Saturday, December 31, 2011

Past, Present, and Future

Tonight as we celebrate the beginning of the New Year, it’s a good idea to review the past year. I am enjoying some special moments with the Twincesses on vacation while making memories that we will always cherish. It’s a great time to reflect on the past, to examine the present, and to plan for the future.

Thank you all for your support to Maryland Pink and Green during 2011. It means so much to me!  2011 has been a year full of happiness and I have a feeling that 2012 promises even better things

The Past
2011 was a great year for me. Maryland Pink and Green has an expanded fan base and it is truly a joy to write and share with you in this space. On a professional level, I can honestly say that I have never been in a more positive work environment. It’s truly a joy to go to work. I have met new people, created new projects, and strengthened the relationships I already had.

Top Blog Posts 2011
Loyal readers aside, Google, Facebook, and Pinterest have been great sources of new readers for Maryland Pink and Green during 2011. The following posts have consistently ranked well throughout the year. Here they are along with a few of my favorite posts.

- Lilly's 80th Birthday Party in Palm Beach was such a wonderful fall getaway.
- My review of Modalu's Pippa Bag is still at the top of searches!  I love my bag and use it often.
- Use your 2011 calendar for pretty DIY project when you Frame a Year
- Mod Podge was my go-to craft item this year.  See how I made my pretty Lilly inspired pumpkins this fall.
- Organizing my classroom at the beginning of each year is always so much fun!
- Everyone got a laugh out of my dressing room mishap at Tory Burch!
- Mommies and their daughters are thrilled to have an American Girl Store at Tysons Corner.
- Designing a pink and green candy buffet for the Twincesses' First Communion is another highlight from 2011.
- Be sure to read about the 8 Items Every Woman Should Own in this blog post.
- Finding a great bargain is so exciting!  See what I got for $1.70 at Michaels. 
- My trip to the L.L. Bean Outlet. 

The Present
Sometimes life seems like a bit of a rat race for me. Work, although personally enriching and meaningful, often leaves me exhausted and feeling like every day is like the movie Groundhog Day. Between the girls’ activities and social lives, a full time job, teaching Spanish courses online, and blogging, I’m a pretty busy peep. That’s why I always love to do special things with the Twincesses or on my own and take a break from the fast pace of everyday life, even if I need a vacation after the vacation!

The Future: 2012
You can count on me to continue with Maryland Pink and Green.  That being said, I'd love to get your input for future posts.  Your ideas and wishes will help me interact with you as much as possible.  Please let me know what you would like to see in posts in 2012. 

Thanks to you!  Best wishes for a Happy New Year!


Image via tres sugar.

Friday, December 30, 2011

12 Days of Christmas: Pink Nesting Bowl Set

Yesterday my friend Jen and her lovely daughter joined the Twincesses and me for another day of adventure at the Magic Kingdom. It was great to tour the park with other people and the big girls and the little girls had a blast! I overheard the three little girls playing the sweetest version of "Would You Rather" for the tween-age set. Too cute!

Here's another giveaway for you just before the New Year! I loved hearing your entertaining tips for the Preppy Plates giveaway and am eager to get your input for this giveaway from Zak Designs.

Enter to win a lovely set of bowls from Zak Designs. The lotus 4 piece set is a perfectly pink collection of 3 melamine nesting bowls that rest on a lilly pad platter. 

My friend Jen and I enjoyed our adventures for Lilly's birthday party in Palm Beach, but we also had a blast with all of the little girls, too!  Do you like to travel with your friends and their children, too?  What are some of your favorite destinations for girls' weekends? 

Use the widget to enter to win this adorable set and leave a comment with your favorite travel destinations.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, December 29, 2011

If I'm Going to Gain 5 Pounds...

If I'm going to gain five pounds on a one week vacation, I'm certainly going to enjoy the process.  Who knew that Disney World had such wonderful treats!  Originally, we ducked inside the candy shop on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom to avoid some crowds, but ended up making a wonderful pink and green discovery.  These Red Velvet pink and green cake pops are so delicious.  Red Velvet is one of my favorite cakes.

Cake pops, red velvet, and pink and green!  Perfect Trifecta!

It's difficult to choose a treat with so many delicious choices.

In Epcot, there's delicious food, but there are also delicious drinks. In Italy, be sure to try the Rosa Regale, a crisp red sparkling wine. France is home to my all time favorite, the Grey Goose Slushie. Yummy!

Disney restaurants also offer a lot of fun and fantastic food. Our most fun meal was at the 50s Prime Time Cafe at Hollywood Studios. Our waiter was "Cousin Cooper" who scolded me for not having a happy plate and tried to feed me salad via helicopter. The twincesses thought that this was hilarious.

Jiko, at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, was so delicious and the atmosphere was elegant and calm after a busy day in the parks.  This was my favorite meal.  The food had more flavor than I could have imagined and the service was stellar.  The twincesses thought that it was very chic that we received warm rose water towels to clean our hands before dinner.  That was new for them.  I ordered the Braised Beef Short Rib with Truffled Potato Puree, Pear Onions, Baby Carrots, and Cabernet-Tamarind Sauce. Oh. My. Goodness. I didn't know food could have such amazing flavor. The beef was fork tender and full of tangy flavor.

