Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lallie's December Escapades

Picture overload for sure, but I haven't caught anyone up in weeks!  Enjoy!  
Lallie's Christmas dance recital.  She dances with two of her best friends and they have the best time!

What is is with Rapunzel the Elf?  She keeps getting into all kinds of mischief!
Lallie at a recent birthday party.  What a fun craft idea (and no her name is not Holly, good try!  :-)  Other misc. pictures from our Christmas holidays.
Going to meet Santa with our little shopper.  Lallie has good taste, she bought me a present at J.C Crew.  I have NO idea what it is (*wink, wink*).  
Pajama Day at school where they will sing Christmas carols to the other classrooms.  Lallie scaling her first rock wall!  Geezer would be SO proud!  (She did get scared about half way up but I was super proud).  Night swim on December 17th?  Why the heck not!  It was 80 degrees out!
And have to throw a little achievement of mine in.  :-)  I ran my first 5K!!!!!  In 40 minutes, but hey, I ran it and I persevered.  Have I ever mentioned that I severally dislike running?
Happy Tuesday Y'all!  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Acts of Kindness

I have TONS of pictures to catch y'all up on....soon.  I need to get them organized.  But today, acts of kindness.  

Some people (experts) say that completing five random acts of kindness per week can increase your life span (by how much, I don't know).  It's a difficult task when you think about it.  After all, humans are naturally selfish sinners due to the fateful acts of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  But of course, if you go further into history, God sent his only son in human form to die on the cross for our sins.  And going backwards, we are innately good, we were made in God's image after all.   So, it's difficult ...but it's not.  It's just plain complex!  

During this Christmas season (and throughout all seasons for that matter), the media, facebook and nearly everywhere else you turn has people are speaking of hate, violence and cruelty.  I've often found myself overwhelmed with sadness with what is happening in this world and can't hardly stand to read facebook or listen to the news.  Especially where Lallie is concerned.    

And then I dig a little deeper, looking for that small headline at the bottom of the news webpage and find the simplest and most random acts of kindness.  So simple, yet I'm nearly brought to happy tears.  You know that feeling, the one where your stomach quivers and your heart warms?  Here are a few I've experienced as of late, both through personal experience and from hearing from others.

From Facebook (a shared photo) - A Home Depot worker helped a young autistic boy obtain a washing machine display because the little boy loved it so much and would always look for it when visiting the store.  For some reason, this little display helped keep him calm and controlled his outbursts.  One particular Home Depot employee went out of his way to make phone calls to obtain this machine for this child, making him a very happy boy (and family).  The employee was thanked publicly on facebook (as was Home Depot).

From Facebook (personal friend) - The person in front of her at Dunkin Donuts paid for her coffee (unknown person paid).

Personal experience - I ran my first 5K this past weekend.  I ran it in just over 40 minutes.  15 minutes after I completed, I was leaving and saw the same Junior League member that greeted me at the finish line standing in the same spot.  I asked her why she was still there and not hanging out with the rest of the crowd.  She said "I'm waiting for the police officer to finish the last round, if there is one runner left, I don't want them to arrive un-welcomed and without someone cheering for them."

It is these stories and many more that nearly bring me to tears quite often.  Unblemished kindness through normal people throughout this world making a big difference in other's lives, even through the smallest of kind acts.  And it makes me wonder why so many preach and publicize hate and don't boost up those that are kind hearted?  Why do we really have to DIG for the good?  Why do acts of kindness have to spread across the country before they are recognized (like the K-Mart layaway situation last year, where people would randomly pay for other's gifts on layaway)?   As we all know deep in our hearts (and it's sometimes hard to believe), there is WAY more kindness and goodness out there among people than hate.  For every one person causing major turmoil, there are hundreds more there to lift the victims and families up.  For every country going through traumatic situations and wars, there are WAY more charitable groups giving time, effort and money to assist.  For every one person going through a tough divorce, family loss or whatever, there is an entire group praying for that person.  Yes, Virginia  there is a God and he's ever present among us daily, even when we can't see it.  

