31 August 2010

Martha Stewart Weddings Fall 2010

Yeah! It's time again for a new issue of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine! So happy. And even happier that I found Fall 2010 a week early at my local JoAnn Fabrics! Wahooo! So many pages to peruse. But I must say I was devastated to see an idea I had just added to my file broadcast big and large in this magazine. Such a bummer.

Paper chains were something I'd seen on a blog a few weeks ago and thought would translate so beautifully to wedding decor. They are so charming and could be done in just the perfect colors and fit into so many applications for wedding decor. They are also something that anyone could help with if you wanted to make a lot of beautiful long chains. Anyone can glue strips together, unlike more complicated DIY projects that require some serious technical skills.

Now they will be totally overdone, all over the wedding circuit within a couple of months. Such a drag. But I have several years worth of MSW's to pull ideas from so maybe I go retro when the time comes.

Looking forward to a second browse through this gem of a magazine soon. This is the moment when I get serious and start putting little sticky note stripes on the good stuff for future reference. It's such a great reference for party planning, decor, meal presentations, travel and more.

photo via

Survival Skills -- The Need for Hard Work

After reading this post at The Pioneer Woman last week, I am still thinking about it and mourning two facts: 1) That we've lost the knowledge and necessity for self-sufficiency in our modern world -cut off the grocery store and in less than a week this country will chaos and desperation. And 2), that most kids don't get the opportunity to live like the Drummond ranching family kids do every day. We don't teach them to clean their own homes anymore because we've hired a maid, they don't have to do much that is physically challenging. What kind of world are we preparing them for? A world where they sit...sit and eat, sit and watch TV, sit at a desk and stare into a computer, and sit in a car in traffic.

Breaks the heart of this farm girl who grew up cleaning house, gardening, driving a tractor from about age five, hauling hay - yes lifting those big heavy bales up on a wagon in my early teens; killing, plucking and freezing chickens; helping freeze or can fruits and vegetables; pushing a big lawn mower around some very big farm-sized yards; taking care of the little ones; making meals and whatever else needed to be done.

You did it because you were part of the family and it was expected, especially as an oldest child. I didn't always enjoy it, I did complain and was bratty at times. I credit my parents, grandparents and the rest of my no-nonsense farm-raised family for modeling how to hush up and get to work. I didn't realize at the time that they were teaching me how to survive and thrive as an adult.

We've become such a nation of unchallenged cripples in so many ways. I hope to change that in some small way. The Little Bug who is only four, is learning how to cook, unload the dishwasher, clean house and sort and fold laundry - she did an amazing job with all the washcloths, dish towels and hand towels this weekend. She helped me wash my car, she knows how to clean up a room buried in toys in just minutes.

Yes, she does say, "Wow, I'm getting really tired of all this work" after a couple of minutes of hard labor at times. But I sure am proud of her.This is the time, before five years old, to teach them how to work when they want to be with you, around you all the time and doing what all the grown ups are doing that seems so interesting.

If they're going to learn how to work, they have to see us actually doing work, not paying others to do it for us...and we have teach them by doing their work with them, making it fun, helping them see the value of being self-sufficient. Teach them how to properly clean a kitchen, bathroom and car. Let them help you cook and make meals from the first minute they show an interest. I started cooking at age 6 and many nights growing up cooked meals for the family. We usually made our own lunches. I am always a little stunned when I see kids reach adulthood who have never cooked a meal for their families. Show them how to sew on a button, to iron a shirt and do laundry.

The economic downturn has been a great lesson to a couple of pretty spoiled generations. Life will not always be easy and those who will survive will be those who know how to work creatively, work hard and have the endurance to tough it out.

photo via

Gift Ideas for Kids Going Off to College

Last night we attended a going away party for one of our favorite new college freshmen gals. Our other favorite college freshmen gal headed off to school last weekend. Friends are sending kids off to college and it feels like there's a real "off to college" vibe going on right now. It's a big step in life and what better time to give a fun, super useful gift.

