Friday, April 30, 2010

What I Want This Weekend, Derby Edition 2010

Here are some pretty Kentucky Derby things I've come across this week,

from some blog
or catalog
or friend
or magazine
or another;
or just from my own browsing&shopping&surfing,

that I would need if I were at the Derby this weekend...

(& oh, how I wish I were at the Derby this weekend!)

Lilly Pulitzer the Golden Clutch

Well, of course you know I'd have to carry a summery Lilly clutch!

Lilly Pulitzer Linda Marie Dress in Daiquiri Pink Secret Garden

I have been in love with this dress. I think the Derby would be a fabulous place to wear it!

Okay, so not that we would probably realistically consider actually trying to take Pretty Little Bare Feet to the Derby (should we realistically be at the Derby).

But if we were...wouldn't she be the sweetest thing in that dress? & wouldn't it be cute with the dress I've decided I would want to wear to the Derby this year?

My ideal Derby hat would look something like that one...

I almost considered doing a Derby party this year. I just thought about it a bit too late to have actually pulled it together.

Next year, though. Next year I am swearing I will host one, even if I am eight months pregnant!

(& those invitations will look darling on all of our friends' refrigerators, won't they? ;))

T.G.I.F.! What do YOU want this weekend?
(& where will YOU be watching the Derby?)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pink&Green Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Lilly Pulitzer Murfee Scarf in Summer Garden Patch

Lilly Pulitzer the Original Tote in Seeing Things

Lilly Pulitzer Critter Clutch

Well, I think My Prince may have already bought my Mother's Day gift...

...but in case y'all were wondering which Murfee scarf I'd like to have & which original tote I'd like to have (you know, as a backup for my beloved classic white Pandamonium)...Well, now you know. & have you noticed the fabulous critter clutches?! I'd like one of those, too, please.

Lilly Pulitzer Eliot Micro Gingham Shirt in Palm Green

Okay, okay, sorry - one last Lilly thing. Because I can never have too many button-downs, & this one is fantastic & has a bit of a fun retro feel to it, don't ya think?

Yes, okay, it is possibly a bit early to be thinking about Pretty Little Bare Feet's second birthday. But I think I did have a vague idea at this time last year that it would be relatively easy to pull off a cute Raggedy Ann first birthday party.

So it's fine to file away some ideas for January, right?

Because I came across that fabulous cake at Pink Cake Box, & my wheels started turning.

I am sort of picky about characters. Y'all know I have hang-ups about children's television, & one of my issues is the complete saturation in the market of everything

Disney princess,
Dora the Explorer,
Gabba Gabba this,
Spongebob that.


I much prefer classic&simple


& I much prefer book characters to television characters, etc.

(I think some characters are fine in moderation, & we do have a few Elmo things here&there. It's just the excess of it all that gets on my nerves.)

(cuteness from our little playgroup friend's second birthday party)

Anyway, so Pretty Little Bare Feet seems to like the Curious George cartoon pretty well, & she loves her Curious George books&toys. But a momfriend of mine just recently did a Curious George party for her son's second birthday (see above). & I don't think I want to do another character next time anyway - especially not one that is so mainstream.

We've pretty much already decided to have Pretty Little Bare Feet's second birthday party at the gym where we go for her toddler gymnastics class.

& I've got to tell you, I have been subconsciously itching for an excuse to buy Lilly Pulitzer party goods.

My Lil Monkey Girl Confetti in Pink&Green
Waving Monkey Door Sign in Pinks&Green
Birthday Banner in Pinks&Greens
Thank You Tags in Greens&Pinks

So...what about a pink&green monkey theme? Girly colors, but with a gender-neutral location (& monkey)? & something along the lines of...

"Come swing like a monkey on the bars
with Pretty Little Bare Feet!"


(source: American Blinds)

So as we embark upon our kitchen project...I am looking at some bold pink&green wallpapers. I want to wallpaper from the chair railing up, in the "breakfast nook," but I'm just not sure about it. The walls run right into the cabinets, & I don't think it will look good to just end the wallpaper where it meets the cabinets. But I don't think I want to wallpaper throughout the kitchen, under the cabinets, either. Hmmm.

