5.31.2011

Will's 2nd Birthday!

This post is so late - but better late than never.

I kept saying I didn't want to have a big birthday party for Will's 2nd birthday..I, however, am an event addict and just couldn't help it!  We decided the week of, very last minute, to see if people were around for a cookout.  We ended up with a great turn out and Will had a blast! 
I think my favorite thing is seeing the little ones playing together. They used to just play around each other but now they're constantly looking for each other to play with.  You can hear, "Hey Will, come play over here!" or "Jimmy and Carter! Come on!" and they all run to do something new.  I look forward to watching these boys, their siblings (Jimmy's sister Maggie was born last week!!  She's going to give them a run for their money!) and all our other friends children all grow up together.  :-)

Now my favorite topic - food. I followed my own advice and let people bring things when they asked! We're close enough to some friends that I just tell them to bring something..I know, sounds horrible..  but Chris makes the most ridiculous italian calzone you've ever eaten and Jim throws together wings and shrimp like it's his job..  Sometimes I feel like Joe Mayo from Seinfeld, just assigning people jobs at the party.

I made my feta and broccoli calzone and dill dip and burgers etc.  My mother-in-law made her delicious cookies and a tortellini salad. This tortellini salad is legend at our parties.  My sister-in-law introduced me to it years ago and I haven't stopped making it since!  Recipe later in the week.  Point is, everyone brought something which made our last minute decision party very successful.

The star of the party? Was it the birthday boy or our beautiful neice Calla or my little cousin Jack who thinks he's the host at every party (he totally is.) or the margaritas that Laurie made? Nope..the stars of the party were the cupcakes!!!  There were RAVE reviews.  Seriously, people walking around saying, "these things are addicting!!", "so light and fluffy and the frosting is perfect!".  Woohooo!!! 
An old friend started her own cupcake company in the area - Whimsical Little Cakes -  and I've used her twice so far.  Both times the cupcakes were delicious.  A couple of months ago I saw she posted pictures on her facebook page (click here to Like her facebook page and keep up with her new creations) of the Dr Suess' The Cat in the Hat cupcakes that she had made and I put in an order right away.  See the pictures below.

All in all a great party.  Can't wait until the next one. :-)





5.26.2011

Buffalo Chicken Roll

I mentioned in my BBQ Must Haves post that I make these calzones/rolls with all different stuffings.  Well this is a favorite with my friends and maybe the most delicious treat I've ever tasted.  OK, not the MOST but CLOSE!!!  If you like buffalo chicken it's a must try. Just click to save/print!



5.23.2011

I love JoJo!

I have to share these with you...  I almost don't want to because I love that I don't see them everywhere but here I go anyway.

I LOVE JoJo loves you earrings.  My obsession started when my fashionista friend Reagan bought me a pair of the BLING earrings in Hazel. (Pictured below).  I usually wear big CZs as my staple but I switch out with these all the time.  They have the best sparkle. 
I love scouring the site for my favorites..I look all the time; however I am so bad at letting myself buy any!  Soooo...I just started buying them as presents!!  Pink pair for Sarah, clear and black for Katie..clear pair for Mom..  Such a fun little sparkle present!  But I do currently have a pair of clear, navy and flamingo pink Bling earrings in my online shopping cart!  There is a sale this weekend and I AM getting them!!!!

Her Party Bling earrings are awesome too! I mean everything they have is so pretty!

Bling earrings are $30, mini Bling $20, party bling $35 and mini party bling $25.

Check out the site - there really is something for everyone!

5.20.2011

BBQ must haves!

We entertain a lot in the summer.. it's so much fun but it can get expensive and overwhelming to plan.  With Memorial Day around the corner I wanted to share a few things that get me through..

1. When people offer to bring something to help - LET THEM!  Everyone bringing one dish or drink is way easier than you doing everything and they are happy to do it, that's why they offered!
2. Costco/BJ's for as much as you can.  I bought a large box of plastic silverware for around $10 that should last us most of the summer.  Same with paper plates, plastic cups, sodas..anything that doesn't need to be refrigerated.  If it's a big enough party then certainly buy your meats, rolls, buns there.
3. Come up with some easy, yummy, staples.  Mine:
  • A pitcher Crystal light lemonade.  Great alone or with vodka ;-) Don't forget the bendy straws!

