Monday, August 30, 2010

Oh Martha Monday - Folding Fitted Sheets

I know, I know... I believe my first thoughts were...

Instructions on how to fold sheets?

Really Martha?

Is this necessary?

Then I thought of my disorderly linen closet.  The sheets haven't been folded into anything resembling a rectangle since I took them out of their original packaging.  So, what the heck, I gave it a try...

Okay, I can do this... corner into corner... add the 3rd & 4th corner...

And this is where I stopped... because I gotta draw the line somewhere-- Anything more than 4 steps means I have way too much time on my hands.  I quickly folded it into a shape somewhat resembling a rectangle and threw it into the linen closet, proud of my mostly neat and orderly result. 

But if you have more patience than me... look how perfect!

complete instructions here

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Beautiful Kauai

Anini Beach, Kauai

Aloha!  You may have already guessed that the blog has been on autopilot for the past couple of weeks.  We took our long-awaited trip to Maui and Kauai and returned late last night.   We had a wonderful time relaxing, swimming, eating good food and visiting with family.  It was Happy Vee's first trip to Hawaii and his first time meeting many of his cousins and his great aunties and uncles.

The first week we played tourists as we spent most of our time hanging out by the pool at the Marriott resort in Wailea, Maui.  I'm not really a lay-out-in-the-sun-by-the-pool type of person, but R&R was just what the doctor ordered.  It was great to unplug and step away from the computer and our schedules.

the kiddie pool
 one of 5 pools (and 2 water slides) at the Marriott Wailea, Maui
I liked how there was a designated "adults only" pool too... no need to worry about my boisterous children disrupting someone's honeymoon!
at 1.5 ft deep, perfect for the non-swimmers

view from the lobby

enjoying the underwater tunnel at Maui Ocean Center... silly boys!

The second week was spent visiting family on Kauai.  I spent all of my childhood summers hanging out at Grandma & Grandpa's house, enjoying an unstructured, shoeless and rambunctious time with my older cousins-- a big change for a "mainland" only child used to structure and order.  Every time we visit is like a trip down memory lane and I feel so blessed for having such a wonderful and LARGE family. 

enjoying a bowl of saimin at hamura's saimin stand in lihue

the view from uncle tee's farm in kapaa

feeding the crab ...
and checking out the tilapia in uncle tee's pond

admiring the coconuts...

and drinking coconut milk

the spouting horn in poipu

Although the boys are a little too young to partake in many of the activities that Hawaii has to offer-- kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, fishing, crabbing... to name a few-- In the years to come, I hope to expose them to a culture and lifestyle that will hopefully make an impression on them as it has for me.

It is good to be home though... I feel refreshed! As soon as I tackle the mountain of laundry, I'll be back on schedule with more projects to share.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Book Round-up

I love this book carousel from Katie @ Ohdeedoh~

I like how this makes the "favorite books" easy to access without taking up too much room.  Happy Vee's books are currently stored in a large moving box next to my glider-- It's now at the top of the "things to tackle now" list. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

EWG - Cosmetic Safety Database

We're a family with sensitive skin-- eczema, dry skin, allergic reaction to many chemicals as well as synthetic materials... we're a dermatologist's Dream Team! 

Whenever I buy new products for the kids, I always make sure to run it by the awesome Cosmetic Safety Database provided by EWG (Environmental Working Group).

However, when it comes to myself, I'm always one to check things out AFTER making the purchase.  Recently I was tooling around the database and started "researching" several products that I use pretty regularly.   I'm happy to find that most made the grade.

My favorite products that rank well...

California Baby Sunscreen
It's greasy stuff, and the kids look like little "ghosts" after I apply it, but it works well and is the only sunscreen that doesn't cause Happy Vee to break-out in red welts.

