Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Worthy Carnival

I haven't participated in a blog carnival since since Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer gave up Works For Me Wednesday. But this morning I heard about a monthly carnival where you can link up the post you like most from the last month. Please check out the excellent links at The Saturday Evening Blog Post.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Project Runway Walk 2 - Fashion for 3

This week the Project Runway designers were treated to a challenge of designing for a top supermodel/actress - the lovely Rebecca Romijn, who happens to be hugely pregnant with twins! Rebecca looked great, but I'm happy to see that some supermodels put on weight while pregnant, even in places other that their tummies. Her face was a little fuller, but just as beautiful. I think this was a great new challenge, and certainly an area of fashion that could use some designer attention.

I loved almost all of the looks - there were only a few that were kind of out there. I wish that I had access to so many cute little dresses (in modest versions) when I was pregnant. Christopher's fuchsia top with black leggings and Johnny's black dress with white trim and a beautiful flower were favorites of mine that didn't make the top 3. There are so many designers still, you really have to watch Project Runway yourself to get to know them, but let's talk about the top and bottom three. The judges were all women this week, with Monique Lhuillier filling in for Michael. And I loved when Heidi mentioned that all four of them have been pregnant and certainly appreciate good maternity design.

Ra'mon's purple, racing stripe cocktail dress was crazy. The bust was beautiful, but it fell apart after that. The silver side panels did nothing for a pregnant body and I was not impressed by the lack of versatility. That kind of dress would have to be very well fitted to a pregnant mom, and by the next week her belly would have outgrown it.

Mitchell had a great idea, shorts on pregnant models (as opposed to the rest of us) look great and can be very casual chic. It's too bad everything turned out so poorly. Yes, Mitchell, it's so sad that you didn't go to fashion school like everyone else, but if you can't make your designs fit your model, and you can't sew them well, you have no place on this show.

Malvin is a weird egg. And he created a weird egg top. He called it his mother hen look and originally planned for jodhpurs, to look like chicken legs. Thank you, Tim, for talking a little sense into him. He admitted some problems with his "sling" top, but it's so odd. The judges didn't even know what to say.

The judges loved Shirin's dress and coat, and so do I. The braided seam above the baby bump was beautiful and the neckline had a great look too. The whole thing draped and fell very well. And the coat was just an added bonus, well-made with a fun, printed lining.

Althea did a black dress, that could be worn for an evening event. The intricate stripey straps were really great, and she managed to pull off a long look, while keeping it form fitting. (She said she used jersey.) This was the fanciest dress, and she did it well. It was slimming, despite room for a tummy carrying twins.

Louise made a sexy little lingerie-style dress that Rebecca said she would wear on a date with her husband. The judges admitted that it's not a versatile look, but the details were amazing. The lace applique, pleating, layers, shoulder straps made this a special piece.

And, drum roll, the big winner is Shirin! No surprise here, the judges loved her design and told her she should be in maternity wear. I think they really liked Althea and Louise's dresses too, but the wearability and versatility of Shirin's design put her over the top.

As for the loser, we say Auf Wediershen to Malvin, our own little bizarre egg. I was already predicting this last week, this guy's designs just don't fit in. I'm singing the song, "One of these things is not like the others." Mitchell got very lucky, I don't think he can make it through another week of shoddy work.

Have I mentioned yet that I love that Lifetime has started a 30 minute Models of the Runway show that gives a little perspective from the models. It also shows the designers choosing their models for the next week. You can catch it on Lifetime after Project Runway, or watch full episodes online.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

San Francisco Treat

I was lucky enough to spend a few days in San Francisco last week with friends. I signed up for The Art Weekend, and convinced Jane to come along with me, and Jeanna to put both of us up and drive us around, despite her pregnant state. We had a fabulous time, thanks Jeanna & Jason!

We had one day of sightseeing, which didn't start until 11am because of our sleeping in. Hey, what is vacation away from your kids all about? We saw Fisherman's Wharf, Ghiradelli Square, Union Square, the SF MOMA gift shop, a little of Chinatown, and many, many bathrooms across San Francisco. (I was with 2 pregnant ladies, and my bladder was feeling their bad influence.) The MOMA bathrooms were the best, followed by the upstairs gift-shop bathroom at the Aquarium on Fisherman's Wharf. Just in case.

We walked. And walked. And walked. I didn't think Jeanna was going to make it. And then we took a few street cars and the cable car. We ate lunch at Boudin, the famous sourdough bread bakery, where we ordered the equally famous San Francisco clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. We walked for a couple miles trying to find somewhere for dinner, and finally stumbled upon a wonderful little Italian place - E Tutto Qua, which is housed in a two story, pie-shaped building and makes delicious house-made pasta. The panna cotta was fantastic too! (Can you tell that food is more important to me than sites?)

