Lucy: the first 60 days.. and I don’t do crafts part 2.0

Well, this is the third year I’ve managed to not write a solitary thing during the month of December. I skipped November this year too. Oh well, I added to my plate remember? So, Jan 3rd is here and I have a few things to go over.

  1. I will try my hardest to write more. I love to do it. It makes me happy. And several of you have told me it makes you happy to read my posts. (which, with the exception of my mom who is my biggest fan and sometimes I think my only fan, is totally unexpected and kind and makes me happy to hear) So. I will Try. Here goes..
  2. We got a puppy. Yes. It was time. She is 12 weeks tomorrow.

Introducing Lucy Rose:img_1783

So Lucy joined us just in time for the holidays. She was welcomed with open arms and two very surprised children.. We didn’t tell them! And since then its like we have a newborn sibling. I have to admit, she is a good puppy so far and I welcome the company as I am home now most of the day by myself. If you ask the kids, they totes love her BUT she definitely takes up a lot of doll playing and x-box playing time around here.

It’s good for them, this new responsibility. They are soooooo very used to doing what they want, when they want; just hibernating in their own little worlds, especially in the winter months when activities slow down ….Lucy’s shaking things up. She’s bringing us together again, playing in the kitchen with the kids as I get dinner together. Forcing us to maybe watch a movie all in the same room and giving us an excuse to go in the back yard and throw around a ball or two. Almost all family activities during the past 2 months have included the little miss including our New Years road trip to visit friends in North Carolina… and she did it! 10+ hours in a packed Ram truck. Fit right in, that little munchie.

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#pugrummy

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#pugonaminitrampoline

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#pugclaus

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#pugonaroadtrip

She’s a peach. (my new saying for 2017. I don’t know, just go with it.) Although she is no longer allowed on this rug. grrrrr….img_1767

My annual Holiday rewind besides all things Lucy goes a little like this:

Ugly Sweater party: checkimg_2239

Nutcracker and Brunch: check

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All the drink options covered here. #winning

Santa Hayride: check*  Santa Brunch: check*

*disclaimer: we’re holding onto all things Santa by a real thin rope… My phase 3er (aka 11 year old…see a previous post) is on the fence if ya know what I mean. Now, nothing was concluded this year BUT I’m glad I have an entire year to come to terms with what lies ahead for next year’s Christmas Magic..

All school concerts, parties, ugly sweater and gingerbread house making: check**

**disclaimer #2: In what will go down as a record breaking year, I did attend EVERY SINGLE thing I was invited to as a parent on the school level. Now, I still have a “no room mom ever” rule so I wasn’t privy to the class parties BUT, I did attend 2 crafting sessions that helped me emerge from my usual “I don’t craft , I delegate the creation of the crafts.” norm.

In both circumstances I had a super fun time because there was the complete absence of rules and “how to” or wrong and right way. There was only childlike creativity which I thought was FANTASTIC and bravo to the teachers. Super fun and inspirational to see. We are lucky enough to live in a school district where we have art classes in school and every year these kids really pull out all the stops due to some very thoughtful and creative teachers. I was so happy to see this continue in the holiday activities. I’m a smidge tired of seeing so many perfectly planned “Pinteresty” crafts that would never come from the imaginations of a grade schooler. Their minds wonder much more abstractly and are naturally less rigid about art and being creative.

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5th Grade project: Ugly shirt decorating using whatever you have that mom didn’t want to decorate with to be worn at the holiday concert. 

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The beginnings of a 1st grader gingerbread creation…ALL decisions made by miss Eloise, I was only a contracted worker… 

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The Masterpiece complete with a lifesaver truck. I loved it so much I made it the centerpiece in the kitchen mixed in among the bottle brush trees and deer antler wreath. 

To put it in terms of a FRIENDS analogy:

Art for a kid should be more Phoebe than Monica 😉

I mean look how little miss Eloise rolls to the Nutcracker at the Academy of Music for crying out loud.

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Nobody puts Baby in the Corner

So there ya have it. We completed the festive month with a road trip that had us all shoved in a truck for, like I mentioned before, 10+ hours each way. We survived and had a BLAST visiting with old friends.

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Those are “only 4 hours on the road so far” smiles… ha! 

