Friday, February 29, 2008

Gift Idea Friday - Housewarming Gift: Welcome Willow Tree Angel

Today's gift idea is very fitting because my husband and I are actually closing on our new house today - Willow Tree Angel - Welcome. This was actually give to us as gift when we moved into our first place. And since getting this as a gift we have given to at least a half dozen of our friends. Pineapples actually signify welcome in a home and this is the perfect way to tastefully display one. These are available online at Amazon and/or Cheryl Lane Keepsakes. You can also find them at Hallmark stores. Stay tuned for future posts about other Willow Tree Angel gift ideas.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Favorite Thing #29 - Sephora Beauty Insider Reward Program

Today's favorite thing is another reward program and this one is at Sephora - the Sephora Beauty Insider. I love this program because it feels like everytime I buy something there I get something free. This was a free program to join so its really worth it even if you only shop there once and a while.
Here are some of the benefits:
  • you earn beauty points for every purchase made when you use your insider card (this isn't a credit card - its just like a grocery store card, you can just keep it on your key chain). For every $100 you spend you get a deluxe sample. These are great samples, not just a small foil packet of something but an actual travel size bottle! Since joining the program last year I got three bottles of body wash, face cream, and eye cream. I did some Christmas shopping there so I spent a little more than usual.

  • a free gift for your birthday - Vanilla Cupcake Bath and Shower Bubbles

  • first dibs on new beauty products before they hit stores

Monday, February 25, 2008

Favorite Thing Update - New Marbles

I got new marbles for Favorite Thing #1 - my marble ring. I got three new ones:

Lapis Hawlite - which is a bright blue stone with some periwinkle hues

Black Onyx - an all black stone which I love because I have a ton of black in my wadrobe. I got two black stones in the orginial batch from Got All Your Marbles but they have yellow and green stripes through them

Orange Adventureine - this orange stone is cute (wearing it today with my orange peacoat sweater) but it's not as bright as it appeared on the website.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Favorite Thing #28 - Tiffany's Bead Earrings

Today's favorite thing is something that I wear practically every single day - Tiffany's Bead Earrings. They are a classic pair of earrings that go with pretty much any outfit casual or dressy work or evening. These are sterling silver earrings that measure 10mm and cost $90. I normally don't spend that kind of money on such a simple thing but these were a gift. I actually have a back up affordable pair - just in case something were to happen to these because I can't live without them. I got my back up pair at Banana Republic.

These are also sterling silver and look almost exactly the same except they are 2mm smaller at 8mm. These are also much more affordable at $14 a pair. Both are a great pair of earrings and a must have accessory for every woman's wardrobe!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Favorite Thing #27 - Tupperware's Forget Me Not Set

I finally had the opportunity to try out some of the new Tupperware I got from the party that April and I co-hosted about a month ago. And one of my newest favorite things is the - Forget Me Not Set. These small pieces of Tupperware are perfect for when I use half of something...I have been using it for half an onion, half a lemon or half a tomato. They fit perfectly and store easily too!

The set comes with three pieces - two round and one square - for $17.50. Here is some information about the these great containers from Tupperware:

  • Round provides superior fridge storage for half an onion, tomato, orange or other round, partially used fruit or vegetable.

  • Square stores approximately 20-24 slices of individually wrapped cheese slices.

  • Each hangs from fridge shelf.

  • Hinged, one-piece design means no seal to store or lose.

  • Large tab makes opening and closing the seal a snap.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Favorite Thing #26 - My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

My sister-in-law April and I swap books often and she got me started reading Jodi Picoult books and now I am obsessed with reading every one she's written. So far my favorite one is Favorite Thing #26 - My Sister's Keeper. Ladies - you better keep a box of tissues next to this one because its a tear jerker. Its a definite page turner. I read this book in one weekend at Dewey Beach.

