Monday, November 23, 2009

Forever 21 or Forever I'm Buying?

Dear Forever 21,
You have some of us hooked. Your trendy clothes with tags that say, "$13.90" or "$22.40" or some price that you expect to see in a Wal-Mart ad. We see our friends wearing something cute, ask where they got it, they say, "Oh, I got it at Forever 21." What do I do? I rush to the website and buy the cuteness I just saw, because you know....even though I live in a college town....we don't have a store here.
This is probably a good thing, because I don't like thumping music while I shop. Furthermore, I am not equipped to deal with the teens skipping school and giving me an attitude, thinking, "That broad hasn't seen '21' in a LONG time. What does she think she's doing in here? Oh yeah, she's a mom buying for HER teenage daughter." Bitter much? Yeah, just a little.
So I buy online, and have figured out I have about a 30% return rate. Most of what I've ordered is perfect, but the things I have to return are usually because it's sized for those school-skipping teens and not almost 40, child-bearing hipped mamas with boobs that could get caught in a pants' zipper. Body image issues? Yeah, just a little.
So here are my latest Forever 21 purchases!
I will subject you until eternity with what I call "Floor Polyvores".
*Remember to click on the pictures if you want to see them bigger.
Satin Corset Top-Forever 21 Twist.
This is my favorite!
It has a grosgrain ribbon front bow & trim.
Note: I tried to find the link to this top on the site several times. It must be sold out.
Here's the item # from my invoice --68474500013
Detail of back
Lined inside with purple leopard satin.
How cute is that? Makes me want to do the "cougar roar".
This is the infamous cream blazer that My Blonde Reality
had on during our last day in Atlanta.
Several of us "ooh & ahhed" over it and ordered it.
It really is such a versatile jacket.
It looks white in the picture, but it's really a light cream.
Look at the detail.
Sooo cute, and that sweet little bow makes me want to frolic in the meadows.
Blair Ruffle Sweater Cardigan
Another no find online, but here's the item #: 66926887022
What? I'm not in the floor?
This was the first picture I took and
quickly realized it was easier to throw everything in the floor.
Besides, remember....I'm bloated. Woman issues....yeah, just a little.
Super cute with slacks or jeans.
3/4 sleeve with doll collar.
This is almost identical to the J Crew Ocelot Cardigan that is sold out.
Have you found any great finds at Forever 21? Please share!

A Little Bit of Sunshine for the Gray Skies

I have this thing for yellow and gray. Always have. I just like the combination together. I don't like black and yellow together-it looks too much like a bumble bee. I'm not a huge fan of brown with yellow. It always looks like fall to me. So if I'm wearing gray, I love to pair it with some unexpected combinations like citron yellow and aubergine.

I'm a mom, so some days I don't get a shower. I usually don't have time to fix my hair, do my makeup and post an "outfit of the day". Besides, I'm bloated and blah, blah, blah. You know the rest.

Some bloggers take pictures of their outfits in the bathrooms (great mirrors), some in their bedrooms, some outside, some in their closets. Closets....yeah, that's it. I'll do an "outfit of the day" or "OOTD" as the blogworld likes to call it. But here's my twist. Mine's going to be on the floor. Yep, ON the floor. Without me in them. How ya like that?

J Crew Houndstooth Coat
J Crew silk sleeveless tuxedo pleated blouse
Gray cuffed Theory pants from 4 yrs. ago
Belt-I think I bought this at Wal-Mart (clearance $5, a few weeks back)
Necklace- I think this is Kohl's Vera Wang

Detail of the croc print belt. It's reversible.

You can see here that the shoes are wine color.
Necklace and close-up of the tuxedo pleat of the blouse.

Is this a weird color combination, or do you think the colors go well together? I'd love to hear (honestly) what all you fashionistas think.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ain't Nothin' But a Houndstooth

This fall, my trend radar has been on high alert. I've kept my investment pieces such as my black riding pants, cardigans, J Crew cords, boyfriend jeans, skinny jeans, and Tory Burch Revas.