  • Calzones, good hot or cold.  One of our closest friends makes a killer, real, italian calzone.  I'm not that talented.  So I grabbed a recipe from another friend and now put all different spins on it.  All you need is a Pillsbury Classic Pizza Crust and whatever filling you'd like; pepperoni pizza ingredients, mozzarella/feta/broccoli/oil, buffalo chicken/blue cheese/blue chese dressing..  anything.  Lay out the crust, layer your filling leaving an inch around the edge, fold it over twice and then bake for 25 - 35 min.  Bake time depends on how much filling.  Just start to watch it around 20 min. Best part is these are good warm and then cold too!  And you can always have the ingredients for the pepperoni pizza on hand to whip up for last minute guests or if the party goes later than you thought and you need some extra munchies.

  • Dill dip.  Super easy to put together and works with veggies, pretzels, chips..lots of things.  I just grab a lowfat sour cream and add, 2 tsps of celery salt, 2 tsps Dill Weed and 1/4 tsp Onion Powder.  Mix well and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 min. 

  •  Flowers! I get a couple of bunches of tulips (or whatever strikes my fancy) from the grocery store and put them in different vases in the living room and kitchen.  Inexpensive and adds a nice touch to the inside of the house which people will see on their way to the bathroom or late night when you move the party inside. 


Biggest, most important piece?  Great friends! We're very lucky..no matter what food or drink we have at any party/BBQ it's always a perfect time because our friends are like family and spending time with them means the world to us!:-) 



    5.17.2011

    Red-eye to Madrid = very sleepy

    I am SOOO tired!!!  Here's how it went down. Sunday we flew out at 6:20pm.  Business Class International is my favorite way to fly!!  So much room and delicious food.  Not to mention a seat that basically turns into a bed.  Problem was I wanted to watch a movie (No Strings Attached with Ashton Kutcher. I know, shut up.  I love those movies!) so I only got 3.5 hrs of sleep.  When we arrived in Madrid it was 7am and we wanted to sight see so instead of taking a nap, we showered quick and got on the metro.  We spent the day walking around, grabbing lunch, walking some more...and then finally drinking and eating outside for the remainder.  I got to bed around 1030pm and slept for almost 12 hrs!  Today was a day of meetings and dinner is at 9.  Yup.. 9pm.  So basically I'll have two dinners because there were finger sandwiches for lunch and I'm starving!! There is no way I can wait until 9 to eat.

    This is my picture for yesterday.  It was my view when we finally got to sit and relax. I've gotten some beautiful pics which I will share when I return because I forgot the cord to load them off the camera onto the computer. :-)

    PS - I should also mention I'm missing my husband's birthday today!  Missed Will's last week and his this week.  boooo me!

    I love you honey!  Happy Birthday!

    5.15.2011

    Leaving on a damn Jet plane

    As if it wasn't bad enough to leave Will on his birthday, I am leaving again!  I'm waiting for my flight to Madrid right now, feeling slightly better because of some buffalo wings and a bartender with a heavy pour.  It's funny though because I used to LOVE to travel for work.  It was exciting to go new places or visit favorites like Chicago with my best work teammates but now..  now my eyes water as I leave the house.  Don't get me wrong..I will certainly enjoy my time there, but if I had to choose, I'd be home.  Well, if I really had to choose I'd be in Madrid with my family instead! ha!

    Posts will be slow this week because I'm away but maybe I'll just do a picture and journal a day..ooh I like that idea!!

    5.13.2011

    Make-up Brush Idea

    My mom surprised me the other day with a bag that held a vase, and a bag of little clear beads.  Um...thanks but..  what the heck am I supposed to do with this??  Well... take a look:
    Isn't that neat?!  I love it because my brushes always get my make-up bag so dirty and it's a great place to put them after I wash them too! Plus it just looks nice..kind of dresses up our old, out of date, needs to be remodeled bathroom. :-)

    If you have less brushes or just less room to keep a vase just buy a smaller rounded vase and use less beads.  You can get all of this at Michael's or A.C. Moore for very very cheap.  

    Twitter - Fear not..

    It took me a long time to join twitter...I don't like to do trendy things - I avoided the scarf belt for the longest time.  I also just didn't understand why it was necessary..couldn't everyone just update their status on facebook?  Why do I need to sign up for yet another website??  But my husband had signed up and he doesn't do things just willy nilly so I decided it must be worth giving it a try.

