Friday, December 2, 2011

Button Test 1-2-3

Yes I am totally not working on my finals

Testing this button

here goes nothing



Now lets go read!

Friday, November 25, 2011


I was such an adult and hosted my first Thanksgiving! I LOVE hosting dinner parties and I mean, Thanksgiving is like the ultimate one right? I had Mike's family (parents and 3 siblings, my parents, and Mike, Emily and I -- obviously) all over. Here are some of the things I made..

yes, I chose my desserts before anything else

i threw in fresh crans instead of dried.. delicious & sweet

this one takes the cake. enough said.

I bet you're wondering... where is the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes? Yes that was all there, but I have all my own recipes for everything else and I was running like a tornado that I didn't use my camera once. Boo for my failure to record my first official holiday dinner.

The whole day there was this little knot in my stomach. As I was listening to my dad laughing and "hanging with the guys" and spending time in the kitchen with my mom, mother-in-law, and "sister in law", I was simply happy. I felt joy in having all these people that I love so much in my home. I wish days like this were not so few and far between.

I've been so stressed out these past few weeks, between finals and schedules and worrying about jobs, that I haven't sat back and enjoyed being a mom, wife, and friend. Friends? What are those? I can't wait until I am able to spend some time painting nails and drinking coffee with my gfs. That time is so needed and important. With Thanksgiving fresh on my mind, although I may feel resentment when I miss girls night out, or when Mike and I can't spend the whole day together, I am THANKFUL for the opportunity I've been given. I am thankful that Mike is so patient and loving; that he has supported me financially and emotionally for the past 6 long years. Because of him, as much if not more than my own efforts, I am able to live out my dreams.

So thank you Mike :) keep on rocking on!

Emily and I are beginning to decorate for Christmas. Her reaction to me opening the box of ornaments gets me every time. Her ear-to-ear smile, the way she claps her hands, quick with excitement and how she slightly jumps up and down, like her feet are glued on a trampoline. It never gets old.

Here is my inspiration for the yarn trees

Oh oh oh
Here is her Christmas dress. I want to wear it with a fluffy headband and dance to the Nutcracker..

I am so excited to write more when finals are over...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Doesn't Hurt to Dream...

of a big, pretty dining room

Linking up with Gussy Sews again!
This week the prompt is "The Dining Room"

Unfortunately, my little ranch does not have a separate dining room.
Oh how I long for one....
So, without a dining room, or even a large eat-in-kitchen, I volunteered ((well kind of begged)) to host Thanksgiving dinner. Where was Mike to knock some sense into me? My mother-in-law makes amazing Thanksgiving. Ugh. I guess it's part of growing up and starting a family. I feel like hosting a holiday is a step into the "adult" world. And I also think it would be really great for Emily, because we all know... She will throw on the apron and pretend she cooked the entire meal.
When can I actually recruit her to cook me dinner?
sans play-dough

Anyways.. here are some things that really lit up my eyes.
Literally! Here are some great lights I would love right over my giant wood-slab table (wishful thinking)


I also have an odd obsession with table runners. This wood one is pretty awesome.
The flowers and table scape just make it that much better.


Perfect addition of color without going overload...


This last one reminds me of Alice in Wonderland.. Tea Party anyone? I could use a drunk mouse and wild Mad Hatter to spice up my day.


What would your dream dining room look like?
Any advice on what functions best for your family?
I'm digging the creative ways to add chalk boards and "mailboxes"

Thanks for stopping by!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ps... I almost forgot

I officially opened my Etsy Shop {yes please click}

Emily is such the little Diva.
Next time I'll actually use her as a model. Her hair was much too wild this morning.
{and I didn't have time for coffee}

So this venture is basically to serve as an outlet to create things I love.
I'm not expecting much, rather just to showcase some of my favorite things and the ways in which I am inspired daily.

But I mean, if you feel an urge to purchase something... well then I can't argue with that.
and it would totally offset what can turn into an expensive hobby
So put your hands to rest and let mine do the work...

Again -- HappyisPretty


Cinnamon, Spice & Everything Nice

I just ate autumn.
Slathered in sugar, cinnamon, cloves and butter.

And it was sooo good.

Rustic Apple & Pear Tart

1 pie crust - It was a busy week night. Pillsbury won.
3 Apples (I used local Macouns, but I imagine any firm apple will do - esp. granny smith. yummm)
3 Bosc Pears -Yes, the ugly, brown skinned ones are the best.
Pinch of salt & allspice
Heaping tsp. of cinnamon
1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
Butter - totally up to you how much to add
Lemon juice or tsp of Ball Fruit Fresh - to prevent discoloration, or just to ease your mind that maybe the fruit won't get all gross looking

Roll out your pie crust on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Yes if it's refrigerated all you have to do is literally unwrap and roll.