So I remembered a verse in the Bible that gives me a little hope and comfort this season when trying to look past all the hate in this world and remember the kindness.  It doesn't explain why people like to publicize and glamorize the bad things but it certainly gives me a little peace in trying to understand why things are the way they are. 

“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,  so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Matthew 6 :1-4

And that my friends is what I will continue to hold dear and pass onto Lallie.  That kindness, goodness and wonderful acts are being done on a daily basis by many people all over this world and are going unrecognized (at least by people but certainly not by God!)  God has instructed us through the Word to not boast ourselves in such acts.  Of course, that doesn't mean we can't boast on their behalf, which I thoroughly plan on doing whenever I run across the simplest of acts from now own.  After all, we are commanded to spread the Good News!  And what better way to spread such Good News but through people acting in God's likeness every single day, especially now during this Christmas season.

Happy Thursday Y'all!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Target / Neiman Marcus - Hmmmm....

We just happened to be at Target on Saturday and had the chance to see all the new Target / Neiman Marcus collaboration products.  I'll admit, I've not been the first to run out and scoop up all these designer collaboration products in the past.  If I'm there, I'll look, but I haven't made any special trips.  I don't think I've actually purchased anything from any of the designers.   I sometimes feel like they are knocking off themselves (I could be crazy for thinking this).  And I'm not going to wear something just because of it's name, especially if I look silly, no  matter how cheap or expensive it might be.

Anyways, I was overall pleased with the collection.  They have some really cute items and I love the variety of home, accessories and clothing.  But, there were a couple that had me thinking "what is that?"

Case in point....
Granted, this is a child's hat by Skaist-Taylor (and I'm sure it's adorable on a kid.  Lallie wouldn't put it on).  But who says I can't be silly and take self-portraits in Target? :-)  No, I didn't buy this hat though it would be great for a Tina Turner type Halloween costume.  Heehee.  (insert singing of What's Love Got to Do with It?)
Am I right???

Here are some of the items I thought were on the cute side.

Other items I found very cute were the little girl's dresses.  They were adorable!  
Marchesca Girls' Beaded dress $99.99.  SO classy, I love it!  Lallie would look adorable in this dress.  LOVE this dress!
Jason Wu dress for girls $59.99.

This one is on the list: "Who would wear that?"  I don't know anyone personally.  Of course, I don't know any celebrities or runway models who could get away with wearing this while looking glamorous.  I did take another self-portrait of me wearing this but I was trying to look like one of those glamorous people with a cute pouty face and well....it didn't turn out well.  
Skaist-Taylor vest $79.99.
What did y'all think of the collection?  

Happy Tuesday Y'all!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mascara: Bare Minerals Flawless Definition is AMAZING!

For years I've been using Maybelline's Great Lash Mascara.  It was the best thing I could find and I know a good majority of you agree with me (not to mention the adorable pink and green case).  However, during the winter with my horrid allergies, I can't wear this particular mascara as it doesn't have an hypoallergenic qualities and any little tickle makes my lids swell and push my contacts around.  It's just a mess and I end up having to wear my glasses and no mascara.  And I just haven't found another hypoallergenic mascara that covers as well.

Anyways, for most of my other makeup, I'm a Bare Minerals girl. I like not having any liquid on my face whatsoever outside of moisturizer and this makeup achieves that, gives nice natural coverage (and get this....) stays fresh ALL DAY LONG.  Recently, I purchased one of their kits and included was Bare Minerals Flawless Definition Mascara.  I'd never tried their mascara before so I was game.  

There are several Flawless Definition mascaras from Bare Minerals so to be clear, this one is the original (no waterproof, no volumizing or curling).

