Thursday, October 31, 2013

Look for Less: Gigi, Pixie, and More

If you're looking for a pair of great fitting slimming ponte knit pants that can be worn in any occasion, there are many options in many price ranges.

My first stop for black pants was J. Crew. Let's face it. I could spend all day in the store and love to see everything there. I found the Pixie pants in a structured black color. I have a pair of Pixie denim jeggings (yes, seriously!) from a year or so ago and LOVE them. The pants are a great fit and are super flattering, but at $98, I didn't take the full price plunge on the black pants.

Luckily, J. Crew Factory has a version that is very similar to fit and style called Gigi. To be honest, I didn't notice any major difference in the quality of the two pants at all. The Gigi is on sale right now at around $49, making a much prettier price point.

Finally, I found a fabulous option at Target in the Junior's section. The Xhilaration pants are a steal at only $20. I did pick up a pair and am eager to see how they hold up in the wash compared to the J. Crew version. There is a difference in the quality and feel of these pants compared to the J. Crew versions, but honestly, they're just black pants. I think it's worth it to get the look for less with the black pants and splurge on another piece of the ensemble.

If you want to get a little bit fancy and go beyond the basic black pant, there are a few luxe options. My favorite choice is the J. Crew Factory Dotted Gigi Pant with black flocked polka dots. I picked these up today at 30% off and free shipping. I thought that it was a great deal and the pants are unlike anything else I've seen in stores.

There's a version for Crewcuts, too!  

Shopping Guide 
Pixie, Gigi, Target

When do you splurge and when do you choose the look for less?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mapping the Past at an African American Cemetery

Hidden behind two private residences is a historical treasure whose mysteries are waiting to be unlocked. The girls and I worked on a project with my DAR chapter to create a map of the Asbury Methodist African American Cemetery. To date, our DAR volunteers spent over 300 hours doing genealogical research on the people who are buried in the cemetery.

The gate to the cemetery is behind the ruins of the church foundation.
We worked to match the genealogical information to the information on the tombstones and made a map of the cemetery.

Margaret Bruner was a third-generation free woman and land holder who worked a farm with her husband. Her great-great-great-granddaughter traveled from Denver to join us for the afternoon to help with the project. She said that she is proud about what we have uncovered about her family's past.

The stories of the past still resonate with us in the present. My daughters were very moved when they saw this stone for two sisters who both died in infancy. They wondered about what might have happened to the little girls and remarked that "things were really difficult for people back then." We can learn so much about trials, tribulations, and hard work from people who lived in the past.

Many of the unmarked graves are hidden by stones and weeds, so we used metal detectors to try to locate them. Natalia said that we are "history detectives."

Finally, we took precise measurements between stones or points where metal was detected in order to make a detailed map.

Our work will serve to help map the past for African Americans who wish to conduct genealogical research, a task that is often challenging. Birth, death, marriage and census records are not always readily available. Papers giving a slave his or her freedom are a helpful tool in tracing individuals and proving relationships, but they are only one piece of the puzzle.

This project is a work in progress and I hope to learn more as we continue in the quest to map the past.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I'd Rather Be Short

"According to the growth charts, I'm predicting that you're going to be about 5'1"."

Natalia was not surprised by the pediatrician's words at her 12 year old well visit. She comes from a long line of mighty, but small women. I'm the tallest of the bunch at 5'4". My sister is shorter than I am and my adorable Nana is just over 5 feet tall. Her mother, my great-grandmother, stood proudly at 4'11" and somehow managed to take care of her 10 children, husband, and home at a time when modern conveniences were only a dream.

When I heard about a delightful little book called I'd Rather Be Short: 100 Reasons Why It's Great to Be Small, I knew that it would be a little ego boost that was just what Natalia needed.

The book celebrates everything petite and includes funny and witty reasons why it is fabulous to be short.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

"Being short probably builds character." Oh this is so true! Natalia is small but shines in a room. You'll always know it when she is there! She's a leader with a strong personality and strong convictions.

Even Shakespeare could see the power of a short woman.

I love big hair. Yes, I know that it is 2013, but there's something so fantastic about big hair. I've even been known to use my trusty old hot rollers from time to time when I want a little bit of extra bounce.

Now, here's the best one of all...You’re just the way you should be!

This book would make a fantastic little gift for your favorite petite friend. You can find it on or wherever books are sold.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Trunk or Treat

Lots of candy and fall fun in a parking lot? Oh yes we did! 

This weekend we participated in our church's Fall Festival. The event, held after church services ended, was a great way to celebrate fall for the entire family. Children enjoyed moon bounces, spooky walks, games, and a cake walk. Of course, no festival in October is complete without some sweet treats. 

