Sunday, January 31, 2010

Photos on a Sunday Afternoon

I dressed Vivi up in her Valentine's Day get-up with the intention of taking some pictures to send as cards... such a cutie! I really love the tights, but I ordered them in 12mo. size (obvs!) only to discover that "12 months" really means "only if your 12 month old is the size of a third grader."

Yes, that is my pink Snuggie re-purposed as a backdrop. You know you *luff* it!

Alas, the photo shoot was cut short, as our star took off. Models... so temperamental! ;-)

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Le Brrrrrrr

Every winter, amidst the three-foot snow drifts, -35 degree weather and chattering teeth, I question why we continue to torture ourselves by voluntarily living in an area that so closely resembles the Arctic tundra.

I loath the cold, despise the snow and spit in the general direction of the icy drive that I have slipped on more times that I care to remember. From November to May my tootsies are in a perpetual state of 'cold as ice' and I have, on occasion, been known to wear both a bathrobe and Snuggie at.the.same.time.

Nonetheless, when it comes down to it, I could not imagine living anywhere but here. It's home. And that, my friends is better than any is better than any condo in Boca. Because of this, I would like to become friends with wintertime Vermont. So, I have composed a list of things I would like to do in the hopes of learning to embrace my bitter (cold) enemy.

Here we go...

1. Cross country ski . I've done this before, but not for what seems like an eternity. We're surrounded by places to do this (including the area that surrounds our house) and can rent them for about $5. Apparently the local family wilderness center holds skiing "moonlight excursions." What fun! I better dig out that dorky headlamp flashlight of mine...

2. Snowshoeing. Ditto the info above, plus I hear it's an amazing workout (which, admittedly I need these days).

3. Have Bestie teach me to make these amazing frosted sugar cookies she makes from scratch. She made some snowflake ones for Vivi's birthday and they were incredible! I want to learn to make some for Valentine's Day. So technically this has nothing to do with winter, but it's something fun to do! And it does involve iceing... bah-dum-bum-ching! Ahhh... I amuse myself.

4. Take my daughter sledding. We have the perfect hill for it right in our back yard. We wanted to go for her birthday, but it was far too chilly! It's still pretty cold, but hopefully we can go soon. I want her to grow up loving winter!

5. Winter photography. I really love to take picture. Whether I'm any good or not doesn't really matter to me. I'm always out and about with my camera during the summer and fall, but have yet to go out on a beutiful winter morning and photograph some of the marvels of nature that mother nature provides for us the rest of the year.

6. Go to more of my husband's hockey games. I've taken the baby to a few, but would like to get more into it. Eventually we would like to get our daughter on skates (we're working on the walking thing first) so I would like her to be exposed to her daddy's fave winter activity. Now if only I could stop getting the bleachers at the rink to stop eating my belongings... but that is a goal for another day.

Okay bloggies... it is Saturday, which means a day with my daughter and some [never ending] laundry, so I'm off. I will keep you posted on how I'm doing with my Winter Bucket List! I am open to suggestions for more winter activities to try!

Thanks for reading:)

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

If the shoe fits...

As women, the varying personae and roles we embody as wives, mothers, friends and employees are often referred to as the many hats we wear. Meh. Hats, in my humble opinion, are a far too old school metaphor for my liking. I prefer to think in terms of shoes. Don't get me wrong, hats are great. But in an age when women are both blessed and burdened to have their pick of such an array of metaphorical accessories, we should at least pick the most fabulous one of the lot.

My BFFF (Best&Fashionable Friend Forever) for example, is a black stiletto (classy, sassy, professional and fun) with a pair of Tori Burch ballet flats stashed in her purse (sensible and smart, yet chic). My coworker and friend, A. is definitely a classic Adidas sandal (lively and friendly) with a rockin' pair of boots (confident, smart-mouthed and determined). My husband, a coach and king of razor-sharp wit, would- without a doubt- be a hockey skate. And not one of those cheapie skates you find in recent years, but an older, classic, well built pair that can be relied upon.

And me? Well, my shoe rack holds an eclectic group of of footwear. My coworkers and friends have described me as "something pink and pointy-toed...with a matching bag," which I can't say I disagree with, and will take as a compliment. While I aspire to be a Prada pump, I can't help but feel like a Croc some days, and I'm okay with that.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's taken me a long to to figure out that I don't always have to wear the perfect shoes. It's okay to stand in front of my closet and wonder which pair to wear. I can change from flip-flops to cowgirl boots in a single day, while still having my feet firmly planted on the ground. Thankfully, I have amazing friends who are honest with me if something doesn't suit me, and a husband who just wants me to pick the shoes that make me the most comfortable and happy ;)

IHO all this talk about footwear, I want to share with you some sites I heart for shoe deals (we're talking real shoes here, not metaphorical) this site has great shoes, bags and accessories (lots of designer brands!) for really discounted prices! I was wary of this site at first because it seemed too good to be true... Steve Madden heels for a low price AND free overnight shipping? But I was delighted when my shoes did in fact arrive the next day and were perfectly intact!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Surrender to the Chaos that is Motherhood

It is no secret that as mothers, we are laden with unachievable expectations that do not apply to the rest of the population. If we work, we are criticized for not being home with our children. If we are SAHM's, we are looked down upon for not having a job.

