Crush List - May

Wow, did this month just fly by, right? Before we head into June, here's a few items I'm crushing on lately.

1 - Woodshop Monogram Letters from Anthropologie
2 - Mint Floral Wrapping Paper from Paper Source
3 - Oh Joy Striped First Aid Bag from Target
4 - Flex activity tracker from FitBit
5 - Crosley Advance Turntable from Burke Decor

Update: I got the Oh Joy Striped First Aid Bag for free at Target today with my purchase of 3 qualifying health care items. I bought 3 boxes of her Band-Aids to fill the bag with!

Update: I got a FitBit! I didn't get the above one though, and opted for the Charge HR (in plum of course) instead.


Vegetable of the Month - Cauliflower

This month we decided to give cauliflower a try. I must confess it has been a long time since I ate cauliflower. I decided I didn't like ages ago, and that was it. However, I tried a few pieces raw while prepping the below dish and it's really not bad. I would definitely eat it raw with just some dip now.

Vegetable - Cauliflower
Before we get into how it tasted, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that this recipe is a lot of work for what boils down to a couple of measly little grilled cheese sandwich. Especially since the whole point of grilled cheese is that it's quick and simple. However, if you're really adamant about cutting out carbs or maybe can't eat gluten then this recipe may be for you.

I actually thought it tasted pretty good. The first bite I wasn't so sure, but as I kept eating it got better. The cheese masks any cauliflower flavor, so that worked for me.

I definitely would tweak the recipe a little bit by forming the "dough" into much thinner slices. My friend who recommended this recipe said that is key (after the fact, of course). My favorite part was the crispy edges; so if I had made the slices thin throughout, I probably would have liked it even better.

Her additional tweaks to the recipe include:
- No need to wring the moisture out of the cauliflower after cooking
- Make slices as thin as possible - almost like a crepe
- Cook longer than indicated until very crispy

I had high hopes that the kids would like this one, but each took one bite and said, "No, thank you." At least they tried it.


Seamus' Room - Progress

Are you ready to see the progress to Seamus' room? I think I'm more excited for how this room turned out than Madeleine's.

First, the painters removed the wood rail from the perimeter, which I think was previously used to hang hats baseball hats or something. Anyway, they patched the holes and matched the wall texture...again, you can't even tell there was ever anything there.
The color is Cement Gray by Benjamin Moore. I had such trouble finding a color for Madeleine's room, but not for Seamus' room. It was the only sample I tried, and it worked!
They did not use Benjamin Moore paint, but color matched it instead. It was zero VOC and in a Flat finish (remember, it helps camouflages textured walls). Red is definitely going to be one of the accent colors in here. I had picked up this HELMER drawer unit from IKEA a while ago, and I love how it pops in the room now.
I've had the multi-colored lamp for ages. I got it from JCPenney for my first apartment in college, and it has traveled with me ever since. It just always works somewhere, and has held up great. The blue blanket is from South Korea. My brother-in-law in law is in the Air Force, and while stationed in Seoul my sister-in-law bought a pink one for Madeleine that we absolutely love. So, when my other brother-in-law (who is also in the Air Force) was stationed in Seoul last year as well, we had him pick one up for Seamus. They are so soft, the perfect weight, the perfect size, and monogrammed with their initials. They're so perfect.
Like the rest of the house, the ceiling, door, and trim all went Pure White by Benjamin Moore - Flat finish on the ceiling and Satin on the doors and trim.
The dresser is temporary. We got it free for Madeleine's nursery from a friend and had painted it black to match her nursery decor. It has served us well, but definitely time for something different.
Finally, we removed the drapes and blinds, and have a sleek new shade ordered. I'll post an update as soon as it's hung.

At some point we'll be transitioning Seamus from a crib to a toddler bed. So far, he has not attempted to climb out of his crib, but I'm sure he could if he really tried. As long as he is content in the crib we're going to leave him there. When the day comes though, I have this toddler bed all picked out.

Stay tuned for more updates to the house in June.


Madeleine's Room - Progress

We finally painted the kids' rooms!!!!

Only took us a year and half to get to it. It was just one of those projects that kept getting delayed for one reason or another. Completely fed up with the way their rooms looked, I just said, F**k it one day, and called the painters.

