I don’t do Halloween, part 3.

So this is the third year I’m writing about this and the truth is that I now do Halloween.

After years of diffusing it and making it not so fun… I’m all in. This is partly due to the fact that I now have a few more hours a week (like 15-20) where I’m not commuting on some highway in traffic, drinking black coffee while falling asleep at the wheel, and partly because it seems as though everyone else around me LOVES Halloween. So, I’m in.

I’m still buying my costumes on Amazon, like 12 hours before we need them but some things will never change.

Here’s a peek into how I’m spreading the spook this year…Be kind, I’m a beginner, and I still like things pretty. This will also never ever change.

Let’s work our way outside/in, shall we? Entry: Fall- meets- a very small serving of All Hallows Eve… A witch hat from a primitive craft store on a wreath I use every year in between seasons, some witch hands coming up from the dirt, and the obligatory hanging skeleton/ghost thing. Adding in many interesting and colorful gourds (well at least all the kids could carry to the car), mums, those red spiky things and last but not least, Pumpkins.

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Moving inside, the dining room has been done for a while. I like to keep it “Martha spooky” by still using my milk glass and wine barrel lazy susan. I mixed in a few skeleton wine glasses with my vintage etched glass and added some black feathers and a spider web table-cloth for darkness….and of course there’s led twinkle light strands for evening. img_1044img_1043

Kitchen. This will be the main hub for trick or treat night when I usually have a crowd. This table will transform into snack-central. Candy, goldfish and juiceboxes galore. I think I mentioned last year that we reside in THE trick-or-treat neighborhood in town. Like, kids from other neighborhoods get dropped off here. So we host. After the kids go around the blocks twice or three times, they gallivant in the yard after all getting amped up on the sugar, so we adults eat, drink and be merry around the fire pit. There is always an excuse for a party. This lesson we have learned after there are no more babies/toddlers to deal with. (aka phase 1-ers…from an old post;) )

By DAY….

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and NIGHT…I filled the hurricanes with plastic spiders and bat lights..wahahahaaaa

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I’m sorry but aren’t these the cutest little stupid monster faces?

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K. Family room. I never decorated this room for Halloween before. It’s a first. I just used some fabric to spook it up a bit and it also added to the warm and cozy effect. Candles, gourds, garland. Simple stuff.

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and night. The only thing missing here on the table is the vino… img_1034

Last but not least I got this phone at target. When you walk by or pick it up it scares the shit out of you. (well, at least the first 3 times) The kids love it. And it’s growing on me too. The whole holiday is actually.

I guess never say never.

xo, friends!img_1021

 

 

 

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on the cusp

Memorial Day weekend is such a tease. What I’m learning from my work from home role and also as the kids get older is that waiting for the end of the school year is like waiting for nail polish to dry if you are painting your nails outside in 98 degree humid July heat. It feels like the actual summer will never, ever start.

Everyone was so amped up about good weather FINALLY making it to the Northeast  States, and Memorial Day weekend was epic in many aspects. First and foremost, me jail braking the kids out of school a little early because I’m not chained to setting up and working a retail holiday weekend sale anymore. Also, we finally had one weekend away from sports and headed to the beach to do all of our absolute favorite family things: beach, boat, sun, swim, porch, bike, repeat.

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Only to have it all feel like a dream…This Tuesday was the “Monday-ist Tuesday ever”.

Relax, I’m not gonna get all Sad Sally here. I realize that in 2 weeks it will officially be summer break and as usual we are almost planned out till August 31st. I also realize that in 2 weeks or so I will be yelling at my kids to get outside and wait while I finish work until we can go crash a pool. Oh and “Boo hoo…your life must suck as the only kids in town without a pool…but I guess the beach house doesn’t count now does it?” I’m sounding a lot like my mom in 1986, (sans the beach house..we had a sprinkler and a slip and slide).

So that’s my random rant. On to all things “on the cusp” aka “early June”.

imageMakeshift outdoor offices are the key to working from home.

imageMakeshift outdoor offices turn into twilight wine and relaxation area…

When you go away for Memorial Day weekend and come home to sad peonies who have been attacked by a nearby wisteria plant. grrrr… imageSo, you cut them. And enjoy.

Lastly, on the fashion front (well not really..just personal style front). I purchased my yearly 6 pack of white men’s Hanes tanks. I’m thinking about single-handedly bringing them back. There are not many garments in my opinion with the exception of the denim jacket and possibly leopard flats that go with EVERYTHING in one’s closet.

