Monday, July 30, 2012

Funk + Updates = Funkdates

I've been in a total funk lately. I'm sure it was brought on by my 3 day hangover after my trip to Richmond but it stuck around as we continued our week. Sitting around watching the Olympics makes for a good excuse to be lazy. It's the end of the month, so there's no good food in the house. And I don't have anything REALLY exciting on the books for awhile so things are just kind of meh. And in keeping with all things meh, here are some meh sort of updates.

1) The Moss Stairs: I had high hopes. I really did. Since there's already moss growing very close by, I assumed my little push in the right direction would produce more of the same. Wrong-o. The stairs have grown zero moss. Now, keep in mind, the directions I used called for mixing in a beer. I've seen others using buttermilk so there's always another option, should I want to try it again. And you know what? I actually might. I want those mossy stairs real bad.

2) My generous in-laws hooked me up with an Ulta gift card for my birthday so I was able to go shopping for my new adult skincare regimen. Now, if you'll remember from my wishlist, I thought I wanted the pricey Clarisonic Mia. But then Michelle suggested I try the Olay version for about a quarter of the price. Dude, she's a doctor, of course I'm gonna listen to her. So I bought the Olay version and have been using it about 4 to 5 times a week and have definitely seen a difference. I had this random weird dry patch on my lower cheek near my ear for the longest time and within a few days, it was noticeably better. Pretty sweet, eh? I really do love when cheaper shit actually works. For reals.

3) Remember that wedding I went to last month? Well I bought new shoes and I wanted to tell you about them. I am obviously not a heel-wearer on the regular. I'll suffer through a night of wearing them for a special occasion but usually hate paying so much money for shoes that always ALWAYS freaking hurt. And if you look for "comfort" shoes, they're usually fug. So when I found these Naturalizer shoes, I was pleasantly surprised.
The heel is high enough where I don't look like a grandmom and the platform helps with the comfort. All of the strappiness keeps your foot feeling secure as you drink your 9th vodka and soda and traipse across the dancefloor.

That's all I got for you dudes. I did hear your request for a tutorial on the collages so I'll get working on that asap.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Toddler Birthday Nifty Gifties

tot birthdays


In case you couldn't tell by the sound of my hyperventilating into a paper bag, my boy is turning two in a few weeks. Invitations to his party have been sent out and requests for gift ideas have started rolling in. Usually I try to make a list and assign certain people certain gifts, depending on relationship, cost, etc. But honestly I didn't feel like dealing...which seems to be a recurring theme with me lately. 

So I headed over to Amazon and made Gabe a wish list. I started thinking of the things he likes and tried to go a step further to encourage some learning and a lot of fun. Most of this stuff (toys only) links to my Amazon affiliate program so if you buy something from it, you'll be throwing a few pennies in my pocket, to which I pledge you my undying love and affection.

1) I chose the Kid Galaxy My 1st RC Big Wheelie Cycle Fun Rider because I think he's ready for a RC car and also because while he loves himself a car, he's also obsessed with cycles so I'm sure he'd love it. And it's a bit different, which I like.

2) Curious George is a huge freakin hit in our house so it was an obvious choice for a Matching Game . While it includes over 70 cards, I'm just planning on starting with a few sets to start matching our Georges and Yellow Hats and Gnocchis and whatnots.

3) Although our house is covered in balls already (ha), I think we need more of the flying around variety. Eye hand coordination is totes important so I picked out a Little Tikes TotSports T-Ball Set  

4) Fine motor skills and DIY skills are also high on my priority list so Gabe obviously needs some tools. I like this Fisher-Price Drillin 'n Action Tool Set because the drill actually works on the plastic screws. And we need a deck built, so he needs to practice ASAP.

5) You probably already know that I hate the outdoors, right? Well my kid freakin loves it. So on rainy days, I jump for joy and break out the art supplies bin. These Melissa & Doug Vehicles Stamp Sets satisfy Gabe's need for cars everything and my need to get crafty.

6) These are needed for obvious reasons. Kelly Green Chuck Taylors are my jam. And also his Aunt Kelly's jam because I bought the same ones for her birthday a few years ago. Maybe a size or two bigger.

7) We don't own an Ipad so I think this is the next best thing...the LeapFrog LeapPad2 Explorer, Green . It does things that I don't even understand and since Gabe needs to practice his touch-screening, we need this. He's already behind.

8) Gabe has decided that sitting in the bathtub is for sissies. Standing, walking and jumping are the things to do. So I'll take any attempt to distract him so maybe these Rub a Dub Stickers for the Tub: Beep Beep! will do the trick. The fact that they are cars are just icing man, just icing.

