Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010!

Just a quick little post....
To wish everyone.....
A very Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve: How to Have a Lovely Day

Can you believe it! Christmas is upon us!

After a fun filled, albeit exhausting week of performances, volunteering in classrooms, entertaining friends I have not seen in years, and lots and lots of baking, I can not wait for the big guy to swoop in, drop the load intended for my family and see the look of pure joy in Lil Diva & Lil Man's eyes.  I admit, I am a bit curious to see what "Santa" brought me since he placed those packages under the tree and they have accounted for many hours of guessing what is inside these two boxes.

A new addiction of mine of late is Tumblr. Oh goodness, what beauties can be found there!  This morning I came across a list which I found myself reading and agreeing wholeheartedly. When I worked in corporate America, I had several coworkers who called me Lil Miss Sunshine.  They always asked, you are always so happy from the moment you walk in the is seldom to ever see you have a bad day.  How do you do it?  I always told them, it is so much easier to be nice and happy than it is to be grumpy and mean. feels good too.  But this morning I found the list....the mere fact that I follow each and every one of the suggestions on this list each and every day, is the reason why I have a smile on my face rather than a frown.

Here it is:

Just merely reading this list is uplifting!

Hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

You should never give yourself a chance to fall apart because, when you do, it becomes a tendency and it happens over and over again. You must practice staying strong, instead.
Eat. Pray. Love by Elizabeth Gilbert   

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winding Down From the Whirlwind

The last 5 days have been nonstop hustle and bustle in my neck of the woods.

Lil Diva rehearsed every evening working towards opening night and a weekend of performances with a local theatre Youth Ensemble. She had a supporting role and was extremely excited.  Her performance was amazing!  And as the "momager" as she calls me, I had to run her back and forth to rehearsals while juggling little man's set of activities.  The weekend was consumed with entertaining mom and grandma, who came to see the budding actress perform. I also had to dedicate 2 hours of daily curling her hair to Victorian era perfection. I actually shocked myself with the results!

Today was no different....

I spent most of the day on the go.  It started off guessed it...two hours of curling, then dropping her off at the theatre.  Picking up donuts with Lil Man and then assisting in his class with Gingerbread House making project.  It was great being able to spend a few hours dedicated solely to the little guy. He is shuttled around to all of his sister's activities and rarely complains...well he does, but he quickly realizes there is little that can be done about it.

Turning point was a celebratory sushi lunch with Lil Diva after her final performance this afternoon.  She always gets emotional after a final performance because she quickly befriends members of the cast and when you work for several months for hours on end towards a common goal, you are bound to get close.  This show was no different.  The nice part is a local restaurant has generously offered to host and pay for a cast party tomorrow she will get to see her cast mate friends again tomorrow for some much needed down time.

I, for one, am glad that the hustle and bustle involved with a production is over for the time being.  Not to mention all after school activities are on a hiatus for 2 weeks.  This means I get to take a deep breath and relax.  I plan to catch up on my reading.... leisurely peruse my magazines which have been quickly piling up, and being able to just putter around the house and simply enjoy the Christmas season.  I love the end of year wind down. 

I will savor every minute of it....for I know come January 2nd, activities start up again, new production rehearsals go into full swing, and the whirlwind begins all over again.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

 Be sure of what you want and be sure about yourself.
Fashion is not just beauty, it’s about good attitude. 
You have to believe in yourself and be strong.” 
- Adriana Lima

Monday, December 13, 2010

Movie Review: The Tourist

Firstly, I must post a disclaimer....

I am, and have always been, irrevocably in love with Johnny Depp.  Given that little tidbit of information you can rest assured, you will always see a movie review pertaining to any film directly connected with Johnny.

Now that that is out of the way....

The Tourist, starring THE Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie takes place is breathtaking Venice, Italy.  It begins with Angelina's character, Elise Ward, being followed by members of the police department conducting a sting operation in the hopes of being led to the elusive Alexander Pierce. Pierce is a criminal wanted in 14 countries, and is wanted by the British government for tax evasion.  He is also wanted by gangster, Reginald Shaw, (played by Steven Berkoff) who he has also stolen billions from.  Elise is given instructions via a note from Pierce to get on a train to Venice, and find a man on the train who fits his height and build and make the agents following her believe it is him. The man she chooses is Depp's character, Frank Tupelo, an American school teacher visiting Venice as a tourist.

