Freckles in April: 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Open to Interpretation


We wanted to do a holiday OTI, something party-ish and sparkly. And it was my pick!

Had a beast of a time trying to track down an original source only to be led to the black hole of Tumblr. But I think we can all agree that this is very likely J. Crew.

Perfect holiday party attire! Except I don't really go to fancy holiday parties. Or holiday parties at all, really (nobody likes us)(every body hates us)(I think we'll go eat woooorms).

I did go to a church Christmas party with my parents this year. I didn't know anyone and when I took Baby 2 to the bathroom he got pointed all wonky and accidentally peed on my leg. We left early.

But let's say that, hypothetically, I was invited to a fancy-ish Christmas party. This is maybe what I'd wear-

Ann Taylor Loft top, DIY skirt, thrifted shoes, F21 bangles

and my favorite Gap jacket. Because it's not THAT warm in Arizona.


Nothing too exciting. But the inspiration picture pushed me to finally make this skirt, which I've had kicking around my brain for ages but have been too lazy to actually do. And I'm quite happy with it so life is good.

Go visit Erica and Grace to see their interpretations!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gift Guide: $5 and Under!



Last year Janssen and I put together a $5 Gift Guide for the holidays because she was invited to all these Favorite Things/Under $5 parties (and I was not) and we got to talking about how difficult it can be to find good stuff in the $5 and under category. We had a blast coming up with our guides and pretty much the moment we published our posts we decided to do it this year as well. We even got RA in on it this time around! We each came up with 20 ideas so hop around and see what the other girls found!

The key to giving inexpensive gifts is presentation. A couple colored pencils wrapped with twine or a pretty ribbon and a gift tag feels special even if you only spent $3. The dollar store carries all kinds of ribbon options for cheap and I love using basic office supply string tags as gift tags.




1. Salt Dough Ornaments (DIY - practically free)

The words "salt dough" probably conjure images of lopsided, obviously homemade creations. But a lot of the ones I've seen around the web are downright gorgeous. Odds are good you've already got all the ingredients in your pantry (1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup water). Pick up a stamp or two and some ink and you'll have gorgeous handmade ornaments in no time.


2. New Dish Towels ($.79 apiece)

Dish towels aren't meant to be a long term investment. They get gross fast and it's a good idea to replace them at least once a year. Wrap up 3 or 4 of these Ikea dishtowels with a ribbon and you've got a gift that hits that happy place between pretty and practical.


3. Glow Bracelets ($1)

We have a friend who always has glow bracelets on hand. She buys them at the dollar store and brings them everywhere and they are so. much. fun. We brought them camping. We wore them for night volleyball. She busts them out when our kids are bored. Brilliant.


4. StarWalk App ($2.99)

I'm cheating a bit here since I included this one in my Valentine's Day gift guide earlier this year. But that doesn't change the fact that this app is AWESOME and would be a super cool gift.


5. Applecore Cord Wrangler ($1.99-$4.99 depending on the size)

RA actually pointed me toward these last year and I think they're so awesome. Who DOESN'T have a tangled set of headphones on their desk at all times?


6. Triangle Peg Game ($2.69)

Have you ever played this game at Cracker Barrel?? It's crazy addictive and so much fun.


7. Rolling Pin Measuring Rings ($2.95 on sale from $8.95)

This is one of those things that I never think about until a recipe is like, "Roll dough 1/4 inch thick" and I bust out my ruler because I am completely incapable of visualizing what 1/4 inch looks like. And what if my dough is 1/4 inch on the edges but not in the middle?? If only I had those rolling pin ring things! 


8. e.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadow ($3)

I love e.l.f. makeup. It's great quality for the price. The Celebrity and Wild shades of mineral eyeshadow are in my daily rotation.



There's a whole $3 gift section on the site! I love this set of 3 polishes (comes in several different colors). 

10. Chopsticks
11. Asian Dipping Dish

My husband was born and raised in Hawaii then served a 2-year mission for our church in Japan. He eats many of his meals with chopsticks and we eat a LOT of Japanese food around here. I love these chopsticks and dipping dishes!






12. Rubber Watch ($4.86)

Erica has this! Affordable, stylish and useful! I love a good white watch.


13. Decorative Mirror ($1.99)

10"x10" wood mirror (I think this is like a Microsoft Paint representation of the mirror?).


14. Tulip Metallic Fabric Paint ($3.99 at JoAnn's)

For your crafty friends. Strangely, I get a LOT of use out of my gold metallic fabric paint.


15.Washi Tape ($3)

So cute. This shop has lots of different options for under $5.


16. Fun highlighters ($4.99)

I use highlighters all. the. time. I couldn't even tell you for what. I love this pack of 5! You probably can't tell from the tiny picture but they all have fun prints on them. Because, you know. Why not?


