Thursday, March 31, 2011

Vintage Finds!

Went on a little treasure hunt over my lunch break last week and came home with these goodies! If you've never been into Annie Laurie's Antiques you are missing out!!

Just an ordinary little wooden folding chair, but I knew it would fit perfectly on my front porch. I added a coat of light blue spray paint for a fresh Spring update!

Just the right amount of color for the porch, don't you think?

I also scored these adorable embroidered napkins, which already have a wonderful new home with a friend of mine. Didn't get a pic before I gave them to her, but trust me they were lovely.

My most favorite find is this vintage 100% silk floral top - only $6.50! Tag says that the designer is "Carole Little" which is my aunts full name and Carol is my middle name. It's kismet.

Gotta wear a sweater with it right now! Can you believe this cold weather we've been having?? Spring....come back!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Product Review: Loreal Sulfate Free Shampoo and Conditioner

I've mentioned before that I used to be a bit of a hair snob. I only wanted the purest, most expensive products to touch my scalp. How did I end up like that? I actually had a bad experience with a so called "moisturizing" drug-store shampoo that caused so  much breakage to my hair that I had to get it chopped. I don't want to bash brands, but if you email me I'll tell you which brand exactly :) I did eventually change my finicky ways and switched to drug store mousse and hairspray, but I still could not tear myself away from Biolage shampoo's and conditioners. I even blogged about how they were the only shampoo out there for  me. I was spending around $30.00 per month on shampoo and conditioner alone. That's a lot of money for me! Not to mention it also had to come from my personal allowance since it couldn't be bought at the grocery store. So, after a recommendation from a friend, I decided to give Loreal Sulfate Free Shampoo a try, hoping I could switch because it's only $6.99 per bottle, and one bottle lasts about 3 weeks.

I did a little research, and I had no idea that Loreal companies were actually the largest cosmetic and beauty developers in the world. Started in Paris in 1907, their name was originally Société Française de Teintures Inoffensives pour Cheveux, which translates literally to "French Society of Inoffensive Hairdyes." Pretty neat huh? Sounds like from the beginning Loreal's goal was to develop natural hair products.

I also learned a little bit about sulfates. Apparently, sulfates are used in shampoos to get the dirt and grime out of our hair. They're actually a detergent like what is found in our dish soaps! I don't know about you, but it's pretty rare for me to actually have dirt in my hair! Even when I'm gardening it's not like I'm rolling in the mud or anything. I've also been reading about how it's GOOD for our hair to be a little dirty. Our hair needs to be able to cycle through our natural oils to make our hair strong. When we wash our hair everyday with harsh detergents we're depleting our hair of its natural oil!

Keeping all this in mind, I tried Loreal's Sulfate free shampoo for 1 month. I have to say I'm impressed. While it doesn't get all the tangles out of my hair like Biolage Detangling Solution does, I really can't see any other main differences between the two. I actually prefer the smell of Loreal much better than Biolage. It's kind of a peppermint-eucalyptus smell which is awesome and very awakening! My hair still feels healthy, and still has body like with Biolage. All in all I'd say Loreal is a great value, and worth trying!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

SEMO Bloggers Conference is a GO!

Hey guys. Just want to share with you that my idea for the SEMO Blogger's group meeting is underway! My friend and fellow blogger Emily Williams and I will be co-managing the event. We will be doing some advertising, as well as fundraising! We're meeting next week to brainstorm ideas/topics for the conference, and I wanted to give my blog followers a chance to come up with some ideas that you might like to talk about or questions you might have about blogging. I want to hear from you guys, so please reach out to us! Emily and I are wanting this to be a learning event for everyone. We aren't professionals! We just want to be able to learn and share right along with everyone else.

Another thought; maybe you aren't interested in blogging personally, but like to read blogs and enjoy following their topics. What is your favortie type of blog to read? What topics interest you the most? YOU, THE READER! You are what makes blogging fun! Knowing that someone out there cares about your writing and enjoys hearing what you have to say is why people get into blogging in the first place. So I'd love to hear from you as well!

You can email me at or just simply respond back to this post! Thanks again,


I can't believe I haven't blogged about this before now, but I recently tried out for a play with the River City Players (Cape Girardeau's theater group) and I got a part in the upcoming show Faith County! I play Faye McFaye, and, for lack of a better term, I play the town tramp haha! Basically I'm a ditsy flirt who recites bad poetry and dreams of getting featured in the National Inquire.

