Saturday, December 21, 2013

Keeping It Real: The Christmas Edition

First, I need to give credit where credit is due - Young House Love. I'm a big fan of YHL, but I especially love when they do one of their "Keeping It Real" posts, showing us what their home looks like when they are in the midst of a project, or just the day to day hum drum. They remind me that they are human, and they do not live in a bubble of photoshopped perfection.

In this Facebook age, we tend to get altered pictures of what people's lives are like. We are usually shown a filtered version of our FB "friends" lives, the best is shown, and the undesirable is not. I am guilty of this, I mean who doesn't love a good Instagram filter? Seriously, I wish I could walk around with an Instagram filter on - a soft focus that hides my wrinkles and breakouts!
*in the event of my death, this is the pre-approved official picture to be used in any cases where a picture is needed
This is not to be confused with AMC's Dead Yourself filter....

Now I'm not calling for a movement to show the good, bad and the ugly on FB, I personally prefer to keep FB light and positive. I've even been know to hide people from my news feed that tend to be Eeyores - in the words of Sweet Brown "ain't nobody got time for that".

Ok, ok, I swear there was a point to this whole post - and this people, is why my posts are so few and far between - I am the queen of the tangents! I actually compose blog posts all of the time in my head, they just rarely make it to the Internet...

So without further ado I give you Keeping It Real: The Christmas Edition

Now please don't judge me based solely on this post, although who could blame you?!

Welcome to the week before Christmas in our house: The Christmas cookies are half gone because someone ate most of them herself (I refuse to name names. ok, it was me)... the house is a disaster (we're talking barely fit for humans)... I can't remember the last real meal that I cooked... I'm pretty sure that the last time the bathrooms were cleaned we were eating turkey... my husband is wearing his last pair of clean underwear... the bins of ornaments are still sitting in the family room (pretty sure they've been around since the time of the turkey too)... out of the last 7-9 days, I've only managed to shower 3 times... I cried yesterday when I looked at a picture of the boys from 2011 and it hit me that they will never be that little again, and that those days of Christmas magic for all three of them are over (why???)
'Twas the Night Before Christmas that this mom's heart exploded

Martha Stewart, I am not, but I have been known to Martha it up sometimes. I will also let you in on a few secrets - my house may look spotless when company arrives, but it was a mad dash to get it that way, and there probably is a closet somewhere about to burst... the whipped cream may be freshly made, but the gingerbread is a box mix... the Christmas card may look picture perfect, but it wasn't easy getting that shot with a stubborn 4-year old that thought holding his breath was the way to go...

So why am I telling you all of this? Because I think we all need to cut ourselves some slack. As women, and mothers, we have a tendency to put a lot of pressures on ourselves to create magic and make everything perfect.
The other day I admitted to my husband that I can really only do one thing at a time. I was on a roll with keeping the house tidy, the laundry in check, and getting the kids off to school, but then Christmas came along, and a week + of being sick hit me, and things spiraled out of control. The handmade gifts that I had planned didn't get made, cookie trays to our new neighbors never got delivered, and I never got around to decorating my pretty white tree.
My husband put it best when he said "the difference between us is that you set out to climb Everest, and I set out to walk over the hill."
He couldn't have been more right - I always give myself these unattainable goals, goals that I could never possibly accomplish. Being a master procrastinator does not help my self-imposed situation either...

I think I took a step in the right direction last night when I called my mother and asked if she would mind hosting Christmas Eve at her house. She was happy to host, and I was happy to take 1 of my 3 hosting days away. So now I can host a big family gathering on Sunday, have a couple of days to recover, and then be refreshed to host a lovely Christmas dinner - topped off with some box mix gingerbread!

*on the LEFT - what you will see on Facebook and Instagram              *on the RIGHT - what things look like in reality      
*LEFT - this fell down yesterday, and looks exactly the same today       *RIGHT - someone really needs to clean this up    
*somehow the holding of the breath wasn't captured on film...

Wishing you all a Merry Messy Christmas!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Joy Filled Home Challenge

I'm a homebody, and always have been.

Growing up we didn't have a lot, but my mom took pride in our home and turned that "handyman special" into a beautiful, warm and inviting space. I like to think that I too am creating a space for my family and friends to gather and create memories.

