What Not to Wear-the next generation

My friends and I were discussing fashion and television, as we often do, and I believe my friend Tanya came up with a great new programming idea. We all watch "What Not To Wear," and have gotten the basics down. We know how to generally dress for our bodies, events, etc. Hopefullly noone is close to reporting us to the show for lack of style. While we can all gather a fair amount of basic information from watching Stacy and Clinton, there are some further questions that need to be answered. For example: what are the best options for summertime in Houston? Shorts? sundresses, skirts? If shorts, what lengths and colors work best on what body types? In other words, a step up from the basic shows, plus Nina Garcia's Guide to Style, with a little Whoorl and Susan thrown in for good measure.

We are more than happy for TLC to grab on to this idea, as long as they let me and Tanya shop with Stacy and Clinton for an hour or two in exchange!

Friday Favorites- Yo Momma (is funny)

I discovered the site, postcards from yo momma the other day and laughed myself silly. It is the best pick-up after a long day. If you have not seen the site yet, go and read a few pages. But, make sure you don't drink anything while you read or it might shoot out all over your computer...not that I would know anything about that. (ahem) So Funny! It's a shame my mom doesn't send funny messages or texts.

Love Thursday- 100x

We prepared a poster for Em's class to celebrate the 100th day of school. Of course we devised a way for Em to create a princess crown with stickers. What could be better? I loved that we came up with something together that she could complete by herself. She loved the sparkly stickers and princess crown. Working on this small project caused me to flash forward to Science Fair projects, dioramas, etc. I also reflected on the many nights my father tried to teach me algebra and pre-calculus in high school. My father is one of the most brilliant people I know, just naturally smart. Instead of working through the problem, he would create similar problems so I could "learn" how to do the math. I am fairly stubborn and did not appreciate my father's efforts at all. I kept insisting "Dad, I am never going to need to know how to do this. Just please, tell me the answer." While true, this did not make for the most pleasant late night homework sessions. Now I appreciate his love for me and unending patience while he tried (in vain) to teach me fundamental math formulas. Hopefully I can cultivate that same patience as I encounter future projects and complicated math with my girls.

Love is helping your child learn and still loving each other after the project. But seriously dad, I did NOT need to know any of those formulas!!

Designer Explanation Needed

One of my fashion dreams is to own a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes. I discovered last season (too late) that Nordstrom offers a pre-season pre-order sale on select Louboutin shoes. Thinking Saks would probably offer something similar, I was overjoyed to get an email from Saks this week announcing the new Louboutin line. This is it! I thought. My chance to get a deal on new Louboutins!! Imagine my disappointment when I opened the email and 1) there was no discount or sale, 2) They were spotlighting MESH boots. Excuse me? Mesh Boots for almost $1400. Please, someone enlighten me. Exactly where does one wear mesh boots? If you look at the site, you can see that the mesh extends all around the foot. So, not only would you have to make sure your pedicure was perfect, you'd also walk through all the yuck on the ground. It's almost like a high heel flip flop. Also, someone please explain to me why harem (MC Hammer) pants are back in style? Acid Wash jeans, neon colors. Bad 80s comeback...Completely baffling. I do. not. get. it.

Friday Favorite- The Eyes Have It

I have discovered the secret to great eyes right here in this brilliant little gold tube. Oooh, I present you with Dolce & Gabbana mascara. Fancy, right?
I didn’t seek this mascara out, it found me. I was at Saks last weekend getting a (free) makeover, so I hadn’t worn much make-up. Some friends I was with decided to hit up the Dolce & Gabbana counter at Saks. Oh my word, that place is insane. They have hand-made Italian chandeliers, 50s movie star glam make-up mirrors, everything is black and gold and tres chic. Anyhow, the lady helping us told me I needed to try the mascara. Yawn. I have DiorShow at home (supposedly one of the best mascaras), so I wasn’t really expecting anything. Then, I looked in the mirror and BAM! Lashes for miles. They were literally touching my eyebrow! Hmmm, maybe the girls don’t get their eyelashes from daddy after all. Gimme gimme, I said and quickly snatched this little baby up. Best $27 I have spent in a long time.

