Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Kid Cheats A Bit.

Had this little guy at our house for a sleepover last week.

It was great fun. Emerson. Such a sweet boy and a wise soul in a kid body.

I recently painted a wall in our mudroom with chalkboard paint. Nothing has ever looked "right" back there, so I decided to go with fun. Brad hates it. Emerson and I had a good time playing Tic Tac Toe (or Dough..depending on where you are regionally, I guess.)

He "generally" wins as his strategy is perhaps..a bit better. As you can see under the heart...he made a move, realized **I** was going to win & then? Erased his move with his little finger! The evidence is there! The smeared chalk! It is also why I wrote "cheat!" to the right of that area. Lol. So cute. We also got into "winner, winner, chicken dinner!"

I'm assuming this fun area will make Brad think "Oh! I like it. It just took me a week!"

We also hit a Goodwill while Emerson was here. I was looking for cool, old frames. He was upset and said "I just don't WANT to go in there!"  Me: "Well, you can't stay in the car. We will be quick."  Emerson: "I hate the way it smells in there!"  Me: "We will try to be really quick. Come on." We head in. I find various cool frames. He goes to the toy area and lo and behold...Target has just off-loaded a bunch of new "Redakai" games. Normally $15.99. Emerson's price? $1.99 each! HUGE savings. He ended up getting three games. He was SO excited and as we left said "I think I saved like fifty dollars! I didn't even mind the smell!" Exactly.

My extended weekend was fun. Hung out with my b/f/f on  Saturday night and we rocked the town of Maple Grove by eating barbecue & then having turkey burger sliders! She also had a taste of my martini (she doesn't drink) and said "Ooh! It's good! Can I have another sip?" and later "I feel warm and tingly!" So cute. No photos of our date, but I do have a video AND a man at another table fell deeply in love with her and stared at her for a large part of the evening.

My niece Kirsten and I had manicures and pedicures on Monday. It was what she wanted for her birthday. My debit card was declined although there is money in my checking account. No one spoke english so to say it was difficult is putting it mildly. It also reminded me of why I find mani/pedis strange: The ladies who work there are generally so nice, but it's very odd to have someone doing your nails and to not be able to talk to them much about anything. It makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong, but we just didn't speak the same language. I was also stabbed in the toe and it bled. My niece had never had her nails done, so I didn't want to scare her. I pretended like it wasn't a big deal, while on the inside it HURT. Maybe I was even scared. I just don't know. I DO know that I like the massage chairs but NOT the butt option. It felt like it was trying to make my hips smaller by crushing them. I just say NO.

Topped the day off with a big breakfast...Kirsten (my sweet niece) buying a messenger style purse for her upcoming trip to Costa Rica!! She's in college studying elementary education, she'll be a teacher. She's going for a month this summer. I know she's a bit scared, but I'm SO excited for her!!

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I did eat TWO boxes of punjab choley! Yow!!

Thank You, Indian Gods at Trader Joes! Holla!

I also give you- my two beautiful nieces! Madison on the left and Kirsten on the right. 
Cutest, sweetest girls. Inside and out. Madison has regularly made me things for years now. I've received knitted scarves, artwork, a little pillow with cool fabric. She's the bomb!

I am  now off to work. We may try and put our new outdoor canopy up in the 30 mph constant winds...we'll see, I guess! The wind NEVER dies here. It's either windy or calm the next day and 90 degrees. Which leads to...another storm or windy day following.

Holla of Hollas!!

Happiest of Tuesdays! Design Star begins tonight! Rarr!!



Friday, May 25, 2012

DIY Love, Peony Obsession & Punjab Choley!

Hello Friends!

It's that time again- yes..the time in which we visit a few of my favorite things! Sadly, this will not be "Oprah Style" favorite things..but just a regular girl finding "stuff" in the world.

First up: Found this blog through my best friend just today and I must say- cuteness alert!  It's called A Little Glass Box and the craftiness has colored me inspired!!  DIY and me don't necessarily always turn out..well.."good"..but even I can make a basic lampshade look cool with a sharpie, some meaningful words and 20 minutes. Go here to check this out. You'll be happy you did and MAYBE like me you will find yourself wondering "How come I never thought of that?"