Today, while scanning through my Instagram feed I came across a new photo a day challenge. While I'm not the best at seeing these challenges through to the end of the month (hello - it is called a CHALLENGE), but I love that they make you stop and think about your photos, and to think out side of the box at times.

This month won't you join me on Instagram and take part of the November Joy Filled Home Challenge? I'd love to see your pictures!

Here's my Day 1: Favorite Room pic

Please stop by Michaela Noelle Designs blog to gets all of the details on the challenge.

Monday, September 9, 2013


Such is my luck that on Sam's first day at his new preschool, Matthew's bus never showed up. Luckily,  Sam was raring to get dressed and be ready to start his day, so I switched out my pj's for some proper "be seen in public" clothes, ran a toothbrush over my teeth and into the car we all went!

I knew that dropping Matty off at school and getting Sam to preschool on time was going to be a skin of my teeth moment. As we sat at the light, waiting forever to make a left hand turn, I realized that I had left my phone in the kitchen. Guess that 1st day of school pic was not going to happen...

By the magic of time travel (seriously,  that's the only explanation) I managed to drop off Matty and make it to Sam's new school with about five minutes to spare - miracle of miracles!!

We had just enough time to feel comfortable, but not enough time for him to think this whole school thing through and change his mind. Last year was a freaking nightmare - I actually woke up twenty minutes before my alarm this morning because I was so nervous about the meltdowns of last year - he was that kid that cried EVERYDAY (except the first day, go figure) up until the last day of school. He also refused to do the day's craft or sit for picture day, I used to joke with the teacher that our only proof that he actually attended preschool were my cancelled checks.

In the end he did walk into the classroom of his own freewill, at the slowest pace known to man, but there were no tears so I will consider it a success. Don't worry though, this is not my first time to the rodeo, I am not green enough to think that I will be this lucky Wednesday morning...

I did manage to snap this little shot of Sam's first day of preschool.

Yeah, so it's not my kid holding a cute little chalkboard sign while smiling the perfect smile (grrr... why don't I ever plan those things out ahead of time?? oh right, because my boys  would never cooperate anyway - well, maybe Jack, on a good day...) but this is life!

Monday, August 5, 2013

11 More Days...

11 more days in the house that we brought all of babies home from the hospital to.

Sweet Baby Jack

11 more days days of playing in the cul de sac.

11 more days to pack - yikes!!!

I was off to a great start, but then took too many congratulatory breaks, and now I am in panic mode... (this comes as no surprise at all to anyone that knows me - stop laughing!)

11 more days to swim in this gorgeous pool.

Hello - it's August in PA - where the heck is the hot weather???

11 more days to say goodbye to our wonderful neighbors, who have become more than just great friends, they have become a second family - our Cara Court Family.

11 more days of Jack and Sam sharing a room.

Disclaimer: this was a shot from our listing - their room NEVER looked like this!

11 more days of being able to send the boys down to play in the basement (and out of my hair...)

Disclaimer: Again, it NEVER looked like this in "real life"

11 more days of my pretty white kitchen.

alright, alright, enough chatter from the peanut gallery - seriously, stop laughing! Yes, you can see the island - who knew there was granite underneath all of the junk that typically covered it?!

11 more days to make memories in our first home.

We stopped by almost every weekend to check the progress of our 1st home - man do I miss that Jeep, sniff, sniff
So young and clueless - these two had no idea what was in store for them over the next 11 years...

11 more days until we start making memories in our new home...

Below is a video tour that I found from the listing of our "soon to be" home - I'm excited to get in their and make it our home, put my our stamp on it!

3276 Gun Club Road, Upper Nazareth Twp, Pa 18064 from Peter Hewitt on Vimeo.

Monday, February 25, 2013

And the Award goes to...

Before we get to the "important" stuff, can we all just give it up for Seth MacFarlane?!
Even though the show ran long (shocker!) and became quite the snoozefest towards the end, he really did entertain - come on, he got Sally Field to make out with him on TV! And as much as I would've loved to see more of his work spread throughout the show, it just would've made the damn show that much longer.
And of course I woke up this morning singing "We Saw Your Boobs"

Stuck in your head too? You're welcome ;)

Now let's talk Red Carpet, shall we?