The play is hilarious and I would love for you all to come! The performances will be May 6th and 7th at 7:00 with dinner included, and May 8th (Mothers Day) Matinee at 2pm with dessert. There will be a show only performance on May 12th, and two more dinner shows on May 13th and 14th. The dinner shows cost $30.00 which includes dinner from Port Cape. The Mothers Day show is $20.00 and includes dessert, and the show only performance is $15.00. Tickets will be on sale at Port Cape Restaurant a couple weeks before the show, or you can order them through me.

If you didn't know, I was very involved in Drama in high school and for awhile really felt like I wanted to be an actress when I "grew up." I really feel blessed to have been given a part in this production and am enjoying brushing up on  my acting abilities.

I don't want to give away the story too much, but here's a little bit from one of my favorite scenes.

Synopsis: Faye is questioning Delbert about why he doesn't want to marry her. Delbert is.....well, confused.

Delbert: "Faye, marriage is the furthest thing from my mind right now....except, maybe to Lottie."

Faye (me!) "But I've been making plans for US Delbert! My Momma has already made one hundred and fifty four weddin' bells out of styrofoam cups and aluminum foil for the reception!"

Delbert: "Aww come on Faye, hush up!"

Faye: "I've already been down to the K-Mart and picked out our pattern! How dare you lead me on like this!"

Delbert: "Lead you on, what do you mean?"

Faye: "I wouldn't marry you Delbert Fink if you were the last person in Faith County! I never want to see you again!" 

Delbert: "Where are you going?"

Faye: "To cancel the reservations I made at Dugey's Motor Court for our Honeymoon! And that jump start you gave me this mornin'.....was the WORST I've EVER HAD! GOODBYE!"

So as you can see, Faith County is kind of a back-woods type of town :) Also, just a side note, Delbert is a mechanic, so that "jump start" could very well be talking about an actual jump start. haha. There's tons of hilarious scenes in this show and I can't wait for you to see it!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sanity Saving Monday Tip: Take your own advice.

I have been running ragged the past two weeks. Between play practice, getting the rental house move-in ready, training for the half marathon, and my new volunteer project I've seriously over-extended myself the entire month of March. As a result of my obsessive compulsive need to always be busy and involved, I've been putting some things that are more important to the back burner.

Yesterday at church was Impact Sunday. It was a special service intended for us (the regular attenders) to bring in our friends in need of salvation. When Pastor first announced that we were going to have this service last month, I made a list of friends to call and invite. I knew not all of the people on the list would come, but I thought at least I could get one friend to come with me. I prayed over the list that first week and then stuck it in my purse, with a mental note to "get on it."

Then, March hit. We found renters for the house, I got a call from Love INC for a service project, I made the play for River City Players, and I upped my miles per week to 15. None of these things, as admirable as they might be, are an excuse for NOT SHARING THE GOSPEL!! As you're probably thinking about now, I didn't call a single person on my list. I found it yesterday before church, crumpled up in a ball in the bottom of my purse.

Throughout the service yesterday, I was literally shaking. I can't believe how bad I've messed up this month. I've been so focused on "Me" and "Projects" that I neglected to do something that is so vital to my very existence. As a Christian, we are COMMANDED to share Christ's message with others. There is no excuse for not doing that. Yes, it can be hard, and sometimes embarrassing to bring Christ up in conversation with others. I'll be the first to admit that I don't do it as often as I should.

What is this blog about anyway? What have I always said is most important? Following Christ. I've blogged before about including Christ in my day, every day, and how it's essential to work your day around your prayer time. If I had taken my own advice, I would have been praying for those people on my list, and I would have remembered to call them and invite them to the service.

My Monday Tip, take your own advice. If you say you're going to live a certain way, LIVE IT. If you make a promise to yourself or to someone else, FULFILL IT. There is no excuse. Just do it.

The service yesterday was amazing. I'm only sorry that I wasn't able to share it with someone important to me.

Friday, March 25, 2011

How do you think Americans would respond to disaster?