Here are a few ideas:

1. A Sewing Kit and Craft Box -- this is what we gave our friend. Found a pretty floral box at the craft store and added a sewing kit and a few other sewing basics wrapped in a beautiful big ribbon. A place for her to put scissors and craft supplies too.

2. A Snack Kit: microwave popcorn, gum, chocolate chips, brownie mix…things to share and make friends with. The chocolate chips are the best way to boys hearts when baked up into some delicious cookies.

3. An Old School Letter Writing Kit: stationery, fun pens, stamps, address book

4. A Laundry Kit: detergent, laundry basket, stain remover, dryer sheets, and don't forget the quarters!

5. Little Medicine Chest: ibuprofen and tylenol, vitamins C, multi-vitamins, adhesive strips, throat lozenges, antibiotic cream, eye drops,  freezable ice pack, heating pad, a first aid treatment guide.

6. Toiletries Kit: shampoo, conditioner, razors, shaving gel, soap, lotion, toothpaste, etc.

7.  Stay Healthy and Germ Free Kit: toilet paper, paper towels, facial tissues, hand soap, baby wipes.

8. Kitchen Supplies Kit: dish soap, dishwasher soap, sponge, brush, drying rack.

9.  Bed Kit: cute sheets, new pillow, comfy cozy throw.

10. Comfort Kit: great blanket, tea/hot cocoa, eye pillow.

Any of these items wrapped up stylishly in a pretty box or basket will be a much appreciated staples that all college students need to get settled into their new life and hit the books.

Good Luck Traci and Olivia! We LOVE you!

photo via

30 August 2010

A Few More Fantastic Fossils

Here are a few more delicious treats from Fossil. I'm am NUTS about these boots. Love that the soles are not totally flat. I am a boot girl, although I don't have much reason to have a collection since it's sandal weather 340 days of the year here.

Speaking of sandals, these are just delicious, aren't they?! Love the color and texture combinations and the straps are a new and interesting take on a great old basic style.

Every pair of boots or sandals needs a good pair of jeans. These are lovely and would look so swank with a great leather bag and pretty leather footwear for fall.

This is a great transitional season top. More muted colors that would look great alone or under a jacket or sweater. It could be accessorized in so many ways.

So many great inspirations for fall 2010 from Fossil. Quality pieces that will last more than just a season.

More Letter Writing for Kids

Read a great post on the many educational and social benefits of letter writing at The Pioneer Woman last week. The post, written by blogger Kristen Chase, is part of a whole section on homeschooling that is part of the wonder of Ree Drummond's fab web site. You can read the letter writing blog entry here.

It's great to realize how many very educational activities you can do with kids that are part of every day activities. Once I started reading more homeschooling blogs I really was inspired by how creative and innovative home schooling has become. With the assistance of the internet, there are so many fantastic resources available.

So letter writing was on the agenda this week. So if you've sent The Little Bug a letter lately, you can expect one in return. :) There are also a few other people who will receive letters this week. Thought I'd share with you some of the "best of" lines from the letters that were dictated to me this week.

Dear Grandpa,

I hear you are not feeling well. I hope you will feel well soon...I say a prayer for you every night. I hope God will protect you. It's important. If you feel better soon, you can come see me and we can do something fun like go to the mall....

I just imagine that there is nothing a grandpa who hasn't been feeling well would rather do than go to THE MALL! Super fun. Haa-haa.

Dear Aunty C,

You can get some shade because it's HOT in Las 'Begas'. You need to get an umbrella to cool yourself off and a fan and a flower for your hair. You do a lot of stuff....

...I think you're great. You do stuff with me. Don't forget you love me. I miss you and I like you. When I see you we can pretend it's mother's day and easter. (Have no idea where this came from.)

I was a thinking we could meet you today. We could get ice cream and have some fun. I would be so happy to see you. But writing you a letter is so happy instead....

