Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gift to Self.....

I remember being obsessed with Avon "Soft Musk" perfume in middle school.  I love musk of any kind really.  Deep, woodsy (non-flowery....gag....barf) scents.  Yes, I even adore patchouli.  (Since I'm not a dred-headed, non-showering stinky college student I can pull if off)  Or at least I think I pull it off!  My brother in law hates this smell.  It makes him gag.  But I still wear it and he still loves me.  He just calls me dirty hippie.

Meet Tom Ford.

So imagine my interest when I came across this pure musk by Tom Ford.  I recently watched the Visionaries show on OWN featuring Tom Ford.  These Visionary shows are fantastic.  In 1994 Tom Ford became creative director of Gucci and basically brought it back to life.  He is a driven perfectionist.  Since I can't afford (or wouldn't want to afford them anyway!) his clothing this is the next best thing.  

But here is the REAL reason this perfume is now in my possession.  It was a killer deal.  (Who loves a deal more than me?)  1.7 oz of this magic potion costs $195.  (You can order it here from Nordstrom.)  And if you know me at all, I find $195 for perfume absurd!  I got it for $34.50 at my local resale shop.  Brand new!  On "pink Friday" (as the store was calling it!!!) they had an addtional 25% off the entire store.

And what is the difference between perfume, eau de parfum, colonge, etc.?  I've never known.  So if you care....this is huge stuff here people.......Forget about holiday cards, shopping, decorating, cleaning, cooking, etc.  This is life changing.  right here.  right now.  (You can find yourself lost in the world of Us Magazine online in the "stars are just like us" photos are you can use up the next 30 seconds of your life reading this!!!!)
  • Perfume, also called extract or extrait perfume, can include 15-40% perfume concentrates. This is the purest form of scented product and is the most expensive as a result.
  • Eau de parfum contains about 7-15% perfume concentrates. This is the most popular and common form of perfume. It provides a long-lasting fragrance and generally doesn't cost as much as extract perfume.
  • Eau de toilette has around 1-6% perfume concentrates. This makes for a light scent that doesn't linger as long as the more intense versions. It was originally intended to be a refreshing body splash to help people wake up in the morning.
  • Eau de cologne is sometimes used interchangeably with the term eau de toilette. However, the concoction began as the name of a light, fresh fragrance mixed with citrus oils and was made popular by Napoleon. Some perfumers today have a version of this called eau fraiche.
So now you KNOW!!!   
And for the record, Prada amber perfume is my signature scent.  I continually purchased perfume that I thought I liked only to end up hating it.  My BF Bern gave this to me as a gift a few years ago (she keeps buying it for me too!) and said "This is your signature scent now.  Stop it."  It does seem crazy that a friend could buy perfume for you, as it seems so personal, but she knows me well!  One of my favorite lines from her is "well that smells like ass!"  Bern's signature scent is Angel by Thierry Mugler.  My mom's is Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel.  And speaking of crazy deals, I found a huge brand new bottle still in the packaging for $5 for her at a garage sale in my neighborhood!!!!  (retails for $115!)

What is your signature scent?  Have any holiday gifts to SELF ended up in your shopping cart?  

He's coming tonight!

Last year Elf on the Shelf came to our house.  The kids named him Jasper.  He arrives on the first of December as a little reminder to the kids that "Santa is watching."  Basically Jasper is a spy for Santa and flies back to the North Pole every night to give Santa a report.  Good old fashioned black mail!  
The parents have the fun task of hiding the little bugger each night.  That is, remembering to hide him.  He needs to be in a new place each morning when the kids wake up and find him.  This is all fun and fine and good as December begins.  But 25 days of doing this gets old!  And on those nights you forgot to move him you must explain that "Jasper is just playing a trick on you to see if you are really looking for him."
I highly recommend that you add this tradition to your family!  It is very fun.  You even get to "register" your elf on the elf on the shelf website.  The kids love it.  The website is super cool.