I'm sure all of you have seen some of the devastating photos coming out of Japan's deadly earthquake and tsunami. Even though it is now estimated at 26,000 casualties, the spirit of the Japanese has not wavered. Neighbors are helping neighbors, people are being patient and loving, and no one is complaining. What do you think it would be like if that happened here in Southeast Missouri? Do you think we Americans could be as positive and hard working as the Japanese? You know, I'm not sure that we could.

Since we've all seen the devastation photos, I wanted to share some photos I found of life and prayer. Not only are the Japanese very disciplined in their work, but also in their religion. Do you think we would see Americans lined up praying for each other after an event like this?

Japanese soldiers pray over a tsunami victim.

The CEO of one of the nuclear plants that caused thousands to evacuate, offers apologies and prayer to evacuees. When is the last time you saw and American CEO of any company offer apologies to anyone in person, not over some news statement??

Young girls give elderly ladies back massages in a rescue shelter.

These people waited patiently for over 12 hours to purchase gasoline. 12 hours!!

Earthquake/Tsunami victims orderly distribute supplies to each other. 

Even in the midst of disaster, victims practice regular stretching and exercise in the shelters. I don't think I would be disciplined enough to exercise if I was living in a shelter and my home had just been destroyed.

A volunteer gives a 2 month old a bath in a shelter. So sweet!

Prayer. Prayer is the only thing that could get a person through a time like this. I just hope that if something like this were to ever happen to us, we would know to turn to Christ first.  

Please continue to pray for Japan.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

SEMO Blogger's Unite!!

Hello friends and fellow bloggers! I've been tossing this idea back and forth in my head for a couple weeks now and wanted to just throw it out there and see what ya'll think. Yes, ya'll b/c we're from Southeast Missouri :)

I've heard of several major cities having Blogging Conferences, or Women Who Blog Meetings. These are simply get-togethers where other bloggers can share ideas or their purpose for their blog, whether they write for their own relaxation or if their purpose is to help others. There are several questions I have about blogging (since I'm pretty new at this myself) and I'm thinking that others out there may have similar questions.

1. Graphics- How to create a creative/original background to your blog
2. Layout- What google tools are necessary and unnecessary? What are some of the different page elements/google gadgets that are out there that you've found to be beneficial?
3. Making money- What is Google AdSense and would it be something worth trying?
4. Photos- What type of cameras have you found to be the best for blog use?
5. Legal stuff- When is it ok or not ok to mention another business or blog in a post? What's the best way to keep from infringing upon copyright laws?

I was thinking that we could meet in a coffee shop or even in one of the meeting rooms at the University. I also think it would be great to have a guest speaker or a veteran blogger cover a few different topics. Of course we'd have tea and snacks and we could all get each other's contact information/websites as well.

Here are some other Blogger Groups websites you might want to take a look at. Sounds like they cover a variety of different topics and they meet about once a year. I'd like to meet maybe every quarter or bi-yearly.

1. Blog World Expo- this seems pretty formal and not really at all what I have in mind to do here. Some of the topics seem pretty interesting though
2. Casual Bloggers Conference- these are my kind of bloggers! These ladies are advocates for stay at home moms, craft gurus, clean freaks, and more! Seems more like what I'm thinking of for SEMO, but I'd like to include men as well.
3. Mom 2.0 Summit- All about mom's who are entrepreneurs and wanting to expand their social media skills.
4. Show Me Institutes Blogoshpere Event- this is the only conference I've found for Missouri and it was geared more towards governmental focused/political blogs. I would welcome any bloggers to our conference who write for this purpose but I don't want to have an entire conference on it.

Anyway, what do you guys think? Is this something worth doing? Or do you know of a group in Southeast Missouri who is already doing this? If several of you respond positively and want to make a go of this then I say let's do it! Email me or reply on this post if you'd like to participate!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The notsohorribleafterall meatloaf.

I've never been a huge fan of meatloaf, (the food, or the singer. ha!) but I was looking for recipes that I could use with all this deer meat that's in my freezer. By the way, if you would like some ground deer meat, PLEASE let me know because I'll never be able to use it all. Anyways, here's a great recipe for meatloaf that calls for three different kinds of meat. I replaced the ground turkey with our ground deer meat and it worked out well. This is also really kid friendly since John devoured it and I have a hard time getting him to eat meat.