17. Notecards ($4.99 and under at Kinko's)

I love to have a pack of blank notecards on hand at all times. They're perfect for thank-you notes and last minute birthday cards and whatever else. Kinko's had a bunch of different cute options for $4.99 and under.



18. Loose Knit Scarf ($3.99 on sale from $12)

A winter staple in 3 easy to wear neutrals.


19. Double Blossom Belt ($5 on sale)

A little holiday glitz and glam for cheap.


20. Metallic Clutch ($5 on sale)

I'm a huge fan of cheap fancy clutches for nights out when all I have to bring is a credit card and some chapstick. I love this metallic croc one!



Don't forget to check out last year's guide for even more ideas then hope on over to Janssen and RA's blogs to see their picks!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!



Since our new house has such a great open living area I volunteered to host Thanksgiving this year. Aaron's new thing is smoking and barbequing meats so he happily took care of the turkey while I did mashed potatoes, rolls, and haupia pie. My mom took care of the stuffing, cranberry sauce, and a few other things and we had ourselves a really wonderful dinner with my parents, my sister and her fam, and my grandma.


When I texted my sister and asked if she wanted to come over and help me string marshmallows she, bless her, did not tell me I was a crazy person. She popped right over and even came up with an easier and less sticky system for getting them all strung. 

Everlane tee, Old Navy necklace, oooold Gap cords

 Because I'm sure you're curious- this is what I wore to Thanksgiving dinner.

Roses from our front yard! We are absurdly proud of the fact that we have roses and they are blooming.


Hope you had a wonderful day as well! This is by far my favorite time of year. Thanksgiving is always lovely. We've had Christmas music playing for a while now and I'm almost done wrapping our gifts. I think we're going to go get a tree on Monday (crossing fingers it lasts until Dec 25 without burning down our house) and put lights up on our house next week. Last year our lights were kind of a disaster so we're determined to have decent lights this year. Are you getting ready for Christmas too? We can't wait!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Stuff I Like Lately

I've hardly gone shopping at all in months but now that the seasons are changing I'm starting to get the itch just a little bit. Here are a few things I'm loving lately-



Zara Polka Dot Blouse - $59.90

I found this blouse while browsing on my phone and was kind of frantically zooming in thinking, "I think I might LOVE this top." I pulled it up on my computer when I got home and, sure enough. Love. Sadly more than I'd spend on a trendy, polyester piece. Especially because I've heard Zara's quality can be iffy. Can anyone confirm? Deny?

Everlane Tops - $15 - $80

Have you heard of Everlane? Basically, they sell nicer stuff without the middle man so prices are really reasonable. I have a couple of their tees and the fabric is so much nicer than my other tees. I got some of their men's shirts for Aaron and his brother for Christmas. This silk blouse is high on my list of classics I might be willing to shell out for. Someday.

ASOS dress - $49.25

I've never been a big fan of green but since dying my hair red I've come around. The shape and color of this dress are total multitaskers- you could dress it up or down and wear it just about any time of year. This is a serious contender for my Christmas dress.

Grey Dot TOMs - $54

Even Janssen, who dislikes TOMs, thinks these are cute. I checked their website for the first time in a very long while last week and was pleasantly surprised by all the new(ish) offerings. I love that they've taken their wedges into booties and strappy sandals.


Thanksgiving is almost here! My sister is in town for three whole weeks and my brother is coming home from his 2 year mission for our church in less than 2 weeks. I'm having a good month :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Open to Interpretation

No, hell hath not frozen over. It's me! Doing an OTI! I barely squeaked in under the deadline but I did it!

We decided age brings wisdom and Grace is minimally older than me so this was her choice.

via My Style Pill
So very fall-y!

Here's my take-

Muubaa jacket (via Hautelook), Old Navy button-down (men's clearance- $3!), AG jeans (via Hautelook), Boutique 9 booties (via Last Chance)
Don't look at my roots.


My booty pop in that first pic reminds me of this-


I'm not quite as fabulous as Hawkeye, but I'll get there.

Go visit Erica and Grace to see their interpretations!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hey There Sunshine

No shoes allowed on the carpet.

I'm alive! And wearing a vest!

Bet you didn't see that coming.

You know that TLC show "Say Yes to the Dress"? I'm thinking I'm going to pitch a show called "Say Yes to the Vest" and we will help people find vests that speak to them and there would also probably be some hugging. And cake. Because vests are really good at hiding cake belly.

I look like I have a mullet.

In this vest's case, hiding my extra cake means just making me look kind of big all over. It happens. The important part here is that I am wearing clothes that are not covered in moving dust. BIG steps.

