Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Nest at Halloween

One good thing about my house is that, at Halloween, I really don't have to change all that much to make it creepy/scary;).

That said, here's how we're looking here at the Nest. How are you decorating for Halloween this year? Any new and fun projects? A/J

Candy Pumpkin Halloween
Special props if you can spot the #hiddenariel. Sophie was intent that she should be included in the picture. For more on our Black Candy Pumpkin, see here.

Martha Stewart Stair Rats Halloween
The rats are back. As is a passed out Ariel. Naughty girl. For more about the rats, see here.

Glitter Black Cat Garland for Halloween
Who doesn't love a #catalier??
Frame Vintage Halloween Cards for Halloween
I love vintage Halloween cards:)). For more on the candles, see here.

Bats and rats.

Halloween Mantle
The Halloween mantle.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Let's have a chat about yoga pants ...

I'll start with the simplest question. Why is it so frigging hard to find yoga pants that actually do their job? I mean, almost every pair of yoga pants I've ever had an intimate relationship with have been out-and-out failures. I can't even count how many times I have had to stop what I'm doing in my yoga class because my yoga pants have let me down. After two gigantic kids and two less-than-forgiving pregnancies, my cute-little-foldover, Pink-yoga-pant days are long gone. Yes, I love those pants. But they do not love me. Wonk wonk. Hence the vast number of break-ups that have landed many a pair of yoga pants in my trash can.

So, when Victoria's Secret sent me the Knockout Tight from the VSX Sport line from Influenster, I've gotta say I was decidedly skeptical. To test them out, I decided to wear them in each of my most trying of classes - Zumba, PiYo, and straight-out yoga.

Here's the deal. These pants DO NOT MOVE. I mean, they don't budge. They hold you tight, suck in your gut, and are supportive in the way that many husbands and boyfriends fail to be. The hidden drawstring waist is awesome, especially if, like me, your hips are larger than your waist. The "Body-Wick" fabric is also great. Let's just say that, like me, you need to run to the grocery store after your super-sweaty Zumba class. Do you want to go with sweat stains in all the wrong spots?

Plus, they just look super-cute.

VSX Knockout Tight Review
I swear my behind looks better in these pants. Props to the "nylon performance fabric."

I love the higher waist on these.
The Incredible by Victoria's Secret Sport Bra is also a win-win. To be honest, it looks like quite the contraption (with the cups, the back closure, etc.). But it held me in place, stayed in place, and is very flattering.

Victoria's Secret Sports Bra
Disregard the mess behind me. Ugh.
I don't spend money lightly. Anyone who knows me knows that this is an absolute fact, especially when it comes to clothing. But I would splurge on these yoga pants. They are the bomb. A/J

PS. Thanks to the Pittsburgh radio station WDVE, this is the only song I hear when I think about yoga pants. Those guys are jerks.

 *** I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Last Five Books

In honor of Banned Books Week, I've been thinking about the last five books I would want to squirrel away and read and reread if all of the other books in the world suddenly disappeared. Here's my list. What would be on yours??

Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights
Both Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. I could read these books a million times and they would never get old. Also, preferably these Ruben Toledo Penguin editions, because I love looking at them as objects.
Charles Dickens Bleak House
Charles Dickens' Bleak House, because it has the best opening passage in all of literature (in my opinion, anyway). Plus it is super long, so it would keep me entertained for a while.
Barnes and Noble Grimm's Fairy Tales
Grimm's Fairy Tales. Come now, are you really surprised?
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Bram Stoker's Dracula. Again, long. Windy. Wrought.
Ok, I'm going to cheat. One more. James Joyce's Ulysses. Because maybe, if it were one of the last six books in my possession, I would actually read it.
 What would your favorite five be? A/J

Monday, September 22, 2014

Where I've Been....

What a beautiful, blessed week this was. Here's a taste of it while I try to deal with all of the stuff I've put off dealing with while basking in its glow.

Newborn Pictures: Dads with Tattoos
Say hello to my sleepy little niece, Lily Marie, born last Thursday.

Newborn Pictures: Dads with Tattoos
She's just so sweet. I have to share a few more.

Hello, little one. How does the world look?

Mid-Length Red to Blonde Ombre Haircut
Got my hair did. Red to blonde ombre. I like it, but it takes some getting used to. I've never been red before.

Oh yeah. Except this part. If I ever, EVER say I am going to work another fundraising event, just shoot me. I mean it. Not worth it. At all.  

Kids Walking with the Dog in the Country
Out walking on Seven Creeks Road. Puppy-sitting. I am not a dog person (figured that out fast). This road is cool though; you literally have to drive through seven creeks to get to the other end of it. Hence the fact that there is zero traffic.

Playing in the Creek
Hunting for minnows in Gump Tommy's creek.

Date night with the husband. Which happens once in a blue moon.

The flannel pjs, dark nail polish, and black cats are back. Which makes me very happy.

Sophie is super-excited about dance tonight.

I saw an old autumn in the misty morn.
The weather is definitely changing too. I love fall so much.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Spooky Old Tree (or the Power in Pictures)...

Sharing an old post today, because it came back to mind while teaching the little one to read before bedtime last night ....

Several months ago, while shopping in the Black Rose, I picked up this old book, the images on the cover recalled from my childhood.

The Spooky Old Tree (or the Power in Pictures)

The memory of the book I had in my mind was some really great story about the little Berenstain Bears embarking from home on a journey to a mythic old tree, a veritable fun-house chock full of knights in armor, trick stairs, and a great sleeping bear that you most definitely don't want to wake up.

