Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Five: On My Mind

Happy Friday. I can honestly say that this week has seemed like an incredibly long week, but here’s a cheer for long weekends.

Here are the top five things that have been on my mind this week. 

Zara: Zara is quickly becoming one of my new favorite spots for fashion forward trends. Their designs mirror the latest runway styles but the prices are incredibly accessible. If Princess Letizia of Spain and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge can wear Zara, the casual, yet elegant collections make an excellent choice for anyone. Here are some pretties that I found in stores this week.

Excedrin Migraine: Lately, I’ve been getting horrible headaches that really are starting to put a damper on my life. Sometimes the headaches are so bad that they make me physically ill. The only thing that I’ve found that gives me a little bit of relief is Excedrin Migraine. I should probably see a doctor, but I loathe going to the doctor’s office.

Clinique GWP: Pretty gifts with purchase get me every time. In the past few years, Clinique has partnered with some designers known for their pretty prints including Trina Turk and Tracy Reese.  This year's gift with purchase is available at Nordstrom.  The $75 value bonus includes everything you'll need to be beautiful this spring!

Revenge: The season finale of Revenge was probably the best finale I can remember. There were so many twists and turns and so many unanswered questions. It’s going to be a long summer! The biggest question on my mind is about Emily/Amanda’s mother. What actress is going to play the role of her mother? I have a feeling that Emily’s mother isn’t a sweet and caring person like her father was; she will probably be a new villainess. The only thing that is definite is that there’s no way that Jack is fake-Amanda’s baby daddy.

Pretty Umbrellas: It’s rained every day this week; luckily today we won’t have any rain and the weekend is supposed to be sunny and warm. A pretty umbrella brightens any rainy day.  This week, I've been loving the newest Lilly Pulitzer umbrella in the Chum Bucket print.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Memorial Day Bling Sale

Good things come to those who put their whole heart in whatever they do. 

Isn't that a great phrase?  JoJo Loves You is a fabulous jewelry design studio in Boston made by jewelry designer JoJo who followed her dream to create gorgeous bling.  She makes everything by hand using the highest quality materials and lots of love.

Vintage Swarovski crystals are handset in sterling silver posts and then packaged on their hand-punched pink hearts and placed in their signature round silver tins.

My friends at JoJo Loves You gave me a heads up about their huge Annual Memorial Day Bling Sale.  Trust me, it is going to be awesome! The sale runs from Friday, May 25th through Monday, May 28th.  Even if your weekend plans take you out of town, you can still shop the sale online at their website JoJo Loves You.

The myriad of colors, sizes, and styles from JoJo Loves You is amazing and will match every occasion and every wardrobe.

The Silver Starfish Earrings are a fun choice for everyday wear in the summer.

The Flat Green Bling Earrings match practically everything in my wardrobe and are another fabulous choice that you can wear every day.

Add some sparkle to a dress for a summer wedding or party with the Pink Party Bling Earrings.

Be sure to mark your calendars for tomorrow's wonderful sale and visit JoJo Loves You to start making your wish list!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Preserve Your Memories

Preserve your family's history for future generations with a little bit of care and safe handling.  I love history and am especially interested in genealogy.  You can learn so much from pictures, documents, and books.  These treasures help me to connect with my ancestors and understand who I am a little bit better.

It's not a lot of work to preserve pictures, documents, and books correctly, but there are some basic guidelines that you should follow.  Today, I'm going to share some of my favorite family treasures with you and provide you with a how-to preservation guide for your family treasures.  

Everyone loves photographs.  They tell such a story!  You can learn so much by looking at the person in the picture, but there are other hidden clues.  Often a certain style of clothing or something in the background will help identify when and where the picture was taken.  Try it identify the person by name and lightly write the information on the back of the picture in pencil.  The ink in a pen will damage the picture over time.

Interestingly, the pictures that are over 100 years old are often in better condition than the ones my parents took of me as a child several decades ago.  The chemicals in the photo processing in the 1970's is turning all of the pictures a reddish-orange tint!  To prevent further damage, you can make a digital copy of pictures.  

You can scan a picture to save a digital copy.  Store pictures in between sheets of acid free paper and place them in an acid free box.  Make sure the paper is acid free, not archival.  Keep pictures away from light and humidity.

My Great-Great-Grandmother Jane and my Uncle Clark in 1902
Books and documents require extra care.  Paper made from trees becomes brittle and dry over time.  Acid free paper sleeves protect your oldest and most fragile books from dust and excessive handling.  Store books in an upright position with similarly sized books on a shelf in a place that is away from the direct sunlight.  

We are fortunate to have a wonderful library of old books in my family.  Here are a few of my favorite treasures from the collection.  