It's amazing what a coat of paint can do to a room.
It took me a long time to pick a color (see here and here). I ended up going with Neon Celery by Benjamin Moore. The painters didn't actually use Benjamin Moore paint though, they just color matched it to that color. I don't recall exactly what paint they used, but it was zero VOC. We chose a Flat finish too, which really helps to camouflage textured walls.
Did you notice we removed the chair rail? That's why we had to hire the pros. Normally, Bill and I could have handled removing the rail and patching the drywall, but not with textured walls. The painters were able to exactly match the existing texture. You can't tell there was ever anything there!
I haven't decided what to do with all these blank walls yet. I'm thinking another gallery wall either above her bed or on this wall, and some shelving too.
The ceiling, trim, and doors were all painted the color Pure White by Benjamin Moore too. We used the same Flat finish on the ceiling, but did a Satin finish on the trim and doors.
I love how the white just pops off the green.
The inside of the closet was also painted. I figured if we were going through this much trouble we might as well do it right. The closet walls went Neon Celery too, and all the shelving inside Pure White. I'll post a picture sometime after it's a little more organized.
The "Madeleine" banner is from Piggy Bank Parties. I had ordered it for her birthday party (see here). I love the pops of color, and incorporates the gold accents I'm slowly bringing in as well.
I switched the bedding too. I picked up the Rose Ribbon Bedding quilt and shams, along with the Gold Dot Sheet Set from The Land of Nod. We've all ditched our down comforters for quilts. It's just too hot for down here.
Now that it's painted, I keep asking myself why we waited so long.

It's not done yet, though. I ordered a new shade, which should be here soon. I want to get her a new dresser (maybe, this or this). The baseball ceiling fan still needs to be replaced too. She's grown fond of it though, so that may be a challenge. There are a lot of art and accessories to bring in too. Removing the chair rail and painting was the biggest step though. The rest is just decorating.

Check back on Monday, to see the progress in Seamus' room.


My New Video Jam - Bad Blood

Have you seen Taylor Swift's new video for her song, Bad Blood?

It's basically, "I'm Taylor Swift and look at all my famous friends!"

Nepotism at its finest.

And you know what...I don't care!

I think it's fun. Pretty clever if you ask me. Bad Blood is probably one of the weaker songs on her 1989 album (which I love, by the way). A cool video will undoubtedly lead to more downloads of the song. She deserves every success she's achieved. She's talented and is a shrewd business woman to boot.

Here's a look at the entire cast in order of appearance.
Singers, actresses, and fashion models - that's one talented and beautiful group of ladies.

And now, this 36 year-old mother of two is going to stop gushing about Taylor Swift. I should probably be more embarrassed, but I'm not.


Let's Go To The Movies - Pitch Perfect 2

I saw Pitch Perfect 2 on Friday! It was a sold out showing too.
The Bellas are back! After an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction causes them to be suspended from competition, their only shot at redemption is to win the World Acapella Championships.

I was really looking forward to seeing Pitch Perfect 2, as I enjoyed the first one so much. The original was definitely better, but this sequel was really entertaining too. I think they relied too much on the gags from the first time around, but they were funny then and pretty funny now. Anna Kendrick is quickly becoming one of my favorite actresses, and Rebel Wilson steals every scene she's in. Fun flick!

Best part...Clay Matthews singing Bootylicious. Go Pack Go!

Have you seen any good movies lately?  I've heard nothing but rave reviews for Mad Max: Fury Road. I think I need to check it out.


Building A Wardrobe - Summer Tops

I mentioned here that I desperately needed to start building my non-existent wardrobe. With summer approaching, my number one priority was weekend wear. I headed to Old Navy and picked up a few sleeveless tops from Old Navy.

They're really working for me so far. The two eyelet tops are the same style, but different colors/ patterns. They fit nicely along my bust, and then have a slight flow at the bottom that covers my mid-section the way I like. They're great for weekend errands with these simple jean shorts from Target, but I can dress them up easily for work too. Totally versatile.

The v-neck in the middle I like, but haven't worn as much. It needs to be ironed after washing, so it tends to sit in my ironing basket a while after each wear. It looks cute when paired with these chambray shorts from Target and some high heel sandals...a little dressier look for weekend social activities.

Shopping has been a challenge. Besides just finding the time to get out to the stores, it's more work now than fun. I tried on about twenty items and essentially only found two items that fit. I always buy multiple colors if I find something that works now. If I can't build up a lot of variety yet, at least I can build a little volume.

Where are you shopping lately?


