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Stuttering Shell: September 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Still exhaling.

Just over a month ago my nerves were shot. They still are. I hate it. I absolutely, positively hate it. But, I'm just going to keep on keeping on & move forward with my life.

I have to.

My children need me to.

My husband needs me to.

I need me to.

I'm the eternal pessimist. The glass is always {and I mean always} half empty. There is no bright side. There is no silver lining. These evil ways need to change.

I don't like uncertainty. I can't stand it when there are no answers. I despise surprises. But, the reality of it all is THAT'S LIFE. All I can do is be brave & let go. If not, I'm going to be a freakin' ulcer with legs.

I don't know what is going to happen. I have a feeling I know why things are happening. Do I know when or how things will happen? No, not really. But, what I do know is order for me to shed that pessimistic side of me, I need to re-evaluate the people in my life & why they are in my life. I hate to say it, but cleansing my soul of those who eat away at me is probably going to be the best thing I can do for myself {and my family} right now.

Wish me luck.

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We have a winner!

Hello, friends! Happy Monday to you all...I must apologize for NOT posting the giveaway winner on Friday as promised. Friday afternoon got the best of me...and so did the rest of the weekend.

So, without making you all wait any longer, I am tickled pink to announce the winner of a $50 gift certificate to Sephora. She is probably super busy with school since she's busy living Life as a Florida Gator....congratulations goes out to:


Please e-mail me at shell {at} stutteringshell {dot} com to let me know if you prefer an e-gift certificate or an actual gift card from the store. I suppose it all depends on how soon you want to splurge at Sephora!! *wink*

Thank you to everyone who entered & left me very kind birthday wishes. So far, 32 isn't so bad!

I do have another giveaway & product review to post this week so keep your eyes open for that.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Last Call!

This is your last chance to enter to win a $50 gift certificate to Sephora courtesy of yours truly. *wink*

I will choose a winner this afternoon & announce the lucky person at 5 o'clock EST.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009


As I was cooking dinner tonight {chicken & chorizo tacos...yum!} my cell phone rang.

Odd, I thought, as I looked at the phone and saw that it was the hubs calling. After all, he was at home.

I answered.


The man called me from the freaking bathroom. The bathroom.

Apparently, he does not look at the toilet paper roll before he, uh, sits for a spell. The man was stranded with no T.P. He said that he yelled, but no one heard him {Duh, I was in the kitchen & the kids were playing with the dog}. And, since no one heard his pleas for help he decided to call.

I've never laughed so hard in my life. Well, I have...just not this week...until now.

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Good Dog Logan

After a very brave fight against Lymphoma, my sister, Monica, and her husband, James, said farewell to their Golden Retriever, Logan, this morning. He was eight years old.

It's been a rough few months for them as they endured weekly chemo treatments, special food, mounting veterinarian bills & other related issues...all the while working full-time {James is a teacher & my sister is in her last year of her Pathology residency} and raising their other fur baby, Moxie, the Bernese Mountain Dog.

I haven't talked to my sister or to James yet. I can't. I am not ready to. I'm having a hard time even typing this post! I will let them have their time. Time to cherish Logan's memory, time to grieve, time to find the strength to move on.

Godspeed, Logan, you were a good dog.

{I got the pics from J & M's Facebook pages}

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Hobo Envy

{all pics are from QVC}

These are going on my Christmas wish list. Seriously, any of these B. Makowsky handbags would make me a very happy girl this holiday!