Leslie's Kid Friendly Meatloaf

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground deer meat or turkey
1 cup of ketchup
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 egg, beaten
6 or 7 pieces of white bread torn into tiny bites
1 tablespoon brown sugar mixed with a little extra ketchup

1. Preheat oven to 400. mix all of the ingredients except the brown sugar and ketchup mixture together in a big bowl.
2. Once everything is mixed up really well, put the meat mixture into a loaf pan.
3. Spread the brown sugar and ketchup mixture over the top of the meat mixture.

4. I recommend putting the loaf pan on top of a cookie sheet to reduce messy spills in the bottom of your oven.
5. Bake at 400 for about an hour and a half. Enjoy!

Do you have any dishes that your not 100% crazy about , but fix for your family anyway because they love it?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Just call me Picasso...

Well folks, we're down to the last two weeks of renovating our rental house before the new renters move in. I'm starting to feel a little overwhelmed with all there is left to do! Still need to paint pretty much the enitre basement, install all new light fixtures, and I can't forget to finish sprucing up the backyard. Makes me exhausted just thinking about it! Sounds like a lot of work, but we're determined to get it done! I just keep reminding myself that once we're finished with this house, we don't have to mess with it again for at least another year or maybe longer since a lease has already been signed.

I wanted to share a little money saving tip that we discovered while trying to decide on paint colors. I spent several afternoons at Bucheits and Lowes trying to decide on a neutral palate to color the entire house. We opted to leave the kitchen and bathroom white, but wanted to bring some color to the bedrooms and the living room. One afternoon outside of Bucheits, Daniel found these two cans of paint on the sidewalk, free for the taking.
A bright orange and a muted yellow were not the neutral colors I was envisioning. But mixed together with a lot of white primer, here's what we came up with for a fun bedroom color:

Not too shabby huh? It's a little brighter yellow in person than in the photo. I think it's still neutral enough for anyone's taste.

We then found an old can of brown paint in the basement. Remember those awful brown baseboards and trim? We assumed the paint we found was what the previous owner had used to destroy the natural wood. But mixed together with white primer, the brown became the most beautiful shade of delicious neutral tan I have ever seen.

So we ended up not having to buy any new paint for this income property, and the money we saved on paint can be used to plant some bulbs in the backyard. Got any other home renovation money saving tips?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sanity Saving Monday Tip: Meal Planning

I've had several emails pertaining to Meal Planning so I wanted to go into a little more detail about my budget and strategy for you. This is what works for my family of 3, but obviously may need to be tweaked a bit to fit larger families/budgets. I hope I can explain this to you in an understandable way. If something is unclear please let me know.

We have a monthly grocery budget of $400.00. This also includes diapers and toiletry items, but does not include my shampoo/makeup. Every two weeks I go shopping, (spending a max $200) and during the two weeks in between shopping I keep a running list at home of items we run out of.

I shop according to my recipe lists for the two week period. I plan to eat out 3 times, and have two nights of leftovers. That means I plan about 9 recipes for the two week period.

I ran out of my pretty list writing paper, so over the past couple of weeks I've been writing my lists on random things. Here's my running tab of items we're out of, written on the back of an envelope.

I then take this list and add it to the Master List that I take shopping with me. The master list will have all my recipe ingredients for my meal plans, and also the running tab of things we're out of. I list my items corresponding to the layout of the grocery store. For Example, tonight we'll be shopping at Wal-Mart in Jackson, and the first thing you see when you walk into the store is the produce dept. So the first items on my list will be my fresh fruits and vegetables. Next is frozen items and meats, so those items I need will follow the fruits and veggies on my list. Does this make sense?

Here's my  Master shopping list for tonight:

salad mix

steaks (4)
Italian sausage

chicken nuggets
boneless skinless chicken breasts
frozen corn
frozen peas
garlic bread

flour tortilla's
ciabatta rolls

spaghetti sauce
mac n cheese

Ricotta cheese
Mozz cheese
cookie dough
milk (2)

diet coke

paper towels

body wash
hair mousse

All of these items are listed corresponding to Wal-Mart's store layout.

Here are my 9 recipes I plan to make during the two week period. I have all of these recipes written down and if you'd like a copy let me know!

