Brunette

Brunette

Friday, May 29, 2015

FUNNY Friday

You know I love me some Jimmy Fallon, but there are so many great clips that make me laugh that, I think - from now on - my "Fallon Friday" posts will now be called "Funny Friday" so that the clips are more wide-ranging.  Don't worry - Jimmy Fallon will still be featured often!  I just didn't want to limit myself.

With that said, I wanted to share this throwback clip from The Ellen Show today.  If you watch Ellen, you know that she loves to scare people.  That's my biggest fear if I ever appear on her show.  (I don't know what I'd appear on her show for, but I would be worried the whole time that she would prank me if I did.)

Anyway, here's a clip when she scared Taylor Swift.  It cracks me up every time I watch it.  Hope you laugh as much as I did!



Have a great weekend and see you back here Monday!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Teachers

Tomorrow is my son's last day of preschool.  Ever.  I can't believe it.

 
He's been at his preschool for three years now, so the fact that this stage of his life is over is a big change for us.  Well, for him.  (Okay, let's be honest... for me.)
 
And I can't tell you how thankful we are for the terrific, wonderful, awesome teachers he's had!  It takes special people to teach preschool, and D.'s teachers are extremely special to him - - and us.  After all, they've taught him so much.
 
They've taught him to love learning. 
They've taught him to be curious. 
They've taught him to help others.
They've taught him to be kind.
They've taught him to share.
They've taught him to explore.
They've taught him to love reading.
They've taught him to be respectful towards others.
They've taught him to have manners.
They've taught him that it's okay to try something new.
They've taught him that everyone is scared sometimes.
 
But most importantly, they've taught him that he is special and loved.
 
I don't think he would be the kid he is today without them.  No, I know he wouldn't.  He loves them so much and is already talking about how he wants to go back and visit them next year.  It melts my heart.
 
 


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WIWW - What I WON'T Wear... but maybe YOU will?!

I'm cleanin' out my closet.


And I feel like this closet cleanout happens at least once a year, if not every six months.  No, actually, it feels more like a constant struggle of out-with-the-old and in-with-the-new.  I could definitely be featured in an episode of "Hoarders" with the current state of my closet.  I have so much old stuff... even stuff from high school.  I have so much from my pre-pregnancy days and there is no way in H-E-double hockey sticks that it fits me.

But I'm trying.  I really am. 

I have so much crap all over that I can't see what I have and what fits and what works.  So I'm working on it.

I have yet to do a really good "What I Wore Wednesday" post - I know - and this week is no different.  This week I'm featuring some items that I won't wear because they don't fit anymore.

I have a whole punch of piles right now: throw away, donate, keep, sell.  So the items below are ones that are categorized as items I won't wear, but are still wearable by those of you who fit in them.  (Thank you, pregnancy leftovers).  Most of them are practically brand new. 

So this post is turning into a blog sale of sorts.  I've included pics and descriptions below.  Please leave a comment if there's anything you're interested in and I'll comment back about how to contact me.  Prices are listed with descriptions but are negotiable.  Shipping costs will depend upon how many items you would like.  We can discuss if you're interested in anything.

First up are three bags/purses.

This is a Longaberger brand tote.  You can use it as a purse or lunch bag or whatever.  It was a gift and was never used.
 
Here's another one exactly like that, just in a different pattern/color.  Also brand new. 
 
Asking $5 for each.


   
 
 


Here's a purse from The Gap that I never used.  It's a soft, pliable, knit material.  The strap is long enough for crossbody.  Asking $5.

 
Below is a dark brown turtleneck sweater.  It's a junior's size medium from Kohl's.  Brand new - tags still attached.  Asking $8.
 

Next is a cream colored cardigan sweater from Old Navy, size medium.   Worn one or two times.  Asking $8.


Here's a taupe-y colored sweater wrap from the Victoria's Secret catalog, size small.  Never worn.  It has 3/4 length sleeves and a tie wrap.  Super soft, chenille like material.  Asking $8.

This hot pink turtleneck sweater is from The Gap, size small.  Chenille.  Worn once or twice.  Asking $5.

 Camisole/tank from The Limited.  Never worn.  Size small.  Asking $5.