Saturday we headed to The Ferney Art Studio for classes. Jane took Photography from Nicole Gerulat and I really enjoyed my Illustrator: Making a Pattern lecture by Alma Loveland. Then while my friends visited Golden Gate Park, I took a screen printing class from Andy Kane. I had really been looking forward to it and the class was everything I imagined, except in fast forward. The normally four hour class was condenses to two hours, and pretty much all the hands-on portion was eliminated. Andy is a great teacher & I just wish I could have taken the long version of the class. I hope to get my screen printing stuff all set up in the next couple months and will post about it when I have projects going.

We managed to get in a late afternoon nap at Jeanna's apartment before a late dinner and soak in the hot tub. Sunday was a long day of driving, topped off by a kind of crappy stay on the Las Vegas strip, and more driving on Monday morning to get back to my much-missed family.

Next time: fly, not drive, take more classes, spend more time relaxing with friends, wander new areas of a very cool city. To sign up for some of these great classes, click the button below.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Beautifully Organized

The start of school in the fall (or 100+ degree late summer) is always a good time for new resolutions, routines, schedules and projects. If you don't use an electronic calendar, try these beauties from Cameron at Cottage Industrialist. Get the downloads for all 12 months at this post.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Project Runway, Walk 1 - Red Carpet Runway

After waiting so long, I can't believe Project Runway is back. I spent a few days in San Francisco last week with friends and every few hours we ran into a huge sign announcing the premiere on Lifetime. I even looked up the new website and sent my friend a fun phone message from Tim Gunn himself. I was excited to stay up late and watch the first episode! That excitement has worn off now that I realize that the show will air so late, but Season 6 looks like it has some promising designers.

I loved that the show was exactly the same as on that other network - I had been worried about changes. But Heidi, Tim, Mood, the workroom, the runway, and the music reminded me of why I love this show. And a red carpet challenge was great for the premiere. There was a wide and interesting range of dresses, complete with some designer drama. I'm too tired to get into all the details, so I'm skipping straight to the results.

We say a quick Auf Weiderschen to Ari Fish. My only question is why she was chosen to be on the show. Her design portfolio is wacky at best and the silver soccer hoodie she made for the red carpet was a joke.

Christopher Straub's dress was a clear favorite and definitely deserved the win for innovative design while staying red carpet appropriate.

Check out Lifetime's new Project Runway website, which looks like it has some cool features. There's a great zoom option on each of the designs and there are multiple images of each: front, back, detail, etc. You can only get to all those images by rating each design one by one, but you'd want to anyway, right? There are lots of videos, games, downloads, and extras on the site too. Can't wait for next week, but for now I still have the All Star Challenge and Models of the Runway, both of which are saved on my TiVo right now. Did anyone watch them last night?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

School Shopping

I've had many of my friends talk about taking their kids school shopping recently. And I'm finally in on it a bit. My almost-kindergartner received a letter stating that all he will need of his own is a backpack... but, if we would like to donate things for the classroom they can use crayons, markers, glue sticks, etc. And we happily purchased those things for our school shopping, while I tried to reinforce the idea of sharing and that these things would not be for his personal use only.

But when people talk about school shopping, they usually mean new clothes for their kids, most of whom are growing quickly. But even when done growing, new clothes for a new school year seems to be the thing to do. I remember getting a few new outfits through junior high and high school, and even during college I made sure I had some new things every year.

But now, as it turns out, I have a totally different shopping style. I had a very interesting shopping experience last week, for which I am working on a post. Check back - you'll love it. Let's just say that my shopping style is called: iwantneedtoshopasoftenaspossible-itis. It's a gift and a disease. Thankfully I'm all about the bargains, or my husband would have left me and the inevitable credit card statements years ago. I try to keep things under control. So shopping for my brand-new gradeschooler should be nirvana for me. But I've already been living off that high for the last several years, which is when I started buying him clothes in size 5. And now he has a more than adequate wardrobe for kindergarten, all carefully logged into a huge spreadsheet that lists every stitch of kids clothing we own from size 2T to 8. My oldest is 4. And his mom is a freak.

The awesome camo backpack with orange trim that I bought for $6 at Gap Kids held up extremely well through a year of preschool and will be debuting at the local elementary school too. That left the ubiquitous lunchbox as our sole personal school purchase this year. And there was no question about what my son would pick. Transformers, all the way.