So this morning I'm not happy with the templates available on blog spot to change up this blog background to add a little holiday cheer.  I'm cranky because I haven't blogged in a few days and feel I have no inspiration.  Once again I need to do my holiday photo cards and have NO good photos to use.  We attempted to get some on Thanksgiving.  Here is a peek of how that went:

 Nope:  My head is cut off!
 Well, this is a possibility but my sister would not approve of Evan.  "Um, not card worthy."
 I say we go with this one.  I like those holiday cards were the kids are acting like asses or crying.  Really I do!  They are fun and break tradition of the fake perfect family photos.
Then Evan starting to melt down because he is currently obsessed with using my camera to take photos.  I gave my old digital "bar camera" to Lauren.  It's been lost for months.  Sorry Charlie.  Get your paws off my new one.
He is also currently obsessed with the iPad, the T.V. and the Leapster game.  We are thinking of getting him Call of Duty 2 and a full gaming system.  He has no toy guns but turns everything he gets his hands on INTO a gun.  His obsession with guns would be a nice compliment to a gaming system don't you think?

But really, I do like the holidays.  I do!  I'm not being sarcastic.  Really!  : )  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Don't you just love a Norman Rockwell image?  It's so pure and perfect.  Look at the guy in the lower right hand corner.  That must be crazy Uncle Phil who had a little nip before dinner!  Love it!  I am watching a Curious George movie with the kids in the aftermath of an all day Christmas decorating madness.  It really seemed like a good idea at the time!  I always get so crabby and stressed with the kids underfoot while trying to haul out huge Rubbermaid totes from the crawl space.  Lauren asked me a hundred times "where should we put this one mom?"  OMG  I don't know!  Take a look around!  This is chaos!!!!!!

I try remind myself this should be fun but it really isn't and I'm not sure it ever will be.  I should make the decorating part fun for the kids.  Oh sure, the holidays themselves are great.  The actual decorating.  NO.  I feel like I'm on a roller coaster ride of back to school, Halloween, Lauren's birthday, Thanksgiving, Evan's birthday and then a million parties and fun and Christmas.  I'm tired already!  And this crazy warm weather does not put one in the mood to get all Santa up in here!!!!!

Lauren picked up The Night before Christmas book and saw the picture of Santa with his finger beside his nose (you know.....and up the chimney....blah blah blah) and said, "Mom, why is Santa picking his nose?" And is it just me, or do kids want to eat all the time?  I eat twice a day (during the day) if I'm lucky and one of those just might be a snack and it seems I'm in the middle of something and one or both kids are telling me they are hungry.  It kills me.  Get a stinkin' snack and it better be 100% protein and shut it.  

So I've done all I can do for today.  It's good enough.  Evan just said "damn it" while eating his cheesy eggs and bacon and English muffin for dinner.  That's good times.  I'm thankful for that.  Wow.  Why don't you go to your Christian pre-school and tell that teachers THAT.  Better yet, tell them you heard it from mom.

Did I tell you that I went to the UPS store with both kids to mail the world's biggest package to my sister and then braved the grocery store with both kids?  (The bigger the package the cheaper the cost and that doesn't make sense to me!!!)  Do you have any idea what a grocery store looks like the day before Thanksgiving?  HURT ME.  But last night it was raining and the idea of going to get a turkey seemed so hard.  Nope.  It was harder today.  I got lucky when the express line was open and checker waved me over.  I do think the lady behind me in the aisle thought I cheated when she rolled in.  Why aren't ALL the check outs open in the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving?  I mean really!

But let's talk about that rock-solid frozen turkey I have on my hands.  It will thaw in about a week.  Thank you good night.  Has anyone ever brined a frozen turkey?  Please send wine.  

Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your family members and loved ones!  Thank you for reading my blog and supporting me.  I love you all.
xoxoxoxo
TA

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bedding Issue Solved!