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekend Recap

It's Monday {again}. I'm another year older. And, I'm already yearning for the weekend. It's sad what my life has succumbed to. Just kidding, just kidding...I'm just feeling exceptionally melodramatic today for some reason. I really shouldn't considering I had myself a pumpkin spice latte courtesy of Starbucks this morning {I received two $20 gift cards to Starbucks for my girlfriends know what I *need*!}.'s a rundown of my weekend in as few bullets as possible:
  • Friday was the birthday. My birthday. After a day of working & some husband-induced stress {and a good cry...oh!}, we headed out for a fun dinner with friends & family at Shogun. We requested our favorite teppanyaki chef, Petey, and had a very yummy dinner & a big pot of sake. After dinner, we headed to Just George's to meet up with more friends & enjoy a few more drinks.
  • Very, very EARLY on Saturday morning, the hubs went fishing. I didn't want him to go, but......ah, well. He headed down to Oregon Inlet, NC with our friend, Matt, and the two of them went deep sea fishing. They lucked out & had one heck of a fishing day! After all of the tuna was cleaned, they each brought home about 120 pounds of fresh tuna. Needless to say, I spent a good part of my Sunday vacuum sealing tuna steaks!
  • Also on Saturday, my parents surprised me with a visit and took me {and the kids} out to lunch at Carrabba's. I had a delicious grilled chicken breast smothered in goat cheese & sun-dried tomatoes for lunch. After lunch, we walked around the mall, I did a little bit of shopping & we headed home. My parents left for home {they live in Fredericksburg which is about 2.5 hours away from me} and the kids & I got ready for dinner at Adam's mom's house. I made peanut butter cup brownies & we were off for a fantastic pulled pork BBQ dinner. I got to hang out with my sister-in-law, Krystal, which was a lot of fun. Adam eventually made his way over {with a huge bag of tuna in hand} and we had a late night grill session & enjoyed some perfectly cooked tuna steaks.
  • Sunday came & really did. Adam made a great breakfast of scrambled eggs, home fries, bacon & cinnamon apples and then we headed to Wal-Mart for some groceries & then to the auto parts store for new brake pads for my car {can you tell what my birthday present from the hubs was?! It definitely wasn't a new pair of shoes for me!}. Once home, it was football, laundry, NASCAR, laundry, nap, laundry, football...yeah, the day pretty much went like that. We had tuna tacos for dinner and, before we knew it, it was time for bed & time to get the new week started.

I swear, weekends are too short. Congress, or whomever it is who ultimately gets to decide, should really consider either adding Friday or Monday to the weekend. Seriously.

I enjoyed my weekend...I hope you all enjoyed your weekend, too!

Psst...don't forget to enter my birthday giveaway!

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Friday, September 18, 2009

What road are we on?

The other day while driving home with the kids the traffic report came on the radio. After it was finished, Aidan asked me where Virginia Beach Boulevard was & if we were driving on it. I told him no, we weren't, and explained to him where it was. This is the conversation that followed:

Aidan: "Mom, are we on the Dam Neck?"

Me: "Yes, we're on Dam Neck Road."

Aidan: "Oh, this road is funny because it has two words in it - one that's a body part & one that's a bad word that kids shouldn't say."

Me: "Oh, really?"

Aidan: "Yeah, they shouldn't put bad words in names. It's not appropriate."

Ah, the mind of a six year old. 'Dam' isn't the bad word he thinks it is, but his point was well taken, though.

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Show me the cake! {'s a giveaway, too!}


The day is here. I'm 32.

My father told me that after turning 21 birthdays seem to come faster & faster - he was right.

A friend of mine said that after having kids your birthday will seem like just another day - she was right.

Do I feel different now than I did when I turned, say, 22? Oh, yes. Very much so.

Am I older? Indeed, I am.

Am I wiser? Perhaps.

Entering my thirties was pretty scary. I mean, it was what most of us considered 'old' once upon a time! As it turned out, it wasn't so scary after was actually kind of refreshing! And, here I am, eight years from 40 {I know, I'm being a bit dramatic today}, and I am okay with it all. Sure, I'll complain & kid about my age, but a really smart girlfriend of mine told me that she will never let a number {age} define her, so I should not let it define me. She's got a point.

So, today I turn 32. I will celebrate tonight with friends & tomorrow with family. It honestly feels just like another day...and I think I'm more excited about the fact that today is Friday!

In honor of my birthday, I'm giving one of you lucky readers the chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Sephora.

It's my birthday gift to you!

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post...that's all! I will announce the winner on Friday, September 25th...good luck!

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Go, Speed Racer, go!

The kids had an Italian ice night sponsored by the PTA this week & as we sat there we listened to Malia talk about one of her friends from school:

"She's the fastest girl at afterschool, Mom & Dad {our kids attend an after-school program sponsored by Parks & Rec at their school}. She's so fast...she's faster than two fifth graders!"