I’ll leave you with a fabulous “craft” idea that was not mine. My friend Sarina told me about it.  Something she heard about from some lady named Martha Stewart  (have you heard of her?) Ha! This craft is actually doable and quite the time/money saver.

So ya know all those beautiful holiday cards that we all display so proudly (at least I do) for the entire month of December?

I always feel so bad but most of the time after the holidays except for some of family and friends that I do frame, they either get shoved in a box or tossed. Don’t lie, you all do it too. I’m not offended. Lets be real. So turns out Martha, (Oh that Martha, what a peach), suggests cutting the well wishes such as “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” or “Joy to the World” out and saving them to use as package tags for the following year!!!

OMG, she should really do this for a living. (hee hee) Anyway, THAT’S a craft i can get my ass behind. So here you have it…img_2583

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OOH…AHHHH. 

Holiday 2016. AAAAAANDDDD Scene!

 

Cheers to the new year friends, and RIP dear Princess…you inspired me to start writing. xo, friends.img_2445

 

 

 

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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!!

 

 

Theresa goes viral…

I came across the most perfect Mother’s Day inspiration today. My AMAZING mom posted a pic of my nana (who passed about 6 years ago) on her Facebook page. Then my crazy family started commenting and posting snippets of Theresa-isms.

Anyone out there from a crazy Italian/American family with all the stereotypes? The made up “italian” words, the hugs, the yelling, the love, the EATING, the traditions?

Then you’ll relate.

Nana passed when she was 96. (I know…I’m in for a long life, her sister is still kicking at 100.) In all seriousness, I swear it’s from the lack of preservatives; everything was homemade, the wine consumption, her undying faith in God, and her ENORMOUS love of her family. I miss the crap out of her and I am so grateful that she was here with us for so many memories. My mom reminds me more and more of her everyday now that I have kids of my own. I can only hope to be half the woman, mom, and nana that each of these ladies were and are. imageimage

What ended up being posted today was a hilarious video that my cousin Janine and her husband shot during a road trip to Easter at my Aunts house. This was the very last Easter we had my nana around.

As hilarious as it is, there are many lessons to be learned here from a wise old Italian Nana.  I will list them here:

  1. She’s so humble when given a compliment.
  2. Family holidays are a very big deal. Do not take them for granted. Travel if needed to keep a tradition going.
  3. Wearing a rain hat will prevent frizz.
  4. Even if someone is filming you in a car, it’s important to say your prayers.
  5. She loved all of our significant others so very much and treated them like part of the family.
  6. When asked if we can do a holiday meal without the meatballs and braciole, the obvious answer is no. Traditions are meant to be kept.
  7. She’s listening and understands everything you are saying even if she doesn’t respond right away or at all.
  8. When you ask whats wrong and when she says “Nothin”, that means something. Watch out.
  9. If you piss her off, her silence is deadly.
  10. When all is said and done, Family is first, ALWAYS. Forgive and forget.
  11. Bonus: When you arrive at the destination, you arrive humble and kind and ready for a good time.

So without further adieu, I’m going to give you a gift. I hope you laugh your ass off and can see why we all loved her so very much.

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xo friends and Happy Mother’s Day!!

December Rewind

No matter who you talk to every year about this time (Christmas Eve, Eve), everyone’s all “I can’t believe Christmas is in 2 days”! Yep. People, I hate to burst your bubble but it’s the same day every year. Small talk is not my fav, but I digress.

I made a conscious decision to enjoy this month of December and to BOOK it with all the things that I have always been too retail bleary eyed to enjoy. And it’s been eye opening. I feel happy and lucky this December. Not happy go lucky. I’m still working my ass off or I wouldn’t be writing this at 9pm a whole month after my last post. But Happy and Lucky. Appreciative of my kids, husband, family and friends. I have been trying to acknowledge all the love on my plate lately. And just the act of being thankful can make one happy. Happiness as it turns out is a choice for the most part. I think I may be done being a miserable cow. I know those closest to me are thankful for that 😉

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So here are some snaps of this past month. Some inspiration for you to consider for the next time you want to decorate, bake cookies, attend 4 parties in one weekend or just sit and watch your kids be kids.

