July 29, 2011

Sweet and Simple Candy Buffet

To welcome friends, family and visitors to our home to meet Baby B, I whipped up this decorative candy display to give a parting gift and a sweet treat to those that stop by.  Sure, they are coming to meet their new friend Baby B, but what's wrong with sending them on their way southern style with a sweet way to say thanks for coming by? 

With a little prep and a few cute purchases, a simply candy buffet is within reach.  First, round up some glass vases or jars.  I have quite a thing for apothocary jars and so tracking down a few for this wasn't too hard!  Then, I filled the jars with cute "baby" candy.  One jar was filled with blue and white M&M's and another was full of sweet tart candy shaped like pacifiers.  Lastly, who doesn't love pixie stix?  And so a silver mint julip cup was added with a handful of blue pixies (and then the other flavors were added later when the blue started disappearing!). 

To stash the cute candy favors, I used simple white bags that I found at the craft store and made sweet monogram labels in blue to add a special touch.  This is all you need to give your guests the supplies they need to help themselves to a self serve buffet. 

But wait ... there's more!  Remember that silhoutte belly shot craft?  Well here it adds a personal touch to the display while we wait (anxiously) for Baby B's newborn pics to arrive.  Lastly, some oversized blue lollipops add a touch of whimsy.  Surprisingly, these are available at craft and grocery stores near me - so check your local spots!  Just fill a mint julip cup with foam and add the pops, covering the foam with some decorative paper shreds. 

See what I told you ... an almost instant, effortless candy buffet!  Enjoy!

July 27, 2011

Little Luxuries

It's been more than three months since my last trip to southern California.  To say I'm having withdrawl is an understatement.  And, to make matters more desperate ... this week my work counterparts are all ascending upon Huntington Beach for a conference.  I'm sure they are all basking in the glorious weather and enjoying the sunny skies sans humidity like I have the pleasure of enduring here in the south.  While I wouldn't trade maternity leave and my time with Baby B for any conference in  SoCali, I sure wouldn't mind making it back out there real soon! 

One of the hotels I frequent in Orange County offers the La Source line of bath and spa products for guests.  From my very first visit, I fell in love with that clean, beachy scent.  Upon further investigation, I realized that this line was from Crabtree and Evelyn and absolutely attainable for my home use, glorious!  The La Source products have a wonderfully relaxing scent of almond oil, oat kernal and sea algea.  The delicate scent layers nicely for everyday.   

Frequently on special sale online, I recently stocked up (thanks Dear Hubs) on the shampoo, body wash and lotion.  Until I can make my next visit back to my favorite place on earth ... the smell of the ocean air in a bottled bath product will just have to do! 

July 25, 2011

It's a Cinch!

Topping my fashion "to do" list right now is a search for a (or a few) belts.  Luckily, I came across a great collection of reasonable belts at Piperlime.  And to make the deal even more smashing ... there are tons of options on sale so deeply discounted that they are under $20 each!  What a deal!

Piperlime is a gap owned concept store and they offer free shipping (and free returns) on all of their merchandise.  So, I cashed in on the recent sale and found a few adorable new belts!  All of these cuties, and plenty of others, are on sale NOW so hurry over to Piperlime and pick up a few new looks as quick as you can!

Happy Shopping!
~charmed, b

July 21, 2011

Welcome Home!

Our Little Precious Baby B

Welcome Home!

It's been just about a week since Dear Hubs and I made our way home from the hospital with a little more in tow than when we arrived.  Baby B arrived on July 7th and made his appearance at 8lb 11 oz and 22.75 inches long.  We have spent the past week adjusting our duet into a trio and I'm happy to report we are doing just fine!  The last two weeks has been full of firsts with great promise of many more to come!

Baby B is a strapping young man and already proving that he will one day surely eat us out of house and home.  If there is any truth to the addage that babies grow when they sleep, this explains why our good little sleeper has already doubled his nourishment intake in just two weeks.  We love every minute with him and just can't take our eyes off of our sweet little boy!

Here's a few pics of our time with friends and family at the hospital and our big return home!

Family Photo of the Triple B's at the Hospital

Auntie LaLa meeting her new nephew

Zsa Zsa and Dear Ole Dad

Grand Nana Meeting her new GREAT Grandson

Bestie M with Baby B

Bestie S comes for a visit

Besties P, D and K stopped by to say hello!

Besties A and M with sweet Baby B

Dear Friends for Years S, M and S

Zsa Zsa's Childhood Friend D and her Mister

A's Mister B Came By With Well Wishes

Neighbors and Good Friends Since my Childhood, J and O

The Happy Family - Diva Dogs and ALL!

July 18, 2011

Boys VS Girls

For the first time in my life, the pink team is outnumbered by the blue team!  Growing up, pink wwwaaaaaayyyyy outnumbered the blue that Dear ole Dad could muster up.  He didn't really stand a chance, quite frankly, against the girly powers of Zsa Zsa, Lala and me!  There were dresses, dolls, ballet recitals, cheerleading competitions and so on.  And like a champ, the man's man obliged and supported his girls every step of the way.

