Let’s Catch Up!

knick knacks

Good afternoon, everyone! Another month has slinked away, hasn’t it? Hard to believe August is here. I have not forgotten about my little corner of the Internet, but believe me, the last month has been filled with activity (and a little stress… I’ll get to that). I have had time to do quite a bit of reflection, and I really want to get back into posting her regularly, so hold me to it, okay?

All right, first let’s just get to what the stressful situation was. As some may remember, I have a thyroid nodule. Four years ago, my journey with thyroid disease began. Things have been stable. I take my levothyroixine, I feel great, and I get an annual sonogram to check on my thyroid nodule(s) (one came and went!). Last December one of my lymph nodes was enlarged, so my doctor had me repeat the test in June. In June, it was still inflamed and the radiologist recommended an MRI.

Well, I kind of freaked out a little bit. It could be nothing — it could be just regular inflammation associated with my Hashimoto’s, it could be because I had a sore throat, or… obviously it could be something a lot more scary. My insurance wouldn’t agree to an MRI, and after a month of my doctor’s office going back and forth, the insurance agreed to a CT scan. I had no idea what to expect, I had to go to a facility I’d never been to before, Drew was going to be out of town… but somehow I kept it all together. I had my appoinment last Thursday and I have to say it was not at all scary. The tech and the nurse were great. The IV contrast was kind of freaky (as soon as it goes into your veins you feel as hot as if you were standing in the desert — so weird!). The entire appointment took last than an hour (including waiting).

In Saturday’s mail came my results from the imaging center. Thankfully, Drew was back from Kansas by that point. Shaking, I opened the envelope and was so relieved as I read line after line of “Unremarkable.” Never have I been so thrilled to be “unremarkable!” The last line said it all:

good news for me!

What a huge relief, and a heavy weight off my shoulders. A scare like that really makes you put things into perspective, though, trust me. I spent so much time thinking about what’s really important in my life… things I could let go of, as well as things I want to hold on to. I didn’t feel comfortable talking about it to many people, and certainly not blogging about it until I knew the outcome. So that happened. And it’s over!

Aside from that, July was a busy month with camps for the kids. Drew spent a week in Kansas City for work. And I kept on plugging away at my Stitchcation Afghan. I’m a little jealous of the ladies who are done. I am just about half-way there, but I’m just taking my time and enjoying it. (Though honestly there are a couple stitches that I will be happy to never do again.)

stitchation squares

Oh! I also got about 6 inches of hair cut off on Friday! With everyone out of the house for one reason or another, I took the opportunity to head to the salon and get a long over-due hair cut. I love it!

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Ever since I attended the Country Living Fair in June I’ve been thinking a lot about style. There were some women there who had the cutest outfits and one of the things I decided among all this summer soul-searching is that it is high time for me to break out of the jeans-and-tee-shirt “uniform.” In high school in college I always loved clothes, makeup, and doing my hair. That really hasn’t changed but with little ones I didn’t have much time to put forth a great effort. But with all three a little bit older, and certainly come September when they’ll all be in school, I can eek out a little more time everyday to put myself together.

Are you still with me, or have I bored you away? LOL! Anyway. That’s the story from here! What have you all been up to this summer? Are your kids going back to school yet? Fill me in on what’s new with you!

Easter Mani

It’s a little-known fact that I love nail polish. Love it. I pin lots of cool manicures and I have a basket overflowing with bottles and stickers and doo-dads. Of course, I don’t always get around to actually doing my nails, but that’s beside the point.

If you pay any attention at all to beauty boards, chances are you have seen the amazing-sounding sponge gradient manicure. Now, as with all things I find on Pinterest, I approached this technique with great trepidation. No way could it possibly be that easy.

Well, strike me down, it actually worked! I thought it would make a fun Easter manicure so I tried it out this morning. I used Zoya Kendal as my base polish, and then simply striped various other pastels onto a makeup sponge, per the tutorial. I pretty much love how it came out! (Sorry for the lame photos — I was trying to do this quick).

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I only did one accent nail on each hand because I think at at my age, 10 rainbow nails would be a little more than I could get away with. But a little bit of fancy on my ring fingers? No problem!

What do you think? Love it? Hate it? Have you tried it yet? The only thing is that you definitely need to apply a topcoat because your nail picks up the texture of the sponge. Don’t skimp on that step. I recommend trying this, though. It’s quick and easy and makes it look like you spent a lot of time on your nails. I plan to experiment with other colors after the holiday!

{wiww} man, i’m a boring dresser

Week 2 of my participation in What I Wore Wednesday has shown me what a boring dresser I am. But in a way, it’s a good thing because now I can work on snazzing it up a bit. Let’s just get to it, shall we?

I wore this outfit last Thursday. My brother-in-law came up to visit and my older son had a Folk Night at school. Drew said I looked a lot more like a French sailor than a pioneer, LOL…

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shirt:: bought at a small shop in Arcachon Bay, France on our honeymoon… ten years ago!
jeans:: Target
scarf:: eBay
shoes:: TJ Maxx way back when I still worked. They were my “trade show shoes!”

I wore this next outfit out to lunch on Saturday.

