Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!  

Although today is a happy day, I have to pause for a moment to reach out to people who are still suffering after the monster storm.  As I see images repeated on the news, I'm still overwhelmed by the devastation in New Jersey and New York as a result of Sandy.  It's difficult to imagine the loss experienced by so many people.  My thoughts and prayers go out to them at this time.

It was touch and go for a while, but Trick or Treat is still scheduled in our neighborhood and the minnies are excited!  This year, they're going to ask for candy from our neighbors, but plan to help pass out candy to little children at our house for the majority of the night.  

I even got in the Halloween spirit this year and decided to put a costume together.  Here's the final result!

The rebozo is an authentic silk Rebozo de Bolita from Santa Maria in San Luis Potosi.  Oodles of beads and a DIY fruit headband complete my look.  So much fun!

Believe it or not, the minnies have never had matching costumes.  Every Halloween, they would pour over the costume catalogs and try on different costumes.  Halloween was their way of being different.  The costume closet is full of everything from Dorothy Gale, to a pink cowgirl, to a pop star, princess bat (yes, really!) and a myriad of Disney princesses.

This year, the minnies stopped dressing alike every day and some days, they actually seem to miss it.  When I asked them what they wanted to be for Halloween, both answered in unison, "We want to match!"  

So we started our quest!  It's very difficult to find an age appropriate costume for tweens.  After a few frightful visits to the party store to see flimsy, borderline trashy costumes that were made for Tweens, the girls got their inspiration from Dr. Seuss.  So I present to you...Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Plain t-shirts from the craft store are transformed with an iron on decal, J. Crew's Crewcuts tutu offers coverage and can be worn long after Halloween.  The striped tights keep them warm and bedroom slippers are a fun touch!  Thanks to my sweet friend Leesa for finding the fabulous wigs that look great with the J. Crew floral headband.  Easy DIY!

What are you wearing for Halloween this year?  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Adios Sandy...

Don't let the door hit you on the way out!

While we're still feeling the effects of Sandy on this cold, rainy, and windy day, I'm grateful to report that we have power and only minimal damage.  Although some rivers and streams are flooded and are still swelling by the hour, the majority of the damage in our area was from wind.

Last night was very scary with the sound of tree branches scraping on the windows, the roof of the house and wind whipping for hours.  Both girls wanted to sleep with me, something that they had not ever done, even as children!  We all slept together, although it was a rough night's sleep; I was so worried.

The girls and I went out to explore this morning.  It seems like every news reporter, governor, mayor, or other talking head has a standard issue "Disaster Uniform."  Usually it's a windbreaker-type jacket embroidered with the state seal, FEMA logo, or other emblem.  No elected official or candidate would dare wear a tie during a crisis.  That wouldn't be too empathetic.

Here's our interpretation of the disaster uniform.

In the park behind our house, we discovered about 10 large trees that had been ripped out by the roots.  Unbelievable.

One of the trees crushed a merry-go-round where the girls used to love to spin as fast as they could.  So sad!

There are many street lamps and stop lights that have fallen or are without electricity.

Looks like practice will be cancelled for a while on these soccer fields-turned-lake.

How did you and your family weather the storm?  It is during times like these that we value what we have every day and often take for granted.  My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who was affected by this storm and I am grateful that most are safe.  

Please leave a comment to share your experience during and after  this epic storm.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Monster Named Sandy

We're on our first day of a Frankenstorm imposed staycation. Schools are closed for hundreds of miles and the weather is getting worse by the minute. The wind is howling outside my window and tree branches scrape on the roof from time to time.

Our day has been fun and productive and we're hunkered down waiting for the worst of the storm to hit us.

My day started with a sweet surprise.  Chefs Natalia and Alexia made me some English Muffin Pizzas for breakfast.  They were delicious.  Then, we had some movie time and the girls worked on their homework and got ahead on some projects that are due in a week or so.  Alexia's Taj Mahal video is really fun!

Later in the morning, the girls donned their slickers and Wellies and helped to clear leaves from 4 storm drains.  I'm making sure that all of our electronic devices are fully charged.  If you haven't already downloaded the Red Cross Hurricane App, I highly recommend it!

Finally, since there won't be many little ghosts, goblins, or princess ringing the doorbell for Halloween candy on Wednesday night, I figured that it would be a good idea to break out the Halloween candy.  It's non-perishable and we can eat it if we lose power.  Ha!