So the Chaps duvet from Kohl's that I got a great deal on (see details here) just wasn't enough of a change in the room.  The colors were just too similar to what I had previously.  Mom was here for Lauren's birthday so we went to Carson's where we found the Lenox Chirp bedding collection on a killer sale.  If I thought $120 was a good price for the duvet and shams from Kohl's, this made me even happier.  How does $65 sound?  Kind of insane right?  I got the King comforter and shams and bed skirt for that wonderful price.  I will not use the bed skirt however, as I have a platform bed and the wood shows which is nicer.  
Here is another image.  I gave up the super cool bird pillow to my mom.  She got the same great deal in queen size for her guest room.  So I got one of the salmon colored Euro sized shams you see against the headboard in the above photo.  
Very lovely detail on the Euro sham!  Luckily I had a bunch of pillows in the same color family so I don't have to spend any more money on pillows.  Why are pillows so expensive?!!!  This sham and pillow insert was $35!  I got the bedding for $65 and for half that I get a stinkin' pillow!!!!  But all of the items in this collection were on clearance so I was lucky to even get an extra pillow!  And, it pays to ask if they have stock "in the back" because I was ready to leave the store empty handed and a lovely sales associate asked if she could help me.  I just about fell over because customer service is NIL these days!  She found the king size and sham in the back!!!!  Excellent!  

So let's move onto to drapes!  I have lived in this house for six years and never had drapes in the master bedroom.  It's sad.  Nate Berkus is always telling us to "make our bedroom a sanctuary" but it's always last on every body's list.  Part of that reason is, nobody (rarely) sees this room except me!  So in true mixing and matching fashion, I'm doing drapes from JCP Mystique collection from Chris Madden.  I love JCP for curtains and I got two panels of the plaid in the indigo color and two panels of the gold color to do the double curtain look in the first photo.  Love that!
This is the hardware for the window, also from JCP from the Linden Street Collection.  The bedding has a branch motif and I have a big flower/branch vintage thing hanging above the bed.  Now a good blogger would show you photos of all these individual items I speak of, but I'm feeling awfully uninspired to go photograph everything!  But I will take photos and show you how it all looks in another post.  

Oh!  The price on FOUR panels (which have a super thick energy lining in them!) and the rod was a mere $200!  I used a JCP coupon and got $20 and shipped to my local store which was free!  You gotta know how to work it!  Bargains and deals and thrifty shopping enables me to splurge somewhere else which I love.

Hope your Monday was easy and quick!  I'm ready for some good food and family this week!  I'm still in the aftermath of Lauren's 6th birthday party and running around like a crazed fool with my Mom and Aunt all weekend for the party and for shopping.  All fun and all good but still exhausting!  

After SIX years the master bedroom is finally going to be completed!  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

These moments in Life.....

I took these photos a few weeks ago when the sun was setting and it was like someone drew a line that cut across the sky.  Every time I looked up it was more beautiful and more pink. I kept saying "I've never seen anything like this" and the kids totally picked up on my energy and got into it.  They kept pointing out changes and different colors they saw.
These photos don't do it justice at all, but I did discuss this particular sunset with a friend who saw it and understood.  
 Today my daughter turned six and I had that feeling of tears being close to the surface the whole day.  From the moment she woke up I felt like crying.  Crying with joy, with fear, with pride, with love.  I volunteered at school today and read the class a book that we donated to the classroom.  I had to really focus because sitting in that chair looking out at all those eager to learn, precious little faces filled with so much possibility, well, it just made me feel so blessed and FULL.  Full of life and all that it has to offer.  
Ten years ago today my Dad passed away unexpectedly.  Four years later on the same date, I gave birth to my firstborn child.  How he would have adored this redheaded, freckle faced child full of love and grace. I miss him.  Most of all I miss the things he has missed.  I visualize him with my kids and my sister's kids.  The ways in which he would have held them as babies.  The way he would have interacted with them as toddlers and now as they grow into reasoning beings who talk and read and write and are students of the world, learning from everyone who is present in their lives.  

