Feb 27, 2013

Beauty on a Budget (Part 2)


Now, this is a hot topic.  I have spent a ridiculous amount of money on skincare products over my lifetime.  Sensitive, combination skin, prone to hormonal acne ain't easy to please.   Before my wedding, I had some awful prescription face wash that basically burnt off my face.  So, on advice of my dermatologist, I started using Cetaphil and haven't looked back.

The wonderful Mint Julep mask is for when I am broken out or feeling greasy.  I will dab it on pimples to dry them up in a flash.  So tingly.

I have heard that Oil of Olay is just as good as expensive moisturizers and eye creams (I would cite some studies here, but I am on a tight nap time schedule.  Just google it.  It's true).  I decided to get even cheaper and get the CVS version (they were just out of Oil of Olay name brand when I was there.  I'm not that frugal).  It seems fine?  I don't have super dry skin, but I use this in the winter, when it is drier.

Other skincare items include prenatal vitamins- I'm not pregnant but I think they make my skin, hair and nails better, makeup remover face wipes for when I am tired/lazy/hate washing my face (so, every other night), and oil free high spf moisturizer for the summer.

I am currently out, but a finalist recommend Biore pore strips to me a few years ago.  I hadn't used them since their heyday when I was in high school.  These things really do work!  Combo of this and old Queen Helene, and my pores are teensy tiny.  At least for a few hours.  During which I constantly stare in the mirror and examine my nose.

Finally, Epsom Salt.

This stuff is magic.  After a tough workout, a bath filled with dissolved Epsom salt is the way to go.  Muscles are soothed, skin is softened and brightened.  It pulls out all your toxins.  That sounds like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, but I swear it works.

So what I am looking for is a good inexpensive exfoliating scrub- gentle.  I am working through an expensive tub of microdermabrasion scrub, and I like it, but not enough to drop a hundy on it again.

Advice please?

Feb 25, 2013

Beauty on a Budget (Part 1)

I've noticed in the past couple years that my makeup, skin and hair care products have been on a decline in price.  Instead of Neiman Marcus and Sephora, I'm much more likely to picking up my stuff at Walgreens or Target.  I think it's a combination of increased quality on their part and increased cheapness on my behalf.

Anyway, I was recently having my makeup done, and the markup artist recommended the E.LF. all over color stick in pink lemonade.  From Target.  Cost?

One dollar.

Sign me up please!

I keep this in my purse to add a little rosy to my cheek when needed.

What else?
 I am on my second or third case of this gorgeous eyeshadow set from Almay.  It is amazingly versatile- I use the lighter shades during the day, then really amp it up for a smoky eye at night.

Another Target find is this Pixi cheek gel.  It's a bit pricey, honestly, but ideal for this fair, pink skinned gal.  It stays on forever, looks super natural, and a rosy flush on one's cheek is really flattering to everyone!

I've told you about Loreal's BB Cream.  It rocks.  I highly recommend it.  My sister in law describe fit aptly as a game changer.

I also an enjoying this Loreal mascara.   This is working.  Not miracles, but working.  I have not mastered the drugstore mascara yet.  I need help.  This one is doing the trick for now.  I now everyone raves about the Maybelline Great Lash, but it does nothing for me.  I have tiny eyelashes.  They are short.  They are blonde. They are lame.  So I need suggestions.
Also, please excuse my grommety messy bathroom counter.  I snapped these while frantically getting ready before Miss Priss awoke this morning.

What are your drugstore miracles?  I will share skincare and hair products later this week, and I can't wait to hear what secrets y'all have to share.  Watch out, CVS!

Feb 19, 2013

Chardonnay Beyonce Love Chicken

Well, apparently all my hints and this Valentine's day meal worked, because Morgan informed me that we will be attending the Beyonce concert in Nashville this summer- sqquueeee!  Ha, he also informed me that if any of my friends want to escort me instead of himself, he all be quite pleased to sit in the hotel bar and wait for the concert to be through.  Seriously.  Let me know if you want to shake it with me. Club level shaking.

