Archive | March, 2013

Working Moms!

29 Mar

Hey everyone -

I’ve decided to write about a topic that is been on the news recently about working women, what choices they have to make, how much they have to sacrifice, and is it all worth it to “have it all”. My parents watch Rock Center where they had interviewed Erin Callan – Former CFO of Lehman Brothers about being the women on top and having it all and wishing she had done things differently. This seriously hits home to me because I quit my job to be a stay at home mom and my sister is a work oriented person. We couldn’t be polar opposites but this interview actually spoke out to both of us in a unique and different way! Take a look at it here:

(Sorry this video embed wouldn’t clip)

Basically what I’m getting from this interview is she’s saying it’s OKAY to be a work oriented mom as long as you are making the right choices for you a long the way and finding a good balance in your life. She’s also saying it’s OKAY to not be work oriented. It’s okay to stay home and do what you love the most. It was a nice change of pace from what we usually see with controversial debates about what is the right and wrong thing and I think it’s refreshing to hear someone say it’s okay to be either or both.

As I stated before – my sister loves her job, she loves the work she does and it makes her happy to be so work and goal oriented. Because of this, she has become an AMAZING sister to look up to. Seeing someone excel in something they love is like an eye opener that you really can do something you love and make a living out of it. Me on the other hand, I love to stay at home with my daughter. I don’t always love cooking, cleaning, or do laundry, but you bet your bottom dollar I’ll do it just so that I can teach my daughter what it means to be a good person, a friend, a female, and give her the attention I feel like I had growing up with a stay at home mom. But either option my sister or choose – is the right one for us and that’s what it should be!

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The other thing about me you might not know is I’m also a work from home mom! That’s right!! While I”m staying at home and doing chores – I’m working as well. I provide child care for two other children besides my own daughter as a source of income on the side. Sure it doesn’t make as much as I’d be making if I worked outside of the house but if you subtract gas money, child care, eating out, and time away from my family (and still coming home to chores) – I think my income exceeds what I’d be making out the home as well as the happiness it’s given me to do so.

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After seeing that interview, I saw a post on cafemom.com with a few mom’s talking about it. Check it ou (If you want to skip to the above part it’s at 9:40 but they also talk about a bunch of other things like blogging so I hope you’ll listen to the whole thing):

Wow! This was exciting for me to listen to – partially because I am a young 20′s mother so hearing that I have the posibility to “have it all” just not at one time makes me feel like I hit the jackpot in having my daughter so early. I KNEW there was a reason I wanted to have a family young, I just thought it was because I wanted to have enough energy, spend time with them, and then when they got older and left I’d still be young enough to travel and have fun with my husband ;) haha!! But this just makes me even more excited for my future.

I also love that they talk about working from home/blogging and how other people don’t see it as a job. I love blogging and I love sharing it with Leslie – but it is almost a FULL time job! As you other bloggers know it sucks up a lot of time in our lives – especially because not only do most bloggers love to blog, they love to read blogs as well. That takes time!!

So I’m excited to hear what you all have to say about these videos and how it applies to your life!

Love Always,

Jennifer

Leslie Life Update

28 Mar

So I was planning on doing a profile on my friend and local artist Wendi Goodwin, but she gave me so much material (which is awesome!) that I am going to take the time to get everything perfect.

So I’m going to give everyone an update on what has been happening in my life!

As usual, I have been keeping up with local music and art, but I have had a couple of exciting things happen.

I have applied to graduate school for social work and I am waiting till May to find out if I have been accepted into any programs. I have been doing the usual, my nanny job with three girls who are AMAZING and I love spending my days with them.  But since I moved back to the area, I have been trying to get an internship or volunteer position at many of the local social services departments and non-profit organizations, in order to get some experience and to learn about how these departments are run.  After months of calling around and running around on a wild goose-chase, I have gotten a volunteer position at the social services department in my area!  Woo hoo!  The assistant director talked to me and was so helpful, and she will be assigning a social worker to teach and oversee my work.  I am so excited to put my skills to work and to get back to LEARNING!  Since leaving school, I have been reading, blogging, crafting, and doing anything to keep my sponge of a mind content.  It feels great to know I can finally get back to the grindstone and to be contributing a necessary service to my community!

I am also taking a trip to Blacksburg to spend Easter with my sister, who is a student at Virginia Tech.  I have missed Hokie House, the beautiful campus, and Thai cuisine from Cafe De Bankok, yum!   I’ll probably be having some good food this week, mostly some pad thai, falafel, and some calzones from my old job at D. P. Dough.  I can’t wait to see my old co-workers and visit some of my professors that supported me and wrote letters of recommendation for my graduate school applications.

