Archive for March, 2011

Little Projects

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

As the sun was setting last night, I couldn’t help but notice Spring is well on her way, so I thought I’d gather a few pieces from around the house, and make a little display to welcome the season.

I’m planning on adding a little more and some fresh flowers, but here how it’s looking today:

On another note…

Tonight there’s going to be a bridal shower here for my friend Natalie, I’m not the host but couldn’t resist making a banner like this one seen over at You Are My Fave. It only took 10 minutes total and I think it turned out simply lovely.


Get the Look: Jonathan Adler

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Last week we had a lovely afternoon shopping in Newport, and we were happy to stumble across a Jonathan Alder shop. It was like a piece of heaven on earth, and I left drooling over his style, it was just the inspiration I needed to spruce up my house for summer.

Of course designer prices are not in our budget just yet, so here’s some more affordable options to pinch the look:

Target Tuesday: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Minis

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
image: itsalldirect2u.com

Today at Target we stumbled upon the new Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Minis.  They caught our eye as this week they are on sale for $2.66, and we had found a dollar off each bag coupon HERE.  These little morsels of heaven are even more delicious than the original; with a higher chocolate to PB ratio and a softer middle…they are divine.

image: beyondthekitchensink.com

We would like to try them in ice-cream sundaes and brownies, but will have to go back for more as the first bag is history!!!

Monday Deal: Bath and Body Works

Monday, March 28th, 2011

We love Bath and Body Works coupons.  We visit the store frequently and keep the number of items purchased to a minimum so we can always utilize the coupons.  Sign up for their emails HERE to receive coupons, also with any purchase in store the sales rep will give you a new coupon. 

On Saturday Sar and I used our ‘free travel size, no purchase necessary’ coupon on a 3 oz body spray (usually $5).  Perfume takes so long to go through, so this size is ideal.  We were both excited to get a new spring scent (we both chose WHITE CITRUS) for free!!!  They are on sale right now for 3 for $10 so even without a coupon they are a great deal.  They would make a great present for any lady in your life, and don’t forget to ask for free gift wrapping!

Journal Writing

Friday, March 25th, 2011

I write… a lot.  I write to clear my head.  I write lists.  I write to organize my thoughts, ideas and dreams.  I write about my family, politics, friends, and natural disasters.  I write more lists.  I write about my day.  I write when I’m happy or sad, rain or shine.  I write about everything and nothing.  And… I write all this in my many, many notebooks and journals.

I always seem to find a new notebook most places I go, and never have less than a stash of notebooks waiting eagerly for me with their crisp new pages.  One day in particular when I was living in London, I stumbled upon this notebook oasis:

Into the dark, creeky wooden-floored, musky shop I entered, (imagine a shop in Diagon Alley with a ‘Extreme Makeover Home Edition’ face lift) and saw little, delicate notebooks and fine stationary displayed with spotlights of prominence and importance.  Hallelujah, I had found my utopia of notebooks.  My heart was racing and I knew the search for the perfect notebook was indeed over.  Oh, and the packaging…don’t even get me started.  This was the day I fell in love… with Smythson of Bond Street.  And apparently, unbeknownst to me miss queeny Elizabeth II loves this shop too.  Now, lucky for the rest of the world Smythson can be found in most major cities as well as HERE.

One of these little treasures is definitely a splurge item, so I highly recommend Smythson for special occasions (or if you want to be my BEST FRIEND FOREVER…hint hint Bradley!!!).  I go through way too many notebooks to use these every day.  Moleskines are definitely my notebook of choice for checking off my list of affordability, cuteness, and surviving the thrashing in my purse.

image via www.unplggd.com

I don’t know how I would handle my cluttered brain without stopping, thinking and writing it down into a notebook.  Do you write?  What do you do to get you through the day?

To Le Creuset or not to Le Creuset, that is the question…

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Everybody in my family owns the one and only Le Creuset dutch oven.  We cook absolutely everything in it.  We swear by it.  It is one of those lifetime purchases you have to get, so bite the bullet and make the investment when the beauty comes on sale.  When I got married I didn’t know what to do with myself without one.  Luckily, Brad’s mom gave me a smaller dutch oven that has worked perfectly when cooking for just the two of us (thanks Maureen!).  However, when I am cooking for a crowd, I have decided I definitely need a bigger one.  I have been looking now for two years for a major sale, and while I have seen good deals on selected colors or Le Creuset 7 piece sets, I am looking for the one 13 qt pot…in white please :)  So the options are presented before me:  convince the hubby and myself of the lifetime investment, or… try a cheaper, hopefully just as good version (I know family, please don’t disown me!).