BIG thanks to Jessica Chastain for giving us some instant gratification! She was the first major player to hit the red carpet, and she did not disappoint.
Jessica sparkled in Armani Prive, but I think it's how genuine and gracious she seems in interviews that really shines through, makes me want to invite her over for tea.

Next to arrive was Amy Adams in a grand Oscar de la Renta gown
Amy really can pull off the princess look (A+ for the casting director of Enchanted). I'm loving the easiness of her hair, make up and even her jewels - she really held back and let the dress do the talking.

So after these seeing these first two looks, I was wondering if pale muted colors were going to be a trend for the 2013 Oscars, and then BAM! Reese Witherspoon stepped on the carpet in vibrant blue Louis Vuitton.
While I think the fit wasn't great (in some pics she was actually stepping on the front of her dress), I do think that the color was amazing on her. And I am always a sucker for black accents with blue.

Speaking of blue, I am on a major navy kick, so Jennifer Hudson immediately caught my eye her navy sequined Roberto Cavalli
My only critique would be to lose the slit, just not a fan, it sort of cheapened the look.

Another lady in blue was Helen Hunt
Helen chose to go with an accessible dress from H&M to support their global green initiative. Props to her for that. Go green, go affordable, but just don't go wrinkled (cue the Debbie Downer music).

I loved Jackie Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook, but I just wish that someone would have stepped back, looked at her dress as a whole, and said "let's NOT do a nude illusion bust"

Since we're going there, here are my least favorite of the night...

Amanda Seyfried in Alexander McQueen
Now by no means does she look terrible, but I'm just not a fan of the neckline (which, btw, does not fit properly - and by now, you know I am a stickler for fit!), and she just kind of looks blah, for lack of a better word.

Now I know I am probably going to get a lot of backlash from this, but I was not a fan of Jennifer Lawrence's dress pick.
While this is a beautiful Dior Haute Couture gown, I just felt like it was a little redundant and expected. I was hoping for something a little different.

Speaking of letdowns...
Anne was probably one of the ones that I was most excited to see - major star power, coupled with the styling of Rachel Zoe usually combine to create a feast for the eyes. From the moment I saw Anne step on the red carpet, I was greatly disappointed (cue the Debbie Downer music again - and I'm pretty sure that exact sound byte is what I heard when I saw her).
This pale pink Prada reminded me of Calvin Klein from the 1990's, and the necklace - oh that necklace (shaking my head), I can't even, I mean I just can't...

Catherine Zeta Jones in Zuhair Murad
This is just too much. Not a fan. Enough said.

Now this one pains me - and for a couple different reasons
1. I really do love her, and I know how hard it can be to dress a not so perfect figure
2. Her stylists should have NEVER let her even entertain the thought of this dress and that hair! Shame on them.
So here it goes, the worst dressed of the night - Melissa McCarthy
On the bright side, I think her make up looks great! But I'm pretty sure that they used a trash bag for that peek-a-boo panel :(

Ok, let's turn this around!
Major props to Halle Berry for resisting the urge to wear a one shoulder gown!!! Did she read my Golden Globes post???
Halle said that she wanted channel the Bond girl vibe, and this Versace gown definitely did not disappoint.

Now I may have gasped a little when I caught my first glimpse of Charlize Theron on the red carpet - I only spotted her cropped pixie, but that was enough for me!
With a face like that, does it even matter what she's wearing?? The answer is NO, it does not, but she knocked it out of the Kodak Theatre in a white Dior Haute Couture.
I have had a major girl crush on Charlize since she walked her first Oscar red carpet back in 2000 wearing Vera Wang.

I am a sucker for a black dress - you just can't go wrong in black. End of story.
Les Miserables' Samantha Barks smoldered in this sexy black Valentino - now that is a dress that is cut to perfection!

I was pleasantly surprised to see Stacy Keibler step it up and demand some of the attention that George usually commands.
Stacy oozed Art Deco glam in this Naaem Khan dazzler.

My favorite couple of the night, and of all of Hollywood, is Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck - could they be any cuter?
Anyone else wondering what Jennifer's ruffled Gucci looked like after sitting on it for 4 hours??