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Got dark circles?

I do!

Blame it on genes. Blame it on lack of sleep. Blame it on whatever you want. I have dark circles under my eyes.

I'll spare you the picture. Trust me. We're not going there {besides, my brows are in need of some TLC}.

I am currently using a concealer by philosophy, but I'm ready for something new. I need a product that will keep my skin moisturized, cover those dark circles, doesn't look cakey & stays put all day. Is that too much to ask?

What is your concealer brand/product of choice? Please tell me so I can finally find something that I love & stick with it.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ebony & Ivory

Last Friday we decided to eat out and, on our way to Red Robin {RR's burgers are so-so...oh, how I wish we had a Plan B in my burgers ever!}, THIS Michael Jackson song came on the radio.

Malia: "This is Michael Jackson singing, right?"

Me: "Yes, it sure is." {meanwhile, the hubs is trying to disco dance while driving...bad idea}

Malia: "Wasn't he brown when he sang this song?"

Me {absolutely mortified}: "What?!"

Malia: "He used to be brown, right?"

Me: "Yes."

Malia: "Well, when did he turn white?!"

I'm so glad we were parked & walking into the restaurant by that time. No disrespect to Michael Jackson {may he R.I.P.} nor to his friends, family & fans, but this just goes to show the innocence & inquisitiveness of children. Their {brutal, at times } honesty is quite humbling, don't you think?

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Clearing my head...

  • Fall is quickly approaching - my fall wreath is hanging on the front door {spiked with the scent of cinnamon}, my pumpkin "WELCOME" sign is hanging on the porch & two beautiful mums are gracing my front stoop.
  • I can actually see some bits of dark brown iris in Frisco's left eye {the one he had surgery on} - thank God!
  • A pumpkin spice frappuccino from Starbucks really hit the spot over the weekend...yum!
  • R.I.P. Patrick Swayze - we'll never put Baby in the corner.
  • Finding ants in my pantry on a busy Monday evening? Oh, hells no.
  • We've loaded up on the orange juice & vitamins - and we're praying for a friend whose husband & little girl are sick with that flu. So sad. Sending good thoughts & get well wishes their way!
  • Ben & Jerry's Phish Food - need I say more?
  • One week of school down...many more to go! The kids have transitioned well & we're on track for a wonderful year!
  • Finding our rosemary plant underneath a crazy pile of weeds & wildflowers that invaded our flower bed by way of the neighbors behind us was ridiculous...finding out that the rosemary plant was still alive and doing well was exciting! Cannot wait to saute up some fingerlings in fresh rosemary...mmm!
  • I didn't watch the VMAs but seriously, K*anye, you really ARE a d-bag, aren't you?
  • Grey's Anatomy starts in just over a week...aaaahhh! Even more exciting than that is a new season of Survivor starts THURSDAY!
  • I need new front brakes. Thank goodness the hubs can handle this himself!
  • I'll be 32 on Friday. *sigh*
  • Our pineapple sage plant has beautiful red blooms. So pretty & so striking against the green leaves.
  • I can't believe my 10 year college reunion is next year. Wow.
  • I have managed to avoid the mopping & vacuuming tonight...I guess it will get done tomorrow.
  • Laundry is calling my fun!
  • Did I mention that I'll be 32 on Friday?! At least drinks with friends will take the 'sting' away. ;-)

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I made it past the 500th post mark. Technically, this is post number 503. Wow.

So, in honor of reaching this milestone, I have a fun giveaway in the works. Things have not been finalized yet {mostly because I can't make up my mind} but I will announce it on Friday {which just happens to be my birthday!}.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

PRODUCT REVIEW - Dove's Body Wash with Nutrium Moisture

About a month ago I was asked to try a few of Dove's newest body washes. Over the last few years, I've been quite loyal to my body wash brand of choice {a pricier option by a pretty well-known women's skincare & beauty line}, but I was interested in the chance to try something new. As we all know, Dove is a very reputable brand - it's been around for 50 years & it's dermatologist recommended - and it's also very affordable.