Black, cotton zip-up hoodie from The Limited.  Size small.  Worn a few times.  Asking $5.

Gray cable-knit sweater from The Gap.  Size small.  Worn once or twice.  Asking $8.

Blue floral skirt from Old Navy, size 2.  Never worn.  Asking $8.

Coral V-neck cable-knit cardigan (with a hood) from Old Navy, size small.  Worn once.  Asking $7.
 
Okay - on to pants.  In the first picture below, starting on the left - from top to bottom:
 
1)  Brown corduroy bootcut pants from Express, size 2 - worn just a few times.  Asking $7.
2)  Maroon corduroy bootcut pants by Sarah Jessica Parker ("Bitten" brand), size 2 - worn a few times.  Asking $5.
3)  Brown corduroy pants from The Limited (Drew fit), size 2 - worn once.  Asking $8.
 
Starting on the top right:
1)  Gray dress pants from The Limited (Drew fit), size 0 - never worn.  Asking $8.
2)  Caramel-colored dress pants from Express (Editor fit), size 0 - worn once.  Asking $8.
 
 
Starting on the left in the picture below:
1)  Jeans from The Limited (Drew fit), size 0 - never worn.  Asking $8.
2)  Black dress pants from Target (Mossimo brand), size 2 - worn a few times.  Asking $5.
3)  Jeans from The Limited (Cassidy fit), size 2 - never worn.  Asking $8.

In the picture below, both jeans are from Charlotte Russe and are size 3.  One pair is brand new with tags and the other pair has been worn a few times.  Asking $8 for new pair and $5 for the other pair.
This is a pair of cargo capris from Old Navy.  The color is like a rust shade, size 4, and they are "ultra low waist" according to the tag.  Worn a few times.  Asking $5.

Sorry for the bad pics - was in a rush.  Leave a comment if you have any questions or are interested in anything!  Otherwise, have a great "hump" day!  See you back here tomorrow (I hope) for "Thankful Thursday."
 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tuesday Hair Talk

I don't know about you, but I am notorious for getting stuck in "hair ruts."  My hair is dark brown (if you haven't guessed from my blog name), and its length varies from my collarbone to mid-back.  I haven't had hair shorter than my collarbone since tenth grade... but, oh, I remember it well.  Actually, I remember hating it.  I remember crying over "all my hair being gone," but what I really hated about it was the way it looked.  I look absolutely AWFUL with short hair.  It makes my face look super round and, because my hair is so thick, it gets HUGE.  Trust me - it's not a good look.  It becomes à la Monica from "Friends" when she gets in the humidity.

 
So basically my excitement comes in the form of whether or not I want one inch or two taken off at my hair appointments.


I will say, though, that I've definitely been more experimental when it comes to color.  I get my roots done every 4-5 weeks to cover the grays - that's a given - because I started getting grays in college and my dad started graying in his twenties... awesome. 

I tried the ombre trend about a year and a half ago when it was first popular.  I LOVED it but my husband HATED it.  He didn't "understand" it, he said.  Hahaha.  Men - they never get it.  The high school students I was teaching at the time really liked it.  I kept it for a while... basically until my ends got cut enough that it was all cut out. 

This is what my ombre looked like (I took this exact picture to my hairdresser):


Ah, Khloe Kardashian.  She cracks me up. 

But I digress.

I've also done my share of highlighting - everything from copper-y tones to reddish hues.  Most of my highlights are grown out now, so my hair's kind of boring.  This is how I had my hair done about six months ago:


I loved it.  I had highlights mostly on my underneath layers.  But it's all about gone now.  Boo.

Here are some of the pics I've clipped lately that are giving me some inspiration for this summer.

#1 - I love the layers in the picture below.  I usually don't part my hair right down the middle, but I do like this look on Jamie Lynn Sigler.


#2 - This look is similar to the length my hair is now but minus the highlights.  I like her color, though, and how the highlights are subtle and natural looking.  Minka Kelly is so pretty.

 
 (source)

#3 - I think this is my favorite pic out of the ones I've included here.  Audrina Patridge - remember her from "The Hills"?  She always had the best hair... and still does.  I like her highlights, the cut, and the side part.  Done, done, and done.


