Friday Favorite-THE Dress & a little dreaming

Images Gia Canali

I've said it before, but I really, really mean it now. Perfection. I found this dress through Leslie's blog and I am so happy I clicked over that day because I have not stopped thinking of this gorgeous dress since. This dress was made for a wedding, by the bride! Couldn't you just die?! Perfect. The wedding looked beautiful as well. It is one of those weddings that make me want to get married (to my husband!) all over again, just to plan the perfect ceremony and party. I am seriously considering tackling a similar dress for my anniversary next year. How amazing would that be?! Inspirational and gorgeous. Definitely my Friday Favorite.

*I had to add a link to this blog. Gabrielle featured the blog a few days ago and I just love it. I am impressed by any mom who is that creative and has energy to create memories for her family. So creative, a definite must read.

Image via Mila's Daydreams, Adele Enersen

Favorite Photos 4-Texas Spring

I call this image my Chookooloonks flower because Karen takes such gorgeous floral photographs. It's also very Karen because this was the only poppy in the entire area. Just one single, perfect flower. It seemed out of place for a Texas country road, but it was also completely beautiful. You can see in the last picture that it really stood out. All of these pictures are straight out of the camera; that's beauty for you.

Last Crafty Fairy Party Favors

I found this party today and could just kick myself for not thinking of some of those fantastic ideas! Anyone else have crafter/hostess remorse?! Those flower fairies? Gorgeous. She even made the flower tissue paper garland I wanted to try. The snack table?- so cute, how did she make crepe paper look that good? Please, click the link! Oh well, just kicking myself...I realized that I never showcased the crafts and things I made.Fairy Toadstool colored pencils. It would have been so cute to have made these from the "wooden" pencils, but I didn't realize it until it was too late. The toadstool pencils were so easy I don't even have step by step pictures: 1) take wooden buttons from the craft store, glue on the end of the pencil, 2) use tape to tape off the pencil so you can paint the bottom of the toadstool (I used a paint pen), 3) paint the top with a toothpick, 4) add dots with the paint pen.
To make fairy wands, gather a bunch of tulle, ribbons, and glue. I used tulle ribbon left over from skirts/tutus I made for Em's birthday a couple years ago. I cut the tulle in strips about 6-12 inches long, then stacked about 10 of them before tying in a bundle and folding (much like making a tissue paper pouf). You know I love making tissue paper poufs, so these were no problem.Meanwhile, wrap a wooden dowel with ribbon, securing once every inch or so with hot glue. Tie ribbon at the top, then hot glue your tulle flower pouf on top. Instant Fairy Wand. I just found a detailed tutorial here, she explains it in much more detail.These two low-impact crafts made a huge impact on our fairy guests. I prefer making party goodies; it's more fun than buying little trinkets and makes me feel slightly like Martha. That's it for fairy celebrations. Now, to plan a Rock Star Game Party.

Two is Enough

M with her cousin

This weekend my brother and sister-in-law brought their adorable 2 year old son for a quick visit. As it turned out, I got to play super aunt and super mom to my two girls and my nephew Saturday while my husband was out of town and my brother and sister-in-law enjoyed a well-deserved date. Y'all, I was WIPED at the end of the day. Dog tired. And, the kids weren't bad at all. I was just out numbered. How do all these amazing moms of more than 2 children do it? I am one of three children and always thought I would have at least three kids. Actually, I wanted four. When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I decided three would be OK. While pregnant with my second daughter, I decided two was enough. Over the past two years, I began to doubt our decision. I wanted another baby. I felt like we needed another child to complete our family. Every time my baby passed another milestone-sleeping in a big girl bed, potty training, giving up the pacifier, my baby clock would start ticking. I love babies. I love everything about them. Our girls were such fantastic babies. Well, there was that whole first two months of M's life where she would scream bloody murder every day around 5 for two hours unless I held her. That was fun! However, their momma wasn't such a gem of a pregnant woman. So, I knew we were done. This weekend showed me why. As much as I love kids, I am not cut out to be a mom of three (or more). I simply don't have the energy. I was outnumbered. Thankfully, the kids were all really good, but I felt so stressed the whole time-just trying to make sure that each child got the attention they needed. I'm happy to add an extra kid for a day or two, but no more babies for us. *Also, how would I plan a homemade birthday celebration for each child if I had an extra kid to actually parent?!
Two is enough...for now. I kid! I kid!