Then, when Dear Hubs and I added our first diva dog to the family, Sheila added a point to make the girls outnumber the boys in my own household.  While diva dog #2, Colby, levelled the playing field ... I've neva eva considered the thought that I would one day be OUTNUMBERED in my own home! 

While I will enjoy every moment before Baby B grows boy enough to start toting bugs and boy things into the home, this book will prominently be displayed on my not so childproof glass coffee table in the media room.

I saw this book at Barnes and Noble a while back and just thought it was the most clever little collection of short stories, tips and tricks.  Of course, it must be made mine!  A survival guide of sorts, The Double Daring Book for Girls by Buchanan and Peskowitz is an adorable collection of stories, facts and tips that every daring girl must know!  Hey, there's even a short entry on "how to fish" ... perhaps this will help prep me for the day when Baby B asks me to put a worm on a hook for him (eeeewwwwww).

~charmed, b

July 15, 2011

Cupcake Love

It's no secret that I just love all things cupcake and this little bishop dress caught my eye and even further supports my claim that I love ALL things cupcake!  One of the new designs from Charmed Life Kids arrived this week and I am just in love!

Be sure to check out this sweetness!

~charmed, b

July 14, 2011

Chalkboard Shortcuts

For some time now, I've had my eye on the adorable chalkboards at Ballard Designs and the likes.  I have shuffled art and wall decor from wall to wall in my kitchen and other rooms trying to find a suitable home for one of these gems.  Just when I thought I'd found an appropriate home, I came down with a case of cold feet when I saw the price tag on the larger size board.  The thought of an almost $200 price for a chalkboard that I could secure at the craft store for about $10 just didn't seem sensible. 

And so, I set out to see how I could recreate a similar board for much, much less.  Trying one or two different options, Dear Hubs actually came up with the winning suggestion.  I took a frame (purchased at craft store half price) and flipped the backing around to face forward and also removed the glass.  Then, the black finished side of the backing (now facing out like a picture) was painted with a few coats of chalkboard paint that I had left over from another playroom craft (more on that later).  Chalkboard paint is readily available at Home Depot and other paint stores and that little quart size sure goes a long way!  A few coats and a enough dry time for a good curing (2+ days) and voila ... my replica of the designer chalkboard for about 20% of the price!  Such a bargain!

I just love a deal!

~charmed, b

July 13, 2011

2 in 1 Cookies

These may look like sweet, innocent yet satisfying chocolate chip cookies but au contrare ... these cookies are much more than meets the eye!  What you don't see in this pic is the tasty second cookie treat that hides inside just waiting to be enjoyed!  Yes, a chocolate chip cookie can perhaps be improved upon.  How's that you ask?  By adding the greatness of the Oreo nestled in the middle of the cookie surrounded by sweet chocolate chippiness.

Have I got your attention?  By all means ... let me explain how EASY and tastefully simple these cookies are!  First, you can start with just storebought chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge section at the grocery.  Sure, you could make your own from scratch, but those genius minds at Tollhouse sure have this one figured out!  Of course, the Oreos are from the grocery too - no work there.  P.S. - the new mini Oreos are absolutely fab for this, the perfect bite size!

To assemble, you simply scoop the chocolate chip dough into a tablespoon size ball.  Then, press the Oreo into the ball and surround the entire Oreo with the cookie dough.  Place on a cookie sheet, bake according to the chocolate chip dough directions (about 10-12 minutes on 350 degrees most likely) and then, voila ... you have a delish treat that people will be mesmorized to eat!

~charmed, b

July 12, 2011

B is Back

I must sincerely apologize for my exit last week without explanation.  You see, I "thought" I published a post just before heading to the hospital to meet my new Baby B, but as technology would have it ... I didn't.  So, I left you all high and dry and my frequent postings came to a screaching hault.  Well... as Elton John so eloquently put it in his hit song from the 70s, yes indeed ... the "B#$@ is back". 

So as I anxiously sit and wait at the hospital to be discharged with an adorable babe (pics forethcoming), I will be sure to get back on track with a few posts for ya! 

Happy Week, xoxo.

~charmed b

July 05, 2011

Make Room For Baby

Since our last chats, I have the esteemed pleasure of becoming someone's momma.  No words can describe the wonder that comes with this title and how simply perfect life is with Baby B in the world.  As I pass the final hours before going home (I hope) with my bundle of joy, I thought I'd share a sneak peak of Baby B's nursery.  Dear Hubs and I just can't wait to bring the little guy home and start are life as a party of three!

When we found out that we were expecting a little boy into our lives, I crafted elaborate plans for a very non-traditional nursery that was fancier than fancy and gussier than gussy.  A chandelier was in scope along with silk drapes and only the finest "non-baby" looking decor.  When my plan started coming together, Dear Hubs showed a little of his manly man muscle and started vetoing the odds and ends I had selected.  The chandelier would hang too low for his 6 foot 5 head, the glass accessories seemed to be a hazzard for a wild little boy and silk in a child's room was a laughable proposal.  While I can typically negotiate a victory on these home decor topics, his power was only supplemented by Zsa Zsa who took his side by saying the idea "looked like a nice guest bedroom". 