Oh how easy life can be.

Chop up your fruit as thick or thin as you'd like. If decision making at this point is difficult (my dear October babies) then opt for thinner cut fruit. It cooks quicker.
Oh yeah, Pre heat to 350
That might be important; I always seem to forget that step.
Toss with salt, spices, & lemon juice (fruit fresh)
Pile fruit in the center of the crust, leaving a few inches on the side to fold dough up.
Fold crust over the fruit, leaving a big circle in the middle exposed. Pinch to seal edges around fruit.

I dug in before I photographed. Don't judge.

Place small pats of butter all over the top of the apples. As much as you'd like depending on how guilty you'll be afterwards. Because if you made this with wheat crust and light butter (or very little butter) it would be pretty healthy.
Melt half a tbsp. of so of the butter and brush sides of crust.
Pop in the oven until golden brown.
Maybe you should wait until it cools to dig in.
Or you could be a slob like me. Warmer is better right?

One tip -- It was a bit runny. Not that I really minded because I sopped up the liquid with crust. Classy.
Next time I might toss the fruit in cornstarch or a little flour.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Linking up with Gussy!

Today I'm linking back up with Gussy Sews


This week's prompt = Flowers

How appropriate. I just spent a few minutes earlier this week mourning over the loss of the only 2 flowers/plants I have been able to keep alive.
Thanks October Nor'Easter ::sigh::

So I decided to share some flowers that brighten my day
Peonies are my favorite. I never knew about them until I was jealously gazing at my neighbor's yard. There were these puffy, light pink balls of petals that looked so enticing. All I wanted to do was jump in the middle of these "mystery balls" and nestle in the silky softness. And then... like he was reading my mind... Emily came running back with an armful! I was hooked.

I clearly can't get enough of them.


And it's not like these ones are awesome or anything...

or these...

3, 4

It simply amazes me how these incredibly gorgeous, intricately delicate bundles of beauty can be born out of a tiny seed with just a little sunshine and rain. I'm also a sappy, girly-girl who cries when Mike brings me home flowers.
::hint, hint::
Lately it's been Emily bringing me flowers.
Well, dandelions... from the curb.. or dead mums.. ((thanks again Nor'Easter))

But I sure do love seeing how sincere she is with her "flowers for mommy"

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Snowflakes and Trick-or-Treating?

Who would have thought!

I can't remember ever trick or treating in the snow? But then I feel like I have a really spotty childhood memory. Hmm... anyways. This morning Emily and I went "swinging in the snow" then "snow sliding" and now we are getting prepared to carve pumpkins. My mind is having seasonal confusion! Where did fall go?
I wanted to get some corn stalks for the yard before Thanksgiving.
Now I'm thinking what I need is some driveway salt.

But being the optimist I strive to be, I thought... snow, foliage... When the storm finishes and you can actually see more than a foot in front of you (God willing there are still leaves on the trees) the landscape's going to be totally gorgeous. So I did a little search on Pinterest. First I searched "Halloween and Snow".
Now I have tons of Snow White costume ideas.

this one is from CT during this storm

Clearly the search terms "Autumn and Snow" work much better.

and here is Emily.. Catching her first "tongue snow" of the season.

Three hours later....

Well here is to a weekend full of Halloween snowy activities.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Back Again!

Okay. I get it.

It's REALLY hard, this whole blog thing. But in the mayhem of having no time and being so overworked, I feel like I'm really missing something. I enjoy writing and reading and "linking" around that without it... I get kinda sad. Then I eat like a dozen cupcakes, but that's a whole other story.

Exciting news?
I kicked butt on a few exams
I LOVE my job at the VA Hospital
Emily is wilder than ever and being a pink peacock for Halloween

Oh yeah... I'm going to open an Etsy shop!
click me click me

There's nothing for sale yet but I have been keeping busy getting plenty of glue gun burns and needle pricks.
SO dum-dum-dum
it WILL be up and running shortly!

In the mean time.. here are some amazing things I've made the past few weeks
no these are clearly not my images. but I linked back so start cooking away!




Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm feeling all grown up !

This is just a quick check-in because I am so excited about the beginning of this new chapter of my life.

Today I started my internship at the Veteran Affair's Hospital in CT. This place is amazing. I was apprehensive at first because I heard it wasn't that much "one-on-one" therapy which is what I'm doing { for the most part } in class. But then I got to see what these people do. I'm working with a Critical Time Intervention program which basically means we work with homeless vets and work with them therapeutically - the end goal being permanent housing. Instead of sitting in an office all day I get to be out in the community, helping people with almost any and everything you can imagine. I'm a little nervous because I'll be going into people's homes - whether their homes are actual houses, transitional living facilities, the hospital, or even the streets/woods. Because yes, even when people are living in the woods, that is their home and it needs to be treated with respect. And thankfully I had a great experience shadowing Brass City Harvest and learning this important lesson.

