Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

What I loved best about Halloween as a kid was that I could be anything I wanted.  These two picked their own costumes and were SO excited to get them and wear them today!  Gwenna wanted to be a witch, but I definitely had a say in which version was eventually chosen (some of them are so tacky).  Britton was set on a Steelers football player costume because he has been obsessed with the sport for a few years now.  
Tonight should be a lot of fun for them.
Hope you have a very happy and fun Halloween!

Aren't Rebecca's kids SO cute?  I'll answer for you- they are.  Here's my little Cat.  I also happen to think she is awfully cute.

Today we had a Halloween party in my class, so I made these little treats for my kids...

I thought they turned out cute, and they were super easy to make.  Originally, I was going to make little jack-o-lantern faces, but they were kind of harder than I thought.  Do-able, but only with more time and the right tools.  So I made little ghosties instead.
What you need...
clear plastic cups
paint brush or wooden skewer
chocolate chips (any kind- semi-sweet, dark or milk chocolate)
orange sherbet
lemon lime soda

Melt the chocolate, use a skewer or paintbrush, and paint little faces on the inside of the plastic cups.  Let the chocolate set (at least a couple of hours).  These can be made ahead of time, as long as you store them somewhere safe.  When you're ready, add a couple scoops of the orange sherbet, and then the lemon-lime soda.  Done.  These are a tasty little twist on a favorite drink usually served at baby and bridal showers.
You can substitute the ice cream for other flavors.  You could do vanilla ice cream and root beer for floats.  You could do lime sherbet for little Frankenstein monsters.  So many possibilities!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Minor Obsession: Monthly Gift Boxes

A while back, I saw a post on someone's blog about Birchbox, a company that (for a monthly fee) sends you a box with 4-5 deluxe beauty samples from a pretty impressive list of vendors (from Nars to Fresh to kate spade).  If you're anything like me,  you love getting things in the mail (not bills or junk mail, naturally).  My favorite thing about ordering from Sephora is getting the free samples.  Pathetic, I know, but I don't care.  They're little and tiny and cute and free. 

So Birchbox, when I first read about it, seemed pretty amazing to me.  What a great idea, I thought to myself.  And myself agreed.

Because I think that is such an awesome little idea there, I have decided to do a roundup of different companies that offer a similar service; there are so many cool ones cropping up over the internet.  And I like to share.  I'm generous like that.

So here is the one that started it all (at least for me)- Birchbox.


Another set of goodies delivered right to your door every month or so comes from Umba Box.  With this company, you get "Handmade Surprises Every Month."  If you sign up for an Umba Box, you can expect to receive one to three handmade items from different artists each month.  The amount of items you receive depends on the value of the pieces; they promise at least a $25 value every month.  This box is perfect for those out searching for handmade products from real artists.

Join Umba Box for $25/mo here 

BeautyBar.com created Sample Society, which offers a  $15 monthly subscription  that will get you 5 deluxe sized samples from brands like Stila and Murad.  One of their selling points is that besides the 5 deluxe samples, you get to apply your $15 toward a $50 purchase at Beauty Bar.

Sample Society

Another great monthly subscription service is offered by Olive Box.  For $25 a month (plus s&H), you get a bevy of carefully curated stationery and paper products from both up and coming companies and more established ones like Rifle Paper Company.

Olive Box
How fun is that?!  I love just about all things paper, so to get a box in the mail each month full of delightful pretty things... now, that would be fun!  Products range from cards to stationery, artwork to magazines... all things paper lovers would enjoy.

There are monthly subscription services for men, for creative kids, for parents. for foodies... The list goes on and there are plenty of choices out there!

Let me know if you subscribe to any of these, or if you plan to!  I love me some samples, so I definitely see one of these making its way to my house in the near future!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Film Inspiration: Love In the Afternoon

Of all the stylish Audrey Hepburn films out there, and there are some pips, my favorite is Love in the Afternoon--in terms of the fashion, not story.  I absolutely adore every outfit she wears in the picture.  All the clothes were designed by Givenchy.  Here are a few of my very favorites.

This dress has such a pretty floral print with a low-ish back that is gathered, a high neck- line (of course) and accentuated waist.  
The quintessential sleeveless boat-neck.  
Had I the chance to re-do my wedding, I would want to wear something like this dress Audrey wears to the opera.  Amazing.
This is my favorite because it is so timeless and simple.

How cute is this?  It is no wonder that she remains an icon.