So, what was so special about these NEW Dove body washes? Imagine my surprise when I read that most all body washes on the market dry out your skin. Apparently, the body washes break down the proteins & the lipids in the skin's most outer layer which leads to tight, dry skin. Some body washes try to combat this by adding heavy moisturizers; however, the heavy moisturizers only temporarily alleviate the dry skin issue and don't really address the fact that those damaged lipids in your skin need some TLC, too.

Dove has found a way to combat the dryness by using this:

What's nutrium moisture? It's a formula of soybean oil & natural lipids that are able to penetrate deep into the skin's layers to nourish & replenish the skin...all the while maintaining & repairing the skin's protective layer while you cleanse your body. Dove stands firm in the fact that their body washes with nutrium moisture are the only products of it's kind on the market & that clinical studies show that using the product reduces dryness and improves moisturization.

Dove's body wash with nutrium moisture comes in three formulas - deep moisture, sensitive skin & gentle exfoliating - and I had the opportunity to try all three.

I took every bit of one month to try out these body washes. I was a bit hesitant at first just because I am such a creature of habit and really loved the body wash brand I had been using for years. But, dare I say that I am actually quite happy with the results of using Dove's products and my view on body washes has changed??

I do suffer from dry skin. I have eczema {granted, it's on my hands only, but still}. I am pretty careful about the products I use on my body because I don't want to have some wonky reaction. I had nothing to worry about with Dove's body washes. Each had a pleasant scent and cleansed my skin well. I left the shower feeling clean & the body wash didn't leave a greasy feeling to my skin. I also loved how the body washes left a light scent on my skin {yes, I actually caught myself sniffing my arm one day}. I've noticed that my skin looks healthier {if that makes sense} and my skin isn't so tight & itchy anymore. My husband tried out the body washes & loves them, too. And, right now, I have the sensitive skin formula in my children's bathtub & they enjoy using the product, too.

Out of all three body washes, my absolute favorite is the gentle exfoliating formula. It has small, blue microbeads that lightly scrub your skin and help get rid of the funky dead skin cells & other gunk that's on your skin. It's not a harsh scrub and it's gentle enough to use on a daily basis.

This is definitely a drugstore product that's worth checking out. I found it in my local Wal-Mart.

For more information on this product, please check out this link.

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INTERROGATION - You asked, now I'm answering (Part 5)

It's been a while since I last answered one of your questions.

Let's continue, shall we?

Brittany Ann asked:

How did you decide you wanted kids? And two at that? Do you want more? (Sorry, I totally have babies on the brain, so of course my question looks like this:)

The hubs & I started our family a little bit backwards. OK, a lot backwards.

We had a child, got married & then had another child.

That's basically the short version of a very long story. The hubs & I had been dating just over seven years when we found out {a month after I graduated from college} that we were pregnant. I gave birth to our daughter, Malia, just three days before the hubs turned 23. We got married just a few weeks before our daughter's first birthday & I became pregnant with our son {after some trying & a miscarriage} about six months after we were married. Looking back, I couldn't picture things happening any other way. Our daughter was quite a surprise, but such a blessing, too. Both of my babies were {and still are} blessings.

Do I {or WE} want more children? Sometimes I find myself longing for a baby or missing the feeling of being pregnant {yes, even though I gained between 60-70 lbs. with both children I actually enjoyed being pregnant}. But, once I hear my two - who are 6 & 8 - fighting over something I quickly snap out of it. ;-) I have a cousin who is currently pregnant with her fourth, and last, child. She & her husband call him the "bonus" baby and kept telling us over the weekend that it's time for the hubs & I to have our "bonus" baby. thanks.

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Tucker Blair WINNER!

I put all of the entries into an Excel spreadsheet {in the order in which they were left, of course} and used the handy, dandy to choose a winner...

Congratulations! Email me at shell {at} stutteringshell {dot} com and I will get your Tucker Blair gift certificate on it's way to you!

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8 years ago...