At Disney, I prefer to eat in full service sit down restaurants as opposed to counter service establishments. The restaurants offer a guaranteed space and time for a meal; nothing is worse than having to wait in line for food after waiting in line all day for everything! Sadly, my two most disappointing meals on this trip were at two of my former favorites from previous trips. Service and food at the San Angel Inn and the California Grill were not nearly as good as they had been in the past.

If you're planning a trip to Disney and would love to hear about a particular restaurant, please let me know...I've probably eaten there within the past 2 years or will eat there later this week. I'm happy to share my thoughts about everything from appetizers to kids meals, drinks, and desserts.

If I'm going to gain five pounds this week, I'm going to enjoy the process! What foods do you enjoy on vacation? What are your favorite Disney restaurants?


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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

12 Days of Christmas: $200 to Melly M

I'm thrilled to present today's giveaway sponsor to you. Melly M offers beautiful and classic clothing for the simple and sophisticated woman. Melly M is also Maryland Pink and Green's newest sponsor.

Here's a little bit of background about this fantastic brand...

It all began on the streets of New York in 2002 when a woman stopped Melissa, who was adorned in one of her creations and asked where she purchased it. Melissa replied, "Oh, I made it" and thought the conversation was over. The woman was persistent and asked if she had more and if she would be interested in selling some. Melissa, thinking this woman was a "nut", replied, "Maybe," and asked for the woman's card. As it turned out this woman was a sales representative. They met for coffee the next day and Melly M was born and showcased in her first New York trade show three weeks later.

Melly M's designs are timeless.  You'll look great while keeping comfortable.  The Riverside Ruffle Wrap Dress is the top seller at Melly M.  The wrap dress has a pretty ruffle detail and is fully lined.  I love all of the prints for this dress.  There is a perfect print option for every occasion. 

I love to wear tunics all year.  They're perfect with white jeans in the summer and look fantastic with a pair of skinny cigarette pants in cooler months.  Melly M's Morocco Tunic is an easy fit that is incredibly versatile. 

My attempts at golf are pretty much limited to the driving range, but if I did ever make it to the course, I would look fabulous in the Maderia Skort.  It's the perfect length, too!

I love to save the best for last!  The Back Bay Sheath from Melly M is a pretty print in a Greek Key style in pink and green.  Does it get any better than this?  Love!  Available in nine different prints, this dress is suitable for almost any occasion formal or casual. 

Melissa from Melly M is offering one incredibly lucky reader a $200 gift card to Melly M. (Again, this is another giveaway that I wish I could enter to win!) Please visit Melly M to preview their collection and enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Epcot: Shopping the World Showcase

Although I always love Disney, a visit to Disney World during Christmas is particularly magical! The crowds are supposedly at incredibly high levels, but Epcot never felt overly busy. After a fun morning of riding and exploring in Future World, the twincesses and I shopped around the World Showcase in the afternoon as we visited the special holiday storytellers.

France offers perfume and beauty lovers a unique experience with the only Givenchy boutique in the United States.  If your makeup bag needs refreshed, visit Guerlain.  I'll always remember that my first "expensive" makeup purchase was from Guerlain at Disney World when I was about 14 or 15 years old.  I bought Les Meteorites powder balls and a special applicator brush. I still think they are amazing!

Père Noël tells the Christmas story in France. I spy a Madeline doll in his bag, do you see it?

Japan is another favorite for shoppers in Epcot. Mitsukoshi has a huge variety of merchandise in all price ranges. You’ll find everything from wind-up toys to exquisite silk kimonos. The twincesses were particularly intrigued by the pick a pearl station and loved the myriad of Hello Kitty items. I picked up some pretty blotting papers whose gorgeous packaging beats the ones I’m using right now from the drugstore. Isn’t this cute pink and green ladybug adorable?

Il Bel Cristallo in Italy is another must see!  Full of Murano glass beads, jewelry, and deecorative glass items, the store is delightful!  Yesterday, there was an artist in the store who was working on hand-crafted decorative masks.  He would sign his creations for people who made a purchase. 

Let's just say that I could have spent a fortune at the shops at the United Kingdom yesterday, but I exercised great restraint.  First there's this black watch plaid cape little number...

Then there is the Keep Calm and Carry On merchandise.

The toy store at the United Kingdom was so delightful! I have always loved Paddington Bear. The twincesses each had to add a Little Miss book to their collection. My own Little Miss Chatterbox, aka Natalia, loves this series! There are also lots of classic books on hand, as well as tea sets and other toys.

We also loved the shops at Germany. German Christmas ornaments are my favorites and the holiday Nutcracker ornaments and decorations here are exquisite. The toy store is another favorite with Teddy Bears and dolls along with classic wooden toys. We met the holiday storyteller, Helga, who shared the story of the first Christmas Tree with us before we met her Nutcracker friend.

If you purchase a large item, you can use Disney's package delivery service to have the goodies delivered to you directly at your hotel.

Today we are headed to Hollywood Studios for another day of magical fun!  Wishing you a wonderful day!


