Friday, December 31, 2010

December in Review

My beautiful in-real-life friend Megan at Sorta Crunchy often does a month in review post and I'd thought I'd join in.

On My Nightstand: Prudent Advice: Lessons for My Baby Daughter (such a GREAT pick-up-and-put-down read) and Praying God's Word Day by Day in preparation for one of my New Year's resolutions: more purposeful prayer.

TV Show Worth Watching: We've been watching The Dog Whisperer as a family hoping to teach the kids, especially The Wild Child, the proper way to interact with our new dog Bella. He's an absolutely amazing man and I am so impressed by his techniques!
Movie I've Seen (in or out of the theater): Mr. Sasha and I watched Four Christmases last week and it's still on my list of all-time favorite movies. I meant to watch Love Actually during the holiday season, but didn't get around to it. Hopefully this weekend.

In My Kitchen: remnants of Christmas celebrations..... I need to get the leftover sweets out of there in the next few days to prepare for my new Shred It or Dread It plan.
In My Ears: Sophie Kinsella's audio book Can You Keep a Secret?. Love love love this chick lit story, and attn: Hollywood movie producers, this should be made into a movie STAT!

Three Newest Blog Reads:
  1. Totally Together Journal. Keeping it all together is part of the "new me" plan and come January 1st, I am all over The Daily 7.
  2. Picky Palate. Thanks to Jenny, I've got WC's birthday cupcakes down to two options, but haven't yet decided between her Hot Chocolate Cupcakes or her Fluffer Oreo Birthday Boy Cupcakes. Decisions, decisions, decisions....
  3. Etsy Taste Test. Fun fun fun! Here's my results.
What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month: A new year, a fresh start! I've got big plans for 2011 and I can't wait to get started.

I love what Megan says at the end of her posts like that, and I'll ditto it: NOW then. Your turn! What are YOU into this month? Fill up the comment space or borrow this for inspiration on your own blog.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon referral links.

Preview: 11 in '11

I have big plans in store for New Year, New Me. I'm calling my goals 11 in '11! I figure if I make that many goals, surely I can meet at least a few of them!

Goal One:
Exercise every day

Whether it's a 10 minute walk around the block with Bella, or a 6 mile run, I'll be doing some sort of physical activity Promise!

And one of my Christmas presents will help me meet that goal- Zumba for Wii!

This past semester, I attended a 6 week Saturday morning Zumba class and loved it! My crazy schedule didn't allow me to find a more regular class, and traveling put a damper on even the once-a-week class.

But with this Wii game, I can add Zumba to my workout schedule. I truly miss dancing (I was on the ADTS All-American Drill Team in 1991!) and this will not only help me get my fix, but also give me a hell of a workout at the same time.

What other workout suggestions do you have for me?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Apps for Kids

P is the proud owner of an ipod touch, and Mr. Sasha surprised me with an ipad this Christmas, so I've been doing some app shopping.

Of course one of our first purchases was Angry Birds, as well as Angry Birds Seasons. Cut the Rope is also a favorite.

And here are a few other ones I found that are tons of fun, and very well-liked by me as well as both kiddos (age 7 and almost 5).

I found this Rapunzel 3D Interactive Pop Up Book app and it's fabulous and well-worth the $1.99. Both kids were mesmerized, especially since we saw Tangled this weekend and loved it!

The kids are loving Cake Doodle (99 cents), and I'll admit to whipping up a few cakes myself last night after the kids went to bed.

And Cookie Doodle (also 99 cents) is the same idea, but of course, with cookies. Precious. You know I'm a sucker for a cute owl.

But Fruit Ninja (99 cents) is probably my favorite find. It's so fun! There are several ways to play and even a super easy timed version where you just can't lose- perfect for the little ones who get frustrated easily.

Do you have other app suggestions for the Sasha family?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Review: L'Oreal Paris Studio Secrets Professional The One Sweep Eye Shadow

Last week I saw a new L'Oreal eye shadow product, Studio Secrets Professional The One Sweep Eye Shadow, and it looked quite interesting, so I picked it up. Since I have blue eyes, I chose the shade "Natural Blue Eyes".