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shirt:: Land’s End
cardigan:: Bass
cargo pants:: Target
necklace:: gift from D.

Sunday my MIL cam up for the day and we all just hung out. I was feeling a little under the weather.

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shirt:: Target
sweater:: Wal-Mart
jeans:: Target (way long ago)

Monday I was grouchy and coughing and really just didn’t care. So this is what I threw on.

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sweater:: tag says New York & Co., but I actually bought it at Dollar Tree
jean:: Target
clogs:: Fly Flot

The clogs are definitely my favorite part of this whole outfit. When we owned the wine shop, there was a shoe store next door that sold mostly orthopedic shoes. I guess Fly Flot is a popular brand of nursing shoes (they are SUPER comfy). Anyway, that’s where I found them!

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No photo yesterday because I was cooking and cleaning all day and really wasn’t wearing anything worth logging!

 

Linking up with…
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{wiww} gotta start somewhere

I’ve really been enjoying other bloggers’ WIWW (What I Wore Wednesday) posts, but I’ve never quite had the courage to take part. However, thanks to Pinterest and a newfound desire to whip my wardrobe into shape, I figured it was time to play along. And the first of a new month seemed perfect!

Please excuse the blurry photos. Bad lighting and an impatient toddler made this a challenge today. I swear I’ll do better next time! Anyway… last week I was at the Lee Premium Outlets and decided to see what Bass had, since the sign in their window advertised HUGE SAVINGS. I came out with a new pair of mary janes and two new cardigans. I’m wearing the red one today — the other one is the same style, but in black. Love them!

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cardigan:: Bass
cream top:: Wal Mart
scarf:: Charlotte Russe
jeans:: Lee (Kohl’s)
socks:: Target
faux pearl earrings and bracelet:: Charlotte Russe

So there you have it! My plain and simple style for today. Hopefully next week I’ll bring you something slightly more interesting and in focus 🙂

Linking up with…
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hartstrings kids clothes review

Heartstrings Kids Review

Laura is a girly-girl. She loves getting dressed up. She loves fancy clothes. And she really likes picking out what to wear. So when I was offered the opportunity to choose an outfit from Hartstrings Kids to review on my blog, I knew that my little lady would want to have a say in it.

Hartstrings offers a selections of boutique clothing for babies, boys, and girls. I had such a hard time narrowing down my choices because there are so many outfits I loved. Ultimately, I picked my three favorites and then asked Laura which one she liked best. (She might be two and a half, but she definitely has strong opinions!) She loved the Long Sleeve Sweater Dress from this season’s Fair Isle Collection. I was kindly sent a pair of matching leggings to complete the look.

Heartstrings Kids Review

Shipping was speedy and the clothes were safely packaged in a plastic mailer. I ordered a size 2T for Laura. Typically she wears anywhere between a size 18 months – 24 months because she is a tiny little peanut, but I wanted her to get extra wear out of this pretty dress. I would say it is true to size. It is a little big on her, as I expected it to be, but not so big that it looks baggy. The knit is very soft and she was really comfortable. Actually, I had to bribe her with candy to take off the clothes and put her play clothes back on!

Heartstrings Kids Review

The clothes at Hartstrings are on the pricier side, but I think the prices are reasonable for special event or holiday clothes. Plus, as I browsed through the site, I noticed that quite a few choices were on sale. If the quality of the clothing I received is indicative of the rest of their offerings, I would (and probably will) order from Hartstrings in the future.

Heartstrings Kids Review

I think I’ve also seen Hartstrings specials on some of the daily deal sites, so you can always look for those too 😉 I know that we’ll get a lot of mileage out of this bright and cheery dress. In fact, Laura will have her first chance to wear it next week at her cousin’s birthday party!

Be sure to follow Hartstrings on Twitter and check them out on Facebook to be one of the first to learn about specials, deals, and new items.

Disclosure: I received free products from Hartstrings for review as part of my participation in a campaign by MomSelect.  I did not receive any financial compensation for this post.  This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

fall style is in the bag

Don’t you love the change in seasons? It’s like getting a whole new wardrobe all over again. I usually splurge on a few new pieces, but I love going through my fall stuff and resdiscovering things I haven’t worn in months. One of my favorite things to shop for are new purses.

I just bought the bag shown above a couple weeks ago and I am loving it! I can’t believe I didn’t have a brown purse — that’s such a basic. If you take the time to look, you can usually find good deals, especially if you check out the coupon sites. Even though I had a special coupon from Discover that I used for this bag, I could have checked for Kohls coupons at dropdowndeals to save money.

Anyway, the bag will look great with all kinds of fall colors. Here are a few of my favorite style picks from Pinterest. They’re my inspiration for the coming months, what do you think?

Source: polyvore.com via Carol on Pinterest

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Source: polyvore.com via Carol on Pinterest

 

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I’m really into neutrals with a pop of color. But mostly I am just excited to wear boots and scarves again. Let the leaves fall!

best headband ever

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I am showing my Massachusetts roots when I say this: It’s been wicked freaking hot out. I am not a big fan of humidity, especially with my long hair. Normally, I would throw it back into a ponytail, or twist it into a bun. However, my daughter freaks out when my hair is up for some reason.

