Thursday, May 26, 2011

totally recharged

Hello!!  I hope you are all having a fabulous week!!  I am back from my girls trip and it was so amazing.  Just what I needed.  I feel recharged and focused and full of inspiration to tackle some big projects.

We went to Palm Springs for 4 days and had such a blast laying by the pool, shopping, laughing, eating and just relaxing.  It was perfection.  We stayed here.  I would completely recommend this resort and definitely plan on taking Mark and the kids back at some point this summer.  It was so family friendly and I know the kids would have a blast.  There is also a lazy river, water park, top notch spa, great restaurant and golf course on the property.  Plus, there are shops, restaurants and a movie theater right across the street, so we really didn't need the car once we got there, which was really nice. 

Speaking of a movies, it has been ages since I have seen anything but an animated movie in the theater, but while we were there we saw Bridesmaids and it is seriously the funniest movie I have ever seen.  Ever.  I laughed out loud for the entire 2 hours.  And then we recited all the jokes to each other on the walk back to the hotel.  Seriously, take your best friend and see that movie.  I would totally see it a second time.

I took my big camera and camera bag with the intention of taking lots of photos, but I never even took it out of the bag.  I was just too lazy to bust it out.  The only 2 photos I have are straight from the phone, but I'll share them anyhow.

{We took this about 5 minutes after we checked in.  Can you tell how thrilled we are?  There are not many people aside from Mark that I could spend 4 days with.  But, Betsy is definitely one of them.  We have been friends, forever.}

{Lounging by the pool.  Happy as a clam.} 

This was my first girls trip since Mark and I got married and it definitely won't be the last!!  We had so much fun that we've already started talking about all the other places we want to go!  Palm Beach, San Francisco, Cape Cod, the list goes on and on!!  Do you take trips with your girlfriends?  What's the best one you've ever taken?

Friday, May 20, 2011

more winners!!

Okay, well, actually you are all winners, but only chose 3 of three entries to get a free necklace, so without further delay...congrats to the following ladies:

who said:

"I think 21 was my fav year so far too! It was such a fun year with my little girl and hubby was with us a lot! So much fun and bonding time :)"

who said:

"Happy Birthday--belated! :)

My favorite age has been 25. I hit my stride in my job, lost 30 pounds, and became pregnant ( bye bye30 lb weight loss!!) :)"

{by the way, Laura has a fantastic etsy shop with the most adorable accessories.  I had no idea!!  You should definitely check it out!!}


who said:

"How nice of you! You know how to celebrate a birthday!

I'd have to say 18 or 29...18 for when I went to college 1000 miles away from home and had to stand on my own two feet or 29 for when I became a mother for a first time. Both amazing times in my life!"

Ladies, email me with your necklace choice, custom instructions and shipping information!!

All three of these girls have fun blogs, so definitely check them out!!  You can click their name to link to each of their blogs!

And, with that I am off on my girls trip!!  See you next Wednesday!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Congrants to the winners of the Plum Street Prints giveaway!!

They are....

Caroline Hester

who said: 

"I would definitely choose the "Nothing is Impossible" quote... great inspiration, plus it was Audrey Hepburn, my favorite!!!"



 who said:

"I'd take the "I am a child of God" print in the white colorway. I'm a sucker for that song since it is sung around here CONSTANTLY! The message is priceless too, I remind myself and my children of that fact as often as I can."

{winners were chosen by, as always}

Ladies, please contact me at with your print choice!!  Yay!!

If you didn't win, don't worry!  You can still get your Plum Streets fix for 30% off, now through May 23rd!!  See coupon code below!  Happy Shopping!!

Be sure and come back tomorrow morning - I'll be posting the winners of the {starfish} giveway before I head off to drink frozen beverages with tiny umbrellas by the pool!!

birthday presents...

Are you sick of my birthday yet?  I'm totally not, but I promise this will be the last day of me talking about it.

I love seeing what gifts people choose.  Maybe that's because I'm in the gift business, or maybe it's just because I'm nosy like that.  Anyway, do you want to see what I got?  I'm super excited about it!

