Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Little Springtime Blog Swappin'


Every year, Katie over at Tomorrow With A Smile hosts a spring blog swap.  This was my third year participating, and I like to think that each year I get a little better at finding gifts for a complete stranger.  This time I was paired up with another Katie from the blog  Katers Potaters.  We had a LOT in common.  It was so much fun shopping for her, especially because we have a shared love of owls.  

The package she sent to me arrived last night, and right away I knew I was going to love it.  I am not the best with the whole presentation thing, but Katie had it nailed.  


I was so anxious to unpack everything, and boy, did Katie get me!  I don't even think I mentioned my love of sour candy to her, so bonus points for having excellent Spidey senses.  My husband lit up when he saw the John Candy DVD compilation, and the cute little "Live Laugh Love" sign looks adorable in my guest room.  



I can't wait to try out the Ulta nail polish.  I love the colors, and I have been curious about this brand for a while.  Also, how cute are the little owl figurine and composition book?


I am a Bath and Body Works junkie, and I am going to get a lot of use out of the chevron striped mug.     


I love colorful little notepads, and these all have owls on them.


She even included treats for the pups. 


I really, really loved my goodies.  It was like Christmas in March.  Thank you so much, Katie!!  It is so much fun to receive a package from a total stranger who picks out fun things for you just based on your likes, without having met you in person.  Hmmm...someone needs to create a summer swap...and maybe one for fall too:)

If you are curious, check out the blog swaps from 2012 and 2011

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Separated at Birth?


I was shopping at Target today and found some really fantastic earrings in their jewelry department.  I had been looking for a pair of black studs and stumbled upon these.  They seem to be an exact dupe of my Kate Spade Gumdrop earrings, but for a fraction of the price.  



The purple pair on top are from Kate Spade, and I paid about $38 for them.  The bottom pair are from Target and were $7.99.  Of course, I can't find the exact pair I purchased, but they are similar to these  and these.  


Here is a view from the top so you can see just how identical they appear.  The Kate Spade version is on the right and the Target version is on the left.


If you are into big studs, these are just great.  My local Target was fully stocked with earrings for the spring, so an in store visit is your best bet for finding them.  

*This is not a sponsored post.

Monday, March 25, 2013

How To Plant Onions


I love our garden.  It is a lot of fun to grow our own food in the spring and summer.  One of the most frequent emails I get is from people asking me how we plant and maintain our garden.  I am not claiming to be an expert on any of this, but I did take some pictures when we planted out onion crop back in January.  I tried to break it down for you, step by step.

First things first, keep the dogs out of the garden.  Sure, they will pout, but they really just get too involved (and thus, in the way).


Decide where you want to plant your crop.  Till that spot in your garden.  You want the soil to be nice and loose.


We have a hand tiller that looks like this.  You twist it, and it breaks up the soil.


Next, we mix gardening soil (organic) with compost in a wheelbarrow.  We shovel that soil into the tilled area and mix it in with the existing soil.  Note: If you are trying to keep an organic garden, it is important to use only organic products.  


 
 We are using store bought onion bunches.  They look like this.
 

 
The tricky part is separating the onions from each other.  This is easier to do bare handed (rather than with gloves).  Be gentle to avoid tearing the roots.  You will find several onion seedlings in each bunch.  


Your separated onion bunches will look like this.


Then take the garden spade and use it to make straight rows in the dirt.  This is for mapping out where you will plant your onions.
 

 
The next part is very scientific.  You take you finger and poke holes into the ground for planting your seedlings.   Your soil should be very loose from the tilling and mixing with the fresh compost/garden soil mixture.
 

 
Your rows should look something like this.  We find that it is easiest if you plot out where you want everything to go and the exact spacing before you actually plant anything in the ground.


 
Gently place each seedling into the hole.  Fill the hole back in with the loose dirt.


 
Once we finished planting all of our onions, we had rows that looked like this.


 
The next thing you really should do is fertilize.
 


Again, in keeping with the spirit of an organic garden, we use organic fertilizer.  



The last step is always watering what you just planted until it is saturated.  




Then the waiting begins.  Make sure you water several times a week (we have ours on a drip system).  The onions should be ready around July (and into August).  You can tell when they are ready because the green stalks turn brown and fall over.  They will not all be ready at the same time.

I hope you found this guide helpful.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  If you like this kind of post, I would be happy to try a few more gardening how-to's.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Happier at Home: 21 Day Relationship Challenge (Days 16-21)


Here is a recap of days 16 through 21 of Gretchen Rubin's 21 Day Relationship Challenge.  See here here, and here for previous weeks.  I know some of you are also doing this challenge (and even if you are not) I would love to hear your thoughts on this last group of resolutions.  I have definitely learned a lot about myself and how my thoughts and actions affect my relationships.  I look back over the list frequently for little reminders.



Day 16- Respond to the Spirit of a Gift:  Before I read this resolution, I hadn't ever really given much thought to the real spirit behind gifts I had received.  This does not mean that I was not appreciative of the thought.  However, when someone gifted me with a white table cloth, I fretted over how I could actually use it and keep it clean, instead of the actual spirit of the gift (which was to beautify our table for family get-togethers).  I was missing the point, and I am now seeing this in a different light.

Day 17- Jump:  For times when you are feeling less than energetic, Gretchen suggests jumping around a bit for an instant energy boost.  I have to admit, this one was a bit weird (but I tried it, and it was effective).  It works well when you are feeling annoyed or frustrated at work and need an outlet.