1. red sauce fettuccine with Italian sausage and mushrooms
2. roasted salmon with spicy cauliflower
3. Mexican pizza
4. crispy baked honey mustard chicken with squash and zucchini
5. roast in crock pot with potatoes and carrots
6. lasagna with salad
7. mozzarella chicken panini's with salad
8. deer chili
9. grilled steaks with fried potatoes and mac n cheese

Some of the ingredients for these recipes I already have at home, some of them are included in the master list. The "husband friendly" recipes such as the deer chili and roast in crock pot are for nights when I have play practice and won't be home. Also planned for those nights are chicken nuggets or frozen pizza which are both things Daniel can do on his own. I'm not saying my husband can't cook, he just works later than I do so he doesn't have time to plan meals. I like being in charge of dinner anyway. It's just a little way for me to give back to him for working so hard.

I also make sure I choose recipes that will taste ok heated up the next day. I bring leftovers to work a lot for lunch and Daniel comes to my work to eat with me.

On a side note, if you're a single person this method can work for you too. It will help you to eat out less and save money. Naturally your portion sizes will be smaller, or you can plan recipes for two and have your leftovers for lunch the next day.

How do you plan your meals for the week? What shopping strategy do you rely on to make it through the grocery store as quickly as possible?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Getting away...

I'm ready for a me-cation. I'm not talking about a family get-a-way here either people. Just me and the wagon. Heading out. Maybe take a little road trip to Gulf Shores. It's not that far and I kind of remember how to get there. I could leave tonight and be back by Monday.....

I'm not really going, but sometimes I like to imagine going on a vacation by myself. Is that really wrong?

I snapped this yesterday on my way to work. This guy knows what it's all about. Just him and his mini truck with a ginormous canoe.

If you were to go away for the weekend alone, where would you go?

I always think it sounds so nice to go away on my own, but in reality I'd probably have more fun with my family.

I mean, look at this guy! Who wouldn't want to take him on vacation??

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Life to Old Stuff: Shredded Paper

When you give a gift, the presentation of the gift is part of the actual gift, am I right? In other words, nobody gives gifts to others wrapped in Wal-Mart sacks (unless you're a guy, then maybe you can get away with it). I don't think I'm alone in that I like to wrap my gifts in nice paper, or put them in a chic bag with tissue paper. All that wrapping paper and accessories can get expensive! While I'm still pretty attached to high end wrapping paper, I've found a recycled option for tissue paper (that's actually a heck of a lot cuter than actual tissue paper) to use for gift bags.

What you're looking at is shredded magazines/office documents that we use at my office to cushion delicate packages. There's literally tons of this stuff at my office that we throw away every day! I'm going to re-purpose the shreds as tissue paper and stick them in gift bags. I'm also going to use the shreds as Easter grass for JD's basket this year! Since there's so many colors going on in the shreds, for gift bag options I'll probably go with neutral brown, black, or white bags. No need for a fancy design.

Here's another cute project I found in Country Living Magazine. Use the shreds to make a cute little Easter Nest! I adapted the original instructions a bit because their way seemed a little confusing to me.

Step 1: Find an old plastic bowl that you don't mind turning into a nest to use for the project. In another bowl, mix equal parts

Step 2: Dip handfuls of shredded paper into the glue mixture, then immediately lay them on the bowl until it's covered.

Step 3: Lightly press dry paper strips onto the outside of the bowl to create a "nesty" look.

Step 4: Let dry for 12 hours and ta da! Cute little Easter nest for your eggs!

Have any other ideas for shredded paper? I've got tons of this stuff!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Garden Lady

Ok all you Cape Girardeaun's, I have a question for you. On N. Kingshighway, in between an old hotel and Enterprise Rent-A-Car,there's a tiny green little house. It's almost right across the street from that nursing home with the giant American flag. Have you ever noticed it? It's a little lonely house in the midst of a busy highway and several businesses.

Anyway, the garden in the front of this house is amazing. It's probably one of the most elaborate looking gardens I've ever seen. Every plant has a tag on it with what I'm assuming is it's name. There's usually a woman outside on her hands and knees pulling weeds or planting something. She drives a little brown pick-up with a bed cover, and every time I've seen her she has some kind of beautiful scarf on her head covering her from the sun. Hopefully I'm not bordering on stalker status here when I say that I literally slow down every time I drive by. This woman, and her house and just that she's such a hard worker is mesmerizing to me. It's almost like I want to become have a little plain house with a beautiful garden. I bet she drinks tea at night and has an extensive library. I bet she knows all the Greek names for her flowers. I bet she loves birds. Anyway, I really like this woman. And since we're working on our house plans for next year and our garden, I thought it might be a good excuse to sort of pop over and introduce myself to her. I can tell her that I drive by daily and have noticed her garden and was wondering what kind of plants she had. You know, since I want to have my own garden and I want to be just like her.