My Dad was a man of few words but his actions spoke volumes to me.  He complained very little.  He would get up at night when we were long and fast asleep in the middle of below zero weather and drive to work for midnight.  He took care of us.  He loved us and helped us and when he spoke up you knew he meant business and you didn't question it.  When he told me that Guess jeans were ridiculously priced and that I'd have to pitch in my own money to make up the difference, I did it.  Because he was my Dad and it made sense if I cared to see the big picture.
I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Life is amazing.  I am living my life open to the possibilities of deep joy and great sorrow.  I want to go there.  I want to really be in the thick of things.  There is no other way.  My mom had a stem cell transplant just a few months ago.  My mother in law died in January.  I turned 40 in August and am awakened to the reality of how fast time rushes by.  I want to be of service.  I want to live my passions and hear my calling, live my calling, not fear it.  I've met new people this year who have reminded me that friendship is a precious gem.  I have been broken open and feel ready to view new vistas.  I want to climb the damn mountain!
I am not sure what my intention was when I began this post.  But that's okay.  Sometimes my best posts are written when I "just want to get something quick down" so I can fulfill my commitment to blog Monday through Friday and end up typing away, pouring out what I may not even know was bubbling to make it's way to the surface.  I love that.  Writers live for these moments.
 It is sometimes hard to explain the workings of your heart.
But I know if I just get up everyday and love and smile and spread joy, then that's what I will receive back from the universe.
Not so long ago I was convinced that a certain kind of car, or the right job with the right income would make me happy.  What a foolish child I was. How liberating to let all that "looking good" stuff go.  How free I feel to just be me.  To just show up and offer what I have to give...me.  Simply me, with our without makeup on!  

I now understand that it's never about the stuff.  It's only about the stuff on the inside and how to share it, be of service and make a connection.  I'm making my mark on the world everyday in my own little way, in my own little corner of the world with my little family, with my friends and loved ones and I gotta tell ya, it's amazing.  Thank you for reading this blog and being a part of my little world.  It means everything.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bedding Issues.....

I purchased this king size duvet cover last week from Kohl's.  It was originally $289 (oh, please!), marked down to $189 and I was able to use a 15% off, 30% off and free shipping AND Kohl's cash which gave me $20 back, making my total around $113 if I am remembering correctly.  It's been a long day cleaning and prepping for my mom and Aunt to arrive for Lauren's sixth birthday and ended with Spanish class and a trip to Costco.  I'm pretty much done!  (Don't you just LOVE all those hats and that big brass bed in the above photo?) 
These are some photos I took at the actual Kohl's store after I ordered it online, to see if I would like it more than the internet photos.  I only purchased the duvet cover which comes with two pillow shams.  
 I did a mock set up of what it would look like in the bedroom with a bunch of other pillows I collected from around the house that match perfectly.  Yet, I'm still not sure if I will keep it.  I do like it, but wonder if I need a punch of color beyond all the gold tones happening in the room.
 I'm rather obsessed with that small pillow in the front.  It reminds me of a really cool cottage.  Or those vintage trading blankets.  Pillows have a tendency to speak to me.  I have a thing for pillows.  This one is saying "and I have a thing for you too..."  (Okay, I'll stop now with the pillow talk.  GET IT?!!! hahahahhha)

So I'm going to wait for a few other opinions to make my final decision.   Either way, I can return it directly to the store so that makes life easy.  My overall vision was to get other pillows, a sheet set, a blanket, etc. from various sources outside this Chaps Home Montauk Studio from Kohl's and really mix and match it up 'ala Nate Berkus.  The hubs thought we needed to go with a bigger punch of color.  (the walls are a gold tone, the rug in the room has all the same family of colors and the wood is all yellow, gold, amber tones.....and we have a funky "Alice in Wonderland" chair that kinda kicks things up a bit with colors a bit more bold, but still in this family)  But when hubs gave me his opinion, (I'm not sure he even knew anything was changed in the room!) I fully told him his opinion kinda didn't count.  (with love)  I've decorated the crap out of this house and he almost always supports me.  When he questions me, I fight back!