An even bigger plus?  It has been snowing the past few days in the mountains there!  The last time I visited Blacksburg, a snow plow destroyed my driver-side side view mirror, so it is great that I get to see the new snow AFTER all of the mess has been cleaned up.  My poor car gets a break!  I can’t wait to spend some time with my sister and to get to spend the holiday with her.

This is a picture of my lovely sister, her wonderful roommate, and me (plus the pier store guy!) this past summer on family vacation in Oak Island, NC.

I love getting to hang out with them and it has been way too long.  Plus I love long road trips where I get to play music and sing as loud as I want to with no judgment!  Hopefully, some innocent driver will pass me and get a glimpse of my rock concert face :)

Wish me luck on the drive and Happy Easter to everyone!

Happy Holidays, All!

Leslie

Pinteresting Home Decor Ideas!

27 Mar

Here are some fun finds I found on pinterest for your home!  I’m always on the look out for cute things I can easily do in my own home, most of these are pretty simple:

A little ribbon, scrap fabric, and fun scrapbooking extras and you can spice up any wall!

I love the idea of making light switches and outlets a little more fun!

Styrofoam balls, scrap fabric, and some glue! You can change up the colors for the season or theme you are going for!

Saving the best for last! An old window put to good use! not only is it pretty to look at but it’s extra storage!

What’s your favorite thing to do to change up a space in your home?

Love Always,

Jennifer

All Natural Easter Eggs

26 Mar

All Natural Easter Eggs

I’m sure many of you looked forward to Easter as children: easter egg hunts, candy, picnics, and especially dyeing easter eggs!  When I was growing up, we did the usual food-color with vinegar dye.  I was trying to figure out some ways to make some more grown-up Easter eggs that my mom might like, and I came across some suggestions using tea leaves, beets, spices, and even yellow onion peels for dyes.  I just loved the brown, natural looking eggs I found on pinterest that suggested the use of dark yellow onion peels in the water for boiling and an idea to cover the eggs with leaves and other flora from around the yard.  I have plenty of foliage outside, but I had none of these other ingredients that were suggested for coloring the eggs.  Then I thought, of course!  We always have coffee in the house, and decided to try out boiling the eggs in coffee.

Materials you will need:

4 Cups of DARK coffee

some small sprigs of clover, leaves or flowers

some panty hose you don’t mind destroying

some rubber bands or small hair elastics

1 tsp vinegar (to help keep the eggs from cracking)

Instructions

1. Make some undrinkably strong coffee, put in a pot, and let cool

2.  cut up your panty hose so that each section is big enough to cover an egg

3. cover your eggs in your chosen greenery and cover with a section of panty hose, pulling tightly and fastening with an elastic

3. Add the vinegar to the pot

4. Add your eggs to the pot and bring to a rolling boil

5. Cover the pot, remove from the stove, and allow to cool for 12 minutes

6. Place the eggs in a bowl of cold water to keep them from cooking further

7.  Remove your eggs and unwrap from their stocking casings

The end result are some beautiful and classy, grown up Easter eggs you can eat!  Obviously, mine need a little tweaking so I will be working on making them perfect :)

Happy Egg Hunting!

Leslie

A little work of my own!

25 Mar

This year I decided to take an art class to get a little inspiration. For those of us who are creative, sometimes we need an outlet, a source of inspiration, or really just some dedicated time to do what you love. I went into this art class assuming I’d be doing my usual and was completely surprised at where my teacher took me.

I usually do drawings like these:

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All black & white with graphite. My teacher thought I’d be amazing at colored pencils and it would give my drawings a little something extra.

So I bought the colored pencils and found a picture I wanted to do next:

I don’t know what attracted me to this picture, I knew it was going to be hard but I was so excited about it!

Class one – outline drawing (sorry if it’s hard to see)  I did the basic outlines lightly.

Class two – added a little color

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Class three & four – started getting more detail done on the hair and worked on my blending with the pencils.

Class five – added deeper colors and got more confident at my color mixing and choices

Class six – added more layers and more detail.

This was my last class in this session but I have a feeling I’ll be continuing with this drawing. I love is so much and I’ve worked so hard on it – I can’t wait to finish it!

What do you do for inspiration? Have you ever thought about or tried taking classes to keep your creativity going? How did it work for you?