Toys for Boys

Seamus is really into animals lately. He loves making all their sounds, identifying them in books, and almost always walking around with a Schleich animal figure in his hands. I love these figures. They're realistic and the perfect size for little fingers and imaginative play. My favorite thing though is how they feel. They're not light...very solid with lots of textures. They feel really good in your hands, which is great for all those little guys (and girls) who still explore the world around them mostly by touching everything.
Like most little boys, Seamus is also pretty into dinosaurs, so it was a no-brainer to start collecting them as well. I couldn't believe how big the dinosaurs are...really substantial, and the T-Rex's jaw moves up and down too. There are a lot of stomping, chomping, and roaring going on with these.
Besides animals and dinosaurs, they have a bunch of other sets too. Fantasy animals, the Smurfs, Peanuts, and I just saw today they're coming out with a DC Comics line too. So fun!


Book Report - Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

I finally got around to reading Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. I wanted to see the movie, and I always try to read the book first. This book also marked off "A Memoir" from the Popsugar 2015 Reading Challenge I'm doing.
Wild is the true story of Cheryl Strayed's epic 1,100 solo hike along the historic Pacific Crest Trail; stretching from California to Washington. After losing her beloved mother to cancer, Cheryl cannot seem to get her footing in life any longer. She destroys her marriage, sleeps around, and starts using heroine. After randomly seeing a guide book about the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl decides to hike the trail in an attempt to gain closure and start putting her life together again.

I took me forever to get through this book (over a month). That's not to say I didn't enjoy just didn't really captivate me. It's a pretty amazing story, but it's also just a story of a woman hiking. There was nothing pulling me back to it each day, you know? She's quite a woman though. I loved the idea of leaving your everyday life behind and going off on a big adventure like this though. So brave!

The book may not have captivated me, but it did inspire me. I really want to get out and hike more now, that's for sure. So far, I've only hiked for a couple of hours at a time. I'd love to go on a hike for miles, camp for the night, and then hike back the next day. I'd love to hike the PCT too...the whole entire thing. Some day.


2015 Met Gala Fashion Part 3

Okay, let's wrap this Met Gala fashion review up, shall we?

Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez rocked this Versace dragon gown. I did a complete 180 on this gown over the past few days, and if I had to do over again I would have put it in my first post of ladies who rocked it. I said here I wasn't a fan of the "naked" dresses, but if there was one that worked it was this one. The dragon is fantastic, and so on theme. I also love the pooling of red at the bottom. It's bold and risky, but it makes sense. I think I immediately dismissed it because it's pretty cliche for her, but for this event, it was actually the perfect choice. I can't believe I'm writing this, but great job, Jennifer!

Katy Perry
Katy Perry wore this black, graffiti Moschino gown. It's not on theme at all, but it was a bold choice. There's way too much going on though - lose the wig, gloves, and paint can purse and it maybe could have worked...maybe. This was a miss for me.

Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer Connelly wore this white lace Louis Vuitton number. I think Jennifer Connelly is one of the most beautiful women ever, and I appreciate her funky, slightly futuristic style; but this look was not my favorite. I don't mind the silhouette (she can pull off that shoulder), but the sleeves are too long and the fabric just wasn't doing it for me. White flowered lace over a black inlay hardly ever works, and this time was no exception. Her face and hair are stunning as always though.

Kristen Wiig
Kristen Wiig wore this lovely yellow Prabal Gurung dress. This is the best red carpet she's done in...ages. The dress, combined with her light hair and tanned skin makes for that perfect California casual look. Unfortunately, this is New York and the Met Gala, so it's all wrong. Perfect Golden Globes look though, and I loved all the gold bangles.

Olivia Munn

Olivia Munn wore this chic J. Mendel dress. She brought the drama. I loved how fluid it was, and the ombre colors. It's sexy and cool. Her sleek hair, big jewels, and perfect make-up really tied the look together. Awesome job, Olivia!!

Sienna Miller
Sienna Miller wore this funky Thakoon pant ensemble. The color is on theme, but it has a more Spanish feel than Chinese, I think. I love the fringe and the belt, but I think it needed some sort of black shirt under the jacket. I hoped she taped that thing down. Not bad, Sienna.

Olivia Wilde
Olivia Wilde wore this pink, jeweled Prada gown. I really liked the dress itself. Those jewels really made it and helped it feel on theme. However, the headband and gloves were too much. Too distracting. This was a case of a great dress and bad styling. 

Keri Russell
Kerri Russell brought the drama in this green, feathered Altuzarra frock. It's not on theme at all, but it's pretty awesome. The earth tone colors are gorgeous, and the different textures provide great visual interest. The simple hair and dramatic eye complete the look. Great job, Kerri!

