought last year on super sale to wear this year. I am brilliant!

I went through a ton of the girls' older clothes this weekend and, after some misty eyed moments, am packing the clothes to send them off to lucky friends and relatives who have little girls. I can ruthlessly unload playclothes, but the church clothes and pretty dresses, for some reason those kill me. Cue "Memories" on repeat in my head. Sniff.

I had the hardest time getting motivated to go running this weekend. I have three 1/2 marathons planned over the next few months, so I HAD to go. I ended up breaking my bu-- (technical term) while running and it really hurts. Also, it is really embarassing. I knew I should have stayed home.

My 8 year old has somehow transformed into an 18 year old overnight. I do not like this-I want my babies back! Sniff.

Magical Mantel Decor

Harry Potter Party Decor- Part 1
I guess was more exhausted after the Harry Potter party than I thought. I just moved a few things around to decorate for Halloween and called it a day! If you have a Harry Potter party, I highly recommend hosting it right before Halloween-easy peasy.

Here's the mantel for the party- I made the Harry Potter silhouette and pasted pages from a Harry Potter book behind it, the Harry Potter books on the left are all from Half Price-which is why I didn't mind cutting one up for decor. I made the Happy Birthday banner out of pages, my daughter's name underneath was done in the front covers. I love making banners, they generally go pretty quickly and make a nice statement. It turned out so cute (not pictured since it has her name on it!). The broom is a Nimbus 2000, of course-or just a cheapo broom from a craft store spray-painted gold, same thing.

After the party, I moved the owl and potions bottles over. Voila-done! Sharing with TenJune's Fall Party.

Harry Potter Party -Exhaustion

I'm suffering a bit-exhausted from planning and hosting a Harry Potter extravaganza for my daughter's 8th birthday.
 The owl balloons were part of the birthday invitations we delivered. So cute. My favorites yet.
The owlery-the project that didn't quite turn out as I envisioned. That's 8 year olds for you; they have their own ideas. As long as they had fun-that's what counts.

I think everyone had a good time. But, I'm wiped. Also, a little ticked by one family who didn't RSVP, dropped their kid out of a running car (with no hi, or hello to us) an hour into the party, picked up without a word of thanks, and didn't even bring a gift for the birthday girl. Plus, the kid kept trying to ruin all the potions by telling everyone what she "knew" the "real" ingredients were-NOT my favorite kid. Ok, apparently I'm a lot ticked by them. Grrr. The party as a whole, though, success!

Friday Favorite- The Do Bar

I had a life changing experience Thursday. (Maybe a very slight over-statement.) *The three men who read this blog may want to stop reading, unless you want to knwo the sceret to beautiful hair. It is importnat that you know that- of the many things I am capable of- blow drying my hair is not one of them. Sure, I can blow dry my hair dry. I can not however, blow dry my hair beautiful. I can't even come close. I even begged my friend T to give my pointers so I can get my hair to look like hers---on a very good day, when I am trying REALLY hard, I can get about 1/4 of the way there. Anyhow, I have an interview today (cross your fingers), so I wanted to try something different. I got a lunch-time blow-out. Y'all. Amazing. It took less than 30 minutes and my hair is now shiny, happy, and awesome. I went to the Do Bar in Houston and highly recommend it (my stylist was Sophie and she was awesome). Why haven't I done this before? Of course I've gotten my hair styled after being cut, but never on a random Thursday, no cut no color. It is a revelation. I can have pretty hair! With little to no effort on my part! Sign me up. Like my friend Pam says, a good blow-out can change your life. Ok, maybe she said day, but whatever. Life changing! You better believe I'm getting my hair done at the Do Bar routinely now.

The Do Bar- my Friday Favorite.

Monday Musings

I think I have a spray paint injury---and red feet. I also have a great start to a fabulous Harry Potter 8th Birthday party.

One of my daughter's friends wants a Barbie birthday party "just like M" I feel totally vindicated in all my planning for that party! Also, I told our friend that I have ALL the decorations saved for her.

I thought the Nancy Drew invite would be my favorite. The Barbie invite was pretty cool too. Nope-Harry Potter invite was amazing. I'm really excited to give my daughter an amazing party

I've been on about a million interviews and can't talk about myself anymore. I know. Hard to imagine.

After much whining and tantruming, My children were recently introduced to a little game I like to call "Let's clean the baseboards!" They did not like the game. Nor did they like my answer to this question- "Mommy, why are you making us clean?"- "Because you are my own little Cinderellas." Plus side, they didn't complain about being bored again.

6 continues to be the sassiest, whiniest year. I don't know why 2 gets such a bad rap.

As it turns out, all it takes to make me feel accomplished is to hang a few things around the house!

