Archive for December, 2012

I am going to step away from the blog for a bit and enjoy my favorite week of the year with family and friends close by.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday filled with lots of love and laughter.

Thank you so much for being a part of my 2012 and I will “see” you all in 2013.

Merry Christmas.


Back in October I mentioned in this post that PLANKS USA, a custom furniture store based here in Orange County, offered me a coffee table to experience their hands on design process.  I am so excited that right before Christmas the table has been delivered and I am obsessed!

The process was incredibly easy and so hands on.  Here is how simple and easy they made the entire design process.

Initially, the Head Designer came out to visit my home to help determine the right size and shape for the coffee table.  He listened to my taste, what I was looking for from a functionality standpoint, my plans for decorating and the shape of the room.  I loved that he immediately suggested a round table due to having children that could easily hit a corner and get hurt.  Through our discussion, we both agreed that an oval table would look amazing.  Not only would it fill the center of the room but who has an oval table?!  It was going to be so unique!

The next step was me visiting the showroom and picking out the legs that I wanted.  They had what felt like a million to pick from.  After looking at samples and magazine inspiration, this is the one I picked.


I also decided on the final design of the table and went with one that would have both a top and bottom similar to this table below.


After only a week I received a call that the table was built and to come in to ensure it looked how I was expecting it to.  This way, they could change anything I requested prior to staining and finishing.  I love this because a lot of time, what you order is what you get and it is not always what you expect.  I absolutely loved it and couldn’t wait to see the final product.


The last step was selecting the final finish.  They put together some samples for me based on our discussions and I was able to see my options in person prior to creating the finish on the table.  I am a huge fan of samples because something can sound great but you never really know.  They had so many options it was nice to talk through the selection and what would look best.  In the end, I went with a worn black waxed look on the legs and a dark black finish on the top and bottom.


Yesterday the table was delivered and it completely surpassed all expectations.  It is absolutely gorgeous and the quality is impeccable.  The room was completely transformed (and I need a new rug…but that is a different story).


I could not have been happier with the final product and the people at PLANKS USA were such a pleasure to work with.  They are located in Lake Forest and I highly suggest visiting their website here if you are in the market for some new furniture.  The hubby and I are already creating our list of what we would like to have them build next.  I am definitely a returning customer.  Thank you so much PLANKS USA for everything! 

* Juggling in Heels was provided this coffee table free of charge from PLANKS USA but all opinions are 100% my own.

Before I start, I must say that I went back and forth on writing this post.  I actually wrote it two days ago but then chose not to post it.  Not because I didn’t want to share, but because I didn’t want people to think I was showcasing my act.  Then I read one of my favorite blogs, Chasing Twins in Louboutins, and she posted on the subject, stating that sharing is not boasting but hopefully inspiring (you can read her post here).  The post inspired me to share in hopes that it inspires others as well.  So here it goes.  This was my original post you would have seen yesterday.

I, like so many others, have been spending the last few days trying to still make sense of what occurred in Connecticut.  There really are no good answers and I constantly battle between the feelings of fear, anger and confusion.  


While at the gym, I heard the report on Ann Curry’s #26Acts of Kindness.  The message is that the best thing to defeat evil is acts of kindness.  I was instantly inspired.  Why am I allowing fear control my thoughts?  I could be a part of this movement, spread kindness and firmly believe this world is amazing rather than wallowing in pain.  So, I took action.


Yesterday afternoon three friends joined me at my home to sign 120 Christmas cards in honor of each individual lost at Sandy Hook.  The time spent together doing this cleared our heads, allowed us to share our fears and truly made me realize just how amazing my friends are.  It was therapeutic and allowed us to act when we have all felt so helpless.  


We then shared what we were trying to do with friends, family and coworkers, asking each of them to take a couple cards, place $10 inside and then leave it on a car, in a mailbox or simply hand it to a stranger.  A small Christmas gift in honor of those who were lost.  Within 24 hours 120 cards were handed out for distribution and 120 acts of kindness began in Orange County.  I have been incredibly touched by how excited people were to participate in this when it was mentioned to them.  My community truly is amazing.

As I said, above, I am not telling you this story to showcase what we did.  I am simply sharing in hopes that it might inspire you to do the same.  It doesn’t have to be cards.  It can be anything.  Kindness comes in so many forms and has the ability to have a huge impact.  And every act that is done, helps to spread the word that we as a civilization are made up of good people who care for each other and no one act can take that away from us.

So will you join me?
Today is the day.  
My last day of work.  
It is sort of crazy.  
After 7 years with my company, working part time for 5 of them, I have finally walked away.
It was a hard decision as I have always loved my job but it was time for the family.
I am excited to be able to spend more time at the kid’s school and with organizations my hubby and I believe in but am a bit nervous for the change.
Plus, I should be able to keep my head on straight now.

