Monday, August 31, 2009

The Sisty Uglers Giveaway

This Giveaway Has Closed.
Woo hoo! It is my birthday this week! So let's get this party started. 7 giveaways in 7 days. (Actually, 8 giveaways, since I will be doing two tomorrow.)




I will admit that I love dressing my darling daughter in darling clothes. A lovely dress instantly transforms her into a little duchess (at least in her mind). I found the most adorable wares at the Etsy store The Sisty Uglers. The fabric combination used are fabulous and the clothes are durable enough for years of wear. The dress Lydia is wearing is a size 5 and I am pretty sure she will be able to wear it for another two years at least. Besides little girls clothes, The Sisty Uglers have scrumptious quilts and purses. The only problem is they don't have clothes in my size! The Sisty Uglers is offering one reader a $25 gift certificate!
Want to win?????


There are four ways to enter:
  • Check out The Sisty Uglers Etsy Store and comment on this post letting me know your favorite item.
  • For a second entry, let me know in a separate comment that you are a natalie's sentiments follower.
  • For a third entry, grab my button and place it in on your blog. (It is on top of my left hand sidebar.) Let me know in a separate comment that you have done so.
  • For a fourth entry, Blog about this giveaway extravaganza and leave a comment on this post providing me the link. You only need to blog about the extravaganza once to get the extra entry on all 7 giveaways!
I will announce the randomly selected winner on September 7th. Good luck!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pancake Art

I've decided to create a book using the photos of Shane's Saturday morning pancake art. I really loved yesterday's creation. Lydia requested a boy and a girl in a boat. She added syrup as the water.


Want to do some pancake art yourself? Just get a refillable ketchup bottle. Target has some in the kitchen accessories aisle. Snip the top to allow for better flow, fill with pancake batter and draw directly onto the skillet. Couldn't be easier. I liked last weeks pancakes too, but the green food coloring kind of grosses me out. Lydia loves it for some reason. My fault, I dyed everything green last St. Patrick's day and now it is in her head.

Any requests on what Shane should create next week? I'm sure he would be up for a challenge.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dear Mr./Ms. Billionaire

I mentioned a few things I would like if a nice millionaire out there wanted to get me a birthday gift. If there is a Billionaire out there who thinks that Jimmy Choos just aren't enough, I would definitely appreciate this house. I have been stalking it ever since it went on the market just a few miles away. I realize it is just an upgraded version of what I am currently living in, but hey, I know what I like. Gift wrap optional.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Birthday Countdown

Next week is my birthday week. Let's have a little celebration, shall we? I always feel it is better to give than to receive, so I will be hosting 7 giveaways in one week. One giveaway a day starting Monday.

I am a lover of outside soirees. There are few things I enjoy more than al fresco dining with friends. I am hosting a 30th birthday party for my friend Jenn this weekend and I am thinking of making it an outside affair. It will probably be more like hot dogs on the grill, but here are some fun ideas all the same. If I won the lottery, I would allot a few thousand dollars a month just for entertaining.





















cheers!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Recreating Lou Lou


We lost Lou Lou. Lou Lou is Lydia's lovie toy that she has slept with since she was 4 months old. She is a bear in a bunny suit. We left her in the hotel on our Atlanta trip and after basically staking housekeeping for weeks, we came to conclusion that Lou Lou was gone. (The above photo was taken the last night of our vacation.) We had been telling Lydia that Lou Lou was on an adventure, but she says it's time for the adventure to end. We could have explained that Lou Lou was gone, but all I could think about was when I lost my Cabbage Patch doll Maggie when I was a little girl. I thought my heart would break. When Maggie was discovered in a field months later, it was the happiest day ever. So......I decided to recreate Lou Lou.



1. Luckily I had a back up Lou Lou. I meant it to be a sentimental gift for Lydia's first baby, but this takes precedence. I just had to figure out how to replicate 3 years of wear and tear. My steps....
2. Scrubbed her in the dirt to get rid of the new white look.
3. Pounded her with a mallet to thin her out.
4. Roughed up the fur with a microplane.
5. Dirtied up the pink ears with chocolate syrup and soy sauce.
6. Darkened the nose and snipped away some of the yarn.
7. Gave her a bath in Irish Cream for a more over all dirty look.
8. Scrubbed her in sugar for a bit more wear. Washed her, rang out the water for 20 minutes and then let air dry.
9. Ta Da!!!! Lou Lou is back!!!!!

Lydia was thrilled.

Lesson learned: As soon as we see which toy is "the one" for Collin, I will buy several and rotate them for more even wear. I am thinking of making Lou Lou a Christmas stocking. I had one for my doll Maggie. :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Injured!