We are all moved in! And we are even mostly out of boxes. Right now my big hurdle is hanging all of our pictures and art. We have a lot more than I was thinking and I can't seem to force myself to put any of it up. I did manage to hang our giant wave print from Ikea and another large painting over the couch but any time I look at the smaller stuff I remember some other urgent and pressing thing that requires my attention. I might just have to have Aaron handle it.

Before we started moving in


We are really and truly in LOVE with our house though. We both keep commenting on how we like it so much more than we ever thought we would when we first walked through it. There's still a lot to be done as our bank account replenishes (painting kitchen cabinets, new appliances, the backyard, etc.) but we're kind of looking forward to it. Our long-term labor of love.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Few Links


We got the above wave print from Ikea. What you can't tell is that it is HUGE. About 79"x55". I kind of had to talk Aaron into it but I know it's going to make him so happy. He's...slightly obsessive about waves (a side effect of being born and raised in Hawaii, I'm sure) and he's going to love having this in our new living room. (I also really want the huge map)

Elaine shared this post about nudes in art from J. Kirk Richards, an LDS artist. Mormons can be so stinking puritanical about modesty that it can be detrimental to our appreciation of the human body as a work of God. I'm kind of thinking I need a nude painting for our house now. If you see a good one, send it my way (relatedly: what makes a nude a good nude?).

Please tell me you are already aware of the illustrated tweet of the day from Hello Giggles. Last week I spent 2 hours laying in bed during my kids' quiet time reading them on my phone. I arose feeling so very understood.


Illustrated tweeeeet!

My hair is getting super long. It's below my bra strap in the back. I am absurdly proud of this. It feels like an accomplishment I've been working toward for a long time and maybe there should be an award for it or something.

If you haven't read this post, entitled "The fart that (almost) altered my destiny" then please go read right this very moment. I was laughing so hard that I stopped making sound. And also, tears were streaming down my face. It was ugly, but the post is just. that. funny. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

News!

Yoga pants and 2 carts with 6 ceiling fans. And a kitchen sink. And a faucet. And a garbage disposal.


I had really intended to get back into the full swing of blogging in September but life has been throwing nonstop wrenches into my works. Not the least of which is the fact that we will be moving soon.

We submitted an offer on our rental house a couple months ago not even knowing if the owner was open to selling. And then he turned around and sold it to someone else (I can't really talk about this without going all CAPSLOCKDEATH on you so I'll skip the details).

Cue frantic scramble to find somewhere else to live. Don't want to talk about this either. More caps lock.

I am not being melodramatic when I tell you that it was a miracle in the literal sense of the word when we found our new house. God knows and loves me, guys. That's the only explanation for how this all worked out.

We closed on Friday. We finalized and ordered all our flooring on Saturday. Demo started yesterday.

Sadly, after they took out all the drywall we discovered this wall is structural. So, that's been fun trying to work around.


The house has a fantastic layout but it needs needs significant updating. I'll be doing some work myself but, fortunately, the budget allowed for some help in the labor department so we've got a wonderful team over there doing the really hard stuff. The house will look completely different when we're done- we'll be painting, replacing ALL the flooring, scraping popcorn ceilings, putting in new countertops, ripping out a really stupid wall (above), changing light fixtures and a ton of other little things. I'm overwhelmed and super excited at the same time.

Sadly, this will not be staying.


Odds are good it's going to go all radio silence over here again. If you want to come help paint cabinets or pull down wallpaper or dig trenches for a sprinkler system at the new house just follow the paint fumes and loud swearing. There I'll be.

Testing out every. single. roll of carpet.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Whole Foods Recipe: Asian Slaw with Ginger Peanut Dressing



I am not a salad person. Never have been. I can count on one hand (on three fingers, actually) the number of times I have ordered a salad as an entree at a restaurant. And I can probably count on two hands the number of times I've ordered a side salad. I just..really do not enjoy salads.

This has always been a point of annoyance for me, especially since we adopted a more whole foods lifestyle. I should be embracing the salads. They're healthy! Full of veggies! Fairly easy to prepare! And yet...gag.

When I saw this recipe on Pinterest I was drawn by all the colors (and the cilantro. Which I LOVE). I pinned it and thought, "Eh, worth a try." I served it as a side with our fav plate lunch BBQ chicken and some sticky rice. At the end of the meal I realized I had barely touched my chicken or rice and had eaten like 3 servings of this salad.

I think perhaps I've been eating the wrong salads.



The thing about this salad is that it makes a TON and cabbage doesn't hold up well in the dressing for too long. Unless you're making it for a baby shower or you have a large family that is really passionate about salad, I'd recommend mixing up the dressing separately, tossing all the veggies together in a bowl, and keeping the peanuts separate. Then just take what you need.