#4 - I've always liked Jessica Alba's 'dos.  Here I like the shorter length and the waves.  I feel like they really bring out her highlights.


#5 - I like Kate Beckinsale's color here, although I think it might be a bit too blonde for me.


Which of the hairstyles is your favorite?  I think I'll be taking one of these pics to my hairdresser in June.

I mean, after all...


PS - I finally got to watching (well, skimming through) the Billboard Music Awards from like a week or two ago.  Did you see Tori Kelly's performance?  I had never heard of her before, but she rocks!  Check her out if you missed it!

 
 
 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day & Meal Monday

First things first - happy Memorial Day!  My husband and I both have relatives who have served in the military, and we are so thankful that there are people in this world who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

As I was searching for pictures and quotes to honor our soldiers, I came across some that just pulled on my heartstrings.  I knew I had to share them.

 


Let's not forget those who continue to serve so that we can live our lives to the fullest.  The words "thank you" just don't seem like enough.  Please keep our soldiers in your thoughts and prayers.


* * * * *

I do have some meal inspiration to share with you today as well.

Now that the weather has been nicer, we've been taking advantage of using our grill as much as possible.  One of our favorites is grilled chicken, and we always make extra so we have leftovers for wraps, sandwiches, or salads.

When it comes to grilling, I let my husband do the actual grill work.  I, on the other hand, do the most important part - the prep.  He insists that the food is so good because of the "way he grilled it" (are there ways?), but I am convinced it's all in the prep.

We made grilled chicken cutlets, home fries with onions, corn on the cob, and salad.  We bought the thin chicken because it grills faster and more evenly.



I started by marinating the chicken per my usual routine (you can read about it back HERE).  For the home fries, I used baby red potatoes and sliced them fairly thick.  Because they take so long on the grill, I cook them about halfway in the microwave first.  I put the slices of potatoes in a big (microwaveable) bowl, fill it with water, and then drain them to rinse them.  Then I just add about an inch of water to the bottom of the bowl and cover it with Saran Wrap.  I microwave them for about 3-4 minutes and stir them, and then I usually put them back in a few more minutes.  You want them to be tender but not falling-apart-soft. 

While they're microwaving, I slice up onions and put those in a big foil casserole pan with some vegetable oil.  Once the potatoes are somewhat tender, I add them to the foil pan and add lots of salt, pepper, dried parsley, and dried paprika.  You pretty much can add any spices you like at this point; these are just the ones we prefer.  I give it all a good stir so the potatoes and onions are coated with a thin layer of the vegetable oil, and then my husband puts the foil pan out on the grill so the potatoes can finish cooking and get all brown and crispy. 

Mmmmmm.  I love potatoes.

We do something similar with our corn on the cob.  I put the cobs in a foil casserole pan and chop up a whole stick of butter into smaller slices all over the corn (I know, I know - lots of butter - but you don't really eat all of that - you'll see).  My husband puts the pan on the grill and keeps turning the corn in the melted butter.  It doesn't take that long to cook - maybe about 10 or so minutes - but keep it over medium heat.  It will start to slightly brown towards the end.  Then you remove it from the foil pan and serve!  You can pour the browned butter that's leftover in the bottom of the pan over the cobs if you want, but that's optional.  I like to top my corn with a mix of a little salt, paprika, and parmesan cheese.  Soooooo good. 

My salad was simple this time - I just chopped up some romaine lettuce, cucumbers, and sharp cheese, and then I added Brianna's Asiago Caesar dressing. 

This is such a yummy, easy meal that all of us love, especially my 5 year old!  Plus, like I said before, I always have my husband grill extra chicken.  We ended up having chicken Caesar wraps the next day, and they were delicious!  Of course, I forgot to take a picture.

Then, last night, I was invited to a ladies' dinner at a friend's house and - get this - I remembered to take a few pictures (before I had wine...duh).

 
She had a beautiful spread out for when we arrived: homemade bread, cheese, homemade hummus, olives, pistachios, and wine.  That was enough for me!  I could have just snacked on that stuff with my wine and been just fine.
 
My friend made Ina Garten's curried chicken salad.  It was perfect for a warm spring night - light and refreshing.  I am not a big fan of curry, but this was DELICIOUS!  She served it on lettuce and one of her other guests brought a cold asparagus salad.  It was a great complement to the chicken.