Friday Favorite- Orla Kiely and method

It seems I've become a one-posting pony lately. You know, life-kids, party planning, house projects, interviews, just too much happening all at once. Luckily I found something great at Target the other day-gotta love Target.

It is well known that I love Orla Kiely. When I saw the Orla Kiely- method collaboration at Target I might have squealed a little bit. Yes, I get excited by soap. Whatever, it's so cute. I bought the only ones left at my local store-a couple of the pear design. And, then MAYBE I came home and ordered several more versions! Now my hands smell lovely and my soap looks pretty. Double win. *YMMV-my kids and husband do NOT approve of the Chai scent pictured above. Apparently it "stinks."

Orla Kiely & method- my Friday Favorite

Friday Favorite-Books I've Read

I love to read but don't get a chance to do much fun reading in a normal day. So, when I get a chance to read, I tend to read lots of books at once. I read three books while we were on vacation and thought I'd share a few good books I've read over the past year:

1, 2. Half Broke Horses, and The Glass Castle- both by Jeanette Walls, I  read her second book Half Broke Horses (about her grandmother) last summer and it was remarkable. Engrossing, fascinating, and interesting. I couldn't wait to see what type of woman the author's mother would be and couldn't wait to read The Glass Castle, her (the author's) memoir. Her mother was not cool. At all. I kind of hated her mother throughout the book. I know that is not what the author intended, but I can not abide and do not understand selfish parents. Her parents were worse than selfish and it made me so angry. It is great to see the triumph of the children over circumstance. And, again, it is an extremely well written book. But, I really did not like it.

3. Gone Girl- This was "the" book of the summer for good reason. It is a page turner, and sadly addictive. Very engaging and interesting despite a really morose subject matter. But, I really did not like the ending. I guess I want some pay-off after investing my time in a book. I can see this becoming a good movie too-depending on how they handle the ending (CHANGE it!).

4. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks- An amazing non-fiction account of medical advancement and racism. I am kind of a medical-legal nerd, so this book was right up my alley. I learned a lot.

5. The Paris Wife- Really fun read. I learned a lot about Hemmingway; it made me want to go back to Europe STAT.

6. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter- A fun read and interesting premise. The book is quite good for the first 75-80% of the book. Then, notsomuch. The book ends abruptly and (if you ask me) really stupidly.

7. I Couldn't Love You More- This is NOT a good beach read. Lesson learned. I hated that I brought this to the beach. I found myself yelling at the main character because she was doing really stupid things; kind of like a horror movie. Again, well written, but this was a huge mistake for me to bring to the beach.

8. The Late Lamented Molly Marx- I really enjoyed reading this book even though I did not like the ending. An interesting read. I could see this easily turning into a really good movie.

Good (and not so good ending) books- my Friday Favorites

The End of Summer

Our Summer list is sadly complete. The girls had fun making the list before Summer started (we cheated a little by adding a few new things to our list after our beach vacation!) and crossing things off all summer. *Our entire list is not pictured-we had a lot of things on that list.

Today was the first day of school. I now have a first and a third grader. I have no idea how that happened. I might sit in a corner and cry. I can't since I have to fill out a thousand forms with the same information-Why? WHHHHYYYY must there be so many duplicate forms every single year?!

The Beach!

School starts next Monday. Next week at the office will bring me more work than ever-really dreading that. I'm a beach girl at heart and needed to feel the sand between my toes. We escaped for one last hurrah. Even though it didn't start off as planned- courtesy of flash flooding and fleas, it's been pretty great so far. Lots of beach time, playing in the waves, and just sitting down and playing games. A week of slowing down and enjoying; ice cream before dinner; staying up late; and even petting a (baby) shark.
 My views today-I took my iphone to the beach and didn't even check email.
The only work I want to do-helping the kids (mine and our friends' little boy) build a ditch from the water to the blanket! A lot of sand in between the toes- just what we all needed...I'm so relaxed that I don't even mind too much when my husband wants to watch hunting on tv!-I lied. I still mind because those shows are B-O-R-I-N-G no matter where you are!

Monday Musings

It's amazing to me how different my two girls are even though they look almost identical. This weekend we went to a new (to us) pool with some friends. The pool had a climbing wall and a mini ropes course. True to form, Em immediately jumped in and attacked everything. She's fearless and almost always does everything perfectly the first time. M hung back, clinging to me until she was really sure she was ready. Even then, she wasn't really sure. The first time she tried things, she failed. There was wailing, screaming, and gnashing of teeth. Once she made up her mind to try again, she wanted to try that ropes area until she made it. She must have tried at least 20 times to make it across. T's daughter was the perfect little coach, encouraging M the whole way. If M had not rubbed her little hands raw, I think she would have triumphed. We have to go back so she can make it across!