The book switches from character to character in each chapter so that the reader can understand the perspective of each character. There are several shocking twists throughout the story that make you not want to put the book down. I don't want to ruin the story for you so below is a brief summary thanks to Amazon:

The difficult choices a family must make when a child is diagnosed with a serious disease are explored with pathos and understanding in this 11th novel by Picoult (Second Glance, etc.). The author, who has taken on such controversial subjects as euthanasia (Mercy), teen suicide (The Pact) and sterilization laws (Second Glance), turns her gaze on genetic planning, the prospect of creating babies for health purposes and the ethical and moral fallout that results. Kate Fitzgerald has a rare form of leukemia. Her sister, Anna, was conceived to provide a donor match for procedures that become increasingly invasive. At 13, Anna hires a lawyer so that she can sue her parents for the right to make her own decisions about how her body is used when a kidney transplant is planned. Meanwhile, Jesse, the neglected oldest child of the family, is out setting fires, which his firefighter father, Brian, inevitably puts out. Picoult uses multiple viewpoints to reveal each character's intentions and observations, but she doesn't manage her transitions as gracefully as usual; a series of flashbacks are abrupt. Nor is Sara, the children's mother, as well developed and three-dimensional as previous Picoult protagonists. Her devotion to Kate is understandable, but her complete lack of sympathy for Anna's predicament until the trial does not ring true, nor can we buy that Sara would dust off her law degree and represent herself in such a complicated case. Nevertheless, Picoult ably explores a complex subject with bravado and clarity, and comes up with a heart-wrenching, unexpected plot twist at the book's conclusion.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Favorite Thing #25 - Hot Sock Diffuser

This is the second posting of the promised "curly" hair favorite things - Hot Sock Diffuser. I have had mine for years and years. It works with your blow dryer and all you do is slip it on like a sock to the end of your blow dryer. What it does is give the heat your hair needs to dry but not the blowing aspect which can straighten your hair out. I like this much better than any other diffuser and I've tried my fair share. I personally prefer using my fingers to "scrunch" the curl rather than trying the attachment.

I got mine at a local salon but you can find them on Amazon for $5.50 - you can't beat that!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Favorite Thing #24 - Prive Curl Activating Creme

This weekend I have been pretty lazy in the hair department. I just haven't been in the mood to take the time to straighten my hair so I thought since I've gone curly this weekend I should share my favorite "curly" products in the weekend posts. Today I'll start with my must have - Prive's Curl Activating Creme. I LOVE LOVE this stuff!!! It's a thick, style cream and very easy to work with...doesn't leave my hair greasy, oily, or dry. I put about a half-dollar's worth in my hands, flip my wet hair over and just "scrunch" the product through. Sometimes I go back with a second round depending on how I feel my hair is taking to the curl. Like I have said before, my hair is naturally curlly and I could go with no product if I wanted but I like using some because it helps hold the curl, makes the curls more defined, and there is less frizz. I dry my hair with my blow dryer (but use my diffuser sock - stay tuned for tomorrow's post) and then I finish with my favorite thing - Aveda's Smoothing Fluid. A 200 ml bottle usually lasts me a year (I really only wear my hair curly in the summer). Sometimes you can find it on Amazon but right now its out of stock. To find a salon that carries Prive Products call 866.351.1193 OR

Friday, February 15, 2008

Gift Idea Friday - Cheryl & Co. Cookies

So starting today and continuing every Friday it's going to be - Gift Idea Friday!!! Today's gift idea is in keeping with the Valentine's holiday but is a gift you can give at anytime of year for practically any occassion -Frosted Sugar Cookies from Cheryl & Co. I know what your thinking - I'm not going to waste money on gourmet cookies - and trust me I was thinking the same thing until I tried one. My boss had gotten one and insisted I try a bite and it was love at first taste. And since that taste I have order these three different times as gifts.

Most recently I got a dozen for my husband for Valentine's Day. Sending these was like the equivalent of him sending me flower . He was so excited and we immediately ate one (at 6:30 in the morning). So next time you are in need of a gift - think delicous tastey cookies. And for you Ohio State fans, Cheryl & Co (based in Columbus) make special Buckeye cookies!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Favorite Thing #23 - My Husband!!!

