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Monthly Archive for May, 2010

Pedicures – a monthly must have!!!

Pedicures – a monthly must have!!!

With warm weather already upon us, I feel it necessary to write about a must-have for women everywhere: pedicures! I have been a pedicure addict since I graduated from college, before that point it was just an occasional thing – if I felt like it, if there was a special event, etc.  But ohhhh – the combination of nail care and foot/leg rubbing is too much to pass up.

Sure, I can do it myself, and if I need an emergency heel buffing or polish touch-up, I do.  But for under $30 a month, why not treat myself and go to a nail salon?!  I’ve been going monthly with my little sister and my brother’s wife (before she was his wife!) for almost 8 years now to a local nail place.  We’ve gotten to know the people that work there ~ we’ve watched their business grow, learned about their family overseas, watched their adorable son grow up, and experimented with almost every color polish ever made and had funky designs added to our big toes just for fun at certain holidays (snowflakes for winter, snowmen at Christmas, Ace of spades when we went to Vegas, and happy little flowers with crystal centers for spring and summer).

But it is an unbreakable warm weather rule for me ~ do NOT wear sandals of any kind unless you have your toes done!  It doesn’t matter if you sand those heels down yourself and slap on some clear coat, or hit up a frou frou salon.  Whatever your preference, just get the job done before sandal season!!!  It is completely heartbreaking to see a killer pair of wedge sandals on someone and then see her crusty feet and unkempt, too-long nails sticking out of them.  Be kind to your feet ladies, and be kind to the people that are admiring what’s on them!

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Product Rave ~ Random

Product Rave ~ Random…

I’ve been a fan of mineral make-up for a few years now, but strayed from my brand the other day and wanted to give a good review to the Maybelline brand Mineral Makeup, specifically the “Mineral Power” Foundation.  I had a few coupons for the drug store and being fully stocked on my shampoo, deodorant, contact liquid, sunscreen (and likewise for the hubby’s stash) I bought a mineral powder/brush set instead ~ hey, with the coupon, it was a complete steal!

I’ve used it for a few days now, testing it’s application and durability, and with this muggy, humid southern heat I am pleased to say it has held up like a champ and I give it an “A” for several reasons.

1) Price – it’s under $10 – very affordable, and you can find it anywhere!  CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Wal-Mart, Target…

2) It comes with its own little brush in case you don’t have one.  While the small kabuki style brush is a bit firmer than the big one I already have, it gets the job done, and I feel it will travel well because of the stiffer bristles.

3) Colors – there are 8 colors, and because it’s a loose foundation powder, you can find a complimentary skin shade and build up your coverage from just a dusting to erase shine, to full-face matte finish.

4) There is sunscreen in it!  Enough said.  Every little thing like this that helps protect skin from sun damage is fabulous.

5) It doesn’t feel heavy or caked on like I was half-expecting of a drug store brand, and it doesn’t “settle” over the course of the day into the lines I admit I’m starting to get around my eyes and on my forehead.

6) I’ll repeat that the last few days in my part of the Carolinas have been sunny, hot & humid PLUS I’m almost 8 months pregnant so my skin has multiple personalities right now.  I’m usually a combo girl with slightly oilier areas on my chin, nose and center forehead.  However, with both pregnancies I’ve turned into oil-slick city, having to change my whole skincare routine to suit this temporary hormone shift.  This make up has carried me through 3 entire days now of moderate to heavy activity, being outside a fair amount, and sweating more profusely than normal (due to both the heat and the pregnancy).  I’ve gotten to my nighttime face washings and noticed that my face – WITHOUT a single touch-up or oil blotting sheet – still looks as good as when I first put the powder on in the morning.  That’s impressive to me.  Hell, I even spent this evening at the pool with my husband, son and sister and was on the receiving end of some minor splashing, and it’s nearly midnight now and my face still is shine free and nearly flawless!

So – if you need something to leave in your purse, in your car perhaps, in your desk at work, at a vacation home, or just need something to travel with that’s inexpensive and reliable – this is a good one to try out.