To all of my readers and friends who live in the large area affected by Hurricane Sandy, please stay safe and warm!  Sending well wishes your way!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gingham Style

Mommy, I want to download that Gingham Style song, but I can't find it on iTunes...

Sweetheart, that's because it's called Gangnam Style, but I sure do like your style and your thinking!

Gingham is one of my favorite styles.  It's easy to find gingham for spring and summer.  Pretty dresses, chic espadrilles, and everything else you can imagine can be found in a rainbow palette of gingham.  But it's more of a challenge to find gingham for fall and winter, especially for women.  Gingham shirts are a wardrobe staple for men all year long, but women's gingham style is more difficult to find.

Here are some of my favorite gingham finds for fall.

Gingham Flannel pajamas from J. Crew will keep you nice and cozy warm this fall and winter.  What could be better than pink gingham?

Pink and gray is a winning combination with this outfit from Gap.  The gray gingham check flannel shirt looks fantastic with bright cords or colored jeans.

Pull out your sewing machine and sew your own gingham skirt from Burda Style.  There are always a myriad of pretty gingham fabrics available.

The Elenor blouse from Kayce Hughes in winter blue gingham is versatile and easy to wear.  I would love to wear this with my Ponte pants from J. Crew or tucked in with a pair of jeans.

So, how do you show your Gingham Style all year long?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Frye Boots that Fit My Calves!

I was cursed blessed with muscular calves that make boot shopping almost as traumatizing as bikini shopping in March.  Even if I'm up or down 10 pounds, pregnant or at my thinnest, my calves seem like they are so big.  Many of you might share the same problem.

In the past, I've looked at boots with stretchy upper shafts or extended calf sizes, but was often disappointed because I had my heart set on a certain boot that didn't quite fit my calf.

When I saw these navy Caroline Campus boots from Frye, I knew that I had to have them and was determined to make them fit!  The boots fit, but were not wide enough to wear with jeans.

Thankfully, there are a few solutions to make leather boots fit your calves.  You can stretch your boots at home with special products that cost about $10, but I decided that it was worth my while to pay $15 at the cobbler to get them professionally stretched.

One week and $15 later, I have a pair of boots that I love that fit perfectly!

P.S.  Pardon my wrinkled appearance.  Sweet Alexia took this picture after the last Poms performance of the year.  At this point in the day, I'd been sitting in a stadium for hours!

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Ultimate Tailgate

Every year since I was a little girl, I used to pour over the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book.  The fantasy gifts were always so over the top amazing to me and as an adult, these gift still continue to amaze.

This year, my "if I had limitless funds" wish list would include the Bulleit Woody Tailgate Trailer. 

Here's what Neiman Marcus has to say about this incredibly unique gift:

"A chorus of cheers rings out the minute you pull up. Tailgating will never be the same now that your Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Woody-Tailgate Trailer is on the scene. Designed by interior designer Brad Ford, it's impressive on the outside, but what's on the inside truly astounds: sleek leather furnishings and details from Moore & Giles, rich wood finishings (handcrafted from reclaimed Bulleit Bourbon casks), elegant glassware, and a top-notch entertainment system, including a flat-screen TV, Blu-ray Disc™ player, and a state-of-the-art sound system, plus a one-year supply of Bulleit Bourbon and Bulleit Rye*. You park, open the hatch, and slide out the bar—cocktails anyone?"

Neiman Marcus is absolutely right.  Tailgating will never be the same after seeing something like this!  Love!  Only two trailers are available for sale.  Hopefully, the lucky buyers of those trailers are reading this post and will invite me to their next tailgate!  I promise to bring a nice hostess gift.  

In the meantime, I'll be eagerly awaiting the Neiman Marcus collection in Target at much less of a fantasy price.

How do you create the ultimate tailgate?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

10 Preppy Halloween Costumes

The best and preppiest Halloween costumes do not come in a bag or a box from a store; they're found right in your closet!  You can probably put together an original costume without purchasing anything at all.  The right accessories are key to the perfect Halloween costume.

Here are my top suggestions for Preppy Halloween Costumes:

Sports play a major role in any preppy lifestyle and you surely have oodles of sporting equipment and clothing hanging in your wardrobe.  Wear your gear off the course or field and you'll be the life of the party.

1.  Tennis player:  Wear your best tennis whites to the party!  Remember to wear an old school headband and carry a racquet.  If you have a vintage racquet, that's even better.

