Cable Knit Sweaters

• 31 October 2007

It's nice to see an old classic back on the pages of fashion mags. Somehow I've never outgrown cable knit sweaters.

Here is my version of Budget (pick up right away--see left)

Semi-Budget (sell something and then use funds to supplement purchase!)

Splurge (ask for it as a birthday or Christmas gift--see cashmere/cable version on right).

Caveat: I realize the word "budget" is a relative term. To In Style staffers it means around $100...to moi, it means around $30. I have way too many little people dependent on me to justify multiple "In-Style-Budget-Purchases" a month.


2008 Here I Come

• 29 October 2007

Last week Rebecca mailed this to me for my birthday and I think I just might love it more than she does. One cannot grasp its full beauty simply from this photograph...it's so amazing in person. Even the ol' hubby commented on how great it was and how it deserved a prominent place in the kitchen. Now that's a compliment my friends!

She found it here at Paper Source (our favorite store to peruse together) but you can find it online at other paperies like this one or this one. Now I have a reason to look forward to January 1...or maybe I'll be like Rebecca and just hang it up now anyway because it's so dang cute.

Off to find that perfect spot on the wall!


To Do SLC with Kids: Letterboxing

Several months ago I read about letterboxing on Design Mom (click 2/3 down the page to view this link) and became intrigued by this clandestine hobby. We decided to try it out awhile back and the kids had enough fun that I'm definitely going to do it again. The next time, however, I will be a little more discerning about the location of the hunt :) This first hunt took us by some sketchy areas.

Next up...the letterbox at Red Butte Gardens! Anyone want to come? Complimentary jelly bellies for all participants!


Feeling a Bit Tart?

...then you must try this recipe by the fabulous Ina Garten, a.k.a. Barefoot Contessa. I made this last week and served it with lemon curd (don't let this intimidate you--it's not difficult to make at all), freshly whipped cream and fresh raspberries (5400 S. Costco). Yuh-uh-mmmy.

If you have a bunch of lemons to use up, click here to view the full recipe. I love that one recipe makes two loaves. Mini-loaves would be cute too.

For the low fat version that is also tasty, click here. This Lemon-Yogurt cake would taste wonderful with the above-mentioned toppings too.

Oh how I wish I had some left. I'm hungry.


Home Decor Ideas

This upcoming Saturday I'm giving a 30 minute presentation on "home decor on a budget" at a church function. I know, I know...can you believe how desperate they are to ask me...a total designer wannabe? What in the world can I say for a half hour? 'Shop at Target' perhaps? Nah, I have to be more creative than that unfortunately :) So here's where you come in...

Does anyone have any tips to pass along? Keep in mind that "budget" is an underlying theme. If statistics prove accurate, I am hoping for a few hundred comments in the next few days :)

Help please!


To Do with Kids: Ogden Treehouse Children's Museum

I've heard nothing but rave reviews about this fun little destination for kiddies so with a Happenings coupon in hand and a day off school (UEA) we headed up to Ogden to see what the hullabaloo was all about...could Ogden really be worth the 45 minute drive?

It's all spot on. We loved it and the kids can't wait to go back for more. It's surprisingly inexpensive too. Finally a children's museum that allows adults in free. I don't mind dishing out for my kids but paying my own admission seems silly. I guess the folks over at Treehouse agree.

The location is downtown near all the happening development taking place in Ogden and right across the street from the LDS Temple so it's a pretty location as well. The parking lot is small but street parking nearby is easy to find and unmetered. Afterwards we ate at the Great Harvest on quaint 25th Street and perused a local gallery as well. I couldn't believe how well-behaved the kids were in the gallery for a good 15 minutes. What in heavens name possessed them?
jumping for joy...it's that fun!

Click here for a $1 off coupon and head up soon!


Stools are Not Just for the Kitchen

Ever start tearing out pages from magazines only to find a pattern? Sometimes that's how I figure out a style or look that I love...it keeps making its way to my binder over and over and over. Lately, I find myself in love with the idea of two stools/mini-benches (with x-shaped legs) at the foot of my bed.

When we decide to redo the master (not on the docket anytime soon but a girl can dream!), I think I'll order a few of these in a kid-friendly fabric like microfiber. I like the look and B. will love having another place to drape his towel :) Hmm...I may have to rethink this!