Here she is on set but not dressed for the role. She looks just as perfect in her comfy clothes as she does in the costumes for the movie.  Who wouldn't want this sweater even today?
I have to add here that I realize Audrey Hepburn is loved and revered by almost everyone and that fact makes me want to run the other way.  'Why?' you ask:  Maybe it is the rebel in me.  That voice that says 'it isn't original to like what everyone likes.'  In this case, though, I silence that voice because the masses are right.  Good taste deserves to be preserved.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sweet Spot Sunday: Caramel Apple Dip

Last night I went to my friend's annual Halloween party.  She and her husband go all out decorating their house and their gorgeous backyard.  Everybody brings some kind of food or drink or both.  This year for my friend Kim and I, pinterest ruled.  I made a recipe from pinterest, and so did she.  Mine was ok, hers was delicious.  And so easy.  And so perfect for fall.  And so I am going to share it with you.

image via Echoes of Laughter

The ingredients are simple: whipped cream cheese, brown sugar, caramel sauce, toffee bits, and apples.

Easy.  Simple.  Kim made hers in a cute pumpkin tray and set it inside on the dessert table.  I stayed outside all night so that I wouldn't eat the entire bag of sliced apples and the whole plate of dip by myself.  Because I would have.  I would have dipped, chomped, dipped again, and I would have continued to do that until I had either eaten all of the apple slices or until there was nothing left of the dip.  I have no self control.

So pretty much all you do is add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar to a tub of whipped cream cheese and mix together.  Then you spread that on a plate, cover with the caramel sauce and toffee bits, and voila- you have yourself some caramel apple dip.

After talking to Kim, I found out that she didn't even bother adding the brown sugar to the cream cheese, and it was still delicious, people!  Now, granted, I have never had this with the brown sugar; I have only had it the way Kim made it, but it was perfect and I wouldn't bother adding the brown sugar in either.  It's your call.

The actual recipe can be found over on Echoes of Laughter.  Yum!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Thrifted: Asian Style Cups

I grabbed these tea cups at a local goodwill for 79 cents each.  I don't think I will use them as cups but as ramekins for dips and sauces.  I love the cobalt blue color and the delicate gold rim and images of peacocks and flowers.  After all, you can't beat a deal like that!
Look at all the pretty rust, gold, green, grey and blue hues.  I love them all.

I am so happy with my purchase and I know you will be seeing these again in a future party post...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Freaky Find Friday

Last weekend my Mom watched the Cat so I could run to the Salvation Army and look around for some treasures.  When I got there, I was happy to see that they were having a sale:  all clothes and knick knacks were 50% off and furniture was 25% off.  I am happy to say that I found some pretty good bargains, including a vintage coat for about $4 and a cookie jar for under 2 bucks.  I spent about $17 and came away with a ton of stuff.  I got a gorgeous navy blue wool blazer with little pins on it that tell me it probably came from a Catholic school.  It's a kid sized blazer, yes, but a big kid, so it fits.  

I always make sure to take a look at the furniture and lamps, because you never know what you're going to find, and on this particular day, I struck gold with this beautiful specimen...

Now, who doesn't want the bust of some unknown man in their home?  I am assuming this is a Spanish explorer, possibly Cabrillo by the looks of his helmet.
image via
So handsome, so austere.  What's that you say?  You simply don't have the room for a rather large bust of a Spanish explorer, even if he has been commemorated on a stamp?  Well, fear not, my friend.  This bust, nay, this art, does double duty...

Cabrillo lamp

as a lamp.  So not only can his surly, determined, no-nonsense expression light up your life, it can also light up your living room.

You're Welcome!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Inspiration: Stars

Stars have always been popular but often they are child-like or very rustic Americana--neither of which I find very inspiring.  I prefer stars to be whimsical and even a bit sophisticated.  They should be glamorous and shimmery.  Here are a few images that make me happy and tempt me to add stars and glitter to everything around me:

In honor of the upcoming movie musical version of Les Miserables I thought I would include the beautiful song "stars."  There is no one who can sing this song like the one and only Philip Quast.  I am not one to make comparisons between movie musical and Broadway performances because I think they are entirely different and comparisons are pointless (although I understand having a preference).  Therefore, I am completely open minded concerning the new movie version.
via girlintheredshoes



Pay attention to your hallways!  This is too fun.
Bohemian Wornest
Minus the moon thing I love this for a sophisticated kid's room.  So pretty and sweet.
Hanging stars & candles

These star pendants are destine to be classics.  I want one for my hallway.

Magical and fun.  Festive and simple.
painted silver star walls
This is the wallpaper I am DETERMINED to get for my powder-room re-do.  This is no childish star pattern; even though it would also be great in a kid's room.  I simply love it.
Wouldn't this make a beautiful backdrop for a children's photo shoot?  Maybe for Christmas cards?

via community.flixter
The lovely Leslie Caron all dressed up for the black and white party scene in "An American In Paris." This would be my Halloween costume this year if I had my way.
beautiful ballerina whimsical wonderfulness--Stars en Dior 13
stars en Dior 13
Exquisite.  'nough said.