I have my eye on this one from Martha Stewart’s line at Macy’s.  With one-day sales and extra coupons I think I could get it for a fraction of the cost of a Le Creuset.

Has anybody tried a Martha one or another non le-creuset brand that you love?  Or do I really just need to bite the bullet someday?

A Gardening Dream

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

A couple of years ago we moved into our brand new home, six months later we finished the yard with the basics: grass, trees, and gardening space. The grass is green (at least it will be in a month), the trees are growing, but my garden patch is still empty.

I have grand ideas of having a garden like Meryl Streep’s character from It’s Complicated (pictured above). I’d like to start from seeds, then harvest, and turn into fresh healthy meals; but I can’t seem to grow anything more than a seedling, if that. Is this just beginners wows or am I really missing the skill?

These images from Country Living this month are enough to inspire me to try again, I may not have produce to show for my efforts, but a least I’ll have fun trying.

World Market

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

On a recent trip to World Market, Sarah and I were pleasantly surprised at the quality, style and price of products.  One thing is for sure, we’ll be going back for more.  A few finds that we spied:

Aiden coffee table

Beautiful in person, sturdy and great construction…$279.99!!!!

Maldives occasional chair

This Eco-friendly, eucalyptus wood outdoor chair is so cute I want it inside.  $169.99.

Jute rug

Dimensions: 6′ x 9′.  Color: butter.  Right now in stores this huge rug is half price, around $100!!!!

Porcelain measuring cups

These look like they should belong at anthropologie!  For $10.99 they would make the cutest wedding present.

Ramekins

Super cute ramekins to get your souffle on..less than $1 each when you buy four or more.

Spring Quote

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Spring Break

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Me + Em and the hubby’s are heading out on a road trip in the morning, to visit our in-laws in sunny cali (it’s weirdo that we both married California men). There’s sure to be lots of: music listening, food eating, game playing and giggle laughing fun ahead. I’m excited to feel spring, and relax a little or a lot.

Talking of trips, I stumbled across Love Lane Caravans the other day, they restore and rent out caravans in Cornwall England. Such a bliss idea, and look how cute they are:


I secretly really want to own a B+B, the idea of creating a clean + cozy getaway is very exciting to me.

But for now…

I’ll just be wishing you all a cozy weekend…

do sleep in!

Dublin on a Dime

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

While purchasing tickets for our trip home to England last October, we found that it would actually be cheaper to fly into Dublin for a night than flying directly to London.

We jumped on the opportunity as we had never been to Ireland together, and although very jet-lagged we had a fantastic couple of days exploring this historical and charming city.

A few tips to enjoy a great day in Dublin on a very tight budget:

No.1 Transportation: If you are planning to spend all of your time in Dublin city center there is no need to rent a car. Car rentals are sky high, the city has a confusing one-way system. Public transportation is readily available, and most things are in walking distance.

We traveled into the city from the airport via Air Coach. Right now you can purchase a round trip ticket from the airport to city center plus a day bus sightseeing tour (see below) for only 24 euros.

No. 2 Lodging: The most economical hotel I came across was the D4 Hotels, there are 3 hotels in this chain, all with different stars. Although we stayed at the most expensive one, I couldn’t see there was much difference between the 3, as they all share the same amenities.

They’re priced at around 50 euros a night, and their location is very convenient as it’s one of the stopping points for the Air Coach as well as some of the day tour buses. The walk into town was about 30 minutes, and the bus ride about 8 minutes at about 2 euros per person.

No.3 Sightseeing: We were so tired from the flights, that driving around on the open-roofed double-decker bus was a nice relief to walking, as well as the perfect way to keep us awake with the brisk Irish chill in the air. We got to see the whole city and the outskirts such as Phoenix Park that we otherwise would not have seen. The audio commentary is ideal to get a brief and broad insight to the history of the city.