Love the random thoughts.

Dear J, (4 yrs. old),

Thank you for your letter. I liked it a lot....Maybe I can see you and we can have some fun sometime. We can talk about dinosaurs and sea creatures...like sea horses.

Sounds like a lot of fun to me!

Dear Aunty T,

I wanna have some fun with you. Have more and more and more and more fun...I love you and miss you. Are you being good...? I hope you will be fine at home. I want to visit you and eat with you and I wanna have some fun and watch TV, like a kid movie...We can erase with pencils...

I hope you feel well and DON'T SMOKE! (hilarious) I hope we can have some fun and sharpen pencils. Maybe we can color together a lot....I miss you a bunch. If you feel good, then pray.


I took photos of all the letters so we have a record of them. She will love looking back at these in later years. She drew a picture and colored it on one side of the letter, then we write the letter on the other. Then I have her draw a little picture on the envelope. She drew a hamburger for Aunty C., a flower for Aunty T., a flower for grandpa and J. got a spider "because he's a boy." (And of course, all boys must love spiders. haa-haa).

I am more and more convinced about what a great experience writing letters is for kids. It's an art project, involves words, sentence construction, spelling, paper folding, envelope stuffing, stamps, addresses, learning about the post office and mail carriers. It would be so great for kids to have pen pals and trade letters with cousins or friends from different part of the country or world.

The best part was we mailed the letters, then went out to run a few errands and do dinner. When we got home she said, "I wonder if C and T have gotten their letters yet." The grown ups had a good laugh about that. I have some grown up letters that need to be written now. Happy letter writing.

27 August 2010

Fun Fossils

Fossil is know for their deliciously great leathers and this fall they have a lovely collection of fun handbags in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few of my favorites for your fall inspiration list.

You can never go wrong with a classic leather messenger bag. I melt at the sight of a buttery leather bag and this is one that would last for years and always look so perfectly "back to school" in the fall with boots, jackets and scarves.

This classical design has all the supple brown leather along with a great patchwork of fall colors. And it can be a shoulder or handbag. Would look so perfect with simple jeans and a sweater.

I love the colors and chevron pattern of this lovely wallet. I may be especially attracted to it since the zipper finally broke on my favorite wallet I've been carrying since 2002. Bummer. But maybe I'll find just the right thing at Fossil.

A few fresh leather accents can make a perfect addition to pick up the entire fall wardrobe. An investment in a good leather piece will pay off for years to come and make a gorgeous statement of personal style.

all photos via

What's In Your Makeup Bag - Tifani

Today is our second What's In Your Makeup Bag featuring lovely friend Tifani.

Picture #1 is the makeup I use daily, and the fantastic brush set I got from Arbonne makeup.  They are full size brushes, include everything necessary, but fold up for convenient travel.  And, you can see the day to day makeup I use.  The essentials.... I totally agree on the eyelash curler.

The second picture is the tons of makeup I have under my sink that is brought out for fun and special occasions!  Way too much makeup!

Thanks Tifani! I love your sense of organization and simplicity. And I know that all that "fun" makeup, based on what I know of your social circle and calendar, gets used plenty often for all manner of adventures. You do live in Vegas, Party City USA, after all!
Tifani was the first to send in her photos and has won prizes! They are on their way, Tifani! Send in your photos of What's In Your Makeup Bag and you could be featured here too! We'd love to see what you're using, loving and can't live without! For more details click here.

26 August 2010

Swedish Hasbeens

If you know me, you may know that Scandinavia holds a big place in my heart. Just thinking about it makes me swoon. Summer in Scandinavia is fantastic, watching the sundown at 11:30 at night. Fall is delicious too. Lots of walking, bike riding, gorgeous landscapes. Ahhh.

Since I was a tiny girl I have always had a thing for a good Scandinavian clog. And Swedish Hasbeens are just too delightful for words. Here are a few of my favorites!