I committed myself to a totally new mindset than I had last year. Last year I was so hell bent on not having the experience I expected/wanted that I'm sure I missed out on great learning opportunities. But this year - the times they are a changin'. I need to be extremely open minded, get my creative juices flowing, and just take every opportunity I get. This is like the legit start of my career. Many people's first jobs are a result of their internship. So I gotta get ready to network network network.

P.S. I'm writing this from my new MacBook ! Yes that's right -- no more slow and broken VAIO PC. WOohoo I have been waiting for this day for oh so long.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pondering a Handmade Bizz..

I want to start a handmade business. I want to start with a "whatever happens, happens" mindset. I want to post a few things on Etsy and see what happens. Any ideas?
Here's some stuff I've put together.

There's this scarf too. And I have oodles of other scarf ideas. I've realized that I don't want to do this for money or anything. I want to start this endeavor because I want something a "hobby" that I enjoy losing myself in and something that creates meaning in my life. Well, maybe meaning isn't the word I'm looking for. For those that create you know that feeling when you're looking/holding/listening/smelling your item? It's like this little bubble of warmth inside. And I don't think it matters if other people " like " or want to have what you made. It's the fact that you created it and that feeling alone is pretty great. So I'd like some more of that :D

It would be great to talk to someone who started with just a little tiny idea of sharing what they've made and love with the world. Which reminds me -- I need to work on my commenting.

I'm off to start my first real day off. If you don't count cooking, list-making, cleaning, READING, and major organizing as work. It never ends does it? But being busy makes me thrive. When I have too much time on my hands I turn into a lazy slobmonster. Anyone ever feel like this? I was over on Gussy Sews and I read this great tip that I felt really hit home with me as this school year gets off and running

don't be afraid to get burnt out

Seriously. I'm having anxiety about future anxiety when I might fall behind in work. BUT IT HASN'T HAPPENED. So why am I freaking. Whatever will be, will be... right? So new goal = be busy, have fun, read so much that it stops making sense, and enjoy autumn. Because pumpkin coffee makes this girl happy.

And maybe make an online homemade bizz

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Shopping Inspiration

Here we are at another week of Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop. Has it been a week? Whew time flies when you having a stressful, tiring, commuting good time.Positive thoughts always people :D

This week -- Shops you love. Well well well. How fitting as Emily and I seem to have a major problem wanting to buy everything we shouldn't and can't. First are my top picks. I have to say that I have been an Urban Outfitters girl all my life. Although Anthropologie { I think } does have nicer stuff I'm just too poor at this time of my life to buy much there. So Urban has served me well these past years as a starving student.

Urban Outfitters

Come on folks -- Chevron Chair & they have a matching rug - in TEAL.
Some of my other favorite stores include Michaels Crafts - because I can't get enough of my 20% off purchase coupons, Uptown Consignment - because there are Marc Jacobs bags for $120 and Fendi clutches for $50. I love thrifting! Lastly, J Crew because I have a passionate love for cardigans and tee-shirt embellishments.

sourcevia pinterest

Clearly a toy store is Emily's favorite choice. Who woulda thought? Our fav is a long-standing toy store in West Hartford Center -- The Toy Chest. I love this store because it contains products that encourages learning and creativity. Think hand-sewn puppets and wooden kitchen food. Emily loves it because it's one of those stores that has a plentiful assortment of "floor models" that keep her occupied for hours. We picked up our first Tatutina letters here.

Check out their stuff - it rocks.

What's your fav picks?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fallin' for Scarves

I've been a bad blogger.

But after my adjustment back to the school grind I'll get better. I promise.

So to make up for my slack, I thought I'd show you something I really enjoyed. I never saw this before although I'm sure many of you have. I think it totally rocks.