Love Always,

Jennifer

Blacklisted from PTA

22 Mar

You read it right! Look what I’m reading next :D for all of you book fans out there waiting for my next book review since Mindy Kaling’s – I’m sure you’ll be excited to hear I am still reading funny things ;)

My sister gave me Blacklisted from PTA after she got a chance to read it and thought it would be the perfect book for me to read next. She knows that as a mom, I hardly get the chance to read so if she’s going to give me a books it’s one I am going to fall in love with or one that is easy to read. This one – is an easy to read one! It is written in short chapters so you can pick up and put down without feeling lost.

Here is Barnes & Nobles Overview:

Blacklisted by the PTA is an irreverent look at motherhood and the modern family. From the high chair to a vinyl restaurant booth on date night, Lela Davidson has captured life on the cul-de-sac with a husband, two kids, and the occasional pet. Whether failing at cloth diaper origami or smug in knowledge that her children have never consumed a PopTart, Lela assures parents they are not alone, and that it’s okay to laugh-at yourself, and at your kids. These are the stories of every parent–even if we don’t always tell them out loud. Each of these 62 essays can be read in under five minutes for a quick laugh-either with or at the author.

As a CPA on the mommy track, all Lela wanted to do was sit on the driveway and drink wine out of a box with the neighbors. Luckily, she started writing down her stories instead. Whether tackling PTA meetings, neighborhood politics, or inflation-by-Tooth Fairy, Lela exposes the humor in every awkward moment and maternal meltdown. From a trendy Seattle condo, to a tidy Arkansas subdivision, Lela shares the comic side of family life. She takes you to Mexican bars, the hockey rinks of St. Louis, ski slopes near Santa Fe, shopping in Dallas, and even introduces you to a few strippers–the novices on the playgrounds of New York City, and the pros in Vegas. Lela says what the rest of us are thinking. Her hilarious observations and subtle satire are always spot on. She’s not afraid to reveal her screw-ups, along with fleeting delusional moments of wherein she honestly believes she is the best mom ever.

Want to get to know Lela Davidson? Check out her website here:

I am so excited to be reading this next – I could use a few more laughs in my daily life ;)

What are you reading?

Love Always,

Jennifer

Cool New Urban Art

21 Mar

Recently, I have had some spare time, browsing the internet to find inspiration and anything interesting or funny that is out there in the digital outer space.  Yes, I found some funny memes, cute cat pictures, and even a video of an adorable pug that, for some reason, is completely unable to learn how to run, but does skips and flails to get around (it is very adorable and hilarious so I will post this at the end).  But amongst all this useless humor I found some profoundly interesting art forms that I fell in love with!  Unfortunately, most of them are illegal (at least on public property), so I won’t get to go out and create my own masterpiece.  Or maybe I’ll just get brave for the sake of giving the public something awesome to see on their way to their jobs, just to spice up a monday!

Reverse Graffiti

This art form is one that I find very educating: it reveals to the public just how dirty the city can get, shows the city that they need to do something about it, and demonstrates how beautiful the city can be if we all chip in to clean up!

These artists go out and, instead of painting on a clean wall, clean a dirty wall (or car!  you could be next) in a design or image that they want portrayed.  The end result is fantastic!

Girl With A Pearl Earring…in dust on a car! Spectacular.

In the caption (which is quite small), it says that this was created in San Francisco and is still visible now, a year later.

Really cool car :)

The British five pound note.  Hello, Queen Elizabeth!

Awareness for emotional and psychological crisis, a great message for those who read it!

A dirty tunnel gets cleaned up, and we see how white the perforated walls used to be!  I love how detailed this one is.

Urban Knitting

This one is really interesting.  I have been learning how to crochet, and in the first five seconds I learned that IT TAKES FOREVER!  I’m sure for these tasks, huge teams of knitters run out and get this done before they get arrested!  Yes, this is illegal, and gets taken down immediately and investigated.  It may annoy the authorities, but it makes me smile :) .

Haha!  Car hat!  I’m betting someone did this to their own vehicle, so that makes this one I could try out!  I just have to get human-size down first and I’ll work up to it.

Who knew? Sweaters look good on trees!

I love this one!  I want that bus, and I can’t even drive one.

Now, I don’t know how this was managed and I’m surprised it lasted long enough to get a pic!  New York must have liked it.

This is just a really cool picture :)

Moss Graffiti

Another find was moss graffiti!  You use moss and some other extra things to make a mixture and put it in a spray bottle for a green eye-catcher.  This form of art takes some time and maintenance, since you have to trim the moss, but it turns out a most beautiful green.

