Wednesday, December 17, 2014

American Girl Donation

This holiday season, from November 24 through December 18, 2014, American Girl will match any doll purchase made online, in-store, or via phone with an 18-inch doll donation (up to 1,000 dolls/day!) to the Children's Hospital Association. The donation, worth nearly $3 million in retail value, will help bring joy and comfort to thousands of young girls receiving care in any of the association's 200 member hospitals in the U.S.

American Girl sent an Isabelle doll to me to donate to the charity of my choice. My daughters and I carefully considered our favorite charities, but ultimately, Natalia and Alexia made the decision to donate the doll to the Kline Hospice House. Kline House is a special place where patients can spend their final days in a tranquil setting, surrounded by their families. 

This summer, my Nana, the girls' great-grandmother, had quadruple bypass surgery. It was a difficult surgery with a complicated recovery. Natalia and Alexia spent quite a bit of time at the hospital this summer and learned so much about family, life, and love from the experience. They remarked that the hospital always seemed so sad and dreary.  Everyone, from the doctors and nurses to other families and patients, always wanted to talk to the girls because they represent life. They sparkle and shine. 

The girls wanted Isabelle to bring that sparkle and shine to the people who are sick as well as the family members who visit them.

A doll can bring a sparkle to anyone's eye, no matter what the age. Denise Watterson, Bereavement Coordinator for Hospice of Frederick County, commented that they plan to move Isabelle from room to room so that everyone can enjoy her. I imagine how much joy this doll will bring to both the Hospice patients and their families at the Kline House. Alexia is sorting through her American Girl collection and is packing a little suitcase of clothing, furniture, and accessories that she wants to send to the Kline House to accompany Isabelle.

Many thanks to Kate Charuhas at Hospice for coordinating our donation and a million thanks to American Girl for their generous spirit during this holiday season.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Busy Day Make Ahead Corn on the Cob

This week has been very busy. Natalia and Alexia have Poms camp this week, so I've been driving them back and forth to the day camp. On Monday afternoon, they served as tour guides at their school for new students.

I knew that I wouldn't have a lot of time to prepare a meal, so I chose a yummy chicken recipe for the crock pot.

Although dinner would be ready to go, I couldn't resist the sweet corn from the local farmer I passed on the way to camp. I needed a way to prepare the corn on the cob in advance. The corn was freshly picked that morning, so I knew that it would be sweet.

I removed the corn husks just before cooking it. I like to cook corn in the microwave. To do this, I put a moist paper towel around each ear of corn. Microwave for 2 minutes per ear. Watch out, because the corn will be steaming!

Then I wrapped each ear of corn in aluminum foil with a little bit of butter and salt. I used Reynolds Wrappers. They're the perfect size.

Finally I placed the ears of corn in another crock pot and kept it on the warm setting. I left it on warm for about 2 hours while I picked up the girls from their school. We ate a delicious dinner as soon as we got home! The corn was perfectly sweet.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

C. Wonder Monogrammed Bag

Recently I posted a picture on Instagram before I went out for the day. I received so many emails and comments about my bag, that I decided to do a post about this outfit to help other readers.

I love tote bags. They're so easy to use and are inexpensive enough that I can have multiple colors and sizes. I found the perfect tote! Available in several sizes and a myriad of colors, the bag has two pouch pockets that are perfect for a cell phone and credit cards and a large zip pouch pocket. It zips closed and is great for traveling. The sides can be snapped on the side or left unsnapped for extra space. 

The best part about C. Wonder is that the majority of their items can be monogrammed or personalized. I ordered this bag in the store and it arrived at my house in less than a week, with a beautiful gold monogram. The service was fast and easy!

P.S. If you have not signed up for LYST yet, you are going to love it. is a shopping site that partners with thousands of brands and stores so that you can follow all of your favorites from one place. When you follow a brand or store, you'll know as soon as your favorite items goes on sale.

Follow marylandpinkandgreen's fashion picks on Lyst

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lilly Pulitzer Fabric Wreath Tutorial

I have Lilly Pulitzer fabrics and scraps that beg to be put to good use. Yesterday, I crafted a wreath using Lilly Pulitzer fabric. I had enough fabric to make the wreath all one pattern, but this would also look fabulous with several different fabrics. Although I love the way the wreath looks in this picture, it's not quite finished! Watch for another post with a great tutorial for the finishing touches that will complete the DIY project.

