Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Feeling Good~

If you're stuck in a rut, or feel like you need a boost of energy, here are 5 ways to increase the wonder in your life.

From Oprah's December 2010 LifeClass

*=Ashley's Thoughts

"Awe is a response to things you don't have a mental template for," says psychologist Michelle Shiota. "You have a mental template for getting up in the morning, drinking your coffee, and driving to work, but not for listening to a piece of music you haven't heard before or sightseeing in Thailand."

*Talking to someone you've never talked to before, taking your kids somewhere new, trying a new restaurant...all good things. Sightseeing in Thailand is a bit extreme, but I definitely think that changing routine every now and then is beneficial. Except for nap time...Nap time must be consistent!!

Nature is the ultimate source of awe. "Just being outside can conjure up feelings of wonder and give you perspective," says psychologist Dacher Keltner. "Or better yet, plan a hike or a camping trip in a spot that's known for its vast spaces or natural beauty."

*Who doesn't feel great after taking a walk or playing outside? Camping? But being outside during the day, yes! Oh, and I was reading in my Parenting Magazine that even when the weather is super, super cold, it's beneficial for your children's health to take them outside for 10 minutes or so.

Spending time in large groups, whether at rock concerts or political rallies, often stirs feelings of awe. "Ecstatic social experiences have a way of lining everybody up emotionally, and that's very powerful," says Keltner.
*Do I need to remind everyone about my Celine Dion experience? I would say that definitely stirred up some feelings of awe.

Whether you're checking out Mars Rover images at or just looking for constellations in the backyard, "if there's anything that illuminates just how much we still don't know about the universe, it's looking up at the nighttime sky," says Shiota.

*Charlie is super in to stars, aka twinkles, these days. The other night was BEAUTIFUL, and we stared at the stars for a while. It feels so great to take a few minutes to enjoy beautiful things we often take for granted.

Maria Popova, known by her Twitter followers as @Brainpicker, posts a stream of awe-inspiring images on her feed: slow-mo footage of a lightning strike, a sunset seen from space, sculptures carved into a pencil point. "I want people to stop a second and go, 'How amazing is that,'" she says.

*Whether it's a blog/website you read/write daily, a class you take, a series of books that you're reading, or new recipes that you're trying, I think everyone needs a "thing" to keep them motivated. What's yours?

Hope you're feeling inspired to do something great today!!

"One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats."
Iris Murdoch

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Finding success in the little things......

*The boys have started napping at the same time. Yesterday they both napped for 2 1/2 hours at.the.same.time. Success!

*Every pair of socks had a match in the first load of laundry I did yesterday. When does that ever happen?? Success!!

*I stacked FIVE of Charlie's cars up. You should have seen his face...I was basically SuperWoman to him. Success!

With my success stories came some failures.

*Success=I remembered to floss my teeth. Failure=The floss got stuck in my permanent retainer. Nerd alert!!

*Success=We finally got all of our Christmas decorations down from the attic and have almost everything decorated. Failure=Charlie thought the silver ornaments were baseballs. :/

*Success=Trying a little bit of yoga for the first time in a while. Failure=Charlie thinking I was trying to play horsey with him. Next time I should try that during nap time.

Hope you find much success today! :-)

Monday, November 28, 2011

One Month of Sweetness~

My little baby boo turned 1 month on Friday!

I can't believe how fast time flies.

Walker is so adorable and sweet natured and is such a blessing to our family.

And, speaking of adorable.......

Just look at that hat!!

My sister in law, Lindsay, made it for my little guy.

She makes THE CUTEST baby hats. Check out her Etsy Shop here.

So, if you're still in need of a Christmas gift for a little one, make sure you get your order in.

(It just so happens that her hubby pulled my name for Christmas, and this scarf, from her shop is on my Christmas list!)

Happy Monday!~

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving!!!

From our family to yours!

So much to be thankful for. Enjoy your day.~

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Good Life~

So excited to be spending Thanksgiving with family.

Charlie was excited about packing......

More excited to ride on the suitcase....

The weather today has been absolutely perfect on the beach.

This is how every Thanksgiving should feel.

Charlie loves throwing the football.

Look at his adorable footprints.

A day on the beach wouldn't be complete without chasing seagulls.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Yummy Thanksgiving Dessert~

One of my favorite texts from this past week was from my friend Kristen when she asked,

"Do you like cheesecake?"

Umm...Yes, yes I do.

Kristen brought over the most amazing cheesecake I have ever tasted.

Pumpkin-Pecan Cheesecake.

She got the recipe from the November 2011 issue of Southern Living.

So, if you're still in need of a yummy dessert to make for Thanksgiving, you can find this cheesecake recipe here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weekend Fun~

My weekend got off to a great start with a girls' night to see Breaking Dawn.

The next sibling of mine to get married WILL have these white flowers at their wedding.