Ok. Maybe I am a stalker.

But I'm going over there to meet her soon. Hopefully she can tell me why my lavender plants keep dying. Maybe she could also tell me where I can find some beautiful scarves and how to become as interesting as she is.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

St. Patty's Day Dinner

Planning something fun for St. Patty's Day? I like to celebrate holidays with a special meal. I've never tried to make anything "Irish" before, but I thought this year I'd give it a go. I have rehearsal Thursday, so I wanted to make somthing simple that Daniel can take over for me after I leave.

I found this recipe for Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage and thought it sounded perfect.

1 small bag of matchstick carrots (you can also shave down big carrots if you want)
10 baby red potatoes, quartered
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
4 cups water
1 (4 pound) Corned Beef Brisket with Spice Packet (I got mine at Schnucks, couldn't find it at Wal-Mart. It's sold with the spice packet.)
6 ounces Beer
1/2 head cabbage, coarsely chopped (again, got this at Schnucks. Wal-Mart's looked kinda mushy.)

1. Place the carrots, potatoes, and onion into the bottom of your crock pot. Pour in the water, and place the brisket on top of the vegetables. Pour the beer over the brisket. Sprinkle the spices from the packet onto the meat, cover, and set the crock pot on HIGH.
2. Cook the brisket for about 8 hours. An hour before you're going to eat, stir in the cabbage and cook for 1 more hour.

That's it! I'll add the cabbage before I leave for rehearsal and then by the time Daniel and JD get ready to eat dinner will be finished.

I'll post a few photos when I actually make the dinner and let you know how it turns out :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sanity Saving Tip of the Week

Hi Friends.

In an effort to share some organizational advice with you, I'm going to do a Sanity Saving tip every Monday. I thought Monday would be a good day to debut the tips because if you're wanting to try it out you'll have the week to work on it. These are going to be thoughts/ideas that I've either heard, read, inherited, or thought of on my own. This week's tip is something my mom taught me growing up, but I've also tweaked it a little to fit my needs.

Sanity Saving Tip of the Week: The Long Term and Short Term List

My mom has a love of post-it notes. Growing up I would constantly find post-it notes everywhere; In the bathroom, on the counter, in my lunch box, INSIDE the fridge. Seriously, everywhere. I believe it's her love of lists that made me so passionate about keeping a journal/list of my own. I've mentioned this a couple times before, but I have two "To-Do" lists that I keep.

The Short Term List is an itemized list of things to do for the week/two weeks ahead. I usually update the list every Monday, but sometimes it's every-other Monday. I keep my Short Term List on a notepad inside my purse. This list consists of mostly errands I need to run, but also people I need to call/get together with. If anyone else were to see my short term list, they probably wouldn't understand it, but the important thing is that I know what I mean. Here's what my list for the week of March 14-18 looks like:

*Drop of clothes at TC
*Pick out paint colors
*RX from Dr. Leet
*classes for Fall
*Josey's vet appt
*6 miles (by Sunday)
*update glasses
*Shoes from Pennies (wednesday)
*Blog research
*Aunt Nancy
*Home and Garden Show
*half marathon t-shirts

See what I mean about hard to understand? I know what everything means though, that's what counts. As I complete tasks for the week, I cross them off the list. Also, if there's a particular day that one of the items needs to be completed by, I put the day next to the item.

The Long Term List includes tasks that I basically want to finish sometime in the next couple of months, or even year. I keep my Long Term list in my desk at work so in my free time I can work on it. Here's my current Long Term List:

*Work on photo book
*SEMO bloggers conference
*Arts Council info
*shoe organization
*room design for new house
*FL trip organization
*JD's birth certificate
*Lasik info

These are all things that are important to me, but the timeline doesn't affect anyone but me. That's why they're on the long term list. This is actually a really short long term list for me. I usually have about 20 different tasks I'm wanting to complete. So I've been a busy girl so far in 2011!