California Baby Shampoo & Body Wash 
This stuff smells lovely, is paraben-free, lasts a long time and cleans the boys well... "cleans well" is key with my boys!

 bareMinerals foundation
 I've been using this foundation for years and am pretty happy with it.  I love the new dispenser which helps to contain the mineral dust storm (you know what I mean if you use mineral foundations). It does tend to sweat-off on hot days, but I think the same can be said for many foundations. The additional 15 SPF protection is nice to have too.
I mentioned her products before and love this moisturizer!  And how cool are they for mailing me some free product from England.... I was really surprised since my last purchase was almost a year ago!


I'll be the first to admit that the "healthier" products don't always provide the same results as those that are swimming with chemicals.

I have yet to find a good facial sunscreen for myself that is low in chemicals and that doesn't make me look like (1) an oil slick or (2) a professional mime.

I live in overly sunny So Cal and need an SPF of 40+ to combat the melasma (aka pregnancy mask that refuses to leave even though I'm 2+ years postpartum), so I need the real deal;  None of the wimpy  "moisturizer with sunscreen" stuff.  I need staying power!  If I can't find the time to reapply chapstick, there's no way that I'll be reapplying sunscreen 2-3 times a day!

The same goes for organic shampoos and conditioners... I've tried several, but none quite match up to my beloved Biolage (which ranks from moderate to hazardous, depending on how ambitious the product claims to be).

I have thick, long hair with a little wave, but the organic stuff turns it to starchy frizz.  I lived with frizzy hair for a while, but couldn't take it anymore and am currently using Dove's Moisture Therapy Shampoo and Matrix's Sleek.Look Smoothing Conditioner-- both are moderate risk, but I don't have to add extra product to my hair to make it look presentable, so it's a happy medium.

Any tried and true products out there that are low on the chemical totem pole?  I'm all ears!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bootie Love

I'm loving these booties...

So perfect for the fall.  Will I be purchasing?  Still on the fence... but they sure are nice to look at!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Book Party - Giving Back

Ashley Ann has a charming website full of beautiful pictures and wonderful ideas.  She recently threw a party to collect new books for a charity that provides them to a local children's hospital.

What a great way to remind both children and adults about the joy of giving~

Visit Ashley Ann's blog to see more photos and all the details.

Now all the gears in my head are spinning... So inspirational and what a lovely way to give back.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Oh Martha Monday - Photo Votives

As most of you probably know, the Martha Stewart website has a vast amount of wonderful ideas and projects.  And if you've been on the site, you've probably figured out that if you don't somehow save/ bookmark that pretty, smart and awesome idea... you will NEVER find it again.  Back into the abyss it goes.

So I thought I'd start posting some of the Martha inspiration that I've been "saving" as future reference.  And what better day to do it than Monday... the best day of the week... Okay, not really, but Martha and Monday sound good together, no?

Anyhow, how pretty are these Photo Votives?  This would be perfect for a birthday or anniversary party~

Sunday, August 22, 2010

To the Tea

Summer is taking a toll on me... I started off all gung-ho with lots of energy and tons of activities planned... and now I'm just plain tuckered out.  Okay, I'm going to say it-- Am I the only one counting down until school starts?

I adore my boys, but the screams of "Mine! Mine! Mine!" and "He hit me!"  and "He's not sharing!" and "Brother, bad boy!" and "Mommy, put him in timeout!"-- Well, it makes for a loooooooong and tiring day...

I used to be able to survive on just one cup of coffee in the morning, but that isn't enough anymore.  I still drink my one cup of coffee (kowtow to the lovely Keurig), but drink Green Tea for the rest of the day.  A punch of caffeine AND some antioxidant benefits too?  I'm all there!

Here are my favs that get me through the day~

A great alternative to coffee

This reminds me of something you have at a spa... instant relaxation... even as the kids are playing handball against the tv... It's my Calgon!

 Yamamotoyama Genmai Cha (green tea and roasted brown rice)
This is great to sip with dinner

Another good dinner tea

And, in case you're wondering, three more weeks until school starts!