The product comes with an applicator that is designed to be swept across the shadow and then swept across your eyelid, to apply the three colors in one easy motion.

In theory, it's pretty cool. However, the way the three shades are layered in the case gives you a different look than what I am used to -- I typically apply the darkest shade I am using in my crease. With this product, the darkest shade is nearest to your eyelashes.... I just don't like that look on myself.

Still, for a drugstore product, it's pretty cool. MSRP is $10, although I think Walmart had it priced closer to $9.

Hope you and yours had a Merry Christmas!

I took a little bloggy break and enjoyed the holidays with the family.

This picture, taken by Trina Gibbins, was our Christmas card photo and I could just eat these two up!

I hope you had a lovely holiday as well!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Year's Eve Babysitting

I just had to post this email from a friend..... we were discussing New Year's Eve plans and decided that since we most likely would not be able to find a babysitter at this late notice, we'd just stay in.

Here's the offer he sent us all:

Actually, for the good of the group, I'd be willing to stay back and watch the kids while everyone else goes out on New Year's Eve. I have options available for all budget levels and drinking levels:


$10/hour per child...5 hour minimum. Children must be picked up by 1am. Price includes bread, water, and access to a VHS player hooked up to a 13 inch B&W television. The kids will have great fun trying to figure out what a VHS tape is and why the tv isn't in high definition color.


$15/hour per child...5 hour minimum. Children must be picked up by 1am. Price includes all amenities in the basic package plus I will actually interact with your child. Why not pay a little extra and have your child experience the fun and wonders of talking about social and behavioral statistics.


$25/hour per child/adult. Price includes all amenities in the basic package and delux packages plus a couch (more likely floor space) for 1 adult. All non-family children and adults must be out of my house by 5:30am. Breakfast not included. It's cheaper than a DUI and more comfortable than sleeping in my driveway.


$25/hour per child/adult. Price includes amenities in all other packages plus you can just stay at our house for the Fiesta Bowl. Price requires 8-10 hours of working/cleaning to prepare our house to host a football watch party. What better way to work off a hangover than cleaning toilets, making beds, vacuuming, and cooking? Little Debbie honey bun breakfast included.

Last Minute Gift Idea: Kiss My Face

Christmas is a nostalgic time when the familiar scents like rosemary, peppermint and cranberry fill the air and tickle our senses. Kiss My Face has some unique product offerings for the holiday season that contain traditional holiday ingredients while being quite green: they are natural and free of parabens, phthalates, and are not tested on animals.

Rosemary and Melon Self Foaming Liquid Soap ($7.95) offers the aromatic smell of rosemary next to your sink and cleans thoroughly leaving hands soft and smooth. I've placed this in our guest bathroom and have gotten some comments on it's wonderful smell. With kids in the house, we have found that foaming soaps work much better than liquid and really help the kids take care of that task on their own.

Peppermint Foot Crème ($8.99) works to stimulate and exfoliate feet while moisturizing with Grapeseed Oil. I've used this after an evening run and it feels great- the peppermint smell is divine and I woke up the next morning with super-soft feet.

(swatch of the Garnet Shine)

Sheer Organic Shimmers (stick form) & Shines (gloss form) ($3.99 each) contain natural mineral color, vitamins A&E to repair and protect lips and have a luscious organic flavor – mint with a hint of vanilla. I loved both of these products, but I think the Shine is my favorite- it was so moisturizing and wore so well.
Cranberry Orange Lip Balm ($3.49) soothes and protects lips with organic ingredients and SPF 15. This is a great balm for the guys- it's non-glossy and P claimed "It feels so good on my lips!"

Kiss My Face products are available at Target stores across the United States.

Disclosure: I was sent these products for review purposes.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Fancy Nancy Christmas

Is your little girl a Fancy Nancy fan? I think you know mine is!

I just found out about the neatest thing - a free downloadable Fancy Nancy Holiday Guide! I just printed it out and it is darling and WC will love the ideas!