Initially Mark had the idea of going to a cooking/teaching/tasting event by Sam the Cooking Guy.  Do you know him?  He is one of my faves. He writes amazing and simple recipes and he is a local down to earth San Diegan.  Plus he is super cool and going to one of his local events and meeting him and seeing him in person would have been awesome.  Especially because Mark would have gone with me and we both love to cook and love to cook together.

But...we just moved.  And that mean there is a looong list of items I have my eye on.  Furniture, projects, window coverings....the list goes on.  Plus the event was last weekend and I was still in recovery mode from surgery on Friday.  So, we decided to check a few items off the house list instead of going to the cooking event. 

Okay, ready to peek at my gifts??

The Ektorp Chair and Ottoman and the Egeby Rug underneath it.

This chair is comfortable, with a machine washable low cost slipcover, making it easy to replace, which I have a feeling we will need to do every year or so.  I love the big pop of white.  Please excuse the fact that it's very wrinkled.  I was hoping the wrinkles would fall out after a couple days...guess not.

I sat in this chair and finished this book the other night.  Amazing book, I finished all 500 pages in 5 days.  It was the first fictional book I've finished in years.  I was so sad to see it end.  And, on that note...I was also like, "Wait!  What happens next?  What goes on in New York?  What does Aibileen end up doing with her new freedom?  Does Minny follow through with her plans to free herself from Leroy?"  I smell a sequel...I'm just sayin.

And, when I spotted this blown up canvas of a surfer at dawn, I snagged it immediately.  Total impulse buy, but right up my alley. 

{Sorry for the weird angle.  The glare from the windows was playing tricks with my camera and this was the best I could get!} 

I have no idea where I'm going to put it, but I know I will find the perfect spot.  I have lots of blank walls around here.

Lastly, we picked up one of these light fixtures for the mudroom.

And, there you have it.  I missed you Sam, but I think I made the right choice!

If you haven't entered the birthday giveaways yet, you can enter here and here.  I'm off to get myself ready for my trip and get my bags packed!!  My bestie arrives tonight and then we are off on our girl's trip birthday getaway!!  I'm just a teensy bit excited about it!! 

Come back tonight to see the winners of the Plum Street Prints giveaway!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

yay!! another birthday giveaway!!

{photo from that not the most beautiful cupcake you've ever seen?}

I hope you all enjoyed yesterday's giveaway from Plum Street Prints.  If you haven't entered, head here and be sure to get entered into the giveaway.  Both Plum Street Prints giveaway winners will be announced here on Thursday evening.

For today, I thought it would be fun to have a birthday giveaway of my own.  Thank you for all the birthday wishes yesterday!  I had so much fun celebrating with my family.  We made pink cupcakes and Mark treated me to a homemade dinner of steak and mushrooms, baked potatoes and wine.  Yum!! 

And, this weekend I am headed on a girl's trip with my bestie.  Cannot wait!!  I am pedicured and ready to go!! 

Are you ready for today's giveaway?  Since I am 30, how about a winner for each decade?  I am going to give three of you {yes 3} any necklace of your choice from the shop!  Yay!  This is officially my biggest giveaway ever on the blog!!!  I am super excited and I hope you are too!!

Want to enter?  Just leave a comment below telling me what your favorite age was and why!!  So far, I would say mine was 21.  That was the year I fell in love with Mark and my life changed forever.  Sappy, but true.  Best thing that's ever happened to me.  I adore that guy.  

I heard the 30's are the best decade - I'm ready!!!!

Okay, your turn!  Best year/age and why!!

I will announce the winners here on Friday!

Monday, May 16, 2011

plum street prints {a giveaway!!!}

Today is my birthday, so how fitting is it that we celebrate with a giveaway??

You guys are going to looove this one!!  Plum Street Prints sells custom, modern, and unique ready to print art at extremely reasonable prices. 

Shannon and Lori co-own the hip print shop and I was thrilled when they asked if I'd be interested in a giveaway for my readers.  Um, yes please!!

And...they let me pick out 2 for myself!!  Well, Happy Birthday to me!!  Here is what I chose:

{For Reid's top bunk}

{For downstairs, maybe in the entry?}

I am not exaggerating when I say that I spent an hour on their shop site debating over which ones I wanted.  I love them ALL! 