Halloween is in the Air

I'm getting into Halloween a bit more this year...and it's fun! I made these last week and had such a ball, I think I just might make some more tonight with some farm fresh apples I picked up this afternoon and of course, chocolate. We'll see how the night goes...

These are pretty easy to make, especially if you use a paper cutter, and the results are totally worth the minimal effort.

I modified the directions a little by:

1. using one-inch thick black twill ribbon instead of twine
2. using a paper-cutter instead of scissors
3. trimming the top about 1.5 inches after making the strips
4. adding these cute Halloween tags from Marta

Give it a go! Full directions here.


Simple Silver

• 26 October 2007

I'm always on the lookout for silver earrings that are both simple and stylish. I really like this pair...and they are on sale too! Bonus :)

Click here.


Awww Shucks

• 25 October 2007

Wow, you really know how to make a gal feel special! Thank you for the messages, blog posts, cards, gifts and calls today. You all mean a lot to me! xoxo...

P.S. This is what I woke up to yesterday--a beautiful gourmet breakfast a la Ben...homemade frittata with mushrooms, scallions & bacon....baguette with currant jam...pears, yogurt, raspberries with pomegranate seeds. Talk about getting off to a great start!


Autumnal Wreath

• 24 October 2007

Last year I procured this unique "wreath" from Tar-jay...it was the last one in the store. Pfew...I made it there in time for once. Just the other day I saw a stack of these same wreaths at the Ft. Union Target for the same fab price as last year--$13. If your front door is lacking, this might do the trick.

Note: I visited a local ribbon store (The Lace Place on Highland Dr.) and bought some quality ribbon to wrap around the stem...just to jazz it up a bit. The copper wreath hanger was only $6 at Smith & Hawken and can be used year-round.


Advent Calendars

It's fairly difficult for me to find an advent calendar that I love to hang in a prominent place in my home; but lately I feel like I've seen too many and now I can't decide. I even saw a Thanksgiving advent calendar today...has anyone else ever seen that? I love the idea of having my kids write down one thing they are thankful for that day and then placing it in the appropriate pouch. Brilliant!

Here are some of my favorites:

Beginning from the top left going clockwise:

Click here for the little birdies

Click here for the little mittens

Click here for the hats & mittens on a string

Click here to give thanks


Proper Care of Cast Iron

• 23 October 2007

B's parents introduced us to the world of cast iron cookware around the time we married and we've used them a zillion times since. These tough pans are perfect for a myriad of recipes such as roast chicken, roast beef, roasted vegetables, etc.

Guests often comment on these pans and ask questions like, "where to you purchase one?" and "how do you clean it?" and "how do you season it?", etc. Here are the answers to all those questions and a few tips from Martha.

Where to Buy: Antique stores or Kmart--Martha's Everyday line over there offers cast iron pans now.

How to Clean: The most important thing to remember about cast iron is to never use soap during the cleaning process. It will ruin the finish. Just use warm water and a sponge/scrub brush to get off any dirt particles. If you have stubborn stains, use coarse salt and a sponge. That will do the trick!

How to Season (per Martha):

Seasoning a cast-iron pan gives it a smooth, nonstick surface that actually improves with age. When you buy a new cast-iron pan, the first thing you should do is wash it in hot, soapy water. Dry the pan thoroughly, first with a dishcloth, and then in an oven heated to 300 degrees for several minutes. You must dry the pan completely to prevent rust. Then pour about a tablespoon of oil into the pan, and rub it over the surface with a paper towel. Be careful not to use too much oil or the coating will be too thick. Place the pan in a 300 degrees oven for about an hour, then remove it and let it cool. Wipe away the excess oil, and your pan will be ready to use.

To keep a seasoned cast-iron pan in good condition, simply wipe it with a paper towel and a little oil after each use to clean it. If there are stuck-on food particles, use hot water and a brush or nylon scouring pad to clean them away (never use soap). If necessary, pour some water into the pan, and boil it on top of the stove for a few minutes to eliminate stubborn food pieces. Dry and reseason the pan between washings.