Friday Favorite- Groupon

I love online shoppign and pride myself at being able to find the best deals. In fact, I would put my online shopping prowess second only to the lovely deal-finding Mir. As a result, I am somewhat addicted to the online "exclusive" shopping websites and am sort of embarrassed by the number of emails I get with daily designer deals (Rue La La, Ideeli, Gilt, One Kings Lane, Totsy, Zuilly,etc.). Despite the number of emails I get, I rarely buy anything. Mostly because most of the good sizes are gone before I get around to looking at the sales. However, there is one email I always look forward to- Groupon. I have gotten some great deals on Groupon. Groupon is basically a collective bargaining discount middle man; they contact local businesses from clothing stores, yogurt shops, to gyms, and salons to negotiate a discount for anyone wanting to purchase at the set price. Some of the deals are kind of bizarre, but I have stockpiled credit to one of my favorite online dress retailers for a fraction of the normal retail price. If you are not already a member of Groupon, I highly recommend joining. Since Groupon cuts deals with retailers in various cities, you may want to look at deals in cities you travel to often, or vacation destinations. There's even a person traveling around the US using only Groupons, see here! I'm not at that point so I don't have a problem...yet.

Groupon is my Friday (and every day) Favorite.
*I was not paid or compensated in any way for this post. I really like Groupon and felt like sharing with the Internet.*

Love Thursday-Wrap It Up

Love Thursday is all about finding Love in different places. Weddings and anniversaries are celebrations of love, so I think this post technically still fits-even if it is about shopping. (Oops!)I pride myself on finding the perfect gifts for my friends and family. I try to find unique items from independent artists. This year, we have a number of weddings and big anniversaries to celebrate. I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite "Love" themed finds with you. Each of these items is under $40, which means you could buy the happy couple something perfectly sentimental and something off their registry! Some of these items I have in our home-or will have soon. I think they all make wonderful gifts for a special couple, or for you. I love discovering new artists, let me know if you have a gift that should be on the list. (All images are from the designer/artist's shop)
Elm Studios You + Me =Forever Bowl Paloma's Nest Bouquet Tile. I love her pieces.Custom Calendar Pillow
A modern take on the couple's Love Story Here

Cozyblue's Custom Family Tree.

My list would not be complete without an item from Lisa Leonard's shop, her Pewter heart is perfect for weddings and anniversaries. If you REALLY liked the couple, a Modern Bird piece would be perfect.

Happy Shopping & Happy Love Thursday!

Favorite Photo 3

I missed our vacation/run to Napa, so I am remembering other vacations. I took this photo on our trip to Kauai, Hawaii. Actually, I took this photo mid-flight on our helicopter tour of the island. The waterfalls looked inviting; I wish we could have dropped in for a swim! This particular location is famous for being part of a TV series. Anyone know which TV show? Hope this image gets you over the Hump day. I'm certainly going to be thinking about vacations and Hawaii all day now.

The Thousand Dollar Pillows

Here are two of our newest home accessories-the thousand dollar pillows!* Well, sort of. We got these two adorable pillows at Texas Children's Hospital. My daughter Em and I have been spending of time at TCH lately. We've been trying to get answers to Em's "concerning" and unknown illness. For the past month or so, Em has had several episodes (the best way to describe them is near fainting), always around the same time but with slightly different circumstances. Due to her young age and the frequency of the occurrences, we've gone through a lot of testing and a great deal of worry. We don't know very much right now, except that we'll meet our deductible for her insurance this year! Yea! And, we have two lovely pillow from the Pediatric Cardiac Department to remind us of that. So far, the tests haven't given us a diagnosis.