Second: I may sound flower- centric and I am! Seriously..I just can't get over how my peonies have suddenly grown to twice their size from last year! The first year I planted them, they did nothing. The second year. A flower on each. Third year..two flowers. This year...it looks like I gave them a roundup cocktail (I did not!) and they are huge, tall, and one has about nine flowers on it. This is exciting to me. Nerd alert! Many peony photos below!



We're not there yet, but I always tell Brad my husband that we eventually need to have enough flowers outdoors so we can have cut flowers all summer. "Just like Oprah does on her California estate!"

Other people take photos of loved ones..I do that as well. BUT..I take a lot of photos of my flowers, my house (mainly before and afters but I figure most designers do this.) and places where I eat. Which leads me to my newest and dare I say healthiest new food obsession.

May I present to you Trader Joe's Punjab Choley! Oh. My. Bidness! This stuff is soo good. I tried it on a lark. It sat in the pantry. Brad was working and one day I said "why not? If it sucks, I can just throw it away I guess."  Fast forward five minutes later and I am having (minus Brad's cooking, which is all good.) one of the best meals ever! EVA!! I love spicy food and curry and cumin. This is vegetarian with chickpeas, cumin, fennel and some other stuff. I put it in a bowl and add little chunks of bread to it. I like to pretend it's a spicy bowl of soup or chili. What can I say? It ROCKS. It is HOT. But my tastebuds say YES!! Brad bought the last box at Trader Joe's the other day. :-(

Try it, if you dare. Volley back the love! It's FABULOUS!!

In other news..of the thrifting sort. I was gifted with a side table by my friend Bo. He was helping a friend's parents move & they were going to throw this away. Huh?!! Needless to say, he knows of my love for all things old, aged and unwanted. I was going to paint it white..big surprise I know. Instead...I placed it in our entryway and I must say: It is perfect as is. I love it. I love the stains & imperfections and my very favorite? The crayon musings of a child or some children way back when. It gives the piece providence (to me) and makes it more quirky and special.

How darling. I did find myself wondering "Did this kid get in trouble for this way back when?" because when I used crayon to write on walls and such, it never went over very well with my mom. Let's not get started on the tar story. I will just say it ended with my mom yelling (while using a brush on my nails to try and remove tar) "WHY would you do something like this? Why?"

That's about it for now. Time to feed and walk the doggies. Brad is fishing with friends. I will be hitting flea markets, barns and anything that looks fun with my B/F/F tomorrow.

Have a beautiful extended weekend and yes..




Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Wedding, Northern Minnesota's Beauty & Red Velvet Wedding Cake!

Two Harbors, MN on Friday day .Perfect day! We were in Duluth/Two Harbors for Brad's friend Jill's wedding. We decided to make a fun two day excursion for the wedding. It was soo much fun! Perfect weather, sunny, not too hot yet cool enough for a lovely sweater that Brad surprised me with (more on that in a bit)..beautiful!

We took a little hike here with the dogs. They  loved it. I think it's the happiest I've seen Daisy (our older dog who is 12) in at least two years. She was pulling on her leash, fell in love with a woman hiking on the trail and trying to run up large rocks. 

Good Times, Bradders. Good Times.

We take a lot of self shots that are...let's be honest here...less than stellar. I like them because they're somewhat natural, remind me of a time and place we shared AND favorite thing? Brad always makes fun of me and generally says something like "Where ARE you looking? You're not even looking at the camera!" So now I just look off somewhere because I find it funny.

Jill and Jon's Wedding on Friday evening. Perfect. It was a bit chilly on Lake Superior but so beautiful!  Brad kept getting bit by flies and I kept telling him "Quiet!"  The pastor/minister was "wordy" and seemed to want to tell a lot of personal stories. I don't know the man so for me it was a bit odd and he seemed long winded. I'm hoping Jill and Jon knew him well and were like "Yes! You KNOW it!" I'll never know and I will not ask!

They have a blended family now and I loved the sand combining. Very pretty!

A few of the ladies dancing to the ELECTRIC SLIDE!! The DJ was funny because he came over and asked me "What's it going to take to get you to dance?" and I pointed to Brad and said "My husband had hip surgery a few months ago and really shouldn't be busting a move. You're doing a great job, it's not your music." Fast forward to an hour later. A friend's hubby is annoyed that the DJ will not play any of his requests. He really wants to hear boy bands. So I went up and requested "Bye Bye Bye" by NSync ( I think?) and he played it and yes..that got both Brad AND me and many others out on the dance floor! Even our waitress whose boyfriend had been behaving poorly. It was SO much fun. Brad has so many great work friends that I met for the first time and it was a blast.