Our daughter was nearly 6 months old & we were on our way to see Daddy {you know him as the hubs}. We spent the weekend with Daddy in Washington, D.C. He was working on a school in NW Washington, D.C. and living temporarily in College Park, Maryland at the time. During the drive to Maryland, we drove by the Pentagon while Lee Greenwood's "Proud To Be An American" played on the radio.

If we only knew...

Fast forward to the following Monday...September 11th. I went to work on what I thought was "just another Monday." My mother called me first. She said something bad, something very bad, has happened. She wanted to know if Adam was OK {since he was working in D.C}. I didn't know why. My cell phone kept ringing. Friends were calling wanting to know if Adam was OK. But, why? Only then did I find out about the World Trade Center...and the Pentagon...and eventually about the Pennsylvania plane crash.

Of course, I couldn't get through to Adam because by that time all circuits were busy.

Our office had a small television set & everyone in our department was glued to it. It was a very somber day. Very somber. I'll never forget.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Just warming it up...

The day I got my BlackBerry, my son proclaimed that when he grows up he will get a BlackBerry, too.

In the meantime, he's gone to great lengths to "play" with my phone {I've even caught him digging through my purse looking for the phone}. His excuse? He's just checking the time. Uh, huh...sure you are.

This morning, Malia informs me that Aidan has my phone {see what happens to us Mom's when we try to take a moment in the morning to shovel Frosted Flakes down our throat?}. Malia insists that he's playing with my phone. What does Aidan say in his own defense?

"No. I'm just warming up the phone for Mom so it's not cold when she touches it."

Psst...don't forget that today is the last day to enter my Tucker Blair giveaway!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dear creepy man in the green plaid shirt,

Thank you for keeping me on edge during my lunch break today. Who knew that a simple trip to the mall for a book & some chicken teriyaki would have me power walking through the parking lot with my keys {weaved between my fingers like they were a pair of brass knuckles} in one hand and my Crackberry {ready to call Virginia Beach's finest} in the other.

I figured you were just some random dude I would never see again when I walked by you outside of Barnes & Noble. I don't know how you managed to bump into me again in the mall {I mean, I did go into two different stores}, but you did. When you followed me onto the escalator to the food court, I figured you were hungry like I was. When you walked BY me on the escalator, you kind of creeped me out. Maybe you were really hungry & in a hurry to choose which fast food place you wanted to grab a bite to eat from...I don't know. What I do know is that it's not cool to walk by people on an escalator {maybe that's just me, but...}.

And, you know what's REALLY not cool? Me turning around in the chicken teriyaki line to find you standing there. Yeah, not cool. I know I'm being a bit selfish, but that was MY idea for lunch. I understand that maybe you were hungry, too, but seeing you for a third time in less than a half-hour was more than just mere coincidence {at least it is in my paranoid mind}. Especially because each time I saw you you were looking right at me. Ew.

Just so you know, I was totally ready to take your sorry butt out with my two orders of food {one was for a friend...sheesh...I'm not that hungry}. It's creepy people like you who fuel my desire to shop online. At home. Where I'm not bothered by creepy men in green plaid shirts {remind me to check the hubs' closet}.

The overly cautious girl

Sidenote: OK, so this might be a bit presumptuous, but I stand my ground. I've had one too many strange run-ins at the mall before {one involving my children even}, so I've always got my guard up.

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32 in 9

The day is creeping up pretty damn fast. I'll be 32 on the 18th.
Thirty-two. Three. Two. 32.
I'm having a hard time swallowing it.

I don't know why because turning 31 wasn't so bad. Heck, it was a breeze compared to turning 30. Going from 29 to 30 was difficult. I don't know just was. The end of a decade...the beginning of a new one. Saying 30 instead of 29. Writing 30 instead of 29. I was in denial for a while.

I suppose I should look at things on the bright side. It's just 32. It's not one of those "milestone" birthdays. That happened nearly two years ago and the next "milestone" won't happen for another eight years {oh, boy}.

Granted, 32 does have it's perks. Well, for me it does at least {let me gloat for a moment, will ya?}. I still get carded. People have a hard time believing that I really am the mother of two kids. My car insurance is pretty damn cheap. But, it has it's downfalls, too...waxing happens more often now {or at least it should}, my skin needs more moisturizing {fine lines & wrinkles, my ass!} & my freaking hair -- when my roots grow out now they are effing gray! What's up with that?!