As long as my hair is down in back, she’s happy. But the minute I put it up, Laura furrow her little two-year-old eyebrows and says, “Mommy fix hair! Mommy fix hair!” She says it over and over until I take out the twisty pins or elastic. And with temperatures in the 90s and bangs that are growing out and hair halfway down my back, I need to keep it away from my eyes and behind my ears at the very least. So I needed another solution: headbands. Pinterest to the rescue! I found several great (free!) tutorials to make cute headbands and first decided to sew up a few using this tutorial from Happy Together.

This is a great project for all those fat quarters one tends to buy just because one likes the pattern. 😉 They are quick and easy to make and stay in your hair very well. I’ve been wearing mine constantly! I even got brave and decided to model one of them. Please ignore my grubby tee and my lack of makeup. It was about a zillion degrees out when I took these photos.

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These headbands reminded me of what Sassy magazine dubbed “Alice Bands” back in the early 90s (referring, of course, to Alice in Wonderland). Do you remember that trend with the thick headbands? I always liked it, so I’m glad it’s kind of back. You can obviously make these headbands as funky or plain as you like. I’d recommend giving the pattern a go!

“shrugging” on this project

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Earlier this week I cast on for the “Midwest Moonlight” scarf from Scarf Style. It’s a pattern I’ve had flagged literally for years. However, when I picked up the knitting needles again, I soon remembered why I haven’t knit in a while: it takes forever compared to crochet. So… what to do?

Do I keep plugging along at this? Earlier this morning I stopped by Old Navy because they have a super-duper sale going on and I bought this adorable tank for under $4. I love the picot detail!

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It looks great as-is, but I think it would be sweet with a little crocheted shrug or sweater. They actually were selling crochet shrugs right next to it, but the smallest size they had was still too big, plus it was in awful shade of olive. But I think this blue would look great as a little cardi, don’t you? I have quite a bit of this yarn, so I am thinking of starting a shrug using another skein. (Just in case I don’t like that either and want to go back to this scarf at some point — you can see how fickle I am when it comes to this stuff.) Good thing I’m not into making jewelry. I’d probably spend all my time on wire management because I’d change my mind on projects so often!

I need to just commit to one project and finish it. Right now I have so many unfinished blankets and garments in my closet that it’s embarrassing! Please tell me I am not the only one, LOL!

the eyes have it: l’oreal review

l'oreal review

Lately I’ve been trying out quite a few new products. Some I recieve because I am members of programs, some because I sign up for a lot of freebies and coupons, and some because… well, I just like to try new things. So I thought that I’d designate Wednesday as the day I post reviews. I’m trying (trying!) to get some kind of blogging schedule going, but it’s hard because I’m used to writing in a very unstructured way.

At any rate, today I’m writing about makeup. I am a member of BzzAgent, which many of you have no doubt heard of (and you might be members yourselves). I was sent two full-sized L’oreal product samples to try: their new One Sweep™ Eye Shadow and Double Extend® Eye Illuminator Mascara. I’ve been using the products since the end of March. While I wasn’t so sure about the mascara at first, after using them I can say that love them both!

The One Sweep™ Eye Shadow

This eyeshadow allows you to apply three shades at one time, simplifying the process of having great-looking eyes. Normally I don’t bother with more than one color of shadow, even though I like the look. With One Sweep, it’s the best of both worlds. It took me a little bit to figure out the best way to use the applicator (I obviously didn’t want to apply the lightest shade to the bottom of my lid.) But once I got the hang of it, the application was super easy. The name of the product is a bit of a misnomer, as I needed at least two or three sweeps in order to get good coverage.

l'oreal review

 

Double Extend® Eye Illuminator Mascara

I have a love/hate relationship with mascara. I love the way good mascara accentuates my eyes, but I hate many of the mascaras I’ve tried. I was a little skeptical when I saw the tube of L’oreal Double Extend. One end is a traditional mascara brush, but the other side is  shaped like a ball, and the color is bronze. (This is the “illuminator” part of the mascara.) I’m 35 years old, so I feared this would be a little too much.

l'oreal review

Actually, the sparkle from the illuminator end is really subtle. It gives your lashes just a hint of sparkle — perfect for a night out. The traditional end of the mascara tube includes a brush that makes your lashes appear fuller. The makeup is a little on the thick side, so it helps if you have a lash comb to separate out your eyelashes. Overall, I think it is better than most of the other mascaras I’ve tried.

Both of these products are available at stores like CVS and Target, so you should have no problem finding them if you want to try them out for yourself!

Disclosure: I received these samples as part of my participation in the BzzAgent program. The opinions I’ve expressed in this review are my own and I receive no further compensation for posting them.

feeling rosey

baby hat with oversized rose

Last night I had great success with the alternate rose pattern I was crocheting! Here it is on one of the hats bound for my friend. I hope she loves it as much as I do.

The rose isn’t directly attached to the hat, this way she can mix-and-match. But rose and brown is one of my favorite color combinations and I wonder if I’d look goofy if I made this hat in my size 🙂

I’m going to make a cream rose to send along, as well. Who doesn’t need more oversized flowers in their life?