Two Lips

One of my favorite riddles/jokes as a kid was this:

What flower do you always carry with you? 

Two Lips

Sometimes, it's amazing what some new gloss for those two lips can do for an outlook on life. There's just a certain feeling the first time you put on a new lip color.

There is a CVS right by my office, and I sometimes I spend a few minutes browsing on the way to my favorite lunch spot. Recently, I found this new matte lip crayon from Revlon. I have one of the lip stains that looks similar, and loved it. Light, bright color with a subtle minty undertone. And there's something about the crayon aspect that I love as well.

The matte balm...love! Goes on like velvet, so smooth, and amazingly matte. It barely feels like anything is there.

The color I got is called Shameless. After I put it on, I shamelessly sat in my car and took a few selfies.

Anyway, I'm not trying to sell Revlon or anything, just found a fun little product that made me smile, so I thought I'd share.



Christmas Past

Yes, it's true, Christmas has come and gone. But, it is one of my favorite times of year, and was my more recent opportunity to make my home beautiful, so I'm going to share it.

We kicked off the season this year with an advent activity for Leo. I borrowed the idea from my good friend Christine. Since Leo didn't really understand what Christmas is all about, I thought the idea of reading a story each day about winter and the holiday season might help learn about what was coming. So, I wrapped up a Christmas or winter themed book for each day of December until the 24th. Thanks to my reading teacher Mom, I only had to purchase about half a dozen books to have enough. 

I made simple paper labels and attached with silver washi tape. The crafty designer in me wanted to make them more designy and complicated, but similar to the approach I am taking with the blog, I opted for just getting the job done. I set all the books up on a shelf in Leo's room, with a mini tinsel tree. Each night, as part of our bedtime routine, we would find the right book and Leo would open it while we put on his pjs. In addition to being a way to learn about the season, it also helped him learn about the concept of opening presents. 

Of course, the last book we opened on Christmas Eve was a board book version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. 

We all gathered on the sofa to read the story together, sporting our new Christmas PJs. All in all, I think the storybook advent was a big hit and we will probably make it an annual tradition. 

This Christmas was the first time that Greg and I actually hosted the holiday dinner. My mom came to stay with us, and it was just the four of us for Christmas Eve. Here's what the table looked like for our dinner on the 24th. 

If you are familiar with our dining room, you might remember that we typically have a bar height table with stools. We only have 6 stools, and we were expecting 8 people total for our Christmas dinner, my mom, and Greg's parents, grandfather and brother in addition to the three of us. We ended up buying an 8ft folding table to use for the event. It will come in handy in the future for all sorts of indoor and outdoor parties. I couldn't bear the thought of all of us sitting on boring gray folding chairs, which we already had, so I decided to paint them. There are some better shots further down. You can see that my Christmas colors are not the typical red and green. I use teal, lime green, purple (big surprise), pink and a little red. I love this whimsical mix of colors and how they look festive, but at home with the decor I always have in my house. So, for the chairs, I did each of lime, teal, purple and pink. The plates on the table came from Target a few years ago. I made the placemats back then as well, from wrapping paper covered in contact paper. You can get a better view of those here.

Of course, it wouldn't be Christmas without cookies. I usually make dozens upon dozens of frosted sugar cookies. I still made a few of those, but I also wanted to make some that might appeal a little more to Leo. I got the idea for these peanut butter cookie reindeer from Pinterest of course.

After we finished reading our story, we got some of those cookies ready to leave out for Santa! I'm pretty sure he liked them. 

Before I tell you about our morning, here's a look at some of the other holiday decor around the house. 

I loved the way this turned out. I strung a bunch of shatter proof bulbs with baker's twine from the chandelier in our dining room. It made the room feel a little like Christmas in Wonderland. 

We have always like colored lights on our tree. I love the way the colors of the ornaments I used complement the lights so nicely. Above, you see the ornament I bought Leo for his first Christmas last year. It was perfect, as one of my favorite names for him is "Peanut."

I set the table for Christmas dinner with our real dishes, instead of my melamine snowflake set. I didn't have enough snowflakes, and I wanted to be a little more formal. These are the dishes we use every day, but they are nice enough for special occasions. 

For place cards, I used my favorite sugar cookies. I have a set of little letter cutters I used to create the names. 

The placemats were made with some silver vinyl fabric that was left over from this year's fashion show. I thought it looked a like snow. I just used basic plastic tablecloths from a party store, layering a clear with white snowflakes over a blue. All in all, I was pretty pleased with my first Christmas dinner. It whimsical and fun, which suits my personality perfectly. 

 One more idea from Pinterest were these Grinch fruit kabobs. Even though Leo doesn't know the grinch, he loves fruit. And the adults got a kick out of the reference.

So, now that you've seen what the house looked like, here' a few shots of Leo discovering what Santa left behind. 

Before I go, here's a look at the basement. We've been having so much fun family time down there in our new family/play room. I wanted to make sure we were feeling the spirit of the season when we were down there as well. 

 I used similar colors down here, but went heavier on the red of course, because it's one of the featured colors in the room. The room still needs a lot of finishing touches, but I thought this decor added a lot for the month of December. Of course, now that all of it has come down, I'm itching to get moving on more of those finishing touches. I will be sure to share them as we go!


A Pinteresting Admission

Last fall, when I posted some of Leo's birthday party photos on Face*book, a friend from my mom group commented that she was sure I existed to make the rest of them look bad. It's true, that as a designer, a goal of mine is to make beautiful things, things that are worthy of being pinned. And in fact, it seems that I might be starting to succeed at that! 

But that is not the whole story. 

Friday, I grabbed the stack of Valentines and put them in an envelope to go in Leo's bag. Then I realized that I forgot to make the Valentine snack I had promised to send in for the party. Because yeah, getting things ready ahead of time, not my forte. So, I got busy creating these. Of course, I had to embellish the container to make it feel more festive with my new favorite craft supply, washi tape. 