Dress it up, down, and around it. The 6 pack costs $9.99 and is universally flattering to all shapes and sizes. Don’t ask me how. It just is. Trust and Believe. I’ve been dedicated to these since 1993. Wore them all the way through 2 pregnancies too. A few examples:

imageWith Culottes 

With a skirt, any skirt; Long, short, or this vintage cotton 1970’s skirt printed with white and pink lambs…

You can even layer it under a dress, or THIS skirt that is now doubling as a dress. 97 cents on a clearance rack at Old Navy, friends. These are the odd things that never sell at Old Navy full price; A black viscose, shiny midi skirt. These cast offs always call my name. imageIt’s totally unacceptably wrinkled though… apologies to my visual merchandising friends. 

And with the trusty denim bottom, jeans, shorts, skirts…you get it. image

May I also recommend fun accessories. Since the tank is the simplest of garments and white, you can pretty much choose anything!

It’s no secret I own lots of Baubles. I lean towards kitschy earrings like bees or birds to go with plain white tanks and arm candy for days mixed with watches that I don’t really use to tell time when sleeves disappear in the summer. The last pic is an ode to wooden bangles. If any of you have ever worked with me in my styling days, I was always on the hunt for wooden bangles for the mannis to wear in the windows. They too, are a universal, go with all summer looks, essential. 

So that’s my hard sell on the basic men’s Hanes tank (or Jockey, whatever brand you prefer. I’m sure theyre made in the same factory ;)). June has officially begun!! On the cusp of another fabulous summer!

Now if I can only find a reason to rock this vintage Marc by Marc Jacobs on a random Wednesday in June…image

xo friends!!

 

 

march madness

Well, since my Disney Coma I’ve been skitzing out on posting anything. First of all, winter is very uninspiring to me personally, and I don’t really ever want to spread my negativity or bad mood on this blog. You’re welcome. We finally got away to celebrate both 40th b-days (a year later because of last year’s broken arm mishap), and our upcoming 15 year wedding anniversary! Paradise was nice while it lasted…

But, eventually, you have to come home and get through the rest of the winter…so I found a new hobby..image

That’s where we are at. Things are looking up in the Northeast, thanks to that groundhog who didn’t see his shadow. Thanks Phil! So with warmer weather ahead, I always get inspired to tear things apart, make some good messes and create again.

Ya know when you go to Target and buy a can of gold metallic paint just because, and then 4 months later decide it’s time to use it somewhere? Oh, that’s just me? huh.

So that can of paint chose the inside of the front door to live. The white door was starting to get really dirty and I knew that it needed tending to, so instead of touching it up like  normal person would do, I went ahead and painted it gold. Now, I’m not completely random as I do have “some” experience with color stories etc…

I wanted to bring together all the warmth surrounding the white door. With the dark hardwood floor,  mustard walls in the dining room and the gold touches in the surrounding artwork, curtains and rug, gold seemed to be a good option. And, hey, I already had the paint! Here’s the progression..imageimageimageimageimage

Three coats and some touch up later…image

Feeling accomplished and happy to have used the paint finally.

Moving on…Of course I went to the flower show again this year and was so happy to be with my family girl squad and to be among all the beautiful exhibits.

And of course I had to purchase some succulents for my mantle. They are so cute and easy to take care of. I’m still loving the green groupings for a Spring mantle look. Thanks to Terrain for the inspiration. image

Also, I’ve been needing a new spring wreath for some time but haven’t had any new ideas. Thanks to the dried floral booth at the Flower Show I got just what I needed. And instead of the usual Pinterest or FB time suckers during lunch on Monday, I made a big old mess with dried flowers on my family room floor. Here’s what I came up with..(15 minutes total labor).

Sometimes all you need is a little warm weather, a few good spin classes and a night out with the girls to give you a push in the creative direction.

Happy Spring!  xo friends!!image

frozen blooms, thai peanut sauce and the ice storm of ’94,

Some winter traditions; because the roads still look like this:image

But at least we don’t live in Boston. A few states away is close enough.

So, The annual Philadelphia Flower Show. A winter tradition for more than a decade for many reasons.

