Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Baby Bee turns 4!

I can't believe it.  I refuse to believe it.  This is.not.happening.  My baby bee is growing up and is no longer a baby.  I know, I know... she'll always be my baby, but seeing her open presents on her own and for the first time be aware of gifts and of the party made me so happy but so sad. 

Ok, enough of the sappy stuff - here's the good stuff.

We set off Saturday morning to head to the Brevard Zoo which has been a tradition for Natalie.  We first started going on her 2nd birthday and have gone every year since. 

This year, Christian, Anilyse and Grammy came with us!

Here's some photos of the day:
My diva - looking fierce

We love feeding this deer every time we go.  She's so sweet!

Of course we HAD to feed the giraffes!
They had Christmas crafts set up around the park.

Natalie got another stuffed giraffe from the zoo (which is also a tradition).  So, to date we have Daddy Giraffe (2nd birthday), Mommy Giraffe (3rd birthday), Baby Giraffe (gift from Aunt Jodi) and now Grammy Giraffe (4th birthday).  My girl loves giraffes!

After the zoo, we drove home and put Nati down for a nap.  We kicked it into high gear and decorated for her birthday party!  This is the first year she was aware of parties and she was so excited!

This is the cutest little hat!  She was grumpy when I took the picture - made it even cuter!

She loved this giraffe snuggle blankie and insisted in taking it immediately to her room to put on her bed!
Adding to her collection.    


Yes, I'm a bad Mom, I got my Christmas baby a Christmas birthday cake.  I'm told, that as she gets older, she will HATE any reference to Christmas associated with her birthday.  Oh well.  This year she LOVED it!

All in all, a great birthday!  I'd say she had a great time!  I'm slowly recovering from loosing my baby and am fulling embracing having a little girl!  Can't wait for many more birthdays to come!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Favorite Things Party - 2011

Because Sara of Thrifty Decor Chick asked me to, I'm going to share Volume #2 of my Favorite Things! (See Volume #1 here). I'm never at a loss for things that are "Fabulous" or "Amazing". Just ask my family - they say they're my buzz-word!

Without further ado.....


Firecracker Chocolate by Chuao Chocolatier

Oh Lord, Almighty! Where do I start with this one? Dark chocolate? check. Chipolte? check. Sea Salt? check. Popping candy? check. Wha......???? Yep, popping candy in chocolate. What an AMAZING concept! When you first bite, the creamy dark chocolate starts melting, then if you press the chocolate against the roof of your mouth, the popping candy start's it's magic and goes all "Pop Rocks" in your mouth. Then, once you swallow, if you wait about 5 seconds, the chipolte hits the back of your throat. Aah.... perfection. I received a sample in my Birchbox a few months ago and it was love at first bite. The best part? You can buy it at the WalMarts for about $3.00!


Seche Vite Top Coat by Seche

This is my required item for doing manicures at home!  Seche Vite only takes about 10 minutes to totally dry my manicure.  And since I typically do my nails in the evening, this means no more sheet prints!  YIPPEE!!!!

Jordana Easyshine Lip Color
I found out about this gem about a month or so ago from Nouveau Cheap.  Can you believe these are only $1.99???  What I love about these lip colors is that they are more of a sheer lip and very moisturizing.  They also have fun smells - like the Berry Colada smells like berries and the Sugar Cookie smells like cookies!!!  For the price, I'm able to stock up on several colors!  LOVE THESE!!!  They're available at Walgreens.


I saw a random episode of this show here and there, but after I ran out of my Glee episodes on Netflix, started on this series.  I'm HOOKED!  This NBC show is a spin off of the Steve Martin movie of the same title.  It's the story of a typical family, each with their own dramas.  But the common theme is that regardless of what each is going through, they are there to support each other.  I laugh out loud so much from this show.  Great for anyone with siblings - you'll definitely relate!

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Let's go Daddy-O!!!!  How I love Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (BBVD)!!!!  I started listening to them during my swing days and even got Hubby addicted to them as well!  This band is so full of energy and kickin horns.  They are truly the best show I've ever seen (and I've seen them about 5 times!!!).  Their class and tight sound have me a fan for life (and I totally have a crush on Karl {the tenor sax player}).  Here's a link to their website with a promo video that shows some of their best bits.  BBVD is the total package – superior music, choreography, rhythm, passion, connection with the crowd.

So, there's a list of some of my recent favorites!  Hope you enjoy and maybe find some new favorites of your own!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Influenster Holiday VoxBox has arrived!!!

So, I'm a self professed sample-whore who loves to get things for free. When I found out about Influenster I wasted no time in going over, signing up, and collecting my badges. I learned back in early December that I had been selected to receive the 2011 Holiday VoxBox and I was stalking my mailbox nightly.