    I don't think I've ever actually tweeted anything...oh your heard me, tweeted.. but what I do like it for is news updates and to hear from some celebrities that I find interesting.  I love Howard Stern so I tend to find most things he says interesting.  Mindy Kaling from the Office is pretty funny, so is Jimmy Kimmel.

    I'm still not a super user/tweeter but I really do enjoy broswing the twitter feed when I wake up or before I go to bed.  I mean, if I was following that Pakistan guy I would've found out about Osama's death before all of you!

    Some of the "people" I follow:
    @breakingnews
    @cnnbrk
    @bbcworld
    @WSJ
    @celtics
    @NPH (neil patrick harris!)
    @dannyzuker (producer of Modern Family - very funny)
    @modernmom
    @jimmykimmel 

    To see who else I follow that you may be interested in: passionate pea on twitter

    Want to give it a try? Click here Twitter and you just need to enter your name and email address and you're all set!  You can hide yourself so no one can see you if you'd like..you have all the control!

    5.10.2011

    Amateur Photographer

    I love love love taking pictures.  I'm by no means a photographer, but I have a pretty good eye for what makes a nice picture and happen to have a nice camera that makes it hard to take an actual bad picture.  A few of my favorite subject:
    05.2010 One Year Old
    05.2011 Two Years Old
    05.2011 Two Years Old  









     I love to capture every event with a ton of pictures, and every year I make a shutterfly album - almost like a yearbook. 

    We recently redid our spare bedroom..grey walls, white blanket, black dresser and eggplant/purple panel curtains.  I hadn't been able to find the right art for the walls until I was holding my camera yesterday and saw the purple tulips in my kitchen.  All of a sudden I thought I was...well some famous flower photographer. I took about 50 pictures and these are what I came up with:






    5.09.2011

    Grey hair NO MORE!

    BEFORE
    I've had grey hair since I was 18.  I remember freshman year of college, sitting on the floor while my friend Jenny sat behind me pulling grey hairs out of my head.  It's pretty bad now, concentrated primarily at the frame of my face and along the part at the top of my head..which is awesome and totally not noticeable at all. Right. All of a sudden my hair started growing like weeds.. I used to be able to go 7 to 8 weeks in between a color but now, 4 weeks!!!  Here is a picture of my roots at four weeks.  Gross.  I know.  I'm pretty good at laughing at myself but it gets pretty embarrassing when you're talking to people at work and rather than looking at my face, they're staring at the gazillion grey hairs on my head. 

    I don't want to pay for a color every four weeks, so I decided to start coloring my roots at home.  A bit scary at first...but not as bad as it sounds.  My greys are the "stubborn" ones that they mention in their fancy instructions so I've learned to leave the color in a few extra minutes..I also learned not to leave it in for 10 extra minutes.  That made for black roots and light brown hair.  Not pretty. 
    AFTER

    I've tried a few different permanent color in a box treatments and my favorite so far is Revlon Colorsilk Color 50Each kit contains a bottle of ammonia-free colorant, cream color developer, after color conditioner, step-by-step instructions, and a pair of thin plastic gloves. The coloring process is easy; you simply mix the colorant and developer together, shake vigorously, and apply to the roots of your hair. You can buy one of those application brushes but I just use the gloves, squirt it on the greys and rub in. For roots you leave it in for 20 min, 25 for stubborn greys. Best part is it only costs $4.59 at CVS.  

    Doing my own hair color at home when my roots start to show allows me to have my appointments every 8 weeks rather than every 4 - 6 weeks which saves money and also helps me avoid the in between weeks of horrible grey roots.

    Note: If you have hightlights, coloring your roots doesn't completely cover them.  My highlights blend right away and start to show more and more after each wash. 








    5.08.2011

    Mom's Day Revelation...


    I hope all the Mothers out there had the best Mother’s Day they could have..whether that means a day at the spa, breakfast in bed, a new pair of shoes or just a great day with the family.  I heard women say that this was just a hallmark holiday..another posted on facebook that she didn’t “need” mother’s day to know how lucky she was or as a reason to tell her mother she loved her.  I wonder if those women actually told their husbands and children not to celebrate them today.  Not to do anything extra special for them because they didn’t “need” it.  Or were they just pontificating?