Here is the mascara on the left, nothing on the right. I did NOT use an eyelash curler, that is just mascara. You do need to wiggle the wand when you use it, but if I can do it, so can you!

I have gotten so many compliments this week on my eyes, due in large part to this mascara. My friends purchased the mascara and also some lipsticks. They love the lipsticks and from what I can tell, they have amazing staying power and smell like roses. Mmmmm, maybe I need to try those out next time?

Dolce & Gabbana mascara, my favorite new make-up.
*FCC, I was not paid to write this review. Again, I paid for the product and my review reflects my thoughts only.

Love Thursday-Art

One of my favorite things about my children is how incredibly creative they are. They love to create for hours on end; drawing, painting, gluing, you name it. Art projects are our favorite activity to do together. Over the past few years, I've been able to observe the evolution of each child's art skills with respect to drawing, from basic circles to a face, to a blob, to actual people and other images. This week both girls brought home pictures of me from school. I love that they think of me while they are in school (I certainly think of them) and make pictures of me and all of us together. Em (above) and M (below) specifically told me that these images are to be posted in my office. I am so proud to show my love for them and their art and their love for me.
Happy Love Thursday-get some crayons out and show your love!

Bad Influence

I have recently been taking some "mommy time." It took five years, but I am finally taking some time now and then just for me. While my husband showed off his awesome dad skills a couple weeks ago when he handled the "high collision impact staples ER trip," I've discovered what he's been up to. He's been training the girls to repeat certain choice phrases, witness this discussion between Em and M this night.

Em to her younger sister, "M, show me your guns." M makes a strong arm pose. "No, you have to go like this (raises her right arm up in classic arm muscle pose) Bam, (raises her left arm in classic arm pose) Bam."

Lovely. I then ask my husband, Um, exactly why are the girls discussing their "guns?" His response, "Oh, I've been training them." He later added that he's trying to get them to call their arms "Thunder" and "Lightning." Nothing says classy quite like two little girls talking about their "guns." I may never leave him alone with the children again.

Sometime my friend Alex needs to share her "gun" story.

It's Springtime-at least for the catalogs

I already told you about my design inspiration from Spring catalogs. The newest round of clothing catalogs made the rounds this week. My favorite places to shop are J. Crew, Anthropologie, and Boden. Most everyone knows about J. Crew and Anthro, but you may not know about Boden. Here are a few of my favorite looks for Spring. Mmmm, I can't wait-love their colorful retro vibe (sizing is better now that they have "Americanized" their sizing).

This skirt screams fun! It would be perfect for Cinco de Mayo-doesn't it look like a serape? I can see it at a picnic, pool party, birthday party, or enjoying margaritas with the girls!

I am always drawn to Boden's ivory skirts. They seem to have at least one each Spring and every time, I fall for them. Just about the time I am ready to buy, they run out of my size. (Boden's prices tend to be quite high, so I wait for a good discount code). This skirt is no exception. I LOVE it. I can imagine myself in a field of bluebonnets with this skirt on. Gorgeous (the skirt, that is!). I also love how they've pictured a mother of an infant/toddler on the beach in a white skirt-right, completely believable!!

How fun is this dress? No need for a necklace, the dress is the statement. Adore. Must have.

The coat?! To borrow a phrase from another fashionista-I die. I love it-it's so Sgt. Pepper with a fun twist. Totally impractical for my lifestyle. But, if I were traveling in Europe this Spring, I would order this coat in less than a second.

What Spring catalog is complete without the obligatory swimsuit preview. Normally I prefer tankinis given that I've had two babies. But this top is so fun, and gives an extra boost to the "girls." It's fun and interesting, a perfect flirty top. I think I may have to get this for our trip to Mexico!