Okay, okay ... I concede.  And thus began nursery plan B.  This time, something more durable, rugged and "little boy" was requested.  With my decor guiding principles still firmly in tact, Dear Hubs and I agreed on a classic style nursery that was a little more reflective of "little boy" and a little less "guest bedroom".  One of my favorite aspects of the nursery is that we were able to incorporate vintage toys and art from my baby room and Dear Hub's childhood as well.  The artwork in the room is comprised of watercolor zoo animals that also proudly hung in my baby nursery.  One of Zsa Zsa's friends painted them as a gift for my arrival a few years ago.  The adorable wooden truck collection on the hutch were hand crafted by Dear Hub's great uncle for him as a child.  Given the stories from MIL and FIL about how wild Hubs was as a little boy, these are in impressively good shape!  The room's color pallet is comprised of cloud blue with chocolate brown pinstripe, khaki and brown.  I know this is a sweet little room that will grow with him for years to come.   

And now that the room is decorated and we anxiously await the only missing component to complete it - Baby B, I have to say I'm pleased as punch with the outcome and feel like this is the perfect way to welcome him home!

Wreath from Bestie M that she made for the baby shower

Love the area rug from Restoration Hardware

Oversized tin stars coordinate with the vintage theme

Sweet vintage zoo animal painting - freshly matted and framed
The truck collection, books and keepsake accesories from Zsa Zsa, Dear Ole Dad, Lala and special bestie fam M


Ready for rocking sweet baby

Bathroom (still slightly in progress)

This post is partying over at 733

July 04, 2011

Rice Krispy Sparklers

For one of the wonderfully festive cookout events with friends and fam this holiday weekend, we celebrated with a good food and friends at dear neighbors J and J's house.  Every year on the 3rd of July, we join them for a celebration, sparklers, bounce houses and delish treats that all the guest prepare.  Each time, J features the super "feet long" sub sandwich that her dad sweetly prepares for the crowd; importing bread long enough for miles and miles of sandwich from Florida where his restaurant sources the tasty roll!

This year, my contribution to the fete was rice krispy treat sparklers.  To gussy up the fan fave treats a bit, I cut them into the shape of stars and added star sprinkles.  If that wasn't cute enough, I added treat sticks from the craft store.  Once I had about 50 or 60 of these cute krispy pops, I realized I needed a way to display these upright instead of just placing them on a platter.  Insert the great tutorial of friend A (bestie M's sister) over at Dixie Delights.  Using a similar technique as she describes in her baseball posting, I fashioned a foam display board for the sparkler treats that made it not only easy for transporting, but adorable for display!

Happy 4th, ya'll!  Hope everyone is celebrating with good weather, good friends and good times!

~charmed, b

July 03, 2011

Breakfast at Wimbeldon

As has become tradition around these parts, the last day of the Wimbeldon  Tennis Championship is celebrated with good cheer and a ceremonial breakfast watching of the Gentlemen's Singles Championship.  Dear Hubs and I both love tennis (playing and watching) and I love the classic and regal atmosphere that the Wimbeldon white tennis outfits portray on the green grass court.  While we have had the great opportunity to tour the grounds of Wimbeldon outside of London (well, less of a "tour" and more of us snooping after hours), we have not yet made it to this Grand Slam Tourney in person.  And so, every year about this time we plan for a lazy Sunday morning breakfast and a few good hours of tennis watching as the greats battle it out on the big screen.

To pay homage to the great traditional snack of the tournament; strawberries and cream, this year's breakfast featured homemade vanilla waffles with none other than a lovely side of strawberries and cream.  Paired with a big cup of coffee, to say it was delish would be an understatement.  Legend has it that the strawberries and cream at Wimbeldon dates back to 1877 when strawberries were brought to the tennis tournament as a sign that summer has arrived.  Since the sweet berries were only available for a short time, it became the en vogue thing to eat and a sign of celebration.  The traditional fruit snack stuck, and I can't say I blame them! 

As I type, my favorite (how can he not be) Nadal has just lost the first set of this best of five set match to Djokovic.  Perhaps I better get back to cheering on my dear Rafa!

~charmed b

July 01, 2011

I Scream For Icecream!

Maybe it's just me, but this summer sure does feel hotter, stickier and steamier than the way I romantically remember summers past.  I'm sure they are all the same, but this year my two "get by" staples have been icecream and watermelon.  Can't really complain when the medicine cure for heat is that sweet!

Here's a tasty treat that will keep you cool and provide an entertaining alternative to a few scoops on a cone or in a bowl (not that there is ANYTHING wrong with that!).  Last week, I made a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, sandwiched them together with some really tasty vanilla bean icecream and rolled these little dolls around in some sprinkles.  The trick to this little treat is to be sure that you have good (tasty) cookies to begin with and that you let the icecream get soft before you add it between the cookies.  Once you make your sandwiches, refreeze for a bit to ensure they firm back up. 

While I really wanted to eat these all myself, I did share with my family :)

Stay cool!
~charmed b