Bibles tell the story of my family, of their faith, and of the history that I share with them.  For many people, the family Bible was the place to record the most important family events.  It's interesting to note that of all of the old books in the collection, the Bibles are the ones that show the most age; I'm assuming it was because they were used on a more regular basis than some other books.  

A family Bible from 1900.  This particular Bible includes maps, charts, and so many annotations.

A lovely leather bound Bible that was presented to my Great-Grandmother in 1915.
A King James Version of the Bible dedicated to King James himself!

My Great-Grandfather was always such a scholar on a quest for knowledge.  Every one of his books has his personal notes and references in it.  These notes are as much a joy to read as the book itself.  Here he writes that he read this book in July of 1914.  It's amazing to me!  

Big (Final) No-No's For Preservation
- Paper clips
- Tape (even if you think you're repairing!)
- Ink
- Glue
- Laminating documents or pictures

As an interesting note, I knew that there was a reason that I loved Crane stationery so much.  Did you know that Crane stationery is not made from trees?  The paper fibers are made from cotton.  The paper will not dry and become brittle over time like paper made from wood pulp.  

So make sure your most precious letters and notes last for many generations to come and use your Crane stationery! 


Monday, May 21, 2012

Fresh Produce

When Fresh Produce contacted me about doing a review of their newest collection, my heart skipped a beat!  Their clothing is so comfortable and flattering and I love it that the majority of their items are made in the United States.

Fresh Produce is designed to fit and flatter the entire family and includes children's, women's, and plus sizes.  The pieces are perfect vacation picks and help you look polished, yet casual.  Colorful palettes and soft fabrics make these clothes ideal for summer.

When I first started looking at the newest arrivals from Fresh Produce, I fell in love with so many things!  It's difficult to choose my favorite spring and summer item, but here are some of my top picks.

The Go To Top in Classic Stripe is the perfect casual women's shirt.  The soft cotton slub material is perfect for cool summer evenings and can be layered with other pieces.

Even though the temperatures outdoors are sweltering in the summer, I always need a great little cardigan to pop on over a t-shirt or dress while on vacation.  So many buildings keep the air conditioning set at a low temperature, so a lightweight cardigan is a must have for summer.  The Coastal Wrap Cardigan is so pretty and will match everything in my wardrobe.  Bring it with you to dinner on a breezy summer night and you'll be beautiful!  The cardigan is also a great choice for airplane travel.

Scarves aren't just for the winter!  Add a little bit of fun to your summer outfit without being too warm with the Triangle and Poms Scarf.  It looks great over your shoulders with a dress or loosely wrapped around your neck with any outfit.  Just looking at these candy-like colors makes me happy!

Tunics from Fresh Produce are a summer wardrobe staple.  The Voile Tunic in Calypso Pink is so pretty!  Tunics offer some protection from the sun and keep me cool on a hot summer day.  Pair a crisp tunic with everything from white jeans to shorts for a great look.

Fresh Produce sent a Coastal Velvet Burnout Tunic to me and I'm loving this unique twist on a summer tunic.  The washable fabric is soft and semi-sheer.  The pretty green color has a slight blue undertone to it that shines and give it a gorgeous contrast.  I chose to pair the tunic with a pair of white pants, gold McKim sandals and gold bamboo bangles.  It was comfortable all day on a very busy 80 degree day.  Love!

You can find Fresh Produce online and at one of their adorable stores.  They now ship to over 200 countries so women everywhere can enjoy these colorful clothes.  What is your favorite Fresh Produce item this summer?


Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Five: Beauty Bargains

With some creams, lotions, and potions costing hundreds of dollars a jar, it's easy to blow your budget in the beauty department.  Today's installment of Friday Five offers you some of the best beauty bargains. 

If you're only going to buy five beauty products this month, here are my recommendations. 

Mario Badescu's Drying Lotion is legendary.  Let me tell you that it absolutely works, too!  At the first sight of a blemish, dab on some of this lotion with a cotton swab, let it dry, and voila!  The blemish disappears overnight.  I do have to warn you that it does have a slight sulfur smell and you'll look like you are recovering from the chicken pox if you go out with this on your face, but it truly is miraculous. 

Hot, humid summers can put your beauty routine in a whirlwind and can leave you looking rather, well, melted.  St. Ives Apricot Scrub was probably one of the first beauty scrubs I ever purchased and I still love this.  The St. Ives Scrub Blemish and Blackhead Control seems to keep my skin from getting too shiny in the summer.  I can't use it in the winter, but as soon as I start to spend a lot of time outdoors, I reach for this. 