I'll close this week's Pink&Green Thursday with a drink recipe in honor of the Kentucky Derby this Saturday! I am planning a Derby edition of "What I Want This Weekend" for tomorrow, but a drink doesn't exactly belong on a shopping list, so I thought I'd add it here for some pink&green refreshment! Enjoy!

(recipe source: Tipsy in Madras by Matt Walker & Marissa Walsh)

mint julep

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon simple syrup
  • 10-15 large fresh mint leaves
*Make a simple syrup by boiling two cups each of sugar&water together for five minutes. Cool & place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint & refrigerate overnight.

*Mash mint leaves & simple syrup with the back of a silver spoon in the bottom of a glass.

*(Ideally a silver cup or mug, if you've got one lying around.)

*Fill glass with crushed ice & add bourbon. Garnish with mint sprig.

*Collect your winnings!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wishful Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

"I wish..."

I could go back & spend one day working at a job from my youth, & it would be from the Gap!

Okay, so technically, I worked at the Gap while I was in college; & one could argue, I guess, that that doesn't count as "my youth." But being on that thin line between mid-twenties & late twenties, I'm counting it!

I actually loved retail. I've mentioned my job at Gap before, & I've also mentioned my ingrained tendency to wander back in to both Banana Republic & Gap, out of sheer habit. I actually went on to work at Banana Republic after college, while I was doing graduate work.

(They are, of course, in the same family.)

Obviously, retail hours are not ideal, so few folks are up for staying in retail for lifelong careers. & considering the amount of time I've put in to my education, the pay (even for managers) really isn't ideal either.

But retail is fun! I suppose it was particularly fun for me because I *love* accessories&apparel!

Good old Gap has been around since 1969, as they occasionally remind us on their tees. I very much appreciated that my employee discount extended to their sophisticated sister store Banana Republic. I didn't so much use it at their other sister store, Old Navy, although I do occasionally find something cheap&cute there - especially silly holiday-type products. Unfortunately, I worked for the company before the fabulous Piperlime was founded - & before the acquisition of the Athleta catalog.

While I've tended toward designer jeans in the last few years, mostly because I decided one day in a Saks fitting room that a pair of Citizens had transformed me into Heidi Klum (You hush - I had not been drinking when I had that epiphany!); I do hang on to several favorite pairs of Gap jeans year after year. & I am occasionally drawn to buying a new pair, which may or may not last through my rigid periodic closet cleanings.

(I am the anti-packrat.)

Anyway, I appreciated the flexibility of retail. I could go home for the summer & come back to my job at the Gap whenever I wanted in the fall; be it a week before classes had begun, or two weeks after. I could request pretty much whatever days I wanted off, within reason.

(Uh, you usually can't request every Saturday off in retail.)

I am a people person, so I actually (generally) enjoyed working with the public. I liked meeting new people. & being a Southener in the middle of Ohio often sparked conversations. I also had a few "regular customers."

I loved knowing

what was about to come out on the sales floor,
what was about to be marked down,
& what was supposed to be styled with what.

& to be perfectly honest, I was content whether the stores were busy or not. Busy meant that time flew by, & I enjoyed the bustle. Slow meant

folding sweaters,
& straightening.

Um, hello, those are some of my favorite things to do - I actually find those things wonderfully relaxing.

I was also a bit of a pro at getting folks to open credit cards, for which I was occasionally rewarded with goodies (or raises).

(Perhaps my persuasive skills were a bit of a warmup for getting ready for law school!)

& it was kind of a big deal when I became trustworthy enough to be appointed as a "cash specialist," which meant I could close down the drawers at night. I think, technically, I was also a "denim specialist," though I don't recall that being nearly as impressive to my fellow employees. ;) & I did enjoy some good friendships & good times with some of those fellow employees!

Of course, what I miss the most, is the employee discount...especially when I'm perusing the online stores & finding things I'd like to buy...