Picture Book

The other day at Family Dollar (the downtown State St. location to be exact) I found this cute picture book, complete with monogrammed front, for only $3. I thought it would be fun to print out a bunch of pictures of my little guy and then place them inside for him to look at when he chooses.

I put it all together last night after picking up the prints at Target, and this morning I watched him walk...or rather "run"...down memory lane as he went through the pages with such joy. He remembered so much about his experiences and it was very fun for me to watch him become so excited!

The store I visited carried this album in three colors: red, blue & sage. If you are local, I'd drop by...if you're not local, check out Target. I noticed some cute Kolo-esque albums there the other day. Or, if you're lucky enough to live by the paper/stationery mecca also known as Paper Source, check out their vast selection of quality Kolo albums in person (you lucky dog you).


Tear Jerker

• 21 October 2007

I reread this story last night and did the whole crying thing all over again. It reminds me to appreciate each day with my spouse and children and to truly be grateful for every moment. We only have one chance at this life so let's make the most of it!

I hope this story inspires you too. Have a thoughtful day~


Organizing Tip #3

• 20 October 2007

Clear off kitchen countertops

Clear kitchen countertops and put back only what you use at least two times per week. Store everything else in cabinets or drawers.

per Donna Smallin, the One-Minute Organizer

picture via House Beautiful

#1 Make your bed each day
#2 Clean out closet (take out everything not worn in one year)


Pretty for Winter

• 19 October 2007

I love this sweater...what fun details it has without being overdone. The classic kimono style is an added bonus--you could wear this for years. Hmmm...time to start Craigslisting again this month!

Click here to view additional details.


1st Dibs

• 17 October 2007

Always wanted a copper glove mold on your mantle? or a vintage Eames table? or antique French botanical prints? Oh, and you have a few bucks to spend? ...then check out 1st Dibs!

I've read about this site in a few design mags but never mentioned it until now...not sure why. It's an amazing resource for anyone interested in mid-century pieces or antiques in general.

I think these Saarinen chairs would be tres chic reupholstered in a contrasting fabric. Maybe something like this. This website is the best for fabrics. Again, I wish I could sew! Maybe I should take some local sewing classes here...


Fall Skirt

Isn't this a pretty skirt? I love anything with a contrast trim. It's simple, modern, colorful, etc. Pair it up with some opaque tights, a turtleneck sweater and boots like these for a complete look.

*If you like the skirt a lot, you can enjoy free shipping and 10% off all orders right now.


Sugar City Journal

• 16 October 2007

If you haven't checked out the link to Sugar City Journal, you must take a peek this week. There is so much loveliness this week I can hardly stand it. I'm ready to revamp my little girl's room...I'm just so inspired by Lynne & Melissa. Hopefully their Etsy shop will be open soon! Talk about two talented gals.

Check it out here or just use the link in the right hand column.


Air Travel Survival Kit...with Kids

• 15 October 2007

Traveling with the kiddies over the holidays this year? Stock up on these goodies, load them into a backpack, and off you go on what will hopefully be a manageable (and enjoyable?) trip. Here are some recommendations, (according to Travel & Leisure Family mag) for what to pack:

1. Snacks (edamame, apple, yogurt tube, gingersnaps, carrots, string cheese, lollipop, trail mix, pita chips)

2. Wooly Willy

3. Activity books & crayons (coloring, connect-the-dots, crosswords, etc.)

4. Change of clothes

5. Wipes

6. FunForms sticker art

7. Paper towels and plastic bags

8. Portable DVD player

9. Motion-sickness bracelets

10. Magnetic Chinese checkers

These two backpacks are probably the two cutest I've ever laid my eyes upon. I feel like hoppin' on a plane right now just so I can justify snatching these up!

Click here for the barnyard animal backpacks (on sale!)

Click here for the dino backpack.


Covering Books

• 12 October 2007

Until I read this "how-to" on Paper Source, I totally forgot that I used to cover my books in junior high on up. I mostly used brown paper bags and then decorated them with markers and the name of my crush-of-the-year.

But these are book covers worth mentioning, and making! What a great way to use all the fun paper currently hanging out in my mega disorganized craft closet...but that's another story.

Covering books is soooo easy...just read this "how-to". You'll be dreaming down memory lane in no time.