For the Trunk or Treat, cars parked in the church parking lot. We participated in this event with a Wizard of Oz theme. A shiny green backdrop supported the Emerald City on top of a bed of poppies, made up of a red tablecloth. 

Natalia and Alexia dressed as Glinda the Good Witch with a crown, wand, and t-shirt asking "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?" 

The children loved the details of the ruby slippers and the yellow brick road! One little girl who happened to be dressed like Dorothy stomped on the witch's feet that were sticking out from under the van. 

I was a good witch even though I dressed as a wicked witch!

Do you have a Trunk or Treat event where you live? What themes have you seen?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Clemson vs Maryland: NCAA Fun & Target Giveaway

A little rivalry is good and makes a game fun to watch! John and I love to go to match ups between Clemson and Maryland and saw this chapter of football history come to a close yesterday. Yesterday, we enjoyed a cold, exciting game at the University of Maryland. It was good to see so much orange in the stadium. Although John is a huge Clemson fan, his sister lives in a divided house. Her husband is a huge Maryland fan. It always makes me chuckle a little bit to see her dressed in orange and her husband in red. They talk a little smack, but it's all in fun!

We enjoyed some tailgating before the game and had the best day!

Now you can show the football fans in your house whose team rules and enter for a chance to win an Xbox One with the Save Your Season QB Challenge. You can recruit your friends to play against you as you send e-cards to your friends (and frenemies who dare to like other teams!)

While you're at it, grab a great deal at Target this season with offers on your favorite products for men and get a free gift card for yourself! With a purchase of three participating Dove Men+Care™, AXE® or Degree™ Men products from 10/20 – 11/9, you’ll receive a $5 Target gift card for yourself. It's a win-win situation.

Here's something to make the deal even sweeter. Enter to win a $20 gift card from Target. Imagine the shopping possibilities with an extra $20, especially with so many holidays just around the corner. Use the widget embedded in this post to record your entry.

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Who is your favorite NCAA team? What fun game day traditions do you have? 

If you're on Twitter, join @ResourcefulMom at her Twitter party taking place on 11/4 at 8 PM ET in the hashtag #TargetNCAA.

As per FTC regulations, I want to let you know that I have been compensated for participation in the campaign.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Weekly Finds

Even when I'm not looking for something specific, I always manage to find some fabulous things that must come home with me. There are certain stores that I know are my Achilles' heel, because they're full of treasures just waiting to be purchased. 

Here are some goodies that I found this week. 

When I saw this girls' sweater, I immediately thought that it had the look and style of Crewcuts. The pink and green stripes in the heart shape are adorable. This will look perfect with a pair of black leggings for my girls. I thought that I might be able to wear the largest girls' size, but no luck, my girls no longer want to match with me!

Even though Halloween is next week, I can always add a pumpkin or two to my menagerie! The chevron glitter stripes and polka dotted pumpkins are whimsical and fun. At only $8 each, I'm not sure that I could make them for the price by the time I bought a fake pumpkin, paint, glitter, and mod podge. 

Oh how I wish I would have found these little suitcases in bright colors a few months ago. When I was planning my wedding, I was looking for little suitcases to use for the goodie bags that children received. They would have been perfect. The structured suitcases are a little bit larger than a typical lunch box and are perfect for gift giving, holding art supplies, or as a take along activity for small children. 

This year, I'll be sending a few holiday packages and gifts by mail. Make a package extraordinary with decorative packing tape. You could cover a box with butcher paper and tape it with the decorative tape. What a fun way to send mail! 

I love crisp white tones for winter decor. These trays, frames, and lacquer boxes would make excellent choices for New Year's decor, don't you think? 

Visit your local Target store to see these great items and more! 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Disney and Vera Bradley

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." -Walt Disney 

I'll admit it. I love Disney. I might even like Disney World more than my children, and they're huge fans! Disney World is one of the happiest places on earth and I could visit there every year...or more. I can't get enough of the magic.

So I was excited for the release of Disney Vera Bradley items including duffel bags, totes, backpacks, cosmetic bags in more. You can find the Disney Vera Bradley items at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. But what if you 're not planning a visit until later in the year? Don't worry. You're in luck.

You can purchase these items at the Disney Parks Online Store, but you won't find them online at Vera Bradley or in Vera Bradley boutiques.

The Vera Bradley backpack in Just Mousing Around is whimsical and fun. It's the perfect airline carry on bag for your next trip and is manageable to carry in the parks with your water, sunscreen, and maps. The front pocket is the perfect size for an iPad.