My thoughts on the movie?  Without giving too much away, Jolie and Depp played their characters extremely well. The storyline was smooth and entertaining.  My complaints? The movie is marketed as an Action, Drama, Thriller.  I would most definitely drop the thriller part and replace it with Comedy.  The police tailing Elise made it painfully obvious they were following her. There is no indication in the movie to the date in which the actions are taking place.  So as a moviegoer you are assuming it's present day. (They did have small cell phones so we know it isn't taking place too long ago) If that is the case, the technology the agents are using are extremely dated. I can't tell you how many times I laughed out loud when the agents communicated to each other by talking into the microphone on their wrists.  Safe to say, these actions made it rather amusing.

Would I recommend this movie to be seen in the movie theater? If you are a Depp and/or a Jolie fan, yes. If you are a fan of beautiful location cinematography, yes. If you are a fashionista,yes (I am dying to know who is the designer of the dress Angelina wears in the opening scene and at the ball!)  There is action, there is drama....very little thriller, but lots of laughs.  They both deliver their lines convincingly with ease.  I don't regret paying to see it in the movie theater, and I would recommend it to anyone who is not expecting to see a true drama/thriller.

Friday, December 10, 2010

{Friday Five} This Weekend I Plan To....

 1} Watch my dream man, Johnny Depp in his latest role in "The Tourist".

2} Finish wrapping presents.

3} Start making batches of Christmas cookies.

4} Mark 12 Days Till Christmas with helping Lil Man & Lil Diva make their 2010 Gingerbread House.

5}Finally, curl up on the sofa and relax before the start of a new and busy week ahead.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! xx

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

 When you understand why something hurts, it stops hurting.
When you understand you have options, you take action. 
And when you understand you have wings, you can soar again.
Author Unknown 
Pic :Trust Your Style

Monday, December 6, 2010

Movie Review: Love & Other Drugs

I have to confess, when I went to the box office attendant, I said "Please give me one for Sex & Other Drugs".  I suppose subconsciously I knew that was the true title for the movie, but I in order to market it properly they needed to give it a more "politically correct" title.

I am a big fan of Anne Hathaway, and lets face it, what's not to love about Jake Gyllenhaal.  Anne plays a young artist suffering from early onset Parkinson's disease named Maggie Murdock and Jake plays a new pharmaceutical salesman named Jaime Randall.  Maggie meets Jaime in her doctor's examination room where she is led to believe he is a new "intern".  That is until she sees him opening the trunk of car and notices the cases upon cases of the Pfizer drugs he is trying to pedal to the well known doctor.  After an exchange of words, Jaime using his charm to get Maggie's phone number from the ever impressionable doctor's receptionist he happens to be having sex, he manages to convince Maggie to go on a coffee date with him.  And there begins the start of a very active sexual relationship between the two.

There is more to this storyline than plenty of fornication.  Maggie meets a man who truly cares for her and is willing to learn everything there is to know about her condition and stand by her side even during the rough times.  And Jaime meets a woman who sees beyond his competitive nature and extreme sexual urges.  She sees a man who, even though given the opportunities to excel in the medical field like his family, has fiercely tried to make a life directly opposite of what they all expect.  They believe he cares about nothing, and Maggie sees a passionate, caring, smart individual.

I am so glad I didn't listen to the mixed reviews given for this movie.  The movie was chock full of belly laugh funny scenes as well as very emotional ones.  These two are class act thespians and the chemistry between the two was undeniable.  Seeing Jake in the buff was an added bonus! I would definitely recommend it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

{Weekend Wishfulness}

~ Bake Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies
~ Discover what roles Lil Diva & Lil Man were given in their upcoming production
~ Delve into my December magazines which are just begging to be read
~ Sit back, relax, & enjoy the 75 minute bus ride into The Big Apple
~ Watch Jake Gyellenhal use his baby blues to charm Hathaway in "Love & Other Drugs"
~ Spend a few hours laughing and bonding with my friends while taking in the beauty of Christmas in NYC

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Importance of Teaching Children About Commitment

For the past 7 years I have been volunteering my time as a Girl Scout leader.