To jazz things up and update my fall wardrobe, I've added lots of fun scarves, booties, tall boots, fun tights and unique jackets from J Crew and Loeffler Randall.

One trend that has caught my eye is the oversized graphic houndstooth print that both fashion and home furnishing designers have incorporated into their designs this year. I'm loving it!

Here are the great houndstooth print pieces I'm salivating over right now!

Dear Hubby, I don't know if you ever read my blog, but I'd love this for Christmas or even a "thanks for birthing my babies" present.

J Crew Houndstooth "Greta" Jacket

I have this jacket in the gray color. It's from a few seasons back and I still love it. It's an all-around versatile coat. I've paired it with skinny gray jeans and boots and also worn it with wide leg trousers and a dressy top.

Photo Source: Whitney Caroline Designs website
Oh my, how cute are these bags from

And from my F-A-V-O-R-I-T-E....Forever 21.
Here's a whole page of wonderful houndstooth pieces.

Here's just a little sampling.....and BTW, Santa, I'd love this little jacket for Christmas.

Have a great Friday!!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My First Guest Blogger Post!

Hey everyone, I'd like you to meet my new Twitter/Blogger friend, Meredith Sinclair. Her website is I love to watch her videos. She absolutely cracks me up, not to mention that she's BEE-YOU-TEE-FUL and such a cool mom. She has lots of great tips for parenting, household "managing", and all the other tasks that go with being a Super Mom.

Meredith asked me to share my "Five for Friday" post on her blog. I was truly honored to be asked, and may have to see if she would like to do a guest post on here as well. (wink, wink, hint, hint). Go check out her website and my post here.

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

It seems every week there's one day that messes up my Menu Plan. The girls started Taekwondo last week and it left me with little time to get the meal for that day prepped so that it would be done in time for dinner. So that was a fast food night. Overall the meal planning is making life easier and I find myself going to the grocery store a lot less and I really think I'm saving money.

Because of the kink in my schedule, once again, I'm going to use one of "intended" recipes from last week. I was sitting down today looking at my calendar, and it's an uber-busy week, so I plan on making at least 2 meals in which we can have leftovers the next night.

*Was supposed to make this last week and got too busy

Leftover Lasagna

Baked Beans
Fresh Corn on the Cob
Green Salad

Leftover Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Breasts
served sliced on large green salad
with avocados, tomatoes, and purple onion

"Fend For Yourself Friday"
Either make a sandwich
or order takeout--
Mama's off duty.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Five For Friday

It's been a while since I've done "Five For Friday", so here it is my shmookums.

My Five Favorite Ways to Save Money When Shopping Online
  1. It's no secret, I love Ebates. If you haven't heard of it, it's a free website where you register and get money back for your purchases. Here's the have to go to the Ebates website FIRST, click on the store from which you want to purchase, and it will then send you directly to that site. This creates a "tracking ticket", so that Ebates can keep a record of your purchase. You will then get a rebates check quarterly. If you shop a lot online, this really is a great idea. Bloomingdales, Old Navy, Gap, Sephora, and hundreds other retailers are all on there. Even Ebay (buy it now) has a percentage back plan.
  2. I ALWAYS do a Google search for "promotion codes" "coupons" for each particular store before I buy. Here's an example.....I google "Banana Republic promotion code coupons". Sites like Coupon Cabin, Retailmenot, and a handful of other sites will pop up. There may be coupon codes for free shipping or percentages off. Sometimes there's nothing, zilch. I don't spend a long time looking for the coupons. If there's one out there, you'll be able to find it rather quickly. If there's a code, I write it down, but first I go through Ebates to my desired site. When I check out, that's when I plug in the coupon code. So you may save on shipping or get a discount.....and then also get a percentage back from Ebates. It's that easy.
  3. I sign up for promotional emails from the stores from which I regularly make purchases. I hate getting a ton of extra emails, but usually those emails are the ones that will garner the biggest discounts. I buy my kids' school uniforms from Lands' End and with the email discounts I get from them, I save a ton of money. You will also get "exclusive" sales like "Friends and Family" sales from Gap, Old Navy, Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Loft, Bloomingdales, and many others. Another tip: know the stores' return policies. Do they offer free return shipping? Do they charge restocking fees? Is there a time limit on returns?
  4. Here's a trick that doesn't always work, but is worth a try. If there's an item that you know isn't in danger of being sold out or you aren't quite sure about it, put it in the "cart" on your store's website, but don't go through with the checkout just yet. Let that joker just brew in there a day or two. Don't clear the cookies on your computer during this time. If you've signed up for email notices for that particular store, there's a good chance they will have tracked those items in your online cart and then you will get a "mysterious" email with a discount. This has happened NUMEROUS times to me, especially with Gap and Lands' End.
  5. Subscribe to blogs that feature the clothing/accessories from stores you love. I find a lot of coupons and discounts on those blogs. You know us women....we like to talk, share, and compare. I find I save money by seeing how some of the pieces look IRL vs. on a 98 lb. model in a catalog. I've seen items that looked horrible online, but after seeing them look fabulous on my lovely blogger friends.....I've gone out and made a purchase. On the flip side, I once had my mind set on buying a particularly popular jacket, but then changed my mind based on blog reviews. Bloggers give an honest perspective on the quality and sizing of clothing that the catalogs and websites just can't offer. It's nice to hear if an item fits "true to size" vs. running bigger or smaller. This, in turn, can later save on shipping and restocking fees associated with returns.
Do you have any money saving tips, websites, or blogs that help you save money? Please share!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Big Thank You!