With the Vera Bradley Large Duffel Bag in Midnight With Mickey, you'll be the envy of the luggage turnstile and hotel lobby queue. My daughters have several bags in this size in other prints and use them so often. The bag is a high quality quilted fabric that you expect from Vera Bradley.

Here's a close up of the two limited edition prints, Just Mousing Around and Midnight With Mickey. I especially love the pink print. 

You'll need to hurry if you want to get one of these bags. Many items, like this adorable Smartphone Wristlet in Just Mousing Around, have already sold out. 

Do you love Disney as much as or more than the rest of your family? What are your favorite things to do at Disney?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

$50 Tiny Prints Giveaway

Tiny Prints is always my first choice for holiday cards. I've ordered our Christmas cards from them for the past 4 or 5 years and have always been thrilled with the results. Every year, there are new designs and fun ideas for a twist on classic holiday greetings, gifts, and stationery.

Here are my favorites from Tiny Prints this year. The Stark Square card is modern and elegant. I love the simple typography on the front paired with the design on the back. So chic!

I could spend hours on Tiny Prints' website because there are so many new design styles for 2013 – Contemporary, Classic, Vintage, Full bleed photos, All That Glitters, Bold Expressions, Simply Chic, Woodland Wonder and The New Tradition. This Shimmering Brocade holiday card is a stunning option.

Once you've found your favorite card, decide on a special shape. New trim options for 2013 include square, rounded, bracket, ticket and scallop options. Here's what I'm thinking about using for our holiday card this year.

Before you finish your order, remember to include matching address labels and envelope liners to make your cards extra special.

Tiny Prints is a fabulous resource for photo gifts for the whole family. Wouldn't the photo ornament be a perfect way to celebrate a special year? I plan to give these to gifts to grandparents. (Shhh!)

Here's the good news for you! Enter to win $50 towards your next Tiny Prints order with this flash giveaway. Use the widget to enter to win and get a head start on holiday planning. Enter to win today because the giveaway ends on Friday night at 11:59 p.m.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Look For Less: Old Navy vs Lilly Pulitzer

For the past two seasons, I've been a huge fan of the Travel Pant from Lilly Pulitzer. I have a few pairs in several colors, but I have to admit that I'm not a fan of the $98 price tag. So when I found an alternative for around $20, I was thrilled to see how they compared.

Here are the two pairs of navy pants side by side. I ended up getting the petite length from Old Navy, an option that is not available from Lilly Pulitzer. Both pants are a deep navy color and are fairly structured, considering that they are basically luxury leggings, if such a thing exists.

For the waistband, the Old Navy pants are the winner. The waistband is thicker and sits a little bit higher on the waist than the Lilly Pulitzer pants. Neither waistband twists or turns while wearing the pants.

Both pants have a center seam running down the front. The option from Old Navy has some side seams, too. Overall, the fabric of the Travel Pants is more substantial and stronger than the Old Navy pants. Both pants are very figure flattering and are completely opaque in addition to hiding any flaws or bumps.

The petite length of the Seamed Ponte Knit Pull On Pant from Old Navy is a good thing for me. I'm 5'4" and the Travel Pants scrunch up a little bit at my ankle. They're not overly long, but the petite option is really the better choice.

In all, I love both pants. My favorite pant is the Travel Pant, but I'd probably choose the Old Navy version in basic colors like navy and black. Then I could purchase the Travel Pant in more unique colors like charcoal gray and almond. The option for petites (and tall!) is fabulous for special sizes. Old Navy almost always has a deal for 20% off a purchase or more, so you can pick up their pants for about 75% less than the Lilly Pulitzer version. I say go for the less expensive option in basic colors and splurge on a bright pink Elsa or Murfee scarf.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Marie-Grace: An American Girl

Alexia is the guest blogger today with a review about one of the newest historical characters from American Girl's collection.

When my mom showed the plain brown box to me, I immediately knew what was waiting for my sister and me inside the box.

It was Marie-Grace, with beautiful bright blue eyes, just like me. This 1853 New-Orleans girl stands up to the city she where she lives and now calls home. Marie-Grace had just moved to New-Orleans, wishing that she was still in her old town. Everything is so unfamiliar to her. And there's a little problem; Marie-Grace is a shy girl, and school is starting soon. How is she going to make friends? I had a similar experience when I went to a brand new middle school last year with all new people. I was lucky to have my sister, but we didn't know anyone else and it was a little bit scary. This story inspired me and I highly recommend the books.