When I first started this blog I got a lot of comments as to why my husband wasn't one of my favorite things so I thought today (Valentine's Day) was very fitting to have Favorite Thing #23 be my husband! For those readers that don't know Mikey and I here's our quick story:

We met almost three years ago (thanks Teha) at a party at his house. I actually went to this party to be set up with one of the other guys that lived there but as soon as I saw Mikey realized there was definite chemistry between the two of us. Nothing happened that night between Mikey and I - no future plans made, no exchange of numbers or email address. :(

this picture was taken that night

I saw him again a couple weeks later at another party and my good friend Teha (thanks again) did some under cover work to make sure that Mikey was available. Turns out he was single so I decided to make the first move. I gave him my email address and sure enough that night got an email from him. We emailed for a couple more weeks and made plans to meet up at wouldn't you know it - Teha's birthday party. And from that night on we were in seperable! Five months later we moved in together and then two short months after that we were engaged!

We tied the knot this past year - April 21, 2007 - and it was the most amazing day of my life. Below are a few pictures from that wonderful day:

the rings

so in love!!!

the bridal party

the cutest flower girls!

this all happened because of Teha!!!

our first dance

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Favorite Thing #22 - Aveda's Hang Straight

This is a recent favorite thing and it actually coincides with yesterday's favorite thing. Favorite Thing #22 is Aveda's Hang Straight. I use this product when I am using the hot air brush because it helps smooth and straighten my unruly curly hair. According to Aveda it's for
"straightening out hair and taming flyaways. Certified organic marshmallow root and flax seed blend creates smooth hold, while silica enhances shine."
I put about a quarter size amount (remember I have very long, thick hair) on towel-dried hair and work it through. Then I blow dry, use the hot air brush, a little Aveda Smoothing Fluid and I'm ready to go with smooth, straight hair!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Favorite Thing #21 - Hot Air Brush Curling Iron

Over Christmas I decided to try a styling product that my sister-in-law April uses on her hair to give it amazing body. I loved it so much after just one use that I went out and bought one the next day!! This product is favorite thing #20 - Hot Tools' Hot Air Brush Curling Iron.
This tool made my hair look as though I had just come from the salon!!! Essentially this tool is like a round brush with a blow dryer attached to it. If you are like me, uncoordinated and can't blow dry your hair while using a round brush, then this is the PERFECT tool for you.
My hair is really thick so I have to actually use a regular blow dryer my hair first to get at least 90% of the mositure out and then I seperate my hair into sections and use the hot air brush through it. This may sound very "hair commercial cheesy" but it gives my hair bounce, body and a slight curl at the ends. I highly recommend this product for all hair types.
I bought mine in at a Sally Beauty Supply Store for around $30. They are also available on Amazon for about the same cost.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Guest Favorite Thing - Reynolds' Cleverware

Today's guest post is from my cousin-in-law (my husband's cousin's wife) Keri.

An alternative to Christina's post on Tupperware's Rock 'N Serve is one of my favorite things - Reynolds' Cleverware. These containers are very similar to the Tupperware containers because they have a microwave vent too. They are shatterproof, stainproof (spaghetti sauce comes right out!) and microwaveable and dishwasher safe. My husband and I bought ours at Target. We have:

2 – square 1.2 pt.
1 – square 1.5 qt.
1 – square 2.4 qt.
2 – rectangular 1.2 qt.
1 – square 1.1 qt.
1 – square 1.7 qt.

For the 16 pieces (including lids) was roughly about $20.They also sell it in a round set which they didnt have at the time but I might have to purchase. We use them to store leftovers mostly and its nice because the smaller squares are good for bringing lunch in.