I would like to make a commitment to write more this coming year. I’m working on what that’s gonna look like and where that will take me, if anywhere and if it even really matters. I like to write and take pictures so I’m just going to go with that. And practice. Heres a pretty interlude pic to get us started down my first December out of my retail fog….

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First up, go OUT the whole week of Thanksgiving. For the first time in 20 years. Highlights were, a fun Friends-giving, watching the Macy’s Day parade on TV with the offspring AND not falling asleep at the Thanksgiving table. Finally, reuniting with a bunch of old friends from college for a night of laughter. What I wore:image

Next up: Let’s decorate; and NOT at 11pm on a Monday… On Black Friday. AM. In my PJs. Here are some highlights from the house; note please I never do the same thing in the same place from year to year. Mainly because I toss everything in boxes completely unlabeled and unorganized on New Years Day. It’s a little challenge I give myself every year. Keeps me fresh. Ha!

Mantle. New this year: felt garland, gold stars and “Jingle” bunting. It was one of 4 words I could spell with what I was given in the dollar spot package. So I let the kids decide.

Snippets. Railing featuring a living wreath, berry garland and more felt ball garland. (Feeling a little Scandanavian this year). The hall wall was sprinkled some gold beading, greenery and berries. And the bathroom downstairs features all my vintage stocking garland among the pics I took in Paris and mirrors.

Moving on to the tree. The kids really did the whole thing. This has been a tradition the past few years. Mainly because I’m such a freak about the rest of the decorations in the house. I give them the tree. It’s the least I can do. Plus in the past I was so OVER overseeing the trimming of 30+ trees I couldn’t stand to look at another one. They did a great job and had a great time. I only moved 10-12 ornaments, tops. 😉image

Wrapping is always a favorite activity of mine and this year I got seduced by sequins, black paper and gold and pink tissue. Whatever, the sequins counts for Holiday. I was SEDUCED by sparkle and PINK. It couldn’t be helped. BUT, the kids did their own shopping this year as well. And they wrapped their own gifts. Eloise still insisting that you must use an entire roll of tape per gift. See below. imageimageimage

Lets Talk about some of the parties. Shall we? First up: Ugly Sweater Party. I went as the Elfie Selfie this year. Also, new do. I see the mini bun all over Insta. Well, on me , “I call it the Cindy Loo Who” .image

Next a dinner with my Bestie and her fam. Our Mini Mes turned the gathering into an opportunity to try on ALL things festive. image

That Sunday we went to a delicious Santa Brunch with family.  Later that day (yes I double booked), we had a magical hayride with a truly magical Santa. Let’s just say that all the moms were in tears and if there were any 10 year old boys “on the fence” about the Santa thing, it was cleared up. Santa won.

We made it through that EPIC weekend pretty much unscathed and ready for more.

Next up. Cookies with Nana. Success, as 2 5 year olds, a 10 and a 2 year old did a fantastic job on a Wednesday night. I cleaned up and poured the wine for my mom as I am not the baker in the fam.

Moving on to the NEXT weekend…. the 40 year olds get to attended a 21st Bday. We may or may have not showed the younger set how to have a good time. Not only did my head hurt from the wine but my face hurt from the laughing. That is a sign of a good time. PS, I’m soooooo not in high heels shape these days. Gotta fix that.

The next day I classify as my Favorite day of the season every year. Nutcracker Day. It is my 36 or 37th year attending with my mom and Godmother, who introduced me to the arts and the fabulous city of Philadelphia,  give or take a few missed years in between. I have been sharing this with my own daughter for the past 3 years now. It’s such a joy (I know that sounds old to say but theres no other word) to see her swaying to the music and pretending to be a ballerina  in the audience. It’s a very special day for everyone, being in the city and among all the festive sights, and I hope to continue this for many years to come. Oh, and Mimosas fix everything.

So I come to tonight where I’m  looking forward to the next few days of festivities. The kids are so excited to be done school for a bit and we have a few surprises for them in the coming weeks. This is the first year I don’t have to be at work at 5:30am the day after Christmas. I will savor that. I will continue to be thankful each day for the little, and big things. Time moves very quickly and I don’t want to miss anymore than I already have.