Anyway,  this simple to prepare meal was  a very popular dinner for my overworked husband last Thursday.  He was working on a huge project last week culminating in a 23 hour day, so I wanted to cater to his taste for a relaxed dinner.  He had seconds/possibly thirds, and demanded this dish into the rotation.

Next time, I will make it with an actual cream sauce/some sort of substitute for the cream of chicken soup- I had no time for experimentation nor room for failure last week.

(I believe this recipe is similar to "Swiss Chicken", which I have never prepared so I cannot say for sure.  Mine is adapted from a recipe in "Taste of the South's Comfort Food".  I know I go on about these magazines, but if you see any Taste of the South Collector's Edition, snatch it up!)

Chardonnay Beyonce Love Chicken

4 chicken breasts
salt and pepper
6-8 slices prosciutto or thinly sliced Italian ham
4-6 slices Provolone cheese
1 can cream of chicken
1/4 generous cup white wine

1.  Put the oven on to 350 degrees, Spray a 13x9 baking dish with PAM, and place the chicken in the dish.  Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.  Lay the ham on top of the chicken- cutting the pieces if needed to fully cover the chicken, then top with the provolone.
2.  In a small bowl whisk together the soup and the wine until combined.  pour over the chicken, and sprinkle with paprika.
3.  Bake uncovered about 40 minutes.

Serve with wild rice (perfect for sopping up that winey sauce), and a steamed green vegetable.  Broccoli is an excellent foil to that rich sauce, ham and cheese.

Prepare, serve, let the compliments flow, and practice that booty shaking.

I fear for those behind me in Jazzercise the next few months as I work on my shaking.

Feb 18, 2013


1.  First of all, thank you so much for all the love on my animal print.    Apparently, I am just like the leopard and can't change my spots (harharhar).  You just can't hide your true colors, I suppose.  But lesson learned- be yourself.  Even if that self is not a trendy, pinterest perfect room full of neutrals.

I was going through my files in an attempt to procrastinate reviewing documents this weekend, and found this before picture of how the living room looked when we first looked at the house.

I get depressed just thinking about the posters that were on the wall.  Adults- please refrain from any sort of poster on your wall. Go to the local art show/high school/thrift store and buy some real art.  Support a person- not a corporation (rants the child of an artist).

The living room is the only room in the house that we have not done a major change- not even paint (although I am dying to repaint, but can't justify the expense).  Currently, bids are being secured on a major expansion to the master bedroom and bathroom.  Apparently, I have to remodel my house every year.  Good thing my parents' house is spacious, and they welcome us moving in with them for weeks at a time.

2.  In other exciting news, Duck Dynasty is back with a new season on February 27th!

Happy, happy, happy.

3.  I plan on lolling in my new perfect pjs from Target, as soon as I get done with a couple never-ending work projects.   They are knit- so ideal for this weather.  Too close to spring for flannel- I just can't handle flannel right now.  There are bathing suits everywhere!  But my crisp bright springy pjs just aren't cutting the mustard. There is snow on the ground.  One must be sensible.

So, knit it is.  And piping.  There are other fun color options, so go nuts.

4.  Is anyone an Aziz Ansari fan?  He is Morgan and I's favorite.  We watched a special on Netflix the other night, and I was just hooting at this section.  I love a high thread count sheet, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Southern Living, so I felt like the target audience for this bit.

5.  Most exciting of all?

BEYONCE's documentary!  It was fantastic.  I totally cried.  Morgan was bemused (at me, not Bemused at Beyonce.)  Anyway, the Mrs. Carter tour is coming to Nashville and Atlanta this summer.  A month or so my birthday, in fact. I have mentioned this to Morgan approximately a hundredy-million times.  We shall see.  If you run into Morgan, please don't fail to mention that Beyonce tickets are a perfect 32nd birthday gift.  If he doesn't want to go with me, that's fine.  I have friends.

Kinger- I think you will be giving birth during the Atlanta show, otherwise I would request tickets for us for my birthday.