Check out more super cool mod prints from their collection:

Modern Seattle Skyline Print - Printable 8x10

 I Love You Just as You Are (I Love Just You) - Printable 8x10  Rhino Children's Art - 8x10 Printable Art
{Sweet words for your sweet babes.  And an animal nursery print like no other.  Love.}

 Monkey Children's Art - 8x10 Printable Art

 Birth Announcement Poster - "I Heart" Boy Version - 8x10 Printable
{So fun and boyish without being too nursery feeling.}

 Nothing is Impossible - 8x10 Printable Art
{One of my favorite quotes.  I think I may still have to snag this one.  We all need this reminder sometimes.  I think this would be a great gift to send to a friend working on a big dream.}

 Paris is Always a Good Idea (Audrey Hepburn) - Printable Art
{Mmmhmmm...Let's go!}

Monogram Wall Print (Chevron) - 8x10 Printable Art
{How cool is this monogram?  Can't you picture it framed in a gallery of black and white family photos?}

Birth Announcement Wall Print - 8x10 Printable Art
{The most beautiful take on a birth announcement I have ever seen.  If I had a girl, this would be on her wall.  In this exact color combo. Gorgeous.}

Love is Spoken Here - 8x10 Printable Art
{I need this reminder sometimes!!}

{LOVE these state silhouettes.  You can get any state you like, but of course you knew I'd pick this one!!}

You can see why I had such a hard time choosing, right?  Well, guess what?  Two {yep, 2!} of you lucky readers will get to choose a Plum Street print of your own!!  Yippee!!


Look what they just added to their shop!!
Greek Key Custom iPhone Case - Personalized Cover - iPhone 4 3G 3GS - iPod Touch - AT&T - Verizon
{Hands down, the coolest iphone case I've ever seen.  An iphone has been on my list for a few months now and I think this case just pushed it to the urgent priority section!!  I LOVE it!!  Tell me that is not the greatest thing ever!!  This is not part of the giveaway, but I couldn't resist showing you!!}

Holy cow!!  I could spend my entire afternoon thinking of ways to spend money over at Plum Street.  I think that their designs are exceptional and creative and modern and inspirational and just plain fun.

And, they start at just $10!!  You can get a custom personalized gift, frame it and spend under $20 for a gift that will be treasured forever.  You know I love thoughtful and personal gifts, right?! 

Once you place an order with Plum Street, you will be emailed with your custom art attached and ready for printing within a day or two. 

I am having mine printed for me at my local printer on heavy white cardstock.  I think it will come out better on a professional printer and I think it will be pretty reasonable as well.  If you have a colored printer and some heavy cardstock, you can print at home as well.  And because the print is sent as an attachment, there is no shipping charge, which makes this shop such a fun {and reasonable} splurge.

The standard size format they use is 8x10, but they can also format the file for a larger print on custom request.  

So, you all can't wait to enter right??  Here's how: 

To enter the giveaway, visit Plum Street Print's shop on Etsy and leave a comment here telling us which print you would choose if you won!

If you want some extra credit to up your chances of winning {because we all do, right?!}, you can also:

"Like" Plum Street Prints while at their Etsy shop (it's in the left column).

Re-post about this giveaway on your blog or Facebook page with a link to this giveaway.

Make sure to leave a separate comment for each thing you do!

Good Luck!!!  The winner will be announced here on Thursday evening!! 

PS If you just can't wait for your Plum Street Prints fix, look what they've offered to my readers:

A whopping 30% their already smokin' prices!!  Which is perfect, because today is my 30th birthday, how fitting is that?!  Aren't they the best??!! 

{PS...30% discount is for prints only and cannot be used for the iphone cases}

Thanks so much Shannon and Lori, for sponsoring this awesome giveaway!! 

Come back tomorrow for another giveaway!!  It's my birthday week and I'm ready to celebrate with you!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

this, that and the other thing...

This post is all over the place.  I apologize in advance!