We recently got HBO and the full cable package. I feel compelled to watch HBO all the time now that we are paying for it! Holy heck, does HBO stand for blood and nekkidness? Geez. That said, I really enjoyed "Veep" and watched the entire season in one night. I love her clothes and her hairstyle. Now I really want to cut my hair short. Again.

I'm sorry the Olympics are over, but I was kind of exhausted from all the events. I love the stories, the games, the races, the medals (Go USA!). I can't pick my favorite part, but the US women's gold medal soccer game was awesome. After we watched it, I decided that there are worse things to be than a soccer mom!

Speaking of the Olympics, how does Princess/Duchess Kate keep her hair looking so beautiful ALL the time? It doesn't matter where she is, it always looks amazing. Serious hair envy.

My children can not be trusted around perfume. When perfume makes you stinky, you have gone too far. Note to self-take all perfume samples away from the girls' play make-up!

Staircase Plans

Another one to add to the list of "Things I Want To Do In The House...One Day" file- paint/stain my banister ebony and add interest to the stairs. Our home was a custom home for the original owners. It's fine. Nice. But, not really our style. My husband is of the "If it's not broke" mindset. Well, we've been in our home about 5 years now (the house is about 14 years old) and, while I don't think we need any major overhauling, I am itching to make the house reflect us a bit more. Up first (maybe?) a new plan for the stairs. I'll blame Emily for this, I saw her new home and heard all her amazing ideas to make it "theirs" and got inspired.

My plan- stain the banister an ebony/black and add interest to the risers:
Like Kate did here. Our floors are a similar color, we also have the same white wainscotting. I love it. I'm not sure I'm in for the project though-we have three stories of stairs and two sides to paint/stain since we have a rail on the other side.
Another beautiful stairway from Melissa at The Inspired Room; very inspiring. She's got the same light wood too. I think I'm going to do it...
Not to forget about the risers, how about wallpaper that looks like pressed tin? It looks like an (fairly) easy way to inject character.

The only hiccup is whether my husband will be on board. Hmmm...

Monday Musings-Olympics Edition

We are completely obsessed with the Olympics right now. I'm trying not to go online too much and get spoilers, but I can't help it. So, instead of watching the US men gymnasts lose it, I'm going to share a few thoughts:

From the Opening Ceremonies. Woo!-yay parachuting queen and 007, huh-WTF-Harry Potter-scary huge bobblehead thingies-weird-BECKHAM, more Beckham. Ok, then. Athletes. Sir Paul. And, scene. Well, that was completely odd.

The US team had the worst opening ceremony outfits. Maybe not the worst, but pretty bad. Especially the berets. The French didn't even wear berets. For an awesome Opening ceremony summary, go here-it's hilarious.

We are watching every swimming event we can. While we scream for all the US Swimmers, our big favorites this year (besides the obvious Lochte and Phelps)-Missy Franklin, Brendan Hansen, and Dana Vollmer.

I really hope that my girls do not want to pursue gymnastics. I would not be able to take it. Every time they release and catch, I lose my breath. The falls sound really painful too.

I really hate the NBC "sportscasters" who interview the athletes after the events. I'm giving you the side eye Andrea Mitchell and Andrea Kremer-- "You just got fourth, how do you feel?" How do you think he feels? Or, interviewing poor Jordyn Wieber after she found out she didn't make the all-around competition. Not cool, NBC. Not cool.

I love watching Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor play beach volleyball. They are such bad a**es. I'd really like to find out how Kerri Walsh has those abs after two kids...besides being an Olympic beach volleyball player. I think it is kind of hilarious that the beach volleyball players can't wear their normal bikinis because it is so cold!

Synchronized diving-that looks crazy hard. We kept hoping one pair would just run for the end and yell "Cannonball!"

Friday Favorites-Spectator/Cap Toe Pumps

I'm sort of obsessed with the new round of cap toe heels out this Fall Season. I think they are so versatile. I love classic work shoes that have a bit of interest and flair. I'm trying to resist buying a pair until it actually feels like Fall. I just can't think Fall when it is 100 degrees outside! With this eye candy, it is proving difficult to resist. See a few of my faves below.

LK Bennett Bruton. (LOVE their shoes, and the Princess does too!)
Another cute LK Bennett, the Bunty, Lord & Taylor has one pair left in a 9.5 for a steal! (Not my size, so someone ese should get the pretty.)

J Crew Mona Tassel Pumps.

J Crew Mona Colorblock Pumps (I Love the camel and neon color, so fun!). FYI- the J Crew Mona Trellis Pumps also have a cap toe, but they fit weird in the toe. Or, at least fit weird on me.

