Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vitamix Blender- Worth It?

Some of you who read about my endeavors to cook healthy and get more nutritious food into my ultra picky toddler recommended that I make veggie smoothies.  I read all of the comments and thank you so much for your helpful suggestions.  I really don't know why it hadn't occurred to me before to blend up some veggie smoothies since I buy my son the pre-made ones from the store already.   And I drink protein smoothies myself (just protein powder (usually Lean Body for Her) and skim milk or water).  A couple people swore by their Vitamix Blender, but cautioned that they are an investment.

I went to the Vitamix website last weekend and was surprised to learn that they are over $300.  Are you sure they're worth it? I realized that our regular blender broke a few months ago, so we don't have any type of blender right now, but we do have a food processor.  I would be willing to spend the money if the machine was something that would last for years and we would get a lot of use out of- like our KitchenAid mixer.  But, if there's another brand that works just as well, for less, I'd be interested in hearing about it.  I'm pretty confident that James will eat the veggie smoothies if I start making them for him and that will make me a very happy mama!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Frugal Find - Brass Side Table

I've been keeping an eye out for a small side table that looks great, but doesn't break the bank.  This metal accordion side table from Urban Outfitters would fit that bill perfectly.  It's only $64 and comes in black too.  The item is sold online only and shipping is $5. The table is 14 inches in diameter and 25.25 inches tall.  I bet a round mirror would look pretty inside.

I thought I've seen a similar table before for even less- closer to $50, but haven't been able to locate them lately for that price.  

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer Sangria

Did you get to enjoy a long Memorial Day weekend?  We took a quick road trip to Austin and visited some friends and their adorable little 14-month old daughter.  And if that wasn't enough, we went to a baby shower wherein the parents-to-be are expecting a baby girl in August.  Playing with that little sweetie and shopping for baby things almost gave me baby fever:)

But, since I'm not with child, nor planning to be anytime soon, let's turn our attention to an adult beverage I'd like to see in my future! Perhaps next weekend?

I saw those gorgeous photos on Pinterest, and found the recipe at, (photos and recipe courtesy of Jamie Heimbuch).   I was surprised to see her list of ingredients called for one serrano pepper (I guess for a little kick).  I'm anxious to try it.   Sangria just says casual summer afternoon/evening to me. Wine and fruit- what could be better?!  Do you have a favorite Sangria recipe to share? 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Friday

I haven't been doing the monthly James posts since he turned 2, but wanted to keep sharing my favorite little guy occasionally.  Here's two pictures that melt my heart.  The first picture is my phone screen saver:)

At the Children's Festival about a month ago. 

Last weekend with his younger cousin. 

 I hope y'all have a wonderful Memorial weekend!  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Luscious Lashes

I'm definitely not a wear-makeup-absolutely-every-time-I-leave-the-house-girl.  But I am a mascara-always-girl.  Usually, on the weekends, if I don't feel like putting on make up, I at least put on mascara.  I feel like it helps me look more awake, and less like I'm 12 years old.

Every time I purchase my mascara from the department store, the salesperson inevitably asks, "Would you like to try the lash primer too?"  No, thanks, just the mascara:)  But after watching my beauty guru tout the benefits of applying lash primer to your lashes before mascara, I decided to give it a try.

My favorite mascara is Estee Lauder "More Than Mascara" in Rich Black.  I think I first tried it in high school when I borrowed it from my very pretty friend Brandy.  I've liked it ever since, even though I've tried other brands over the years.  I like it because the wand has bristles that are very close together with a pointy end.

After purchasing the lash primer, I have to admit- I love it!  I think it actually does make a difference in how full and thick my lashes look.

So now, my makeup routine includes curling my lashes (with a Revlon lash curler), putting on the primer, waiting a minute or two, then applying mascara.  (I know some people curl their lashes after applying the primer/mascara, but I always curl mine first.) 

The primer goes on kind of white, but dries clear.

I have found a drug store mascara I like too, and keep this less expensive version in my purse for touch- ups.  It's Maybelline Full 'N Soft.

Do you use a lash primer?  Am I the last one on board with this? What's your favorite mascara?  I like pretty dramatic lashes so I apply several coats, stopping just short of the Tammy Faye look:)

And I also like to airbrush, even though I admit to going a little heavy on this one!  I used PicMonkey (thanks Cassie!) to erase not only the guy in the background, but also my squint lines.  I whitened my teeth and smoothed my skin.  Oh, how I wish my skin was so flawless! 