I am SOLD!  I will never go back to Great Lash.  It's absolutely amazing and even though it's not marketed as hypoallergenic  I have had zero issues wearing it!  Yay!!  It has great coverage for my thin lashes.  It lengthens like I've never seen a mascara do before (I have very short lashes) and it thickens them without clumping or overdoing it and keeps a nice, natural separation between the individual lashes.  I actually received a compliment on my lashes!  Seriously, who has ever received a compliment on their eyelashes?  

I thought I would never get away from Great Lash.  It's a great mascara, Bare Minerals is just better.  I will never go back.

And there you have it, my latest makeup update.  Try it, I'm sure you won't be disappointed!

Happy Monday Y'all!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Tree: Featuring Front Gate Ornaments

Well, we did it!  After lots of shopping to coordinate the tree to our new ornaments from Frontgate (the Medici collection), our live Christmas tree is up and decorated!  (You may remember THIS post).  We've never had a real tree before and of course, we had to get the biggest we could find!  It's about 10-11 feet tall (so we needed a ladder) and it's 7 feet wide.  As Husband said after we finally got it up "Little full, lots of sap."  (From National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation).  I even freaked Lallie out a bit as I stood on the ladder shaking and yelling "SQUIRREL!!!"  She didn't like it too much.

Anyways, here are some pictures!  The ornaments are absolutely stunning (pictures don't do them justice) and plenty to cover the tree.  We will be enjoying these ornaments for years to come!  We purchased several sprays of leaves, flowers and berries in red and gold colors and I'm working on a big bow for the top of the tree, right underneath the tall wheat sprays.  

Yes, we relocated that ornament.  But Lallie LOVES helping to decorate and she was super careful in delicately handling them.  Her little PJ's say "Santa's Favorite" and she truly believes she is his favorite (and may have hurt a friend's feelings at school saying that....woops!  I explained that everyone is Santa's favorite because we can't forget that he works with Jesus and Jesus loves everyone too.  She got that and I hope told her friend that too!)
Husband's homemade self-watering tree contraption.  Apparently you can buy these for $100 but he made one using some plastic tubing and a small garbage can that I cleaned out for him.  Now we just fill the trash can and the tree waters itself.  I love having an engineer for a Husband.  :-)

I'll be sure to post more pictures once the bow is on and the rest of the house is decorated.

Happy Friday Y'all!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Not Your Typical Review: Hana Hair Dryer

Ashleigh has been telling me for YEARS to stop buying cheap hair equipment (i.e. hair dryers, curlers, flat irons).  Did I listen?  Of course not.  This past Mother's Day, my cheap rear marched down to ULTA, with Ashleigh's coupons and bonus points (because, again...I'm cheap) and purchased my first Chi flat iron.  
It was love at first site.  First off, it's pink and second, it tames my crazy, frizzy, naturally curly, living in humid South Florida hair. 

So, did my experience with a more expensive flat iron save me from my cheap self in purchasing a decent hair dryer?  Again, absolutely not!   I have a cheap $30 hair dryer from Bed, Bath and Beyond (brand name unknown) that fries my hair and at some points, even has it smoking.  WHAT?  Smoking hair!  This canNOT be good (so says Husband when he says "ummmmm Jenn, your hair is on fire.")

Hey, it's pink!  That's a plus right?

Enter the lovely people at Misikko who apparently read my post from a while back about my burning hair, contacted me and said "Hey, would you like to do a review of our HANA Air Premiere Hair Dryer?"  Hello, of course!  Please save me from my inability to take care of my hair in a proper form and show me how great a REAL hair dryer can be.

So, I've been using it for a couple weeks now and OH.MY.STARS, I really should have listened to Ashleigh a long time ago (she's like my sister, so why would I listen to her?)

First off, I received the white box from Misikko with a large PINK HANA sticker on the front.  A+ for color choice!

Then I opened the box to find not just a hair dryer, but all kinds of lovely little perks inside!  Gasp, presents!!! Yay!!  One of the pamphlets inside said specifically that this company loves to spoil women with fabulous products and freebies.  Certainly made me feel special and like I was opening a gift!  A++ for customer service!