Feb 15, 2013

Owning It

This post was originally going to be about helping me decide whether to reuphostler these chairs in something nice and neutral.

Like this:

Or this

I was thinking a white indoor/outdoor fabric, that could be wiped down.  I have four of the chairs, from my favorite furniture store, my parents' house.  Plan was to reupholster them and stain them dark, like the first example above.  Two would go in my living room now, and eventually I would use all four in a kitchen or playroom around a round table (which currently resides at my favorite furniture store).

So I went to the local fabric store and started browsing.  And happened upon this lovely yellow and greyish brown leopard print fabric.  Discounted.  

I try so hard to be neutral, and pattern free, then something like this happens.

First, a little unplanned tour.  Ignore the mess and lack of styling.

That door is my front door, which opens into the living room.  We use the living room all the time.  Miss Priss has her basket of toys in here, and loves to watch the birds out the big window.

This antique pie safe is one of my most favorite pieces of furniture.  It, of course, came from my my favorite store.

This is the view from the sofa.  Ignore the mess.

 See how wrinkly that slipcover is?  It wasn't like that earlier in the day, but I did hear a thump, thump when I walked into the room

Hmmm. That innocent face doesn't fool me.  But, as you can see, this room has a lot going on.

This end of the room is what's in progress.  The two chairs will flank an occasional table that is to be determined.  Baby cage and ripped off door (girl is a toddler now, yo) are not part of the decor.

So back to the dilemma.  I tried to fight my love of pattern and color, but I just need to be myself.

Oh, I just love it.  Sigh.  Imagine it piped in that grayish brown?  Now I won't have to stain the chairs.  At least not for a while.

So, am I absolutely insane?  Answer with impunity, I know the answer is yes.  A little crazy, bright, and patterned. It may not be what's happening, but it's me.

Feb 12, 2013

A Goodnight Moon Room

Miss Priss is in a book stage.  As a bookworm, I am thrilled.  As the owner of a constantly whirring brain accustomed to processing about four different types of information at once, I am bored out to my gourd.  My dear child wants to be read the same stories over and over.  

To combat the encroaching yawns, my imagination has kicked in, imagining the pattern overload of the bedroom of Goodnight Gorilla in real life or the fantastic pink piano and green armoire of Where's Spot? in my own home.

Like most children before her, Dell Harper has taken a particular shine to Goodnight Moon.  I spend an inordinate amount of time staring at the depiction of a great, green room, reading the soothing words as my mind wanders.  

Wouldn't you love to have that room?  Probably up a set of slightly shabby stairs, in a repurposed garret on the third floor.  Drafty, but cosy with the addition of a crackling fire set in the grate, probably made by the quiet old woman in anticipation of bedtime.  

And, oh!  Your mittens and socks getting crunchy toasty drying by the fire, any remnants of damp and cold to be eradicated by morning time.  Imagine drifting off to sleep to the sound of the fire, the soft purr of sleeping kittens and the twinkle of those bright stars, your room lit by the warm glow of the lights in the enormous toy house.

It's just too cozy for words!  Based on too much reading of books about WW2 era British children, I always wanted a drafty attic nursery- (the dormer windows in our bright, clean playroom above the garage helped me with this illusion for some time, but the Berber carpet and fresh sheet rock undermined my dreams).

So, I would create this room firstly with a great, red bed to envelope my little lassie, like this one from Ethan Allen.  A Jenny Lind bookshelf and stripy curtains from the Land of Nod will provide a little crispness, and mellow with age to the proper patina.

The rocker is from Anthropologie, the pedestal side table from Maine cottage, and the yellow bedside table from One Kings Lane.  Braided rug from Overstock, and zebra rug and lamp from Posh Tots.  Now I know it's a bit inauthentic, but I would paint the room Palladian Blue from Benjamin Moore.  It's the color of Dell Harper's nursery now, and it just the perfect complement to a red bed.