I’m attempting to put the link to Maybelline’s product page for you for other information: http://www.maybelline.com/Product/Face/Foundation/Mineral-Power-Natural-Perfecting-Powder-Foundation.htm

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Macaroni & Cheese go to the beach

Macaroni & Cheese go to the beach

My sister-in-law & I dubbed ourselves Macaroni & Cheese after seeing “Juno” in theaters and hearing the line that went something like, “you are the cheese to my macaroni.”  If we could have a long lost twin sister, we’d have each other.  Our taste in everything is freakishly similar (translate: exactly the same).  We have the same clothes, shoes, jewelry, silverware, furniture, lamps, paint colors in the houses, we’ve seen the same hair stylist for years now, have artwork by the same artists, and for several years we had the same car (2004 mini-coopers ~ hers blue, mine silver) until I traded mine in for a more practical baby-mobile.  And the kind of scary part is that half of the stuff we do and have the same of, we aren’t even together when we pick it out!  We have joked that we should just build one giant house with two master wings, so we could save ourselves some money and just buy ONE of everything and share the living space instead of buying two of everything for our separate households.

Flashback: I met Tiffany in the summer of 1998 through my brother’s summer job (coincidentally also where I met my husband for the first time).  Tiff and my bro started dating in early 1999, and were married 6 months before my hubby and I took our own vows in 2004.  We’ve been kind of a “4 Muskateers” deal since we all met,  but more so after Matt & I started dating in fall of 2002….trips all over the country and the world, movies, get-togethers, game nights, it’s a pretty awesome little group.  And Tiffany and I have been basically inseparable since the first year we met.

Life is so much easier and awesomer (yes, that’s a word I use) when you like your sibling’s spouse!  So, this weekend – TODAY will be our first girly adventure to the Carolina coastline since all our babies were born.  The last trip I remember was a week or so we spent together in June 2008, a few months before my son arrived.

I’m skipping around, I know, I do that…but here’s a brief timeline for you of the last couple years so perhaps you can see why we are so ecstatic about this barely 48 hour escape…

February 2008 – I find out about being preggo with Evan

September 2008 – Tiffany finds out about being preggo

October-ish 2008 – Tiffany & my brother discover they are expecting TWINS

October 2008 – I deliver my precious redheaded son, Evan

November 2008 – Tiffany gets placed on bed rest due to some minor complications with “Baby A”

And from November-early May 2009, I chauffeur her to most all of her doctor appointments and we hang around the house making use of our Netflix subscriptions and enjoying the lazy days of having a newborn who just eats and sleeps all day (sigh….kinda miss those days now!)

May 2009 – Twin boys are delivered safely into the world, and the chaos hasn’t stopped since!

It’s a zoo around here, and I thought being a new mom to one was hard – I don’t even know how Tiffany and her husband have made it through the last year without their hair falling out and admitting themselves to the looney bin!

So, it’s been two years since Tiff and I were able to abscond together and go somewhere other than just a dinner out, or a monthly pedicure.  And I am fairly sure this will be the least exciting beach trip we’ve ever taken – we both predict lots of SLEEPING, a few of our fave restaurants, some trashy tv, and some more sleep.  But we’re looking forward to it!  We’ve been to the beach a thousand times and been to all the shops and gallivanted down the coastline to Pawley’s Island and Charelston, and I know we’ll go a thousand more times and do the same…so this one time we’re allowed a bum weekend.

It feels odd leaving the kids at home.  We’ve each made several beach trips with our respective mothers and sons, just not together (there isn’t enough room at the condo for all adults and all babies at the same time), and this is the first time for each of us to leave our kiddos for more than a few hours.  We’re not freaking out about it, and we’re confidant in the husbands’ parenting abilities…it just feels kind of weird to take a couple days to ourselves…not to have to get a child (or two) in and out of the car, not to do middle of the night diaper changes, not to have to consciously think of a child friendly place to eat, hell – it’ll be weird not having the car stuffed to the brim with high chairs, pack & plays, strollers, diapers, kid movies and toys ALONG with our stuff!!!

Baby #4 (between the two of us) is due in 11 weeks and counting, and the chaos will continue I’m sure….

This is the first time IN a long time, and the last time FOR a long time so we better enjoy it! 

Macaroni & Cheese ride again!

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Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

Just a few minutes ago I read an article about the founder of Mother’s Day, and how once the day was nationally recognized, she spent most of the rest of her life fighting against the commercialization of what was meant to be an intimate and sacred recognition of each family’s mother and everything she does for them on a daily basis.