Here, instead, is a sample of how this Bright and Early reader reads: "Three little bears. / One with a light. One with a stick. One with a rope. / A spooky old tree. / Do they dare go into the spooky old tree? / Yes. They dare." How exciting.

The power of this book lies in its pictures, which are at once frightening and invigorating. My memory of the fun of this book is deeply rooted in the bears' visual journey.

Berenstain Bears: The Spooky Old Tree
Berenstain Bears: The Spooky Old Tree
There's a good lesson here for us busy parents. We shouldn't speed through the book so fast that the enjoyment of it is lost on our children. Let your kids get lost in the images on the page. Let them run with the bears. Let them climb into the portal of that spooky old tree. Let them run their little fingers over the paper, dig their nose into the book's spine.

Learning to Read
The little one, learning to read. She has discovered the power of the exclamation point!!

Those who love books love them because they developed, early on, a sensory relationship with them. Tactile.  Go on. Let them get their hands dirty. ~Alice

Monday, September 15, 2014

I Scored a Poison Bottle (and Other Country Living Fair Finds)

You know you are a slightly messed-up individual when you get excited about scoring a Strychnine bottle for your poison-bottle collection. Oh, well. I own my oddities. On that note, here's a little photoessay of our day at the fair from start to finish (some of our new things have already made themselves at home;)). We had such a blast, for the third year in a row. Can't wait until year 4! A/J

We made it!! #clfair 2014 in full effect:).

I actually use one of these to comb my hair out after I shower. It makes an amazing hair pick (I picked this up from my mother; blame her). But, in actuality, it's an angel food cake cutter. I promise I do not use the one I possess to cut cakes, for anyone who may be eating at my house in the near future.

We had to eat early. We were STARVING!!! Sweet Carrot is the best. Amazeballs. Seriously. That, my friends, is beef brisket topped with coleslaw and corn salsa on a bed of mac and cheese and corn cake. Decadence at its best.

She picked out the perfect shirt for the day. Let's be adventurers!! Gap Kids

Owl Skull Magnets. I couldn't resist.

We brought some horseshoes home to hang over the door. Open side up, of course. To read all about the feng shui of doing so, read here.

She loved the cameos, especially the skull ones.  Also check out her yarn bracelet:).

Once again, Jeni's did not disappoint. Although I really wish they had the blueberry lemon again this year:(((. It was so good. I'm just not a huge almond brittle or biscuit fan.

If I had $1500, I would buy the top piece by Jeri Landers (the black scherenschnitte that reads "In the Hollow"). I look at it every year. And covet it severely.

We love book crafts, like this Reader's Digest jewelry box. You can bet Miss Mags brought this one home. #freckles

Love these bookmarks. Especially the creepy "You are the key to my heart" one.

This purse. Oh my goodness. I wish I was rich. It was $329. And well worth it.

This year's poison bottle. #strychnine #skullandcrossbones #danger #forthevintagebathroomalongsidethewhiskeybottles
This pillow from Olive Grace Studios. I saw it at the end of the day and had no more money left:(((. I love the saying "Red Skies at Night, Sailors' Delight." It reminds me of my family sitting around, the kids snuggled up on the aluminum glider, the adults drinking beer, and everyone staring into the darkening sky as the world grew quiet.

Yet another perfect pillow, from one of my favorite songs ("Love the One You're With"). I see this pillow pair in my future. Now where to put them???
These fabrics. Did they specifically put them together for me? I mean, seriously. Olive Grace, can I have a quilt made out of these prints?

Yet again, I had no money left. I hate money. Can I just make a mint and get it over with so I can buy ALL THE THINGS?

Great chalkboard signs in this store. I just bought a chalkboard marker. I think it will be getting put to use soon.

These people at Stash Style are the coolest. The whole team. Coolness. Think hipster hippie cowgirl, tough bitch, no-holds-barred, whiskey-slinging Martha Stewart.

Some things are NOT important. You are so right, sign.

Maggie wanted to dig this up and take it home. She thought someone dropped it. I had to explain why that that was probably not a good idea. #boots #brownbootjeggingtwins

This band, Thomas Wesley Stern. Like them. They were very good (great harmonies, picking - loved the original songs). Maggie had a giant crush on the cello player (that is a cello right?? The gigantic instrument on the left??). Also, the banjo player had the bluest eyes I have ever seen.

We've decided to be glampers. Not #clampers (certain family members will get this). #Glampers

I want to sit and eat and read here. Just for a few days. With no cell phone. In complete quiet. With crickets. PS I think we had this exact camper when I was a kid. I ate many a breakfast at a set-up like this:).  Sisters on the Fly

The "Love You to the Moon and Back" sign fits perfectly in the vignette over the bed.

My favorite purchase of the whole day. I don't really drink whiskey (my mom does), but no one needs to know that. Stash Style

My new favorite pillow. At home in the rocker that has soothed many a broken heart. Otherwise known as "the Rocker with the Perfect Creak."

This pillow. So comfy and I love it. From French Laundry

This metal Arhaus feather tray. Now I'm just waiting on my Arhaus chair to go with it. ... Our house is a very very very fine house.  

Maggie's favorite purchase (also from Stash Style).

My favorite pic of the whole day. My little girl on the border between being a little girl and someone much more aware of the world.

Me. In the Looking Glass. I have to take a pic like this every year:).
We did score some mums on the way out:). Here's one keeping our owl company. And look at those fallen leaves. Autumn is here for sure.