Magic of Marshalls

I met my teen-neighbor, the teenager, over at Marshalls for her maiden voyage. Anyone who goes with me to Marshalls for the first time has a magical experience. By magical I mean the thing you have been looking for, longing for, appears on a rack right in front of your very eyes.

Case and point: Took Mother in Law there for the first time. She is a bargainer like me so it was right up her alley. She was in the middle of a huge remodel of her house and been looking for copper finish bath accessories. She had been able to find some, but they were PRICEY. On her maiden voyage there it was, a plethora of copper finish toothbrush holders, soap dispensers, trash cans, towel bars etc for 1/10 the price she had seen. Magic.

Well, teen-neighbor had not gotten there on time, and I had some things to get (cut to me, cart FULL). When she got there we were pressed for time (not the way to shop there). So her maiden voyage was a mess. Fun, but a mess.

On a magical note, I got a pink and green comforter, pink polka dot sheets, and two large lime green pillows to fix up Coco's daybed/one day big girl bed. It was as if they had seen her pink cabana and said "You know Mrs., this would look fabulous in Coco's Cabana." They were right. I will post pics tomorrow.

In other news Mimi (my mom, and this is her grandma name) is coming today! She is flying in for Halloween and once she sees these two cuties she may never want to leave!!!

***Stay tuned also for Teen Neighbor post about what's going on in High School these days!

Coco, She Enjoys Being A Girl

As I get to know Miss Coco, I realize she is ALL GIRL. She adores her chandelier and I have put it on a dimmer so I can let her fall asleep looking at it. She smiles at it every morning as if to say: "I Enjoy Being A Girl".

You know the song.

I have been working on her room, The PINK CABANA as I call it. If she's going to enjoy being a girl she needs the ultimate girl room!

Can't you just hear the song?

"I'm a girl, and by me that's only great!
I am proud that my silhouette is curvy,
That I walk with a sweet and girlish gait
With my hips kind of swivelly and swervy.

I adore being dressed in something frilly
When my date comes to get me at my place.
Out I go with my Joe or John or Billy,
Like a filly who is ready for the race!

When I have a brand new hairdo
With my eyelashes all in curl,
I float as the clouds on air do,
I enjoy being a girl!"


Potty Training- Here's The Poop.

If you don't care about potty training, or you are past it, I congratulate you. For us, it has briefly taken over our lives. Now you may remember how in JULY we did the Three Day Potty Training method. Well...

The Good news: In three days he was peeing in the potty and going through the night with no accidents.

The Bad news: he was still pooping in his pants more frequently than not.

No this is kind of embarrassing and not really something to talk about over lunch with the girls. Nevertheless, I was determined to find and answer and make myself feel better that I was not alone in my fight!

I got tons of advice from friends, pediatrician and teachers. I tried everything to get Landon to poop in the potty. Sticker charts, prizes, candy, presents, praise, time outs, warnings, bribes, prunes, everything.

What finally did it? Leaving it up to him.

People had told me to drop it, they were only partially right. We let it go, but added pureed prunes, praise and letting him be by himself in the potty. Now when we know he has to go I put him on the potty and then tell him to call from me when he's ready to be done. This gives him all the power and has taken away the power struggle!

Now he poops by himself (Thank God because it's not like I enjoyed sitting there with him while he went). Life is good once again. There. Potty trained in 4 months.

Silverware! What did I choose for my everyday?

You're DYING to know kittens aren't you? I launched an exhaustive search. I even ordered some sets of silverware and SENT THEM BACK!

I went to Macy's, Bloomies, Pottery Barn and on line to Ross Simons, Horchow, and Ralph Lauren. I wanted something substantial, I hate wimpy silverware, but also nothing fancier than my silver:

Towle Old Master (pictured above)

I wanted something traditional, nothing too expensive or ornate, just simple and pretty. Soooooo...I decided on this:

Reed and Barton, Everyday, Kendrick.

82 piece set, normally $175, on sale for $150, but with Bloomies coupon $125! Loooove that!

I tried a Henckles set, an Oneida set and a few more. This was the best set ever and I am so happy!

PS Hubby and I went to see Cirque Du Soleil's Kooza last night! I'll post more on that in another post!

Jaycee Duggard- Riveted and Terrified

Some stories in the news just absolutely blow your mind. Jaycee Duggard, returning to her Mother after 19 years, is one of them. I have so many mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it is awful to think she spent those 19 years with a psychopath and pedophile. It's terrifying to think this could be the fate of so many missing children. On the other hand it is a story of hope. I know her mother is so happy to have her back, no matter what. I don't know what's worse. Losing a child and knowing they were kept in deplorable conditions for years, or having your child dead. Neither is a happy option.