Pocket Cardigan in Strawberry Banana

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Style Monday, April 26th, 2010

I love that our third bedroom is big enough to do double duty as a guest room & a home office. There is a big television & a couch, so My Prince can almost use the guest room area as a "man cave," when we aren't entertaining guests.

(Well, if he ignores the pink walls...they were from the previous owners! I just like them fine & haven't done anything to them yet. ;))

& the office really gets to act as my office since I am staying at home right now, & My Prince has his own fancy pants office that is quite a bit bigger. ;) I have

of books,

& we don't have enough shelves for them all. I also need a new desk.

But it is nice to have a place in the house that is ridiculously feminine & all "me" with no consideration to men or toddlers. There are legitimately file cabinets & that sort of boring thing, as well, so I can actually get away with calling it an office. ;)

But if I had my way...

(source: Pottery Barn)

(This actually looks very similar to what I've got going on now!)

(source: Decodir)

(Red&turquoise! Yay!)

(source: Ideal Home)

(This is perfection!)

(Who needs a desk, if you can "work" in a room this lovely?)

(Even just the smallest little nooks can be so chic!)

(source: Martha Stewart)

(A corner "office space" that was once upon a time just an armoire.)

Pretty Little Bare Feet & I are embarking on a project to get our kitchen as close to "dream kitchen" mode as we can get in this house.

(Well, without actually getting new appliances, cabinets, counters, flooring, etc.)

We've set ourselves a little goal of being done by the end of May. Y'all be sure & hound me about it, so I'll stay on top of it. My kitchen has a lot that I already love about it, so that's why I gave myself such an "easy" little project for right now - a room that's already on its way. With the cookbook shelf project underway, & the hunt for the memo board on; I just thought now would be the perfect time to "finish" the kitchen!

(As though anything is ever "finished" in our homes, right, ladies?!)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Book Clubbing: In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms

In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms by Dr. Laura Schlessinger

"New York Times bestselling author & internationally syndicated radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger inspires stay-at-home moms."

(from the synopsis)

I have to tell y'all, I really stand by this book. I have read quite a few of Dr. Laura's other books over the years, & I listened to her radio show regularly for years.

(Now I can't seem to find her on a local radio station, & I've gladly gotten rid of my XM satellite radio).

I also read her blog, & I really need to make the effort to download her podcasts or listen to her online. I miss hearing her!

This book came out at the perfect time for me. I had just graduated from law school, & I was about to really, truly become a full-time stay-at-home mama. For the first time ever, I wasn't going to be attending any classes or working at any jobs. This was pretty daunting for somebody who admittedly had no idea how to relax. I thrive on a busy schedule, & there were times in my life when I went to school full-time while working full-time.

(Sleep was not even a consideration during those times, but I was fine!)

We were also moving into a new house, in a new city. In other words - a lot of big life changes!

This book was a great resource for me, in so many ways. I needed the encouragement at that time; but perhaps even more than that, I needed some guidance on how to approach the many inevitable comments that were coming our way.

  • "Why did you get a law degree if you're just going to be a stay-at-home mom?"
  • "Aren't you bored?"
  • "What a waste of an education. & after all that hard work."
  • "You mean you could be making an attorney's salary, but you are choosing to continue living like students, on one income?"
  • "Won't you feel unfulfilled?"
  • "Your husband lets you stay at home?"
  • "Oh, please, you think your kid is too good for daycare?"
  • "I'd rather make sure my child is socialized properly than keep her at home with me all day."
  • "Your kid will be so sick all the time when she finally gets around other kids & goes to school."
  • "You will go nuts with nothing to do besides changing diapers, cleaning, & cooking."