9) Another winter, another puffy vest. This orange fleece Puffer Vest from the Gap will work nicely.

Anything look good to you mamas? Got any other surefire winners?

Monday, July 23, 2012

I Went to Richmond and All I Got...



was this lousy hangover.  And per usual,I didn't whip out the big camera once. So we're stuck with instagram pictures taken mostly while drunk. Lucky us.

So anyway, I headed down to Richmond, VA this weekend, sans John and Gabe, to hang out with my friend Karen. I had never been there so everything I know about Richmond, I've learned from blogs. Well I'm here to tell you that it was nothing but delightful. Seriously, I loved the place. The city of Richmond is crawling with cutesy things like unique little shops, moss covered buildings, bright colored front doors then some historical monuments thrown in. There's a photo op around every corner. Honestly, I was overwhelmed, so I just didn't take any of them. So you'll just have to believe me.

After my tour of the city, we headed out to places that aren't tot-shopping friendly: thrift stores. Now if you have followed a certain giant DIY blog based in Richmond, you've seen this thrift store before, the Love of Jesus thrift store. This place is insane, and not just because of the little signs everywhere telling you that Jesus is watching. The place is huge and jam packed with crap. Crap EVERYWHERE. We got out of there one dollar poorer and didn't get testified to. Win win.


Now as you might have expected, or already seen on Instagram, we spent much of our time overindulging in drink. We sampled many of Richmond's fantastic bars like Buddy's, the Curbside and the Starlite. We were clearly the old ladies roaming around as the teenyboppers stormed down upon us yet we cared not. We laughed at them teetering around the bar, barely conscious as dudes dry humped them in front of everyone. Oh college girls, you're such idiots.

So after passing out and missing Karen's facetime call with Bethany in Kuwait at 2am, I woke to feeling like death. I dreaded leaving mostly because I was not looking forward to the drive home and also because Karen's couch was a little piece of heaven. But my dudes missed me and I missed them so I dragged my ass home. Fun fact: it's Monday morning and somehow I feel worse than I did yesterday. I told John it's probably a good time to get knocked up considering I don't want to look at another drink for at least 9 months.  We'll see how long that lasts.

So to sum it up, Richmond caters very well to people that like adorable things and drinking. Um, hello target audience! And Karen is effing amazing. So there's that.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Kid is Almost Two

 Dear Gabe,

These monthly posts are coming fast and furious. You are now 23 months old. In one little tiny month, you'll turn two. I'll probably keep writing you letters because I know you're only getting started with all of the new and funny things you're saying and doing so why stop now? Someday I may get tired of it but this right here is your baby book, so I've go to record as much as I can possibly recall. As usual, this month has been awesome yet trying. You are right smack in the phase of knowing what you want but not being able to tell us. It's a bit frustrating but we're making our way through it, trying to remember that you're not being cranky on purpose (most days) you're just baffled as to why we don't understand your grunts. So bud, this past month...

- You've continued being a sleeping champ. Your daddy puts you down by 8pm and you usually sleep until anywhere from 6:30 to 7:30 am. As soon as you wake up, you want some cartoons and you demand that we feed you.

- You are probably starving in the morning because your eating tapers off throughout the day. You stuff your face all morning, snack in the afternoon and pretty much refuse dinner. Your favorite thing is "noonies" which are noodles...or rice, you don't know the difference. You also can't get enough ice pops, but I mean, who can?

- You have become a dancing fool. Your favorite move is jumping, followed by the twist and "getting down low" and then getting "way up high". I think we owe this to the Wiggles, who you are beyond obsessed with. Now this goes against everything your parents ever wanted for you but what are we gonna do? We've got all the songs memorized and are even up on the Yellow Wiggle drama. For what it's worth, we're on Team Sam.

- You finally started calling yourself something other than Baby. Every now and then, you'll say Gabe. It's freakin adorable.

- You took a big family vacay down the shore with all of your cousins and had the best time playing with them. I kept you out late on the boardwalk but instead of falling asleep in your stroller, you looked up at me, grabbed my hand and said for the first time "home". It made me melt.

- You've been playing with all the little girls in the neighborhood, who are all triple your age.They come knock up for you asking if you can play and since all of their names end in A, you just call them all Beeba. No matter if it's Sophia or Olivia, they're all Beebas to you.