While we are on the subject, could you take a second to vote for her in the Fancy Nancy Fantastic Fan contest? She's holding her own at #183 of 511 with 29 votes.

Thanks to all who have voted so far! The prize is so neat- the winning photo will be illustrated in an upcoming Fancy Nancy- can't you just see a book about Fancy Nancy going to the pool? It would be darling!

I absolutely love that she dressed herself for the pool with a floppy hat, girly bag and high heels, and also love that she wore a football jersey to school the next day- she's a bit prissy, a bit of a tomboy, and I love her just the way she is!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cocoa Chex Mix

It's totally a sickness- when I start researching something I can't stop.....

And all I could find about the Cocoa Chex Mix was info about a special edition Winter Chex Mix Cocoa from a few years ago. This article isn't dated, but it was definitely talking about a different version because the contents aren't quite the same. I keep finding 2008 references in regards to this version.

From the article linked above: This mix included pretzels shaped like stockings, snowflakes, sleighs, snowmen and Christmas trees (moronically described on the bag as "holiday trees" so as not to offend); mini marshmallows, the kind they include with hot chocolate mix; vanilla bread sticks; Corn Chex; and Frosted Mini Chex. All of those things had a thin coating of a hot chocolate-like powder that adhered to everything quite well.

2010's version has (clockwise from left): mini marshmallows (cereal style), circle and square pretzels, a swirly cookie, a chex densely-coated with chocolate powder, and a sweetened almost-frosted chex.

It's quite yummy, and now we can get back to tasks at hand (Christmas shopping!) now that I've properly research, photographed, and reported my new find. (Since Chex Mix doesn't feel it necessary to put the product on their web page......)

Have You Seen?

New Chex Muddy Buddies! Absolutely yummy and premade!!!!!

Props to Chex Mix for having them on their website! (Although I was unable to find the other variety I purchased at the same time - hot chocolate or maybe hot cocoa - on there! I did find some info on other sites about a past limited edition Winter Chex Mix Hot Cocoa , but that's not what I purchased....)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Merry Christmas, 80s Style

My BIL, SIL, and I wish you a Merry Christmas, 80s Style!

Getting ready for the party was so much fun! I am a bit concerned that I was able to turn my 2010 hairstyle into a 80s hairstyle so easily...... For a point of reference, here's my drill team pic from 1989 or so.
Mr. Sasha had been hunting, so he met us at the party and said, "Wow! You look just like you did when we first started dating!" which is true, because it was 1993 and I was somewhat behind the times, but I did tell him that back then I wasn't quite as good with the Donna Mills (of Knots Landing fame) eye makeup, but since I have watched The Eyes Have It on youtube multiple times recently, I am now able to do it perfectly!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Just Another Saturday

Bella still doesn't like her Christmas dress.....
(notice the back legs, frozen, and also the half snarl)

We found Mater at our local Christmas parade.

(How cute is that?????)

And The Wild Child has a message for Santa......

Hope you are having a good weekend too!

I'm off to get ready for my BIL and SIL's joint 30th birthday party- it's an 80s Christmas sweater party! I will be doing some old magic on my hair, and have the makeup planned too: dark lip liner with Revlon Silver City Pink on my lips, and lots of blue eye liner.

I'll French roll my jeans and I actually tried very hard to find an Eagle's Eye Christmas sweater, to no avail, but I think I've got something lined up to borrow. I am also not sure about shoes..... I just don't have any Dexters, Keds or high-top Reeboks.....

Friday, December 10, 2010

iBand Christmas

You have absolutely got to see this..... Buford Betty posted this vid of some Christmas tunes done completely with iPhone and iPad apps at her church. I am amazed!

If you don't have time to watch it all, FF to the 5:00 mark and watch Feliz Navidad!

The Only Eye Shadow Palette You'll Ever Need

Yeah, yeah, we all know this won't be the last eye shadow palette I'll ever buy..... but it is awesome!

I recently purchased the Too Faced Naked Eye Soft & Sexy Eye Shadow Collection from Sephora during their 20% off sale (retail price is $35) and I couldn't be happier with it.