Well, my wait is over - it arrived yesterday!

It came in a plain white cardboard box with the cute little holiday Influenster logo on the top.

.... and what to my wondering eyes should appear......?

Inside was a pre-printed card with all the goodies on it and a brief description of each. Here's what I got to sample and review!

New York Color Liquid Lip Shine
"Straight from the city that never sleeps, New York Color's Liquid Lipshine is uptown style at a down-to-earth price. With pure pigments that create a 3-D gloss effect and vitamin E that provides shine and moisture, this product is perfect to keep lips looking and feeling fabulous this season. Comes in 10 shades from neutral nude, to berries and fuchsias."

First Impression - While this is not a new product to me, this is a new color. I received color #582 - Nude York City. I've already tested it this morning and will link the review here once I can type up the review!

imPress Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails
"Introducing imPress, the revolutionary way to apply nail polish! Featuring advanced technology, you will get a salon-perfect manicure in seconds - simply peel off, press on, and you're done (no drying time!). imPress comes in 36 colors and patterns, including trendy brights, fun prints, classic darks and animal prints."

First Impression - This one I'm a bit skeptical about. I have very large nail beds and I just don't think they'll work well. I grabbed the largest one out and did a quick size comparison -

You can see the outline of my nail polish on the side of the press-on nail - and there's the same amount of space on the other side. I'll try them out and do a full review that I will link here.

Softsoap Coconut Scrub Bar Soap
"Renew your skin with NEW Softsoap Coconut Scrub bar soap. Enriched with crushed coconut extract, this bar soap gently exfoliates to renew your skin's surface, while helping retain natural moisture for soft, supple skin. Also comes in two other exotic fragrances: Juice Pomegranate & Mango Infusions and Sweet Honeysuckle & Orange Peel."

First Impression - while I'm not a fan of bar soaps or coconut smell, I'm curious to try this one out since it is "exfoliating". I'll link the full review here.

Montagne Jeunesse Face Mask
"Montagnue Jeunesse's face masks are jam packed with the most delicious natural ingredients and are bursting with luscious juice fragrances. Influensters will receive one of the following flavors: Strawberry Souffle, Cucumber Peel Off, Passion Peel Off, Dead Sea Mud, Fruit Smoothie."

First Impression - Well, I got the Fruit Smoothie and I'm pretty happy with the flavor choice I received. I have used these masks several times in the past and I just adore using them on a Friday night with a Lifetime Movie and a glass of red wine at hand. I'm curious to see how this particular one works. Although, I must say, the size is pretty small, so I may only be able to test one part of my face.

Mentos Pure Fresh Gum
"We're sure you know Mentos, but did you know they have a sugarfree gum? Whether it's before a holiday party, date or meeting, pop Mentos Pure Fresh Gum for a quick refresh! The crunchy outer shell conceals a green tea extract core that provides an immediate burst of coolness for long-lasting fresh breath. It's unique container keeps gum protected in your purse."

First Impression - I'm a sucker for packaging and I like that there's no wrapper to end up at the bottom of my purse. I'm not a huge gum chewer (I have TMJ), but I'll give it the old college try! I'll link the review here.

"Made from only 2-9 ingredients, each LARABAR is a delicious blend of just fruits, nuts and spices. Pure and simple, just as nature intended. Larabar comes in 19 delicious flavors!"

First Impression - I received the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavor. I do like that there's minimal, natural ingredients. I think I'll test this one out this afternoon at work! I'll link the review here.

Well, that's it for my box contents. Look for full reviews on each product soon!

Did you receive an Influenster Holiday VoxBox? What was in yours?!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cafe de Bernard

Well, I guess Bernard isn't shy about making new friends. It appears that he has quite the crush on Aurora and in a move to impress her, set up a dinner date on my kitchen island. The kids continue to get a kick out of his antics... and I'm having a harder and harder time thinking of ideas!!!

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf? What are some of the places he's shown up in your house?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday VoxBox - Winter 2011

I am such a sucker for samples - I simply adore trying out new things and finding new treasures I never knew I would like.

I recently signed up with Influenster and received my notification today that I was selected for the Holiday VoxBox - Winter 2011!

If you're not familiar, Influenster is a community of trendsetters invited to share their lifestyles and show their influence to qualify for personalized product shipments, special rewards and exclusive deals from the brands they love. Members love testing the latest products, giving insightful feedback, and spreading the word on their favorite finds!

They send out product sample boxes to select "Influensters" for sampling and review.