We love you Gabriel

Love,
Mama


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Let's Review: Dove® VisibleCare™ Toning Crème Body Wash


Exactly one week before we were to attend a fancy schmancy wedding, I received Dove® VisibleCare™Toning Crème Body Wash in the mail to review on behalf of BlogHer. With the highest concentration of NutriumMoisture technology across the Dove line, this revolutionary line of body wash promises visibly more beautiful skin in just one week. That’s a pretty big promise, especially to someone like me who has bought every brand out there promising me the moon.

 Before receiving the body wash, like always, I was concerned with how my skin would look in the baring, one-shoulder dress I was set to wear  to the wedding. Since we rarely get out on the town without Gabe these days and since I pretty much never get dressed up, I wanted to look and feel good when we were at the aquarium wedding. So I got right to work, substituting the Dove® VisibleCare™Toning Crème Body Wash in place of my normal soap.  I even took it down the shore with me and you know what happened? I now associate the delicate wood fragrance with robust citrus notes with vacation. Don’t you always want to bring a little bit of vacay home with you? 


Anyway, one week later, I got home and got all dolled up for the wedding. I was so thrilled to actually see a difference. My arms, which are normally a strange mix of soft and dry skin with some red blotchiness, were smooth, soft and somehow, had a more even skin tone. Honestly, I was kind of shocked. An affordable product that actually delivers on their promise? Sign me up, this girl’s a believer. I felt confident in the one-shoulder dress that my skin looked the best it could. Yay Dove!

According to Dove, the VisibleCare™Toning Crème Body Wash is designed to promote skin’s elasticity and strength and the rich, pearlescent crème format provides a luxurious lather and clean rinse. It contains a mild cleanser, glycerin, stearic acid and Vitamin E. There are also new other new Dove body washes, the Renewing Body Wash nourishes and replenishes skin and the Softening Body Wash softens skin and dry spots. You can see all of them at www.dove.us.  

Have you been bearing your arms so far this summer or do you need some assistance like me?



Visit Dove® VisibleCare® to get a coupon for $1 off! 

Enter to win one of two $500 Spafinder gift certificates!
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY
COMMENTS TO THIS POST ARE NOT SWEEPSTAKES ENTRIES. PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR ENTRY METHODS FOR THIS SWEEPSTAKES.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Follow this link, and provide your email address and your response to the Promotion prompt
b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: "#SweepstakesEntry"; and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that Tweet.
c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that post.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. Winners will have 72 hours to claim the prize, or an alternative winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 7/18/2012 - 8/22/2012
Be sure to visit the Dove® VisibleCare™ Crème Body Wash brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

I'm not just saying nice things because I got a bottle of Dove Body Wash for free, these are my honest opinions. For reals.
 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Always Bloggy Boston Blog Meet-Up!


Hey dudes! So I'm back with more info about our 2012 Always Bloggy Blog Meet-Up in Boston, Mass! My girl-on-the-street Kate and I are really freakin excited to hang out with you guys and just like last time, we really hope you'll come hang out. Here is the general plan:

You'll arrive in Boston on Friday September 21 and start your weekend off right by meeting us all for dinner at a location TBD at around 8 pm.

OR

You'll arrive in Boston Saturday morning September 22 and meet up with the group for brunch at 10 am.

No matter when you join us, we'll spend the day sightseeing, shopping, touristing and perpetuating general shenanigans. We'll end the day with a rambunctious yet fantastic dinner.

Depending on your departure time, you may be able to join us for some hungover brunch on Sunday morning!

We do have a hotel picked out that is the best in terms of location and price. We'll be happy to help match you up if you want to room with someone for the weekend. 

Sound good? If you are interested in coming, please email us and let us know! You don't have to make a serious committment at the moment, we're just looking for an approximate headcount to get the ball rolling on plans. 

Email alwaysbloggy at gmail.com with the following:

Name/Blog if Applicable
Location
How You're Getting There
How Long You Plan to Stay
If You Need a Hotel Roomie

Once you email us, we'll provide you with all the info you need to price things out and make plans.
Alright guys, get excited! I could not be more pumped to see this happen again!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Shutterfly Long Live Summer Photo Contest



Did you guys know that Shutterfly is currently hosting a summer photo contest where you win a prize just for entering a photo? Check it out. 



Long Live Summer – Facebook Photo Contest
7/9 – 8/12 Multi-week summer themed photo sweepstakes with instant win prizes.
Win a trip for four to The Bahamas and a professional photo shoot so you’ll remember your vacation forever. All you need to do is upload your favorite photo and caption based on the theme of the week. Get a gift from Shutterfly just for entering! You can enter at any point during the 5-week sweepstakes period.