 
The asparagus salad had pecans in it - YUM - and its dressing was a mixture of olive oil, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, and a little sugar.
 

For dessert, we had a Williams-Sonoma recipe: raspberry rhubarb fools.  She used rhubarb she grew herself and added some pound cake in between the layers to make it more like a trifle.  Mine didn't last long!



Hope you had a good weekend.  Thanks for stopping by today, and happy Memorial Day!


Friday, May 22, 2015

Fallon Friday - #MyFamilyIsWeird

Today's Fallon Friday clip features one of his hashtags - #MyFamilyIsWeird.  I could probably do an entire blog about that topic...but the tweets Jimmy shares assures me that I'm not the only one with a weird family.
 
In the spirit of sharing some weirdness, here's a quick smattering of a few of my husband's idiosyncrasies (I got his permission before putting these out there, albeit with some reservation). 
 
I mean, did you really think I was going to share ALL of mine?  I've already shared some things about me.  It's his turn.
 
And here we go...
 
1)  My husband's beard is now growing horizontally out from his face and the hair on his head is disgustingly long.  He normally is clean shaven with a very short, military-like haircut, but he's decided to let his hair grow because it somehow makes him feel like he is the "Alone in the Wilderness" guy from PBS who lived in Alaska by himself for 33 years.  He thinks that if he can't have the cabin in Alaska, he's living vicariously by having the "mountain man" beard.  But here's the thing...the guy from "Alone in the Wilderness" didn't have a beard.  Go figure.
 
2)  Whenever he comes home from golfing and he's feeling "pretty good," he feels the need to give me the play-by-play of all 18 holes.  Shot by shot.  And then he gets offended when I tell him that I love him but I don't care.
 
3)  Remember when I told you how much I hate bellybuttons?  Well, my husband's belly button is THE WORST.  It's never-ending.  It's like a black hole.  He doesn't have a big belly; it's just some weird phenomenon that it could be so deep.  Like, you can't even see the end of it.  I'm dead serious.
 
4)  He feels the need to poke or jab me every time he walks by me.  And not in a romantic, I-love-you kind of way.  Like in a I-want-to-annoy-you-as-much-as-possible kind of way.  And he's taught this to my son, so now I get double the fun.
 
5)  He's starting to get ear hair in his old[er] age...and it enamors me.
 
6)  He has the roundest toes in the world, and he has passed along that trait to our son.  Awesome.
 
7)  I swear he has some sort of internal alarm system that alerts him whenever I've just cleaned the bathroom because that's when he decides it's time to shave and get hair all over the bathroom sink, counter, floor...everywhere.
 
8)  Whenever we're getting ready for bed, he can't just change and get into bed like a normal person.  No, he has to start a pillow fight, roll up his dirty socks and throw them at me, or hide his dirty underwear under my pillow for me to find.
#mennevergrowup
 
9)  Why is it that he never puts a new garbage bag in the garbage can after he takes out the garbage?  He doesn't see those tasks as a chore that goes together, for some reason, and inevitably I go to throw out something gross or liquid-y and make a big ol' mess in the bottom of the can.  It never fails.
 
10)  Last, but certainly not least, he has a farting problem.  (Don't most men?)  It's like as soon as we get in the car, it is fart city.  And then he puts the window lock on so I can't breathe in any fresh air.  What the heck?!?!  It's seriously so disgusting.
 
Well, I don't really know what to say now, so - without further ado - here's your dose of Fallon this Friday.
 
Enjoy and see you back here on Monday!
 
 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Perseverance

Today's "Thankful Thursday" is inspired by a woman I met in line at Old Navy last week. 

I was on a time crunch, the line was ridiculously long, and all I had to do was return a few things.  I felt a light tap on my shoulder and, when I turned, saw the kindest face of a woman who was probably in her early 40s.  She asked about the location of a nearby store because she wasn't sure exactly where it was, and then we got to talking. 

We made small talk about how they needed more cashiers because the line wasn't moving, I told her I was returning some online purchases, and she told me how much she loves shopping now that she's lost 107 pounds.  I couldn't believe it.  I congratulated her, of course, and she told me how much she likes picking out clothes in size "M" instead of size "3X." 