So, be prepared sibling.

My good friend, Sabrina's, son turned 2 this week and had a fun birthday party. I feel like he was just born, and now he and Charlie are bouncing in bounce houses!! Crazy how time flies.

Noel and I went to see the Rockettes perform on Saturday night. I didn't think it was possible, but the lady sitting beside me seemed to love them more than I do. I've always wanted to be a Rockette, but my dream was totally destroyed when I stopped growing at 5'4".

My sister, Jessica, performed in The Dance Collective's production of "Cinderella" this weekend. She was amazing, of course, and I'm glad I was able to see her perform.

Great weekend! And today, we're enjoying this beautiful, sunny weather.

Looking forward to Thanksgiving this week!!~

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Men Who Camped Out for Twilight~

Grantland is one of Noel's favorite websites.

He sent me the greatest article about Twilight the other day.

You can read the article here.

Great pictures of people camping out for the premiere.

I'm going to see the show tonight!! Can't wait!!~

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Girl Like That~

I love everything about this movie and show.

I used to make my students watch it at least once a semester.

Yes, it's THAT important to know every single line from West Side.

I recently came across an interview with Rita Moreno who played Anita in the movie.

The interview is really interesting; she talks about how she got the role, what it was like working with Jerome Robbins (jealous!!!), and what filming the movie was like.

You can read the interview here.

Also, this month marks the 50th anniversary of the movie. Happy Anniversary West Side!!!

I will be teaching Charlie how to snap and jump at the same time later on today.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

So this is love~

Do you remember the Cinderella song, "So This is Love"?

My dear friend, Amber, took some beautiful, amazing pictures of my sweet babies.

As I was looking through all the pictures, I kept thinking...THIS is love!

".....this is what makes life divine......"

" this is the miracle that I've been dreaming of...."

So this is love...~

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Oh no, JLo~

I do love some JLo.

She now has a new fashion line out at Kohls.

She has a lot of cute things, but some of her pieces are pretty crazy.

One in particular......

The high heel sweater boots.

These are super scary.

Sweater Ugg Boots=Good.

Sweater high heel boots=Bad.

In other news, my fall wreath was selected by Better Homes and Gardens as one of their favorites!

You can click on this link, to vote for my wreath! It's "Fall Wreath with a splash of polka dots".

Thanks everyone!!!~

Monday, November 14, 2011


Before Walker was born, I thought of a few things I would do different from when Charlie was a newborn.

*Hospital Nursery:
Everyone I talked to said to send Charlie to the nursery in the hospital so I could get some sleep. When I brought him home, his nights and days were COMPLETELY turned around. He was the ultimate frat boy; slept all day and partied all night. Looking back I really think the fluorescent lights and loud noises in the nursery contributed to this. So, I kept Walker in my room with me at nights in the hospital. It was great because he learned that night time was dark and quiet, and was only for sleeping and eating.

Why did I not swaddle Charlie at first?? Huge mistake. When Jennie was over visiting one day, she had to teach me how to swaddle him, because for some reason having them all tight and bundled scared me. I DOUBLE swaddle Walker just as tight as I can...and he loves it.

Again, why did I not have some type of noise in Charlie's nursery at first? It took me a few weeks to figure that one out. I'm a huge fan of the humidifiers that have a fan type noise with them. My brother sleeps with 2 of the biggest fans I have ever sounds like a wind tunnel in his room. So, maybe it's genetic, but I think noise is great for sleeping.

Because of these changes, Walker has been a ROCK STAR sleeper from the beginning. I pray that it stays that way. Charlie is an amazing sleeper, but it took us about a month to get to that point.

And now, for some weekend adorable ness.

I was unloading the dishwasher and heard a huge crash. Charlie had taken the bottom rack out and was pushing it around the kitchen.

Such a good helper.

The best Zoolander face of all time. I adore baby faces...especially this baby's!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Vampires, Werewolves, and Courtney......OH MY!!~

I finally convinced my girl Courtney to read the Twilight series.

Success!!! If YOU haven't read're next on my list.

She finished the books....and what do you know....has a strong opinion about them. :-)

She is an incredible writer and here is her take on the series.

I've always enjoyed going against the grain a little. In my younger years, I often thought that following the popular trends was a waste of time. I found my own ways to be unique, different, odd~ and it got me nowhere. It was as if I was fighting the masses without a cause (and honestly, it's just no fun!) Every once and awhile I find myself rebelling against a certain popular phenomenon without reasoning, and I have to talk myself down off my soap box long enough to remember that there really wasn't a point to boycotting this public agenda in the first place.
Upon moving to NYC and spending hours a day on a subway I revived my love for reading, which lead me to finally give into the popular Harry Potter series. I immediately fell in love with the boy wizard and only regret not getting to the novels sooner. Harry Potter and his friends will be a huge part of my existence for the rest of my life (and yes, that includes forcing my future children to read and love them as well).