Throughout those seven years, I forged bonds with a total of 20 girls.  One year I had 16 girls to lead.  Of course, as they get older and their interests change, we start losing them.  Volunteerism and service projects tend to start taking center stage instead of fun "me" activities, and we lose some of them because they feel it just isn't "fun" for them anymore.  It takes a special kind of girl to see that their altruistic efforts can be even more rewarding than partaking in a cake decorating class. At this age we start to realize which of the girls are truly committed to what Girl Scouts is all about.

My "girls" are now in middle school.  This has opened up a whole new chapter of socialization opportunities with not only children they knew from their home elementary school, but with others from neighboring schools they never interacted with before.  It is all fun and exciting and at this age they want to do it all.  At this age they also need to start understanding the need to prioritize their time.  This is the perfect time for them to start keeping a calendar of their schedule and commitments.

As parents, it is our job to help guide them in the right direction in terms of determining which is more important.  Does a dance, that is hosted once a month, take precedence over a scheduled meeting in which you are to put in volunteer hours at a local nursing home?  At this age, it is all about them and fulfilling their wants and desires.  They seldom think about how their decisions will affect others.  It is our responsibility to gently remind them what can be the repercussions of the decisions they make.  For example, is it fair to go to the dance when you already committed to make ornaments with the seniors who were looking forward to sharing your company at the nursing home on the same evening?  Ultimately, they will decide which is more important to them, but it is important that we make them aware of what consequences will ensue to the broken commitment.

Teaching children at this age the importance of following through on their prior commitments, even when a more exciting one comes up, is a valuable lesson.  It not only teaches them about the importance of making plans and following through, but it shows others around them that they are dependable and responsible.  This is an extremely valuable asset to master before becoming adults.  It is never too early to learn it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

{In a Few Words} The Past Week.....

Baked 3 desserts & 4 side dishes
Entertained a crowd of 17
Stood on a checkout line for 2 hours to make one Lil Diva really happy Christmas Morning
Woke up @ 3:30am to go Black Friday shopping
Relived my childhood by giving Lil Bro a girly makeover
Enjoyed watching my children further the bond with their cousins who live hundreds of miles away
Took 2 hours to bring my house back to clean & pristine after family bid their goodbyes
Decked the Halls to jazzy Christmas music
Officially finished my Christmas Shopping
Just need ideas on what to stuff Mr. Man's Christmas stocking with

Thoroughly exhausted....but looking forward to sitting back and enjoying the 2010 Christmas Season!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

{ A Quick Hello} To Do List

Just stopping in for a quick hello.

I am incredibly excited! At about this time tomorrow, my front door will start to have a steady stream of loved ones arriving in preparation for the holiday.  Today I buckled down and made my "To Do" list and I plan to stick to it and get as much accomplished before I get to bed this evening.....

Some random items on my list include:

* Go to Costco
* Bake Thanksgiving desserts
* Set up guest bathroom toiletries basket & towels
* Make a trip to market for fruits and veggies.

Of course this is only a few of the things I have to get done in between taking Lil Diva & Lil Man to their respective after school activities.  I'd love to get most of the items done prior to family arriving so I can relish every single minute of our time together.

Friday, November 19, 2010

TAG (by JulieLeah): I Love Your Blog

 1} Why did you create your blog?
I love writing...always have.  I find it extremely therapeutic. To me, this blog is a means in which I can express myself and jot down things that may seem extremely random to many and inspirational or useful to some.  For a while it really didn't have much of a direction.  But in the past several months it has been slowly taking shape.  I love sharing retail finds, great recipes, movie reviews, beautiful and useful information I may have found and inspirational quotes. It's my way of sharing a little bit of me with the blogging community.

2} What kind of blogs do you follow?
I can't say I follow specific kinds of blogs.  I tend to follow those blogs that make me happy and smile.  Whether it be fashion, recipe, makeup, inspirational, whimsical, comedic...whatever tickles my fancy at the moment.  I love looking at beautiful things, so you will find that many of the blogs I follow tend to have beautiful imagery.  Some of my faves are:

The Simply Luxurious Life
Absolutely Ladylike
Brown Eyed Belle
Trust Your Style
Delightful Bitefuls
Oh La Frou Frou

3} Your favorite makeup brand?
If you have been following me for a while, you know the answer to this one without even reading this.  MAC cosmetics.  I was turned on to them by my younger sister several years ago, and since then that is my go to brand.  There are certain products that are not made by them that I rely on as well, like Lancome is my go to for mascara, and Sephora for my lip balm. But, when it comes to foundation, eye shadows, and lipsticks...MAC all the way baby!

