Sunday, July 31, 2011


I think I have a bit of a nail polish addiction. Before children (I find I start many sentences with that phrase...apparently I did a lot before my girls) I would give myself manicures and pedicures almost daily. I love the look of freshly painted toenails. My favorite polish brand is OPI. They can be a bit pricy, but their colors are fresh, bright and last for a long time. They also have great names like Pinking of You, You Don't Know Jacques, Call My Cell-ery and Eiffel For This Color. I think that being the OPI nail-polish-namer would be the best job ever!!!

My current top 3 OPI colors are:

Lincoln Park After Dark
Do You Think I'm Tex-Y?
Teenage Dream (from the Katy Perry line)

Their newest polish is their shatter line. It's a colored top coat that gives your nails a crackled look. It comes in black, white, sliver and a few other colors. I was definitely intrigued!

It's supposed to look like this:
Mine came out more like this (granted I have short and stubby nails):
Not quite like the picture...I still can't decide if I put too little or too much on. My toes came out a little bit better...You're going to have to take my word because I couldn't get a decent picture of my square Fred Flintstone feet...

Like with most things I think you need to practice. There are a few pointers I'd like to share.

  • It dries REALLY fast so don't try putting on too thin of a layer. I did that at first and it dried before I could color my whole nail.
  • Use contrasting colors and make sure your base coat is completely dry before putting on the shatter.
  • Practice, practice, practice
  • The shatter has a matte finish, a shiny topcoat helps a lot.
Overall I really like the shatter, and so do my girls. I can't wait to try it with all my colors!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lois Pearl Giveaway

I'm so excited to share a great giveaway with you today!

We met Erin from Lois Pearl last week during drink week. She shared her de-lish Summer Beer recipe with us. This week she is GIVING AWAY one of her adorable Ultimate Knot Dresses in a size of your choice (12m-7). They are super cute and one of a kind. Make sure you check out her Etsy site too. She has some A-mazing bags for sale.

Click {HERE} for the details about the giveaway.

Good luck and I hope if I'm not the winner it's you!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Homemade Ranch

I've made lots of things over the years, but never my own ranch dressing. When I came across this in PW's cook book I knew I had to try it. It was super easy and very, very yummy! It went perfectly with our Penne Alla Betsy and has quickly become a family favorite!

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup real mayonnaise
1/4-1/2 cup milk or buttermilk depending on how thick you want the dressing
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
  1. Sprinkle the salt over the garlic
  2. WIth a fork, mash the garlic and salt together to make a paste. The finner the better, as the garlic is very strong in the finished dressing.
  3. Add all the dressing ingredients to a bowl.
  4. Stir together gently, adjusting the seasonings as needed. Make the ranch dressing all yours-add in more of what you like. 
  5. Chill the dressing for at least 2 hours before serving. Thin with milk if needed.
Tastes wonderful on top of a crispy iceberg salad or as a dip for the fresh veggies from your garden.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bookworm Favorites

Before I was a crafting mama and a runner girl, I was usually found with a book (or two) in hand. As our family grew larger and my time and passion became divided between a variety of other things, the reading took a back seat. I have missed my books. About a month ago I decided that no matter how busy life became I would find time each day to read, even if it was a few pages. Today I wanted to share with you a few of my favorites.

Right now I'm reading Middlesex. I'm only a few chapters into it, but I am really enjoying it. The story spans over three generations of a Greek family and their struggles in life and love.
One of my all-time favorite writers is Dean Koontz. I have been a huge fan since high school. I remember one year for Christmas my parents gave me ten of his books. I finished every single one of them before winter break was over. They are full of mystery and the supernatural. One of the things that I love best about them is that you never see the ending coming, it's usually bizarre and always a surprise. I recently finished What The Night Knows and it didn't disappoint!
In college, my friend Alyson turned me on to John Irving. His books are usually long and complex-stories woven into stories-but always great. A few of my favorite are A Prayer For Owen MeanyWidow For One Year and The Cider House Rules.

I'm not a huge fan of non-fiction. I've read a few that weren't too awful, but I really have a hard time getting into the books. I have enjoyed the "historical fiction" of Philippa Gregory and her novels about the Tudor Dynasty. The most well know is The Other Boleyn Girl. It was made into a movie and like all avid readers, I thought it wasn't as good as the book. They are a great way to get a little touch of history with a lot of deception, drama, love and the lust for power.

I also love a good series. Personally I think that a sign of a great book is one that leaves you begging for more. A series allows the characters to stay with you and you get to watch them grow.