So now y'all know what my brain is doing during multiple daily readings of Goodnight Moon.  My house will soon be redecorated ala Dr. Seuss.

Feb 4, 2013

Things Forgotten

  • I was mall walking with Miss Priss the other day (witching hour, been pouring all day, had to get out of the house), and passed by Things Remembered.  One of their Valentine's Day- themed window decorations was a heart with a arrow through it that said "Words are Sexy".  Hmmm.  That's a different way to sell engraved silver-plate, but whatever makes you happy.

  • Thank all of you so much for all the birthday wishes for Miss Priss- it was such a sweet, simple celebration of our girl.  I am just thrilled to be spending so much time with my funny little girl.
  • Looking at those pictures makes me realize how much I need to (re)fix my teeth.  My orthodontist (also known as Abby's dad), mentions Invisalign every time he sees me.  I think my college failure to wear my retainer is a a personal affront.  I think if he had an adult office, I would be more inclined to do it, without having to relieve the horrors of monthly brace tightening all through middle school, scrawny and self-conscious.  Shudder.  Maybe my gaps add character to my smile?  Maybe perfect teeth are nouveau?  
  • Have y'all heard the new(ish) Van Morrison song, "Open the Door To Your Heart"?  It is typical Van (which is in no way a bad thing), but makes me feel like a quirky, British, rom-com heroine ala Bridget Jones about to have my big fall in love scene.  It's snowing big fluffy flakes, obviously, in this scenario.

  • It's amazing how songs can conjure such strong memories.  Stuck in grinding traffic on the way home from an excruciatingly tedious all-day employment law seminar today, I heard Janis Joplin's version of "Me and Bobby McGee".  I was instantly transported back to fifteen, crammed into the backseat of a car, with feet and cigarettes and arms all hanging out the windows, skipping school on a hot day  to hit the quarry for some cliff jumping in clear cold water,  hollering "La, da la da la da, hey, hey, hey Bobby McGee!" as loud as I could sing from the back seat, flushed with freedom and thrilled with life.

  • Dell Harper, you are not allowed to do any of the things described in the previous paragraph.  Not even listening to Janis.  It's a gateway to female rebellion.

Magic Pants, Part 2, Magic Cleaner, and Bubbles!

I am over the moon for these Old Navy compression workout pants.  I have the boot-cut, the tights, and the capris.  I have even found myself doing laundry in order to wear these workout pants again and again, rather than slumming it in my Target ones (which are actually more pricey).  Anyway, something about the compression fabric makes your bottom half look incredible.  Seriously, any bumps or lumps in the booty or thighs is just smoothed right out.  Call up the sisterhood, because these are truly the magical pants.

Also, can I just tell you how much I am loving my new work from home uniform?  I am that mom who stays in her workout clothes all day, and I am reveling in it.  I mean, years of structured suits and pumps and panty hose?  It feels so good to be in washable play clothes. Eventually I will start dressing like a normal adult (I hope), but elastic waistbands are currently my closest friend.

Dell Harper likes something a little more blousony, personally, but is also into the play clothes.  She is into everything, which means I am going through bottles of Baby Oxiclean like nobody's business.  A friend gave me some at my shower, and I internally scoffed that I probably wouldn't ever use it since I was positive I was having a girl. HA! I am now on my third bottle of the spray.  It is the best!

Dell Harper did a little modeling for my friend Colleen's clothing company, Little Hoot Designs.

I just can't wait to order the seersucker bubble she modules, and the ruffle one with the rick rack trim.  Anyway, they have adorable children's clothing at great prices.  Check out their website here- http://littlehootdesigns.blogspot.com/

I have the toughest time finding clothes for Dell Harper that aren't mini teenager clothes, neon, black, or emblazoned with slogans, or logos.  Trunk shows and Baby Boden are about it for me, but sometimes you need to go out and buy something on the spot (like when your child is all of the sudden busting out of 12 month, but too small for 18 month).  Do y'all have any secret places for finding simple, sweet children's clothing that won't bankrupt me?