The email I received said the following:

In celebration of our official national launch, Influenster is arming our most influential members with some personal fun this season in the form of a special Holiday VoxBox. And we are so excited to pass along the good news that you have been officially selected to test, evaluate and recommend this batch of featured products!

VoxBoxes are shipping from Chicago via USPS on December 7th, so be on the lookout for your package after this date.

I'm looking forward to receiving my first Voxbox and will definitely share with all of you!

Are you a member of any sample programs? Are you a "sample whore" like me?!

Weekend Recap

WHEW! What a weekend. Have you ever had such a hectic, busy weekend that you're thankful to get back to work on Monday morning just so you can sit down? Well I just had one of those weekends.

Mom came into town and we knocked out the rest of my Christmas and Natalie's Birthday shopping! I've never been done this early. I feel like I can actually breathe and enjoy Christmas now. I have no idea what to do with myself!!!

Bernard made his appearance all weekend, like clockwork. He showed up in Natalie's bedroom on her Christmas tree on Friday night, then under the tree on Saturday night putting the moves on Barbie.

Then..... last night.....

The little twerp defaced our family photo last night (luckily he grabbed an extra one I had laying around (which was too big for the frame, but I don't think the kids noticed). Natalie said "Naughty, naughty Bernard!!!" and told him she didn't like him drawing on her.

Mike decided that he liked Bernard hanging around, despite all his antics. Anilyse typically is a bear to wake up in the morning. Now all Mike has to do is say "Guess where Bernard is!" and she bolts up out of bed. He wants to know if we can keep him around all year!

On a separate topic, Natalie and I went to the mall last night to help her ease through the transition of Grammy leaving. She's been on that bungee trampoline thing one time before and wanted to do it again. Somehow, my 3-year old was able to teach herself how to do backflips! I'm still flabbergasted!

All in all, a great weekend. How are you on your Christmas shopping? Anyone else doing Elf on the Shelf? I'd LOVE to hear your Elf stories!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Elf - Day 4

Darn that Elf! I woke up this morning (at 3:30 - thank you very much, Natalie) and found Bernard head-first into a bag of chocolate chips I had on the very top shelf of my pantry! Sneaky little Elf!!

The girls giggled so much when they woke up (Christian thought it was cool - he doesn't "giggle" anymore), then immediately asked if they could have some chocolate chips. Stinkers.

Christian also lost a tooth last night! Luckily, the Tooth Fairy made it to our house last night (last tooth he lost, she forgot to come and came on the 2nd night). Guess she made sure to hit our house first since she screwed up last year.

Those darn Elves and Fairies. They're more trouble than they're worth!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Away in a Manger

I guess Bernard was getting lonely and went looking to make some friends. tee-hee. Anilyse found him first.

Scented Pinecone Wreath - Pinterest Inspiration

Pinterest is not just a phenomenon, but an addiction. Any of you with a Pinterest account can attest. Pinning is like crack - we see a great idea, a beautiful design, a yummy recipe and it takes one click to add to our virtual stash, with the honest intention of making it soon.

I, for one, am horrible about actually completing my Pinterest projects. BUT, Thanksgiving morning, while Tom Turkey was in the oven, I broke out my glue gun, scented pinecones and $1 Walmart ribbon and created this (sorry for the crummy cell phone photo):

With inspiration from this pin:


I didn't take photos of the process, but it was very simple. I purchased two bags of scented pinecones from the Walmarts and a grapevine wreath. I simply hot glued the pinecones onto the wreath. For the ribbon, I tied two separate bows and tied them together, then hotglued the ribbon at random spots to make it flowy looking.

It smells HEAVENLY!!!!

Can I get an "AMEN!"?

What have you Pinned lately? Have you completed any of your Pins?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Favorite Things - Nester Inspired

After reading about Nester's favorite things on her blog, I was inspired to write my own Favorite Things post!  I recently just shared a few items with a friend of mine, so in a way, I did my own, personal version of Favorite Things - Oprah Style!

First think I have to add is Caress Evenly Gorgeous (Burnt Brown Sugar & Karite Butter)

Caress Evenly Gorgeous













Last fall, I was on the hunt for that perfect fall/winter body wash, without having to shell out $20+ for Philosophy (who are known for their amazing holiday scents).  I took an evening and went to Tar-jay and smelled every.single.body.wash on the shelf and came across this sweet gem.  I heard it once described as smelling like the inside of a bakery - but I think it's less sugary smelling with more of a spice tone.  The color is a beautiful, shimmery antique gold color, with beautiful brown exfoliating beads in it.  I find the scent lingers on my skin for quite a few hours.  Totally in love with how this smells and how it makes my skin feel so soft and smooth.



What list wouldn't be complete without some Lush products?