OK, I'll be a big girl and just embrace the inevitable. And, on the 18th I will be out & about celebrating the 3rd anniversary of my 29th birthday.

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I have a boyfriend...

...and his name is Mike.

He's got this pastry shop in Boston's North End. Yeah, Mike's Pastry...that's the one.

Those little gems picture below...they are the apricot bows. I bought six cookies on my first visit. I came home with two dozen more {in addition to four dozen other cookies}:


I've never stood in line for baked goods before {I'm talking about a line that went out the door & down the block}. I've never spent over $30 on cookies before {well, maybe Girl Scout cookies, but those don't count}. But, now that I've sampled some of the insanely delectable cookies from Mike's, I believe my taste buds have been forever changed. Thank goodness they ship!

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Poop & Ants

Poop & ants.

Ants & poop.

It pretty much sums up my afternoon.

I get home from work & check the mail only to find that ALL of the mail that was held since last Thursday {because we were on vacation} found it's way to my mailbox...including the note for the 'mail hold' request that I did with the postal service that said, "Customer will pick up all vacation hold mail." Thank you, Mr. Mailman, for not reading.

That wasn't the bad part.

The bad part was opening my mailbox, grabbing the mail & looking down to find that my hand was covered {and I mean covered} in ants. It's one thing getting bills in the mail, but bills that come with their own bugs?! Yuck. Ants skeeve - is that even a word? - me out. Needless to say, I dropped the mail. All of it. Into a puddle. A muddy puddle thanks to the 5+ inches of rain we've gotten in just over a day. So much for those bills. I also sprayed the HECK out of my mailbox with Raid. Ew.

Fast forward to about an hour later...I'm getting dinner ready {porkchops & sauerkraut...yum!} and I see the dog haul buns into my bedroom. I asked Aidan to grab him - the pup cannot be trusted just yet in any room by himself. Aidan obliges...and I follow Aidan just to be safe. I walk into my bedroom to find a pile of poo on my bathroom floor. Smushed poo. Gross.

Guess who walked through it?

Yep. Aidan. So, there I was on my hands & knees scrubbing my bathroom floor with bleach & washing Aidan's socks in h-o-t water.


I swear, today feels totally like a Monday yet it's already Tuesday.

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I'm back. I've got the Monday blues even though it's already Tuesday.

The kids headed back to school today.

The pup went to the eye doctor today.

I came back to work today.

Laundry is piled high. The house needs a thorough dusting. I could use just a bit more sleep. The weather is crappy. I wish I was still in Boston.

I'll do a proper vacay post later -- it was one of the best weekend's ever. Of course, I probably gained quite a few pounds since we did a lot of eating & drinking!

I still have things lined up for you all {since I sort of slacked on that whole 'scheduled posts' thing}.

I'm just feeling exceptionally lazy. Lazy & sleepy. It's gonna take me a while, too, to catch up with you all...I have a feeling that my laptop & I will get really cozy later on tonight!

Anyways...I've missed's good to be back!


Saturday, September 5, 2009


let me sum up our vacay so far:

rushed - we cut it close getting to the airport {this is what happens when the hubs oversleeps and still insists on stopping for coffee}.

stuffed - food, food & more food. all we've done is eat. first chinatown, then little italy, then some yummy pastries...then ridiculously fabulous burgers and stupidly large portions of americanized italian food. today it's all about the cookout and the evening will be capped with a chinese dinner...not take-out, no, no...we are talikng authentic chinese grub.

boozed up - only this family can manage to go to whole foods and come home with more {varieties} of beer than food. go figure.

shopped out - our family's motto...well, it seems like it's my, "have mall, will travel."

this, my friends, is how this family rolls.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Product Review & Giveaway: Are YOU "Classically Casual?"