Can't beat these on a hot summer day like today. So cute with skirt, dress, shorts or jeans. Love the color options. I like these so much I almost can't bear looking at them. Ack.

These would go so well with almost anything too. So clean and simple with a little peep of a nicely polished toe or two. These fit right in with a great BoHo chic look. Can just see them with a bright contrasting tunic, dark jeans and a great leather bag.

It's so hot today I can't even think about putting on socks and boots, but how cute are these. Great for the transition into the cooler temperatures. A nice statement piece for fall.

Adore these. Would be so lovely with a plaid wool skirt and tights, simple sweater and charming leather jacket and scarf...

I'm a total sucker for little kids in clogs. Swedish Hasbeens have a line of those too. Swedish Hasbeens ship anywhere in the world and can be found here. A great taste of Scandinavian style for your feet. They have pretty leather handbags too.

all photos via

The Best of CCP

I decided to share with you some of the best of Christy Cropper Photography today. Christy has had a busy summer and has really put her heart and soul into her photography work. She's attended a lot of great  photography workshops, make some great new connections and is excitedly meeting with new clients all the time. Here are a few of my favorites.

The photo above should be titled, Trouble with a Capital T. Anyone who knows this pretty model knows she's a handful....am I right?! She's total girl and one tough cookie too. Not only can she handcuff and arrest you, but you'll get a lovely motivational speech along with it...am I right?

This could be called Trouble with a Little T (as in TEEN!) I think she's related to the model above, which worries me. Haa-haa. She's a beauty!

The Neon Graveyard in Las Vegas, NV. Great composition photo! Love the b & w!

Christy does lots of family sessions. This one was a favorite. And living in one of the wedding capitals of the world, she does weddings too.

She also does a cool regular feature on her blog called Tourist in My Own Town. She has some amazing shots from a very photo interesting city!

I love these photos of one very awesome firefighter, who just happens to have amazing arms, circa Madonna 1995!

So if you need a great photographer in NV, CA or UT get in touch with CCP. Her prices are great and she's flexible and more than willing work with you to get the shots you really want.

I worked with her on some of her marketing and the most descriptive and unique thing we could say about Christy is that she makes everything fun, even photo shoots...and seriously they are never that fun. If she can make standing around to have your picture taken at your cousin's wedding entertaining, she's got serious talents!

24 August 2010

Succulent Success in Hot Summer Gardens

I was so impressed with the gardens in Old Town San Diego. Because it was such a hot day, it really struck me how perfect the desert plants were for the climate and how beautiful and interesting they were in so many different presentations. Here are a few of my favorites.

Love the colorful terra cotta pot alongside the rustic wood trunk pot and the variety of plant shapes, sizes and colors brought together. These desert plants look great in gardens, planters, wall hanging, or in pots on table tops.

I guess I just haven't been paying attention because I don't really remember seeing these before, but they are definitely a new favorite. Love the succulent green looking like a giant, beautiful flower. These were everywhere and I realized I need to dedicate some time to learning more about the desert plant varieties.

Okay, it took longer than expected to learn that these are Aeonmiums. I like the simple pots hanging on the wall.

Loved this composition of shapes, heights, and tones in a collection of complimentary pots gathered together. Looked so great tucked alongside a path. Again, I love the Aeoniums.

Tile and painted pottery go so smashingly with silvery green, dark green and red desert plants. Great in a little nook overflowing with succulents.

I liked the vertical layering here. The plants are amazing, colors warm and charming. So perfect for a hot summer garden.

Loved this old keg turned planter. A great way to breakup a bed of dry soil and create more visual interest.

Looking across the restaurants and shops the layering of plants was so beautiful and so smartly arranged with a variety of plants: broad leaves, prickly points, lush petals, at varying heights, in an assortment of different planters.

I gained a whole new appreciation for desert gardening and learned to love some new varieties of succulents. The gathering and arranging of these lovely plants is a whole new art form to learn.