Lanterns! These were ordered by Brad off of Amazon. They're pretty large, super fun & eco-friendly. They disintegrate eventually. We let these off by Lake Superior after the wedding in the wee hours. We also had a bonfire. It was chilly, but fun!! They are beautiful once you get the hang of trying to get a bunch in the air at the same time. I like to think it was our own Lantern Festival!

Finally...the wedding cakes were fabulous! Little pieces just kept arriving at our table! I think Brad had like six....sorry Brad. You've been OUTED.  There was traditional cake, something with lemon (I'd like to say "lemon scented" but know that's not correct.) and RED VELVET. Shriek! You read that right! Red. Velvet. Yes!!

I also had champagne, red wine...some fun & yummy appetizers of beef wellington I was told...and some other salami, artichoke, olive thingy that I quite adored.  I have more photos to share, but Blogger will not allow it right now.

Talking about all of the food is making me hungry. It's chilly  here today and I'm feeling the need for some kind of mashed potato afternoon extravaganza!

Have a lovely Sunday!!



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Things I Can Get On Board With.

Kite Art in Emerson's classroom. Yes, they will be having "Kite Flying Day" in a few weeks time. I find that darling. I don't recall my elementary school doing things like this.

 We got to visit after his spring concert. I was able to see his little desk and how very organized it is. Sorry, no pics of that. I didn't want to embarrass him by taking weird photos. We bought some things at the Target dollar spot a few weeks ago. He chose a few colorful file folders. I thought it was cute and asked why. "Well, I can really organize my desk at school with this!" and lo and behold..he did! Thanks to his $1 choice, little man's desk is quite organized.

Little kids singing. They did "Crawdad Song" which  Emerson has been singing since winter time. Also...he's a huge fan of  "You're A Grand Old Flag", it is very cute. He spent a lot of the concert chatting with his little pal in front of him here. He and Kid in striped shirt were giggling...looking off into the distance, making jokes. I found it quite cute. Thanks to my  Sony point and shoot for the great quality! I was trying NOT to move. Alas, this is what I ended up with. Em is in the tuxedo shirt. He wore that to my wedding as ringbearer!

I love this little reading nook in his classroom. This is Emerson and Andrew.

This chair was a curbside steal years back. I think it was an ugly green with horrible fabric on the seat. I would like to say "Oh, I saw its wonderful details and lines and knew it would be great." but the truth? Back then I was a poor design student, saw it one night driving home in Minneapolis and TOOK it. With paint and    burlap it has become quite beautiful to me.

My dahlias! These are absolutely beautiful. I have never bought these before and I can tell you this: They make me smile everyday!

Free downloads! I printed this out a few months back & placed it in a cheapish frame. It makes me happy. I bought the bowl at a thrift store with my best friend, Kim. She bought the matching bowl. It's very Martha Stewartish, I think. I swear I saw Martha staining and sealing a bowl similar to this years back.

Bought this at a flea market a few weeks back and I LOVE it. It's some sort of suitcase/pail/picnic basket/purse. I don't know.  I just know I love it. I expected my husband to like it more than he does. Perhaps he's just not sharing his enthusiasm over it? Who knows? Why? He had a set of very nice decorative cases and suitcases when I met him. We still have them. He used to keep Daisy's dog toys in them. He has a great eye and his townhome was beautifully decorated by HIM. I digress. When we moved into our home, he had movers deliver all of his items. For a few days, the suitcases were missing. He got very upset one day and decided "The movers took them!"  Me: "Huh? Don't get me wrong, they are nice..but those guys were moving flatscreen TV's of yours and very nice things. Why would three straight guys want your decorative cases?" and he replied (upset): "Because they are really NICE!" LOL. I'm  laughing again!  About a week later, I found them and told Brad "Your stolen cases have been FOUND!" I don't think he finds it funny like I do (sorry honey!) but I still find it HILARIOUS.

My peonies are about to bloom! This is early for Minnesota! And they are twice as huge as they were last year! The first year after planting them, they did nothing. The second year, a flower on each one. Last year..a bit of growth. This year= HUGE!