As it is hop on and off, first we did the full tour and then the second time around we decided where we wanted to stop off. You’ll want to see Dublin Castle and Trinity College for sure, but keep in mind most places close between 4-5pm, including the buses so make sure to check times. For more about the sightseeing tour bus, look HERE.

No. 4 Food: On a tight schedule, it’s smart to travel with granola bars so you always have a little something if your hungry. They’re perfect with a hot drink in the morning so you can just get up and go.

For lunch we stopped by our favorite UK grocery store, Marks & Spencer on Grafton Street. It took us at least half an hour to weigh up all of our favorites. Perfect for lunch with little tables and chairs to sit down and take a bite; a sandwich, drink and chips is about 4 euros.

For dinner, it’s nice to taste some of the local food, we had some gluten-free fish and chips at the local ‘chippy’; don’t forget to check your brochures from tours and hotels, as they frequently have coupons; for example we got free cokes with our fish and chips, which saved us about 3 euros each.

Our favorite world-wide pit stops for the loo and a drink are of course Starbucks and McDonald’s, both reliable in those times of need!

No. 5 Shopping: Shopping around Grafton Street is the best, and has most high-street chains worth seeing, we love River Island and Top shop; as well as shops unique to Dublin like Kilkenny’s, this was our favorite for Irish products, plus they ship to the US for a flat rate of 20 euros. Holler!

For two days + one night in Dublin, we spent around 75 euro’s each, which was still cheaper than flying direct to London. Bottom line: spend money on a good tour and one good meal a day, other than that eat on the cheaps and see what’s free. Do you guys have any money saving tips you use on trips? We’d love to hear them.

HAPPY ST. PADDY’S DAY EVERYONE!

Get the Look: An Irish Cottage

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

There’s something about an Irish cottage by the sea that beckons me to visit. I can easily imagine myself eating breakfast on a spring morning with the window open letting in the salty breeze; or in contrast, snuggled up with a wooly blanket by the fire on a stormy evening. The style is functional and basic, with an abundance of effortless charm.

This cottage is owned by Alex Blaker, you can read more about it HERE

Images by Philip Lauterbach

Of course you don’t have to live in Ireland to get this look, here are some little treasures we found at our local IKEA:

Click to see more info on these: SHELF, JAR, BASKET, LANTERN, HOOK, BOWL, PITCHER.

Hope you’re all feeling the Luck of the Irish, see you tomorrow!


Irish products

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

A few things from Ireland that we absolutely love:

#1 The Claddagh Ring

Lots of people on our Irish side of the family wear the famous Claddagh ring.  The ring’s design signifies hands of friendship cradling a heart of love, topped with a crown of loyalty.  This lovely ring is a pre-facebook way to display your relationship status as follows:

Wear on the right hand with the heart facing outward meaning you’re “single”, heart facing inward to indicate you’re “in a relationship”.  Wear the ring on your left hand, heart facing out to say  “I’m engaged!”, heart facing inward to say “I’m off the market, and the deal is sealed”.

I am a very lucky girl to have a gorgeous wedding ring, but for work and days full of latex gloves I reach for my Claddagh.  I love that my ring is from Ireland, what this ring signifies, and how it reminds me of the hubs.  Thanks Sanders for the lovely ring, thanks Mum for picking it for us.

#2 Orla Kiely

need we say more?  www.kilkennyshop.com

#3 Irish wool blankets

I loved watching THIS cute video about irish wool.  And I love these blankets from John Hanly even more.  Check out their free shipping.

Monday Deal: Clinique Bonus at Dillards

Monday, March 14th, 2011

We are headed over to Dillard’s today to pick up this lovely spring bonus gift (a $60 value), free with any purchase of $21.50 or more.  We have both been using Clinique since we were ten and twelve and although we try to be as thrifty and frugal as possible, there are some products we simply can’t live without.  Planning our purchases around bonus time always helps us get the most bang for our buck.  Gifts often include mascara, a lip item and handy, travel-size skin care; I haven’t bought mascara or eye cream in years!

Bonus time @ Dillards:  Now through March 26th

Bonus times come around twice a year at anywhere that sells Clinique, so we recommend stocking up on just one or two items per bonus to maximize each store’s event.  For example, today I am going to purchase Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion at $23, then next bonus time I’ll stock up on another essential.