Some wall art.

Carefully sculpted gator!

A testament to the need for oxygen in our air, and the ability of plant life to provide it.

And best of all, you can make moss graffiti at home, on your own!  Decorate your plain brick walls with moss in any design that strikes your fancy!  This whole thing kind of reminds me of a chia pet.

And here is the random video of Loca, the adorable dog that cannot walk!  Just watch it.

I hope you enjoyed these interesting finds!

Get Inspired!

Leslie

A Rotel Wrap!

20 Mar

This is for that moment when you are sick of the usual foods you are eating, just a plain chicken wrap is driving you insane, and you don’t mind a little bit of kick. And by kick I mean, you don’t mind a little green pepper bite!

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Marinate Time (if preferred): about 3-4 hours

Makes: Two – Three Wraps

Ingredients:

1 large piece of boneless chicken breast

Tortilla Shells

2-3 cups of Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing (Kraft)

1/2 of a small can of Rotel (I used diced tomatoes with green peppers but there’s a ton of choices!)

Chopped Lettuce

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Ranch Dressing

Instructions:

To Marinate -

Put chicken in a zip lock bag with the vinaigrette dressing, seal, and lay in the refrigerator to marinate for 3-4 hours or longer.

Cooking -

Defrost chicken if not thawed completely.

Put a skillet on medium heat and spray Pam or dab a little oil in the skillet.

Dice chicken into cube size pieces.

Throw the chicken in the pan and let it cook for about ten minutes making sure it’s cooked all the way through.

Turn the skillet down to low or warm and add 1/2 small can of Rotel in the skillet.

While it’s simmering chop lettuce and put in a small container with a lid.

Add shredded cheese to the container.

Add Ranch dressing to the container (your preference on how much).

Close the container and shake it up really good so it’s all mixed up and there is a little ranch on every piece!

Pull out your tortilla shell, add chicken & tomatoes, add lettuce mixture, wrap it up & eat!!

If you are anything like me this is what you’re wrap will look like in seconds! <3 I love a nice change of pace when it comes to food!

This is the kind of meal I always look forward to during lunch. I’ll marinate the chicken in the morning and know it won’t take that long to make – which when you have a toddler is a must! It’s also fantastic for when you are really hungry but don’t want something that heavy to eat. If you aren’t a green pepper fan, you can always do just diced tomatoes or any of the other rotel’s if you are feeling brave!

Hope you enjoy!

Love Always,

Jennifer

Spring Into Fashion!

19 Mar

Spring Into Fashion!

Okay, so the weather is changing, there is Spring cleaning going on, and you are trying to figure out what to put away until next year.  I’m going to give everyone a little boost of inspiration for your Springtime wardrobe with some interesting and breezy outfits I found.

Patterns & Prints

A great way to get excited about Spring is to put a little pep in your step with some interesting patterns that draw the eye!

I love these polka-dot pants!  If you love the girly look, these are a great find!  You can find patterned pants at the mall this time of year.  Find a solid color top for a bold look.

I have always been a fan of stripes, regardless of vertical or horizontal.  With a pair of chic, solid shorts, you can look professional even in a casual stripe.

Feel free to experiment with an open back for a little glimpse of Springtime skin ;)

A floral pattern is a classic look for Spring!  Never shy away from some rose buds or daisies!

The White Pant

Wearing a white pant can take some of your winter blouses and lighten them up for the springtime.  Using a solid white pant accentuates an interesting pattern or bright color and looks very sleek.  Just make sure you throw in a little bleach in the wash with them occasionally to keep them looking fresh and new!

Green is one of my favorite colors to wear and also a great color to wear in spring as all the plants are getting their greenery back!

Wearing a white pant can also create a color-blocking effect, to accentuate a bright color even if you aren’t wearing a pattern, and can also help your springtime accessories stand out.

If you aren’t a fan of the white pant, you can always switch it up with a colored pant!  I love this casual, yet colorful outfit.

Blazers

Blazers are great because they are light weight, look professional, and can keep you warm in the spring breeze.  They are all over the place and thanks to H&M and Forever21, black and grey are not the only colors available and the prices are affordable.

I love the idea of taking a white jean and dressing it up with a BLAZER! A beautiful pink with a nice mint flat make this a comfy, casual, and put-together look.

It is also easy to pair a blazer with a dress, if you are going on an afternoon date, or want to get a bit girly!