If you don't get this catalog, get it. The commentary on each page is hilarious. Boden asks each model, including children for certain statements, like my favorite beach is:.... it's interesting and humanizes each outfit. The Boden children's line is great quality as well, but tends to run about a size too large.
*FCC- Boden did not pay my for anything, I use hard earned cash to buy everything I get from Boden and I love every piece.

Deals & Steals

To lighten the mood a bit, I am drawing on my area of expertise-internet deal shopping and discounts. Here a few I have received lately:

Buy one item at any Ann Taylor Loft store or online, use code Save50 and you will get one item 50% off. The code does not mention how long it will last.

Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic are offering percentages off totals- 15% for $75 purchase, %20 for $100, 25% off $150 on online purchases only until January 18th. Use code Save123.

Aaron Brothers framing is offering its "Buy one frame/canvas, Get one for a Penny" until the 24th of January. This is a great opportunity to stock up on quality frames!

kidsteals has Livie&Luca shoes for $24.75. Livie &Luca's are so cute and last great.

Compassion from a Child

*We still have no word from Compassion regarding the status of our sponsored child, Sandrine. Compassion has been working to try to re-establish contact with their Haiti office, but have not been successful. They have sent workers/volunteers (?) from the Dominican Republic to try to get more information and begin distributing aid. Please continue to pray for little Sandrine and her family, as well as the people of Haiti . I know they will need many prayers as they try to recover from this tragedy. I have posted a button in my sidebar for Hope for Haiti, it is a raffle donation event where money raised will go to the Red Cross and Compassion. Please check it out. There are a number of aid organizations trying to work to help the Haitian people, I encourage you to find one you like and trust and help; the need is great.*

My husband and I were discussing which aid organizations to donate to over dinner (for the past few days, we've been discussing Haiti and Sandrine a lot more than we usually do). Please Note, we have not shown any images of the devastation to the children. After bath time, my older daughter asked, "Mommy, how did you know that the girl (Sandrine) needed our help?" I told her that God told me. She said, "We need to say lots of prayers mommy, because everyone is crying there now." Oh, my heart just ached. I was proud of her compassion and understanding, she put into words what I've been feeling. At the same time, it broke my heart a little more.

Friday Favorite- Project Runway

One of the greatest shows in television is on again, Project Runway. It seems like we just finished Season 6, which is true. Much like another favorite show, So you Think You Can Dance, I believe they are showing two seasons too close together. I think it cheapens Irina’s win. Although, given all the legal drama between Bravo and Lifetime, I know they had no choice. Also, with the exception of Irina and a few others, Season 6 was short on talent, with too few appearances and critiques from Nina and Michael Kors. But, I digress...

Season 7, let's Make it Work! First, Project Runway returns to New York . New York is a much better location for the show. I think there is a business and competitive spirit in New York that was lacking in LA. Also, maybe a bitchiness! Which brings us to the fact that Nina and Michael Kors can be more present in New York than LA, Hallejuia!

The challenge, grab material and fashion a garment to express who you are:

There was an awful lot of pouf going on as seen above. Picture above is Maya's design-uh, I think something threw up on your dress, Maya. Poufy sleeves, poufy skirts, weird poufy flowers. There was also a lot of bizarre color combinations on really tight dresses. The designers still had fit issues and puckering. Exactly what clients did these designers have before they came? I can't comment on everyone, so I picked a few standouts:

Ping- Ping doesn't use dress forms, she drapes it on her. When challenged by Tim Gunn she said she never gives anything to clients that doesn't look good on her. Wha? Huh? Red and plaid ponchos look good on her? Ugh. ick, blech and no. I know there is some entertainment value in having a contestant that is "out there" and unusual. But, that "dress" was a hot mess. All she did was drape her material over the model in a slightly different way for each swath of material. It was worse than something my preschooler could design. The fact that the guest judge, Nicole Ricthie, said she would wear it makes me seriously doubt Ms. Ritchie's sanity and fashion sense.

Anthony- Michael +Kayne = Anthony (but with less talent). What Anthony lacks in talent he makes up for in personality.