That she was kidnapped, right in front of her parents as she rode on her bicycle scares me to death. That they only found her because this insane pervert came out of the woodwork and wanted to give a class on how he can channel his mind sickens me. The police had the make and model of car, sketches of the suspects that were accurate, and witnesses. What more did they need?

Sometimes I think of Jaycee and what she must be thinking. How much therapy will it take to make her feel safe? What are her feelings about her captor? How are the children coping? What did she tell herself to get through these nineteen years?

I hope Jaycee's story brings more children home to their grief stricken parents, but what a price to pay. I pray she feels nothing but peace for the rest of her life.

Rant Day! #$%^&*(*&^%$!!!!!

I am declaring today rant day. Someone annoying you? Something pissing you off? Let it out. Rant away. You'll feel better. My rant?


Please let me know if this is just a California thing. I am literally going OUT OF MY MIND. Every time I go to Trader Joes, I dread it. The parking lot is so small and busy it really takes all my patience.

This is how it goes EVERY TIME:

I pull into the lot and there is a traffic jam. No one will let anyone pull out of a space to leave, and other people are waiting on someone unload groceries for an hour, to get their spot.

I will wait for someone to pull out of their space and instead of waiting for me to pull in, people go around to the left and right of me. MEANING: THEY STOP THE PERSON PULLING OUT SO THEY CAN LEAVE!

It's a close call every time with the person pulling out of the space about to hit the person sneaking through. This ends in a big HONK from the sneaky person. NERVE!

Then as I try to pull in to the space they again try pass through first.
Impatient? UM YES. No one will wait while someone pulls into a space anymore. When the hell did this happen? It used to be you would wait while someone pulled in, and then move on.

Everyone who is trying to park is so out for themselves they create a nightmare for everyone. I swear it is going to make me INSANE.

Okay your turn. What pissing you off? You can tell the Mrs. Come on with it!

OVER The Top Award! Tagged by Always Organizing

So here are the rules:

You Can Only Use One Word!
Pass this along to 6 of your favorite bloggers!
Alert them that you have given them this award!
Have fun!

1. Where is your cell phone? counter
2. Your hair? blonde
3. Your mother? funny
4. Your father? business
5. Your favorite food? sushi
6. Your dream last night? adoption
7. Your favorite drink? mojito
8. Your dream/goal? book
9. What room are you in? den
10. Your hobby? shopping
11. Your fear? dying
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? successful
13. Where were you last night? dinner
14. Something that you aren’t? lazy
15. Muffins? oatmeal
16. Wish list item? wallpaper
17. Where did you grow up? Scarsdale
18. Last thing you did? twitter
19. What are you wearing? Pjs
20. Your TV? on
21. Your pets? dog
22. Friends? laugh
23. Your life? good
24. Your mood? thoughtful
25. Missing someone? Grandmommie
26. Vehicle? volvo
27. Something you’re not wearing? earrings
28. Your favorite store? J. Crew
29. Your favorite color? PINK
30. When was the last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? yesterday
32. Your best friend? hubby
33. One place that I go to over and over? school
34. One person who emails me regularly? natalia
35. Favorite place to eat? out!

I am tagging:
Headbands and Handbags
Social Climbers
Love, Marriage and (someday) Baby Carriage
Life, Love ,Lola
The Perks!

Halloween Decorations!

Here is a tour of my own decorations. I try to change it up each year.

Our mantle and side cabinet, with the spider web fabric Godmother had gotten for our Halloween dinner party, and the pumpkins she spray painted from Joannes Fabrics for centerpieces, look great as decor around the house!

Skulls and bat in the dining room on the chandy...

...and in the dining room front window the spider in the moon...and can you see spidey outside?

In the kitchen...

and a little homemade touch in the den!

Now I want to see your Halloween decorations!!

I am tagging:

Hilcrest Acres
Preppy Sue
Suburban Princess
Keeks and Brie
Weasels Journey
Stereos and Souffles!

Fabulous Halloween Decor! Make It Happen!

Godmother of Landon adores Halloween, and truly before I discovered her love for it, I wasn't that into it. Halloween had just seemed like a cheap holiday. That was until I saw it could be fabulous. (Hello, pumpkin snake!)

Remember my Halloween Dinner Party? Again Godmother had a major hand in that.

Anyway I now look for fabulous creative Halloween decor to get inspired by or to execute! For today I will post inspiration and then tomorrow? My decorations!!!

The Mrs. Likes....POP CHIPS! (and some other things too) I know, you've had potato chips before, but these? These are so gooood!!! I had to try them and see what the hype was about. Not only are they delicious, but they aren't fried or even baked!

More than half the fat of fried potato chips, trans fats, and cholesterol!!! Helooooo! Healthy and yummy? Come in every flavor imaginable? Heaven. I like the original flavor and parmesan garlic!!

Have you tried them? DIVINE!

What else am I loving?