Rosebud Salve is another must have classic for any beauty bag.  I love products that serve many purposes.  You can use this as a lip balm, but it's also great to soothe minor scrapes and worked very well on a pesky hangnail earlier this week.  

Did you know that you should replace your mascara every 3 or 4 months?  With that limited amount of time, it does not make much sense to spend a small fortune on expensive mascara.  My newest favorite is Maybelline's Volum' Express The Falsies Flared mascara.  It's very dramatic, but not in a scary Tammy Faye kind of way.  Most days, I don't even wear any other make-up besides mascara and lipstick.  

Finally, I discovered a fantastic and incredibly inexpensive bronzer in a very unexpected place.  Bronzer is a great way to get a sun kissed look without the sun, so I was thrilled when I saw bronzer in Forever 21 for under $4!  The Love and Beauty Bronzer from Forever 21 goes on very smoothly and gives my skin a wonderful glow. 

What are your favorite bargain beauty products? 

The Elizabeth McKay Wear It and Pair It contest ends tonight!  Please take a moment to click to the Elizabeth McKay Facebook page to vote for my entry.  I'm in 3rd place by a very narrow lead and really appreciate your support.  While you're there, please check out the other entries; you can vote for more than one person.  Hopsy from Kappa Prep and Ashley from Sweet Southern Prep also entered photos in the contest.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Preppy Surf

Planning for a vacation is almost as much fun as being on vacation.  This summer, the minnies and I are going to (try to) learn how to surf!  My summer beach and pool wardrobe consists of tunics, bikinis, and tankinis.  They're beautiful by the water, but aren't really meant to stand up for a day on the water or on a board.  Can you imagine surfing in a loose linen or cotton tunic?

Finding cute surf gear for the minnies was easy.  It seems as if every suit comes with a rash guard option and cute board shorts.  Finding something cute, preppy, and age appropriate for me was more of a challenge.

Mostly I was looking for things that would dry quickly, keep me covered, and protect me from the sun.  Of course, adorable preppy design is also important.  Here are my top picks for preppy and functional water sports fashion to look great whether you're on a board or a kayak!

The first picks come from Island Company and Vineyard Vines.  Pair a board skirt or board shorts with a bikini and you're modestly and comfortably covered.

I'm very careful in the strong tropical sun because my sun is so sensitive.  Although I would never think to wear a rash guard at the pool, it's a fantastic idea for water sports or an all day water adventure.  Pair a gorgeous white bikini with a rash guard and pull on board skirt from Athleta and you're ready for anything!

Sometimes a skirt or shorts is too much, but a chic nautical striped rash guard fits the bill perfectly.  I am dreaming of paradise...and this navy striped rash guard from J. Crew.

Have you ever taken surfing lessons?  To be honest, I'm excited and nervous at the same time!  It will certainly be an adventure.  This is going to be a summer full of new adventures!  

Thank you to the wonderful people who took a few seconds to click through to Facebook to vote for my entry in the Elizabeth McKay photo contest.  I'm in 3rd place with a narrow lead and appreciate your on-going support; remember you can vote once every 24 hours.

If everyone who entered the giveaway I hosted for an Elizabeth McKay dress that Preppy Girl Meets World won voted just once, I could secure my position in the contest and I could have the same opportunity to win a fabulous dress from Elizabeth McKay that I gave to you!

Thank you!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Around the World in One Day

Over two dozen embassies opened their doors to visitors this weekend for the European Union Embassy Open House.  This event is always very well organized; offering a peek into many different countries.  Every year, the girls and I attend at least one of the weekends of open houses.

Shuttle buses take visitors to different stops along the embassy route.  The weather was sunny and warm, so we walked a good bit, but also rode the shuttle for longer distances.  Programs detail the activities for each embassy and provide maps and addresses.  It's fun to get your "passport" stamped at each country as you visit.

The first stop on our tour was the British Embassy.  A photo with the Queen was a must! 

The table is set for an elegant dinner.  A man wearing a lovely tuxedo explained the menu for the dinner and gave a brief introduction to protocol for such an event.

Alexia is excited to sign a card to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee!

The red telephone box is so cute!  Natalia said, "Ummmm, Mom, this phone says Verizon on it." It would be a pretty expensive call if the phone belonged to another company, I suppose.

Embassies offered so many other treats to visitors.  The Embassy of Greece had delicious  food and other embassies had samples of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.  The men in this photo are Estonian folk dancers.  We really enjoyed their performance.

Part of the fun is seeing the architecture of the embassy buildings.  The embassies around the Dupont Circle area are housed in gorgeous mansions while other more modern structures are found in larger open areas.  The Italian embassy is very modern in design, both inside and outside of the building.  Even the interior paint and furniture is stunning. 