I've read all the Twilight books and I totally heart Harry Potter, but my absolute FAVORITE is the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. My hubby introduced me to these books when we first started dating and I was reluctant at first, but I am so glad he changed my mind. There are seven books in the series that were written over the span of 22 years. They are unlike any book written by Stephen King. You follow Roland, the gunslinger, as he travels through a variety of times and places in search of the Dark Tower.
If you are looking for a great pool-side/beach series than Lucy Hatch is your girl! I came across The Second Coming Of Lucy Hatch by accident and I am so glad I did. It's a quick read and definitely leaves you wanting for more. A recently divorced Lucy returns to her country hometown and falls for the local bad boy Ash. There's nothing better that a juicy love story!
When I was in junior high I read every single one of the Nancy Drew books. In order. I couldn't get enough of all the little mysteries and tried to solve them before Nancy. Sue Grafton's series about private-investigator Kinsey Millhone are the grown-up equivalent to Nancy Drew. The first book is A Is For Alibi and she is currently up to V.  I have no idea if the series will end at Z, but it makes me sad to think that there may come a point when Kinsey has helped her last client!

So that's just a few of my favorites. I seriously could go on and on about books that I love. When it comes down to it, I love books!

What are your favorite books? I'm always looking for my next good read!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Goodwill Mirror Redo

Currently my garage is overflowing a bit with some wonderful Goodwill finds. It would be nice if the weather would cooperate so that I could do a little spray painting! (Don't you think there should be a limit on the number of 90+ degree days???) Thankfully last week we had a little reprieve and was finally able to get a few projects done.

When I saw this mirror at Goodwill my first thought was, "Wow! That is an UG-LY mirror!"
A plastic, gold lamé frame that was begging to be updated. It was definitely giving off a Great Aunt Tillie vibe!
At first glance it seemed a little pricey for a Goodwill find.
A little more investigating got me more excited.
See those screws on the back??? They instantly made upgrading this baby super easy. They allow you to actually take the mirror completely off so there was NO TAPING required when spray painting-LOVE IT!

As an added bonus there were even hanging hooks.
All the intricate curves and grooves proved to be a little challenging, but not impossible. I was a little worried about the paint adhering to the plastic, so first I primed the piece with Rust-Oleum spray primer. Then I applied SEVERAL thin layers of an antique white spray paint in a satin finish. I litterally used an entire can of paint. Elevating the mirror helped make sure I got all the nooks and crannies covered.
I LOVE the final product! It's the perfect accent piece for one of the many boring blank walls in our bedroom. 
The sconce-like shelves on the side are also Goodwill finds. They originally were black and received the same painting treatment as the mirror!

Now I'm keeping my fingers crossed for more spray-paint-friendly weather because I have quite a few projects that are waiting for me!

Linking to: Thrifty Decor Chick September Before and After

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Penne Alla Betsy

This recipe comes from my BFF PW (Pronounced P-Dub). It's from her cookbook  and it is De-Lish! I'm seriously having trouble restraining myself from making it this very instant! It's rich, creamy and has yummy shrimp in it-how could you not L-O-V-E it?!?!? I served it with her homemade ranch dressing (stay tuned later this week for the recipe) and fresh bread. It was a family favorite and just as fabulous the next day!


  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 pound large shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • One 14.5-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • milk for thinning
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade 
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  1. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook the penne until al dente (firm yet tender). Drain and set aside.
  2. Begin by peeling a deveining the shrimp and rinsing them under cold water.
  3. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
  4. When the pan is hot, add the shrimp. Stir and cook on both sides until it is just starting to turn opaque, about 2 minutes.
  5. Remove the shrimp to a plate and allow to cool slightly.
  6. Next finely chop the onion.
  7. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  8. Add the garlic and onion. Stir to combine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.
  9. Next, take a sip of wine, if you're into that sort of thing.
  10. Pour the rest of the wine into the pan. Stir and allow it to evaporate, about 45 seconds.
  11. Pour the tomato sauce and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low. 
  12. Pour in the cream.
  13. Stir well to combine, reduce the heat to simmer.
  14. Remove the tails from the shrimp, chop the shrimp into medium-size pieces, and add them to the sauce. Stir gently to combine.
  15. Next, dump in the herbs and stir.
  16. Add the cooked, drained pasta.
  17. Stir gently to coat. If the sauce is too thick, splash in a little milk to get it to the right consistency. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper. Be sure to taste the seasonings at the end, adjust if necessary.
  18. Serve directly out of the skillet, or pour the contents of the skillet into a pretty serving bowl.
Per PW...Serve with crusty French bread and more wine. This is a cowgirl's paradise

Monday, July 25, 2011

Make Over Your Monday

Happy Monday all!