There are nine shadows in the neutral shade family, and I am so happy to see that the color they suggest using as a base color are a little larger size than the accent/contour colors. I always use more of the lightest shade in a palette so this is a fabulous idea.

The set also comes with the cards showing you three separate looks- one for Classic, Day, and Fashion.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pixi Nude Shade Wardrobe

I recently had the opportunity to try out a fabulous product from Petra Strand's line Pixi, carried at Target. Petra is a makeup artist and mom, and she created the line of multipurpose products "to help busy women look like themselves, only more gorgeous."

Who can argue with that?

I tried the Nude Shade Wardrobe, and it is actually the second Pixi product I have tried, and both times I have been impressed with both the quality and value. Even though at first glace this product might seem expensive at $26 (currently on sale online for $22), once you realize that the left side can be used as a blusher, and the right side is 9 individual eye shadows, it's actually quite a good value and great for travel.

The nude shades worked perfectly for me to do a day-time eye for work, and I found the blusher to be very flattering for my somewhat pale skin.

In this photo I took, you can also see the embossing on several of the color blocks- it adds a fancy touch.

In this video, Petra shares some tips and shows how she uses the product.

Target Beauty - Pixi Holiday 2010 from LaForce Stevens on Vimeo.

Disclosure: This product was provided to me for review purposes.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

GDA: Champion Coat at Target $18 free shipping

Champion 3 in 1 Ladies Coat for $17.99 at Target with free shipping.
List price is $59.99
Enter code JUH5H3OD for another 10% off.
If you use your target card, you get an additional 5% off (I did and got two for $36.78)

Don't forget to go thru ebates for 3% more off!

Raindrops on Roses

and whiskers on kittens..... these are a few of my favorite things.

Right now I am loving Maybelline's Eye Studio™ Lasting Drama™ Gel Eyeliner in brown. This product was my first try in gel/brush eyeliner, and it's fabulous. Seriously, super-easy and very affordable. It even comes with a brush that's perfect for applying it. It's available at mass-market retailers like Target and Walmart, and I think I paid around $8 for it.

This Olay Regenerist Anti Aging Eye Roller is my newest skincare find, and I am singing it's praises from the rooftop. I got this last week at CVS for $18.99 and it's amazing. You click the end and roll it over your undereye area, and it dispenses and massages in a fabulous gel that really does "banish puffiness and soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles". Right now there is an Olay rebate for $20 back when you purchase $50 in Olay products. Such a great deal if you are taking advantage of my Amazon Regenerist deal in the post below.

I think we've discussed my problem with fragrance before, haven't we? I am so sensitive to smells that I have a hard time finding something that doesn't make me feel sick to my stomach. The new Celebrate fragrance from Mark is so light and pretty and I have no problems wearing it. It's available online from Avon and retails for $25.

Disclosure: All items in this post were purchased by me.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Forty Before Forty: Update

In September, I posted a 40 Before 40 list and promised to keep it updated. Since I ran a half-marathon this weekend with Beth (more on that later!), it's time to update the list and see what else I can mark off.

1. Have a picnic at the lake with the husband & kids.
2. Take a road trip with no specific plans (heads Carolina, tails California etc).
3. Read a book, just for pleasure (no parenting topics allowed!).
4. Go to the zoo. DONE Fall 2010
5. Get a massage.
6. Have girl’s night. DONE
7. Have a TV series marathon weekend.
8. Make brunch for friends.
9. Invest in a vacation home.
10. Have date night with the husband. DONE during Parent's Night Out at church
11. Have board game night.
12. Get together with local bloggers.
13. Get a mani/pedi with a girlfriend.
14. Lose 25 pounds.
15. Go to the State Fair. DONE- Disney on Ice Fall 2010
16. Host a dinner party for friends, no kids allowed. DONE- Neighborhood Chili Cookoff Fall 2010
17. Redecorate.
18. Sleep in.
19. Play rock band.
20. Get a makeover.
21. Frame photos for around the house.
22. Have a family portrait taken. DONE Fall 2010
23. Cook the husband a delicious dinner.
24. Go to the movies- and see a new release.
25. Donate my time to a good cause.
26. Go see live local music.
27. Go for a stroll with my family.
28. Have a glass of wine on the patio.
29. Go out to eat and only have dessert.
30. Buy produce at the farmers market.
31. Go out and get my hands dirty and plant something. DONE - pansies Fall 2010
32. Take a class of some kind. DONE- photography class Fall 2010
33. Travel to a different country.
34. Run a half marathon. DONE 12-5-10
35. Go through all of my clothes and get rid of any I haven't worn in the last year or two.
36. Try a new food.
37. Get a pet. DONE- Bella! Nov 2010
38. Go to a drive-in movie theater.
39. Learn a new craft.
40. Have boudoir pictures made.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Best Lip Balm EVER