PHOTO THEMES
• Week 1(7/9): Americana
• Week 2 (7/16): Great Outdoors
• Week 3 (7/23): Water Fun
• Week 4 (7/30): Sports & Activities
• Week 5 (8/6): Parties & Celebrations

PRIZES
Instant win prizes just for submitting a photo!
Weekly prizes (contestants can enter one time/week)
Weekly featured photos: up to 5 weekly entries will be selected from the gallery and featured on the Facebook fan page and awarded a $500 gift card on Shutterfly and a copy of the new Lonely Planet travel photography book.
Grand prize: trip for 4 to Bahamas, 4 nights, family photo shoot

Bold to Blah to Beachy Family Room Makeover

It took three years. Three years for me to get sick of those red curtains and head to Ikea for the cheapest white curtains you can find. Of course,once I got rid of the red curtains, the red and orange pillows & blankets had to go too. By "had to go", I mean they got sentenced to the decor graveyard in my basement where bad decisions and tiresome accessories go to die. The rug had moved into Gabe's nursery makeover awhile back so I didn't have to worry about that. So I was left with a tan sofa and some dark furniture and white curtains. I couldn't go from bold red to blah, so I added a few new subtle hints of color.


Mostly blue.


I mentioned on Instagram (ohshannanigans if you're feeling stalky) that I found this table at a barn sale. For 25 bucks, I brought her home with me the very same day that I had stalked plans for building my own little console table for this spot. Seren-freakin-dipitous. But when it came home, it was oatmeal colored. And it smelled like horse shit. So what do we do when things smell like horse shit? We cover it up with paint.


And when I polled you guys on Instagram and Twitter, you said I should paint it aqua. So I did.


I love it. The color is Skylight by Pantone. It came premixed and ready to go at Lowe's for 10 bucks. When you're shopping with a Gabe-like toddler, things that are ready to go often come home with you. The tall brown wire structure came home with me from Michael's Old Charm B&B gift shop, along with about four hundred other things.The wire crates were trash-picked and filled with magazines and Gabe's wood blocks.


The moss mushroom is from HomeGoods, the campfire candle is a gifty from Miss Bethany from Terrain and the aqua mason jar is a another gifty from Nellie. Love every single one of them. See? Give me gifts and I'll brag about them to the internet.


After deciding on the aqua, I headed out and picked up enough fabric to make a few new pillow covers. I'm obsessed with this madras sort of patchwork fabric. I also brought home the mini white stool and moss ball from Michael's and just kind of threw-it on the table there without thinking. The side table vignettes need some attention but I'm terrible at them and they're usually covered with Matchbox cars, so we'll see if that happens.



Annnnd with this aqua seersucker. I know it's a little beachy but whatev, it's summer. I'll beach it if I want to.



Oh look, another piece from Michael's. The blue glass jar is also from his shop and I'm pretty sure inspired the whole color palette. I filled it with some powdered sugar rocks, or at least that's what it looks like and emphasized to Gabe that they are not candy. NOT delicious powdered rock candy. 

So that's it, a little makeover. It's way different and a lot more neutral but it's light and airy and all that shit. It's good, I like it.

Stay tuned for news on the Always Bloggy Boston Meet-up!!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Picnic with Magic Mike


Last night, my friends Adrienne and Sarah headed to the movies to see Magic Mike. Since today is Sarah's birthday and there was no time to go out to a margarita-fueled dinner, I decided we needed to sneak in as much party food as possible. Now granted, I could have just decided to roll through the Taco Bell drive-thru and I think we all would have been happy, but you guys know me, I need to make things cute yet complicated. And since Sarah is the biggest fan of dips out there, I decided that's what we'd sneak in as contraband. Everything was portable and easy to eat while sitting in front of a giant screen of gyrating butts.

Here's what you need:


I keep white lunch bags on my person at all times. Well at least in my never-ending closet of random supplies. Fill it up with tiny containers of various dips, a bag full of dip vehicles, a little birthday cake and a fancy straw (paper straw haters look away) to sip the booze you snuck in and a cute little clothespin to hold it all together. It helps if you raid your craft supplies and make that shit cute!


It was when I was finger painting pink circles on the lids when John declared me officially insane. I'm surprised it's taken him this long.

I don't think this is a coincidence.

Everyone enjoyed their dip buffets and totes (for once, I mean the word tote, not the abbreve for totally) and I'm sure the people surrounding us at the theater enjoyed us singing Happy Birthday to Sarah.