We try to be pretty laid-back parents. But, when doctors order tests for your 5 year old daughter that involve EKGs, EEGs,and cardiac monitors, well, that is just a little too much. Fortunately, she's been pretty brave about everything. But today, she reached her limit of poking and prodding. And, I don't blame her one bit. I haven't blogged about it before now because we didn't know anything. Although, if you follow me on Twitter, I've been tweeting about it. It was time to get it out there. I needed to write about it to take the weight off my shoulders. To say I've been off-balance lately is putting it lightly.

Em's Diagnosis Unknown is the reason I am not now posting about completing my first half marathon. I couldn't leave her in Texas with a babysitter while we went to California. Of course, she hasn't had an episode since we decided to stay behind. It was an easy decision for me as a mom, but I'm still really conflicted about leaving my friends in the lurch and feel like I have left an important goal unattained. That said, I had to stay. I need to know what is going on with my kid. So much goes through your mind when you realize that something is wrong with your baby and that something is unknown. My mind went to the worst cases and the best cases all in the span of a day. For now, we wait. For now, we stay. We are fortunate to live in Houston with the best medical resources available. Somebody will figure this thing out soon, I'm counting on it. Until then, we have these two lovely pillows as a parting gift!
*I used to have a $60 plastic cup-the only thing I got from attending the 1997 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (38-15 loss to Penn State). It didn't really cost $60, but since the ticket was a total waste, I count it.

Friday Favorite-Shoes, Glorious Shoes

Ready for some Friday fashion fun?! I am. Today it's all about the shoes. One pair I bought and are quickly becoming a "go to" pair. And, one pair that I am obsessed with getting.

The first pair are my Toms wedge espadrilles. I love the philosohpy of Toms shoes (for every pair of shoes purchased, they donate a pair of shoes to a child in need), but flat espadrilles are not my favorite shoe. So, when I heard that Toms was coming out with a wedge espadrille, I was intrigued. I bought mine (in black) several weeks ago and I love them. A number of people have loved my shoes so much that they've tried getting a pair themselves. Apparently, they are fairly hard to purchase now-but I think you can get them by signing up at Toms or try Nordstrom.

Kate Spade courtesy of Zappos

Oh my, how I love these shoes. So perfect. Nude patent is still very much in fashion and these have the perfect femine detail. I would wear these every day. Unfortunately, the price is above what I normally pay for shoes-OK, a great deal above what I normally pay for shoes. (I had a hard time paying $70 for my Toms shoes, but that was charity too!) But, a girl can dream, right? I'm just going to stalk all the usual sale sites until I get them. Let me know if you see them for sale in a size 8, won't you?

Any favorites today? Do share, I love looking at shoes. My husband says it's a sickness, I say it's a gift!

Love Thursday-All that Glitters

We have glitter all over the house. Actually, there's glitter in the house, outside the house, on our faces, on our clothes. Everywhere. That's the thing about glitter, it makes everything so pretty (according to the 6 and under set) but you find it everywhere. We have glitter everywhere because we just hosted a Fairy Birthday party on Sunday. The wings had glitter, the wands had glitter, I spread glitter on the entryway-you get the idea. We had glitter everywhere because I show love through parties. Some people bake (well, OK, I do that too), some people create elaborate scrapbooks, I plan parties. I spend months planning parties and weeks preparing decorations, food, and activities because it is a tangible thing that I can do for my kids. Would my girls be happy with a family celebration with little fanfare? Of course. But, I feel like I have to do it-and I have to do it right. It is 100% working mom guilt. I may not be able to be there for every school performance, dance recital, or event, but they will remember their birthday parties. (By damn.) And, those birthday parties will be as homemade and as special as I can make them. The other day a friend wrote about love languages and how she shows her love for those she cares about; she's a doer. (As an aside, Mir is just so dang brilliant. Her parenting tools and observations are spot on. I hope I have enough energy to parent like her when my kids are tweens.) I guess you could say that glitter is my Love Language.

Hope your Love Thursday glitters and sparkles.

What Do Fairies Do?