I'll let you know my decision.  My daughter turns SIX tomorrow and I cannot believe it!  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hockey and Sushi....

This past Saturday was spent catching up with our fab friends Tom & Kelly from Verona, WI.  (If you've heard me talk Trout Lake tales on our annual June trip, these are the peeps we go with!)  Their son TJ is a hockey player and we attended his game on Saturday.  We anticipated that Evan would love the game and be totally into it.
 Evan was most obsessed with the zamboni!  The game itself.....yeah, not so much!  Luckily he got to see the zamboni twice before we left.
I love this photo.  That's Cleo (Tom & Kelly's daughter) discussing the finer points of the game with her pal Evan.  It turns out you can play the claw game and win candy, get slushies and popcorn at hockey games!
TJ's team tied but TJ had a goal so that was very fun!  I have decided I cannot have my children in any sort of sport whatsoever!  (kidding but not really!) I'm the sort of gal who likes to know the score and check out the highlights.  Actually watching your child potentially get injured is something I'd have to get used to.  Every time a puck went near the net I was on edge.  And TJ went down for a bit after getting a stick in the helmet and I could feel my anxiety rise.  
So what goes good with hockey?  How about some SUSHI!!! This was Evan's first sushi.  Lauren had her first sushi with The Becker family too so we are like totally bonded over sushi.  (you need to say that in a valley girl voice!)
What is hilarious is the trip that Kelly and I took to the grocery to get extra steak and shrimp for the grill and appetizers and stuff for salad.  But TOM was in charge of ordering and we were we fooling ourselves if we thought he'd just get a platter!
Tom said it best when he said "It's just so fun to eat it with people who enjoy it as much as we do."  You got that right Uncle T-Bone!  (that's what our kids call him!)  We were STUFFED and delighted with the goodness!  Bengt peer pressured me into eating the very last piece.  I was full and said no way, no how, no thank you.  Yep, I ate it.  And he said "Now wasn't that the best piece you ate all night?"  And I said, "yes!"

Lauren ate her salad with chop sticks!  She wimped out on the sushi.  But hey, at least we can say "you ate it when you were a toddler!"
At this point I can't say if Evan like it or not!  I love kids at this age.  They will try anything and if they like it they will eat a lot of it!  Currently on Evan's list of weird things to eat/drink are:  coffee, tea, chai tea, mustard, frozen waffle sticks, (yes frozen!) sausages/meat of all kind and pickled herring. (yikes!)
 Fun with chopsticks!  Always a crowd pleaser!

Lauren and Cleo set up a "registration table" for the weekend and we all got name tags.  It was awesome.  This is such a girl thing!

Kelly made Lauren a birthday cake and the kids decorated it.  This was on Sunday afternoon after Cleo stayed up until midnight with the adults.  This photo was taken after Lauren and Cleo had two major melt-downs while painting the mystical horses I bought them at Saver's.  Yes, mystical horses.  Kelly said Cleo slept for three hours after we left and woke up a much happier child!
Good Lookin' Cleo!
I keep telling the kids that all these crazy faced photos and pouting and general non-cooperating for the camera are just fueling our ever-growing pile of "photos to show at your important life events."  Kelly kept telling Cleo all weekend that "you are going to be in Tricia's blog so look good!" That green hand is an art project TJ made in school.  TJ is not present in any of these photos, but this is his hand cast!

And here are the most important ladies of the weekend!  I did a little editing so you couldn't see we are sans makeup.  We were having so much fun we kind of forgot to take photos until we had been drinking a wee bit and we started eating sushi.  We both had makeup on then!  We had grand intentions of harassing Kelly's sister Nancy too because we were together and she wasn't with us drinking and eating and having fun. I think Nancy was somewhat disappointed we didn't drunk text her or keep sending her photos of our fun!  

So it all made sense to us.  Hockey and Sushi!  What makes the most sense of all is true friends.  I can't say it enough.  What would life be without them?