To start the project, I cut strips of fabric using a rotary cutter and mat. You could also use scissors, but the rotary cutter was faster. I didn't measure the strips perfectly, but they were about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in width. The length of the strips is up to you. The fabric strips that I used are 18 inches in length and wrapped around the straw wreath almost 3 times.

I ended up with about 30 strips of fabric and had quite a few remaining when the wreath was covered. Keep the extra pieces of fabric for the second part of this tutorial for an extra special finishing touch! Cutting the strips will be the most time consuming part of this project. I used a straw wreath that I bought at Joanns, but I think that a styrofoam wreath would work, too.

I put a bit of hot glue on the fabric and wrapped it around the wreath, pulling it tightly so that there were no gaps in the fabric, working my way around the wreath. Wrapping the wreath was a fairly fast process.

Watch for a follow up post for an adorable finishing touch for your wreath.

Monday, July 21, 2014

American Girl Movie Released Tomorrow

On Friday, I picked up Natalia and Alexia from a week at camp. A week at camp means a lot of laundry to do, especially since they left for another week long camp in Pennsylvania on Sunday. I had only 1 day to wash and repack their bedding, towels, clothes, and more. Whew!

When we arrived at our house Friday evening, there was a package at the door. As it turns out, the package was from my friends at American Girl! What perfect timing. The girls immediately wanted to preview the DVD American Girl: Isabelle Dances Into the Spotlight. It was the best activity to wind down after a week at camp and the girls LOVED the movie.

This Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD is available tomorrow in retail outlets including American Girl stores. The movie stars Melora Hardin and presents Erin Pitt as Isabelle, a dynamic dancer with a flair for design, in this modern-day, family-friendly story about discovering your own unique talents.

Get your dancing shoes on and host a viewing party for the new movie at your home. It's a great summer activity and will delight your little girl and her friends. All you'll need is the DVD, some popcorn and other snacks, and music. For the first time ever, a soundtrack will be available on CD for a direct-to-video title.
Create some printable tickets and other party goodies, and your afternoon will be a huge success.

Here's a sample afternoon itinerary for your event:
1:30 p.m.  Guests Arrive
2:00 p.m.  Movie and Popcorn, with your favorite American Girl Doll, of course!
3:30 p.m.  Dance Party!
4:00 p.m.  Guests Depart

Friday, July 18, 2014

Perfectly Preppy Pachyderm

I'm wild about elephants. An elephant motif adds a whimsical touch to any outfit. Today I'm highlighting a few of my favorite elephant inspirations, in a variety of price points.

A Mommy and baby elephant stand out on this gorgeous clear cosmetic bag in Petal Paisley. It's a perfect choice for wet bathing suits or sunscreen during the summer. I think that it might even get a friendly nod from a TSA agent at the airport, clearly showing your cosmetics and lotions. 

Yesterday, I wore my Kenneth Jay Lane elephant bangle. The bracelet is 18K gold-plated with enamel fill and Swarovksi crystals and is a sophisticated choice for any bracelet stack.

Of course, I adore pink and green elephants. The Lilly Pulitzer Medium Agenda Day Planner Tusk In Sun 2014-2015 is my top pick. I'm counting down the days until August so that I can use my new agenda.

On Instagram and Etsy, I spotted some gorgeous elephant fabric and knew that I needed to order a skirt for fall. Corduroy is so comfortable and perfect for cooler weather. Isn't my skirt going to be adorable? Although I'm certainly not wishing for cooler weather any time soon, I am really looking forward to wearing a Corduroy Elephant Skirt!

The Printed Signature Tote combines ikat and and elephant motif in a way that makes this bag a neutral in your wardrobe, matching many outfits in different colors, styles, and seasons.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tickled Pink-Flamingo Birthday Party (and Lilly Jeep!)

I am constantly inspired by the creativity and talent of Lilly loving mamas. When I heard about the party that Jasmine of Lilly-licious, former Pipsqueak Parties, organized for her daughters, I knew that she was incredibly talented! But when I saw the gift that she made for her 3 year old twins, I was beyond amazed.

Jasmine shared some exciting details about her daughters' Ticked Pink-Flamingo birthday party with me. Thanks to Meg Manion Photography for the some pictures. 

