Friday, March 28, 2008

Fight the Frump: Skirt the Issue

It's Friday and time for this fabulous blog carnival with Mrs. Fussypants. Check out all the tips here.

One way I love to fight the frump during the summer, which is nine months long here in Arizona, is to wear a lot of skirts. There's just something about wearing a skirt that says, "I wore this on purpose. I didn't just throw on whatever was on top of the pile." I love that skirts can be dressed up or down depending on the top and shoes you wear. And I love that skirts allow for cool breezes to reach all your nether regions. I wore a lot of skirts while I was pregnant in Florida and have been a believer ever since.

I favor the cotton version, regular or stretchy knit, for comfort and versatility - but other fabrics are great too. I love thelook of linen but there's that whole ironing thing. Dress up your favorite skirt with a nice blouse and heels, or keep it casual with your favorite tee and flip flops.

Last week when Shannon was here she wore a great brown, knit skirt. We also hit Costco and ended up splitting a 2-pack of knit pants that I will use for PJs and exercising. Shannon wore them the next day and somehow they looked like different pants on her, very non-frumpy. Of course she looks better than me in almost everything. Including the several items of clothing that looked great on me one or two kids ago, which I passed on to her. Just doing my part to fight the frump.

Here is a sampling of skirts I found on the internet in just a few minutes this afternoon. They aren't particular favorites of mine, but I liked them all - they come from many different price ranges. Skirts come in so many different styles - find one that works for you!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dell to the Rescue

Remember when I posted last December about how my laptop totally crashed, and then the Lord granted me a miracle and it started working again. It's still going, but has been crashing again lately. Aaron called me from work a couple weeks ago and said, "I bought you a new computer." I was like, okay - thanks for consulting me. But really I was so glad he didn't. Sometimes I think I'm all computer saavy, and sometimes I think I'm not - but sometimes I just don't care! Thanks, honey, for taking care of it for me. And the new system arrived yesterday, to be installed by Aaron and I last night. Couldn't afford to get a laptop with all the stuff we wanted, so I'm back to being chained to my desk. Hopefully the laptop will keep working as long as possible to allow wonderful things like surfing the internet in bed and IMing with Shannon while I watch tv. You know, for all the critical moments during American Idol. Although now we are in different time zones and it's killing me.

I'm discovering that I hate some of the colors of my new blog themes with my new fancy monitor- they are so ugly. Anyone else think that too?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Best Guests Ever

After four fun-filled days with the Johnsons, they left tonight, headed for Flagstaff. They're getting a bit of a head start so they can stop at the Grand Canyon tomorrow. Shannon and I had lots of time to catch up on each other - okay, you don't need to catch up when you IM half of every day - but the conversation never lagged. I haven't forgotten how great it is to just hang out together and share mothering responsibilities. You know, like taking turns yelling at the kids to be nice to each other. Plus we had Aaron & Tom to help out too. I spent most days just hanging out with Shannon & the girls when we lived in Florida and that's what I miss most. Way more than the beach because despite how beautiful it is, there's all that pesky sand.

And I have to say - Shannon is the best guest ever! She baked treats, held the baby, cleaned my bathroom, vacuumed the floors, baked treats, washed the windows, and held down the fort while I baked treats. Pretty sure we both gained five pounds. So worth it!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fight the Frump! A quick new look

I love the concept of this new blog carnival I found, hosted by Mrs. Fussypants. It's called Fight the Frump, and is of course run on Fridays. I need this. I went back and read all the linked-up posts from last week. I don't want to look frumpy, but usually I am just too lazy to look better. Or I don't place enough of a priority on it. (Pretty sure I could do my make-up 10 times during the time I spend checking blogs in the morning.) Or even occasionally, I am actually too busy taking care of three boys under the age of four. I need inspiration and the Fight the Frump carnival can provide it for me, and for you. Check it out!

So, my advice for fighting the frump this week, and I recently took this advice myself - get a new chic & fun haircut. Obviously it must be wash and wear, and it must fit your style and face shape - but get out there and find something new and fresh that will update your look and help you fight the frump. Look at celebrity cuts in magazines or online. Ask your hair stylist about ideas for what would look good on you.

Another great idea - get a new pair of sunglasses that you love. You will feel all cool, and they cover a multitude of problems like under-eye circles from lack of sleep, and the lack of make up.

Here's a picture of me with my new pair, and the new cut. I would have looked much better with a little make-up, especially lipstick - but... next time. See this post for my celebrity inspirations.

Counting the Days...

Next week our friends, the Johnsons, are coming to visit! It's been 18 months since we left Florida and Shannon & I still manage to stay caught up with each other's lives, to say the least. We saw Shannon and the girls this summer while we were in UT, but not Tom, and we are looking forward to seeing him this time too. In the midst of all the planning I realized I might want to clean up my house a little. And hey, it's spring cleaning time, so here's my list of things to do.

Clean out and disinfect the frig
Wipe down all cupboards, inside & out
Scrub floors on hands & knees
Vacuum couches & upholstery
Wipe down appliances
Scour bathrooms top to bottom
Wash windows, inside and out
Scrub window screens
Air mattresses and bedding
Dust fans & air vents
Get the carpets cleaned
Organize closets and storage areas
Clean out and sweep garage
Declutter and clean back porch
Weed front yard and trim trees & bushes
Install sprinkler system in back yard
Mulch and spread new grass seed in back yard
Paint exterior of house

So, what do you think? Can I get it all done in less than a week? Maybe I'll just guilt Shannon into helping me with everything once she gets here. Afterall, I just had a baby and am still recovering. Hope they're just happy with clean sheets. What are your must-do spring cleaning items?

