Thursday, September 26, 2013

Palm Springs 2013

We went to the Colony Palms for our honeymoon and now we try to make it back out every year. We only had time for the miniest of vacations this year but we still wanted to get out of town, even if it was just for a day, really. Palm Springs to the rescue! If you're thinking that there is nothing to do in Palm Springs in September, when it is almost too hot to move, you are right! That's the genius of it. You are physically forced to do nothing but lay around and read. It's the most efficient form of relaxing I've found. Plus the rooms are on super discount.

getting started
{getting started}


reading, drinking
{reading, drinking}

bar tending
{bar tending}



turrell at dusk - 2
{turrell at dusk}

We brought our own drinks and splurged on a few poolside meals and took serious advantage of the free coffee they offer in the morning. Vacation means having two full hours to spend in the morning talking and drinking endless cups of coffee. I read magazines and mysteries and napped. We finally made it to breakfast at Cheeky's and it was as good as everyone says it is. We stopped at our favorite vintage mall and ended up buying yet another pitcher, after a long discussion about how we probably couldn't because we can't possibly justify owning another one. But it was just such a good one.

On our way home we detoured through Claremont to check out the Skyspace and indulge in some college nostalgia. We did not attempt to crash any parties.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Update - homemade cleaners

I frequently forget to follow up on how new things are going, because telling you that I'm still doing something is not nearly as interesting as just posting about something new.

BUT ... 

I'm still on board with the homemade kitchen cleaner and it's very easy. 

lemon cleaner
{lemon cleaner}

I'm mostly sticking with the lemon + basil variation. I've gotten in the habit of saving lemon peels, cleaning off the fruit right away and keeping them in a bag in the fridge. The higher your ratio of peels to vinegar, the better your cleaner will smell, unsurprisingly. I chop the peels up a bit before I pack them in a jar to maximize the contact. 

You can re-use the peels at least once. After a couple weeks, I'll pour off the steeped vinegar into my spray bottle and then just top off the peels with fresh vinegar and let it sit for another few weeks. Works great. I always have two jars going now.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How to decorate a baby shower for $20 ...

spray paint, 10 balloons, a handful of dinosaurs and tapping into those kindergarten paper mâché skills. Done.

dessert table
{dessert table}

dino dessert!
{dino dessert!}

letters, deployed
{letters, deployed}

baby shower
{baby shower}

Okay, so this was not the most elaborately decorated Pinterest-y baby shower ever, but it was one of the most fun, laid back baby showers I've ever been to (co-ed party with pizza and pasta, minimum of fuss, and no one asked me to taste any baby food). Our friends wanted it simple but I begged for permission for a few (very minimal) decorations just to make it festive. The mom to be is one of the thriftiest ladies I know, so in that spirit I tried to keep the cost low and not go overboard.

I spent $10 on dinosaurs. The little ones came from Party City but I had to track down the larger ones at the dollar store. I have a shoebox full of spray paint, so I didn't have to purchase any. I primed them before painting them a couple different shades of green (Montana has the best spray paint colors).


the herd
{the herd}


$8 on balloons - they really do help let people know where the party is happening, so they're not just decorative.

$2 on dessert plates that matched the general color scheme.

The letters were a collaborative labor of love and halfway through I decided we were totally insane but persevered because I still can't come to terms with sunk costs. And I do love how they turned out. D printed out large letters on paper and used them as templates to cut out our letters (twice as many as we needed, so we'd have front and back). Then he made them three dimensional by sandwiching cardboard spacers between the front and the back. THEN I started the painstaking process of dipping colored tissue paper in watered down glue and draping it over the forms. I think I ended up having to do 5 - 6 layers (and let it dry completely between each) and it was layers 3 - 6 that had me really questioning our sanity. Unless you have hours of spare time (the commodity we were lacking), I'd recommend purchasing letters like these and maybe just spray painting them. I am SO GRATEFUL that we decided not to try to add "welcome" like we originally intended.

letter crafting
{letter crafting}

paper mache in progress
{paper mâché in progress}

Emily very kindly stepped in to help tutor me on the sugar cookies, because the last time I attempted decorating with royal frosting turned out so badly (although delicious-ly) that I never shared them here. Partially because I was embarrassed by my lack of skills and partially because they were for a bachelorette party and therefore mildly inappropriate. My current favorite sugar cookie recipe is this one, because it has cream cheese in it and is most similar to the one we used growing up.

sugar cookies
{sugar cookies}

Our friends picked up catering, a few of us brought desserts (those chocolate and peanut butter rice krispy treats were so amazing that I'm still thinking about them) and there were plenty of drinks. Everyone hung out and talked for hours. The perfect way to celebrate the imminent arrival of a new addition.

I wish I'd had a tiny bit of extra time because I'd have added cute kids books and very simple, small flower arrangements to scatter around. But, you know, life happens. And we all survived.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


It has been a rough month. My mom got very sick and we had to scramble to find alternate accommodations for Dave, since she's his full time caregiver. It's emotional and difficult and there aren't a lot of solutions and it happened to come during a month when I'm also slammed at work. So I've been overextended and weepy and angry and despairing by turns. It's not the best place to be. But we're getting through it, and my mom is gradually recovering and we're figuring out where to go from here.

And in the meantime, we've found snippets of time for things that are pretty great. Like baby showers with dinosaurs and mastering homemade pizza and a few lengthy dinners with friends. Because those things become even more important when life is really difficult.


pizza dough
{pizza dough}

resting dough
{resting dough}

onions for caramelizing
{onions for caramelizing}

wedding napkins
{wedding napkins}

This also means I have a small backlog of things I've been wanting to share with you that I'm hoping to get to very soon. So, more posts, hopefully?