I've sprained my neck. And yes, it hurts. A lot. My doctor says to rest it and use heat compresses. So I am sitting here while Lydia is at preschool and Collin is napping, totally unable to fold the mounds of laundry around me, clean the bathrooms that were supposed to get done yesterday, or make myself anything resembling a real meal. I had grapes and bread for lunch if you were wondering. I can't lay down because I can't get back up without help. Awesome. So I'm sitting here reading blogs and catching up with the latest Real Simple magazine. Strange that even though I'm in a lot of pain, I am having a really good time. Slacking without guilt. LOVE it. I may just send myself some get well soon flowers. Or at the very least break into my emergency chocolate stash that Shane replenished yesterday.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What I really want for my birthday.

Remember how you would ask your mom what she wanted for her birthday and she would say something like...."sleep". Remember how that was really annoying and you couldn't understand how she couldn't instantly think of a million things to rattle off. In a world of plastic caboodles, Bop Magazines, Hypercolor socks and Guess jeans, there was always some thing to want. Maybe that was just me.

Of course I have officially turned into my mother. I hear things come out of my mouth like "how many times do I have to tell you?!?" and "You can just stay in your room until you have stopped your bellyaching!". I find myself giggling when I actually get to go to bed, and I lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes, just to get away.

I like gifts as much as the next gal. But if I think about what I really want, it is closer to "sleep" than a caboodle. Some things I really, really want for my birthday.....

  1. Someone to come and clean my house from top to bottom. Literally. The walls washed, hardwood polished, the baseboards wiped. The bathrooms sparkling, the carpets spotless, the oven like new. Laundry completely finished.
  2. While that person cleaned, I would like someone else to organize. I would be lightly supervising. The pantry, the linen closets, the play room....If there is something that doesn't have a place, put it in a stuff box. After organizing is done, we go through the stuff box together and get rid or store the excess.
  3. I would like a personal chef to come for a few days and prepare delicious and healthy meals. I don't want to plan them. That is one of the sucky parts about motherhood. Even if you like to cook, cooking three meals a day every day is exhausting.
  4. I want 12 hours in my house, by myself. I would read, blog, take a bath, straighten my hair...maybe just watch the entire BBC Pride & Prejudice. Alone. No messes materializing out of no where. No screaming offspring. Just me and the quiet.
  5. A cake haphazardly decorated by a three year old and my little family around me singing "Happy Birthday to you."
So there is my list. To be perfectly honest, as long as I get #5, it will be a great day.

Speaking of birthdays - next Monday will be the start of my week of birthday giveaways. Stay tuned.

photos via flickr

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Run, don't walk, to Target


I don't think I have ever gone to Target without picking up something I wasn't planning to purchase. It has a dollar section for heaven sakes. What's a girl to do?! Yesterday Lydia and I hopped over to get her a new backpack. She picked one that is totally heinous and covered in princesses, but hey, she loves it and she'll be carrying it around, not me. On the way to the register, I spotted this grey tunic, which may just be the perfect late summer, early fall top. Only $14.99! The sleeve length is my favorite part. So flattering. SO comfortable. I almost got it in white as well, but somehow I refrained. Besides, I have a birthday coming up. :) Go get one for yourself before they are all gone.

Friday, August 21, 2009

First Day of School


I can't believe it. Pre-school. Twice a week my little girl is off to a world I am not a part of. Well, except that I signed up to be a room mom. :) She loves it already. She loves her teacher, the "craps" (crafts), snack time, play time. She loves being independent. She is growing up so (too) fast. As she walked into her class, I didn't cry. I am just way too excited for her. And for me. Two half-days a week to run errands, work out and clean without a toddler at my heals. Whoopee!!!



Sad to say, Lydia's teacher said that she needs a bigger backpack than the blaba one I got her. No biggie. I took it home, tied up the straps, filled it will pillow filler and made it a throw pillow for her bed.


Though I did like that it matched her lunch box. I got a good one, as I hope it will last a few years. We shall see.

My sister-in-law Sara made these coordinating Kimono shirts for Lydia and Collin. They seemed like a good "first day of school" wardrobe choice. I am impressed she was able to find something that is equally cool for both girls and boys. You can get the tutorial here.

I'm sure there will be many pre-school updates. I will probably be posting most of them on my other blog so as to not overwhelm this one.

And by the way....

CONGRATS to my little sister Abby and her husband Dave on their new addition. A little girl named Paige Abigail. She is such a beauty already! (Of course, with parents as good looking as hers, that isn't a surprise.) This time last year, my mom and dad only had one grandchild. Now they have four. With that, my sister Molly's wedding and my brother's college graduation, it has been a wonderful year for my family.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Summer Visitors

Today I found some little friends in the herb garden. I went into the house for just a moment. When I came back out...

Oh No!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Onesie Dress

I noticed that Grosgrain is having a cute giveaway/tutorial with one of those t-shirt dresses that have been making their way around the blogosphere. My mother-in-law sent Lydia a few of them when she was a baby. She makes them out of the tops of onesies, attached to vintage pillow cases with vintage handkerchiefs as little aprons. What is great about the dresses made with onesies is that they can fit babies all the way to toddlers. I also like the snug look they give. Lydia wore this dress at 12 months and still can at 3. The onesie used here is 0-3 months, but I think a bigger size would work well too.