She told me how excited she was to buy a swimsuit since she and her boyfriend just opened their pool. 

She talked about how tough this last year had been for them, especially since they were hit by a drunk driver last September and she lost one of her arms.  I hadn't even noticed that since we had kept eye contact during our conversation. 

Isn't it amazing how a random conversation with a stranger can be life-changing?

I was impressed by her courage.  By her strength.  By her positivity.  But most of all, by her perseverance.
 



(source)


Today I'm thankful for people who persevere.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WIWW & "The Bachelorette" Premiere

Well, this is embarrassing.  My outfit choices this week were not exciting in the least, especially because I spent the entire weekend (ok, and this past Monday and Tuesday) in sweats.  I'm starting to realize as well that I have been leaning more towards comfort than fashion lately.  I need to step up my game.  It really is embarrassing.  See for yourself:

Outfit #1:
Black yoga pants and activewear tops from Old Navy with my black Skechers GoWalks
 
 
Yes, my hair is a hot mess.  I'm aware.  This is not one of my finest moments.
 

 
 Outfit #2:
Jeans, T-shirt, and black University of Maryland zip-up


That's it.  Yup.  Is that pathetic or what?  I know.  I'm not impressed, either.

These pics have made me realize not just what a terrible effort I made this week, but also that I am awful at taking pictures of my own outfits.  And that there's nothing at all exciting about what I wore!  And that I forgot to take more pictures this week.  I'm sorry.  (I give myself a D- for my WIWW work for this week.  I mean, I got a few pictures, so I don't deserve an F, but it doesn't deserve much more.)

I'll try to improve on today's post by moving on to another (hopefully more popular) topic. 

How many of you are watching "The Bachelorette" this season?  Well, if you aren't, you're probably better off because you will have a lot more free time on your hands.  I swear... every season requires more of an effort from viewers.  (I know it's my own fault for watching, but, don't worry, I'll still complain.  Because that's just how I roll.)  ABC just keeps adding more and more each season and it's truly become a hard core commitment.  Thank God for TiVo or there's just no way I could keep up.

(source: ABC)
 
Here are just a few of my thoughts about the two-night season premiere...

(Don't read ahead if you haven't watched yet!  Spoiler alert!)

1)  When they did the intros to some of the guys, one in particular struck me: Tony... aka "the healer."  He spends a lot of time meditating.  He calls his plants "babies" and kisses them before he leaves.  Weird.  And then he gives the same speech to each woman upon meeting them.  Weird.  And then he got a rose!  Also weird.

2)  But then you have Jared who calls himself "love man."  He is convinced he is the next superhero.  He poses like Superman in his "love shirt."  Even more weird.

3)  And then there's the stripper who ABC first made seem like a fireman.  You know, until he started taking his fireman clothes off and rubbing up against women for dollar bills.  No, thank you.  Just...no.

4)  After the rest of the intros of the guys (shirtless intros, of course, or this wouldn't be "The Bachelorette"), Britt and Kaitlyn come out of their own personal limos (must be nice).  Kaitlyn is full of nerves, and Britt says she's excited and ready.  The juxtaposition between the two women is obvious and uncomfortable.  I love it.  (And I love the word "juxtaposition.")  The men are stuck in a position where they have to decide which woman to approach first.  Some beeline to Kaitlyn while others book it to Britt.  You can just feel the tension between the women.  Even when Chris Harrison was speaking to them, you can tell they don't like each other.  Awwwkkkkk-ward (picture me singing that in an Oprah-esque way).

5)   Um, drunk Ryan.  Enough said.

6)  In case you were wondering, I'm team Kaitlyn... but only by default.  Yes, Kaitlyn can be a bit blunt and rough around the edges sometimes (okay - most of the time), but I don't really care for Britt.  And in the previews of the rest of the season, ABC makes it look like Kaitlyn is, ahem, "with" one of the guys and then turns into a sobbing mess over it.  Good stuff. 

7)  I like that Shawn guy that Kaitlyn gives her first impression rose to - you know, the one that's sort
of Ryan Gosling-ish if Ryan Gosling was a caricature?  He seems the most normal.  For now.