My favorite Weinerschnitzel/Lab Animal! He's excited about the backyard where he now runs freely. He's wiped out by 10pm and he's VERY excited about all of the greenery and flowers..don't let that poker face fool you.

I'm off to an eye appointment. I can only hope to get those cool glaucoma glasses to drive home in after my eyes are dilated.



Saturday, May 12, 2012

Baby Christian IS A Miracle!

This is by far the best story I've read all week!!

Image via Yahoo.com

Read the story here and Happy Mother's Day to ALL the mommies who work tirelessly and lovingly day in & out.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Love Via Pinterest!

It looks like this is becoming a weekly "thing" for me. I'm digging it. There is so much inspiration on Pinterest and I love having it all in one place.

One of my favorite things to say to people. I can't recall who said it ridiculously in a movie..was it Sasha Baron Cohen or Zach Galifinakiasssss? Either way, I hear one of them saying "Holla!" whenever I say it and that's why it's funny to me!

This sweater caught my eye today. It's reminiscent of the one I bought recently except I wear mine with jeans and a shirt or tank rather than a bikini. It fits well, hugs the body and is flattering. So is this one!

These outdoor mason jars seem to be my new favorite thing. Apparently..this is some sort of paint and it's supposed to be easy to accomplish

Want to make a nice summer-y and orange-y cocktail? Throw some oranges and WODKA in a mason jar or ANY jar, let it "stew" for a bit and voila! Pretty and fun!

Our latest family pyramid- Second Generation! The kids are now involved and it is fun!! From L-R bottom to top: Me, nephew Nick, niece Kirsten. 2nd Tier: Niece Madison and my sister Dawn. Top Tier: Emerson! My nephew. He was really good at getting up there and I felt very little weight as he and Madison are so small. Such cuteness. I love my family.

Poster that makes me happy.

Found this awhile back and it makes me smile everytime I see it!

This makes my heart smile.

Finally...ordered this for a friend's wedding next week. Turned out SO cute. The woman, Susan is wonderful to work with, she's funny & crazy fast. I received my proofs in less than two days. She has a shop on Etsy called BeachWritingsNJ. Link to her shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/BeachwritingsNJ

Have a fabulous weekend and wonderful Mother's Day! I'll be doing the Race for the Cure on Mother's Day in honor of my mom.  My mom is pictured below. She was lovely.



Thursday, May 10, 2012

He Makes Me Homemade Soup

My Sweet Husband Brad..a.k.a. "Carrier Pigeon Uno"- not entirely his fault as he works as a registered nurse at the U of M and comes into contact with germs aplenty....gave me the gift of a very bad May cold.

For all my body knows, it's January. The nice weather outside tells me different. Anyways...what I'm trying to say is this sucks. Seriously...coughdrops in May?  Hacking and sweating and then being cold while it's 70 degrees outside your bedroom window and you can hear neighbor kids play?

This is what gave me relief:
Bradders makes a mean and delightful homemade chicken noodle soup!  THIS bowl above (and I've had three now!) is really the only thing that has made me feel good in the past few days.  I would be remiss if I didn't give props to Alka Seltzer Nighttime Cold Relief as well. Thank god for science! I slept for the first time in days. I think I even said "Brad, even IF I look like I'm dead or am about to wet myself, if I'm sleeping..just let me sleep." That's how tired and miserable.

Sidebar: Brad's a really good cook of EVERYTHING. If I have a favorite dish someplace, he'll make it his own and it's usually wayyy better!  This sometimes has a tendency to ruin foods at other places...but oh well.

Thank you ALSO Brad..for your fence abilities! Fence is up. Dogs are safe. Praise God!

I've also turned some coffee sacks into pillow covers. Shove pillow in, fold in back...voila! You have a new look. Brad did say "These are kind of scratchy and don't seem to feel good."  Try heels, Brad. Just sayin.
At Kimbolee: "Looks like a pump, feels like a sneaker!"

Beyond that, I've not much to share. I eat soup. I rest. I gag. I gargle with hot salt water (Brad makes fun of me but I always tell him "Listen, the old timers KNEW what they were doing!") and last night I had a turkey sandwich with fried green tomatoes and a blondie with maple sauce of some sort. Life must involve cakes or treats, hence the name of this blog!

Wishing everyone health & wellness & if you'd like to send some of those vibes my way- I'd be forever appreciative!