There is a Place
by M.J.M., copyright 1999

Somewhere there's a place I know,
where love and death are entertwined.
I'll remember that you were mine,
When'er I find that place to go.
But it may be a long, long while,
And maybe you won't remember me.
But even long those years may be,
I love the way you made me smile.
Remembering the fun we've had,
The times we shared and places gone.
Even now I see your face upon the lawn,
Where we once traded rings,
Oh sad That I may be,
I would not have given Up those moments once so true.
I treasure in my secret spot, the you.

I had and still have in my heart,
Driven By moments that ne'er will be faced,
By others who didn't know you,
Or those who couldn't show you,
Shall never, ever be replaced.

So in my secret spot you stay,
And I will keep you in my heart.
For deep within we'll never part,
Not just for now but every day.

A sincere thank you to all the women and men who have served our country and allowed us to have all the freedoms with which we are blessed. I'd also like to thank the families of our soldiers and veterans for all the sacrifices you have made to our country as well. Many mothers lose their children to war, and many children never know their fathers because they don't come home alive. My prayers and love are with you all!

"Peace is not just the absence of war. Like a cathedral, peace must be constructed patiently and with unshakable faith..."
~ Pope John Paul II

Monday, November 9, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Cabbage, White Bean and Kielbasa Soup

Leftover Cabbage, White Bean and Kielbasa Soup

Poppyseed Chicken* (recipe to follow this week)
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans

Leftover Poppyseed Chicken
Green Beans
Side Salad

*I've been making this recipe for years now.
It's time consuming, but I divide the recipe into 2 pans.
I either freeze one of them for later, or share with a sick friend
or someone that's just had a baby, etc.
Don't let the spinach and carrots in it scare you off, it's barely noticeable.
I'm always looking for ways to "sneak" veggies into my meals.

Have a great week!!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Veggie, Veggie, Quite Contrary...How Does Your Garden Grow?

Good morning gang!

On this week's Menu Plan Monday, I told you I would share my sandwich "recipe". It's really not a true recipe, because like with any sandwich, you can mix things up. Doc Lancelot and I lived in Memphis for 5 years. This was the time before we had our children, so we were able to sample restaurants quite often. One Saturday, we thought we'd venture out and skip our favorite, "Fino's", and go to Young Street Deli. I got a veggie sandwich that was to die for. It was hot, but had crunchy cucumbers and sprouts in it. I kept thinking about that sandwich and how to make it at home. So this is the sandwich we came up with and we've been making it for 12 years now!