When eleven little fairies comes to your house for a party, I suggest a Fairy Scavenger Hunt. However, I also suggest making sure you have the right clues in the right places-oops! I accidentally left a card out and matched the clues up with the wrong activities. Clue 1: You'll be a fairy soon enough, but even fairies need a place to put their stuff. Paint a fairy house for your fairy friend. Take it with you at the end. After each fairy was done painting her house, I painted her face.
Clue 2: Fairies need wings to fly so high, find a pair that fits and see if you can fly. Again, if it is nice weather, I think it would be awesome to hang the wings in a tree. It was too hot for us.Clue 3: Find something to help you take a note to help remember what you wrote. (Mini toadstool colored pencils) Clue 4: Fairies need wands for magic powers. Find yours where you might keep flowers.
Clue 5; All that work was hard find a straw and dig right in- (Hey, I was tired at this point). It was time for snacks after the scavenger hunt.

Missing clue: Fairies twinkle from head to toe. I see your shoes, but where's your bow? (Ok, so it was a headband, but it didn't matter since I left it out.) I left this clue out since I didn't finish all the headbands. They were really cute tulle rhinestone flower bands though. When I post the craft run-down, I'll include these. All my clues would have matched up if I included these-woulda coulda shoulda.
After the scavenger hunt, we ate and then played Fairy Freeze Dance and read a fairy book. One activity I didn't do but think would work so well is a maypole. I wish I had thought of it a few days ago!

Birthday Decor-Butterflies, poufs, and glitter

I believe that setting the scene is very important for parties. Let's not discuss the fact that the average age of the guests at my daughter's fairy birthday party was 4. I'm all about the details. M wanted a fairy garden party and the decor would set the scene. I start outside with a pink walkway (part of a huge roll of vinyl tablecloth I've used for tons of parties) with glitter and confetti butterflies, and floral butterfly picks in our flowerpots. I also make sure I paint or draw a sign for our door. *If I had it to do over, I would have gone with my original idea to hang the wings in our trees outside, but the temperature Sunday was eleventy million degrees and way too hot to make the girls come outside for their wings.
Inside I used lots of tissue paper flowers and floral picks. I found the floral picks at Hobby Lobby (over half off!), and added tulle and handmade toadstool pencils. (I got the great container above at the Mini Design Flea from Tricia, Linsey, and Holly a few weeks ago).
Hanging lanterns from the Martha Stewart line at Michaels. I bought them last year for Em's Princess party-thank God for two girls with overlapping party tastes! I had hanging tulle at each corner, but the darn things wouldn't stay up. We finally hung them with duct tape! Be warned-figure out how to hang things BEFORE the day of the party. In retrospect, I think the Command hooks would work really well. Hindsight-darn! I used the same ribbon in our dining room chandelier and I think it is the easiest way to bring the party decor up. I love having lots of levels of decorations and curling ribbon on lights/sconces, etc is a great way to make a big impact.
More poufs...Come on, you can never have too many poufs! You see those little things on the ground?Butterflies. I intended to make a hanging butterfly graland, but ran out of time. I still think it would be a sweet addition to a fairy/garden party or nursery. I also thought of getting a large branch and spray painting silver or white and tying the butterflies on for a centerpiece. But, time was my enemy. Maybe next time? I ended up with about 400 butterflies, so if anyone needs any, let me know!

How to Host a Fairy Party

How to host a Fairy Birthday party in 6 easy steps:
Step 1- Add wings and glitter, lots of glitter
Step 2-Add Fairy Wands
Step 3:-Add flower poufsStep 4-Find a fairy story
Step 5-Add a few clues for a fairy hunt (the more it rhymes, the bigger hit it will be)
Step 6-Bake and decorate a cake (That's the top of a toadstool. Clearly cake decorating is not my forte).

If you don't know me, you might not know that I love planning parties. Love it. I plan and plan and plan. So, consider yourself warned that this week is all party all the time. Don't worry, I'm not sharing my super secret cake decorating tips because really-that cake looked terrible. Tasted good though. Oooh, tip 1- serve champagne so the moms in attendance don't mind if the cake looks or tastes a little "off"!

4 Year Old Questions

My baby turns 4 today (wah). Rather than get schmoopy and overly sentimental, I decided it might be fun to post M's answers to a few questions here. Each year I ask each girl this set of questions:

How old are you: 4!