Emilio- I loved his silhouette. The pattern threw me a bit. I found the front of the dress a bit too busy. I understand that he won the challenge because he expressed his viewpoint. It wasn't the best dress on the runway. It certainly wasn't a dress I would purchase or buy. But, it was interesting and looked well made.

I still think the talent has been lacking since Rami and Christian's season. Rami is one of my all-time favorite designers.

Possible Best Line of the Night: It was like fat people and a buffet in Vegas- Anthony.

My favorite, Tim Gunn (Don’t you just love him?) was in the last episode of How I Met Your Mother *(A good show that my husband and I both enjoy watching together. This is rare since my taste runs more along the lines of Project Runway and Grey’s Anatomy and his are the History of the Gun and Big Game Hunting. Also, Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser) is hilarious, and Willow (Alyson Hannigan) is on the show-Bonus!. Tim was brilliant as a tailor/suit healer. Just brilliant-he made it work!

Love Thursday-A Father's Love

Last week I did something I rarely do, I left my husband and kids and took a mini-vacation to see the National Championship Game. No, I won't shut up about it-it was a big deal. I knew my children were going to be just fine without me. But, I still wondered...A few minutes after the game ended, I got a text from my husband that read "Sorry about the game, M ended up in the ER. She's fine. No need to call." Of course, I called immediately. Turns out, my baby was careening around the house and collided with the edge of the kitchen cabinet. She ended up with about a 1 1/2 inch laceration on her head,, and five staples! My husband said she was a total hero about it and was eerily calm throughout the whole procedure. It should be noted that this was M's second time to the ER in 3 months! (Our 5 year old has Knock on Wood, never been to the ER). Undoubtedly my husband handled the whole situation much better than I would have. Lots of blood from my baby+crying=freaking out mommy. It was terrible to not be there when she hurt herself, and when the doctor stapled her head! That said, it showed how much my husband loves me-he waited until after the game to tell me about the accident and ER visit since he knew I would immediately worry and try to call.

Love knows how to break bad news and how to assuage mommy guilt!

*No pictures this post because the head staples are really, really gross. Trust me.

Show Compassion-Haiti Earthquake

Several months ago my family was moved to sponsor a child through Compassion. It was clear to me that we would not expand our family, but I needed to share our love and wanted to find a way to expand our family since pregnancy and adoption were out. Compassion filled that void. We found a little girl in Haiti that was a year older than my oldest daughter. We chose Haiti because my husband served the country in a UN Peacekeeping mission several years ago and was affected by the extreme poverty. They say in Compassion you form a bond with your sponsored child: I can tell you that is true. I have been worried sick about little Sandrine ever since I heard about the earthquake. While she is not family, she does represent an extension of our family. At this point, we don't know anything. We have all been praying for her and her family (its just her, her mother, and grandmother). Until we have more information, we ask that you say a prayer for her and her family (and the people of Haiti). If you don't believe in prayer, please send good karma and wishes their way.

Gleeful Singing

I bought the Glee Season 1 CD a few weeks ago and have been playing it almost non-stop since I got it. I am the type of person who rocks out in the car, so the CD is perfect. My favorite song has to be the last song, "Defying Gravity," sung by Lea Michelle and Chris Colfer (see youtube clip here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuFE7mgpY5Q). I guess my girls have heard the songs a few thousand times because my 5 year old (Em) was belting out the tunes tonight on our drive home from school. What was so hilarious about the singing was her flourish arms at the end of each chorus. That kid is a born entertainer. Unfortunately, with as much as I love singing, show tunes, and musicals, my singing is strictly in the car or in the shower-not fit for human consumption. Hopefully she'll cultivate a singing voice to go with her big flourishes (complete with jazz hands). Hilarious!

The Game Post

If you don't like college football, you may not want to read this post, or, you may read this post and decide that you do like college football.