I made these pink clips after Shane somebody broke a pot of my silk flowers. I don't sew, but accessorize I can.

Monday, August 17, 2009

First step to losing weight....get your hair done.


Today marks the second week of my weight loss plan. (Down 4 pounds thus far.) Before I started even planning my workout regime, I made a hair appointment. Why you ask? Well, losing weight is hard and it takes a really long time. A great motivator is to do something that improves your appearance instantly. It boosts your self-esteem and makes it easier to show your face at the gym. Some may invest in great workout clothes, I get my hair done. After seeing my last family pic, I knew something needed to be done.

A while ago I started asking around to find a new stylist. My last few experiences with my old stylist were just so-so. I kept hearing about Sharrisa at Studio 59 so I scheduled an appointment with her.

Finding a great stylist is like finding book you love. You want everyone you know to check it out. If you live within 25 miles of Chattanooga you MUST make an appointment at Studio 59. I loved my experience there. My stylist Sharrisa was amazing. I knew it was going to be a good experience as soon as I sat down to discuss my hair was brought hair color samples and an ice cold diet coke. I told Sharrisa I wanted to go closer to my natural color and together we picked out three colors and started to work.

While I was waiting for my hair to develop I took a quick tour of the place. I have been to several spas in the area and this is the most inviting. I just wanted to grab one of the fluffy white robes and settle in for their "Euphoria" spa package. Hot Stone Massage, Purifying Facial, Caribbean Mani/Pedi, Shampoo and Style, and Make-up application. Heaven. While I didn't have time for that, the shampoo station was a spa experience in itself, complete with feet rests and a neck massage.


The entire visit I felt incredibly pampered. Roses on the tables, nice lighting and stylish decor add to the spa like experience. As a huge bonus, all the products at Studio 59 are Aveda and they have a huge Aveda retail section, which is great since I hate spending shipping and handling on something heavy like shampoo.

My color and cut turned out perfect. Just what I imagined, only better. My hair looked so great, I took advantage of their makeup service to complete the look. I left the salon feeling hotter than I have in 6 months.

Thanks to Studio 59 for making me feel pretty enough to hit the gym again. Sharrisa, pencil me in every 3 months please. And if you make an appointment, tell them I sent you!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Then and Now.



My first baby...and my new baby.

Can you tell which one is (Now 4 year old) Lydia at 10 weeks and which is Collin?


*********

Don't forget to enter to win my giveaways!

Canvas Press 16x20

Yellow themed favorites box!


Friday, August 14, 2009

House a disaster? No food in the fridge? Piles and piles of laundry to fold? No problem! Just leave it all and go on vacation!


Okay no, we didn't up and jet over to Paris for the weekend. But we did take a mini vaca to Atlanta. I'm not kidding about my house being a disaster. I don't think I had ever seen such complete chaos in my own home. My sister Emily and I were trying to get a ton of projects done before she had to leave. That along with three very moody children did not allow us to clean up much (at all) the days before she left. When we headed out the door to drive her to the Atlanta airport, there were dishes piled in the sink and baskets of laundry to be folded. Garbage cans full of diapers and scraps of wrapping paper. As for the floor, you couldn't even see it.

Usually I am big on having the house totally clean before taking a vacation, but Shane, coincidentally, had to work in Atlanta for a few days, so I took advantage. Who am I to waste a stay at a 4 star hotel on the company dime?


Especially a hotel with a fantastic outdoor pool.

Even Collin took his first dip. Just for a few minutes.

And I actually dawned a swimsuit.

He liked the water, but enjoyed his little shade tent even more. Man, he is cute.

I opted for some quiet reading in the hotel, but the diehards stayed in the pool until well after dark.

Shane had to work the next morning, but the kids and I stuck around the hotel for a bit. Perfectly clean, no dishes to do, someone else cleaning up after us. Bliss. As for Lydia, what says vacation more for a 3 year old than watching a favorite show and drinking a juice box while sitting on your own hotel bed. "Mommy! The hotel has Calliou too!"

So it rained the next day. No problem. We were just a mile from ....

The Atlanta Perimeter Mall! And why do I love that mall so much?

Because Chattanooga is missing 4 things. And they are all in this mall - within 50 feet of each other. My main purpose for shopping (like I really ever need a reason) was to find a birthday gift for one of my best friends. Anthropologie is so fantastic for gifts. My sister Emily gave her husband some sage advice. "Buy me anything at anthropologie and I will be happy." Amen.
I ended up getting these great stoneware measuring spoons. Giada De
Laurentiis uses the same ones in white and blue, but in the end, the bright colors just seemed more birthdayish.
I really wanted to get her this butterfly necklace as well, but at $88, it was a bit out of my price range.
Inspired, I pulled out the jewelry making supplies as soon as I got home and made my own version. I came so close to keeping it. :)

Great vacation. Best part about it? When I got home from Atlanta, Shane had beat me there and the house was clean.
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