Natalia and I had the honor of meeting the authors of the Marie-Grace and Cécile books when they came to the American Girl store at Tysons Corner in Virginia. It's so exciting to meet an author in person! In her adventures, Marie-Grace discovers courage, trust, and a true friend, Cécile. When an African-American slave baby is left on her doorstep, she also saves him from slavery, and protects him from a slave catcher. And with the help of Cécile, and the two come up with a marvelous plan to save him. So they go and save him by taking him to Chicago to a safer place. Also, when yellow fever breaks out in the town, everyone is suffering from it. Marie- Grace’s friends, family, and her opera teacher are too! Being a doctor, her father is busy working on them trying to help them survive. The only thing Marie-Grace can do is help. When she gets the chance she does. When the sick people are cured, everything goes back to normal in the town. And the best of all, her teacher gets married!

Marie-Grace is one of my favorite American Girls. She is very caring, and shows everyone that you can do anything; you just have to work at it. I love to read the historical American Girl books because I learn so much about history. In the Marie-Grace series, I especially learned about people’s lives and the world in her times in 1853. Her book series includes, “Meet Marie-Grace”, “Marie Grace and the Orphans”, and “Marie-Grace Makes a Difference”. Maybe you should read them sometime!

My sister and I like American Girl dolls with beautiful hair. When we were younger, we used to style it every day, just like our mom did our hair! Now I admire the perfect hair styles and try to keep them neat. Marie-Grace has beautiful curls on the side and a complicated and delicate braid that goes in the back. Her hair has a perfect wave and is a pretty shade of brown...just like me!

Her clothing is in style for 1853 and is so detailed; it's even better that the dress is pink plaid taffeta. I really love her beautiful boots and bloomers, too. Marie-Grace's clothing is all so pretty! Everything about this doll is perfect.

Trust me, if you have a little girl or a granddaughter, she's going to love Marie-Grace as much as me!

Be sure to check out some fantastic events that are happening at the Tysons American Girl store this fall and winter. Many activities are free and there's a special experience at the Nutcraker at the Warner Theater.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pink Dresses and Pink Drinks

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Celebrate this month and wear (and drink!) lots of pink to collaborate with national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to service.

It's been a busy pink week here. The girls and I both had an organized Pink Out day at work and school. I've been waiting to wear my Lilly Pulitzer Beckett Dress in Mambo Pink for weeks and decided that it would make it's debut for the Pink Out. You know that I'm a huge fan of the Beckett dress and love the flattering shape and style of the dress.  A word of caution...the dress is extremely transparent. I wore an above the knee beige tank slip dress under the dress and it was perfect. The dress looked great all day and does not wrinkle. It's a fabulous option for travel.

The dress pairs nicely with the Limited Edition rope bracelet from knot:ical.

After a busy week, I like to relax with some delicious Pink Grapefruit Sparkling ICE. Sparkling ICE is on a mission to “Imagine a World without Breast Cancer” – and from October 1-31st Sparkling ICE donates 1¢ per bottle of its Pink Grapefruit Sparkling ICE to help find a cure for Breast Cancer. Best of all, proceeds go directly back to the community where the product was sold. The drink is delicious! Seriously, you won't believe that this does not have any calories. My personal favorite is the Strawberry Lemonade.

To sweeten the deal, Sparkling Ice has concocted a spiked drink to "Sip For A Cure."

Here's what you need to make the Sparkling ICE Sip Pink for the Cure Cocktail Pink Grapefruit
- 3 oz. Grapefruit Sparkling ICE
- 1 ½ oz. vodka
- 1 oz. lime juice
- Lime wedge
- Sliced fresh jalapeño
- Chili salt for rim of glass (Kosher salt mixed with chili powder)

Preparation: Use a lime wedge to rub the entire rim of a chilled martini glass, and dip into chili salt mixture. Combine vodka and jalapeño slices with ice in a shaker. Strain and pour into the chilled martini glass. Top with Grapefruit Sparkling ICE. Garnish with a few jalapeño slices.

With two tweens in the house, I seem to encounter the EOS Lip Balm pods as often as I find Rainbow Loom rubber bands. Right now, the girls are loving the EOS BCA Lip Balm Two Pack with Strawberry Sorbet and a limited edition Watermelon flavor. It's a great price and is a fantastic idea to buy now for stocking stuffers in December.

Support a good cause this month and help promote awareness!

Tonight I'm going to be making pink whoopie pies to sell at a bake sale at the girls' game tomorrow. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

DIY Lilly Pulitzer Pumpkins

Today I'm sharing a post from the vaults that has remained one of my top posts for years. Back on September 19, 2011, I first shared this DIY idea for pumpkins for you and I'm still enjoying these beautiful pumpkins I made years ago.


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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How do you decorate for Halloween?



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