If it was up to me (and money was no object), my firstborn would head off to school with this adorable set, indicative of the monkey he is.

And if I had a girl, which I never will, this cute bunny set would do.

Right now I'm just thankful he's happy with the $7 lunchbox and a not-new backpack. It's going to be a great year. Good luck to all the new students out there! And to the moms who do their school shopping.

Monday, August 10, 2009

to my love...

make your own sweet card catalogue at via beach bungalow 8.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Visit From the Toothfairy

Today my first-born babe lost his first tooth. It's been loose & "wigg-i-ly" for several weeks but our dentist told me it would probably be several months before it fell out. And now my baby big boy will be starting kindergarten in less than two weeks and he will have a cute gap-toothed smile. And he's only four! I'm beginning to feel a little old. He will be five soon though, and I'm sure that will make all the difference in how I feel, right?

In the meantime we are woefully unprepared for the process of losing baby teeth and all the toothfairy legends that it involves. He seems to know all about it, but I want to find some cute tooth pillow type vehicle for him to transform that teeny tooth into cold hard cash (but not too much of it). So I turned to my favorite online shop: etsy. Love that place! A quick search revealed 50+ pages of listings, but here are a few of my favorites. What do you think? Remember that I will use this for all three of my boys and zero girls. I like the ones that we can hang on the doorknob because my kids are light sleepers and there's no possibility of the toothfairy sneaking in successfully.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Who Wants a Visit From the Laundry Fairy?

Last month I received a sample of All Small & Mighty 96 Loads laundry detergent, thanks to Mom Select. I also received a fabulous bag/laptop tote from Hayden Harnett which I love very much. I took it on vacation with me, packed with all the magazine issues I needed to catch up on. Needless to say, it was much heavier than a laptop.

I've been using the laundry detergent and loving that with every load, I feel my wallet lightened a tiny bit. All Free Clear has long been my favorite detergent. I used it in place of Dreft for my 2nd baby, and have continued with it ever since. It cleans beautifully without any perfumes or dyes. My free sample was the Stainlifter variety, and it seems to work well too. I go through a lot of Shout stain spray with three little boys, and inevitably still end up with some set-in stains. Take this for what you will - since I've been using All Stainlifter I haven't seen any stains not come out. I don't know if it's the detergent for sure, but I like the results. If you have a sensitive nose though, the Stainlifter formula might not be for you. Being used to a fragrance free, it's been an adjustment for me and I plan to go back to the All Free Clear.

While I can't offer any help on physically washing your clothes, I can help you save a little money in the process. I have 2 coupons for a free bottle of All Small and Mighty 3x Concentrate (4 varieties). To be eligible, please leave a comment by Friday detailing how many loads of laundry you do per week. I've been discussing this with friends lately. I do 5-7, but some people with the same size family as mine purport to running 10-12 loads. We should all keep track for a month. These are important things to know! I'll randomly choose 2 commenters and drop the coupons in the mail.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Trip To Remember

Despite my best intentions, I didn't run the Lavender 5K. After a two week vacation, we were ready to head home and decided to leave a day early. Although I missed the race, I was so grateful to have an entire non-Sabbath day to put my home and family back in order. Don't worry, I will find a local 5K to run in the fall.

Thanks again to Jane, of Seagull Fountain, for lodging my family for sooooo looong. Our friendship seems to have survived, but I guarantee she believes me now when I talk about how hard my middle son is. Here are a few highlights:

At left: my handsome husband and three equally handsome sons bowling at the Wilkinson Center at BYU. This is a tradition for us, and I know Roley can't wait to join in on the fun. Next trip.

Below: Aaron & I, and Jane & Dick in front of the Salt Lake City temple. We got 2 babysitters and drove up, planning to attend the temple and do lunch. Our plans were sadly changed once we arrived and found the temple closed. That's the 3rd trip to UT that I've tried to go to the SL temple and failed. Next trip.

Thanksgiving Point Dinosaur Museum: me & my three blond boys, and Sally & Spot.
Thanksgiving Point Farm: my favorite guys riding a plastic cow - they also rode horses and petted a lot of goats, and other fabulous farm animals.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My New Look

This is what tired looks like. This is what's left on the living room floor after spending an evening with my friend, Jane, who is graciously hosting my entire family for two weeks. Yes, two weeks. She's a generous soul, my friend.

I'm rethinking the whole proposition now, since Jane took me out walking last night. It's true that we only walked. And it's true that our pace was very moderate. But it's also true that the most exercise I've had for the past 6 months is looking at the elliptical machine my sister-in-law is storing at my house. So I am tired. And sore. Not only from the walk, but from carrying my baby up and down hundreds of flights of stairs at the Oquirrh Mountain Temple Open House yesterday.