It's no secret that I was fortunate enough to go to the BCS National Championship to watch the Texas Longhorns play. I was so excited.
When I decided where to go to college, I deliberately selected a school with lots of different people, activities, and views. I picked a school that offered more than just academics, a real community of people with the added bonus of sports. Of course, the scholarship didn't hurt either! Saturday games were one of my favorite parts of school. I loved walking down Guadalupe before a game and seeing the windows painted for the game. I loved seeing the crowd dressed in orange, the cheering, the chanting, the camaraderie. I miss game day. I miss walking from the house with the friends to see the game. My husband and I attended our share of TX v OU games in Dallas before the kids came (when tickets got super hard to find and super expensive!). However, I haven't been to a Texas football game in years. So, I jumped at the opportunity to attend the biggest game of the year.

The game embodied all of the best parts of game day that I have sorely lacked: fight songs on the plane, seeing a sea of orange, feeling at home in boots and Longhorn gear. The good type of mob mentality, where everyone speaks your language: stats on past games, QB completion percentages, past victories, the "Hook 'Em" sign everywhere. It gave me the chills. I loved every single second of it. And, of course the tailgating! Yes, I look tired, not only is watching football hard work, but I also was traveling all day and we walked about 5 miles to get to and from the game!!
As we walked to our seats, the team walked to their tunnel right under us. We saw everyone, Mack Brown even flashed us the "Hook 'Em" sign. (My phone was in my purse, so I couldn't get a picture of it- AUGH.) It was awesome, This was going to be great!

Once we made it to our seats, the excitement was palpable. All our hopes and dreams. We all felt robbed last year, and vindicated this year to have gone 13-0 and we DESERVED to be there. The game started with a bang! (That's smoke from fireworks).

Awesome, we are leading...oh wait. NO, It can't be!! Colt is injured? Out after 5 plays? Are you kidding? A collective gasp of dread could be heard. (A sigh of relief I'm sure from the 'Bama fans)

But then, our team really came together and started playing well. We were all pleasantly surprised. We were actually amazed. Even though Garrett Gilbert was an excellent high school player, he's taken so few snaps this season, it was difficult to get a feel for what he'd do. It was no Colt and Jordan. In fact, we all saw Vince Young and Major Applewhite and wondered if we could somehow get them in uniform for a few plays.

Halftime approaches...Bama scores again. This is not going well. We do win the battle of the bands. While our band's costumes look like Howdy Doody, our band plays better. Even though they had like 40 baton twirlers, our one twirler had 3 flaming batons! It was kind of awesome. So, win on that one.
Then, the third quarter, and we start doing really well. No scores for Bama. We're holding them really well. Ingram is not looking that impressive. In fact, we move within 3- it's 21 to 24 with only 3 minutes left. Oh my God, we can do this! We can win, even without our star starting quarterback. Totally doable.
3 minutes left. Oh no, interception. Oh well...ouch. Another score. It's over now. But, I'm not depressed. I know why. Everyone doubted us (again). Every sports analyst picked Alabama and predicted that they'd run over us. They didn't. Yes, they won. I'll never say they didn't. BUT, they would not have won if Colt was in. No way. No how. In fact, I think we would have beat them by significantly more than 10 points. Although I remain unimpressed by Greg Davis, our defensive strategy was impressive. Mack was the better coach. The team played like a team. I think they were a little rushed; trying to make thins happen. But, they really came together. I'm proud to be a Longhorn. 13-1 is nothing to be ashamed of. I'm proud of my school, I'm proud of my team, I'm proud of the fans. I'm proud to have seen the class and grace under pressure. College football at its best and finest and I was glad to be a part of it.

*Next story- Why going to the game earned me the title "Worst Mother of the Year."

Friday Favorite- The Help

I have two huge posts to process about the game, but I just got home and am tired. So, those will have to wait. Until then, I am posting my Friday Favorite- Kathryn Stockett's book, The Help. I just finished "The Help" by Katheryn Stockett and am so impressed. I read the book on the flight to and from LAX and finished in record time. I had to buy another book because I still had one flight to go! The story(ies) are so engrossing, I did not want it to end. I found it to be a quick read, but expertly written. The book is just fascinating. I don't think I've read such a great book in quite some time. If you haven't read this book, buy it now http://www.amazon.com/Help-Kathryn-Stockett/dp/0399155341/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1229704607&sr=8-1. You will not be sorry.