 I need to note that I also keep a weekly planner, that usually stays inside my car. My planner is mostly for appointments for me, Daniel, and JD, but it's also for class assignments. As you know I also keep a bi-weekly grocery list and meal plan list in my desk at home with my recipes. I'll go into detail on meal planning in another post.

How do you stay organized for the week? Do you keep a journal/list? Do you have a planner? I'd love to hear what works for you.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's almost like the real thing.

I decided to copy a dish from my favorite restaurant, Bella Italia. Turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. Bonus, it was really easy to do, and even John loved it.

Leslie/ Bella Italia's Fettuccine and Peas

1/2 box of fettuccine noodles (full box if you cooking for four or more)
1 bag of frozen peas
1 handful of fresh mushrooms
1 jar of Alfredo sauce
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 loaf of Hawaiian Sweet Bread
a dessert plate full of Extra Virgin olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and cracked black pepper

At Bella Italia, they bring out the most delicious bread and olive oil dip. Here's how mine turned out, using the Hawaiian Sweet Roll, olive oil, parm cheese, and pepper. I served this to Daniel and John before dinner was ready.
mmmmm yummy.

For the Alfredo, I first cooked the chicken in a skillet until heated through. I seasoned it with a little lemon juice and pepper because at Bella Italia I always taste lemon in everything.
While the chicken cooks, boil your water for the fettuccine noodles. Once the water is boiling, add the noodles and continue to boil, stirring every once in awhile. I add a scoop of margarine to the noodles so they don't stick together.

Once the chicken is finished cooking, transfer to a plate. Add mushrooms and a little olive oil to the skillet and cook until mushrooms are nice and slimy :)

Start cooking your peas in the microwave. I used some of those frozen steam-in-bag peas.

Once everything is finished cooking add the Alfredo sauce, cooked chicken, and peas to the mushrooms.

Check the noodles and make sure they aren't still chewy, and drain the water. Transfer the noodles to a plate, top with the sauce mixture and you're done! Yummy, easy dinner everyone will love!

Have you ever tried to copy a favorite dish from a restaurant? Thanks again Bella Italia! :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Designs to Copy

Since I'm currently trying to practice better financial responsibility, I've started researching making my own clothes. Anthropologie has long been one of my favorite stores, but the prices are a bit out of range for me, even during a sale. I've gathered some pieces from Anthro that I love, and that look relatively easy to sew myself. Basic items needed to copy these looks would be old t-shirts, some vintage fabrics, and maybe a sewing teacher. I'm trying to learn on my own and it's definitely been a slow process. If you know anyone who would be willing to help me out, please send them my way!

Here are the looks, with my ideas for how to re-create listed underneath. What do you think? Looks easy enough......right?

This tunic is the main reason I originally had the idea to re-create looks from Anthropologie. I'm thinking I could just use an old t-shirt, and maybe some patterned silk fabric for the bottom. A raw hem would even work for this. This top retails for $88.00 at Anthro.

One of my favs. Looks like I could almost use an old linen tablecloth for this one. The key for tops that are flowy like this is to make them a little shorter in front and layer a long tank underneath. That way you don't look preggo. Anthro- $128.00

By far the most elegant maxi dress I've seen, this would be easily re-created with a silk bottom and an old cowl neck tee on top. Imagine this with a wide brown belt at the waist! Anthropologie- $158.00

My favorite color-golden yellow. Ribbed Tank + Vintage Skirt + Silk Scarf Tied as a Belt = Perfection. The belt would hide any sewing errors I might make. Golden Dress retails for $138.00 at Anthro.

So adorable, but might be the most difficult to re-create. I have an old Halter Tank Top that I could easily cut the bib front off of. Then, I'd use a lightweight fabric such as silk or a thin cotton for the bottom half of the dress. I'd make this dress pretty short, and wear with capri leggings or alone as a swim cover up. Anthropologie- $158.00

Have you ever attempted to make an item of clothing? Please share!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Subway Tiles, Cat Fur, and Lead Based Paint.

In case you didn't know, my work-horse hubby has a new hobby: Rental Properties. We recently bought a house that is right next to our old house that we rent to some friends of ours. The house was in pretty bad shape, but from the moment the For Sale sign was in the yard Daniel wanted it. Three things sold me on the idea (I can be a little stubborn when it comes to financial chances):

1. The house was really really cheap.
2. The kitchen has brand new cabinets. Kitchens sell houses people!
3. All the improvements were do-able. I didn't want to get in over our head with a project we didn't know much about.