A few months ago, I participated in a summer swap & I received my very first Tucker Blair item ever. I know, I's a shame that I just recently found out about the greatness that is Tucker Blair, but please forgive me.
My keys have never looked as stylish as they do now thanks to my Tucker Blair Sailing Needlepoint Key Fob {many thanks to Kate at Nautical by Nature, too!}:

What is Tucker Blair? Tucker Blair is a clothing accessories {a.k.a. fun!} company founded by Taylor Llewellyn who was growing tired of life in the corporate world. The company specializes in handmade needlepoint creations like belts, key fobs & flip flops!

Who is Tucker Blair?
Taylor Llewellyn came up with the company's name by using two of his family's names...that's a pretty great tribute, huh?

Why Tucker Blair?
Are you classic? Are you casual? {the company's motto IS 'classically casual'} Do you have an inner prep that's waiting to come out? Do you like simple styles accented with pops of color, fun & whimsy? Are you all about quality & value? If so, this is why you should take a look some of the items Tucker Blair has to offer.

Not long ago, I was contacted by Tucker Blair's PR rep, Zach Weiss, and we chatted about the company & their products. He emphasized the fact that Tucker Blair is all about luxury & affordability...all the while offering customers a high quality product. They do not have a traditional "brick & mortar" store and rely upon referrals & word of mouth. Of course, their items are all so unique & fun that it's easy to spread the word about Tucker Blair! I think one of the things that I love the most about Tucker Blair is that they make themselves available to their customers. You can easily contact the company founder, Taylor Llewellyn, via email or give their customer service line a call. Clearly, Tucker Blair is not just about putting out a great product, but they are also very much in tune with their customers needs and wants. It's very rare that you find a company that values it's customers as much as Tucker Blair does.

Do you have a Tucker Blair wishlist? I do! I think one of the items I want the most are the Crab Needlepoint Flip Flops. I am hoping that size XXS means it will fit my size 6 feet! {those flops are SO going on my birthday wish list!}

{all pictures are from Tucker Blair, by the way}

Of course, there are a few other items on my wishlist, too...

The Starfish Needlepoint Key Fob {so that even a word?!}:

The Crab & Beer Bottles Needlepoint Key Fob {this one is a no brainer...we love steaming crabs & drinking a cold one all summer long!}:

And, the Green Polka Dot Needlepoint Headband:

Do YOU want something from Tucker Blair? Of course you do!

So, what I am doing for all of my lovely readers is giving YOU the opportunity to win a $25 Tucker Blair gift certificate!

All you have to do is go to Tucker Blair's website & tell me which item is your favorite and you'll be entered into the giveaway.

You can receive extra entries if you blog about this, refer people to this giveaway, follow my blog, follow me on Twitter (@maliasma) or follow Tucker Blair on Twitter (@tuckerblair). Just let me know how many extra entries you should receive in one comment...thanks!

The giveaway is open until Thursday, September 10th at 11:59pm EST. The winner will be announced on Friday, September 11th.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Not minding MY P's & Q's

I don't write a lot about work because, well, I just don't. However, every now and again I will say something about work. Just this week I wrote about how I'm fortunate enough to be able to bring my children to work.

Did I also mention how happy I am that school starts next week?

Working full time in an office is one thing. Working full time in an office with kids in tow is another. It's one thing if it's a sick child...a sick child is usually a quiet child. It's another thing if it's just not.

It's just not.

Why is Labor Day so late this year...the kids should be in school already!

It's only been three days, but still...I'm at my wits end. True, I did bring this upon myself because I did not have a sitter lined up for this week. In my defense, I figured, "It's only three days...why not?" This is the LAST TIME I listen to myself!

Fortunately, I work for people who understand, who know, who are parents themselves. We've all been in this predicament at some point. So, for that, I'm thankful. Thankful & lucky.

As for the kids? Well, they're not minding their MY P's & Q's. There's no peace, no quiet. I have no's nothing quixotic.

Thank goodness all will return to "normal" next week. School will start again and I will - once again - have my days to myself. Well, not exactly, but you know what I mean.

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Product Review: Drink Wat-Aah!

Not long ago, I was contacted by the fun folks at Wat-Aah! who proposed a challenge to my family -- get my kids to choose water over sodas & other sugar-laden drinks. How could I resist? Well, okay, so I secretly knew that this would be a 'no brainer' for us because we very rarely allow our children to drink sodas & usually they are asking for milk, orange juice or....water. But, I didn't realize how much fun this challenge would be NOR did I anticipate their very positive reaction...

