Thursday, January 31, 2013

Forty Before 40 - Vegetable Garden

I haven't written about my forty before 40 list in a while only because I don't have that much to report! I've been checking off a few things here and there. I canned homemade apple butter (#6), made homemade bread (#7), spent more time with girlfriends (#39) and I am still reading Anna Karenina (#32). That book is taking me FOREVER, but I will be done with it before November! And I have a few things planned for some sporting items on the list. Hockey (#21) is in full swing and my husband and I are looking at game dates for either February or March. Roller Derby (#16) is hit or miss but I've been watching the website for upcoming Bouts. 

With spring around the corner, I've been thinking more and more about my garden. I've wanted to plant a vegetable garden for the past several years, we just haven't taken the time to clear the space and get it prepared. I know exactly where I want it to go and have a vision of the layout. I just need execution. I am enlisting my dad to help map out the garden and then he and my husband will build it. I will try to assist, but someone's gotta watch McKinley! The planting will be something that I do, and hopefully with the help of my dad, as he has years of experience in this department.

When we lived in East Tennessee, my parents planted a small garden on the farm of my great grandparents. When I say small garden, I'm kind of being sarcastic. My mom has told me that when my great grandfather plowed the field for them to plant, it was enormous! A garden is what my great grandparents, and their children, lived off of their entire lives. Sure, they went to the store for breads, cereals and other essentials, but for the most part they lived off the land. Today, with all the hormones and pesticides that are used on our local groceries, I want to try and create a more healthy life style for my son. And, I want him to know that what we put into the earth is just as important as what comes out of it. We have to take care of the earth today so our great grandchildren have a safe planet on which to live.

My Great Grandparents Farm - 2009

I know the exact spot in our yard where I want to plant the garden. There is a space next to our back door that currently has a gross ground cover that I'm dying to pull up! From there I want to build garden beds that are terraced, two or three boxes, and begin the planting! What I don't know is when I need to start planting certain vegetables so that they grow at the appropriate time of year. Again, I will rely on the knowledge of my dad! I've been doing some research online and here are a few images that I like. 

These photos are from Landscaping Network. A little more intricate than I want to go, but the concept is the same. 

I like this idea of boxes, but I want them lower to the ground and closer together.

I would like to grow lettuce, green beans (and my dad has built amazing bean poles for past gardens), radishes, carrots, cucumbers and possibly potatoes. Again, a lot of research will need to be done, and maybe my first garden won't be as extensive, but it's a start. Martha Stewart has a great gardening guide on her website and I plan to read more of her helpful tips.

Have you ever considered starting a garden? Do you feel that fresh vegetables are the right way to go for your home? Sure, I could go the easy route and head to our Farmer's Market on the weekends, and I still will, but I really want to make the effort and educate my son in the process. Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

PSA - Rainy Day Gear

Jacket: MICHAEL Michael Kors (gift); Top: Forever 21; Tank: Target
Jeans: LOFT (on sale); Boots: Hunter (gift); Necklace: Banana Republic (similar)
 Ring: Tiffany; Lip Color: NARS Shanghai Express

Holy Cow!!! I was not at all prepared for the weather change that took place yesterday. Sure, they said the temps would drop throughout the day, but I wasn't expecting them to drop as low as they did! I may not have been prepared for the temp drop but I was prepared for the rain! 

When it rains, I always pull on my Hunter rain boots! These boots are the best when it comes to combating the elements! Your feet stay super dry and they are super stylish! They come in all different heel heights, boot lengths and a plethora of colors. They are perfect in the snow as well. And, for those freezing temps, they come with sock linings. I've been saying for months that  I need to invest in a pair. They too come in all colors and designs. I mean, if you are going to wear all weather boots, you might as well invest in the best! Check them out here

I am in love with my moto jacket! A great closet staple that gets you through all four seasons. Invest now if you have been wanting one. Sales are a plenty as cruise wear is out!

Moto Jacket:  Before and After


Other ways I've worn my red jeans!