Calypso St. Barth
I really want this gorgeous necklace.

 I did sweet little painted pumpkins decorated with stars this year. I was inspired by Cinderella so I decided to do silver and blue.  All I used was acrylic paints: Plaid Glaze in "Jamaican Sea" and Martha Stewart Crafts in "Sterling."  The paints covered very well and then instead of stenciling stars and painting them, I took a short cut and glued little silver stars on them.  Yeah, I know I am cheating but, heck, I've got a lot going on right now.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Inspiration: Edgar Allen Poe

Can you believe that Halloween is one week away?  I can't.  We have not gotten our costumes yet, or even decided how we are going to dress.  To tell you the truth, we haven't really decorated yet, either.  We did a little bit; the Cat gave David a bat purse to hold.

And I put up a bloody-eyed mermaid the Cat made when she was little (don't ask!) and a couple of Halloween themed books on the mantle.  But other than that, I've been a bad, bad blogger, not even embracing the holiday and all the post worthy stories and pictures that could come out of it.  What can I say?  I've been super busy.  And I'm lazy.  There is that.

Anyhoo.  In class yesterday, my 5th graders and I were learning about verb tenses, and one of the sentences mentioned "Gothic" stories.  The kids all thought it was referring to some angst-ridden, black clad teenager with pale makeup and a penchant for black nail polish.  I had to set them straight.  I told them about Poe.  I'm sad to say that a lot of the kids had never heard of Poe!  This breaks my poor little English major heart.

As far as I can tell, this came from an old tumblr that doesn't exist anymore (oceanblued.tumblr).
I first found it on pinterest.

So we took a couple of minutes at the end of the period and I shared Annabel Lee with them.  I chose this particular poem because it is macabre, but not overly macabre, and because I figured most of them had heard it or read part of it without ever having realized it, thanks to the book/movie Holes.  (That is a great kid's book and it is a great movie!)

Original copy of the poem (Poe, supposedly sensing his impending death, wrote several
copies of the poem and passed them out to friends to ensure that it would not go
unnoticed).  Image via Columbia.edu

image via Columbia.edu
Here's an easier font (in case you are having a bit of trouble reading Poe's hand!):

via Peach Tea in a Mason Jar
Such a sad (but creepy!) poem, no?  I like to point out to my students that one of two things could be going on here... the narrator is so obsessed/depressed over the loss of his love that he goes down to her tomb and spends the night lying next to her coffin, OR he is speaking from beyond the grave, having already died (broken heart? Suicide?) and been placed in a coffin next to his wife.

Either way, Poe is a great author to revisit or become acquainted with during the days leading up to Halloween!

These would look awesome on display anytime of the year, but especially at Halloween!
Available at etsy shop Glitterati 4.

And here is a great find... Darth Vader (aka James Earl Jones) reading The Raven.

I'd better get busy decorating; there isn't much time left!  In the meantime, you can check out Rebecca's Halloween mantle here in case you missed it.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Design Inspiration: Suzanne Kesler

new classics

Suzanne Kesler's mantra is "a room should be collected not decorated."  As an Atlanta-based designer, and graduate of the University of Cincinnati's college of  Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning, Kesler knows a thing or two about how to achieve that end.  She has won numerous awards, been featured in all the top decorating magazines, has a furniture line called Hickory Chair, a rug line through Safavieh,  a fine art production through Soicher-Marin, a fabric line through Lee Jofa and, of course, an accessories production through Ballard Design.  If you somehow don't know Suzanne Kesler by name I know you recognize some of these spaces...take a look!

These Deco sunburst mirrors have come back in a big way (I know you knew that) and I don't know if Kesler is responsible for their reemergence in popularity but she certainly helped it along.  Many of her rooms include these mirrors; even her outdoor spaces.
house beautiful
This room definitely shows her southern roots.  It is warm and toasty in feel and has an updated traditional vibe.

She knows how to keep it simple, powerful and memorable.  
Ah, this is why I love her.

Just look at this room!  It is a study in perfection.  This is a designer who really thinks it through.  Your eye travels around:  The focal point is the dark wood hutch which relates to the painting, firescreen, ottoman base, sofa leg, and pillow on the couch.  Nothing screams but there is method.


She really does meld European and American design together so well.



This dining room is one of my favorite spaces--ever!  In fact, the whole house is this gorgeous.

suzanne kasler

Kesler's signature design

I really like that she does fun, punchy colors outside mixed with all the white.


Pretty fantastic outdoor space, no?

I had a tough time choosing which spaces I wanted to feature.  They are all so beautiful.

Well, I'm off to substitute.  At least it is an English class and at my husband's school.
Should be a good day today!


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