Alison Brie
Allison Brie wore this royal purple Prabal Gurung gown, and it's a great gown. The color is gorgeous, and the silhouette lovely (love long sleeved dresses!). Her hair and make-up are flawless too. It's all the great textures though, that really made it for me. They don't seem like they should all work together, but they do. It's not on theme, but I'll give her a pass. Beautiful!


Bee Shaffer
Bee Shaffer wore this stunning Alexander McQueen gown. I suppose when your mother is famed Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, you're bound to look amazing. This may have been her mother's event, but Bee had the far better look. The burgundy color is gorgeous, and I loved the silhouette. That train is superb. It was the perfectly on theme pink cherry blossom detailing though that really did it for me. Met Gala perfection!

Jennifer Lopez image from here.
Sienna Miller image from here.
Oliva Wilde image from here.
Keri Russell image from here.
Alison Brie and Bee Shaffer images from here.
All other images from here.


2015 Met Gala Fashion Part 2

We have lots more Met Gala fashion to cover today and tomorrow. I highlighted some of my favorites yesterday (see here), but there was a lot more fun fashion to be had.

Beyoncé wore this sheer Givenchy gown with jeweled embellishments. There were quite a few "naked" dresses on the red carpet, and I wasn't a fan. They don't make the statement intended, and lack creativity. It's just a cheap trick. The embellishments on this dress are actually really pretty, and it could have been gorgeous if it was lined and rearranged. The high pony was poorly done, but her make-up was pretty. Missed opportunity, Bey.

Elizabeth Banks
Elizabeth Banks wore this corn flower blue Michael Kors dress. The dress wasn't on theme at all, but she does look pretty fierce. I didn't love the side cut-outs though. It would have been far more chic if the only skin showing was from the plunging neckline. Her hair, make-up, and accessories really complimented the look though. Good job, Elizabeth!

Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen
The Olsen twins wore vintage Dior, and I'm torn. I think MK is bringing Ashley down here. If you just look at Ashley (right), her dress appears to fit okay, and is working for me. Despite the dark color, it's really light and feminine. Nice juxtaposition. Now look at MK (left). The coat-dress is completely overwhelming her small frame. She reminds me of a child trying on their mother's clothes. Side-by-side her look overshadows Ashley's and they both end up looking like they are swimming in their gowns. Unfortunate for Ashley in this case. Also, as fashion big-wigs, I would have expected them to dress on theme. Kind of disappointing.

Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon wore this red Jason Wu number, and if this were the Golden Globes I would have said she nailed it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this look. Dress, hair, make-up, and accessories are all great. For the Met Gala though, this is way too boring. I suppose the color gives nod to the theme, but that's it. Reese doesn't take risks with fashion though. She know what works for her and never strays. Not bad though.

Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren, in Dolce & Gabbana, was so close for me. I would have absolutely loved this look if the dress was lined. I know she's wearing a red bra, but it's not the same red, and I found it distracting. Her hair and make-up looked great though, and those earrings - shut up! You rock, Helen!

Madonna walked the red carpet in this black Moschino gown with white graffiti details. I love Madonna...LOVE her, but this look wasn't working for me. There is just too much going on. The dress itself is not terrible. Not on theme, but bold. The styling killed it though. The leather, finger-less gloves don't match, and what's with the cross-body chain thing (bag, maybe)? Her hair should have been worn up, and I will never, ever support the dark root look. This was a miss for me.

Maggie Gyllenhaal
Maggie Gyllenhaal sported this lovely Roland Mouret number. I don't know what it is about her, but I always enjoy her red carpet style. The dress on its own is nothing special...kind of weird actually, but on her it works. It's not on theme, but it's quirky and different so I'm giving it a thumb's up. Great job, Maggie!

Emma Roberts
Emma Roberts wore this stunning, emerald green Ralph Lauren gown. Emma is someone who will always look a lot younger than she is (although she is pretty young still), so I thought this mature, yet fun gown was the right choice. It's sleek as all heck. Loved that bare shoulder! The hair, make-up, and black accessories accented the dress beautifully. Gorgeous!

Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence wore this Christian Dior gown. Okay, what's with the bib thing? It just doesn't match at all. It would have made a little bit of sense if it was black, but it's a completely different motif that is not echoed anywhere else on the gown. The pink lipstick also threw me. A bright red lip would have done wonders. The flowers give a little nod to the theme though, and I do like her shoes.


Emily Blunt
Emily Blunt wore this fantastic Prada ensemble. The blue tones look great on her, the Chinoiserie-like embroidery is totally on theme, and come on with that cape! Loved it. The hair, make-up, and accessories compliment the look perfect. So regal, so perfect!

All photos from here, except for Emma Roberts photo which is from here.