Guests of honor:  My three daughters, Bailley who turned 13, and my twins Devynn and Quinn turned 3. Their birthday dates are too close to torture our family with two separate parties. The girls had matching flamingo shift dresses, and matching flamingo bathing suits.

Meg Manion Photography
Theme:  The party was themed "tickled pink-flamingo". We had dozens of tacky pink plastic flamingos all over the property, paper lanterns in pinks and blues hanging from tree branches above, pink organizational containers used to organize the food table, it was very simple.

Meg Manion Photography
Food and sweet treats:  We served burgers and dogs for guests to load up at the toppings bar. Fresh veggies, thick bacon, and my favorite..."wickles"-wicked good pickles. As for sweets, I went pink all the way with strawberry wafers, berry flavored Oreos, and no birthday is complete without cake. Chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with light pink buttercream frosting were served with silly rubber flamingos. I used toothpicks and hot glue to turn them into cupcake toppers.

Meg Manion Photography
Favorite Party Moment:  My favorite moment is a toss up between when the teens let loose and donned the crazy hats I had set out for photo opps.....and the twins learning to drive their new Lilly Pulitzer inspired Jeep. Their reaction to the Jeep was priceless. They first shoved each other out of the driver's seat at least a few times before giving in. As per the usual, Quinny was the winner (baby A).

Meg Manion Photography

Here are some more pictures of the Lilly Jeep so that you can fully appreciate the detail of Jasmine's work!

Many thanks to Jasmine for sharing her special event! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

For Mothers of Daughters

I have to confess, when I found out that I was having little girls, I was absolutely elated. Visions of matching dresses and bows swirled in my head, but in 13 years, I’ve learned that there is much more than fluff to having daughters. It’s been a wonderful adventure! People always told me to enjoy every moment and not to rush a “stage.” And they were right. Each age is beautiful and I’m eager to continue my motherly journey as my girls enter the teen years.

Here are 10 things that you need to know about being a Mommy to a daughter.

1. It really is fun to match! I loved to wear matching Mommy and Me outfits with my daughters. Call me crazy, but I was drooling over matching Laura Ashley outfits in the early 90's when I didn’t even have children. There was never a doubt in my mind that we would match sometimes…as it happened, my daughters loved it! Although they went through a brief phase around age 9 or 10 where they did not want to match me, lately they’ve been looking for ways for us to wear similar prints or styles.

2. Keep them in smocked dresses as long as you can. Unfortunately, the window of opportunity for beautifully smocked dresses is relatively short. Although Natalia and Alexia would humor me (and their grandma and nana) by wearing smocked dresses on holidays, they were pretty much over it around age 7 or 8.

3. Hair is very important! My girls LOVE to have their hair styled and braided in a million different ways. From the time I could get a bow in their hair, they wore a bow every day. Even at almost 13 years old, the girls still wear all of their bows…they just wear them differently than they did as little girls. They still love for me to help them with their hair and play with each other’s hair from time to time. If your daughter is involved in dance or cheer, you’ll have to become a quick expert in hair styling. Believe it or not, I got a lot of great tips and hair style ideas after watching an American Girl hair styling DVD!

Some of the bow collection

4. A box is still the best toy! Helping your daughter to develop a great imagination is a wonderful gift that you can give to her. A huge, oversized box is always a great toy for a snow day or a rainy afternoon. With some markers and scissors, an ordinary box becomes a house or a boat, filled to capacity with girls and their dolls, stuffed animals, and other treasures.

5. Every girl needs a bag. I don’t go anywhere without my purse. I encouraged my girls to take a quiet activity or book with them in a small bag when we would go in the car or out to eat. From a very young age, my girls took a bag full of surprises with them wherever they went. They often insisted in bringing their babies or dolls and often wanted to wheel them along in a tiny stroller. I almost always obliged their request and believe that their caring, nurturing personalities are a result of the care that they took with their babies and materials as little girls.

6. With a daughter, you’ll have a perfect excuse to re-read some of your favorite Judy Blume and Nancy Drew books. I love to talk with my girls about what they are reading. It’s a great way to have a conversation with them about so many important issues. I really like the Best of Blume: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret/Blubber/Iggie's House/Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself, some of Judy Blume's best books all in one. 

