Sunday, February 28, 2010

Good Food - Chasing Rainbows

Rainbows are hard to come by in Southern California.  It's either bone dry or, when rain does decide to pay a visit, the sky is blanketed in a solid gray sheet of neverending clouds.  Smarty Pants hasn't seen a real, live rainbow yet and talks about it constantly every time it rains.  A few weeks back, when we were blessed with cumulous clouds and simultaneous sunshine and showers, we drove to the highest point in our neighborhood in our quest to find an elusive rainbow with a pot of gold at the end-- Smarty Pants is adamant that every rainbow HAS TO HAVE a pot of gold.  Unfortunately, no rainbows or leprechauns that day, so we continue to wait.

I came across this idea in my latest Family Fun mag and thought it'd be a great snack idea for Smarty Pant's preschool class.  He was thrilled and the teachers were happy that it was a healthy snack--

And with mini carrot cake muffin "clouds".  I was in a hurry, so no time to style the photoshoot --

This would work for a St. Patty's Day snack too.  Family Fun used marshmallows for the clouds and bananas in a ramekin for the "pot of gold".  Unfortunately, this great idea wasn't posted on their website, but here are some other St. Patrick's Day ideas.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Just for Fun - Good Shoes: Merrell, Born & Ecco

Like most ladies, I love shoes.  However, after my left foot had a freak encounter with a tempered-glass butter dish--shudder... which severed a tendon and put a quarter-size hole in my foot... shudder...when Happy Vee was just 3 weeks old... shudder...which required 2 surgeries...shudder...and months of crutches and physical torture therapy... shudder... and serious nerve damage...okay, that's all-- I now have a true appreciation for GOOD SHOES. 

GOOD SHOES = Well-made, comfortable and stylish footwear that I can jump around in...that doesn't look orthopaedic or resemble sneakers

You heard me NO SNEAKERS!  I need to be able to keep up with the kids, but that doesn't mean I want to feel dowdy or look shorter than I already am.  I actually own one pair of sneakers, and that's for the imaginary gym that I work out at  (oops, did I actually just write that?).  I meant to say that they're my workout shoes {ha ha!}

So here are some recent finds from Merrell, Born and Ecco.  By the way, some quality shoes can be a bit spendy... But if you 1) Shop online (suchas Shoebuy, Piperlime, Amazon); 2)  Utilize a cashback website (suchas Ebates or Bing); 3) Google coupon/promo codes (retailmenot, coupon mountain, etc) and/or are patient enough to wait for the sales-- You don't have to pay retail.  


I love these shoes-- so comfy and cute with jeans (my daily uniform). And yes, I can even jump around in them without breaking my ankles. BTW, I bought these on sale. With an extra 25% off coupon code and Ebates cashback, I only paid $45.

Merrell Petunia is pretty cute with the strap

Born Lovely Flat, Nordstrom exclusive
If you like flats but need some arch support, then this is the shoe for you. It's seriously like walking on air.

Born Raquel Mary Jane Clog, Nordstrom exclusive
These are my "running out the door to drop-off or pick-up Smarty Pants from school" shoes. Easy to quickly slip on and very comfy with a little height.

Ecco Bouillon with Buckle
Ruby slippers always catch my eye...

Merrell Larkspur
If I lived in a colder climate, I'd have considered these boots for the winter. Not sure about the top detail though... although the wedge heel looks pretty comfy, yet modern. I think I'll keep an eye on these during the end-of-season sales.

Merrell Spire Peak
Or maybe these ones with a lower heel.


And since spring/summer is around the corner... So many possibilities!

Okay, I probably wouldn't jump around in the park with these, but I'm sure they're more comfy than the average high-heeled sandal

Gladiator-esque, without being annoying

Has a baseball feel to it... gotta love that!

Ooh, covered toe...Perfect for those neglected pedi days.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Good Food - Beef, Lentil & Noodle Soup

It's an El Nino year so us wimpy Angelenos have been experiencing more wintry, rainy weather in 2 months than the last 5 years combined.  I love the rain... well, except if I'm driving in it-- because everyone knows that the freaks, idiots, my fellow Californians, don't know how to drive... very well... especially if there's H2O on the ground.

So when it's cold and rainy, I hunker down and throw together a good hearty, warm soup. 

I'm telling you, this one is about as hearty as a soup can get...

Beef, Lentil and Noodle Soup


2 T. olive oil
1 lb beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste

1 carton beef broth (or 4 cups)
3 large carrots, chopped
3 large celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. italian spices
2 cups water*
1 T. chicken bouillon granules
1 cup dried lentils
6 oz. egg noodles


Coat large pot with olive oil and heat over med-high heat.
Season beef with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Coat beef with flour and carefully place in pot.  Brown all sides of the meat (@ 8 minutes)
Add beef broth.
Add celery, carrots, onion, minced garlic, italian spices and bring to boil.
Simmer until meat is tender, @ 1 hour.

Add 2 cups water* and chicken bouillon granules and bring to boil again.
Add lentils and simmer until tender, @ 40 minutes.
In the last 15 minutes, add egg noodles and simmer until noodles are cooked.

Serve with a crusty bread.

* If you'd like the base to be more soupy, add more water and bouillon accordingly.  The lentils and noodles will absorb much of the liquid. 


Monday, February 22, 2010

Kitchen Islands that - Pop!

Before remodeling our kitchen, I surfed the web for some inspiration.  I was specifically looking for kitchens where the center island was a different style and color than the rest of the cabinetry--  In other words, kitchen islands that really stand out and {pop} like a custom furniture piece. Here are a few that caught my eye ~

I like the contrast between the center island and the rest of the cabinets.  I'm also loving the open cabinet display. The shelving next to the cooktop (I'm guessing spice rack?) is a smart idea for a cook's kitchen.

Not sure if anyone actually cooks in this kitchen, but it sure is beautiful!

Bright and lively green... love it!

The wood countertop is beautiful and I'm loving those pendant lights!

I like how the countertop on the island really ties in the color of the cabinetry.

Who says an island needs to be square or rectangle? 

The faux finished cabinets nicely compliment the center island.

There's a thread on GardenWeb devoted to this fabulous kitchen, but alas I didn't bookmark the link... needle in the haystack.

I love the contrast of the french blue island against the satin black cabinets.

Very elegant but not fussy.  The subway tile behind the cooktop is a nice touch.

There are some beautiful kitchens out there.  I don't know if all of them have seen the backside of a frying pan {gasp!}, but it's certainly nice to look at eye-candy every now and then.

p.s. I try to give credit for all the photos I post, but I couldn't find all the links.  If you see something where credit is due, please holler out!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Magical Disney

I've always thought that Disneyland is a magical kind of place, but Disneyland at Night is truly enchanting.  We have annual passes and usually visit during the day when the kids are at their prime, but this weekend we decided to take advantage of the late hours and unseasonably warm weather by staying until closing... Yeah, we're crazy like that.  Luckily Happy Vee slept in the stroller and Smarty Pant's was so jazzed that he was on good behaviour as he ran from one ride to the next.  It's been years (and boy do I mean YEARS) that I've stayed at Disneyland until closing, so I was really taken by how beautiful and surreal the park looked at night.  I thought I'd share a few unedited, photoshop-free pics~

~Sleeping Beauty's Castle~


Tomorrowland's Astro Orbitor


Glowing Mickey balloons with Main Street in the background


Space Mountain


King Arthur Carrousel


~Mad Tea Party (teacups)~


~"it's a small world"~