Freebies included: Flat iron cover, rose bath petals, nail files and hand sanitizer (neatly wrapped in pink and white satin bags), eyelash curler (which is amazing by the way), teddy bear (Lallie has adopted him) and a hairbrush.

Just home from gymnastics, thus the sparkly pink leotard (surprised?) and the crazy hair!

But the main attraction was of course, the HANA Hair Dryer.  Nothing pretty to look at, a typical hair dryer, but boy was I excited to try it out!

And this thing is the absolute bomb (and has 100% 5 star reviews on their website)!
(I should note that I made no changes in any other hair products while using this dryer, for an accurate review).

No more smoking hair!  There are three heat settings and none of them are very hot at all really (compared to my burning hot former hair dryer).  The settings I would describe as lukewarm and keep my hair from becoming heat damaged (a major plus since I have curly hair that I straighten three to four times a week).  It doesn't kill the moisture in my hair but it does absolutely kill frizz!  

It also has two speed settings and wow what power!  2300 watts of it!  It nearly blew me away when I first used it!  You definitely need the concentrator for use with this dryer or you'll get nothing but "rat's nests" (what my mom called tangles when I was little and what Lallie calls them now).

Despite the cooler air, my hair dried about 5-8  minutes less than normal.  It usually takes 10 - 15 minutes to dry my hair, and it's pretty fine and thin.  I've been able to cut that time down to about 5 to 8 minutes and I'm not sweating like crazy during the process.  The dryer also has a cool blast which is quite refreshing when you just need a little touch up or cool bit of air. The only issue I've had with the dryer is the cool blast button is right where I hold the dryer, so I keep pushing it accidentally.

I love the ion technology.  No static, gorgeous shine (a noticeably different and brighter shine).  And since I shower at night, I love that I can touch up a couple little quirky wrinkles in the morning, straightening them out with the ion technology.

It has a concentrator attachment which I love because I can get a little closer to my hairbrush without catching my hair on fire.  It did not come with a diffuser and I"m not sure if you can get that attachment (as a girl with curly hair, a diffuser is important on the rare occasions I do wear it curly).

Other features include a swivel cord and so-called "gyroscopic balancing technology."  I think this has to do with dryer leveling as I do have to admit, this dryer is quite a bit heavier than my other dryers.  However, I've never had a great dryer, so maybe that is normal.  I haven't had any issues with this though.

One of my favorite features is the noise.  It is very quiet for a hair dryer which means I'm not waking the whole house early in the morning and I can have a conversation with my 5 year old who doesn't seem to understand that I can't hear her when my dryer is running.  A major plus in my book.

Cost?  It is expensive!  Normally $334.99, it is currently on sale for $194.99 and free shipping.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely.  They cost is worth the effort, so ladies...tell your men, moms, dads, significant others that you want THIS on your list for Christmas this year!

Happy Thursday Y'all! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lallie Style and Thanksgiving Feast

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  My parents were in town for the holiday which meant travel was NOT in our schedule (a wonderfully accepted change of pace).  It's been a tough couple weeks though as my mom had been sick and in the hospital.  But all is well now, she's perfectly healthy and on the mend! Thanks the good Lord!   So, it was a special blessing to get to see her and my dad after such a tough 
couple of weeks.  

It was only the four of us (plus Lallie) so we really didn't need much food...but oh boy....oh boy did we cook like crazy!  Turkey (of course), two different dressings, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, green beans, cole slaw, green jello salad, pumpkin pie, pecan pie.  My oh my, we ate turkey and sides for days!

In other news, Lallie never wears normal clothes at home, she is constantly playing dress up and loves to mix characters. 

Cowgirl Bride setting up the nativity.  

Gun slingin' cowgirl sunflower ballerina!