The Urban Seed - A Most Gorgeously Curated Shop

Tucked away behind restaurants and shops in Old Town San Diego is one of the most beautifully curated shops I have come across, The Urban Seed.

From the front entry through every corner it is richly furnished with decor for home and garden.

There were gorgeous ferns and succulents, beautiful baskets and rustic wire cages and lanterns.

Gorgeous wood cabinets, chairs, boxes and tables. Ceramic pieces from small bowls to large jugs.

Gorgeous deep reds, blues, greens, browns surrounded by clean whites, grays and beiges on shelves, tables and bookcases.

I could've stayed in this shop and wandered for a long, long time. I realize now that I was so busy taking it all it and appreciating it that I didn't even pick up one item for a more serious look. The next time I am in the neighborhood, I am definitely going to do a more in depth shop in this delicious shop.

Next time you're in San Diego, drop by Old Town San Diego's most beautifully designed shop, The Urban Seed.

23 August 2010

Fall Fashion Inspirations from Anthropologie

Fall fashions are fully loaded in retail stores across the country. It's a great time to take at look at your fall and winter closet and see what is inspiring you for Fall 2010. Here are a few tips along with some great inspirations from Anthropologie.

Take stock of what you have from last fall and this summer that can carry over to this year with a little upstyling by layering and accessorizing. Add new accessories that can easily and inexpensively freshen up your look.

Discount retailers, outlets and thrift stores are a great place to look for small accessories to brighten things up at very low prices. Then look to your favorite retail stores for a few more expensive pieces that can really add distinctive punch to your Fall 2010 look.  Love this striped skirt surrounded by fresh fall school supplies.

Make a budget. Decide how much you can afford to spend to freshen your wardrobe for the colder months this year. Spend wisely and think creatively and you can have the look you love for fall without the bills you dread to pay for it.

A new jacket is always a great addition when it can be work with lots of different looks and wards off the first cold temperatures of the season. You can add so many accessories to a jacket it can look totally different every day: silk scarves, a colorful pashmina, junk strands of jewelry. And you can vary the weight of whatever you wear underneath it from tank top to turtleneck as the temperatures drop. Enjoy freshening up for fall!

Outdoor Living with a Mexican Feel

A visit to Old Town San Diego this weekend has me inspired by the rich colors and contrasts of fine Mexican outdoor living. In a dry desert climate, everything is about eye-grabbing contrasts in the Mexican design style: bright decor and clothing colors against pale deserts landscapes; moist, puffy green succulents against dry, dusty soil; bright white walls against earthy brown woods.

I was totally taken with all the different succulents and the ways they were styled and presented all around the grounds. So many pretty options and so perfectly done to capture a look and feel of Old Mexico that could be translated into any home.

In a warm summer, living outdoors can be tricky during days filled with blazing sun and dry heat. With a mixture of cool, covered spaces for day and open air spaces for evenings living outdoors can be a gorgeous, comfortable, rich experience with a few twists from the Mexican design palette.

Loved all the little nooks that were so perfectly fitted with rustic wood furniture. Such perfect spots for a private chat, a few minutes of solitude or an energetic gathering of friends.

An idea that really grabbed me was the layered umbrellas and covered areas that shaded the entire eating space. Simple, bold colors against the dark brown wood furniture gave the area a warm, inviting appeal. 

And the outdoor room below seemed a most comfortable space to sit with friends after a lovely dinner around the fire and swap stories or get caught with each other in the warm glow of a nice fire, add s'mores to that and it would be heaven!

Thank you Old Town San Diego for a lovely time on a hot, hot day. My mind is so full of all the new ideas and pretty pictures that came to me on my visit. It's amazing when you find a place that speaks to you and what you can gain from taking a few minutes to look around, analyze and conceptualize what it is you like, why it works and how you can incorporate it into your own abode or your dream home for the future!
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