Click here for the "how-to".

And while we are on the subject of PS, can I just say how perfect these calendars are? Because there is no specified date, they can transfer from 2007-2008 in a cinch; plus, they are simple, beautiful and come in some great color choices. Love it love it love it.


Save the Date

Anyone want to carpool?


To Do SLC: Children's Birthday Parties

Considering outsourcing your little tike's birthday party this year? Here are a few unique places around town worth considering this year:

Red Butte Gardens (year-round)

The Finishing School

Mani/Pedi Mini Spa

Children's Theatre

Tumble Bus

Fairmont Aquatic Center

Utah Museum of Natural History

The Lion House

Some excellent articles on spending and overspending on birthday parties--very refreshing to read. Click here, here and here. Don't want to take a few minutes to read there? Bottom line: keep it real and just have old-fashioned fun. Kids don't need a lot of pomp and circumstance to have a great time. It should be all about the kids and not about parents competing with other parents. Definitely good thoughts to remember!


i {heart} swap

I received my swap package this week from the gal who inspired me to host this swap; and it was so much fun to open. After the kids were in bed and the house was quiet, I carefully cut it open and played "kid-in-a-candy-store".

Look what the magnificent Kelly included:

* Benetint & Gloss
* Headbands
* Andes candies
* Amy Butler book
* Burts Bees Coconut Cream
* personalized stationery
* fragrance and warmer
* Itunes GC
* pretty little necklace with my name engraved
* an adorable suitcase & luggage tage

Can you believe how amazing she is? I couldn't be more thrilled. I think I may have to add swaps up there with my Etsy addiction. This is way too much fun.

I'm not the only one who is lovin' the swap thang...click here, here or here to view more things people just love. I wanted to post many more links but for some reason Blogger isn't allowing me to put up a million links so we'll just go with these for now :)


Pumpkin Patch Outing

Earlier this year I joined a CSA (one of my better decisions of the year) and one of the many perks is having the opportunity to cruise through a genuine pumpkin patch and choose 3 pumpkins of any size to take home. It was drizzling outside and a bit chilly but we all enjoyed ourselves nonetheless...we just made it a semi-quick outing!

Here are a few pics from our day. The kids were SO excited. The bottom left picture is of L. hugging a little girl (he likes to give hugs) whose identity is unknown :). I asked L. and E. to give each other a hug for the picture and L. ran towards this nearby little girl and opted to hug her instead. Silly little guy.


Mary Janes for Li'l Ladies

I love seeing Mary Janes in my daughter's closet. I know there will be a time someday (hopefully in the very distance future) that she will refuse to wear such timeless, adorable, youthful, classic shoes and will instead opt for some of the more obnoxious shoes on the market today. I shudder at the thought.

Until then, I will relish in buying her Mary Janes for her cute little feet.

These and these are good-looking, inexpensive and feature a Velcro strap. Nice.

If you want something more unique, more "boutique-y" then try these or these.

If you are a Mommy to pre-teen gals, check out the selection at JCPenney (I know, I know...I was surprised too); but how adorable are these for a ten-year old?


More Necklaces: Vintage Lockets

Confession: I think that I'm truly addicted to Etsy. It's like bargain hunting times ten because there is so much amazing product and no middle man (or retailer rather) to mark everything up 100%. Does anyone know of any ten-step programs?

I digress...

Several months ago on the cover of In Style magazine, Courtney Cox wore a feminine blouse with a long vintage locket...or at least that is how I interpreted it at the time. It's stuck with me ever since. I love the idea of wearing something around your neck that includes a picture of what matters most.

Here are a few vintage lockets on Etsy worth hangin' around the pretty little neck of yours:

Vintage Locket #1 (click on the numeral)

Vintage Locket #2

Vintage Locket #3

Vintage Locket #4


Classic Necklace

A classy way to wear your initial...designed by Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co. It's simple, goes with everything and comes in that gorgeous blue box we all love...and as far as T&Co. goes, the price point is reasonable. This would be a special Christmas or Birthday gift.

Click here to view your initial.


I'm a Slave...are You?

Slave to Target has definitely inspired me lately. So in light of my recent trip to Tar-jay, I thought I'd highlight some of my finds...