All in all, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving (and yes, a little shopping too!)  We already miss Grandma and Geezer (what Lallie calls my dad).
Reading a homemade story book called "Pilgrim, Pilgrim, What Do You see?"
Happy Cyber Monday Y'all!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

American Girl Fever

Lallie has SERIOUS American Girl fever.  We've been getting the magazines in the mail for a while and she is like me with the Lilly Pulitzer or Pottery Barn magazines.  She carefully scopes out every single page over and over again picking out all her favorite outfits.  She's asking for one for Christmas (uh-oh).  

Lallie has never been much of a doll girl.  She loves her tiny princesses that are 2" tall and oh-so-much-fun when we step on them and get stone bruises.  But lately, she's been pulling out her bigger dolls and playing with them.  Recently her friend Kayla brought over an American Girl doll and Lallie has been obsessed since.

So after much discussion with Husband, we decided it was time (that and the fact that she's going to the American Girl store in January with a couple friends for Kayla's birthday).

I called the American Girl store.  Can you believe that they do not make a light haired, light skinned, green eyed doll?  She asked me if strawberry blond was close enough and of course, I said no.  Lallie has very light blond hair, so blond it was silver when she was born!  There's not even a custom order for say $10 more! 

That's okay.  We discovered the newest doll, Caroline has aquamarine eyes and has a Dutch background (I think).....so that works.

American Girl has free shipping until the 20th (code PF29096), so I went ahead and ordered the Caroline doll, the accessories and hair pick/brush.  She also wants a doll carrying case, a set of pajamas and a masquerade ball dress and setup (all items she's been talking about for months).  She also wants Caroline's ears pierced.  All combined, that's like $300!!!!  
Pictures from American Girl.com

I figured if she's good and treats it well, she can get the ears pierced and pick out one outfit when we go to the American Girl store.  Thereafter, she can get other items on special occasions.

What about the little girls in your lives?  Do any of y'all have American Girl obsessed little girls?  Ah, my little Lallie is growing up!

Happy Thursday Y'all!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lallie, U.K. and the Clock

Husband inherited this clock from his maternal grandparents when they passed, several years ago, before we even moved to Florida.  We used to wind it daily but since we moved into our new house 3.5 years ago, it's been sitting, unwound on my bedroom dresser.  

A few weeks ago, Husband pulled it out, displayed it on the buffet in our formal living room, wound it and once again we heard the joyous ding-dongs of the clock.  It fondly reminds Husband of his Granny and Grandaddy.

Lallie loves it and Daddy was showing her how it worked this weekend.

U.K. thinks it's a doorbell.  So, every 30 minutes for the past few weeks (except at night thankfully!), he's barked and run to the door to see who's there.  

Happy Tuesday Y'all! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Christmas Decor (Yes, I said it....)

We have always been up north for Christmas.  For ten years we've traveled north to be with our families and we're usually gone from the end of school to after the New Year.  Last year was a small exception as we didn't leave until the day after Christmas.

Since we're never in town for Christmas, we've always been a little lacking on the Christmas decoration side.  We have tons of decor but they're the 85% mark down on the $2.00 garland at Wal-Mart during the after Christmas sale.  We have two trees.  One is skinny, tall  pre-lit tree given to us by my Mother-in-law when we moved to Florida and as of two years ago has a very bad lean  in the top section (we didn't even put it up last year).  The other tree we bought at an after Christmas sale at Target for $50 and opened it a year later to find that only half the lights worked.  We still have our cherished family heirloom ornaments and our handmade stockings (make by my mom) but the rest are eight year old chipped Wal-Mart brand glass ornaments and plastic balls that look like glass (which was a good thing when Lallie was little!).

Don't get me wrong, our house is always decked out and looks nice but it's not well put together (as in nothing matches) and a little chinsey.  We have a mixture of red, green, lime green, pink, blue and in he dining room we have a little gold and silver, with bright red on the stairways.  It's just all over the place! 