Monday, May 7, 2012

Building Friends By Building A Fence

We really need to corral our two chitlins. They are sweet, but Miss Daisy is old and a bit crazy. She can't really be trusted with little ones and has been "known" to run, growl & end up on our newish neighbor's front door step (insert huge YIKES here. Yes, I felt like a total A-Hole that day! What do you say? "Sorry! She seems to think the whole block including your casa is hers! He He.") and do a full-on flip out.

Our little baby on the right..Curtis...has a tendency to run after anyone on a bike, motorcycle...birds, leaves...cotton....he'll end up six blocks away following a bird and it's SCARY.  We have been gifted with a free fence from my brother (Thank you, Steve! I know you don't read this blog, but thank you!) and hopefully in a few days, these two will be running around our backyard, chasing balls..God knows what else while I can sit, enjoy & not worry about anyone going missing OR a neighbor or small child being scared to death. Yayyy! So excited.

Thank YOU, Bradders! Here he is on Saturday, pounding posts into our clay ground. According to the man at the rental place, this is some of the hardest clay in the land. After trying to garden here, I concur!

Seriously...he's so cute. I luhhhs him.

In other news...Brad has given me a cold as he's an RN and is a bit of what I'd deem a "carrier pigeon" of disease. Ugh. Nothing like sucking on Halls mentholyptus cough drops in May!

Also...saw Celeb Apprentice last night and spoiler alert..Lisa Lampanelli was fired.

She is a horrible human being. Watching her made me feel sick. Sadly, I found it funny when Lou Ferrigno told her weeks back "If you were a man, I would have hit you."  She's definitely no woman's woman. AWFUL human.

Clay Aiken: You're kind of weak. For a gay man who has most likely been put down throughout life, you should stick up for others more.

Just sayin.

Hope your Monday is fabulous!



Friday, May 4, 2012

Pinterest Love Round Two PLUS Etsy Finds!

Hey, Hey!

It's that time of the week folks!

Yep, a round up of all things fine and found via Pinterest this week. I'm also adding in a few Etsy items as I've found some VERY cute and fun items recently AND my shop is back open after a sabbatical.

We will start with pretty, cute & rustic hanging chalkboard signs.
These are currently for sale in my Etsy shop. View full listing here:http://www.etsy.com/shop/belou492?ref=si_shop

**All other finds will have NOTHING to do with me or my shop. Have no fear!**

Cutest and most fun thing I found on Etsy this week that I MUST buy:
Tell me that this is not MOST fabulous! Doesn't it remind you of your childhood? Catching fireflies? Reading "Ramona the Brave" with a flashlight even though you were supposed to be sleeping? No? Well, it's super nostalgic for me! LOVE. LOVE!!

Can be found here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/98990410/4-oz-star-jar-upcycled-constellation?utm_source=Pinterest&utm_medium=PageTools&utm_campaign=Share

I have yet to try these & feel I am missing out. They look delightful.
While I've never eaten a ONE of these, I did have super fried donuts last night at Houlihans before Emerson's spring concert.  They were all served in a "flight" like a wine flight..with chocolate and some other amazing white sauce in martini glasses. My husband kept referring to them as "hey! these are italian style!" and when pressed, could give no other information. I think he made it up, but A+ for cute factor.

Extremely gorgeous backsplash! Use this if you have no plans to sell your home in the next few years as it's quite taste specific, but LOVERLY. I think it's Ann Sacks, but I'm not positive. Image via Pinterest.

Love this idea for storing twine or anything...super cute & inexpensive. Via Pinterest.

Such a great idea for light switch covers. They are rarely "pretty" to me & can be quite expensive to upgrade. This idea from http://housewivesofriverton.blogspot.com is clever!

Have a tiny bathroom? This idea is SO clever to me! So clever! Would have just stored some wine in it and would have never thought of this! Brilliant and via http://itsrusticliving.blogspot.com

Finally....idea for the day. I love this. Beautiful, simple & straightforward. Via Pinterest.

Hoping your Friday evening is fabulous, whatever you do. I may be watching HGTV's "Happy Hour"..or is that tomorrow? Who knows? I do know my hubby is interested in watching "The White Room Challenge" on HGTV. Ha! That was a joke. "That was for you, Bradders."

Lamp, Lifeboat, Ladder!!