Monday, December 26, 2011

12 Days of Christmas: Trina Turk Ping Pong Set

Ready for some post-holiday reindeer games?  I had to brush up on my summer camp ping pong skills when I saw this adorable set from Trina Turk and you should, too.  You'll be the envy of all of your friends with this cute game. 

"Ready…set….play! Start a game wherever there's a suitable surface with this stylish Ping-Pong set featuring one of Trina Turk's most recognizable patterns. Two paddles and four balls are included and fit flawlessly in a custom-designed case."

One lucky winner will receive a ping pong set in another installment of the 12 Days of Christmas giveaways.  Enter to win this uber preppy ping pong set. There are many ways to enter to win.

Use the punch tab widget to enter the giveaway.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! Isaiah 9:6 is one of my favorite verses from the Bible. It is especially lovely to hear during the Christmas season.  Best wishes to you for a wonderful Christmas Day. 

A certain pink and green elf has been very busy at my house for a very special Christmas surprise...

We're going to Disney World! 

The girls are going to be so surprised.  I'll be sure to update you on their reaction when they find out about their Christmas present. They're going to get this letter in a package and will have just enough time to get dressed before we go to the airport! 

As you enjoy the festivities of the day, here's a fun video that is a great topic of conversation.  How would people celebrate Jesus' birth if Facebook had existed many, many years ago? I love this video!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve and Giveaway Winner

Merry Christmas Eve! Things are a whirlwind of activity here on Christmas Eve.  In Spanish, poinsettias are called Nochebuenas, or Christmas Eves!  It's amazing to see Pointsettias growing wild in Mexico. 

Natalia woke up with a terrible cough and cold this morning and I'm probably going to take her to urgent care this morning because she suffers from asthma and has trouble breathing whenever she gets the slightest cold. She's currently doing a breathing treatment...fingers crossed this gets better sooner rather than later. And since we may not be at home for holiday break, I want to make sure she is ok to travel. ;)

I have a few last minute packages to wrap, too. It's funny because the gifts I give to my minnies from Santa are wrapped turbo style in special paper from "Santa." It's quantity versus quality of wrapping. Some gifts are incredibly difficult to wrap. This year's winner for most difficult shape to wrap is the Lalaloopsy doll. With one special gift for others, it's easier to embellish gifts a la Martha Stewart. Here are some beautifully wrapped gifts from Maryland Pink and Green readers.

From Let The Tide Pull Your Dreams Ashore

One Preppy Cookie

I'm looking forward to today's Christmas Eve church service this afternoon, too. The bells, the candles, and the music are so lovely and I never tire of hearing the Christmas story from the Bible.

In other exciting news, I want to announce the winner from the giveaway from Purseladytoo. Congratulations to entry number 9 from Sarah Johnson.  Please contact me with your mailing address and I will forward it to Purseladytoo.  Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway and to Purseladytoo for sponsoring such a generous preppy gift. 

Wishing you all a wonderful day full of joy and love! 


Friday, December 23, 2011

Room at the Inn

It is easy to get wrapped up in wish lists and gifts before Christmas. My girls enjoy Advent in the Sundays that precede Christmas. These stories share the true meaning of the season.

One of my favorite Mexican traditions is Las Posadas. If the Twincesses were still living in Mexico, they would surely attend many Posadas. Posadas are nine nights of celebration, one night for each month of pregnancy, that re-enact Mary and Joseph's arduous journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

Parties are hosted by neighborhood friends. Young party guests dress as angels and shepherds. Their parents stand behind them with candles as everyone sings a traditional song to ask for lodging for the weary travelers. Posada means lodging in Spanish.

After a song or two, the hosts open the doors of the Posada and the guests enter the home. Everyone enjoys ponche, a delicious fruit based punch, along with sweet bread and tamales. Breaking a star shaped piñata is the highlight of the celebration.

What a lovely way to gather with friends while remembering the true meaning of Christmas! Of all of the Mexican celebrations, the Posada is one of my favorites.



Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Countdown and Giveaway Winner!

Hello! The Christmas Countdown is in full swing at Casa Brown. This year, I've been keeping a big secret from the Twincesses and it's been so hard not to spill the beans! I think that I'm just as excited for Christmas as they are.

You can check the live countdown here

Just a quick update to announce the lucky winner of the Scotland Dress from my friends at Elizabeth McKay. Congratulations to comment number 3...Preppy Girl Meets World! Please contact me to coordinate your win.  Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway!

How are you counting down to Christmas? 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

12 Days of Christmas: Preppy Plates Platter

Today's giveaway for the 12 days of Christmas is this delightful Preppy Plates large platter. The melamine platter measures 10" x 14" and is a chic addition to the preppy table. The blue and green palette matches any preppy decor.  It's perfect for entertaining and would look perfect at your next party.

New and current blog followers are eligible to win this giveaway.  You must be a blog follower in order to win.  To enter the giveaway, use the widget in this post and  leave a comment below this blog post to tell me about your best holiday entertaining tip.  There are many ways to enter to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest ends on Wednesday, December 28,  2011.  The winner will be announced 48 hours after the end of the giveaway. 

Thanks for entering the giveaway!



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