I like to buy all my ingredients the day before or the day that I make the sandwiches. I use mostly organic veggies and bread. I'll tear up some Taco Bell, but want organic vegetables. Go figure!

Like I said....use what ever ingredients you like, but here is what I put on my sandwich.
  • The most time consuming part of the sandwich is chopping/slicing all the vegetables. You could do this in the morning and put paper towels and plastic wrap on it, or have your significant other or a friend help chop while you enjoy a glass of wine. I'm just sayin'.
  • I use the following: fresh spinach and/or lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli or alfalfa sprouts, multi-color carrot shreds, sliced avocado, pitted Kalamata and green olives, sliced red peppers, mushrooms (sometimes-not a big fan of raw mushrooms), purple onion, sliced cucumbers, and salt and pepper. Doc Lancelot sometimes puts a little salami or ham on his and also a little mayo and Creole mustard.
  • Here's everything washed, and ready to go. I put everything on paper towels to absorb the moisture after washing. I don't like soggy bread or watery vegetables.

  • I use some sort of baguette or my favorite, sesame semolina. Cut in sandwich size portions. One thing I would recommend, and I didn't do this time, is if your bread is really thick like the sesame semolina, I would scoop out the center of the loaf, because the sandwich can get pretty thick. Even with my big ol' mouth, I can hardly bite it when all the ingredients are on there. With the smaller baguettes, you should be fine just slicing and adding ingredients.

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put sandwich halves on baking sheet. I spread one side with goat cheese, and the other size with roasted red pepper hummus, then top with shredded Colby Jack cheese. Bake about 7-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. You don't want to cook too long, or the bread will be really tough.

    You can skip this step and not toast the bread, but I like mine all melted and gooey.

Check out this bad boy when it's all put together.
My favorite sandwich in the whole world!!!

*This would be a great party idea.
Just put everything out, have different types of breads,
and let your guests make their own "signature" sandwich.
If you try this, let me know what you think!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Go Jane! Go Jane! It's Your Birthday!

This is a totally random, uncontemplative, and vain post. I feel great today and for that I'm thankful. I slept 11 hours last night! I even had weird dream that I was riding a motorcycle that had a built-in toilet and Pac-Man game you could play while driving. I must have needed to go to the bathroom in my sleep and I'm glad I didn't "use" the one on the motorcycle (aka "my bed").

I wanted to share a website with you that I found through a hilarious red-headed fashionista. Chloe is the cutest, most hilarious blogger. She has such a great fashion sense and I always love to see what outfits she puts together. Chloe loves to combine budget-minded pieces from Kohl's, Forever21, and Target with clothing from J Crew, Nanette Lepore, and other higher-end labels. One of the sites that she gets a lot of her shoes from is GoJane. I'm not crazy about the clothes. They're a little too "clubish" and young for me, but the shoes are really cute. Here are the ones I bought recently....and LOVE! Check out the prices. Amazingly cheap, especially for trendy shoes. And don't be too scared by some of the shoes...about 1/2 of them look like if they came in a size 13, they would be serious drag show material.

Ruffled Satin Peep Toe Heel--New Year's Eve shoes

What better way to jazz up a pair of black pants or skirt and a gray turtleneck!

The shipping is free with any order over $50, and most shoes are under $30. Not a bad deal if you're looking for ways to update your fall wardrobe.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I was checking out one of my "besties", Natalie's blog and she got this great idea from Serenity Now about sharing "27 Days of Thankful". Wow! I need this right now, and I need to remember the things that God has blessed me with, instead of focusing on the things I'm worrying about.

Now that we live far away from family, I haven't enjoyed the holidays like I should. It's always hard to figure out Doc Lancelot's schedule (which usually includes only Thanksgiving Day or the day of Christmas). This makes it hard to travel 9-12 hours away and get back to work the next day. Anyone who has traveled with presents, 2 kids, a dog, etc. can say a big ol' "Sigh!" with me. It's challenging to say the least. And it's not fair to ask our families to always travel to see us.