I have to admit - I always go online and search for spoilers.  So I have a slight idea about what may happen this season.  I won't spill what I read for two reasons: 1) you may not want to know anything, and 2) it may not be correct!

That's all I have time for today.  We're headed out to an amusement park, so it's off to finish my coffee, get dressed, and pack up the sunscreen!  See you back here tomorrow (I hope!) for "Thankful Thursday."

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

All Sorts of Random

Today is sort of a mish-mash of topics.  A hodgepodge.  Ya know, just random schtuff.

First, I have to update you regarding the Ponds night cream and the whitening toothpaste I mentioned back HERE and HERE.

Both get a thumbs up from me!


I started using the Ponds cream every night (after washing my face and applying my serum), but I've since scaled back to using it every other night because I was getting a strong tingling sensation shortly after applying.  According to the package, that's normal... and I assume that means it's working!  I definitely notice how much nicer my skin looks when I wake up in the morning.  I am more on the oily side, and the cream isn't too thick, which makes me like it even more.  The smell is light and fresh, too - not overpowering.  And the price is the best I've found for a night cream I like this much.  It's a keeper!


With the toothpaste, I decided to do some before/after pictures to see if it was really working.  I figured I wouldn't be able to tell on a daily basis; I wanted to see it over a period of two weeks.  I don't particularly want to share large pictures of my teeth here, but there is definitely a difference.  It's not major, but there is enough of a difference that I will keep using it, mostly because I can't give up my coffee!  I'd like to try it in conjunction with white strips to see how well they work together.

Speaking of products, I am always looking for new ways to fight those signs of aging!  At Easter, I started talking with my (very stylish) Aunt Deb to find out what she's been using because her skin looked so great.  She raved about a Mary Kay product she recently tried, the TimeWise® Microdermabrasion Set


Over the years, she has tried A LOT of products (I'm not kidding - ask anyone!), so when she loves something, she LOVES it.  I asked if she'd be willing to write a little something about it for my blog. 

Here's what she had to say:

I have to tell about my recent purchase of Mary Kay’s microdermabrasion – I’ve been considering having this done professionally but it’s way too expensive.
 
My daughter-in-law is a Mary Kay Director and suggested MK’s microdermabrasion set.
I’ve been using it now for about 2 months.  I use it two to three times/week and keep it in the shower.  I use it after my regular cleanser and make sure to put my moisturizer on afterwards.  I noticed a difference after using it the first time - really!  It just keeps getting better and better.
 
My skin is softer, smoother, feels like silk, and has a glowy (I don’t know if that’s a word) look to it!  I have large pores and they are hardly noticeable anymore. 
 
I love it!  You have to try it . . .

I really didn't know much about what microdermabrasion actually is, so I did a little research.

According to WebMD, "In microdermabrasion, tiny crystals are sprayed onto the skin to gently remove the outer layer of your skin. This technique is less aggressive than dermabrasion, so you don't need numbing medicine. It is basically an exfoliation and skin rejuvenation procedure that leaves skin looking softer and brighter."

When I looked up the cost of treatments, I found out that they are quite costly, even at-home treatments.  This particular set from Mary Kay lasts about six months, and works well in conjunction with the TimeWise Miracle Set and Firming Eye cream.  If you're interested in learning more about Mary Kay's options, my cousin-in-law Janelle is an Independent Sales Director.  Click here for the link to her website: www.marykay.com/jalderferIf any of you have tried or already use this, I'd love to hear what you think!

In other news, we've been trying to enjoy the nice weather we've had lately.  We've taken trips to nearby playgrounds, played outside in the yard, and gone out to eat (specifically for ice cream).

Here's what we've been up to...

Lunch with Leonardo
(Why are boys so weird?)
 

Hanging out in the yard:


Scratching their backs:


Poor Chance can BARELY keep his eyes open.  I think we tired him out.


Guarding the basket:


Saturday morning rock climbing exhibitions
(Gotta get that energy out of him somehow!)
 

Other than that, not much else is new.  I'm just trying to recover from whatever this is that's got me all congested.  See you back here tomorrow for WIWW (What I Wore Wednesday)!