Yes, I've actually heard all of these. For the record,

  • I got a law degree because I could. I received a full scholarship, which I thought would be foolish to pass up. It was hard, hard work. It was also emotionally taxing. I earned that degree. & I will never regret obtaining my degree, even if I never practice as an attorney. I will never wonder, "What if I had gone to law school?"
  • I am not bored. I don't think I've ever been bored in my life. I am A.D.D. I am an avid reader. & I can spend an entire afternoon alphabetizing the spice cabinet, or reorganizing the closets, & be happy as a clam.
  • I am not "wasting" my education by choosing to raise my own child. There are plenty of attorneys, as we are all aware. & there will be plenty of legal matters to get involved with, if&when I decide to begin practicing law. But education is not synonymous with job-training. There are many benefits to higher learning that have nothing to do with corporate ladders or salaries. I am a better, smarter mother, wife, & person, because of my education - every level of it.
  • Yes, we live below our potential means. Not that it's anybody else's business. We budget wisely, & I am a heck of a bargain shopper. We allow for indulgences&splurges. It's probably better for my soul that I don't have more disposable income to fuel my materialistic fire, anyway. ;) I also know a lot of attorneys that aren't making very much money...
  • There is nothing that could make me feel more fulfilled than seeing my little girl run at me with open arms, yelling "Mama!" with a big grin on her face. Nothing. My family truly fulfills me. As for fulfilling my own interests, & not losing touch with "who I was before I became a mama," I make time for that, too. I am an active alumna of my sorority, I am a member of our botanical garden, I attend church, I blog, I golf, I read, I run, I shop, I volunteer. Etc.
  • Yes, I have the best husband in the whole world. We share the same values, & we've always planned for me to stay at home with our children when they are little. I did not wake up one day, hand him my student loan debt, & say, "Thanks, babe. I think I'll stay at home & catch up on daytime television for a few years."
  • I think all children are "too good" for daycare. I get that that is a touchy subject. I understand that there are a lot of people who wish they had alternatives to daycare. I also realize that there is no black&white. There are some perfectly loving, suitable daycare environments - as well as some perfectly horrible women who stay at home with their children. In general, however, I find daycare standards to be below the standards I want for my child. I do not take it for granted that I am blessed with the opportunity to stay at home with my child. I am not judging anybody else's choices, or taking up a cause. I do what's best for our family.
  • My kid couldn't get any more socialized than she is. Thanks to her aspiring-socialite mama ;), she gets carted to church, playgroups, signing classes, storytimes, toddler gymnastics, etc. & those are just the scheduled activities. There are a wealth of other outings to book clubs, botanical gardens, ice cream parlors, parks, restaurants, & shops.
  • I'm pretty sure she gets exposed to plenty of germs in all of the above places. & based on the choices we've made for her education, she will be going to school in an environment where parents are encouraged to keep their sick children at home - as opposed to punishing everybody for absences, thus regularly passing around a bunch of fevers&sniffles. This is not something I take for granted - I am grateful for the educational options we have, & the means to take advantage of them. I hated having to go to class sick, fearing a lower grade because of an attendance policy.
  • Diaper changes are such a small part of my day. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy some of the cleaning. I suck it up & do what tasks I don't enjoy because I enjoy the fruits of my labor - a clean, clutter-free house. There are days we dine out. There are days we go to bed with dishes in the sink. But our days are filled with activities, books, cuddles, friends, hugs, learning, outings, playing, singing... No, it's not always easy. Yes, sometimes it makes me a little nuts. But everybody I know that "goes to a real job" has those nutty days, too.

This book was also great for my marriage, as other books by Dr. Laura have been. My Prince had listened to Dr. Laura (admittedly at my insistence) & read her books before, so he read this book when I was done with it. It has a lot of great advice in it for

how to allow each other to decompress after two very different days "at work,"
how to appreciate each other for the different contributions each partner makes to the family,
& how to communicate in a way that is helpful for the situation.

There are also suggestions for activities to do & ways to cultivate friendships with other stay-at-home mamas. It was purely by coincidence that within weeks of finishing this book, My Prince had a patient whose wife was the outgoing president of our local MOMS Club chapter. He passed along her information, & I contacted her because I was familiar with the group, having read about it in Dr. Laura's book. I can't tell you what a blessing this organization has been! We have made great friendships because of it. Many of them will last long after our stay-at-home mama days are gone, once we no longer need activities to bring our toddlers to during the day.

(Although that has its benefits, too!)