1. Square door mats in modern designs. Can't find them online so look in the Domestics dept next time you drop by. There were only a few left and I can see why. My favorite was the chartreuse and chocolate damask square mat.

2. This perfect fall/winter dress and this exotic looking dress

3. Fabulous RED peep toe pumps with the perfect off-the-runway heel.

*Note: I just realized she (over at Slave to Target) blogged about these same red pumps. Clearly we were both mesmerized by their "fabulousness")

4. Unique gourds for $4/bag...you can't find gourds that cute for that price anywhere else locally. See picture below~


L'Anniversaire de Mariage

Yesterday we celebrated eight years of marriage...my how time flies. Since moving to Utah a few years ago, we began a tradition of going to Fresco Italian Cafe for dinner on our anniversary night. It's a small, romantic restaurant complete with a fireplace and small menu brimming with local delights. A lovely evening it was indeed.

Here is a picture taken during our photo session at Busath when we became engaged over 8 years ago. It's kind of old-fashioned, something you'd expect see in your grandma's diary from the early 20th century...but I kind of like that about it. If we only knew what we were getting into :) Three kids later...
Here's to many many more! Love ya B.


Bargain Belt

• 09 October 2007

Here is a bit of temptation for you...Anthro is having a great sale right now. I decided to check it out since I had a little gift certificate burnin' through my wallet.

I found a lovely blouse for $20 in store but I found this lovely belt online for $20 too. I love the scalloped edges.

Click here to see bundles of belts, many of which start at $10.


Halloween Favor

This would be a fun little treat to give out to friends on Halloween...a test tube full of little candies and then tied with ribbon. I love it!

For personalized ribbon click here.

For test tubes and cork stoppers click here.


Menu for the Week

It's been fun to start creating some order in my recipe binder...I'm finding loads of new recipes to try. As usual, I'm placing some oldies but goodies on the menu as well as a few new recipes to mix it up. It's been a lot of fun introducing new flavors to the kids and watching their reactions. Surprisingly, kids are more adventurous than we give them credit for I think. Anyway, we'll see how it all goes...

Steak with Garlic & Rosemary, Roasted Red Potatoes with Herbs, Butter Lettuce Salad

Oven Roasted Cod with Ginger, Lime (recipe calls for Sea Bass but that is hard to find here)

Parmesan Chicken Cutlets with CSA Veggies (as in whatever my CSA box holds this week)

Gnocchi with Sausage & Spinach (If you're local, don't settle for any other sausage but Harmon's homemade Italian sausage)

Pomodoro Sauce with Shrimp & Lemon Zest over Angel Hair

Dessert: Red Velvet Cake with Seven Minute Frosting


Organizing Tip #2

Organize Your Closet.

* Go through your wardrobe and jettison anything that's one of the four S's: stretched, small, smelly (ew!), or stained (sure, you could clean the stained and smelly pieces, but the idea is to let things go).
* Turn all your hangers in one direction, and for the next six months, flip the hanger (and leave it flipped) when you wear something. Donate the untouched clothes.
Per O magazine, January 2007

Caveat: As I'm going through my closet I am taking pieces that I enjoy--but that don't fit well--to be altered. This way I can justify keeping pieces I like and increase my options. Locally I like Sugarhouse Alterations in Sugarhouse Commons (Nordstrom Rack, Michaels, Tsunami, etc.).

Organizing Tip #1

Make Your Bed Each Day


Fun on the Farm

• 08 October 2007

When B. and I vacayed in Mexico, my super-stepmom flew into town to take care of the two oldest kiddies. They had lots of fun going places, meeting new people and of course consuming more than a few milkshakes and cheeseburgers...I guess that's what Grandma's are for--spoiling!

Here are a few pictures, mostly from their day on the farm. It was definitely the favorite of all the activities!

Stinky! (Notice nose plugging)

This is the Place State Park

Sliding down the cotton pile

Shoes covered in mud but we're still laughing!

The shoes


Stop Overthinking, Start Living

I love "The Motivator" column in Real Simple. She gets my wheels turning just about every month. I knew this particular article was going to be good when she started sounding off about native Ohioans, being one herself. Ah-ha! Is that why I'm that way?