Cinders Bath Bomb is definately the BOMB!  This only comes out with the Holiday collection - so definately stock up!  The little red flakies you see are actually Pop Rocks!  And, yes, I actually confirmed by tasting one - LOL.  Lush products are just so darn.... well, lush, that they are defiantely a favorite.


This next one is naughty, naughty, naughty...

Vitalumiere Aqua













... and at *gulp* $45 is a huge splurge.  BUT, I have never seen my foundation look better!  I watched several reviews on Youtube about this and went to my local Chanel make-up counter to get a sample and I was hooked.  I justify it by determining that it lasts me approximately 4 months (120 days) - which makes it come out to a mere $0.38 a day!  What a bargain!  And to top it off, they have a wide range of yellow-based colors which I find difficult to find.



Lastly, Birchbox has been a favorite for several months. 












For those of you who don't know what Birchbox is - it's a monthly subscription service where for $10.00 per month (shipping included!) you get a goodie box sent to you filled with 4 - 6 deluxe size high-end beauty samples.  I've found some wonderful products this way and I just love getting a box of goodies every month - it's like Christmas.  One of the best parts, is that you earn points by referring friends, rating products and pruchasing full sized products.  Once you collect 100 points, you get $10 to spend on their online store!  Win-Win!  If you're interested in Birchbox, click here to sign up!


I guess I've been gravitating a lot towards beauty products lately...  Who knows, maybe next month I'll have a different category!

What are your Favorite Things?  Have you shared them with anyone lately?

Bernard Strikes Again

Well, it looks like our mischievous Elf is at it again. But last night, instead of flying home to the North Pole, he decided to help himself to my email account and send a message to Santa. Cheeky little Elf.

His message read as follows:

Dear Santa:

I wanted to email you a quick note while the family was asleep to let you know that I made it down here to Florida safe and sound and to let you know that I’m not going to fly back to the North Pole tonight.

I’m very tired from climbing their Christmas tree when I arrived yesterday, and I think I’ll wander around tonight and get used to my new home. I’ll make it back home tomorrow night, ok?

Everyone here has been sweet to me so far. Christian, Anilyse and Natalie all seem very nice – I think they’ll end up on your nice list. But, don’t worry, I’ll keep track and let you know if they end up being very naughty.

I remember the talk we had before I left the North Pole – about staying out of trouble. I’ll try very hard, Santa, but you know how much I love to play pranks.

See you tomorrow night!


Bernard the Elf

Wonder what he'll be up to tonight.......?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


We spent a very quiet Thanksgiving at home this year for the first time. I was so excited to finally cook my first Turkey and all the fixings. Although I did burn the rolls (which happens to everyone, right???) the meal was fantastic. I did miss spending the holiday with my parents, but I felt so grown-up having my first Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe we can get Mom and Dad to come to our house next year!

How was your holiday? Did you cook dinner or were you a guest?

Elf on the Shelf

This year we joined in with, seemingly half of Pinterest members, and got our own Elf on the Shelf at Tar-jay.

Bernard showed up in the middle of the night, climbed our undecorated Christmas tree and left a note written by The Big Guy himself.

Here's what the note said:

"My Dear Sweet Christian, Anilyse and Natalie,

I have many, many children to watch this year and have sent a few of my elves to some very special homes to help me keep an eye on the children there. This magic elf will send me an e-mail or fly to the North Pole every night while you are sleeping to report to me. These elves help me make the naughty and nice list, so you can be sure that this elf is watching you! I’m sure you’ll be put on the nice list!

I hope you will take care of my little elf. His name is Bernard. He is a new elf and still has a lot to learn and he is so excited to be visiting your home! But, be careful, some elves are known to get into some trouble or go on some great adventures!

Remember to be gentle. Although he is a magic elf, he is very delicate. You can talk to him (he is a very good listener) but must not play with him. Too much handling will cause him to lose his magic!

On Christmas Eve, when I deliver your toys, I will bring your little elf back to the North Pole with me. If you have done a good job taking care of my precious elf, I might send him to visit you again next year!

Love and kisses,

p.s. Please don’t forget to leave me milk and cookies on Christmas Eve! I loved the ones you left me last year! Prancer especially liked the carrots!"

The kids didn't know what to think about him at first - Natalie was cranky from waking up and wanted nothing to do with him, Christian seemed dubious and Anilyse thought it was very cool. We'll see what they say about him tonight when they've had a chance to mull it all over today at school.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Bernard does tonight!

Monday, October 3, 2011


What a great night we had for Halloween this year! The kids were so excited. We met over at our neighbor's house for dinner (thanks Ang!) and then headed out to get our candy on.