Monday, March 10, 2008

My New Look

After being forced to wear bangs for the first ten years of my life to cover a rather large birthmark, I understandably have gone with a bare forehead for most of the years since. But I've been needing a change, and since cutting my hair short is out (husband is typical guy - only likes long hair) and since my hair is starting to break and fall out already (typical post-partum for me) I decided to go with bangs. I was inspired by the following tv looks.

Nina Garcia, Fashion Director of Elle Magazine and judge on Project Runway. I didn't really notice her bangs until the Finale and when I went back to look at previous episodes, looks like she cut shorter bangs recently. But I like them. These pictures don't do her or her bangs justice, but they were all I could find.

Lindsay Price as Victory Ford on NBC's Lipstick Jungle. Victory has way more bangs than I want to deal with, and I'm sure her hair is much thicker than mine (everyone's is), but I like the overall look - especially how it's versatile: lotta bangs, some bangs, side-sweep, etc.

Frances O'Connor as Zoe Burden on ABC's Cashmere Mafia. I love Zoe's casual but stylish look. She doesn't look as high maintenance as the other characters, probably because she is the mom with young children - just like me! But her hair still always looks good and has the same versatility I described above.

So... my new look, two ways.
I like them, as does Aaron, and I was worried about him. At least they are something different. The only problem is they are already awfully hot on my forehead, and we're nowhere near 100 degrees yet - not to mention 115. I might be wearing a lot of headbands this summer.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Ultimate Blog Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2008

Hello all you bloggers out there! Welcome to the Ultimate Blog Party here at Tara Thinks. If you're coming here from 5 Minutes for Mom, welcome. If you're one of the people who read my blog regularly, check out the Ultimate Blog Party to find lots of cool new reads. You might even want to participate yourself (you can win great prizes too). I am excited at the prospect of finding new blogs, written by talented and interesting women. And I'm hoping that some people might find mine worth reading too.

I started blogging about a year ago at The Carpenter Clan - solely as a means of keeping a record of my family's comings and goings. My husband and I have been married for 6 1/2 years and have 3 sons, aged 3 1/2, almost 2, and 6 weeks. I posted a lot some months, less others, fell behind sometimes - but at the end of the year was happy with my efforts and had our family journal printed as a blog book (see this post).

But along the way I started connecting with other women and found that blogging can also be a fun networking tool for woman, especially SAHMoms who desparately need another adult to talk to during the day. I started Tara Thinks for myself - to blog about things that family members wouldn't necessarily be interested in and that I might not need to archive forever. I love to read, shop, cook, and work on my home - along with all the other things in my blog header!

Please take a look around my site and comment on this post or any other that might catch your interest. Leave your URL too - I would love to visit your blog if we have something in common. Also visit my Daily Delight feature by clicking on the button at the top of my sidebar. I started Daily Delight to remind myself of the things that bring me joy and that I think are beautiful, fun, or helpful. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

American Idols Neck-in-Neck (updated for WWMW)

I am updating a post I wrote last week to pose a question:
What is up with the scarves on American Idol?
As I am watching the girls perform right now, I am using my TiVo to check back on all those sporting scarves. This observation is in addition to my previous post, below. Amanda Overmeyer is the only girl wearing a scarf tonight - and I really like the metallic sheen. But I paused on a shot of the boys from the beginning and counted FOUR out of eight sporting neckwear, and I don't mean ties. Even the young David Archuleta is wearing a black scarf, in addition to David Cook (same as picture below), Jason Castro (wooly scarf to match the dreds) and David Hernandez (intricately tied with a tee shirt). Not saying I hate this trend - just seems weird to me. Anyone else?

To answer more hard questions, check out Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer.

Apparently the big trend for this winter was scarves. I saw tons of cute ones while doing my Christmas shopping and even bought a few as gifts - unfortunately winter weather is over here in Arizona. But why should I care - on American Idol they sport their outerwear indoors! I'm not saying they don't look good (and I'm not saying they do) but does this seem a little strange to anyone else too? And they don't just wrap them around their necks; sometimes it involves intricate tying, wrapping, and/or strangling.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I'm a Guest Reviewer!

Hooray! I wrote a beauty product review for the Schick Intuition razor and it is featured today on Chic Critique. Please check it out and comment here, there, everywhere.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

On My Nightstand I

I have read posts from other bloggers under this topic and always think it's interesting. I have titled this post I - leaving room for a II, III, etc. in the future. For this post I am going to include my nightstand, and the side table next to my nursing chair - since I spend more time in that chair than I do in bed right now. And lest you are confused, these are not reading materials that I have already finished, rather I am currently reading them or intend to read them soon. Well, a couple of them have been languishing on my nightstand for over a year - but I do intend to read them soon-ish.

Size 14 Is Not Fat, Either by Meg Cabot (author of The Princess Diaries series)
Parenting with Love & Logic by Foster Cline & Jim Fay
Love & Logic Magic for Early Childhood by Foster Cline & Jim Fay
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth
Your Baby, Week by Week by Dr. Glade Curtis and Judith Schuler
Chicks Can Fix by Norma Vally
Mount Vernon Love Story by Mary Higgins Clark
Mary, Martha, and Me by Camille Fronk Olson

March issue of Parents
March issue of Cookie
February issue of Martha Stewart Living