7.When you’re not reading, have a movie night with your daughter and watch some of your favorite John Hughes movies. What better excuse to see Jake Ryan in action than a night of movies and popcorn with your daughter. But I have to warn you, it’s funny to watch movies like Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles from the “mom” point of view. My girls were shocked by the smoking and teen drinking in the movies and said that the characters were making “bad decisions.” Ha! You can get Sixteen Candles (Flashback Edition) on Amazon for about the same price as an old Blockbuster video back in the day.

8. Sooner than you can imagine, your daughter will want to share clothing with you. We were getting ready to go to a wedding and I couldn’t find a sweater and necklace that I wanted to wear. I’ll give you two guesses as to the whereabouts of the items…on my two daughters!

The Shared Closet

9. Share secrets with your daughter. I love the relationship that I have with my girls. So often, we can communicate with each other without saying a word. A glance or gesture is worth a thousand words. It makes a simple trip an adventure. My girls also know my expectations for them with one look in my eye.

10. The hardest part of being a mother of daughters is being able to let them go…and grow. Just this week, I had tears in my eyes as I was driving away after dropping them off at sleepaway camp. They’re experts at sleepaway camp and have been going away since they were 7 years old. But it is never easy for me to leave them. One of the things that I appreciate most is that my parents let me have travel and camp experiences from a very young age. It helped me to make decisions for myself and to grow as a person. The girls are very mature and responsible and I feel that these unique experiences have helped to shape their character. I am not looking forward to the day when they both go to college, but realize that it’s just another milestone along the journey.

The girls' cabin at camp

Monday, July 14, 2014

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

It's my favorite time of year! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is here. If you have a Nordstrom credit card or are a Nordstrom Rewards member, you can shop the sale early. This is a true advantage because many of the most popular items sell out in certain sizes very quickly.

If you're looking for boots for fall you'll love the Frye Phillip Riding Boot. Frye boots are incredibly high quality and will last you for decades! No lie. I really like these because they are available in extended calf sizes...something that I need for my "athletic" calves.

Everyone needs a pair of Tory Burch Reva Ballerina  flats. It's fairly rare to find these on sale, so take advantage of this great deal.

There are also quite a few beauty exclusives during the Anniversary Sale. I love the Clarisonic Mia 2 Sonic Skin Cleaning System.

My girls are huge fans of Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale and always love to shop for Back to School. They're each going to get a pair of the Sperry Top Sider Kids' Audrey Loafer.

The North Face Oso Fleece Hooded Jacket seems to be the official winter uniform for teens, so Natalia and Alexia want to add this gorgeous blue color to their collection.

What do you like from the Anniversary Sale?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Lilly Pulitzer Coaster Tutorial

You're probably looking at the new Lilly Pulitzer 2014-2015 Agendas  but wonder what to do with the remaining months of the agenda that you currently have. As a teacher, I love to start the school year with a new agenda. It's like a new beginning. But my teacher personality also leads me to think of a hundred different ways to recycle my agenda pages that will not be used. In the past, I showed you how I framed the pages like art. Today I'm going to show you a great gift idea...Lilly Pulitzer Ceramic Coasters! 

lilly pulitzer coaster tutorial diy

This project is incredibly easy to do and is practically free to make, provided you have a few basic crafting supplies on hand.

I went to Home Depot and browsed the flooring aisle. I found these ceramic tiles for 16 cents each!

I also picked up felt circles at Home Depot for a few dollars. Other materials that I already had on hand were the agenda pages, foam brush, cutting tools, Mod Podge, and Krylon 6-Ounce Crystal Clear Acrylic Coating Aerosol Spray.

lilly pulitzer coaster tutorial diy

I traced a template on the agenda pages and cut out the squares using a paper cutter to ensure straight edges.

Here are 8 of my agenda pages, ready to be upcycled!

lilly pulitzer coaster tutorial diy

I prepared the ceramic tiles by putting a coat of Mod Podge on the tile, using the foam brush.

Next, I placed the Lilly Pulitzer paper squares on the ceramic tile while the Mod Podge was still sticky and wet.

lilly pulitzer coaster tutorial diy

Cover each coaster with 3 coats of Mod Podge, allowing it to fully dry in between applications.

lilly pulitzer coaster tutorial diy

When the coasters are dry, place 4 felt circles on each coaster to prevent scratches on tabletops. Although the Adhesive Felt Circles I purchased were self adhesive, I used a bit of hot glue on each one to prevent them from coming loose.

It's a great gift and fabulous way to upcycle your old Lilly Pulitzer agenda!


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