I’m looking forward to the new year, just like I was last year. There is nothing I can do to predict if I’ll break the other arm (Jesus Christ please no), or insert another life de-railer, but I think my outlook is a little more healthy. A little more thankful, A little more happy with what I have.

Merry Christmas friends xoimageimageimage

Clark Griswold Syndrome

I love to celebrate. Holidays, birthdays, vacation days, weddings, communions, retirements, going away  parties, or any other party whatever the reason. I love to plan, party, and re-hash. I love to do it for others as much as I love to celebrate something for myself.

But as Beverly D’Angelo so lovingly said to Chevy Chase in The 1989 Classic, Christmas Vacation  “Clark, you set standards that no family activity can ever live up to.” I do. I expect a lot. out of myself and others. It’s a very charming character flaw. Shut up. You know who you are, rolling your eyes right now. (mostly family members)

So, it won’t be surprising that sometimes when I’m looking forward to something so much, it’s fate that some sort of shit hits the fan. I’m going to re-cap an example. Mother’s day weekend. No sporting events From 8pm Friday until 3:30 pm Sunday.  Beach bound family of 4. Now, I have not left my small town except for some chauffeured shopping excursions since my arm breaking incident 9 weeks ago. It was time.

I fully realize that most people have real problems so please, before you read on, do not think I am complaining or ungrateful AT ALL for my healthy and otherwise happy family, extended family and friends BUT… I just wanted 36 hours of family fun. No hiccups. Right? Wrong.

Saturday started out pretty great. My husband went fishing early am and the kids and I headed to the beach (in the fog. I’m a diehard. It was over 65 degrees and THAT my friends, in the state of NJ in May = beach day). But wait! My beach is closed due to a road block. So kids and I hustle over to the next block. I gotta say, when you have a regular beach street (again an NJ shore thing I think, hence the expression “my beach”), you feel weird going to a different one; even if it’s a block away. I know, First World problems..

do not enter 24th street

do not enter 24th street

No worries, we had a great time…On 23rd street. AND the kids are now, after 10 years….CARRYING THEIR STUFF!!!!

note: There is a soccer ball in the stroller, not a babydoll.

note: There is a soccer ball in the stroller, not a babydoll.


almost 10 going on 20

almost 10 going on 20

I even started my next book as promised… Gatsby. Again. I will never tire of Gatsby. If you pretended to read it in high school, I encourage you to actually read it now. Fascinating story of the division of classes, the grandeur and excess of the roaring 20’s and sweet and fleeting, lost love. Also, now that I’ve seen the Baz Luhrmann version, I can’t stop picturing Leo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby and Toby Mcguire as Nick Caroway. Amaze. image

So anyway, Daddy caught a huge fish on the boat while we were at the beach and there were already plans in the works for a cookout at the marina later in the evening. So we walked back to the house with plans to clean up, and wait for daddy. The first stop would be the boardwalk to make the kids happy and then to the marina.

Next up…. plans are derailed by a flooding toilet. Short story, there is a clogged up drain pipe somewhere under the house. It was only brought on by the fact that we took showers. MY dumb luck. Boardwalk plans, Cancelled. Spent the next few hours calling plumbers that couldn’t make it out. I’m getting agitated because I know what’s next: Wait the rest of the day to get this thing fixed and forget the fun. Kids are now patiently watching Jesse and playing Minecraft (thank God for Disney and iPad apps) Turns out the problem is bigger than expected and we need to go home because we can’t use the water, toilets etc…The point to the story is this:

There’s this switch in me. The one when the plans get de-railed. I freak out a little (it’s a combo of my slight OCD and the “but it wasn’t supposed to go this way and now how am I gonna fix it and still make it fun because I’m responsible for planning and having all the fun” gene.) Bring on the frustrated tears and the UGHHHH. All I wanted to do was get away. Now I have 40 pounds of dirty wet towels to lug home and wash and the kids are pissed because no boardwalk and I’m pissed because of the last 2 1/2 months. Daddy is the only level-headed one who goes with the flow. I’m trying to get better with sudden change. That’s what this whole broken arm drama was about right? The truth is it’s hard to let go of the “Griswold syndrome” and if you have it, you know what I’m talking about. I think most moms do to a degree.