Also, to make it more of a meal, I've started buying a rotisserie chicken, shredding it up, and keeping it in a tupperware in the fridge. It's super quick and easy to grab a handful of salad, a few peanuts, a little chicken and toss with dressing. My lunch is ready to eat in 2 minutes. My kind of meal!


Find the full recipe with prettier non-iPhone pictures over here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Flour Sack Project: Drawstring Bag


 In case you don't have the memory of an elephant, the only other project I've gotten around to posting for my Flour Sack Project was a method for wrapping. This one is..also a method for wrapping. I think that tells you something about me. Mainly that I hate spending money on wrapping paper and boxes and stuff. And that I don't love wrapping things.

I've wrapped a bunch of presents in these bags and it's faster (for me) than wrapping something in wrapping paper. Seriously.

Flour sack dishtowels have four sides (obvs)- two of which are selvage edges and the other two of which are hemmed. The hems are open on either end. Which makes for a super easy drawstring bag.

Open hem!

Fold your towel over on itself (right sides together) with the hemmed side at the top. Place whatever it is you're wrapping on top and adjust until it's about the right size.



Start sewing UNDER the hem. If you sew through it you won't be able to get your string through.


Pink around your two sewn edges so they don't fray. Then turn your bag right side out. Iron if you've actually planned ahead and aren't supposed to be walking out the door with a wrapped gift in the next two minutes.

The black is where my stitches were. The white on white wasn't particularly visible in pictures.
Take a safety pin and thread the end of some ribbon on it.


Use the safety pin to work the ribbon through the hem of your bag.


Knot your ribbon, stick your present inside, add a pretty gift tag if you're so inclined and you're done!



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Recipe: Pita Bread



I know I've had pita bread before, though I couldn't tell you when. I remember it was fine...nothing special. Probably store-bought and full of junk. Didn't make much of an impression.

When I ran across this recipe from Perry's Plate I added pitas to my grocery list. I got to the store and looked over my options with a sort of resignation. I picked up a bag of whole wheat pitas, looked at the ingredient list, and immediately put it back. I'm no pita expert but I was pretty sure a simple flat bread shouldn't require 17 ingredients.

I did a quick Google search from my phone right there in the bread aisle and discovered that pita bread, like most breads, requires only flour, water, salt, sugar, a little fat and some yeast. All things I happen to keep on hand at home.

My Google search led me to this recipe. As I do with most yeast breads, I threw all the ingredients in my bread maker, turned on the dough cycle, and left it alone for a couple hours.


I followed the recipe exactly after that. I divided it into 8 pieces, rolled them into discs 1/8-1/4 inch thick, then baked them at 400 degrees on a preheated cookie sheet.


I was slightly boggled by how perfect they turned out on the very first shot. That doesn't happen for me very often.

Not only did they puff and create perfect little pockets, they were freaking delicious. I ate one straight from the oven smothered in butter. The next was devoured as a pita panini stuffed with roasted slices of squash and red bell pepper, a bit of cheese, and a whole lot of basil hummus (I vegetarianized this recipe. Not a ham fan). It was so so good.

Also, please check out my homemade panini maker.


Thank you, Natalie, for that suggestion. Two pans and a couple cans of pumpkin and the whole wide world of paninis has been opened to our family.

I did half white wheat flour and half all purpose flour. I didn't want to brave 100% whole wheat on my first shot but I will on the next go round.

Find the full recipe for homemade pitas here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

DIY: How to Lengthen a Pair of Pants (or Skirt)

Aaron, bless him, is of the tall and skinny persuasion. Pants that fit him in the waist are never long enough in the leg.

He recently got himself a new pair of church pants that needed at least another inch of length. There wasn't quite enough in the hem for me to give him that much without a little help. Here's a little ninja trick to get the very most out of an existing hem.

 

First, unpick your hem. That line in the middle by my index finger is where the bottom of the original hem was.


Cut a strip of fabric about 2 inches wide. This will be inside the hem so it doesn't really matter what it looks like but I still went with something that at least sort of matched the pants. A pattern could be fun though.


Match up the fabric with the edge of the pants, right sides together. Leave some free at the end.

Sew the fabric to the pants using a narrow seam allowance. Again, leave some free at the end.


Here's the extra I left at either end. Sew the ends together as close to the pants as possible.

Like so. Minus the finger.



Trim the extra then bust out your iron. Press your seam up toward the pants.


Then fold under 1/4 inch of the fabric at the end and press.


Then fold your extra fabric under and press.



Stitch in your new hem.


And done!

A quick run through the wash got rid of the old seam lines and Aaron's pants hit his shoes. And he brags to pretty much everyone at church that I lengthened his pants. Glory to me!
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