First of all, flowers mean spring is coming. An enormous convention center wing full of the most beautiful and fresh flowers is sure to lift one’s winter blues, no? Yep. Second, it’s an uber inspirational outing if one is at all visually inclined, loves to decorate, loves to arrange flowers or landscape or just generally loves to see the art and beauty in nature. The showmanship is unreal. Some of these exhibits surely take a ton of money and months to complete.

Every year, the participants keep out doing each other in grandeur and style. I highly recommend. Also, there is the opportunity to spend a ridiculous amount of money that you don’t have on cut flowers, small plants and herbs and some super crafty things that you may not see anywhere else. (All this at a price, because like Disney…you’re already there, and you need it NOW). Here are a few snaps. Unfortunately, I only had my iPhone because of course my camera battery was dead and the charger has disappeared. It’s probably in the basement amongst the Barbie dream house decor being used as a vehicle of some sort, but I digress…

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This year’s theme was Disney movies…and you entered through a gorgeous “art deco theatre” made of flowers

of course there was a Frozen exhibit. I mean come on...

of course there was a Frozen exhibit. I mean come on…the steps are 1000’s of carnations. This pic doesn’t even come close to doing it justice. google it. 

these were chandeliers in the "nightmare before Christmas" display

chandeliers in the “nightmare before Christmas” display

tulips were everywhere..

tulips were everywhere..

chandeliers at the grand entrance

chandeliers at the grand entrance

luminous and over the top "weddng" table

luminous and over the top “wedding” feast table

in the peter pan exhibit, they recreated "never land" complete with a pond and peter's hat hiding in the bushes

in the peter pan exhibit, they recreated “never land” complete with a pond and peter and captain hook’s hats and hook hiding in the bushes

What I did with my “purchases”…

on the bottom left is a cool succulent patch that can lay anywhere from a tray to a wall and just needs to be spritzed

on the bottom left is a cool succulent patch that can lay anywhere from a tray to a wall and just needs to be spritzed

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when I arranged these they reminded me of my wedding bouquet back in december 2001

arranging these reminded me of my wedding bouquet back in december 2001

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"Eloise and Talulah" hobnobbing with the horticultural enthusiasts.

“Eloise and Tallulah” hobnobbing with the horticultural enthusiasts. They had to carry bags for all the brochures they collected.

Time to switch to another winter “tradition”. I like to call this Mrs’ V’s Peanut Pasta. So, back in college, specifically freshman year, my girlfriends and I would occasionally escape campus and travel to each other’s homes (which were relatively close by/ only an hour at the most). The moms would always have a meal and an empty washing machine for us to use. Mrs. V used to make this pasta dish that, to this day is one of my faves and possibly one of the simplest but most flavorful weeknight meals you can make for a family (without peanut allergy’s obviously). Follow along. It’s so simple you may miss something.

Ok, so Mrs. V used scallions and sometimes chicken but you can really throw any veggie in and even switch to shrimp as well.

you'll need: 1lb of pasta, olive oil, 1 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 bottle of preferred thai peanut sauce, and veggies/chicken/shrimp etc..

you’ll need: 1lb of pasta, olive oil, 1 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 bottle of preferred Thai peanut sauce, and veggies/chicken/shrimp etc..ps, it’s March in the northeast, we still are on  frozen veggies. 

boil your pasta and micro steam your veggies a couple mins and get your onions sautéing in the oil.

boil your pasta, micro steam your veggies for a couple minutes, and get your onions sautéing in the oil.

add the veggies and garlic to the onions and oil and sautee some more

add the veggies and garlic to the onions and oil and saute some more, browning a little bit for sweetness

add the boiled and drained pasta

add the boiled and drained pasta and pour in the whole bottle of sauce. you can add some parsley and maybe ginger or spice of choice  (you get the picture)

eat. oh and remember to make this for your starving college age kids and their friends when they come home to do laundry during an ice storm. thanks Mrs V :)

EAT. oh and remember to make this for your starving college age kids and their friends when they come home to do laundry during an ice storm. thanks Mrs V 🙂

There you have it. March 3rd and it’s coming in like a lion. Still winter. Keep those traditions going, it’s what gets us through the “inside” months. It only gets warmer from here.

XO friends!!

rest in peace my sweet maggie. there will be plenty of warm sunshine in doggie heaven for you. xo

rest in peace my sweet Maggie. there will be plenty of warm sunshine in doggie heaven for you. We love you.