Cute cap toe pumps-My Friday Favorite.

Barbie Party Decor

I love planning birthday parties for my girls. I really love setting the scene. This party (NOT my choice of themes! ahem), was actually really fun to decorate. For weeks our house resembled "Steel Magnolias," -My colors are blush and bashful. Our colors were pink and pink...and glitter! I decided to stick with black, white, and pink and concentrate on the Barbie silhouette. *Be prepared for pink, poufy, and pink-you've been warned*
Tally- 42 poufs, 20 paper lanterns, about a gazillion yards of tulle, and roughly 10 yards of crepe paper, and enough glitter to still be around today! I had a lot of the decorations already-tulle, lanterns, etc all saved from past parties. It's a sickness. I had a little help from this etsy seller; she was amazing. (I bought her Barbie box set too, which I'll have to get better pictures of for the blog since all mine have little girls having a blast inside!) I made all the larger silhouettes, which I am really proud of. I think it was all worth it.

I used wrapping paper and made a Barbie silhouette to decorate above the mantel. Kind of overboard. Oh well, if I'm going to decorate, I'm going to DECORATE. I also want credit for making the garland and pink poufs (the small white poufs are Martha Stewart from Michael's).
 Refreshments- also known as "Barbie Bites"
I can't stay away from ribbon hanging from the chandelier. Or poufs, or paper lanterns, apparently...
 "Pin the Bow on Barbie" more accurately-Pin the Bow somewhere near Barbie. Too funny.

This decoration was really easy. I used some of the cut-outs I bought and stuck them on pink doilies. Voila-Instant decor.

The front door. We had to go with Plan B due to the rain. The girls had these cardboard cut-out Barbies from Christmas. Santa knew mommy didn't like Barbie dolls, so he brought the girls these instead. Since we had them already, I simply traced the dolls and let each girl decorate her own dress. I think they looked fabulous!

Ok, I think that's enough pink and poufy for one day. 

Friday Favorite-Cookie Monster Call Me

My girls (and I) love to sing the Carly Rae Jepsen "Call Me" song. I'm sure you've seen several different parodies. But, have you seen Cookie Monster singing "Share It Maybe"? Well, now you have.

Cookie Monster-My Friday Favorite!

Barbie Party-Activities

We've set the scene with a great invitation, next up decor (oh, the decor). Say you invite 9 little girls (plus our 2) to a birthday party and they all accept, you better find something to occupy their time. One of the moms remarked that our birthday parties always have such fun activities. Oh, the pressure! Here's what we did, which kept all our little dolls entertained and happy.

1. Barbie Design Studio
Intended to be an actual Barbie dress decorating station. You go ahead and Google "Easy to Sew Barbie Dress" because I did. But, you now what? Those websites LIE. Sewing a Barbie dress is a huge PIA. Let's just say that sewing Barbie dresses for 11 dolls was not going to happen. Enter Plan B. We had an awesome invitation that included paper dolls. I decided to print out a bunch and have the girls glue, color, sequin, marker the dresses. WIN!

2. Pin the Bow on Barbie
Hi-larious. No photos because I was too busy laughing!

3. Barbie Beauty Salon
Make-up, mess, great fun. Word of advice, if a 5 year old offers to give you a "Make-over", I suggest politely declining. Their make-up jobs were...interesting. The ponytail holders were part of their goody bags.

4. Barbie Story & Pass the Present
I got each girl a Barbie and wrapped them identically to pass around the circle. The two with ribbons were the ones my girls selected ahead of time; being the birthday girl (and her sister) should have some benefits. Each time the story said "Barbie," they passed the gift. At the end of the story, each girl got a doll. Which was all very! exciting!! Little secret- since my girls had no Barbie dolls prior to this party, I had no idea how much Barbie costs these days. I thought each doll was around $3. HAHAHAHAHA! Basically I spent every night for several weeks scouring eBay and the city of Houston for the cheapest Barbie dolls I could find. Oh, the irony of the mother who wouldn't buy Barbie dolls out buying 11! Anyhow, they LOVED the game.

5. Bash Barbie-just kidding pinata time
At the request of the birthday girl. Self explanatory. NO, I did not make the pinata.

6. Barbie Blow-Out
We had to scrap the Silly String. It was just too wet. It rained on and off all weekend. Heck, it's been raining for months now. (Not complaining, we are still recovering from last year). Rain and silly string doesn't match up really well.

7. Pictures and Playtime
I was thisclose to turning on a Barbie movie when I realized, "Hey, the kids are playing. Quietly. Let them play Barbies." And, it was good.