Last week when we traveled to Branson for the Thanksgiving holiday, we spent two days at Silver Dollar City and had a great time!

But I made a huge error and forgot to stick any lip balm in my purse before we left town. And I made an even bigger error by not picking something up in Branson to wear while we were outside those two days in the very cold weather.

So I came home with the worst chapped lips I have ever had. Seriously, they hurt!

When we returned home I remembered that I had recently purchased a tube of Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm at Sephora and I was so glad I easily found it in my mountain of lippies.

Almost overnight, my lips were back to normal.

I paid $7 for this product at Sephora, and although I first thought it was a little pricey for a tube of lip balm, I know now it's very worth it. I chose the Lemon & Chamomile version and it's divine. It's marketed as a men's product, but us girls can use it too!

Here's what Sephora has to say about it:

What it is:
A conditioning lip balm that protects lips from sun and wind, with soothing effects.

What it is formulated to do:
Field tested in extreme conditions, this hydrating balm contains antioxidants and superior moisturizers to provide lasting treatment benefits. It provides broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
- Sulfates
- Synthetic Fragrances
- Synthetic Dyes
- Petrochemicals
- Phthalates
- GMOs
- Triclosan

What else you need to know:
Shea butter and avocado oil deliver moisture while vitamin E and green tea contribute antioxidant fortification. For powerful sun protection, PARSOL and Octinoxate team up to block both UVA and UVB rays.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Are You Getting Into the Holiday Spirit?

The kids and I on Saturday at SDC

I am! Silver Dollar City really did it for me last week- the decorations were just gorgeous and their beautiful giant Christmas tree light show was amazing! Our house is almost done- the outside lights and blow-ups look great and hopefully we'll finish decorating the tree in our living room tonight.

I am recording The Santa Clause tonight on ABC Family for the kiddos- they have never seen it, and I think they will love it.

I've already devoured a bag of Dove Peppermint Bark (all by myself, shhhh) and need to make a trip to our local candy store for some Sugar Plums this week.

I also picked up some Hershey's Bliss Hot Cocoa Mix in Milk Chocolate with Raspberry, and also White Chocolate.

On my to-do list: watch Love Actually, The Holiday, and of course, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

What are some of the movies you watch to get you in the holiday spirit?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November in Review

Can you believe it's almost the end of November? Lord help me, I am not ready for December! Along with the holidays, which I will never be ready for, I have to count another birthday in December, one that puts me even further down the late-30s road.....

My beautiful in-real-life friend Megan at Sorta Crunchy does a month in review post and it's something I've been enjoying doing as well.

On My Nightstand: individual vials of eye drops (my dry eye problem is really bothering me at night right now), ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas schedule (the Sashas are counting down the days until Prep and Landing is on) , and Susan Branch's Days from the Heart of the Home - I am going to start using it on December 1st as a prayer/gratitude journal

Want To Read: the next chapter in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (tonight we're on chapter 3), and Christmas cards from family and friends! Can't wait for them to start arriving.

TV Show Worth Watching: I am so very sad the new season of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team is coming to an end. Love that show!

Movie I've Seen (in or out of the theater): none in the theater, but I got to listen to The Sandlot a zillion times on our Thanksgiving trip to Branson since that's all the kids wanted to watch, over and over

In My Kitchen: the ingredients for Betty Crocker's Red Velvet Cookies - they look delightful and might just be my next dessert contest entry!