Click here to read "How to Stop Overthinking Your Life and Start Living It". It's such a great read and will only take you about 4 minutes to complete. Come on, you've got 4 minutes don't ya?


Flowers: Martha by Mail

A pretty little autumnal arrangement by Martha by Mail...

After much research, I've found the MBM flower selection to be the best on the web (Hallmark being #2). Even at its best Teleflora can't hold a candle to these classic arrangements; many of which are placed in vintage-style vases. Does this woman ever stop creating beautiful things? It must be so tiring to be herself!

If you're struggling with what to present that someone-who-has-everything on his/her birthday, flowers might do the trick. Or, for a super duper special person, perhaps a year's worth of flowers, or a year's worth of plants would be the perfect gift.

Click here to see more flowers by Martha.


Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

I found this yummy recipe while attempting to add some kind of order to my recipe binder a few nights ago. It appealed to me for two reasons:

1. chocolate is amongst my favorite ingredients...okay so it's at the top!
2. the addition of freshly grated ginger...intriguing

I used a Ghirardelli semi-sweet chip because of it's high cocoa content and I'm a firm believer that food tastes a million times better if you use quality ingredients. After I restock my Callebaut supply at Gygi, I'll use those next time.

Click here for the full recipe.


Classic Skirt

There are a few classic pieces in my wardrobe that, over time, have withstood the many trips to consignment stores, salvation army, etc. You would never know that a particular dress, pair of slacks, or jacket is say...8 years old.

I know high-waisted pants and skirts are of the moment but seriously, a high-waisted pencil skirt is more classic than trendy. This is the perfect classic black pencil skirt.

Click here for details on this little number.


Wall Stencils & Decals

• 07 October 2007

What a clever way to add visual interest to a bland wall yearning for something to adorn it. My first thought was that stencils (and decals) were only appropriate in a kid's room but this photo made me think otherwise.

Click here to see more. Lots of fun kids and home stuff. If you are lucky enough to live in Chicago or NY, you can probably see most of this, and more, at their retail location.


Get Your Groove On

• 06 October 2007

Do you like to mix it up a little when it comes to musical taste? Oui? Then, you just might enjoy my current playlist full of tunes from the 70's, 80's, 90's, and today. (Is it me or does that sound like a radio ad?)

Anyway, here are a few groovy tunes to spice up your car ride or the day-to-day stuff around the house. My kids and I danced around the kitchen to #12 today and we all had a lot of fun. It was a great way to wake up our tired bodies on this oh-so-chilly day.

#1 Off the Wall, Michael Jackson
#2 Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours, Stevie Wonder
#3 Tell Me 'Bout It, Joss Stone
#4 Miss You, Rolling Stones
#5 Never Ending, Kaskade
#6 Lady (You Bring Me Up), the Commodores
#7 Not the Only One, Bonnie Raitt
#8 Weight of the World, the Samples
#9 Wild Wild Life, Talking Heads
#10 Loveblind, Jamiroquai
#11 All I Want, Toad the Wet Sprocket
#12 Overkill, Men at Work
#13 What I Am, Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians
#14 Remember the Time, Michael Jackson (again!)
#15 You Can Call Me Al, Paul Simon

So get your groove on mama! Just don't blow out your speakers like yours truly. If this does happen do not fret...the Bose Sound Dock can handle you.


Still Life Art

• 05 October 2007

While studying art in both high school and college, I fell in love with 17th century Dutch still life paintings as well as Cezanne's 19th century works featuring delectable fruit and the like. I guess I'm still drawn to them today because I found myself drawn to some lovely (and inexpensive) little still life paintings on Etsy this week. If you are more of a photography fan, there are lots of shops offering up still life photographs too.

#1: Click here to view in more detail and to read pricing info.

#2: Not fruit, which modernizes it a bit. Click here to view.

#3: Photographic still life. Click here to see more works like this.


Volunteer Match

• 03 October 2007

I read about a great website called Volunteer Match that helps you find volunteer opportunities in your local area. This is a great site for adults and teens alike. During high school my friend Ali and I volunteered at the local children's hospital and it was a great experience. I found a greater sense of satisfaction with my life, what I had, etc. after meaningful volunteer experiences like that. What human being couldn't benefit?

Check it out here.

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