2.  Lacrosse Player:  If you're from Maryland, then I am sure that you have the goods to be a LAX girl this Halloween.  Wear a pair of cute lacrosse shorts like these adorable pink shorts with crabs on the side with a sweatshirt from your favorite school.  Bring your stick and perch lacrosse eye glasses on the top of your head for extra effect!

3.  Sailor or Yacht Captain:  Pair a striped nautical shirt with white shorts or pants.  Pick up an inexpensive hat from the party store and it's a perfect choice for a preppy nautical costume.  Just don't forget the hat and accessories!

4.  School Girl:  Wear an old school uniform with knee socks and loafers.  If you don't have an old uniform, pair a plaid kilt or pleated skirt with a white blouse and solid colored cardigan sweater.  Bonus points if you wear braids or a pony tail.

5.  Homecoming Queen:  This is one of my favorite costume ideas!  I always love a good excuse to wear a ball gown.  Pull out your favorite evening gown and add a crown and some flowers and you're high school royalty.

6.  Bond Girl:  Another variation on the evening gown choice for Halloween is a Bond Girl.  This works very well if you have your handsome significant other wear a tuxedo as James Bond.

7.  Holly Golightly:  The classic preppy Halloween costume.  A little black sheath dress with some pearls and dark Wayfarers is a perfect choice for an elegant Halloween party.  Check out my post from last year for some resources for classes and gloves!

8.  1980s Preppy:  Pull a page out of the Official Preppy Handbook and be an old school preppy this year for Halloween.  Of course that's not much of a stretch for me!

9.  Shopaholic:  Wear your favorite outfit and carry oodles of shopping bags from your favorite stores!  Dark ssunglasses are optional!

10.  Olympic Gymnast:  Olympic costumes will be popular this year, but it's a fun choice!  Add an Olympic crest to a track jacket and pair it with some black leggings.  Make a medal out of cardstock or other sturdy material.  Flowers are optional!

What will you be wearing this year for Halloween?  


Monday, October 15, 2012

DIY Lilly Pulitzer Pumpkin

This weekend, I visited a pumpkin patch and found some pretty pumpkins.  Although I love carving and decorating pumpkins, it's also fun to decorate pumpkins that can be used for many years.  Here's a re-post of a fabulous DIY project for Halloween!  Enjoy!

A few simple supplies help you turn a regular pumpkin into a preppy Lilly inspired pumpkin this fall. You’ll need some decoupage glue, a pumpkin, and some paper napkins. The Martha Stewart decoupage glue has a built in brush in the lid. So convenient. I used a foam pumpkin, buy one get one free at AC Moore, but you could also use a regular pumpkin.  The benefit of the foam pumpkin is that it can be saved from year to year.  I had a few Lilly Pulitzer napkins left over from a party that were no longer a complete set, so these seemed like a perfect thing to use.  I only used about 8 napkins for both large pumpkins!

Cut your napkins in half and open the length. You should have long rectangles. Start by generously brushing an even coat of decoupage glue on the surface of your pumpkin. Then gently press the napkin on the coated surface. Follow the shape of the pumpkin.

You’ll have some wrinkles on this. Embrace them! It’s part of the process. Don’t worry about edges that are not completely attached; you can fix these in a later step.

Carefully add other napkins on the pumpkin’s surface and press into place. Add decoupage glue on top of the napkin to seal the ends of each napkin and smooth wrinkles. Brush lightly on top of the napkin to avoid tearing it.

Brush a light coat of the decoupage glue on the top of the napkins. Allow it to dry completely. I also sprayed the pumpkins with Krylon's clear finish to provide a protective coating for the pumpkins. The decorated pumpkins are now completely water resistent and can be easily wiped clean if needed.

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Alexia loves all things mustache and decided to try her hand at her own DIY Halloween pumpkin.  She used duct tape to make a little hat for her pumpkin.  Add a fake mustache and a piece of an old pink boa and adorable pumpkin.

How are you decorating for Halloween this year?


Friday, October 12, 2012

October Weekend

Fall is so beautiful!  I love to see the changing colors of the landscape and feel the warm sun on a cool, crisp day.  This year, football and festivals seem to be a recurring theme for my fall weekends.  The girls perform at a football game every weekend for middle school boys and we also like to go to high school football games!  There's also a festival of some kind every weekend.

This month, the boys' and girls' JV teams are showing their support of breast cancer awareness by wearing splashes of pink at the games.  Even the referees showed their spirit with pink Gatorade!  They were thrilled to pose for my picture.  So cute.