Favorite Thing #20 - J.Crew Jersey-knit Mallorca dress

I was going to wait to post this favorite thing but it went on sale so I thought I better post now before it's gone - Mallorca dress from J.Crew. I haven't actually worn this dress yet (tried it on a few times) but I love it and can't wait to wear it this summer. It's the perfect summer dress and a must-have in your closet. It comes in two colors - navy and bright flame. I have it in navy because I thought I would get more wear with that color. It's a light flowy material with a built in bra and a cris-cross back. The bottom has a slight ruffle to it. Right now it is on sale for $49.99 (orginally $88.00). I am kicking myself because it was one of the rare instances that I paid full price for something at J.Crew (technically it wasn't my money because I used a gift card). Oh well, lesson learned.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Favorite Thing #19 - Something Borrowed and Something Blue by Emily Giffin

These two books are definitely on the top of my favorite books list. They are the same story (essentially) but told in two different perspectives. Both of these books are the type that I like to call mindless, fun, girl, beach reads. About a half a dozen of my friends have borrowed these books and loved them. I get the same response "I couldn't it down!" I had the same reaction. I read these at the beach two years ago in literally three days (about a day and a half each). I would go to the beach every morning, set my chair by the water and just read. That is definitely one of my favorite things to do and these books just made it just that much more enjoyable.

Here are some summaries of them courtesy of Amazon:

Something Borrowed: An unexpected love affair threatens a long-lived friendship in this soap opera–like debut from Atlanta ex-lawyer Giffin. Since elementary school, Rachel and Darcy have been best friends, with Darcy always outshining Rachel. While single Rachel is the self-confessed good girl, an attorney trapped at a suffocating New York law firm, Darcy is the complete opposite, a stereotypical outgoing publicist, planning a wedding with the handsome Dex. After Rachel's 30th birthday party, she knocks back one drink too many and winds up in bed with Dex. Instead of feeling guilty about sleeping with her best friend's fiancé, Rachel realizes that Dex is the only man she's really loved, and that she's always resented manipulative Darcy. Rachel and Dex spend a few weekends in the city together "working" while Darcy's off with friends at a Hamptons beach share, but finally Rachel realizes she'll have to give Dex an ultimatum. The flip job Giffin pulls off—here it's the cheaters who're sympathetic (more or less)—gives Dex and Rachel's otherwise ordinary affair extra edge. Rachel would be a more appealing heroine if she were less whiny about her job and her romantic prospects, and rambling dialogue slows the story's pace, but this is an enjoyable beach read—one that'll make readers cast a suspicious eye on best friends and boyfriends who seem to get along just a little too well.

Something Blue: Perhaps beautiful Darcy Rhone isn't really wicked, but she is one of the most shallow, materialistic, self-centered and naïve 29-year-olds around. Ostensibly a high-powered PR person in Manhattan (though she never seems to work), Darcy spends most of her time shopping, partying and getting ready for her wedding to perfect guy Dex. But an alcohol-fueled Hamptons fling with one of Dex's pals, Marcus, starts to break Darcy's perfect life down; and discovering Dex hiding in her best friend Rachel's closet really shatters it. Pregnant with Marcus's baby, Darcy decamps for London, where she crashes in high school pal Ethan's flat and annoys the heck out of him with her endless shopping and complete disregard for her impending motherhood. But after a good lecture from Ethan, whom Darcy has started to fall for a little, Darcy embarks on a self-improvement plan, thereby demonstrating she can think about someone besides herself.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Favorite Thing #18 - OPI's "oh to be 25 again" nail polish

This is another nail polish in my collection. This is one of my favorite fall/winter nail colors - it's not too dark, not too light, not too red and not too brown - it's just perfect - OPI's "Oh to be 25 again"

I am a big fan of painting my finger nails a dark color in the fall and winter months and this is my usual go to. There are two problems that I have with it -

  1. I can't paint my nails myself with this color. I'm just not that talented and the manicurist does such a better job!
  2. When it chips you can definitely see it (but that's why I have my own bottle on hand to touch it up myself).