INSERT PIC - yes to remind myself to post pic from camera
{ UGH can't find camera. Fail marianne. This was such a great project. As soon as I find I will post }

My wonderful friend Tiffany { you know, the one that lets me crash every week at her apt because shes so awesome } pulled this awesome scarf hanger out of her closet one day. Because of course her closet is like the GREATEST and she has a 1,000 scarves. I was totally taken aback at how cool and creative this was. Not to mention functional and something I would love having. I found a couple tutorials if anyone is interested.

here's one...
and another
and a final one just in case

and here's Emily, modeling a scarf that I would gladly hang from a super cool handmade hanger.
We got the inspiration for this scarf here. { Note that Em is only 42 inches tall and the scarf hangs much differently on a grown up }. Yes, this is my first "clothing" DIY that I am super proud of.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Late Night Inspiration

So last night I tossed and turned myself through what felt like HOURS of nightmares. The best part... they were of the "waitressing" type. If you have ever waited tables I am without a doubt sure you have experienced this. I have been waitressing since I was 18; it was definately the best way to make mucho money quick and worked with my school schedule. But I hate it. I've loved the places I worked, but the whole concept of being a waitress is totally nightmare-worthy. Thankfully, { hopefully } my waitressing days are a looong gone.

In this nightmare I was running in circles, never catching up with getting what people wanted. You know those dreams when you are supposedly somewhere but it's not really what it is in real life? Yeah, makes sense right? Anyways, I was working at my friends' place City Hall

cute right?

Well.. needless to say this is NOT what it looked like in my nightmare. I was in a dungeon-esque, antler-serving (yes, charred antlers were on the menu) hole in the wall. Much more Snuggly Duckling. And I was running in circles, never catching up, and everyone was yelling at me.

My point in all this. I thought I'd give you some tips. A little advice on what I've learned throughout the years on what to do and NOT to do in the restaurant scene. I've learned that there's many things that get done to us poor servers that is not intentional rather a misunderstanding due to lack of previous learning. So please readers, my few and far between, take heed on the people delivering your latest craving so no one has to suffer what I went through last night.

** Warning.. Do not take offense as I may come off a bit strong :D

1. 20%. Yes 20% at least in the Northeast, is the baseline for tipping. If she/he were awesome please feel free to go higher. My paycheck averaged $1.50 after taxes and I totally appreciated the few extra bucks from the tables I clicked with.

2. If a special menu ( often a prix fixe menu ) says "No Substitutions" - it really means no subs. Our kitchen would spout 150 Ladies Night dinners in 2 hours. If my table's ticket had changes on it it would either (1) get pushed to the end of the line meaning you were waiting an hour for food (2) they just wouldn't do it. ((Allergies excluded)). And the "But they do it everytime" does not work.

3. "I know the owner" well darling so do I and I know he would not let you change your free well-martini for a 10$ Grey Goose martini. I'm sorry.

4. Be understanding. You know how you forgot to write back to that email that's been sitting in your inbox? Well sometimes we forget to add/sub/order something. In which case, PLEASE bring it up. Nicely. And we will totally do everything possible to get it to you right as fast as possible.

5. Chef's can be mean. Very mean. Mean as in the "I had the other waitress serve your food bc I was in the bathroom crying."

6. Please don't swear or talk inappropriately to me. As friendly and welcoming as I am, it really offends me when people start dropping curse words or talking about their opinions on the "hot girl" they saw earlier. Ugh.

7. Many people assume that waiting on tables is all I do and all I'm going to ever do. People look down on us and I've even overheard people saying "She's just a food server." Well I'm not. I'm finishing a master's from an Ivy League school. I have a loving amazing family. And I'm so much more than that. Which leads to #8.

8. Some tables don't like to chit chat and I totally respect that bc when I'm out, I seldom start more than small talk with the server. But if you are going to strike up a conversation it's totally awesome if you genuinely ask what else he/she does, enjoys, etc. Likewise, don't ever say "well this is all you do?" or even worse "But you are so much better than this & you don't want to get stuck here." Because yes for some people, waiting tables is their main job right now. And why do you care? It can be great - it got my family through some tough financial times and I made more money than many people I know with degrees! Plus it allowed me the time to really figure out what I wanted in life.

9. We have power over your food. Enough said.

10. I love being a "good customer" just as much as I love getting a "good table".

11. Please don't make crude statements about the legality/ethnicity of the kitchen staff. Many of the undocumented workers in kitchens have given up their families and homes and instead spend 60 or so laborous hours a week doing the jobs that many Americans turn down. I wish I could write a book on the bravery and selflessness of these men and women. Their stories bring me to tears and one day I'll share.

I realize many of my statements had a total brashness about them. I apologize. After like what.. EIGHT years of being a waitress so much has built up in me. I've noticed a total lack in how many people treat their servers. But I've also met some amazing people and truly loving, generous people. When I was pregnant I had customers hand-knit me blankets and give me gifts for the baby. How awesome is that? I've made bonding relationships with people and I'm grateful. Being in any type of service job is NOT an easy feat. We should all find ways to make little improvements and changes in how we talk to the people that make our coffee or open our dressing rooms. Even just a "good morning" with a smile as you're rolling through the drive through.

Thanks for listening to my babble. Whew felt good.