Our bake sale raised nearly $500 for the Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund, a local fund where 100% of donations are used for patient benefit; there are no administrative costs.  Many of the sweet treats were pink!  I made my semi-famous mini whoopie pies.

Alexia's art class created this pink ribbon to help Erase Breast Cancer.  Students attached pink erasers and wrote their messages of hope on the huge ribbon.  This ribbon and others created by local artists will be auctioned at the Pink Ribbon Gala this Saturday.  Fingers crossed that the bidding goes well!

Here's the phantom of the opera!  Spooky signs of Halloween are everywhere.  Local businesses displayed pumpkins, scarecrows and other displays at an evening event.  The minnies got a jump start on their trick or treating and we visited a child-friendly not so scary haunted house.

Chic to Chic, one of my sweet friend's stores, displayed this chic polka dotted pumpkin.

This display scared me!  It took me a while to realize that the window display was alive.

Another weekend of football and festivals is just around the corner for us!  How are you enjoying fall?  I'd love to hear what fun things are happening where you live.  


Thursday, October 11, 2012

J. Crew Factory Online

Today, J. Crew's new online factory store launched.  I've been looking forward to this for a few weeks and was pleased with the things that I found there.  If you've never shopped J. Crew Factory Stores in person or online, they are different than regular J. Crew stores.  The merchandise is completely different and is made especially for the factory stores. 

In a few cases, I've found the quality of the factory merchandise to be even better than what I can find in the regular stores!  The Winnie pant is one of my favorites!  It's just like the Minnie pant but costs much less, especially when they are on sale.  The quality is fabulous and the pants have just right amount of stretch.  This color looks fabulous with all of the blue in Lilly Pulitzer's fall collection. 

Here are some other great finds in J. Crew's factory store. 

Anything with an elephant is at the top of my list!  This adorable critter necklace costs only $10.  What an adorable statement necklace. 

A braided knit headband is a fabulous and fashionable alternative to ear muffs at fall football games and tailgates.  Stay warm in style with this adorable braided knit headband, in pink, of course!

The selection for girls is also very good.  I'm loving this pretty polka dot dress for my minnies.  The pop of pink ribbon at the waist is adorable, but not babyish. 

If you sign up for Factory First, you'll get free shipping until 11/1/12! 

What did you like on J. Crew Factory today?


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Revas Without Blisters

Tory Burch Reva Ballet Flats are one of the most comfortable shoes, after an initial break-in phase that can be quite painful.  I'm not sure why, but Revas usually take a good 5 or 6 days until they feel just right.  Until then, I've gotten blisters on my pinky toe, scrapes on the sides of my feet and irritated heels.  Perhaps I have sensitive skin, but it's not fun at all. 

Luckily I found a perfect solution in an unexpected product.  Body Glide is used by triatheletes and marathon runners to prevent blisters and chafing.  You can pick up Body Glide at any sporting goods store.  It looks a lot like solid deodorant and works in the same way.  Rub on the glide on areas of your feel that  tend to get irritated, such as the toes, sides, and ankles.  The stick provides an invisible layer of protection on your skin and does not stain, darken, or damage the leather of your shoes. 

I used glide with a new pair of Revas and didn't get any blisters at all!  It really does work!  Have you had a tough time breaking in a new pair of boots or shoes?  What solutions have worked for you?


Monday, October 8, 2012

Knot:ical Rope Bracelets

Nautical rope bracelets are perfect for any time of the year.  Earlier this year, I introduced you to Knot:ical and their amazing rope bracelets.  I adore my thick rope bracelet, but was thrilled to see the addition of skinny rope nautical bracelets.

The Clemson Game Day Rope Bracelet is perfect by itself, but will look great styled with lots of other orange bangles.  I'll be sure to post pictures of what I wear at the homecoming game next month!  There are many other universities included in the game day collection, so check it out to see if your favorite school is included.  

The sweet people at Knot:ical sent the minnies each a bracelet and it was love at first sight for the girls.  In Alexia's case in particular, her Knot:ical rope bracelet is part of her every day collection of jewelry and in her words, "matches with everything!"  

Natalia chose a pretty turquoise and navy blue for her rope bracelet.  She wears it with everything from bright blue to neutral navy.  She chose to wear it on picture day this year because it complements her eyes!  

Every bracelet from Knot:ical arrives ready for gift giving in a gorgeous pouch tied with a ribbon.  There's a sea shell in the bag to remind you of summer.  Choose one of the many options on their website or create your own personalized bracelet.  

Which rope bracelet is your favorite?



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