Day 18- Embrace Good Smells:  This is a resolution I can really get behind!  I am a scented candle adorer, Bath and Body Works junkie, and lover or fresh cleaned laundry.  Scents are closely associated with memories (good and bad), and hold special meanings for each of us.  The smell of my husband's cologne or freesia cut from my garden brings about good feelings and happy memories for me.  I try to keep my house full of smells that make me smile.

Day 19- Beware of Unconscious Overclaiming:  According to Gretchen, "Studies showed that when spouses estimated what percentage of housework each performed, the percentages added up to more than 120 percent."  Husband and I are both victims of unconscious overclaiming.  I have tried to become more conscious of the things he does to help run our household, and let him know how appreciative I am of them. Sometimes the are so small, they get taken for granted.

Day 20- Do Someone Else's Task:  I love this resolution, and I have had fun with it since the idea was introduced.  It is such an easy surprise for your loved one, and (for the most part) takes very little time.  Not only does my husband appreciate getting off the hook for little chores (like taking out the trash), I find myself gaining a greater appreciation for his contributions to the running of our household.     

Day 21- Boot Camp Perfect:  This resolution has me trying to do all 20 resolutions at once.  It is not an easy task.  The duration of the original exercise was for one week, but I find myself trying to put them into practice on a regular basis.  Sometimes, I am even successful with it.  It is a work in progress, but I am enjoying the positive changes these resolutions are having on my life.

I would love to hear about your experience with the 21 Day Challenge (or any of Gretchen Rubin's Happiness books).

Monday, March 18, 2013

My So-Called Instagram Life


A few snippets from my life lately.

Petunia gets a little intense when there is a toy at stake.


Birds waiting for a fresh catch in Tomales Bay.


The cherry trees the line the driveway of my office campus make me so happy.


I found a few new products to try the last time I visited CVS.


Testing out the Essie nail stickers.  I really loved them and they lasted all week.  I used top coat on them which made the polish bubble a bit.  I would recommend testing out a strip you aren't using before using a top coat of your own.


Harriet is just the best guard dog.


The first signs of spring in my garden mean my freesia have started blooming.  They are the best smelling flower there is (in this blogger's opinion).


Meatball and Harriet went to bed without me.  I felt a little left out.

 

My mother-in-law let us borrow her car while we were down one.  If you haven't ever driven a convertible Mini on a warm spring day, add it to your bucket list.  I kind of felt like I was in real live Mariocart.

P.S.  Yes, I named her car.  Meet Molly Cooper.




I found this at Target, and then ordered it through amazon (for half the price).  I love Jessica Alba, and The Honest Life is very focuses on natural living, which I am very interested in learning more about.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bad Car-ma


kar·ma  

/ˈkärmə/
Noun
  1. (in Hinduism and Buddhism) The sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in...
  2. Destiny or fate, following as effect from cause.
Synonyms
fortune - fate - destiny




Seven.  That is the total number of times husband and I have been to the collision shop in the past five years.  Once, we even both had ours in there at the same time.  We have his and hers vanity plates, so you could tell they came from the same household.  It was embarrassing.  I blame it on our commute, mostly.  Daily driving in stop and go traffic really increases your chances of getting rear ended.  

Two Mondays ago, I received a text message from my husband.  He had been in an accident and was waiting for a tow truck.  It is definitely not the kind of message you want to receive.  After he assured me that he was ok (except for a nasty case of whiplash that reared its head the next morning), I left to meet him at the collision shop.  

Next came the words that no car owner ever wants to hear, "The car is totaled."  My husband loved that car, and I knew he was gong to be sad about this.  We had also just paid it off the month before.  We were looking forward to our new and exciting life with no car payments.  We were going to have a little fun with our new found financial freedom.  The best laid plans...

We spent the entire day today at the car dealership buying the sweet piece of machinery below.  By the end of the day husband and I were both exhausted, but left with the keys in hand.


It has a fun little feature that serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever.  When you lock or unlock the car, a mustang is projected on to the ground for 30 seconds.  It is called a pony lamp.  It would be cool if we could replace it with say, the Bat Signal.


Here's to hoping that the car-ma we have with this newest member of our household will be much improved.  Now he just needs a name.  Don't all cars?  (Please tell me you name your cars too.)


Monday, March 11, 2013

Patterned Shorts


I took a little trip to the mall today and checked out some of the new arrivals.  I started noticing that patterned shorts are in store again this summer.  I did a little happy dance when I saw some of the adorable patterns (I am talking to you butterfly shorts from JCrew).  The weather here has been in the 70's and 80's recently, and I am dying to show a little pasty white skin.

Also, I have recently discovered a new (to me) brand called Joe Fresh.  I had seen some Canadian bloggers posting about it previously, and now I see that JCPenney is carrying this line in the states.  Did I mention that their shorts range in price from $19 to $29?  Check them out on the top row below!

Are you familiar with Joe Fresh?  I really want to get out to the store and test the brand out.  Do you have any favorites here?  Any suggestions for what to pair them with on top?


Patterned Shorts for 2013


J Crew j crew
jcrew.com


J Crew j crew
jcrew.com


J Crew j crew
jcrew.com



Shorts
gap.com



Shorts
jcpenney.com


Shorts
jcpenney.com


Shorts
jcpenney.com




I'm Erin

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Hi, I'm Erin. I am living back on the east coast after 15 years out west. Currently readjusting to humidity and mosquitos. I love to take pictures and read fashion magazines.... and to talk about nothing in particular (ok, and my dogs).

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