4} Your favorite clothing brand?
I don't think I have a particular favorite clothing brand.  For me, the quality, the durability, and the timelessness of the clothing item is the most important thing. I like to purchase items that are going to last, that wear well, and that won't be dated next time that season comes around.  Looking in my closet you will find a lot of clothes from the Gap, Banana Republic, Express, Ann Taylor Loft, J Crew, and NY & Co.

5}Your indispensable makeup product?
This one is MAC Viva Glam VI lipstick, Lancome Hypnosis mascara, and Rosebud Salve.

6} Your favorite color?
Red, Black, Taupe

7}Your favorite film?
The Notebook.  I can watch this movie a hundred times, and still cry at the end.  Some other favorites are Titanic, Grease & Beaches.

8} Your favorite perfume?
Thierry Mugler Angel

9} What country would you like to visit and why?
I'd love to visit Paris.  It's the city of love. It is so fashionable. And French cuisine is a favorite of mine.

10} Your favorite magazine?
In Style

11} Write the last question and answer it yourself.  What celebrity style do you admire most?
Rachel Bilson.  Whether walking the red carpet, or going out for a latte, she always looks effortlessly put together.  She always plays up femininity even if she is in cargo pants, jeans or a tee. She is a natural beauty who looks good in practically anything she wears.

I would like to tag the following amazing bloggers. Would love to read their answers to these questions!:

The Simply Luxurious Life
Trust Your Style 
Cafe Fashionista
Love, Lipstick, & Pearls
Oh La Frou Frou

Thursday, November 18, 2010

7 Days & Counting....

In exactly a week, my house will be bursting at the seems with family.  This is the time of year I look forward to most. Of course growing up you think, wow, I can't wait till I live on my own.  But when you do, you realize you miss the comfort of having the people that know you best around at all times. 

Today will be spent at the market, not only to pick up all the items necessary to insure a delicious Thanksgiving meal, but all the comfort foods I remember growing up with.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

  Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

- Langston Hughes 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

{Tasty Treats} Bronx Style

 If I've said it once, I'll say it matter how long I live on the Jersey Shore, how much I love it here, or how deep we plant our roots, I will always and forever be a "New Yorker". 

I love going back "home" to visit, even if it is just for a few hours.  Yesterday I took a spur of the moment trip to spend some time with my mother.  Mom needed my help sorting a personal matter, and I immediately told her I would jump on the morning bus into the city to help her out. 

The matter took all of 30 minutes to resolve, but it left us with 6 hours of Mommy and Me time.  She took me out to lunch to Seafood City in City Island, which is a mecca of delicious seafood restaurants. We used to go there at least 4 times each and every summer growing up.  The seafood was just as good as I remembered it.

Afterward, we went to the Bronx's Little Italy.  If you've seen the movie A Bronx Tale, starring Robert Deniro, you have seen the 60's version of the area.  Mom and I always visited this neighborhood in order to get the best pastries, breads, and cheeses around.  Pizza is amazing too, but since we were already full from lunch, we decided to buy a box of delicious pastries from the ever popular Palombo Pastry Shop.  The freshly baked sweet treats were a welcome surprise to Mr. Man that evening.

 Even though the visit was short, I was able to spend some quality time with my mom and visited areas that bring back wonderful vivid memories of childhood.  It never fails to remind me why I love being a native New Yorker.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

{Weekend Highlights} 11-14-10

* Friday Family Game Night was incredibly entertaining building a 33 story Jenga Tower.
* Enjoying picture perfect autumn weather.
* Managing to spend the whole afternoon getting our garage totally organized.
* Discovering a new Mexican Grill restaurant for our family to enjoy.
*Attending a beautiful afternoon baby shower at a delightful local Italian restaurant.
* Bringing the weekend to a close with a glass of White Zinfendel.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  Wishing you an amazing start to the new week!

Friday, November 12, 2010

{Fashion Friday} EXPRESS

Having subscriptions to a multitude of magazines has it's privileges!

As I was perusing one of the many magazines I received this month, I came across a coupon for $25 off of a $50 purchase to Express.  This is a rarity in the world of coupons for this store.  So what did I do?  I clipped the coupon and went merrily on my way to the mall.