    Well I realized today that I do need it.  I love it.  The same way I will love making my husband feel extra special on Father’s day, or his birthday or whenever.  Our life is crazy busy and while I know what I do or who I am is appreciated, and while I appreciate every day with my son and every day with my own Mother, how could I not love a day that my husband takes extra time to show me and make me feel special.  I do need him to work with my 2 yr old to teach him to say, “Happy Mother’s Day Mama!” and take him to get a card and have him sign it with a crayon in scribbles.  I do like getting a present..no matter what it is, a picture of my son and I, or my husband and son, or a new necklace tag with my son’s name on it because the one I got last year tarnished..  heck, I’d even love a mug with my little one’s picture on it that I may never use but will have forever.  No gift is ever too small for me because what I appreciate is my husband took the time leading up to the day to try and make it a perfect day for me, from having my iced coffee waiting to making sure I have the flowers that I love so much.  I do need it.  Maybe it’s because it’s what I do and how I was raised; not sure...

    But, my name is Sarah and I’m a thoughtfulnessaholic.  

    *Picture above shows my everyday present...love my little man....

    Quality Time

    How often do you spend quality time with your friends?  I mean real quality time? I have a friend that I talk to every day....OK at least once a day, sometimes 2 - 3 times.  I love our talks..I love that we can talk about her for the whole 30 min or me and it doesn't phase the other... or go back and forth jumping all over the place..or just talk about shows, or kids, or husbands or family..  anything, anytime.  It's so nice that we're so in touch with each others lives.. but we can also go a month or even longer and I'll, all of a sudden, realize that we haven't SEEN in each other!

    Last night she treated me to a yummy night out at Legal's for my favorite - oysters! to celebrate me getting my MBA.  (Which was in December..see, I can make a celebration go forever. ha!) We ate and then walked around the Mall and shopped..then just sat and chatted while she had an ice cream.  It was so nice and relaxed with no distractions. 

    I have a couple of great groups of friends.  We tend to get together as a group often and, because there are so many of us, sometimes I leave thinking, "hmm..I have no idea how ____ likes her new job." or "I wonder what's new with _____ and her boyfriend."..  I started grabbing lunch one on one with friends but I want to be more aware of the quality time spent/not spent with my girlfriends.  How does this get complicated?  Well I work full time, I have a husband and I need to start being more aware of our quality time together and our quality time as a family with our son.. oh and quality time with our parents and siblings...and exercise and and and... 

    Try and find some time this month to meet up with a good friend that you haven't seen in awhile.  Make it a drink for after you put the kid/s to bed if you feel guilty leaving them.  You can still have a good quality couple of hours and be home at a reasonable hour.

    5.06.2011

    Mother's Day - What do you want?

    As Mother's Day approached I learned that a friend of mine wanted a $300 purse for Mother's Day....I started to think, "What is an appropriate present for Mother's Day? - If I want a necklace one year is that asking too much? What if I want a Coach purse?".  So I reached out to a group of women and asked - "What do you want for Mother's Day?"  I got some great responses that I'm actually just going to post here.  Names changed to protect the innocent of course. :-)

    The responses were as small as a card and as large (joke) as $1000 for a shopping spree. :-)  Some were all about the Mom getting a break, and others were about being with their children.  What I decided was - that it depends!  I'd be happy every year to have breakfast as a family, spend lunch with our moms and get some flowers with a card - (because my husband writes amazing cards).  BUT...but...  if I've been dying for a spa day, or loving on a Coach purse...or these Cole Haan Nike Air pumpsI've been drooling over..  that's OK too!  
     

    In the end, my son is a present to me every day.  He has his moments, as does any 2 yr old, but I'll take every second of those moments...I'm truly blessed. 

    Mom's... happy mother's day! With a special shout out to my Sister in law who just became a mom last week to a little beauty!!!   

    Enjoy reading through the responses!