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Year = Closet Organization

What is it about a new year or spring? For me, it lights a huge organizational fire under my tail and this past weekend was no exception. While on vacation, due to the stomach flu that took over my household, I decided to organize while others slept. With my moms help, I was able to accomplish quite a bit! 

My hall closet, or should I say closet that is located along a wall in my living room, houses coats, baskets full of hats, scarves, gloves and the vacuum! The coats aren't usually an issue, unless you call not being able to add any additional coats to the closet an issue, but the shelf that holds the hats, gloves and scarves was out of control! I purchased lined wicker baskets several years ago to house all of those items. It worked for about a month and then I would find myself unbelievably frustrated at the fact that I couldn't find anything that matched. I would reorganize and the same thing would happen about a month later.

I decided that this year I was taking control! I purchased an over the door shoe holder, 3-M hooks so you wouldn't see the brackets on the outside of the door, and I conquered that rats nest of accessories! I so wish I had taken a before shot, but McKinley tried to help me earlier in the week and the pile  made its way onto an ottoman in the living room. You just get the after!

Now, I can literally see every set of hats, gloves and scarves that match AND it's at eye level! No more carrying in the kitchen table chair to try and find what I am looking for! This is amazing!!!

I'm still using the baskets. They now house flat scarves that we don't wear often and all the loose baseball hats that only get worn on game days and weekends, by Joel. I stacked all my winter hats, since I don't wear them as often, but they are still accessible and I know which one is which!

So then I started thinking about my handbags! Again, I purchased baskets to place all of them in, but I was doing the same thing I did in my "hall" closet. I would throw them back up into the closet, maybe making the basket, or I was getting out a step stool to find the one I was looking for...again! I can't afford a complete closet makeover, nor do I have the type of closet that would benefit, so I've been taking ideas from magazines.

 I found this piece at Target and just went for it. Sure, it doesn't fit all of my handbags, but the large ones are easy to see. It was the clutches that were getting lost. AND, I was able to add them all, including the ones in a tub under our spare bed. I can see them all in one place. It's a closet miracle!!!


And After:

This isn't a great photo, as I took it with my phone to share with my mom, but you can see that I recycled the baskets. They now house all of the t-shirts that were piled up in the corner. The bottom are ones I don't wear often and the ones on top are...makes total sense, right? Now, what can I do in my other closet! The ideas are endless at this point!

I feel a huge sense of relief now that these tasks have been completed. I also worked in our den to try and organize McKinley's toys around our everyday living. I made vast improvements there too but nothing worth documenting. It just feels good to get my house in order, although I have a LONG way to go!!

What do you do in the new year to refresh? Is it a closet clean out or a home remolding job? Let's discuss!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Zip Here/A Zip There

Coat: Land's End (old); Dress: Ann Taylor on sale;Tights: Hue;
Shoes: Manolo Blahnik; Bracelet: Ann Taylor (similar)
Necklaces: Silpada/Ann Taylor/Banana Republic; Sunnies: Marc by Marc Jacobs
Lip Color: MAC Dark Side

Sorry for my absence last week. The stomach flu has plagued our house since last Tuesday so I've been playing mommy nurse all week! I so hope we are all on the mend. I'm ready to start February with a bang!

This was actually the last outfit I wore last week. I am on a winter white and black kick right now and who can blame me. This dress is fabulous! I love the zippers at the hem! Such a great detail. And the dress is so comfortable! It will be great in the spring with shoes of all pops of color.  

This cuff is MAJ! I love the crystal broach and its so lovely paired with a double strand of pearls.

Happy Monday Everyone!! I hope to have a full week of looks for you starting tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Giddy for Spring

This happens to me about this time every year. The temps drop down to below freezing and I complain how I still live in the Midwest in winter. Yet, every winter I'm still here! I get tired of wearing tights, wool, tall boots and sweaters. Okay, I take that back. I never get tired of tall boots or sweaters. But, I do get tired of endless layers of clothing in an attempt to stay warm. 

Because of all of this, I've start scouring my favorite retailers for that glimpse of spring that is on the horizon. The days are getting longer and color will once again appear in my wardrobe! Until then, I've made a mental wish list that has not gone viral! See my must-haves from Ann Taylor below.