Have the heck have you been??? It's been awhile since we've checked in with one another. I hope you liked "Drink Week." It was a ton of fun for me and I'm hoping to have more theme weeks in the future. I'm happy to take any suggestion that you may have, so feel free to send them my way.

A few weeks ago our challenge was to let things go. How did you do? I'll admit I struggled with this one a bit, but I did my best and I think I did pretty well.

This week's challenge is:
Maybe there's a difficult recipe you've been wanting to try, or a sewing project that's been on your to-do list for way too long. No project is too small. Can't wait to hear about all the new things you try and if your "something new" is crafty related I'd love to see a picture!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dear Summer, I love you...

Yummy goodness from my garden makes me happy. 

Despite the problems I've been having in my garden this year, I've been able to enjoy a few bowls of delicious tomatoes. I doubt anything tastes better than freshly picked fruits or veggies from your backyard.

Truly a labor of love!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Something For Me Dress" Sew Along

Remember the super-cute dress I made for myself earlier this month?

Kojo Designs is teaching you how to make it next week. Step by step. By Friday you'll have your very own Gap inspired dress (and I'll finally figure out how to do the lining!).

Today's post is your shopping list. Not only is this dress easy to make, it requires very little in the way of supplies. You probably have most of it in your crafty stash already.

So gather all you need and get ready for a fun week of sewing!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Drink Week-Summer Beer (and special guest blogger Lois Pearl Designs!!!)

To end our wonderful drink week I have a our very first, and very special, guest blogger! I'm so excited to introduce you to my good friend and fellow crafty gal Erin from Lois Pearl Designs.

Erin was probably sewing and crafting before she could walk or talk and has the most amazing handbags and clothing in her Etsy Shop. She's a midwest girl who loves sewing, cooking, wine and the family farm. She's been a great resource, teacher, and friend as I've continued on my crafty journey and I'm super excited that's she's joining us today!

Hi All!

I’m Erin, from Lois Pearl Designs.  
Today I am so excited to share one of our favorite warm weather drinks with you, Summer Beer!

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate (I like pink)
3 cans light beer
¾  can clear vodka, either straight up or lemon flavored

Pour lemonade mix into pitcher, then use the lemonade can to measure out ¾ can vodka.  Add vodka and beer to lemonade. 
Stir, pour, sip and enjoy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Drink Week-Chai Iced Tea

I know it's saying a lot, but I think this is my favorite "Drink Week" drink!

I L-O-V-E, love Chai Iced Tea, but why does it have to be so expensive?!?! The powder packets never taste as good and are just as costly as the high-end coffee shops. When I saw this recipe at A Cozy Kitchen I got super excited and I was not disappointed. This tastes EXACTLY like the coffee shop chai teas. I could have consumed a whole gallon of it, but then would be awake for days! (I also think it would taste just as wonderful with decaffeinated tea and low-fat condensed milk if you prefer.) It's a perfect drink for a hot summer day when you need a little pick-me-up!

  • 1 star anise (**I went EVERYWHERE for this little starry spice and the only place that had it was Whole Foods. It was in their bulk bins and I got 10 for a $1. Just grab a bunch, you'll totally be making this drink again and again.)
  • 14 cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 4 cardamom pods, opened (I could only find the pods at Whole Foods, but I think the cardamom seeds would work as well. Essentially you are opening the pods and putting the seeds in the spice mixture)
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons of strong black tea
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (you should have some left over from the Brazilian Lemonade earlier this week)

In a medium saucepan, add spices (NOT THE TEA) to two cups of water. Bring to a boil; remove from heat; let steep for 5-20 minutes depending on how strong a spice flavor you want.

Add the sweetened condensed milk to the water/spice mixture. Bring the milk and spice mixture just to a boil and removed from heat.

Add the tea to the milk and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes to taste. (You can also reheat to a simmer and remove from heat...this is totally optional)

Strain into a pitcher and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until cool. Serve over ice.

So wonderfully spicy and refreshing at the same time!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Drink Week-Cotton Candy Martini

When I came across this martini on Pinterest I knew it would make it's debut during "Drink Week" and would be just as much fun as the Bubble Gum Martini.