Here's what the house needed in order to be ready for renters:
1. New Siding
2. New Windows
3. Central Heating and Air
4. Cleaning Cleaning Cleaning!
5. Two Additional Bedrooms
6. One Additional Bathroom
7. Every Room Re-Painted
8. Oh, and did I mention CLEANING??

Up until this past weekend, numbers 1-3 had already been completed by Daniel and with the help of some friends. Now, onto the hard stuff! Daniel's job for the weekend was to hang drywall. Since we wanted the two extra bedrooms and the bathroom in the basement, he needed to get the walls hung and ready for mudding and taping. My job was to clean and prep for paint, and let's just say the cleaning was a little more in depth that I thought it was going to be.

Here's the house with new windows and siding. Looks pretty good, minus the trashy yard. Don't worry, there's already some flowers growing in that front bed. :)

My man hanging drywall like a pro. Just watch a couple YouTube Videos and you can do it too.

A couple of the doorways that I scraped to prep for paint. I'm sure my lungs are completely saturated with toxic lead fumes but at least I'm finished. Hope the primer and white paint will cover everything!

We like to write our supply lists on sheet rock and on the back of color swatches. Just like pros.

My Nana came to help with the cleaning. This woman is my hero. There were massive amounts of cat hair in the refrigerator that she graciously cleaned up, along with whatever else was growing in there. Not quite sure how the cat hair got into the fridge in the first place.....Maybe the previous owner liked Chinese food?? haha.

Daniel laid some funky new tiles in the upstairs shower. Kinda gives the bathroom a mod vibe. I dig it.

I mentioned that the cabinets were new, but they were unfinished. I watched a couple YouTube videos (surprise!) and just followed the instructions on how to stain wood. Pretty simple. Just clean the surface, apply the stain in the direction of the wood grain, and let it dry. I've always heard that Minwax brand is the best.

The top cabinets have the stain, and the bottom is still unfinished. Pretty big difference huh? Out of everything I did this weekend, I'm probably the most proud of how the cabinets turned out.

The Work Weekend turned out to be pretty successful, but man were we pooped. Even Josey resorted to napping on some leftover insulation.

More improvements to come. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 7, 2011

VERY busy Monday.

Hiya pals. I have a packed day. I need to grocery shop, go by and help out a woman through Love INC, and do about 100 loads of laundry to catch up from our Work Weekend. My original plan was to blog today about all the fun home improvement stuff we did over the weekend, but it will just have to wait until tomorrow.

I did want to share this with you, because it's making my Monday oh so much better :)

OPI "Don't be Koi with Me". In the midst of chaos, at least my nails look good. Have a great Monday Friends :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

First Friday Happenings!

Hello Friends!

We're going out tonight for a little family outing before our big "Work Weekend." (We're working on fixing up a house for rental income, I'll post pics tomorrow!) Here's what we have planned for the evening. If you're free, come find us!

5:00ish: heading to downtown Cape to the First Friday Arts Walk. First stop will be Annie Laurie's to check out all the top models for Laurie's contest. After that we'll head to the SEMO Arts Council to check out some local talent.

6:00ish: Dinner at Cain's downtown. Sadly, I heard this restaurant is closing it's doors for good tomorrow night so we want to have dinner there before hand. It's hard to see great businesses not work out :(

After Dinner: Last stop will be at the MoZaic Art Studio to say hi to Aunt Marti and check out some great music! Downtown Cape is always a great place to be on the First Friday of the Month!

I'll post some pics after dinner of our fun night! Happy Friday All!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bangs? Eh. I dunno.

I was playing around with this hair makeover tool from Instyle Magazine and here are some ideas for bangs I'm thinking about doing. Erica, my lovely and talented hairstylist will have to look these over and approve first, of course. Ok everyone, vote for your favorite look!

This is just regular old me, with a little bit of extra fanciness.

Look 1. Short Blunt Bangs

Look 2. Short Side Swept Bangs

Look 3.  Long Side-Swept Bangs, minus the red.

Look 4. Long and blunt.
 And I'm kinda digging the brown, I'm not gonna lie. 

Which one is your favorite? Or do you not have a favorite and love me exactly the way I am? ;)