In My Ears: the Christmas music playlist on my ipod, consisting of Curious George's A Very Monkey Christmas, the Glee Christmas CD, the Lady Antebellum Christmas CD, a little Mariah (All I Want For Christmas is You of course!) - I LOVE Christmas music!

Three Favorite Blog Reads:

  • Kelly's Korner- Kelly is just darling and such a classy lady to boot. I love reading about her daughter Harper and she's pregnant with another daughter as well.
  • Katy Shops- Katy is a shopaholic like me and loves to share her finds. She posts lots of coupons and freebies as well. I know we'd be fast friends IRL!
  • Buford Betty- Amanda is going down the IVF road, sharing the details of her path. I say a little prayer for her every day because I know she'll make a fabulous mother and am anxious for her to begin that part of the journey.

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month: spending time with friends and family, celebrating and keeping in mind the reason for the season

I love what Megan says at the end of her posts like that, and I'll ditto it: NOW then. Your turn! What are YOU into this month? Fill up the comment space or borrow this for inspiration on your own blog.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Our Non-Traditional Thanksgiving

We decided to do something a little different this Thanksgiving, so we drove to Branson with my parents and enjoyed the holiday break there. We actually ate Thanksgiving dinner at Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, and wouldn't you know Mr. Sasha and I were chosen to go down and be in the show. The kids thought it was hilarious and loved that we were in a stick-horse race. Too funny! Shame that they don't allow photos during the show or I'd have proof for you!

We did Silver Dollar City on Friday and Saturday and had a blast. We always take a "jail" photo and I am loving that the kids got in the spirit and made faces. Of course, WC looks awfully happy to be in jail..... hope that's not a sign of things to come!

Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

I'll be stuck in continuing ed all day, but hopefully I can sneak away from time to time to search for some Cyber Monday deals to post..... it's going to kill me to be away from a computer today!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Pioneer Woman Live

Ree Drummond - The Pioneer Woman
(photo by ME!)

Last night I had a perma-smile going on, because after I got off work, I got to go hear The Pioneer Woman speak live!

Guys, she is just as she seems on her blog- down-to-earth, funny, smart, talented, and just an all-around amazing gal!

At the end of her talk, she opened the floor for a question and answer session, and although I couldn't really think of a great question to ask, I did stand up and say:

I wanted you to know that I have your cookbook on my nightstand and I read it all the time. My husband asked me, "Are you ever going to make anything out of it?" and I told him, well, I'm a busy working mom of two with little time to cook, so I'm actually just *reading* it!

$20 bucks that she thought I was a loon!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dear Coach,

Is the jewlery designer at Coach a Chi Omega?

Such a shame I can't wear anything but gold post earrings!

I think I may need that skull necklace!

Stila Lip Product Giveaway

I'm hosting a giveaway for a Stila Lip Glaze and coordinating Lip Liner at my giveaway blog. Stop by and enter!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dear Yopait,

I've had something on my mind for a while, but have hesitated to mention it because I don't want to seem uncaring on insensitive.

From your website: You can mail up to 12 Yoplait® yogurt cup lids with one First Class or regular-sized envelope with U.S. postage stamp.

Why would I want to spend 44 cents on a stamp and clog up the mail, for you to donate $1.20?

Why can't we just leave the postal system out of it?

Why can't you create some sort of a system where consumes enter code off our yogurt packages online to make donations????

Why, why, why?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meet Bella

Meet Bella, the 9 month old Havanese we got this weekend. She's full-grown at 10 pounds.

She's quite a sweetie, and really loving. And bonus- already potty trained!

I spent the weekend making sure The Wild Child didn't smother her with too much lovin'.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tonight at Rue La La

Rue La La has a Saucony boutique tonight, and I just picked these up, not for running, just for wearing around. I love the style of Saucony, although I cannot run in them. They are just $35, and I had a $10 credit, so it was a nice price for cute shoes.

They are also having a Villeroy & Boch boutique, and even have my china pattern (French Garden) but I don't think I really need anything since we never get around to using the fancy stuff anyways.....