The minnies thought that this little blue Vespa would be perfect for them!  It's adorable, but I preferred the Maserati that was parked in the long driveway. 

The event is family friendly and there are many children's activities.  In our adventure around the world, the minnies played mini-golf, soccer, made homemade pasta, and created works of art.  They spent quite a long time working with the ceramics master while he worked. 

Other fun activities for children include face painting, temporary tattoos, princess parades, dancing, playing musical instruments and much, much more!

The Embassy Open House is already on our calendar for next year!  I highly recommend this free spring activity. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Twist on the Shrimp Cocktail

When I was a little girl, I used to love eating in nice restaurants. It was always such a treat to put on a pretty dress and order something that I thought was very elegant.  Since I was the oldest and only grandchild for many years, my Nana and Pappy really spoiled me.  Ordering Shirley Temples was standard upon my arrival.  I confess that I was a little bit like Eloise.

My favorite restaurant treat was a shrimp cocktail!  When the servers brought out the food in a pretty silver dish or large clear glass, Pappy would always remark about the size of the shrimp.  It's a fun memory I have.  Throughout my life I've always loved a good shrimp cocktail.

So on one of my earliest trips to Mexico, it was only natural that I order my favorite restaurant treat.  Imagine my surprise when a completely different kind of shrimp cocktail was placed in front of me.

Shrimp cocktail in Mexico is much more than a cold shrimp appetizer.  It can be an entire meal in many cases.  It's not just a restaurant treat; my former cook taught me how to make the best shrimp cocktail.  This week, I had a major craving for shrimp cocktail a la mexicana, so I decided to prepare one of my favorite treats.  This was my delicious dinner earlier this week!  So delicious.

Here's my final result with the pretty lime garnish!

The recipe is very easy to follow and no two shrimp cocktails are ever the same in Mexico.  Play with the quantities of the ingredients as you wish, adding more or less to suit your taste.

About a pound of cooked shrimp (sorry, I'm converting from kilograms)
1 small red onion
a handful of chopped cilantro
2-3 chopped tomatoes
a few handfuls of finely chopped cucumber
1 ripe avocado (cube almost all of it, reserve a few long slices for garnish)
4-5 key limes (make sure you choose extra squishy, juicy ones!)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 liter of chilled shrimp broth
Salsa Valentina or your favorite hot sauce

Since your shrimp is precooked, simply combine all of the ingredients.  Serve in a pretty martini or margarita glass and garnish with a slice of lime, a sprig of cilantro and a slice of avocado.

This should be enough for 4-6 martini glass servings, depending on the size of your glass.

This tastes amazing with tortilla chips or saltine crackers.  The ketchup is an unexpected ingredient, but really tastes fantastic in the shrimp cocktail.  Serve this dish at room temperature or chilled.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Great Finds and Online Exclusives!

If you thought the Target collaborations, think Liberty of London, Miss Trish of Capri, and Calypso St. Barth, were fantastic, then you're in for a wonderful treat.  The Shops at Target debuted on Sunday, May 6.  The newest collection includes collaborations with unique stores from around the country including The Candy Store in San Francisco, Cos Bar, Boston’s Polka Dog Bakery, Privet House in Connecticut, and The Webster in Miami Beach. The store-within-a-store concept is fun!

Of course, I had to go to Target to see everything in person, even though the collection is available online. It is fun to go from department to department to see which pop up shops are there.

The household department has a myriad of perfectly preppy options for every day style or a special party.  I love these green and orange bamboo print napkins from Privet House.

The frames, pillows, and baskets give any decor an instant boost.  It seems like there's a basket for everything at my house.  I don't think it's possible to have too many baskets, especially because baskets seem to help me keep everything organized and neat.  We use them to store everything from toys to keys.

My favorite resistible find from Privet House is the pewter tone palm tree candle holder.  It's so vintage chic.  It looks like something that Lilly Pulitzer would have had on her table for a party in the 60's.

The minnies helped me on my Target scouting mission, so it was only fair that they get a reward!  The Candy  Store has fun vintage-retro candy you loved as a child.  The packaging is so cute and these make wonderful gifts.  It's a perfect choice for teachers or friends.

Although I love to see things in person, there are some amazing online exclusives from The Shops at Target from The Webster.  These flats look so elegant and the color combination is one of my favorites this season. You'll love the price, too!

I adore the pink and green smocked flamingo print dress for minnies from The Webster.  A smocked dress for under $20?  That's a no-brainer.  You absolutely need this for your favorite little girl!

Have you seen the latest from The Shops at Target?  What items are your favorites?  



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