Wat-Aah! was created by a mom, Rose Cameron, who wondered why kids preferred drinking anything but water. It was her desire to get kids excited about drinking water & showing them the importance of drinking more water and less sugary drinks in an effort to fight childhood obesity. Between the colorful, kid-friendly packaging, taste & overall appeal, I think it's safe to say that Rose Cameron has created a product that will surely change the way kids feel about drinking water. To read more about Wat-Aah! please check out their website or their blog.

We came home one afternoon to find a big box of Wat-Aah! loot on our front porch. The kids were excited to see what was inside. They had NO IDEA that THEY would be testing the product. All they cared about were the cool stickers & temporary tattoos that were sent.

I was given a bottle of each Wat-Aah! flavor - brain, bones, body & energy. Each type of Wat-Aah! drink is fortified with vitamins & minerals, has no sugar or added sodium & is made from ultra purified water or spring water. Certainly, one of the best features about the product is it's packaging...this IS a kids product {but it's still clever enough to appeal to adults, too}. The cartoon kid shouting, "Drink Wat-Aah!" and the bright, colorful labels really catch the eye.

We put our bottles of Wat-Aah! in the fridge & let the kids "have at it." We had juice boxes, milk, orange juice, sweet tea & Wat-Aah! stashed in the fridge and every time the kids went in the fridge they chose the Wat-Aah! over anything else. At dinner, they would both exclaim they wanted Wat-Aah! and sometimes small arguments ensued because they both wanted the same bottle! Who knew that kids would actually fight over something good for them?!

Once all four bottles were gone, my kids were left wanting more. Unfortunately, Wat-Aah! is not available in my immediate local area, but it can be purchased online at

I knew that the product would be a hit with my two children -- I didn't realize that it would be that big of a hit, though. They absolutely enjoyed drinking Wat-Aah! Maybe it was the clever packaging, maybe it was the bottle, maybe it was the fun phrase & blurb of info on the back of the bottles...who knows. What I do know is that I am one happy mom because time & time again my children chose water over the sugary drinks. And, even to this day {because we are out of Wat-Aah!} they are still choosing water as their preferred drink of choice.

Thanks, Wat-Aah!

For more info about Wat-Aah! be sure to check out the following links:
Mom Endorsements
The Wat-Aah! Challenge Campaign
The Stop Sugar Campaign

You can even follow Wat-Aah! on Facebook & on Twitter, too!

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Are we there yet?

We don't leave for Boston until very early on Thursday morning, but I am so ready to go...RIGHT NOW.

It's a short work week for me, but I've been bringing my kids to the office. I'm very fortunate to be able to do this; however, sometimes I question my own sanity {and I also wonder about the mental welfare of my co-workers}.

Let's just say that this week - so far - has been a stressful one for me. Not so much because of work, but because of who is at work with me.

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The muy fabuloso Mrs. Potts at Experiments in a Galley Kitchen had a little birthday giveaway last month. OK, maybe it wasn't me, it was a BIG deal. Why? Because, I won!

What did I win?

{picture from Made by Stella}

Yep, I won those gems {pun intended!} - absolutely beautiful & stunning garnet cluster earrings from Made By Stella. Please go check out her etsy shop by clicking here.

I also won an item of my choice from the personalized stationery line at Molly Lou Gifts! I am having a hard time choosing just one item, but I've narrowed it down to these choices {all pictures are from Molly Lou Gifts, by the way}:

{the Family Birdie folded notes}

I am thinking that I may have to get all three...stationery is always good to have. I even keep a set of note cards in my desk drawer at work because you just never know!

I'm so excited that I won this giveaway -- thank you, Mrs. Potts!! And, I owe a huge thanks to RNJenn, too! She told Mrs. Potts that I referred her which earned me my winning entry. Thanks, Jenn!

Please...go check out everyone {Mrs. Potts, Made by Stella, Molly Lou Gifts, RNJenn} mentioned in this post. You won't be disappointed.

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