First of all, thank you all so much for the words of comfort, encouragement and friendship after yesterday's post.  They made me feel so supported and when you are struggling it's nice to know you're not alone.  I am so grateful for this community of women and I truly appreciate each comment and email and facebook comment.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you all so much.

With regard to our recent disapointment, I believe that there is only good.  Even the pain, even the loss.  I also believe that the right thing always happens at the right time.  There are no mistakes, there are no accidents.  So, as hard as it is to lose a pregnancy, I know that it will all be okay and that it's all part of a bigger plan that I can't fully see right now.

Since it sounds like I will be down and out most of the day on Friday, I bought this book at Costco today:

I don't generally read fiction, but I've heard a few great reviews, so I'm looking forward to reading it while I rest and recover this weekend.  If any of you have read it, I'd love to hear your feedback!

It's crossed my mind several times that it might be fun to host a book club on the blog.  Is that something that you guys would be interested in doing?  Just a thought...

On another note, I am dealing with this situation:

Of course, this big thing this kitchen needs is to have the cabinets painted white.  Which I am going to tackle in a couple weeks, but for now I figured I could easily make a few cosmetic upgrades.

The light fixture is getting replaced ASAP with either this one or this one.  It is one of two in the Kitchen/Mud Room and they are both desperate to be switched out because, well, they make quite the's just not the statement I'm going for.

Secondly, when I first saw that microwave, I thought "No big deal.  I'll just run to Costco, grab a microwave and pop a new one in."  Oh me, oh my.  Not that easy.   Because this microwave is sooo old, the niche size is completely off for any microwaves manufactured in the past decade, or possibly my entire lifetime.  If we get a microwave that fills up the top to bottom space, it will protrude out of the cabinet 2-3".  If we opt to have it sit flush inside the cabinet, there is a 5-6" gap on top.  Neither is a good option, so the "easy peasy, run to Costco and make it look cute in an hour" idea is a big, fat FAIL.

Mark says we can modify the cabinet somehow by removing the niche altogether and mounting the top of the new microwave to the bottom of the uppers.  I'm not totally hip on this idea because all the cabinet work in that area is connected and I don't think there is a good way to cut it without something else looking botched. 

So here are a few of my other ideas:

1.  Go with the too short version and try to add some cabinet fascia to fill it in, which will probably also look silly.

2.  Or, go with the too short micro and place a cute basket or something on top.  Probably not the cleanest look, but maybe my best option.

Aside from that, we could remove the darn thing altogether and use the space for cookbook storage or something along those lines, but then we need to put the micro on the counter and I am already short on counter space.  Plus, that just seems, um, not so cute.

So, I thought I'd share my little dilemma with you to see if you have any ideas?  Have you ever had this problem?  I'd love to hear any solutions you might have for us!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

what's really been going on...

Maybe you've noticed that I was absent from the blog for a week?  Or maybe not. 

I hadn't announced it on the blog because I wanted to wait until I was out of my first trimester, but we found out about a month ago that I was pregnant.  Yes, I took two tests.  You never know when you might get a defective one, right?!  Well, for the past week or so we have been privately dealing with the heartbreak of losing this pregnancy.  Mark and I spent the majority of the day last Monday in the ER and the week that has followed has been emotional and painful, not the least of which was that we had to tell Reid that he was not going to be getting a new baby brother or sister.  To say he was devastated would be an understatement.  I don't want to elaborate too much on the details, but wanted to let you know where I've been. 

You might remember from this post that I am the advice friend.  Here is a little secret about your advice friend: we don't have an advice friend of our own.  We tend to need to be independent and strong and have it all together.  I don't like asking for help and I certainly don't like admitting that I am not in a good place. 

But, there you have it.  That's what's been going on.  In between unpacking boxes and trying to get back to normal after the move, I have little crying sessions here and there at the most random moments as I work through it all and all the emotions and hormonal changes and mourning that come along with losing a pregnancy.  Honestly, I have been grateful for the distraction of the move because it hasn't allowed me a lot of time to sit around and feel sorry for myself. 