Hope y'all are having a great week!  Only a couple more days till the long weekend! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dreamy Dream Bars

If you've been following this blog for some time, you know I try to keep a pretty healthy diet and have been making efforts at cooking more.  That having been said, I still have a HUGE sweet tooth, specifically, a love of chocolate, and baking is one of my favorite forms of cooking.  I like to bake something every other week or so, or when the mood strikes, typically on the weekend.  I'll bring leftovers to my office so that my hubby and I don't end up eating a whole pie or tray of something like these delicious dream bars.  I couldn't keep my fork out of this tray!

Adapted from Martha Stewart


  • For The Crust

    • 3 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 crackers)

    • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • For The Topping

    • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

    • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips

    • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips

    • 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

    • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center of oven. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and line with parchment paper; set aside.

  2. To make the crust: In a medium bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, and melted butter. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press into bottom of pan using your fingertips.

  3. To make the topping: In another medium bowl, mix together chips and coconut; sprinkle evenly over crust.

  4. Pour condensed milk evenly over coconut and chips, covering the entire surface. Transfer to oven and bake, rotating pan halfway through baking, making sure the milk does not get too brown or bubble over in the pan, 26 to 32 minutes.

  5. Transfer baking pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into 20 squares. Serve immediately, or wrap each bar tightly with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Day in My Life (Saturday)

I must have an inner-voyeur lurking inside me because I absolutely get a thrill from peeking into other people's lives.  And I especially like seeing how their day-to-day lives operate.  I think I've mentioned before that I'm interested in the details, like do you drink coffee when you wake up, are you a night owl or early bird, do you typically eat in or out?  Getting these tidbits of information helps me feel like I know you more intimately.

If you're like me, then this post is for you.  This past Saturday, I made a point to take pictures throughout the day, in an effort to chronicle a typical day in my life- a typical Saturday, that is.  Of course, no Saturday is exactly alike, sometimes there's a birthday party to attend or something, but this gives you a general idea.

7:00 a.m. Wake up.  Drink coffee.  It's kinda ridiculous how much I look forward to this each day.

7:15 a.m. Sit at the breakfast table and eat oatmeal while I start making our grocery list.  I like to browse through some cookbooks for inspiration for a "new" meal to prepare each week, but today I can't seem to narrow it down.  It's about this time that I have so much excitement for the weekend and day ahead that my mind starts racing with everything I want/have to do.  I have to remind myself to just slow down.  

7:30 a.m. James wakes up.  Bedhead and all:) 

8:00 a.m.  Daddy goes to workout.  (We agreed the night before that we'd take turns working out this morning so that we could both do it.  Some Saturdays, we'll go to the park together, walking the 3-mile track while pushing James in the running stroller.)  I hang out with James in the living room while he plays.  I start flipping through a couple magazines and watch Giada.  

8:30 a.m. James and I make chocolate chip pancakes.  This is his first time and he really liked them.

9:00 a.m. Start making black bean chili (it takes about 2 1/2 hours to cook).  I like to have something homemade on hand to eat throughout the weekend and had been wanting to try this recipe from Cook's Illustrated.

9:30 a.m. Dad gets home, he plays football in the backyard with James.

9:30 a.m. I head to the park for a run.  I'm not too far into my "run" when I realize I didn't eat enough this morning to fuel me the whole way- and I ate too long ago. I looked for a protein bar to eat on the way, but we didn't have any.  I end up briskly walking 2 of the 3 miles.  I pretty much think about what I'm going to eat when I'm done the whole time.  

10:30 a.m.  I'm so hungry after my walk, that I'm almost not hungry.  I planned to take some pictures of my bedroom for my blog this afternoon while the light is good, and I need flowers, so I stop at a flower shop on the way home and pick up peonies.  

10:45 a.m. I've never had peonies in my own home and am completely smitten with how pretty they are.  I feel like I've really indulged and want to share, so I take a quick picture and upload it to my blog for y'all to see, hoping it brightens your day too,

11:00 a.m.  I eat tuna for lunch and an apple with peanut butter.  I head upstairs to take pictures of my bedroom and sitting room for the blog.  First, I have to tidy up both spaces, then I spend over an hour taking about 60 photos, 90% of which will never make it to the blog.  

11:30 a.m.  Chili is ready!

12:30 p.m. Put James down for a nap.  I finally take a shower.   Feels so good to get clean! 

1:00 p.m.  I download my photos onto my computer and clean the kitchen.  (I left it a mess when I went to the park).

2:00 p.m.  James wakes up, but he actually never slept that well.  We're all kinda tired but have errands to run, so we head to Starbucks, then Target.