    •  - Ipod and docking station to have dance parties with the kids! Hahaa 
    •  - A card
    •  - some time AWAY.  I've discovered that I'm the type of person that just needs that escape every 6 months or so and I don't feel guilty about it.  I totally admire those women that have never and never feel the need to leave their kids overnight but I think they are doing themselves and their kids a disservice but putting themselves last on the list.  Personally, these mini-breaks make me a more fulfilled person and a better mom and wife.  Plus I work hard and I deserve it.  So there hahah.
    •  - I would love to sleep in and then be treated to some sort of spa service (massage, facial, nails).  :)
    •  - A Non-Whining, Non-Crying, Smily, Nice manners, Non-hitting, "Yes Mommy" day with my kids and hubby! and...$1000 to spend on new clothes!
    •  -  a day at canobie with teh family moms get in free! and maybe a pandora charm to add to my bracelet!
    •  - Hours to myself
    •   - a day with my child and my husband.....and maybe a new bathtub :)
    •  - a morning where my husband gets up, whisks the kids downstairs, feeds them breakfast and entertains them while letting me sleep in undisturbed, then a day of family fun that my husband organizes & coordinates, followed by an evening of takeout and a nice bottle of wine (after my husband bathes and puts the kids to bed while I watch DVR'd Gossip Girl episodes).  A girl can dream, right :)  
    •  - Ummm... I don't want jewelry or clothes or shoes. Maybe flowers or a new hummingbird feeder? A day off from all of the mommy business would be great and my husband would absolutely give that to me... now if I could just allow myself to take a day off I'd be all set!!

      5.03.2011

      Happy Mother's Day WEEK!

      Yup, you read that right.  This one's for my mom and if you know her/us at all, you know we try to make every celebration last at least a week - my birthday went for a month one year between dinner with different friends etc.  Why?  WHY NOT?!  Holidays, even 'Hallmark holidays', are such a great excuse to get family and/or friends together.  Having a birthday month isn't about people celebrating me for a month, it's just a great reason for us to make the time to meet out for dinner or grab a pedicure together. Anyway, back to Mom..

      Mom had me when she was 21 and my brother at 23. It's so crazy to me to think that at my age she had a 12 and 10 yr old!  Growing up she was a tough, strict, raise an eyebrow and we obeyed, kind of Mom.  She was a Mom before she was a friend. She supported us in all we did..  She raised us to be independent, do our own laundry, help clean the house etc. She taught us to never quit, fight for what we believed in, love with all we had, dance like crazy, be able to laugh at ourselves, and make some of the best black moons (whoopie pies) you've ever eaten. I looked at her and thought, "that is the strongest woman I will ever know."

      As I grew up my Mom became a best friend.  We talk on the phone every day at least once.  She knows more about my life than I'm sure she cares to and she's let me in to a side of her I never knew growing up. We both have very strong personalities and strong opinions that certainly make things interesting between us at times but we share an unconditional love, matched only now by love I share with my own child. 

      I wish her the happiest Mother's Day year she could ever have!

      5.02.2011

      Just ask...

      I mentioned in my 'hairy face' post that you should ask your "tell you the truth friend" if you need the razor or not.  It just got me thinking..  I have plenty of tell me the truth IF I ASK friends but I think there would have to be something really wrong for my friends to actually bring it to my attention unsolicited.   

      Think about how many times you or a friend has said, "Does she own a mirror?" or "Doesn't she have a friend that would tell her ______".  Wow, that sounds mean as I type it.. look for a 'I'm a mean person' post soon.   But seriously...the girl who always wears way too much foundation or has that line of it around her face?  The guy whose pants are always too short?  The girl whose clothes are worn just a little too tight..  etc.  and you think, "Why doesn't anyone tell them??".. Why?  Because that can feel mean! Telling them something is wrong with how they look without them asking you probably isn't the nicest thing you could do.


      So do yourself a favor, the next time you're questioning an outfit, your makeup, anything,  ask your 'tell you the truth' friend, "does my _____ look OK?"

                        
       You in the banana clip - no one can help you. 

      5.01.2011

      You're hairy..no really

      I used to think that the peach fuzz on my face wasn't seen by anyone because it was just peach fuzz..nice, hidden, blonde peach fuzz.

      Well, one day my mom politely told me that there was this great razor at CVS I should pick up for the hair on my face.  Umm...what?  hair on my face?  but it's blonde? No one can even see if right?! She just smiled.

      Fine.

      It's the Remington MPT3500 ($9.99 at CVS) and it's awesome!!  It's battery powered and trims all the hair on my face.  There is a shorter side that guys probably use for nose hair or something but I trim my eyebrows with it.  I've done that in place of a brow wax before and it was great.

      It hasn't grown back any thicker or darker..  try it.  And if you don't think you need it, ask your 'tell you the truth' friend.  You know, the one that would actually tell you if you looked fat in something.