The other dilemma is that I want Santa to come to "our own house"--never mind the logistics of getting him to get all the presents wrapped and delivered to grandma's (AHEM, Cough, Cough).

I miss my family a lot, and sometimes the holidays can be a sad time for me because now it's "me" that's responsible for creating the memories, meals, and traditions for my family. I'm certainly not complaining, but I've had to put on my "big girl" panties sooner than I hoped.

So, instead of saying, "Poor me. I have to do it all.", I'm going to focus on the things I'm thankful for.

Today, the first thing that comes to my mind is my husband.
  1. He sees things in me that I don't see in myself. He believed in me, when no one else did (including my own self).
  2. He is so dedicated and loving to me and the girls.
  3. He knows things about me that no one else knows, and still loves me.
  4. He has taken care of me many times when I was sick. He's held my hair while I've thrown up, helped me shower after my surgeries, rubbed my back or whatever else hurt. He's seen me at my absolute worst and I can still see the love in his eyes.
  5. He makes me laugh like no other person can. I knew I loved him when he laughed at one of my twisted jokes.
  6. He's a great cook, a messy one, but that boy can cook.
  7. He calls me several times a day from work just to see how I'm doing or to say "I'm thinking of you."
  8. I could go on and on, but I know this is getting mushy.
I'm so thankful that God put him in my life. It's amazing how we met and then reconnected. Only God could have created and planned the way we met. I'm so, so blessed.

Please share just one thing you're thankful for.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Today's A New Day

Hello Bloggerville,

I have to tell you all, I am so blessed by your comments here, on Twitter, and via email. I have had nothing but love, and I'm so glad I got out those sad, worrisome feelings. I'm still researching the pros and cons of a lap-assisted hysterectomy vs. a uterine ablation. I keep praying for God to show me the treatment that will be most beneficial for my situation.

While I was doing all this "research", I googled, "ways to stay positive", and came across an Australian motivational speaker named Craig Harper. Here are some of his daily practices:

  1. I hang out with like-minded people who energize me and I avoid the energy vampires.
  2. I learn from, and get inspired by, successful people.
  3. I ask myself the right kind of questions – the “what can I learn from this experience” questions, rather than the “why does this happen to me” questions.
  4. I regularly get excited about possibilities – sometimes too excited!
  5. I don’t focus on negatives – I invest my emotional energy where it will give me the best return.
  6. I change the stuff I can and I let go of the stuff I have no control over.
  7. I am constantly setting goals. Big and small.
  8. I dedicate time every day to ’switching off’ and having fun for fun’s sake. Strategic silliness.
  9. I express myself creatively. It makes me happy.
  10. I let myself dream. Sometimes my mind keeps me awake all night!
  11. I invest time into others. People who are completely self-focused tend to have more downs than ups.
  12. Whatever most people my age do, I try and avoid.
  13. I regularly take stock of my life and consciously appreciate everything in it and about it. I am always acutely aware that my life is great and that I am blessed to be where I am.
  14. I set high standards for myself. I want to be exceptional and do exceptional things, and I will. Not because I’m particularly talented, but because I am prepared to work harder than most. I love to explore and push the boundaries of my potential.
  15. I love swimming against the tide. I love doing what most people don’t or won’t. I love being unconventional and throwing ‘logic’ out the window (now and then). Sometimes logic is a synonym for fear and ignorance.
  16. I look after myself physically. I don’t smoke, drink or use drugs and I never have. Ever. Being physically fit and healthy, helps me stay focused on a mental, emotional and creative level. It’s very hard to be ‘up’ when you’re physically unwell.
  17. My self-talk is positive. I don’t beat myself up. I don’t feel sorry for myself and I don’t indulge in ‘pity parties’.
  18. I spend quiet time alone recharging my batteries. No phone, no internet, no TV, no people, no noise, no distractions. I connect with the fat eight year-old for a while and see what he has to tell me. Sometimes the only person we don’t listen to is ourselves.
I thought this was a great list. It's things I already know, but don't always practice. My goal this upcoming week is to take care of me, allow myself some 'down time', and think positively. God bless and have a great week!