What happened, you ask? Well, after my tantrum and quickly packing up the stuff we just unpacked 12 hours before, plus the wet towels, we headed over to the marina and ate the striped bass that my husband caught. We saw all the old friends that we missed at the wedding we were not able to attend in Key West (because of my damned arm) and MADE THE BEST OF IT. Like I’ve been told to do over and over again this 40th year of my life. It somehow worked. I’m easily swayed by a good party, and red wine. here’s a peek..

Delicious Striper Ceviche...

Delicious Striper Ceviche…


kids loose on someone else's boat

kids making trouble  on someone else’s boat

Unfortunately we had to go home that evening. We took the kids for ice cream, they fell asleep and we unloaded the car back home. Mother’s day was a bit less eventful than I had planned but it still included a delicious breakfast and dinner NOT made by me. Bonus: I didn’t do the dishes. I did however do 3 loads of wash on Sunday and I’m not gonna lie I was still a little aggravated about the cancelled plans and the highlight of the day being soccer. AGAIN. See below. But I really think It’s stupid to pretend you’re not upset about something because sooner or later its gonna come out anyway and you might as well get it over with even if it IS Mother’s Day and all. Right? I’m right.

always at the soccer field

always at the soccer field

But, truth be told, Saturday morning and Saturday night were amazing and fun and spent with my family of four. The kids quickly got over whatever they missed out on (kids are good like that). Lesson learned. Get better at accepting the unplanned crap. Don’t set such high expectations for holidays. They are, after all, just like any other day in the end. BUT, it’s ok to be disappointed. We’re all human and I can’t stand fakers.

P.S. I am in love with greeting cards by Emily Mcdowell. If you haven’t been on her website or seen these like EVERYWHERE, crawl out from under that rock and log on.

http://www.emilymcdowell.com

They say the perfect thing for every occasion under the sun and are irreverently and comically honest. LOVE. Humor is what gets us through the most annoying, and sometimes the most heartbreaking situations. She has something for every occasion has recently come out with “Empathy” cards. I like these two best so far: imageimage enough said. Happy Belated Mothers Day friends! xoimage

Everything’s different, but the same…and Meatballs for breakfast on Easter Sunday.

Yesterday was Easter pie day.

Easter has always been a big deal in my family. It was always that one holiday that out “chaos-ed” every other holiday. Where family traveled from near and far to stay in my nana’s small 100-year-old house in an old italian mining town in upstate Pennsylvania to celebrate, cook, eat, visit older relatives, visit the dead ones too…at the cemetery (yes this was an activity), eat some more, and leave on Easter Sunday afternoon exhausted and with a dose of heartburn.

As the oldest grandchild I spent 34 Easters there. The ones spent with my cousins were the most memorable. We would spend our days running around to the playground, corner store and at elderly aunt’s houses, and spend the nights staying up too late and carving our names into the attic ceiling. As we grew up the only thing that really changed was the alcohol intake and some fierce games of scrabble.

After having meatballs and easter pies for breakfast, Church was the big outing on Sunday. Sometimes I even went on Saturday night to hear my nana and her sisters sing at the vigil mass. I could always pick out her harmonies in that choir loft…She lived till 97 years old and even in the end, legally blind and a failing heart, she managed to get the pies done and thank goodness she passed it down to her kids..because near and far all four of them still do the pies, and the meatballs and still makes a big deal out of Easter, no matter who is there for the gathering.

My mom, aunt and I gathered at my sister-in-law’s house yesterday to get the pies done. Since I’m still a one-armed wonder and get scolded by a family member or medical professional every time I do something other than sit and take pictures, I did just that. (iPhone pics only since I only have the use of one arm, so I apologize for the pic quality..) I documented our old but new tradition, with some of nana’s great grandkids on hand to join in the fun and add to the chaos.