I am so glad that I am able to be there for every little moment of my daughter's life, by staying at home with her all day. I recommend this book to any stay-at-home mama, or anybody that knows&loves a stay-at-home mama. There isn't a whole lot of respect for us anymore, especially in the mainstream media & modern culture. This book gives a lot of insight into how hard it really is to do this job, & how unfair it is to just turn this issue into a black&white "mommy war." There are so many educated, intelligent ladies out there who have made this choice. This book is a great resource for anybody that needs a little encouragement or support regarding the choice to stay at home.

It is a praise of stay-at-home mamas. It is not an attack on working mamas.


(& if you are a working mama who wants to stay at home, this book has a lot of advice for how you can make that happen.)

  • Easy read...yes!
  • Enjoyable read...yes!
  • Thought-provoking read...yes!
  • Would read another book by this author...yes!

Friday, April 23, 2010

What I Want This Weekend, Kitchen Edition 2010

Here are some pretty things I've come across this week,

from some blog
or catalog
or friend
or magazine
or another;
or just from my own browsing&shopping&surfing,

that I need to convince My Prince to dole out the cash for...

Generally, I think of myself as a Lenox lady. I love Lenox. I've told y'all all about how much I love all of their Christmas china, especially. Lenox is also the china we registered for before our wedding.

(The Hancock pattern, if you are interested in such things.)

& I love that Lenox features Kate Spade's china, some of which I own. It is lovely stuff.

But recently, I have become increasingly enamored with Wedgwood. This is thanks in no small part to Martha Stewart, who has a collection with Wedgwood. I've also recently seen some lovely Wedgwood featured on the always wonderful Martha Moments blog.

The Harlequin Polka Dot collection appeals to me for a variety of reasons.

I love the soft, pastel colors.
I adore the idea of sitting down to a semi-formal afternoon tea with this china.

(& I think it has a whimsical feel to it, conjuring up images of Wonderland...)

(source: the Kitchn)

Okay, well, this is a bit uncharacteristic for my "What I Want" posts.

& this is not my pink&green kitchen concept, at all.


How great is this kitchen?!

& it invokes my black&white/red/turquoise combination that I've dreamed up for our master bedroom. I get newly excited about it, & inspired that it can work well, every time I see it done so nicely - in any room!

So, in wandering back toward the "What I Want" concept, here are some "fresh retro" kitchen items that I legitimately would like to buy, that could work in my bold pink&green kitchen:

Green Magnet Message/Inspiration Board from Repurposed Antiques

My refrigerator runneth over, with...

photo cards,

How about yours? I desperately need something like this.

My plan is to hang a board on the back of the pantry door (which usually stays closed now), for more "temporary" messages...

...emails printed out with dates for dinners,
grocery lists,
meeting reminders,

Then the refrigerator door can remain the primary posting spot for the prettier


that I like to keep hanging up for longer.

Vintage Mid-Century Eames Kitchen Towel from NeatoKeen

This is so fun! Not that I need any more kitchen towels, though. I have so many now that I can barely close the drawer they're in. & that's with them neatly folded!

Vintage Pink Flamingo Florida Planter from Atomic Village

I am embarking on a project to hang a green shelf on the wall above/behind our kitchen sink. I am going to move my prettiest cookbooks off of the counter & onto this shelf. My artistic Prince has even offered to freehand some bright pink Lilly-esque designs onto the front of the shelf!

I think this little retro planter would be adorable just to one side of the sink, under my new cookbook shelf, with a couple pretty little bright flowers in it.

Vintage Stacking Snack Bowls from Baby Bomb

Aaa! How cute will these be on my kitchen counter?! I'm not just going to leave it completely bare once I move the cookbooks.

(& I won't cry if these get I did when my favorite Lilly cookbook/entertaining book got wet...& had to be replaced...)

Whew, I've got to admit to y'all that this post took some work! I am not a seasoned shopper when it comes to antiquey/retro/vintage things. I think so many people are so talented at putting it all together to look so nice, & I really want to hone the talent to do that!

So it was work...
...but it was fun work;
& it has inspired me to do a bit more dabbling in the antiques!

(Well, in the "vintage" listings on Etsy, anyway...;))

T.G.I.F.! What do YOU want for your kitchen this weekend?