There was, however, a secret boycott going on inside my head against anything that had to do with Twilight. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I am a 26 year old female who is still morbidly afraid of vampires; or maybe the cause of my immediate hatred was the result of extreme single/loneliness. I didn't want my being lonely to result in falling head over heals in love for a fictional vampire named Edward. The last thing I needed in my life was to be lying awake dreaming of men that don't even exist. Regardless, I eventually gave in. My friend Ashley put up a very good fight in convincing me to read the Twilight series. Her main point struck me as sincerely true: "How do I know what my opinion is, if I haven't even read the books?" However, more than anything, I felt that I owed Ashley. She had read the Harry Potter books due to my begging, didn't I owe her the same effort?

There are 4 books in the series: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn; and none of the books are under 500 pages long.

I had the unique opportunity to read the books while living in Seattle, Washington (which is about 3 hours from where the books take place in Forks, WA) which definitely helped set the proper rainy mood! I tried to begin reading with an open mind, a willing heart, and here is what I found:
Also, the point of view is that of a 17 year old girl named Bella, and let's just say that I didn't particularly enjoy reading the musings of a teenager falling in love for the first time.

Although the books have somewhat of an intriguing storyline, they are drastically too long to have kept my attention. The plot that weaves in and out of the 4 books could have easily fit into 2 well written and precise books, without sacrificing any of the story.

The character of Bella is not appealing to men like Edward and Jacob are appealing to women. It's as if the author knew her story would only be marketable to women, which comes to my next point. Stephanie Myer's writing leaves much to be desired. She isn't a master storyteller like one would hope, and it's quite a shame because I do believe she had an interesting idea on her hands. It was as if the whole series was sold short of it's true potential (but that's me as an artist speaking, not as someone trying to market a 'hit'). As an author, Stephanie Myer takes a lot of 'cheap shots' to draw the reader in with her first book, and fails to find much new in the latter books to keep hold of the reader.
Edward is a brooding, sensual and intriguing gentleman who seems to be able to look past all of Bella's faults to instantly fall madly in love with her. WHAT WOMAN WOULN'DT WANT THAT? Then on the other hand you have Jacob, who is a little more immature, never wears a shirt, is constantly fighting valiantly for the love and attention of the plain and clumsy Bella. He appeals to the other half of the women that aren't (for whatever weird reason) attached to Edward. Stephanie Myer basically writes three novels of foreplay that leave women practically dreaming of vampire/werewolf men coming to their rescue;
while contintuing the hollywood tradition of creating an extremely unrealistic view of real-life love. Furthermore, Bella is a poor example to women everywhere. She's like the Sandy from Grease of our generation. She betrays everything she is, everything she was, and everyone she loves because the greek- God-looking vampire Edward is her soul mate.

There is no truth in saying that I hated these books. Overall they were decent, and at times quite page turning!
I like to think of the Twilight series as the 'Britney Spears' of books. If you like something a little provocative, extremely auto tuned, not really talented but quite enjoyable ( or brain candy as my cousin calls it), disappointing yet addicting, and a little embarrassing to admit to liking~ then the four books are certainly worth your time!

If nothing else i'm truly glad that I read them. Not only do I now understand what the differences between 'Team Edward' versus 'Team Jacob' are, but I can also say that I learned a valuble lesson in all of this. Before forming such a biased opinion about any subject, it's important to do your research. Reading a popular book series didn't kill me; I enjoyed myself, had much to talk with my girlfriends about, and now have a rightful opinion on the whole series.

P.S. For those of you who are wondering, i'm definitely 'team Jacob' :)


Thanks Court!!!

I do love me some Twilight, but have to agree with everything Courtney said.

Especially the TEAM JACOB part.

So go on and get your Team Jacob pins ready for next week!!!~

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Let's just go ahead and give the Pentatonix the award for WINNERS of The Sing off.

Seriously.....these guys are incredible.

I was nervous about the girl being in the group...but she's tolerable as long as she doesn't take lead.

I also loved the opening number from this past week.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Melt my heart~

I could just eat him.
Walker weighed 10 pounds 4 ounces at his 2 week checkup yesterday.

He has been such a joy and we love him so much!~

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Great Toddler Books!!~

I'm always looking for some good reads for Mr. Charlie.

The books he likes best right now are ones with big pictures and rhyming words.

I recently found 2 GREAT books that are perfect.

Duck in the Truck.

Adorable. And just so happens to involve a truck. Charlie and I talk about what each animal in the book says and the color of each vehicle. He also thinks the story is hilarious.

SO cute. My mom found these and Charlie LOVES them. The llamas are so cute and all the stories end up with the baby loving on his mama. Charlie also really likes saying "llama".

If you're in need of a good read for your little one, go check these out!~

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