We are expected to put everyone and everything before ourselves in order to keep a spotless house and raise well-mannered, squeaky-clean, future-Olympian, little-geniuses. And don't forget, we need to look beautiful and thin while doing it all! This is quite the balancing act to attempt, and I applaud the mothers that have solved the formula for keeping it all together.

While my amazing daughter and husband are, without a doubt, my number one priority (that fact has never been questioned in my mind) I know I am not alone in being tired of feeling like I have to live up to impossible standards. My husband, thank God, is a man that is refreshingly evolved in his thinking, and agrees that marriage and child-rearing should be 50-50. I cannot cannot stress how much that kind of support and true partnership means!

I can't help but wonder though, who puts these expectations on mothers? Is it 'society'? The ghosts of housewives from days of yore? Is it familial pressure? While I could continue listing possibilities for days, I'll just spare you the boredom and just focus on a solution.The only real remedy I can see is to recognize that perfection is, generally speaking, an illusion. With that knowledge, we'll have to settle for being the most amazing, imperfect moms we can be. ;-)

Very recently a good friend of mine was able to put this into words in a way that I never could:

"Today I've made the profound realization that the battle between clean house and motherhood has officially ended. I surrender to the wonderous distaster of overflowing sinks, unvacuumed carpets, cereal covered floors and toothpaste gobbed sinks. I will walk 10 loads of laundry behind the next mother, as I watch the dust slowly settle on the tops of my shelves, and the garbage overflow onto the floor. Althouigh a disorganized mess, disaster yields more patience than children. 20 years from now my child will be grown up and gone away, but the mess will remain, just waiting for me to attack once again. Aww, dirty house I haven't given up on you... you're just on hold for awhile!" -Alice P.

Wise words, sister.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Children's Books, Revisited

When I was young, my mom would read to my brother and I every night. This simple parental gesture has resulted in a life-long love affair with reading. I hope to some day pass this love on to my darling little Vivi, and have truly enjoyed discovering (and re-discovering) some amazing children's literature with her this year.

While perusing the piles of books at the annual library book sale this summer, I managed to gather quite the array of discarded books (I almost always feel sorry for discarded books and feel the need to 'rescue' them). Amongst the bevy of children's titles I brought (nay, dragged by the boxful) home that day, was 'Seven Brave Women.' Without having actually looked through the book (yes, I committed the cardinal book-lover's sin of judging it by it's cover) I assumed it was a stories of famous brave women throughout history. Always being one to want to show my daughter that women are strong and capable, I added it to my stack of purchases and moved along. I was wrong, but discovered something that was much, much better.

'Seven Brave Women' narrates the lives of author Betsy Hearne's courageous and spirited female ancestors, as told through the eyes of her young daughter. The book points out that "history books marked time by the wars that men fought," and recounts the bravery and life-changing actions of those who did not fight in wars, but faced and survived conflict of their own: the women of her family.

This story was BEAUTIFUL. What a legacy for her to leave for future generations of her family! And don't even get me started on the illustrations. My daughter can't keep her eyes off them. I give this book the Vivi-cakes stamp of approval! A definite visual and written treat, especially for mommy-daughter pairs :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fun Deals for Today!

Here are a few deals I've come across this week!

25% off at (exp. 1/18/10): use code BDAY25 at checkout
15%-25% off at Old Navy (exp. 1/18/10): use code SAVE123 at checkout
Buy 2 classics at Barnes and Noble, get 2 free: code B2G1
Free shipping on Melissa and Doug toys: use code FREESHIP

Added Sunday:

Here is a really cute deal for you party planners out there! Get 14% off your entire order of customized M&Ms at My M&M's by entering the code VDAY14 into the promo field! Great idea for Valentines day, baby or bridal showers, birthday parties, etc.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wonderland for my One Year Old

My sweet Vivi-cakes' Winter One-derland party was a success! And I must say, I'm rather proud of myself! All of the decor was either purchased at the dollar store, or made from items that were.Right after Christmas is the perfect time to throw a snow-themed party, as everything of that nature is 75% off!

We had originally wanted to go sledding and make sugar-on-snow (two quintessential Vermont winter faves) but since it was about -30 with the windchill, we opted to stay indoors and replaced sledding with wine and sugar on snow with quite possibly the *best* cupcakes I have ever had (made by cake-maker extraordinaire, Judy Laberge).

It came out tres cute, no?

(click thumbnail to view full-size)


Monday, January 4, 2010

No such thing as too much hot glue!

My darling daughter turns one in 3 days! To celebrate, my husband and I are going to have a 'Winter One-derland themed party." Cheesy theme? Yes Ma'am, and loving it! I've been busying myself with all sorts of crafty decorations, including this cutie-pie DIY cake stand I've always wanted to try. I found my inspiration here, at CakeJournal, and tweaked it a bit. To make my version, you will need:
-Craft/scrapbooking paper
-Either pre-cut cardboard or foam circles or foam board/cardboard
-Exacto kni
-Several yards of grosgrain ribbon
-3-4 cylinders (they can be crafting foam, cardboard, coffee cans, etc.)
-A lot of hot glue. You can never have too much hot glue!

I think it came out well for a first try! Can't wait to put the cupcakes on it!