A pictorial follows and no you don’t get the recipes. All Italians have their own secret ingredients when it comes to these things and far be it from me to give them away. ps I don’t even have them yet.

dairy for days

dairy for days

"Eloise and Talulah" adding the meat to the mixture

“Eloise and Talulah” adding the meat to the mixture

beginnings of the meat pie

homemade dough for the crust

homemade dough for the crust

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making them full

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art form

the perfect ham and sausage Easter pies

the perfect ham and sausage Easter pies

Of course there’s more than one type of pie. duh. “We” also made spinach bread and rice pie (with the raisons) too…mmmmmm

Of course there was time for a toast using some of nana’s vintage glasses. chin chin! image

and there was plenty of dough left for the girls to make some apple turnovers! I was never this focused at 4.imageimageimage

dying eggs and some crafts were next. a tradition that carries on from the late 70’s with us grandkids…some years were more successful than others and some (like in the late 90’s) were accompanied by a lot of vino, making for some crazy eggs. but here’s a peak at this generation’s:image

These days we spend Easter Sunday at my aunt’s house with a lot of the same family members as well as some new ones and a lot more little ones. Yes, It’s different but the same. The same energy level, the same menu, the same jokes, the same chaos. It’s a nice beginning to the next generation’s childhood memories.

I wrote this email to my cousins about a year after nana passed to say happy Easter and that I always think of them on that day. It never fails that in some way, whether by phone, text, or in person we all connect still every easter.

“Happy Easter cousins! It’s obviously not the same as it used to be…I was thinking of taking the kids to the mall after baseball practice tomorrow to see the Easter bunny but we don’t have a Boscovs who’s first floor is full of strong smelling hyacinth and lots of old lady’s searching for the perfect Easter tablecloth..so it won’t feel the same.

I would watch Saturday night live tomorrow night but it’s not as fun if it’s not huddled in sleeping bags and afghans on a 70-year-old carpet.

I will try to fry up some garlic and peppers so my house can come close to smelling like nana’s and maybe we can pick up some pony beers just for old times sake.

I will look at the picture that Janine sketched for all of us of nana’s kitchen many times this weekend to conjure up the memories….”

Happy Easter friends! xo

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It was all a dream Alice….

Day 1. Year 40.

I’m going to slowly crawl out of the rabbit hole I like to call Holiday 2014…and recap. Truth be told, I had zero free time to post any thoughts during the last month. I tried. I sooo did try.

I scratched some ideas down in my notebook for posts titled, “a few of my favorite things”, “Hostess gifts the Hostess really wants to get”, and even one titled, “I don’t bake, I sauté”. Maybe one day I’ll post them or not. But the intention was there. Unfortunately there are only 24 hours in a day. And I require about 5 1/2 hours of sleep.

So, today I’m going to start the first day of my 40th year with a look back on the last Holiday season in my 30’s. Here we go!

It all began with a very special Santa Breakfast with Nana and Pop…

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Next up, Find the tree, get the tree home and decorate the tree. The kids picked it out this year and decorated it all by themselves (except the lights; maybe next year they can swing that too) It was a lovely tree.

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Next, time to bake all the cookies with cousins and Nana. Baking, not being a specialty of mine means I play the role of  a sous chef, mixing batter and bloody marys (for the grownups), and cleaning up little faces when they are covered with chocolate.

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There was a short but fun lunch and shopping trip with old friends to one of my favorite places. Terrain. http://www.shopterrain.com It’s a visual wonderland during the holidays (and the rest of the year to be honest).

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Finally got around to wrapping gifts; over the course of 3 weeks and mostly at 11pm.

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There was a quick trip to DC for work and I was lucky to stay at the stunning and historical Hotel Monaco. I didn’t take enough pics… go here to see the gorgeous rooms and lobby. http://www.monaco-dc.com

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There was an Ugly Sweater party, which I chose to channel my inner 80’s girl by wearing some vintage 80’s (and 60’s) attire.  What does the fox say again?

imageAnd we finally made it to my favorite day. Nutcracker day. Magic as always. Eloise in the grand ballroom…. carrying on traditions.

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A lovely gift inside and out from my team at work. Feeding my need for sparkly, shiny objects, and twine. image

Did we make it to Christmas Eve yet??? yes. Dinner? Check. (Note the mug; my don’t mess with me mug full of black coffee) Gifts with Grammy?Check. Santa? Check. Wine and It’s a Wonderful Life viewing? Check. image image

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Here’s where it really speeds up. Christmas Day went by like wild-fire. At home and at Nana and Pops house. I tried to really soak up one of the last years when both kids truly “believe”. The last 9 years have gone by so fast. I can’t imagine a year when they won’t be running into our room at 7am screaming “santa was here!!!!”.