I soaked my legs in a hot bath for as long as I could last night, but didn't make it very long as I was in danger of falling asleep and drowning. Did I mention we walked for and hour and a half! I was shocked. And I am insisting that our route was three miles, but Jane says it's not. We will measure it today and I hope I'm right. We're planning to do this every night (mostly) in preparation for a 5K run/walk on my final day here in Utah. The Lavender Festival is supposed to be very pretty and fun for the whole family. I don't know how much fun that 5K will be for me, but at least I'll be able to cross #21 off my list. And let's hope that all this exercise contributes to a new look for my body.

Monday, June 15, 2009

They're cute and don't poop

Do you have pets? Do your kids want them? My family is currently without a dog, and until recently our only pet was a beta fish named Sharkbait HooHaaHaa. But now we are happily infested with furry little rodents, thanks to Mom Select.

These new toy hamsters, touted as just like the real thing, but mess-free, are sure to be the "it" gift for the holidays this year. From the ad copy: Go Go Pets are fun, interactive hamsters that talk, move and even navigate their way around their own habitat. There are dozens of add-on sets so your child can create a custom world for their new friend. We're sure you'll be as amazed as we were at the sheer cuteness of GoGo Pets! Watch this adorable video to see for yourself.

Go Go Pets will be released nationwide in the fall, but are offered in the Phoenix market only right now (you can buy at Walmart or Toys R Us). As a marketing promotion, party kits were offered to local mom bloggers. We received a huge box full of Go Go Pets on our doorstep one Saturday morning. And since my boys had been watching the video twelve times a day they could barely contain the joy. We opened the box to find 11 hamsters and one box of each habitrail set they make. Very generous! The individual boxes stayed closed until a few days before the party, but we let the boys pick a color and pet them through the hole in the box. It was love at first sight between my Emmett and his NumNums.

We planned the party, sent out invitations, and talked non-stop about how much fun it would be. And no one was disappointed! We put the habitrails together the day before without any trouble and let the boys play with everything for a bit so they could show their friends. Initially, I wasn't impressed with the quality of the sets - the plastic seemed a little flimsy and didn't stay together as well as I expected while we were playing with it. But, as I watched, I could see how hard the kids were on everything. It's all on the ground and things got stepped on and kicked a lot. And that flexible plastic allowed for bending in the pieces. Even if things came apart, nothing ever broke. And a more rigid plastic certainly would have cracked and broken under kid-pressure. So even though it was sometimes annoying to have to reconnect the habitrail tunnels, it's preferable to kids crying over a broken toy. Teach them to put it back together themselves!

Another worry for me was that the entire set, once put together, is only about 4 foot square, which doesn't fit 11 kids around it. Four or five or six fit well, but the party worked out perfectly because plenty of people were late or left early, and we had food and other breaks. I was surprised at how well the kids took turns. And of course, the kids could put their hamsters down anywhere and just watch them run around alone. The games suggested in the party pack would not have worked for our young crowd (no way do ten 3-year-olds wait while one hamster at a time races through the tunnels). But we improvised and had a whole dance segment during the party. The kids just held their hamsters while we did the hokey pokey, chicken dance, bunny hop, and wild hamster dancing.

My pictures turned out horribly (I hate my camera) but you can see how much fun the kids had. I know of at least two parents who have purchased more Go Go Pets hamsters or habitrails. The hamsters are only about $8 and so cute and fun, even if you don't have accesories. They make over 40 sounds, which will endear them to your child, but the volume is low, which will endear them to you. Keep these in mind for birthday and Christmas presents.

Monday, May 18, 2009

HandMade House

My husband and I recently visited a local contemporary art museum and picked up a free art magazine. It was typically full of ads, but there were a few interesting features, including one about The HandMade House at the Ramble.

This home features work from 116 artists, and pretty much everything was designed and made custom for this project - from the door fittings, rugs and chandeliers, to the furniture, sinks, and countertops. I love the living room above, but every room is amazing. Please visit the website to see lovely photos of each room and many of the handmade pieces. I've spent hours ogling the beautiful details and making plans for my own dream home someday.

I'm very fond of craftsman design and the prairie/arts & crafts/bungalow/mission style and much of that was incorporated into the HandMade House. This bathroom is beautiful and the last picture is my favorite. I have always wanted built in bookcases for a long hall somewhere, especially with an open feel on the other side, like the stair banisters here, or a row of tall windows for the dream house in my head.

Photos courtesy of the HandMade House at the Ramble ©2008 Stewart Young