William Sonoma Olive Oil Hand soap.
Okay fine you pay more, but it smells so good, and makes my hands so smooth! I say if you're going to splurge do it on something you're going to use every day!!

What else am I loving?

My Lilly Pulitzer Giraffe print loafers! Just like my Bonanno's in the summer, these are my winter favorite and so comfy!!

What are you loving these days!?

Don't miss my Halloween decorations tomorrow!

The Mrs Likes....Ken Done

While in college I came to know about Ken Done, the artist from Australia. He had a store near our school and I walked by it all the time staring at the colorful art, prints and T-shirts inside.

Coming from a family of painters, my Grandmother and Mom could be a little snooty when it came to art. They HATED artists like Thomas Kinkead. (Have to say I am not a fan though). They thought he had no talent and was not a real artist.

Ken Done was selling T-shirts and umbrellas so I knew that maybe this wasn't going to be like having a Degas. One thing I have learned though, is that if you love something, you love it. No matter the cost or what it is. If it makes you happy to have it around then who cares what anyone thinks!

For years I tried to find prints of my favorite Ken Done painting, "Sunday". I loved that it has a view of the beach, a painters paints and brushes laid out (just like my mom and Grandmommie would do), and that it was called Sunday.

Finally, after stalking the Australian website, I bought one. Not a big one, but still a numbered print. This is really a dream come true for me. I can't wait to have it framed and hanging in my house!

The Mrs Likes.....Charm Bracelet

This week, I thought I'd tell you about some things I just adore. I think HIGH on the list is my charm bracelet. Given to me when I was in my late teens by my step father, I didn't realize how much I would come to love it.

At first I thought a charm bracelet was jewelry. Now I understand that it is a scrapbook of your life. A bracelet that reminds you of all the milestones and important moments.

The charms I have on the bracelet are so special to me:

A starfish for our wedding day in Malibu. We also had one on our wedding invitation.

A coin from Italy from my trip with my grandmother. We went to Rome, Florence and Venice just the two of us.

A giraffe for my safari trip to Africa. I have gone twice now and it was the trip of a lifetime.

My sorority letters; Kappa Alpha Theta. Being in a sorority gave me the confidence and friends I had longed for.

A cruise ship for my love of travel. My first cruise was in college with a bunch of fun girls.

A high heel shoe for when I graduated college.

A hat for my love of fashion and all things girly. I wore hats all the time in college!

And the last two, the most precious. Monogrammed charms for Landon and Coco's names and birth dates.

I still need a charm for my honeymoon in Greece, which was my favorite place I have ever been.

This bracelet is a page from my life. I can't wait to give Coco her bracelet at sixteen, and to see all the wonderful things she will do.

Real Housewives Of ATL- I Love it when you call me Big Papa!

I am religiously watching and loving RHO Atlanta and waiting for OC, NY, and NJ to start! I Want to know about fights and new babies in NJ, crazy Tami and now single Gretchen on OC, and of course how Bethenny is leaving and I miss JILL ZARIN!! (PS I follow all these people on twitter)

Anyhoo, I have been loving ATL. Some highlights?

Nene- She looks like a tranny now, which I love but...she seems so weird and has changed. Acts so high and mighty. Kim was smart to kick her off the song, after all she was the one who made fun of Kim! That's what you get! She seems more bitchy and two faced now. Miss the old "tell it like it is", honest Nene. Seems like her hubby is more in the background now that Dwight is on the show more. Dwight running the charity marathon in those heels was the best thing I have EVER seen. Those skinny legs! I honestly choked I laughed so hard. I like that Nene is giving back. PS her alter ego was FREAKY!

Lisa- It's interesting to hear more about Lisa's background. She's half black, half Asian and parents been married forever. Still distraught over brothers death. Worried about hubby, wants another baby. She became more real. She's a little fighter. She was abused before too. Her line Closet Freak, is weird and tacky. Not loving it. I do like how tough and business she is. I do feel like I never see her kid though. Does she spend time with him?

Shere- She hasn't changed a bit and I love it. Gotten a little more ghetto, trying to pull Kims wig off and acting crazy with party planners. It's all about her all the time. Love how she came late to Lisa's show, such a jealous bitchy move. Her having Dwight to boss her around about her show is priceless. He out bitches her!!! This fashion show better be A-Maze-ing, or she needs to hang the fashion thing up. She is all talk! She by Shere? Where the hell is it doll?

Kandy- I love her. Sure she looks like a cartoon character and sounds like she has marbles in her mouth, but I adore her. I think she's a damn good singer. Anyone who could make Tardy for the Party a hit is a genius. Now I could talk some stuff about AJ but the man died. Very sad. Said though in a report he was ex fiance? Do they break up this season? Anyway sad for his kids and Kandy. Tough. Love that she gave Kim and piece of her mind for not showing up to her show. Congrats on Capital Records Kandy!