Getting into the Irish Spirit…

Friday, March 11th, 2011

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, here are a few extra reasons to love Ireland this season.

see:

listen:

read:

all images from amazon.com

You can find all of the above at Amazon or check out your local library.  Let us know if you love them as much as us!

Deal: Starbucks Petites

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

As you know I’m a lover of rain, and hot chocolate days; but today the sun is shinning so an Italian Ice may be in order to get this freebie.

Starbucks is celebrating it’s 40th Birthday, that’s impressive! To celebrate their giving away a FREE petite dessert with any drink purchase, today thru Saturday, see details HERE.We all know Starbucks is everywhere, and that’s kinda what I love about it most. Whenever I’m on a trip in an unknown city I know it’ll be there waiting, with a place to rejuvenate, replenish and refresh! On our trip to Boston last year it was crazy cold, so I found myself going there 2-3 daily to defrost my fingers and tummy.

Tips for Saving at Starbucks:

1. Join their Starbucks Rewards Program and you earn one star for each time you pay with your card, save up the stars and get all kinds of benefits and free goodies see details HERE. I love the FREE handcrafted drink on your birthday, whoot whoot!

2. If you’re visiting with a friend and you’re ordering the same thing like a small hot chocolate, order the biggest size instead and ask for it in two cups, you get about the same amount for half the cost.

3. Buy a bottled drink from their refrigerated area, like the Naked Juice, and have them blend it up so it’s a smoothy, and add a big dollop of cream. Again, these are big enough to split and feels healthier even with the cream! Em + I loved these on our Ireland trip last year.

Spring Cleaning: My Desktop

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Just when I started to feel the motivating buds of spring cleaning, winter lazy days reappeared. I had grand intentions of a major overhaul this week, but it’s so hard to clean when I’m cold. Instead I found myself with lots of hot chocolate, and good company.

However, last night I was able to motivate myself just enough to clean off my ridiculously cluttered desktop. I like to keep all my files right at surface level on my computer, therefore everything I create or need is placed into one of four desktop folders: Business, Personal, Inspiration, and Other. Obviously, there are lots of sub files in each of these, but simplifying my desktop to four major categories helps keep the clutter at bay.

I’m no expert in typography, but I thought I’d be fun to create a little something for my wallpaper, you’re welcome to download it HERE.


For now, my desktop was a good start at my spring cleaning; where have you been craving a clean?

Pancake Day

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

One super delicious British holiday that of course we never forget!  Traditionally, Shrove Tuesday was created to feast up on pantry luxuries such as butter and sugar before the six weeks that lay ahead for lent.

Pancake Day was one of our favorite holidays as kids, pancakes for dinner..yum yum!  Our mum would stand at the stove for hours flipping pancakes, gradually building a huge stack keeping warm in the oven, preparing a feast ready for a king.  Her classic recipe below and Sarah’s pics from today.  Enjoy!

Modern Nursery on a Budget

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Interior design is something that has always been in my blood. As children Emi and I would spend our rainy Saturdays rearranging and organizing our bedroom, until nightfall. When I look back I think that was rather strange, as we were only 7 and 5 at the most, but to this day there’s nothing that motivates me more than the thought of a room makeover.

One of our dear friends is pregers, and after a brief conversation about their upcoming nursery, I couldn’t sleep thinking about the many possibilities; even on a tight budget, there’s so much fun to be had. This is what was swirling around my head at 3am:

PRODUCTS FROM:

Crib: jcpenny $140

Rocker: walmart $160

Houndstooth Pillow: Baby Mania $31

Number print: Etsy starting at $13

Ikea: Rug $20, Bookshelf $40, Chest of Drawers $80,

Boxes $4, Lamp starting at $5, hooks $1,

PS. Em’s Target post last week mentions cheap little finds that would work great in a room like this.

I’m Famous…

Friday, March 4th, 2011

not really, but it was so much fun looking through the latest Nonpareil and seeing my photographs. Mel over at You Are My Fave is the brain child behind this Zac Posen inspired wedding tablescape, I especially love the mini cakes sitting on mini cake stands; why is it that anything miniature is totally adorable?