It's the perfect drink for a Girl's Night In. It's pink, it's fun and it has cotton candy in it! What's not to love?!?!?

In a shaker, combine:

  • 2oz of your favorite vodka
  • 1oz cranberry juice
  • 1oz pineapple juice
  • ice

**I used 2oz of cran-strawberry juice because that is what I had on hand

Place a puff of cotton candy in your martini glass.
Pour your martini mixture into the glass over the cotton candy.
Once the cotton candy has dissolved enjoy your new favorite martini!
I love that the sugary goodness of the cotton candy does not overpower the martini. It's the perfect balance of all the ingredients.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Drink Week-Sangria

I was first introduced to this wonderful Sangria last summer. Not only is it refreshing, but it only has three ingredients which makes it perfect for impromptu summer gatherings. I think one of the things that drew me to this Sangria was that it doesn't require fruit. I know there are some "Sangria Purists" out there that are shaking their heads at the lack of fruit and to you I say that if fruitless Sangria makes you that uncomfortable by all means throw some fruit in there! I'll be sticking to my fruitless Sangria and will be enjoying my first refreshing sip while you are still in the kitchen slicin' away!

To each his own...

Here is my treasured Sangria recipe:
Personally I think you can tell how good a recipe is by how weathered it looks. A well-loved recipe is usually covered in dried food and the corners are ripped and dog-eared. You can tell by looking at my copy that I REALLY like this drink!

To make the Sangria you will need to mix the following in a pitcher:

  • 3 parts Blackberry Wine
  • 3 parts Sprite
  • 1/2-1 part Brandy

Serve over ice.

Pull up a lounge chair, relax and enjoy your new favorite summer drink!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Drink Week-Brazilian Lemonade


Our debut drink is BRAZILIAN LEMONADE and it is YUMM-Y!
Brazilian lemonade is wonderfully refreshing and perfect for a hot summer day. It is a non-alcoholic drink, but a little birdie told me that it tastes great with a little rum added in it too! It does not keep well so I recommend making it right before you plan on serving it.  Go ahead and make a double batch, I guarantee that you'll need it!

  • 4 limes (you want the ones with the thinner skin, they are less bitter and are juicer)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 6 cups of cold water
  • 6 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (you might want to pick up two may need it later this week...hint, hint)
  • Your favorite rum (optional)
Mix the cold water and sugar and place in the refrigerator until ready to use. 

You will need to to wash the limes well to take off the wax and any pesticides. Regular dish soap is fine. Then cut the ends off of each lime and slice into eights.
Place half of the limes and half of the sugar water in the blender.
Pulse 5 times.
Place a strainer over the pitcher you will be using to serve your lemonade and pour in the contents of the blender. Use a wooden spoon to press the rest of the liquid into the strainer. Discard the peels and pulp.
Repeat with the remaining limes and sugar water.

Stir in the condensed milk. Taste. If it seems bitter you can add more sugar or more condensed milk.

Serve immediately over ice and enjoy it's fruity goodness!

Source: Our Best Bites

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Makin' Things Easy and Annoucements

Happy Sunday!!!
I hope you are having a wonderful weekend & aren't melting too much! It's so very H-O-T hot here in Indy that we have taken up permanent residence at the pool! I plan on being there until September.

I made a few changes to the blog this weekend...did ya' notice???

There are two new features to help you navigate around here a little better. There is now a "search bar" on the top right corner of the blog. Hopefully this will help you find your favorite posts a little easier. I've also combined all my tutorials into one place. There is now a tab at the top of blog where you can find links to all my tutorials. These two changes were based on suggestion from readers. I want to make my blog easy to navigate through so if you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them. I will be adding a few more tabs this week; one for recipes and another with links to some of my favorite blogs.

And now for our announcement...

I'm having my very first theme week!!!

It's going to be five days of wonderful summer drinks. I even have my very first guest blogger lined up too so make sure you check in every morning for the drink of the day! 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Swimmy Fish

This was our regular pool attire the past month...

The girls had enough flotation devices to save the Titanic from sinking. If one drop of water hit one hair on their head we'd go into meltdown mode. I was convinced that one day I'd be the proud mother of teenagers in water-wings.

It didn't take long for the girls to notice that most of their friends did not use floaties, life vest, inner-tubes or any other  buoyant devices (and certainly not all at once!). It's a amazing what a little bit of "good" peer pressure can do. We are now the proud parents of not one, but TWO swimmy fishes!

It's a Proud Mama Moment!