I love this neutral spring time look that pairs a beige blazer with a pair of patterned shorts!  Super chic.

Skirts & Dresses

Don’t pack up your sweater dresses just yet!  You can pair your winter wear with a strappy sandal or heel to make this a warm-weather fit.  What you once wore with hose or leggings and boots can now be fun for Spring!

I love this refreshing chevron pattern!  This dress is light and airy, but definitely a bold eye-catcher.

Another great outfit, with pattern, color, and interesting ideas for accessories!

I have always been a big fan of long, flowing skirts in the spring, but I had never seen one with these multi-pleats!   Even if you like darker colors (like me!) you can look like a Spring goddess.

If you don’t like dark colors, find something bright and colorful and spread the joy!

Slip into a short skirt if you want!  It is Spring and the weather is fine :)

That is it for my Spring fashion suggestions!  I hope everyone is getting ready for some warm weather and feel inspired to dress for yourself everyday this Spring!

Happy Spring :)

Leslie

Side Table Makeover!

18 Mar

To keep up with another budget friendly project I’m showing off the side tables I restored for our bedroom! For those of you that followed me previously sorry for the reposts on these projects but stay tuned! Next week I have a NEW redo project that might just get you excited :D

I took these two side tables given to us from my mother-in-law and decided to make them pop a little more!

My goal for this room is to slowly transition everything into a black, gray, and white color scheme and have pops of yellow throughout. These two side tables completely blend in except for the fact that my two lamps are making a statement! They each also have a little wear and tear on them.

You can see here that the handles are a little scratched up as well as a few other places. So I cleaned out the side tables and took them outside for a little sanding. Please note – you probably shouldn’t go through your husbands side table to clean it out without asking him. Luckily, all I found was video game things and change ;)  Gotta love my hubby!

There are two ways you can sand furniture. You can hand sand it with a sand block or use a palm sander. I chose a palm sander because it’s faster but for the intricate parts of table like the drawer you are going to need a sand block. Since this side table had only been painted once there wasn’t layers upon layers to sand so a quick light sand is all you need. When something is painted previously with a gloss or there are obvious layers of paint then you are going to want to use a heavier sheet of sand paper or heavier sand block in order to make the process of sanding easier on you.

As you can see I didn’t take off the entire layer of paint. That’s not necessary – it’s just important to get off the top gloss and give the paint somewhere to hold onto when you paint it. If you decide not to sand and just paint as it is then the first time you scratch the paint or nick it a little it’s going to peel a good chunk off of your furniture. Paint needs something to hold on to in order to really stick.

Here comes the fun part – the first layer of paint! Your first layer is never going to look good. Especially when you are painting over a dark surface but it’s okay! Give it a nice little layer and let it dry for a couple of hours. If you are impatient like I am, find something to do to keep busy until it dries – in my case I painted the second shelf and the drawers!

You don’t always have to paint the entire drawer. I wanted to paint the inside because I plan on putting shelf liner in it to make it pop when you open the drawer, so I wanted to make sure the rest of the inside of the drawer looked pretty too!

Once you have let everything dry you can go back and do the second coat of painting. A hard lesson that I have figured out is to let the second coat dry over night. If you are like me – you will want to put it all together and put it back where it was to see the finished project and be proud of yourself for accomplishing it! Don’t.. The paint will feel dry but it’s still wet underneath. If you put the drawers back in and let it sit the paint will try to dry and end up sticking to whatever it’s touching. Which means you won’t be able to open the drawer and if you do – you might be damaging the paint job you just worked so hard at finishing.

Once its dried over night it’s ready to be used! I’m really excited about the white transformation! My next step to finishing these babies up is to by shelf/drawer liner to put in the drawers and the back panel of the cubby. I’m looking for a yellow pattern that will go along with the lamps but I’m having trouble finding exactly what I’m looking for so I’ll keep searching and wait until I find what I’m looking for!

It definitely gives it the POP of white that I was looking for :D

When you are a person like I am, that changes their mind about what they want, what they like, and their favorite color – you really should be thinking about the most budget friendly options. I change my mind so much that it’s probably best to keep all the furniture I have and just keep repainting it until I’m happy with the outcome.

For those of you who have read this post I still haven’t found the yellow paper lining I’ve been looking for. I’ve been searching for the perfect item but unfortunately haven’t found one that isn’t too girly for Brian! If anyone knows where I can get good shelf/drawer liner that’s pretty let me know!!

Love Always,

Jennifer

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