And...promptly forgot to put the envelope of Valentines in Leo's bag. 

Mom fail!

I felt a little bit better when I picked Leo up that afternoon and discovered that the only Valentine he received was from his teacher. The kids in his class really are a little young for this tradition, so I guess none of them participated. Oh well. I will still be sending in the cards next week for a little belated surprise. I'm sure they will still be appreciated. 

So yeah, I might be good at making things look good. But supermom, far from it!


Hearts, Dinosaurs and Washi Tape

When I was in fourth grade, my heart was broken when my teacher decided to have us make a donation to charity instead of passing out Valentine cards in class. I already had the supplies I was going to use to make mine—a heart shaped pad of paper with beautiful red, pink, purple and blue sheets, and stickers to decorate with. I never got to use them. So, imagine my delight when I picked Leo up from school the other day and his teacher told me she'd be sending me a list of names of the kids in the class. 

I get to make Valentines! 

I mean, Leo's a little young to do it himself, right? I fully expect to let him take the lead when he is older, but I do hope to pass along my love of art and design. It's never too early to get started, right?

I did what any good crafter does these days. I consulted Pinterest for inspiration. I had a rough idea of doing something with dinosaurs, thanks to a suggestion from my mom. When I found the phrase, "dino-mite," I came up with my idea. 

To ensure Leo had the option to participate, I printed the outlines of the dinosaur on to a red piece of paper. Then, I got out a some chalk pencils to see what he would do. I quickly realized that I needed to tape the paper down or he would just push it around without making any marks. I got out some washi tape and decided to tape the paper to the floor. Leo made a few marks, but mostly seemed interested in carrying around as many of the pencils as he could fit into one hand. 

I set about printing the card backgrounds and left Leo to do his thing. When I looked back down at the floor, he had taken a longer piece of the pink washi tape and put it on the paper. I decided to go with it, and got out a few more rolls I thought would coordinate. I ripped off some pieces for him to put down, and tried to encourage him to color a little bit more on the paper. 

He mostly seemed interested in doing this...


He did decide he wanted to sit on my lap and see what I was doing when I was gluing the dinosaurs on to the cards. 

The introduction of the washi tape into the design inspired me to take it further. I always new that I was going to add up side down hearts as spikes on the dinos' backs, but I hadn't quite figured out how I was going to do that. I had planned to print, cut, and glue them. Using washi tape allowed me to eliminate a few steps. All I had to do was cut them and stick them down. I will admit, it's a little tricky to cut smaller than half inch hearts out of tape, but I love the way they turned out. Hopefully Leo's friends will too! 

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!


Sequins and Skates

It's not my intention that every single post I write from now on will be able something that literally sparkles, but it just so happens that a few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the Men's Free Skate at the 2014 US National Figure Skating Championship which was held in Boston this year. It doesn't get much more sparkly than a figure skating event. 

The tickets were a Christmas gift from my awesome husband, and what a perfect gift it was. Anyone who has known me for any length of time understands that I have just a small obsession with the sport of figure skating. And, with the Olympics getting started, this was the competition that decided who the US would be sending to compete. I have to say, I was quite satisfied with the outcome of the competition. I'm very much looking forward to watching Jeremy Abbot and Jason Brown competing over the next few days, along with the rest of the skaters. 

Gold Medalist  —  Jeremy Abbot

Silver Medalist  —  Jason Brown

Just as exciting as watching the competition, was the people watching. Our seats were in the first row of the club level, at center ice, so we were one section up behind the judges. Apparently, the section immediately behind the judges is where they VIPs are seated. When we first arrived at the event, we were looking for a place to eat, and wandered by the press area. We walked right past Paul Wylie. But I nearly started to hyperventilate when he literally walked up and sate directly in front of us. I'm talking, I could have reached over the railing and patted him on the head. Oh, how I wanted to! I did get up the courage to ask for his autograph before we left at the end of the competition. 

Paul Wylie

After Paul sat down, I heard some women near by talking about Kristi Yamaguchi eating popcorn just like the rest of us. I started scanning the crowd. Wouldn't you know, four rows in front of Paul, was his 1992 Olympic teammate. I actually caught her in profile and recognized her eyelashes. (Obsessed, I told you). 

Kristi Yamaguchi

A few minutes later, an elderly gentleman entered Kristi's row. It was Dick Button. Most people who watched in the last two decades know him as a commentator. He was also an Olympic gold medalist back in his day. Kristi stood up to let him by. 

Dick Button & Kristi Yamaguchi

Dorothy Hamill

Kristi, Dick & Dorothy

He sat down right between Kristi and...Dorothy Hamil! And then I saw her turn around to talk to a man behind her. Brian Boitano! 

Dorothy Hamill & Brian Boitano
I also saw a woman with a fur coat and perfect blond chignon. I had to do a little googling on my phone to figure out that it was Carol Heiss, another skater turned coach. And of course, where there is a televised skating event, there is Scott Hamilton, though he was a bit further away. 

During the event, Paul Wylie was sitting next to a petite woman, who looked familiar. But I just couldn't place her. I had a hunch she was a pairs skater from the past. I keep picturing her with late 80s/early 90s poofy bangs and a schrunchy bun on the top of her head. When I was home later, I did a little research through old US Nationals results, and determined that she was Calla Urbanski, who skated pairs with Rocky Marvel. They were national champions a few times, and also competed at the Olympics in 1992, which explains why she and Paul seemed to be such good buddies. 

Needless to say, I was pretty star struck. It was an amazing experience. And after seeing the energy in the audience when Jason Brown was on the ice, I cannot wait to see him competing in the next few days!