Friday, February 8, 2008

Favorite Thing #17 - Harry's Tap Room

Unfortunately this favorite thing will only apply to those that live in the Washington D.C. area (sorry) or if you come and visit (mi casa es su casa) because its one of my favorites restaurants in Arlington - Harry's Tap Room. I first discovered this restaurant when my friend from college Jeff came for a visit. I was still very new to the area and we wanted to go somewhere for dinner so we decided to check it out since it was near where I work.

Well it was love at first bite and for the past four years I probably eat here once a month. I know once a month seems like a lot but its right up the street from my office so sometimes I have a work dinner or I will grab lunch and since its in walking distance from my house my husband and I love walking there in the spring for dinner and drinks. Usually if people come in from out of town I will take them here for dinner. It has a great diverse menu so I know people are bound to find something they like.

Some favorite menu items include: Roasted Red Pepper and Crab Soup, Caesar Salad (for lunch try it with grilled chicken), and the grilled twin fillets with the peppercorn mustard sauce (on the side). They also have some great wines as well. I'm no wine experst but here are some of my favorites: Saint M Riesling, Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc, Hill of Content Old Vine Grenache Shiraz, and Mark West Pinot Noir.

Well don't take my word for it. Here are some reviews:

“knockout” The Washington Post

“this modern, handsome Clarendon ‘hot spot’… draws a sophisticated clientele of …couples and singles in their 20s, 30s and 40s for excellent mussels, twin petite filets, well-thought out wines by the glass… and has an amazing Sunday brunch…” Zagat Survey

Top after-work meeting place in Northern Virginia Washingtonian Magazine’s readers.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Favorite Thing #16 - J.Crew's Jackie Cardigan

This favorite thing is a must have in any woman's wardrobe - the Jackie Cardigan from J.Crew. This year round cardigan comes in a variety of colors each season. Its very versatile and can be worn with almost any outfit at any time of year. And it fits amazing! According to J.Crew

"Better than ever in cotton blended with stretch in a superfine 14-gauge knit. Cotton/nylon/spandex. Our own style icon—wear it alone or pair it with the matching shell as a classic twinset. Classic fit. Crewneck. Rib trim at neck, cuffs and hem. Three-quarter sleeves. Hits at hip. Import. Machine wash."

I personally own three of these - one in black (a staple in my wadrobe), kelly green, and coral color. There are a few colors from this season's collection that have sparked my interest - bright tangerine (to add some color to my spring/summer wadrobe) and white (because this is another staple in my wadrobe and the one I have needs replaced). Right now these are $62.00 but keep an eye out on J.Crew's sale. I rarely by things full price from J.Crew because there is about a 90% chance they will go on sale. I got all of mine on sale for under $40 (except the black one - that was a gift from my grandmother). Unfortunately none of them are on sale right now but check back because you never know.
I should also mention there is a matching shell for these cardigans if you are intersted, they are $42.00. Personally I don't buy the shells because I like layering a camisole underneath the cardigan.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Favorite Thing #15 - Tupperware's FridgeSmart Containers

So this in another installment of my Favorite Tupperware pieces! Favorite Thing #15 are Tupperware's FridgeSmart Containers. These are probably one of the best inventions ever in terms of kitchen things. According to Tupperware the way the FridgeSmart works is there is an

"innovative venting system that extends the life of fruits and vegetables"

The best way to describe it are there a set of vents which you open or close depending upon what fruit or vegetbale you have in the container. Now I will be completely honest I was very skeptical when I first heard about this at Tupperware Party #1 because I really thought it was just a selling gimic. I actually ended up winning one of the pieces during a game so it gave me an opportunity to try it for free.