What makes you happy: Smiling

Now that you are 4, what are you going to do: You're going to pick me up from school after cupcakes.

What is your favorite thing to do: Play

Who is your favorite person to play with: Em

What is your favorite thing to do with mommy: Art Projects

What is your favorite thing to do with daddy: Go out to eat

What is your favorite thing to do with Em: Dance

What do you want to be when you grow up: Teacher & a mommy

What is your favorite food: Breakfast

What is your favorite color: Orange

What is your favorite movie: Madagascar

What is your favorite song: I went to California (to see the fair, to meet the Senoritas with flowers in their hair. Oh, shake it baby, shake it. Shake it all you can. Shake it like a milkshake in a frying pan. Shake it to the bottom, shake it to the top. Shake it all around until I holler stop!) Lovely little ditty, which now will hopefully be in your head too.

Happy Friday, I'm off to bake cupcakes and finish a few fairy accessories.

Love Thursday-Love Note

This yellow post-it note was left on the bathroom mirror 11 years ago. (Sorry for poor picture quality, the note is pretty beat up after that much time.) I doubt my husband remembers writing it. I do. I am convinced that while grand, sweeping gestures are great it is the small gestures that have the greatest impact. Do you have any small examples of love that you treasure? Happy Love Thursday, I hope something small makes your day today.

9 Years of Knowing

9 years ago today we were pronounced Man and Wife.
3652 days; 87,648 hours; 5,258,880 minutes; 315,532,800 seconds and counting. From the moment we met each other, we just knew. I still know. We don’t complete each other, we complement each other. I knew then and I know now. Knowing what I know now, if I had it to do all over, I’d do it all over again. Our marriage isn't perfect and it isn't (usually) hard work, it is our creation of our life together. The fact that our marriage is (to some of our friends) a standard of strength makes me so happy. I love that we laugh. I love our love. It feels like these 3652 days; 87,648 hours; 5,258,880 minutes; 315,532,800 seconds have flown by and I can't wait for so many more.

Blue Flowers and Purple Polka Dots

Since Em spent a number of hours doing some decidedly un-fun things this past week, I decided she needed an unexpected treat.I took Em for her first real mani/pedi. What a lucky girl. I think I was 16 before I had a real mani or pedi.
She was so happy. The water! Mommy, the water is turning colors! And, a pink! butterfly chair! Everything was! just! so! exciting! She was laughing out loud during the whole experience. Her happiness made me happy and all it took was blue flowers on her hands and purple polka dots on her toes. Of course, I had to paint M's nails as soon as she saw her sister's!

Busy July Mojo

July is a busy month for us. Wednesday our marriage turns 9. Friday my little M turns 4. In a couple weeks, we are scheduled to go to Napa to run int he half marathon. Which means, we have a little celebration just about every other day this week and then a big party on Sunday. We normally start off the week of celebrations with our town's 4th of July parade and festival (Saturday). The Fourth of July parade is one of the reason's we love our city so much, it still has a small town feel to it (we live in a small city just outside the Houston city limits) -complete with kids' bike parade, fire trucks, bouncy houses, and LOTS of candy. I hate to say that we had a crazy, tumultuous week complete with monsoon rainstorms and by Saturday I just couldn't take it. So, we sat out the parade this year. And, it was ok. The world did not fall apart.

I have this Wonder Woman Martha Stewart complex where I try to make every holiday and party perfect and nearly kill myself in the process. This time, I let it go. I had to let it go. I have way too much on my mind lately. Big stuff. I didn't decorate for the 4th of July. I didn't take one picture, or even bring my camera with me. Those two facts should tell you all you need to know. My mojo is gone. Out of Whack. Even though we missed the 4th of July parade, we still managed to squeeze in a few fireworks, plenty of watermelon (M could eat it all day every day) and some hot dogs. I also managed to craft like crazy for M's party. My mojo may be off, but my obsessive party planning is in full swing. Hopefully my mojo will work today and I'll be back with a fun party tutorial.

Hope your mojo is intact and you had a wonderful holiday.