Well, this year, the whole family is coming to us for Christmas and we're even thinking about hosting a Christmas open house earlier in December (which means I've got to get on the ball!).  So Husband and I have decided to step it up and rather than spending a ton of money on a new plastic tree (yes, we would do our research and buy a decent tree that will last), we're going to get a fresh tree and go all out on ornaments and decor.  It's been decided to be one of our Christmas gifts to each other.  That might seem a little strange, to gift each other Christmas decor, but it's something we've always discussed and this year, we're biting the bullet!   

We've been looking around and found this setup at Frontgate and we are in LOVE with the ornaments and decor!  We'll still put up our half-lit tree (we just won't light it) with all our our traditional ornaments, but we'll put these on our fresh ten or twelve foot tree in our two story room.  We're going for a very traditional look with the golds and reds and I'm going to find some decently priced garland that hangs well (not the stiff wire kind) and try and make some new wreaths for the front doors.  I have some other ideas we've gathered from Pinterest as well.   

What do you think of this color scheme? I love it!

(All pictures from Frontgate).

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Catch Up....

Husband politely reminded me that I have a blog this morning.  :-)  So I guess I'll play a little catch up today.  

Halloween...oh yes, it did happen!  We are reminded nightly after Lallie becomes a member of the "Clean Plate Club" and grabs her pumpkin for a piece of candy (ONE piece of candy....though she sometimes thinks one piece of candy equals an entire large bag of M & M's.  Ummmm, yeah, no.  That is not the case as exhibited by a few tears a couple nights ago).  

Anyways, Lallie dumped all of her candy out a couple of nights ago, stood up and with every ounce of seriousness in her body said:

"Ummmm, guys, there is CANDY missing from my pumpkin.  Did you eat my candy?  You didn't dress up and go trick-or-treating, so you're not allowed to have candy."  
BUSTED!!!  :-) 

In other news, Lallie has always wanted to visit the circus.  There is a gold world in our town that has a big top area with bumper cars.  Every time we drive by, Lallie exclaims how badly she wants to go see the circus and the tigers, seals and elephants.
The Cole Brothers Circus came to town and we had the opportunity to take her.  It was a decent circus, there were a few acts missing, like the tight rope walkers and trapeze artists, but it was pretty good.  The Ringling Brothers are coming soon as well, so we'll take her to see them as well.

In work news....things are absolutely insane and I am crazy busy.  Things like this keep happening to me which makes my job SO much fun!  (Actually, I'm so used to these types of issues that they are a piece of cake to handle now.)  It is budget season though so cars driving through buildings are a little annoying when I have other things that need to get done.
No worries...no one (thank the Lord) was hurt in this particular accident.

Lallie is LOVING reading.  Her teacher has a new program that has Lallie reading every single night.  Multiple books!  She's so excited she was reading to the classroom teacher at my workout class last night.  It's pretty cute to watch Lallie read with a witch finger as a pointer (part of the method of reading).  Anyways, she brings home 5 books, one being a library book.  This is the book she chose this week.  A classy book about a classy lady for a (so-far) classy little girl.  :-)

Last but not least, back to my Work OOTD posts!  Today, it's a Lilly Pulitzer dress and cardigan with my typical pearl jewelry and nude shoes.

Regarding the things that have happened in the past couple of weeks, I just want to say a quick prayer for all those up north dealing with Sandy and the nor'easter.  Several of my blog friends have been affected by this and others are doing what they can to help those in need.  While Husband and I have never experienced a hurricane and then a nor'easter, we have experienced the eye of two hurricanes within three weeks of each other back in 2004.  While the physical damage was horrendous and we were without electric for several weeks, I don't recall the flooding issues being nearly as difficult to handle and we did not experience the massive loss of lives.  In addition, it wasn't freezing cold outside and we did have a roof over our heads.  Seeing this has made us thankful for everything we do have, to not take things for granted and we will continue to pray for those up north and for quick relief and rebuilding.

Happy Thursday Y'all!