I feel like I am slowly starting to feel okay about it and although I wish I could say it's "over", I haven't actually miscarried yet.  We were waiting to see if I could do it naturally, but since it has been over a week now since the baby stopped developing, it looks as though I will be going in to the hospital on Friday.  We've been told that we can't wait past that time because of the risk of me getting an infection.  So, if you are the praying kind, send one up for me on Friday if you think of it.  I'm sure things will be fine, but I don't look forward to being put under and it makes me very nervous to go to the hospital for any kind of procedure.

I don't want this post to be a downer and I don't want to dwell too much on our sad news, so I thought I'd show you all some photos of the new house. 

Disclaimer: no room in the house is fully, unpacked, organized or finished.  It is a crazy mess around here and although I feel like I have spend at least 40 hours trying to get things ship shape, I feel like I have about a hundred more to go.  Please don't judge me, or my mess.  It's a work in progress.  Consider these the "before" pictures, lol!

{Upstairs loft with deck that has a great view of the pier.  It looks really pretty at night when the pier is all lit up.} 

{I would prefer for everything to be painted white, but all the woodwork and arched ceilings add a lot of character.  It's an original 1930's craftsman.}

 {More woodwork, more wood, more boxes.  One of my favorite things about this house is that there is no carpet.  Yay!!  This is the paint color you guys helped with.  It was the swatch labeled number 4, although I think it looks completely different than the painted swatch.  It's Dunn Edwards Bungalow Taupe.  It's a nice peanut-ish shade of neutral and it's not to brown or yellow}

{Our messy Dining Room.  Love this paint color.  It is Restoration Hardware Slate.}

{View from Dining Room into Living Room.  You can sort of see the sunroom off to the right.  Those wood doors open into it.  It's so bright that I wasn't able to snap a photo.  It is being converted into a study for Reid.}

{Kitchen.  Love: the butcher block countertops.  Not so in love with the cabinet stain.  Stay tuned to see the transformation when these get painted white in a couple weeks!}

{View from Grant's room into the Kitchen.}

{My NEW workshop and home of all things {starfish}!!!  So excited about this, I can't even tell you.  It's a separate building off the back of the house, about 250 square feet with white open beamed ceilings and plenty of room to create, blog, and ship!!  Yeehaw!!  Probably the best thing about the new house.  I will do a reveal post in the next few weeks!!  PS Please pretend not to notice that the yard is completely trenched up.  The sprinklers in the back were being installed the day I took this photo!} 

And, that is it!  I hope you enjoyed the house tour!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

for my mom

{my mom and I}

Happy Mother's Day, everyone! 

This post is for my mom.  I have mentioned my parents accident on the blog before.  Last year on Mother's Day was the day that we got to bring my mom home from the hospital.  Best.mother'  It was scary at first because she had a lot of broken bones and we were all just trying to make sure that we did everything right and took the best care of her.  She has made it so far this year.  She is just finishing up the last of her physical therapy and is almost fully recovered.  We have grown as a family in ways I could never have imagined.  Although I would take the accident and all the pain that has followed away if I could, it has taught me so many lessons about what it means to be a family, a daughter, a mother.

The photo below was taken on our very first walk together after the accident.  It was a HUGE victory.  Every day, we would walk around this flat concrete loop at the neighborhood park, holding hands the whole way for balance.  She would say she was tired and I would push one more lap out of her.  I'm a tyrant like that. 

{victory pose!}

I am incredibly grateful for my mom and all that she is in my life.  She is a patient listener and a good advice giver, she can make me laugh hysterically until I pee my pants {I'll save that story for another post}, she has a way of making me feel like a 5 star chef, terrific mother and stellar business person and most of all she believes in me.  She is the one, always in my corner, cheering my on, telling me that it will get better, or that she knew I would be successful.  When I'm upset, she is the one who tells me "I know it doesn't seem like it, but it's gonna be okay".  She is the one who runs to the store when she sees I'm out of milk and she starts the laundry when she comes over without me ever asking.  A huge part of me would have died had we lost her that day in the accident.  I would be a mess without her constant and steady unconditional love and support.  She is one of my best friends and I've never been more grateful for her influence in my life.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.  I love you beyond words. 

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