First thing I selected was this off white rouched v neck sweater.  Last week I spotted a lovely tweed skirt at the Gap. I resisted purchasing it because I wasn't sure if I could find the perfect top for it.  When I saw this, I decided immediately I would get it and wait till next Wednesday to go back to the Gap with my 40% off coupon and pick up the skirt.

Just as I was about to select a bracelet to add to my collection, I came across this absolutely adorable beanie!

I just had to have it! Keep my head warm all the while looking quite chic!

My total came out to $35 after the $25 off. 

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veteran's Day

Many people have the day off from work and school today (neither Mr. Man nor the kiddies do in my house) as a day of remembrance for those who have given up so much of themselves, some who also have paid the ultimate price, in order to afford us with the freedom and liberties we enjoy today.

Birthday wishes are also in order to the United States Marine Corps.  Happy 235th!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

There are no regrets in life, just lessons.
- Jennifer Aniston

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

45 Days Till Christmas!

And with that, I am ecstatic to say, Lil Miss & Lil Man's Christmas shopping is officially done!   I already picked up presents for my nephew and nieces. So this means I only have the few adults on my list to shop for.  I do not have to venture into the toy sections or tween clothing stores at all during the Christmas rush!

Has anyone else started their Christmas shopping?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

{Happy Birthday, Lil Man!}

Happy 8th Birthday to my Lil Man!
My little Energizer Bunny, you keep me going and going and going.... 
I love you!

Friday, November 5, 2010

{Friday Five} Birthday Loot

I was overwhelmingly blessed with how much love I received for my birthday this year.  All the phone calls from loved ones, birthday cards from friends near and far, and email, tweets, and Facebook messages made my day.   I truly felt loved and cherished. 

Those nearest and dearest to me also spoiled me with lunches out (sushi not once, twice, but three times!).  And they showered me with gifts as well. Each one definitely carefully selected specifically for me.

1} Books- I am an absolute bookworm.  I spend hours upon hours reading...whether it be books, magazines, blogs, newspapers.  You name it.  I received the latest book by Nicolas Sparks, Safe Haven  from my mom.  After all, she was the one that nurtured that love for reading.  Second book I received Are You a Jackie or Are You a Marilyn? was purchased by Mr. Man as a last minute addition.  Actually, he was ordering Lil Man's birthday gift on Amazon and realized if he spent $14 he would get free shipping.  After discovering that shipping for the gift was $12, he decided to ask me if there were any books on my wishlist he can add to his order.  Our reasoning...may as well get something substantial for that amount of money, than spending it on shipping.  This book came highly recommended by Shannon, author of The Simply Luxurious Life.  Can't wait to get started on it!

2} Shoes- What girl can resist a new pair of shoes?  My MIL purchased me a pair of double t-strapped Nine West heels. (They are not the ones pictured above. Sadly, I could not locate a pic of them online.)

3} Music- Anyone who knows me well knows...I am an avid music fan.  You can pretty much play the first few notes of a song and I can safely determine the title, and most times, artist.  Lil Miss Diva and Lil Man know all my favorite bands.  Since Lil Miss Diva shares the same passion for music as I do, she scours through the new releases at Target.  She discovered Kings of Leon was releasing their latest album the week prior to my birthday.  Between her and Lil Man, they purchased the CD and presented it to me on my birthday.  I love it!

4} Perfume- I can scratch one item off my wish list 2010!  I received Coco Chanel Madmoiselle from my very sweet father-in-law with a sweet card where he stated I am the daughter he never had.  Brought tears to my eyes.

5} Camera- Last, but not least was a gift Mr. Man gave me.  A few weeks back he told me with a triumphant smile, "I know exactly what to get you for your birthday!  What's great is, it is something you need, and something you would want too.  And best of all, it isn't on your wish list!"  Of course, this made me think....what do I want and need that I haven't already placed on my wish list?  But he was definitely right!  I have had the same Olympus digital camera for the past 6 years and it has been showing signs of needing replacement.  He did well!

This weekend we wrap up the week of birthday celebrations with Lil Man's 8th birthday celebration. We will celebrate it with a 2 hour party with 6 of his closest buddies at a Laser Tag place followed by dinner at his favorite  restaurant, LongHorn's Steakhouse. 

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

{I} Covet - Lanvin for H & M Collection

There are so many pieces in this collection that I am in love with, but the one that has definitely caught my eye and has my undivided attention is the belted zebra print jacket. L.O.V.E.

Happy Thursday Everyone!