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Rounding out Christmas week in-between working (retail remember) we got to visit Pop Pop at his lake house…

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and go to Frozen on Ice with some besties and the rest of the ti-state area. For real though, it was an amazing show. I mean Disney rules the free world as far as I’m concerned.

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If that’s not enough we finished the season and year by celebrating the new year at home. Of course I took that as an opportunity to add more lights, and a selfie station for the kiddos. Happy 2015!!

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Whew….I’m exhausted. But also excited. Excited to celebrate lots of new things this year. 40 is lurking around the corner. Sorry, lurking sounds ominous.

Let’s try: 40 is sitting quietly with her hands folded in the corner ready to start the party. Let’s do it 40. I’m ready.

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There’s no place like home etc…

I must apologize for the lack of posting. I’ve been preoccupied. Where have I been, you ask? Well, in the visual retail world November is like getting ready to put on a new Broadway show or building the set for the Super Bowl half time show… you get the picture. Maybe not. May you never have to. I kid. I kid.

So I’m back from Oz after the Black Friday– decorate, work crazy hours, tweak the decorations, climb ladders, work till your feet and eyes feel like they’re bleeding (and your hands really are bleeding from the garland and wire cutting)— weekend. Then I found myself at Home Sweet Home on Tuesday. ALONE. It’s time for my own decorating party.

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Now of course I have a few rules about decorating at home. #1 No decorating until the “work” installation is behind me. #2 Always decorate immediately after the “work” installation is behind me because if I wait, I will not have any motivation to do so at all. #3 Don’t take it too seriously and the kids get to do the tree with me…no rules. (p.s. the last one is a serious test for a visual merchandiser)

So I’m going to share some of my stuff with you. I have an eclectic mix (no…me?) of decorations ranging from vintage collectables to things saved from childhood to crafty and sometimes sparkly items. I mix them all together and somehow it seems to work for my house. Each room has a slightly different feel.

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This year I started in the family room. I have a ton of these vintage and new tiny trees that I mix into the fireplace/ mantel display. This year I did a little terrarium on the coffee table as well mixed with some coral brought home from the Caribbean on our 10th anniversary.

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Here’s a snippet of the mantel. The lights and gold starburst come from an old store holiday trim (a retail perk…getting to bring home the old stuff) The sparkle garland is from Homegoods.

Below are my favorite sparkly pinecones tied to my curtains…

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Here’s a snap of the corner coffee table. I love dim light and candles. These white and silver balls give off such a pretty glow.

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Moving into the kitchen, it’s a little more fun and kitschy. Some woodland creatures mixed in with some vintage pixies (stolen from my childhood tree; thanks mom)

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backing up for  a better view…

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Assigned seating in the kitchen to keep the peace. The wreaths are from the church pews at our wedding back in 2001.

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Someone snuck into this pic…Vintage stocking on a vintage mirror. There’s something I soooo love about paint chipping off old things….

Moving on to the hall…a continuation of crafty, woodland things.

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Bathroom stuff:

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Oh, then there’s the obligatory elf (I mean cute idea but I can’t count the number of times “mommy” has failed to escort it to the new location before waking in a panic at 3am to do so— another Pinterest board I refuse to follow) he sits next to a vintage tray painted with a Partridge in a pear tree. I love this one.

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In the dining room I like to play off the milk glass theme and get a little sparkly.

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After 12 years of Catholic school, the manger still is a part of my decor and the kids have to cover the baby Jesus as he is not born till Christmas Day. Traditions are important. I keep this one so the kids can remember it’s not all about the gifts. (and we don’t make it to church Every Sunday…) This manger was a wedding gift and I’ve always loved it for being simple and classy.

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So that was Tuesday. Of course there was wine 😉

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Also, no tree or outdoor lights yet. Next week. And as I said before, the next portion heavily involves the kids. They need to contribute. Mommy is tired. And only they know just where to put that paper scribbled wreath or that foam frame with the pic of one of them in preschool in an elf hat. I save all of it as my mom did. They are made with love and deserve to be shown off for all the visitors including Santa to see.

imageWatching their “shows” by the Christmas lights.