  • Magic Mike was surprisingly good yet surprisingly depressing. I know, how can a movie about a seedy occupation be depressing, Shan? I'm thinking it was a pretty accurate portrayal though, with their drinking and drugs and orgies and whatnot.
  • I had never seen Channing Tatum in anything before so he was nice to look at and we all agreed that he'd be a good time to hang out with. (while wearing swat team gear and nothing else)
 via
  • Matthew McC was a sweaty creepster with excellent hipbones.
  • I was warned that they showed tip of peen. And they did. And it was HUGE and blurry. So be ready for that. Thanks Mary.
  • This guy below made the whole movie. In a horribly funny way. He was gross and a terrible actor and he phoned it in the entire movie.
 via

But don't let him stop you from going to see it. Not that it would. The pull of gyrating butts is too strong with you guys, I know.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Let's Eat: Roasted Sweet Vidalias

My brother Josh is the king of making vegetables taste like things that are um, not vegetables. When he gave me his secret for roasting cauliflower, my world was changed. Maybe someday I'll share that secret but I'll have to get his approval first. Pretty sure if I make him dinner, I can get that approval. Or find him a hot date. Whatever comes first. What I can give you is this little gem, Roasted Sweet Vidalia Onions.


 Cut your onion into large slices and lie them on some foil, on top of a cookie sheet. Drizzle with canola or vegetable oil (they work better than olive oil but olive oil will work in a pinch). Using your finger, rub the oil around the surface of the onion.


 Sprinkle with garlic salt, oregano and red pepper flakes. Or really,as Emily would say, anything that makes your skirt fly up.


Roast at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes. If the rest of your dinner is finished and your onions aren't, pop them under the broiler for a minute or two  and they will be amazing.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Vacay Crashing: Jersey Shore

Last week I crashed a family vacation. Don't worry, it was my own family's but still, I wasn't originally supposed to be there. My brothers were taking their families to the Jersey shore for the week and had invited my dad along, who came in from Illinois. I decided last minute, to pack up Gabe and his 8 shit-tons of gear and head down for a few days, leaving John home to work and fend for himself. Oh it'll be fun, I thought, Plenty of family around to watch Gabe, it won't be bad at all! And while it wasn't bad, it was in no way relaxing, a vacation or anything of the sort. It was basically a change of scenery.

But hey, the scenery was pretty sweet. Instead of battling the high winds and 2 mile trek to the actual ocean at the Wildwood beaches, we decided to head to a place we spent a lot of time as kids, Sunset Beach in Cape May, NJ. It's a little half pebble/half sand beach that is famous for "Cape May Diamonds", or basically clear-ish pebbles. You go to Sunset Beach to pan for diamonds, sifting through the piles of pebbles, exclaiming when you find one. Gabe, rock lover numero uno, was in heaven.



Sunset Beach is also known for the sunken concrete ship, a failed experiment dating back to WWII. I know, concrete ships, who woulda thunk?


Uncle Josh braving the pebbles with bare feet to scoop rocks with Gabe...and chase him away from the huge jutting rocks.  Way to pinch-father for him, Josh.


Gabe did get to spend some QT with his grandpa, mostly sitting on his lap,while Grandpa told dirty jokes.


At night, we'd head up to the boardwalk, which is the reason you go to Wildwood and not any of the other classier shore towns. Plop some kids in the strollers, some beers in the cupholder and away we went. It was on the boardwalk that we lamented our quickly growing ages...mostly because we had no idea what anything on any of the t-shirts meant. FYI, YOLO means You Only Live Once. It's all the rage with the kiddies.


Look over here!


Boardwalks are all about the treats. And this one was the messiest thing I'd ever seen. John, an anal sonofabitch, literally cringed when I showed him these pics.


Gabe was covered. The stroller was covered. His skin was dyed blue for 3 days. Worth it.


Four days later, I packed up even more shit, due to my sister-in-law passing on hand-me-downs, and headed home. I then handed Gabe to John and proceeded to lay on the couch for 5 hours. Being on every day, all day, with crap naps and early wake-ups is not for the faint of heart. Especially when there's no working coffeemaker in sight. I know, what sort of hell doesn't have a coffeemaker? Next time I crash someone else's vacation, I'm gonna have to choose the lodging.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Everyone Loves a Parade


Thanks for making me look like a dork, Ma. A classy, patriotic dork, but still a dork.


So where's this parade you promised me?

I'll make my own darn parade then! Goooo America!

Happy 4th to all of my gorgeous American friends!

Adorbs baby bow ties c/o Doodle Dooz!

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