Who would have thought that I would be such a pink girl! I've never really worn pink. Red is my go-to color! But ever since I purchased those pink crops from J.Crew, I've turned a corner. I love the high collar of this pink topper for spring. An amazing pop of color that will compliment any look!
These pink crops will replace the wool ones come spring and summer. I love the tab crops, but the polka dots are so whimsical! And, I love how they paired it with a denim top! I can do that!!


I will never stop wearing black. There is something in my DNA that makes me wear black. The mesh dotted top will look great with any color pant or skirt. The color block top of black, white and graphics is so cool! And again, it would look great paired with a color pant.


This just takes my love of stripes to a whole new level. Thin stripes and normal stripes all on one top! Are you kidding me? The fact that it comes in three other colors only means I will have four stripe on stripe tops!

I saved the absolute best for last! I LOVE this faux leather and khaki topper! This would replace all existing trench coats in my closet, and since I only have one, it would replace that one! So modern, so chic and so what I need for spring! LOVE! IT!


What are you looking forward to most for spring? Color? New pieces? Warm weather? Yes please, to all!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hot Trend: Black and White

Jacket: Michael Michael Kors (gift); T-Neck: French Connection via Rue La La
Jeans: LOFT; Boots: Rachel Zoe (gift); Necklace: BaubleBar; 

The photos aren't great but I had to share this look from last Friday. I am in love with my moto jacket! It just pairs well with so many things! The hot trend right now is black and white, but for this girl, it has been my favorite color combo forever!

Sorry that my necklace was wonky but was so my mood. Too much to explain so just go with it!


Motorcycle Jacket: Before and After


Friday, January 18, 2013

Nail Art Trend

The big trend in manicures these days is nail art and there are some amazing ways to "do your nails". Remember when you just got a manicure? Then there was the best invention ever, shellac. A manicure that instantly dries, with the help of UV light, and you walk out of the salon with the ability to dig in your purse and not mess up the nails! And then there is nail art. A whole new level to just simply painting your nails.

Two years ago I purchased my first nail strips from Sally Hanson and was hesitant to try them. Candy cane stripes for the holidays were a little out there and I thought people would think I had lost it. I tried it anyway and from there I was hooked! It is the best way to try the trend and you don't have to spend time painting, detailing and waiting for your nails to dry. And the line was grown from there. Now, other nail companies are following suit. Essie has the Sleek Collection and they are so cool! I personally love "Sticker and Stones", "Over the Moon" and "Steel the Show". Check them out here. See my favs from Essie and how I've worn nail strips recently!


Essie's Sleek Collection

Super simple, right? Peel off, apply and go! Sure, there is a little more work than that, but not much. Now, for the physical manicure. If you want to see some truly remarkable works of art, check out Sarah at Chalkboard Nails. Her work is incredible and something I could NEVER achieve! Another blogger that I love to follow is Jessica at What I Wore. She has embraced the nail art trend with her Saturday Morning Manicure posts. Some really great ideas! 
I've attempted some really simple manicures because I don't have tons of time to play. I love doing my nails. I feel like my whole appearance is complete when I my nails are polished. I know that sounds completely superficial, but it's true. I remember as a young teen how I constantly painted my nails. Now, it's on a whole different level. Below are some of my latest at home manis!
A new take on French manicures is to add different colors. I went with blood red and black tips for our Breaking Dawn date and a silver glitter French with jet black background.

I am loving the glitter over solid backgrounds!!! A added glitter to the ring finger for our anniversary weekend and all over glitz to a blue nail. So much fun to play around with and a little sassy!


 The next thing I want to try is the nail pen. In my opinion, it's the beginners tool for doodling and working on the nail before advancing to house hold tools that Sarah from Chalkboard Nails suggests. 

What do you think of the new trend in nails? Is this something you would attempt on your own or spend money to have a nail tech apply? Do you even polish your nails when given the time? I hope to grow with the trend and continue trying new techniques.