So, I learned something new and I cannot say I disagree with her seemingly conflicting actions.  I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day, I think if you love someone, you love them every day of the year so why make such a hubbub over this one day?  I can’t stand the commercials pushing flowers and diamonds around that time of year (and around Mother’s Day) – you really shouldn’t need to buy your partner’s or mother’s affections once a year or spend wads of cash trying to prove something.  And Christmas has unfortunately become that way, too.  I love Christmas not for the exchanging of gifts, but for the sparkly lights all over town…the festive music…the abundance of delicious cooking (and sharing) between friends and neighbors…that special feeling in the air…the constant gathering of friends and family just to be together and celebrate the joy of having one another in our lives.

And Mother’s Day…I think a card is appropriate, but not nearly as good as a *GASP* handwritten letter, a visit (if possible) or a phone call…but again, these are things that can be done throughout the year ~little reminders that you love your family, appreciate your mom, and just want to check in and say “hello”.

Being a new mother myself, I think it’s pretty freaking awesome in itself just to have kids!  I adore my little one, and I’m counting the weeks until our second is to make his debut.  The way he says “mama”, the fun things we do together during the day, the way he falls asleep on me at night in the rocking chair – it’s enough for me.  Let’s just spend the day together!  Make muffins for breakfast, stay in your pj’s a little longer and watch cartoons in the playroom, take a family nap, go to the playground, play with bubbles on the back deck….that’s my idea of a perfect Mother’s Day and none of it costs a cent!

So, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there.  You are all amazing and wonderful and without you – we wouldn’t be here!!!

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Rebel Deb ~ my current book love…

Rebel Deb ~ my current book love…

I recently attended a book signing for a book that was written by a friend from high school, Anna Fields.  It’s a memoir by a fellow southern belle ~ funny, honest, and a great read to kick off the warm summer months!  It’s called Confessions of a Rebel Debutante and it’s out in stores now!

Being from the same home state as Anna, I get a lot of the references and nods to our southern upbringing.  Having attended the same high school, I have been hooting and hollering over her tales of life as a boarding student there (I was a day student).

Anna is doing her nationwide book tour as I write this – go see her if you can, and pick up a copy!  Read it by the poolside, read it while the kids are napping, read it on a road trip (as long as you aren’t the driver!!!) read it in the bubble bath!  Just read it!

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BirdFest 2010


BirdFest 2010

This past weekend began with Habitat for Humanity’s awesome Annual “BirdFest”.  One of their largest fundraisers for the year, and an event that I haven’t missed since…well, since I graduated from college and moved back home.  I love attending this fun evening shindig, I love supporting the cause, I love that the community comes together over the delectable restaurant samplings, and local artwork featured in a live and silent auction…It’s just a nice evening out, and this year my husband and I were able to attend child-free!  One of my sister’s amazing friends watched our little man so we could have a few adult hours together with friends and family.

Being pregnant, I nibbled on lots of everything, but also being pregnant I started with dessert!  Divine cake squares from Dewey’s Bakery, brownie nibblets, ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s…then I sampled the beef, cheese & crackers, pasta and mexican fare.  Everything was scrumptious, as always.  hunger satisfied, I was able to stalk the auction tables, feasting my eyes on all of the wondrous items created and donated especially for this event.  I made my way round the spread of goodies selecting my favorites and signing my name, auction number and bid (hoping I would be able to remember which things I needed to keep an eye on as the night progressed…it seems that I lose partial brain function and memory capacity while pregnant).  And I set my sights on a beautiful pastel that would come up in the live auction – the main event of the night.  I am an art lover – I love looking at it, I love doing it, I love buying something special and unique and hanging it on our home to enjoy.  My husband lets me indulge in this love of mine, which is wonderful except for the fact that I’m running out of walls!!!  I may have to start hanging things gallery style – paintings above paintings and besides other paintings, and sculpture on free surface areas…I told my husband I’d like a gallery built out back, but he said no.  We like our yard space too much to give it up for another enclosed structure.  Ah well, such is the plight of an avid art lover & collector!

Our local news anchorman is the emcee for the evening, he always makes things fun and keeps the auction rolling.  Plus, as he did add this year – he does have killer anchorman hair!  He announced the this was the first year the party had ever run out of bidder paddles, which is neat, but I definitely didn’t see everyone using their paddles during the auction.  I completely understand, money is tighter with everyone, and it looked like a lot of the “high rollers” that usually we usually see in attendance weren’t present that night.  But My mom, sister and I tried hard!  We gave it our best and bid on some fabulous sculptural pieces and my coveted pastel.