And now switching topics completely, the other night I made Cheeseburger Chili by Rachel Ray, which really, was just a fancier name (if cheeseburger is fancy) for Chili Cheese Fries.
They were the perfect cold weather meal.
Hearty, unhealthy and DELISH.
 I would have taken pictures of the process but honestly, ground meat simmering in a pot is not a pretty picture so here is the final product.


A few things to note:
1. I used frozen fries because I was not that motivated to make my own.
2. DO NOT USE ALMOND MILK IN THE CHEESE SAUCE.  
Yes, I ran out of regular milk and only had almond and unless you want your chili to have an after taste of sugar cookies, do not attempt this.  It was a bad idea and that is why you see shredded cheese.


A child’s innocence.
It is one of the greatest gifts in life.
My children have been spending their days searching for their elf, playing with the nativity, decorating Gingerbread houses and counting down until Christmas.
Their world is a happy, wonderful place filled with so much excitement.

Unfortunately, my world has seen something very different.
The events that occurred on Friday have shaken me, as they have to many.
I don’t want to think about it because it brings about every fear that I have ever had as a mother.
I know I need to think about it because it is real and I need to pray for these families.


I am so grateful that I can hug my children and cry tears for the mother who no longer can.
I am so grateful for all the blessings in life but so saddened that this may be the world my children are growing up in.
I believe that the world is truly good but get so angry when the value of life seems lost.
It has been a hard few days.


Sometimes I wish for the innocence I had as a child.
Living in a world where I didn’t know these things happen.
It made everything a lot easier didn’t it?


I pray that all our children continue to have the innocence they so much deserve and my thoughts and prayers continue to go out to those children and families who were stripped of it entire too early.

May God Bless you all this holiday season.
Words cannot express how excited I am that today is Friday.

The hubby gets home today after being on the East Coast all week and between teacher conferences, minimum days, birthday parties, working and trying to get things in order for Christmas, I am toast.

I have been fantasizing about some down time this weekend all week and have even gone as far as to make it visual.


Indulge

Doesn’t this all just look yummy??


How much down time I actually get is yet to be seen (I am guessing based on the way our weekend looks, not much) but there is absolutely no way this weekend is going to end without me taking a bath, drinking champagne and overeating desserts.

On a side note, that blanket on the top right is the BEST BLANKET EVER.  It is faux fur and from Restoration Hardware and I am obsessed with it.  I walk around the house like a 2 year old with their lovie.  If you are looking for the coziest blanket to curl up on the couch, this is it.  

Have a great weekend!
Well, we are there.


Baby Girl no longer allows me to dress her each day.  She is ADAMANT about what she puts on and will refuse anything else.  Everyone told me we were going to get here, I just did not realize it would be this soon.  

I am totally letting her go with it though.  Fashion is about creativity and I do love that she is so invested in her “look”.  Does she sometimes look like a homeless Man Repeller?  Yes.  Does it kill me to take her to church in a teal tutu?  Absolutely.  But she owns it and isn’t that the whole point of fashion?  Also, if you weren’t sure, pink boots are in.  Especially if Hello Kitty is on them.

Anyone else have a daughter who is defining her own style?

Also, I want to thank Wendy, a reader who saw yesterday’s post and picked up the scarf for me!  
Dying!  Thank you thank you thank you! 
How did I miss this at Target?
No, it is not a rolled up raccoon.
It is a Fur Scarf for $15 and somehow I have not walked out with it yet.
I am obviously not perusing the store nearly as detailed as I should be.
The website says all my local Targets are out of stock too.
That is what I get for listening to my hubby and only going in for what I “actually need”.
I mean, come on!  
Fur and $15?  
It was meant for me.
If you find it in your local Target, I am jealous.

After this post on Friday, I had a couple people ask me over the weekend whatever happened and if I was able to pull off getting ready for the event.  I am happy to tell you that yes, it all did come together and mostly because of my 10 minute stop at Nordstrom.

Between my hair appointment and picking up my son, I had 15 MINUTES to run into Nordstrom to see what they might have.  This is how it went.

Minute 1: Walked directly to the Savvy and Via C sale rack
Minutes 2-4: Hit the DVF, Milly and Kate Spade sale items and grabbed three dresses in my size.
Minutes5-7: Tried on all three dresses and liked the DVF one.
Minutes 8-10: Purchased the DVF dress and was headed out the door.

I think it was a record.

Add to the fact that it was $230 off and I was pretty proud with myself.  Was it truly “black tie”?  No, but it was going to work!

Here is my look from the night.



A few pretty pieces added, a pair of shoes that were perhaps 20 years old and a hubby looking handsome in a tux and I was good to go.  Crisis averted!

The dress is still available at Nordstrom so I thought I would share because it really is a beautiful Plum color and could be worn to numerous events.  Plus, the price is pretty fabulous.  


 This is now my first and last time EVER leaving something so last minute!