I won the "medium long" container so I decided I would try it with celery (which I feel never stays fresh). It's just a little short for a full stock of celery so I had to cut off some of the ends to make it fit. According to the vent guide you are supposed to keep both vents closed. I followed the directions and put the celery in and waited to see what would happen. I used the celery over the course of two weeks and each time it was still just as fresh as when I bought it. After that test I was hooked so at Tupperware Party #2 I bought the rest of them. The entire collection consists of:
  • Small - 4 1/2 cup (square shape) - $12.00
  • Medium Long - 8 1/2 cup (rectangle shape) - $19.50
  • Large - 19 3/4 cup (rectangle shape) - $26.00
  • Large Round - 20 cup - $20.00

For those of you interested I have Tuppeware Party #3 coming up at the end of this month so if you are in need of anything or want to try a piece or two let me know.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Favorite Thing #14 - UGGs

It's going to be a double post day since I didn't post the past two days due to being out of town and sick.

I think with this favorite thing either you LOVE them or HATE them - UGGs!!!

I personally LOVE them and own THREE pairs!!!! These are by far, the most COMFORTABLE shoe and go with so many different looks. So may call them ugly but I personally think they are super cute. Like I said I have three different pairs

And unfortunately the chocolate browns ones I have are no longer available. The best way to describe this pair is like the classic tall but very fitted along the leg with a zipper all the way up.

I am not done with my UGG collection. My next pair are going to be a pair of the crochet ones. Both my friend Chandra and my sister-in-law Aimee have a pair and I think these will be the next pair in my collection. I am debating between two different styles and not really sure about color either. I could go with either:

Classic Cardy

I love the detail on the Classic Cardy and they would be really cute if I wore them over jeans (which Aimee does and it looks so cute). Help me make my decision, let me know your thoughts!!!

Favorite Thing #13 - Parker Bowls from Crate and Barrel

The Parker Bowls at Crate and Barrel are a must have for anyone who loves hosting! These used to be called the Addison Bowls and they are one of my favorite serving bowls to use. The bowls can be used for more than just serving - you can use them for prep, mixing, and storage.

For $36.95 you get five bowls of all different sizes that fit into each other. The colors are bright and are sure to fit any kitchen decor. I use one or two of these bowls at a minimum when we have people over at our house. Unfortunately, I broke one of the bowls so now I only have four. A majority of my friends that recently got married all registered for these. They make a perfect shower, wedding or housewarming gift.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Favorite Thing #12 - Aveda's Light Elements™ Smoothing Fluid

As I have mentioned before I have curly hair and I straighten pretty much everyday. One step in the process of straightening it is Favorite Thing #12 - Aveda's Light Elements Smoothing Fluid. I use this product almost everyday to help tame the fly-aways and just give my hair a smooth, finished look. There are many uses for this product. According to Aveda's website you should:

Apply a small amount of Light Elements™ Smoothing Fluid through damp hair. Blow dry and style. For extra shine—or to tame flyaways—apply to dry hair

I personally only use it right after I blow dried my hair - it's the step in between blow drying and flat ironing. All I need is a few pumps (and I have LONG hair so for those of you with shorter hair you would only one to two pumps) because a little goes a long way and I just run it through my hair. Then I style my hair and if need be apply just a tad more. This product is $23 but will last you a VERY long time. I have had my bottle for over a year now and I am no where near close to even being half way through it.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Favorite Thing #11 - Bigelow Lemon Lift Tea

It's a cold and rainy day in DC today so this favorite thing is perfect!

One of my resolutions this year was to stop spending so much money at Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. On these cold winter mornings it's hard not to sip on a nice warm, tasty beverage so my alternative has been favorite thing #11 - Lemon Tea from Bigelow. I don't like the coffee at work so this is a great, inexpensive alternative. Usually one box, which contains 20 tea bags (about $3) lasts me about a month. It's the perfect blend of lemon flavor with other spices.

The other great thing about this "coffee alternative" is I am saving myself anywhere from 200-400 calories by eliminating the usual Dunkin Dounts w/ cream and sugar OR the Starbucks Chai Latte. Bigelow has all kinds of different teas to try but I am partial to the lemon.


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