3:30 p.m.  James is too tired and fussy to continue the errands, so I take him home while my husband does the grocery shopping.  I get to rock my baby in my arms for about 30 minutes while he sleeps hard.  I soak up the sound of his breath and his sweet smell.  I'm wishing someone was here to photograph this precious moment.

5:00 - 6:00 p.m.  We put away the groceries, make dinner for James, and I lay down on the couch for a catnap.  It's not long before James climbs aboard to get "cozy" with me:) We relax in the living room, not doing much of anything.  I need to do laundry, but figure it can wait till tomorrow.

6:30 p.m.  Get freshened up for dinner, putting on some makeup and a new sundress. 

7:00 p.m.  We drop off James with my sis-n-law and go out to dinner.  This is a very rare occasion- we almost never do dates.  

7:30 p.m.  We go to a neighborhood restaurant, Shade, and have a nice dinner, starting with a  glass of wine and a cheese plate. 

10:00 p.m.  Go to bed after picking up James.  Sweet dreams!


So tell me, does my Saturday resemble yours?  

Monday, May 21, 2012

Our Master Bedroom (In Progress & Plans)

Don't they say that your bedroom should be your sanctuary, a place where you can go to relax and rejuvenate at the end of the day?  I think our bedroom is on it's way-although it's still got a way to go.  Today, I'm showing you how the room looks to date, and discussing some of my future plans.  

We made a lot of progress when we swapped out our dark leather bed for a fabric upholstered bed with nailhead trim from  I framed pages of a botanical art book to create the art on the far right wall.

I showed you a glimpse into this room before, but couldn't really get a good shot without a wide-angle lens.  I was lucky enough to get one for Mother's Day, so I hope to show you more wide shots of our home in the future.  For example, here's the view to the sitting room.  I'm thinking a large, leaning mirror would be pretty against that blank wall.

Our soothing bedding from Restoration Hardware is still a happy part of the room.  I'd like to layer the bedding a little more in the future.  

Home Goods has helped furnish the space with the mirror above the bed and the mercury glass lamps. 

I like to incorporate books in the decor of every room in our house.  

I made a special purchase - peonies - and couldn't believe how much they bloomed on day two.  Just gorgeous. 

Also on my wish list for this room is the Colette bench from Crate & Barrel for the foot of the bed and new bedside tables.  I'm considering these, but still looking:

Pottery Barn $399.00 (24" wide x 18" deep x 28" high) $216.00 (28.5 inches high x 39.5 inches wide x 17.75 inches deep)

West Elm $399 (32 inch diameter x 30 inches high)

Pottery Barn $299 (26" diameter, 24.5" high) 

To give you an idea of the look I'm ultimately going for, you might recall some of my favorite bedrooms:

Love This Life

Ashley Goforth

After looking at the photo above, I got to thinking that maybe I should try moving the round, glass table in our living room to the bedroom and see how that looks.  Don't those tables look similar? 

Always a work in progress!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

james loves michaeljackson

Pretty shortly after James was born, I started singing and dancing with him to one of my favorite songs, Rock With You, by Michael Jackson.  Then he discovered the song on my iPod and wanted to listen to it all.the.time.  If you come over to our house sometime, you'll hear repeated requests for "michealjackson" like it's all one word.  And then when you play michaeljackson (for the 50th time), he'll immediately say, "wannahearagain." 

The first video doesn't really have audio, it just shows James listening to michaeljackson on the iPod while trying to figure out how to eat (a Moon Pop) at the same time.  Tricky.

That was several months ago, now I've caught him singing the words along with the song.  Around :42 seconds you can hear him sing his favorite part- "Feel the beat, and we can ride the boogie! Share that beat of loooooove!"

But he also likes typical nursery rhymes like, "The Wheels on the Bus" and has even started playing it on the guitar!  :) I like how he announces, "I'm gonna sing!" 

Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Blue in the Breakfast Room

I've gone on and on lately about how I'm smitten with lime green right now, and it's true, but something about this brilliant blue color struck a chord with me and made it's way onto my breakfast table.  It's a fun pop of color in that area.

When I was at Home Goods over the weekend doing the happy dance over my new mirror, I also found this blue jar that's a twin to my green one.  For $9.99, I couldn't resist. And it goes so nicely with the reversible blue and white Z Gallerie runner.  

I get asked a lot where we got our table and benches, and they are from Pottery Barn, the Benchwright collection.  Sometimes I like to put our upholstered dining room chairs with the table because they are more comfortable on your back.  But then, we don't really have a good place for the benches, so they normally stick with the table. 

Seems I'm not the only one who likes the Z Gallerie runner.  

Do you recognize this cool chic's dining room