The pastel was one of the final three items up, so I had to be patient, but as Matt and I bid, I kept checking to be sure he’d stop me if the number went too high.  It didn’t, which is unfortunate as I’d love for Habitat to rake in as much moola as possible, but I’m excited that we have a lovely new piece that will hang in a place of honor in our basement as soon as the renovation/remodel is complete.  It’s a beautiful landscape scene – Tuscan hillsides covered in fields of flowers with the essential Italian villa peeking through the trees.  Things like this catch my eye because Matt and I honeymooned for two weeks in Italy: Venice, Florence and Rome.  It was a huge surprise for me, I’m amazed that everyone in our families kept their mouths shut for so long, but I was completely unaware of our destination until mere hours before we departed for the airport!  I didn’t even know Matt had a passport!  Anyway, I digress…but I was enthralled with our trip, the culture, the food, the landscapes and I CANNOT wait to return someday for another adventure!  This pastel reminded me of our day trip to Tuscany and the beautiful villa we lunched at…and I’m excited that that is the happy memory I’ll have every time I see it.

I had to leave the party as soon as the auction was over, as our son wasn’t feeling 100% perky and I promised our sitter one of us would be home by 10.  If Matt stayed, he could help keep an eye on the silent auction pieces and load up our treasures and spend a little more time hanging out, which is fine.

He helped me win a beautiful stained glass sunrise piece that I will definitely have to post pictures of (as soon as I can figure out how to do that).  I hope to hang it in my soon-to-be art room (also located in the remodeled basement).  And all in all, it was a much needed night out that benefited a worthy charity.

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May Day!

May Day!

I grew up thinking that celebrating May Day by awaking at first light, running outside in your nightie and rubbing your face in the morning dew was a normal, if somewhat more Southern, tradition.  Well, the older I got, the more I understood that it is more of a Southern thing, but more specifically more of a “my family” thing.

According to my mother and generations of her female Georgia ancestors, on May 1st of every year, it is a woman’s duty to perform this odd, but special ritual that would supposedly keep you beautiful for the whole next year – until the next May Day came around.  I remember as far back as my mind goes, going outside with my mom, school day or not, rainy or not, and picking the perfect spot where there was lots of fluffy grass.  We’d kneel down, hold our breath, and simultaneously plunge our faces into the collection of waiting dew drops that had gathered on the grass blades just for us on this important day while trying not to giggle and inhale any bugs or dirt.

My mother has aged so beautifully, so I have never questioned the sacred act of May Day.  And I look at her mother, and her mother’s mother….they had flawless, porcelain doll-esque skin until their last days.

Well, along came college.  I was in a new state, on my own, and my mom would call me before bedtime on April 30th to remind me to set my alarm clock for our May Day frolic.  I did note my freshman year that there wasn’t a single other sole on the beautiful lawn, but figured there were other places around campus, and perhaps they had already gone outside or weren’t as early a riser as I.  When I asked my friends at lunch if they had remembered to get up to do this, I was met with raised eyebrows and utterly blank stares…apparently they hadn’t remembered.  No, more like they thought I was mad.  “You got up at 6 am to go stick your face in the grass?”, I was asked.  My, “Well, duh” answer was met in return with some open jaws and an obvious interest behind my insanity (the fact that I was an art major did nothing to deter the amazement and questions).

I told my brief tale, recounted my mother’s gorgeous skin, and that’s when I knew, though all of these girls were from various parts of the south (South Carolina, Georgia, Florida) that they had never heard of such a thing, but they did find it amusing and charming and promised to join me in next year’s escapade.

The last few years have been a bit different, being a new mother and not having the will power to wake up at such a horribly early hour.  But my mother has been a goddess and savior of my facial upkeep.  She has remembered to go outside herself, gather dew drops on paper towels, which she then stored in the freezer until she could get one to me, to my sister, and to my sister-in-law.

And so continues our family tradition of May Day.  Thus far there are only male heirs lined up in the family.  My brother and his bride have twin sons who will be turning one in mere days.  My oldest son is expecting a new brother in August, and my little sister (1o years my junior) has been threatened with bodily harm NOT to have children until she’s done with college and married.  So, currently though there are no little girls to pass along and share this silly ritual with, we of the older generations will continue to do so ourselves.

Hell – getting up at dawn once a year and running outside for a few minutes is much cheaper than all the face lotions and potions and botox-y, plastic surgery options out there!  Join me next year for the annual Running of the Dew Drops.  May 1st, early morning.  Be there, or prepare to risk a year of ugliness!!

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