And now for the moment that you've all been waiting for - you have been waiting for it, right?
The award for the Best Dressed at the 2013 Oscars goes to...
Naomi Watts in Armani Prive!!!!
She was the ONLY one on the red carpet that took my breath away - she just got it all right - hair, make up, jewels, and the dress! She may not have walked away with Oscar gold (even though her performance in The Impossible was award-worthy - I teared up when they showed her nominee clip - that scene was pure raw emotion - do yourself a favor and see The Impossible), but she gets my vote for the Best Dressed.

A little disclaimer ;)
Now I am by no means a fashion expert, I have no credentials that qualify me or that would make you value my opinion over someone else. I have just been a lover of all things pretty since birth. There's an old tale of me mortifying my Nan in a department store before I could even walk - I was like a moth to a flame when I spotted a mannequin's shoes - there may have been some loving strokes given to those pretty shoes, but alas I was too young to remember so I plead the 5th.
And I'm pretty sure that I fell in love with The Wizard of Oz because of a certain pair of ruby slippers...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Stay Golden

The Golden Globes are my absolute favorite awards show of the season.
You may ask, not the Oscars? Nope. The Globes combine my love of TV & the movies, which doubles the number of pretty dresses walking that red carpet! Plus the Globes are a bit more informal, everyone sits at tables instead of the traditional auditorium seating. Champagne is flowing and stars are mingling and table hopping during the breaks. Together these elements combine to create the perfect night!

Last night I missed watching the red carpet live, due to poor planning on my part. I made plans to see Silver Linings Playbook with my friend Mel before realizing that it was Globes night. Boy am I glad that I didn't reschedule! I absolutely adored SLP!!! Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were just outstanding! I could gush on and on, but let's get down to the purpose of this post - the FASHION.

I heard a lot of buzz about expecting to see a lot of color on the red carpet, which I must say excited me. Did I miss something? With the exception of a few, I would say the bulk of the gowns were shades of nude and blush.
Now don't get me wrong, all of these ladies looked lovely, but they all left me wanting something more...

Red is always a classic red carpet look, and Jennifer Lawrence, Claire Danes, Zooey Deschanel and Marion Cotillard stun in this fiery hue.
P.S. - Did someone mess up at the House of Dior? Why on earth would they have let both Jennifer Lawrence and Marion Cotillard were the exact same belt and shade of red???

A special kudos to Jackie Weaver (loved her in SLP!), Jessica Alba and Julie Bowen for standing out in COLOR.
Emerald is Pantone's Color of the year, and to be honest, I was really hoping to see it make an impact on the red carpet - I'm predicting some beautiful Emerald moments on Oscar's red carpet
This coral Oscar de la Renta gown looks gorgeous on Jessica Alba and that necklace is amazing! I just wish they would've given her a smokey eye and a nude lip, and ditched the Veronica Lake hair in favor of either a sleek look or a messy chignon - that would've created a home run for sure.
While I'm not in total love with Julie Bowen's teal Halston, I do love that she paired it with bronze shoes and jewels, plus teal is a great color for her. And this is one of the few dresses that looks like the comfort level might actually be bearable (Amy Adams - seriously, were you able to even sit??)

Can we just stop for a moment and talk about Lucy Liu?
She looked fabulous! I'm a sucker a Carolina Herrera gown, but this was a gown that could have gone seriously wrong on the wrong person, and especially with the wrong styling.
Her stylists nailed this look - her make up was so fresh and her hair kept the look modern and young. Overdone jewels and fussy hair would've turned this into a disaster, which leads to our next group: looks gone wrong...

Alyssa Milano needs to fire her stylist. The color. The fit. Just WRONG. This dress looks like an oversized sack. And what was with everyone's dresses being too long? I felt like every other starlet was seconds from getting caught in the hem of her dress. (p.s. - do I spy a baby bump? I love a bump, and I especially love when you flaunt a bump, not drape it in extra yardage)
Ariel Winter's stylist is also going to be joining the unemployment line. That headband is just all kinds of wrong.
Poor Juilanna Margulies, this is just a case of the the wrong dress on the wrong woman - this was meant for Rooney Mara.

A couple more honorable mentions in the worst dressed department
You can't have a Worst Dressed list without tossing Helena Bonham Carter's name in the ring - but to be completely honest, she really doesn't look that bad (you know, relative to what she usually comes to these events looking like)
Taylor Swift - I'm pretty sure I remember Calvin Klein making that dress in the 90's, probably before you were even born (seriously, did I really just say type that? What am I, 80??)
Oh Robert Downey Jr., I think you and my 9 year old have the same sneakers, and guess what? I hate them on him too! Not to worry, you will always be my favorite Avenger, what can I say, I'm a sucker for a sarcastic sense of humor...