Catalog Inspiration

Now that Christmas is over, another onslaught of catalogs has started. This time, I don't mind the amount of catalogs as I have already gotten a number of ideas. I see that Pottery Barn is going in a more rustic/farmhouse direction. The Pottery Barn buyers must have been searching the design and decorating blogs this year because they have a number of items that look like they were taken from Layla or the Nester's site:

Along with ideas like the chalkboard wall (I have done it, so easy, so useful). Please don't pay $100 for a chalkboard, it is the easiest project ever!

I love the luminaries.

I also was inspired by the Ballard Designs catalog. They embroidered/monogrammed two bed bolster pillows with "You" and "Me." I think it would be really easy to just use fabric paint instead. I might add that to my craft list for the Spring. I am determined to redo our bedroom this year.

How about you? Any inspiration from catalogs? Do you love to page through them as much as I do?

Extra time, Extra Projects

My family has really enjoyed this Holiday break. The girls and I have worked on an number of art projects, puzzles, and games. My husband completely cleaned and reorganized the garage. Hopefully that will last! I was able to edit all our photos from Christmas and reorganize some of the closets inside. Along the way we managed to watch most of the bowl games. But, the best was a fun surprise on tv yesterday, it was New Year's Slay-Buffy the Vampire Slayer was on all day. It was awesome. Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE Buffy. Watching Buffy is the reason I do not get the whole Twilight thing now-it's basically a cheap version of Buffy and Angel. Vampire who doesn't kill people, protecting the girl he loves, battles against evil....pretty much Buffy. Only Angel is way hotter than Edward and Buffy is way more interesting than Bella. Of course I couldn't watch it all day since I have children and it's not really the most appropriate thing for young children to watch. Although I do love Buffy's message about women being able to stand up for themselves, value of friends, etc. etc. I make no apologies, that was a great series and I was so sad when it ended, Angel too (although that got weird at the end).

My point was that there are certain shows and movies that I have to watch when they come on: Buffy being the show and Pride and Prejudice, Lara Croft, Mummy and Mr & Mrs. Smith being the movies. Are there any shows or movies that you get sucked in when they are on?

Football thoughts

Football Talk- Can you believe that Texas Tech fired Mike Leach? My guess is that they wanted a reason to tell fans and the sports community in general why they were firing Leach, other than "We didn't want to pay him the $800K bonus." But, really? Mike Leach was the best coach they've had. And, after this stunt, the best coach they'll get for a long time. Even if he didn't play by their rules, he was still much better than they could have hoped for. If I were a college coach or player being interviewed by Craig James, I'd tell him to go jump off a pier. No way would I give that man the time of day. He and his son managed to torpedo another Texas team. I wish Mike Leach well. While I thought his team was one-dimensional, he was successful with the passing offense. But, he is a smart coach and someone who doesn't suffer fools. So, I have to respect that. I hope he wins a big settlement with Tech and goes on to find a better team next year.

Did you see the Northwestern-Auburn game? The OT was surreal: You won, no you won, no you won, no we have another play, oh, another play. Crazy. What a way to start the 2010 football season (OK, really end the 2009 football season).

Friday Favorites- Letter From Santa

My girls are 3 and 5, so I figured this year they would understand and appreciate direct contact from Santa. Also, one of my darling children needed some "encouragement" from the big guy (ahem). I found a number of Santa calls, emails, and letters companies on the internet. I ultimately went with an etsy seller Inspired Studio and could not be more thrilled. Christine did a fabulous job incorporating the information I gave her about my girls, their lists, even our Elf. The girls Loved receiving the letter from Santa. It is beautifully written and decorated. Christine weaves a lovely story about the Clauses and elf life in the North Pole. My husband is not as easily impressed as I am, and he was really amazed at the letter. I can not wait to get another letter next year. The item listing can be found here: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=34624413

A letter from Santa is definitely one of my favorite parts of this Christmas.