File the next three looks under "I'm just so over it"
We get it Jennifer Lopez, now can we please move on?
Eva - Why on Earth would you want to draw Angelina Jolie comparisons?
Halle - enough with the one-shoulder gowns!!!!! (BTW - Versace needs to fire the seamstress that fit that bodice - the bust lines are cra cra)

Here are a few examples of a poor fit
No one can debate the beauty and talent of Jessica Chastain, but I have a couple problems with this dress. What woman wants to look like her breasts can touch her waist? I'm not a fan of the saggy boob look (I'm talking to you too Jennifer Lawrence - the profile of your Dior Haute Couture gown was less than flattering in the bust department). And again with the dress that is too long, poor Jessica was constantly yanking that thing up so that she could walk!
Kristen Bell is just too tiny for this Jenny Packham gown, it over powered her petite frame.
My problem is with the bodice lines of Debra Messing's Donna Karan gown. They are creating a very wide look on Debra, and I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that I don't think that is the look that she was going for...

 These are examples of makeup gone wrong.

Penny, Penny, Penny your lips are just too dark - were there no mirrors available?
I just am not a fan of Nicole's eye color matching the color of her Naeem Khan gown, and the Old Hollywood waves are just bringing this look down. She could have rocked that dress and made it look so modern and new with a few hair and make up tweaks.
And Heidi, oh Heidi, this is just the wrong shade of nude lip for you.

Here are some of my faves in the hair and make up department:
Anne Hathaway defines understated perfection. Hair, make up, jewels - all spot on (kudos on the styling Rachel Zoe)
Rosario Dawson really knows what colors complement her beautiful warm coloring.
Julianne Hough rocked that hair, and how can we not mention those piercing blue eyes - stunning!

Now this is a perfect example of not having the full picture
When I first spied Rachel Weisz in the crowd during the Globes, I immediately wanted to see more. Who was that dark haired beauty in the black swiss dot?? I needed to see more! I searched for a red carpet pic, and I must say I was completely shocked by what I found. Louis Vuitton really missed the mark on this one. From the bow on down it just got worse and worse. (And yet another hemline tripping fiasco in the making) This was one of those moments when everything was heading in the right direction - hair, make up, jewels, from the waist up this could have been a winner, but then someone dropped the ball...

I really loved the ladies that donned some deeper hues like oxblood and eggplant
Amy Poehler wore one of my favorite gowns of the night, I really wish that I would have been able to find a better pic of it.
Naomi Watts proved that you can been sultry without showing skin in this Zac Posen stunner.
Lena Dunham's good friend Zac Posen designed this figure flattering eggplant gown to shape her body perfectly.
Jennifer Garner glowed in her shimmery Vivienne Westwood gown - I'm pretty sure that I would glow too if Best Director winner Ben Affleck were my arm candy!

My favorite trend of the night were the black gowns with the gold embellishments - can you say super chic?
Kate Hudson in Alexander McQueen
Helen Mirren in Badgley Mischka - seriously, she is 67!!
Nicole Kidman in Alexander McQueen

Honorable Mention must go to these leading ladies
Olivia Munn stood out in this turquoise beaded bodice gown by Giorgio Armani.
Julia Louis-Dryfus in Vera Wang gave us a glimpse of what Zooey Deschanel might look like in the future.
Anne Hathaway chose Chanel to pick up her Best Actress award. The fit is just slightly off for me, maybe she is trying to hide a baby bump? If not, I wish this would either sit flat or be a true peplum.

And without further ado, Best Dressed
She may be on the small screen, but Emily Deschanel proves she is a major fashion contender in this exquisite Badgley Mischka gown.
Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery looks AMAZING in this Alexandre Vauthier stunner.
And my top honors go to Julianne Moore - she just won me over in this black and white Tom Ford gown. The hair, make up, bag, jewels and gown came together to create the perfect storm of elegance.

Oh those Bulgari earrings...

So what did you think? Who were your favorites??

All photos courtesy of PopSugar