Kim- Oh Kim. She is my favorite. Not just because her boobs look like to buoys out to sea, but because she can rock a wig can't she? The way she prances around with her short dresses, wig, and white wine make me just smile. The cursing and crap parenting? Brilliant. Those daughters are going to rule her in a few years. Kim cannot sing, we know this, so I love she has a hit song. On to BIG PAPA. Big ring, proposal, love of her life? What about the wife? I guess if you are that rich you can have two? No idea. Apparently he is a real estate developer Lee Najjar. I think the current wife kinda looks like Kim, and ironically is named KIM! Still, I love it when she calls him Big Papa, everyone needs a Sugar Daddy right?

Can't wait to see all the drama on the other housewife shows!!!

Not So Fabulous- Not Taking Care Of Yourself

The soar throat started on Monday. I did what all Mothers do. I ignored it. Suffered through. Pushed on. The next day it was the same. Wednesday was no better, actually worse adding coughing incessantly to my "To Do" list.

It wasn't until yesterday, talking to sister in law the pediatrician, that I realized how crazy I was. I had been working in the morning, then had headed to a meeting in the afternoon. On the way back I told her about my razor blades in the throat.

SIL: How many days now?

Me: Four.

SIL: Did you ever think you might have strep?

Me: Um, what?

SIL: Four days of soar throat? Sounds like strep.

Me: What happens if I leave it unchecked?

SIL: If you don't take anti biotics, you could get really sick and have a heart attack.

Me: Gotta go, calling my doctor.

Even later, feeling worse by the second, I was trying to find a way to still make the Mom's Night Out I planned work. Not because I needed a glass of wine, but because I felt BAD. Didn't want to let people down.

Note to self: wouldn't you be letting everyone down if you died of a heart attack?

Me: Oh yeah, I guess you're right.

Live and Learn.

Traditional Chili Recipe!

Since the link didn't work, here's hubby's standard chili recipe we make once a month. Delicious and make with ground turkey!

Chili Shrugged...


Clubhouse Chili (with or without beans)

1 lb. Ground Beef (Turkey, Wild Boar, Venison, etc…)
1 Yellow Onion (Chopped)
4 Garlic Gloves (Chopped fine)
2 Cans “Ready-Cut” Tomatoes
1 6oz. Can of Tomato Paste
6 oz. Water
6 tbsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Salt
1 tbsp. Black Pepper
1 Bay Leaf
1 tbsp. Olive Oil

2 Cans Kidney Beans (Optional)

Start by heating the olive oil in the bottom of a large pot. Brown the meat and then remove from the pot.

Add the garlic and onions to the pot and sauté until the onions turn clear.

Add the meat back to the pot and stir.

Add the two (2) cans of “Ready-Cut” tomatoes and stir.

Add the tomato paste and water and stir until the paste has dissolved.

Add the Chili Powder, Salt, Pepper & Bay Leaf and stir.

At this point, if you don’t like beans, you’re done…let it simmer on low for an hour.

If you like beans or want to extend the chili, rinse the beans in a colander and then add them to the pot and stir.

If the chili is too “wet”, simmer it with the lid off the pot. If it’s too “dry”, add small amounts of water until the consistency is right for you.

You can add chopped onions, cheese, or sour cream to the top if that’s your sort of thing…

Chili Cook Off Winner In My House!

Hubby has earned the title Chili Master, after winning a very fiercely competitive contest at a friends house last weekend.

We have a regular chili recipe that is quite good. Posted it before here, but....hubby is Top Chef. I mean he's Rick Bayless, Tom Colicchio...hell he's Eric Ripert!

So I said to hubby, why not win this thing? You are Top Chef! Regular old Chili will not do! He fought me at first (he always does), but then he went to the grocery store and got inspired. He created his winning chili, but not without killing me first.

He bought hot chili peppers and blackened them in the kitchen on the stove and had me choking all the way in the bedroom. I almost pulled the plug but he headed out to the grill.

The party we attended was competitive. There were three judges, one of them a caterer, and the two others were our hosts and serious foodies. They were judging on consistency, taste, after taste, and aroma. They even wanted us to name our chili. We had heard a couple dropped out so we made both the old standard and new winning chilis and brought them over.

We named the old standard one "Chili Shrugged" (after Atlas Shrugged) and the new winner "Fear and Loathing in Las Chili". The other chilis were named with great creativity (Chili Vanilli was one, and the winning name HOMEWRECKER), it was really funny.

I started trying to buy the judges, flirt, you know play dirty. Everyone was having a swell time. Our hosts had salad, corn bread, cole slaw and beer and wine. We all waited while the judges sampled the chili. I brought in Chili Shrugged and curtsied (I was told this earned me five extra points), hey, I was raised right.

I noticed, that Chili #8, "Fear and Loathing in Las Chili", was the only bowl licked clean. I knew we won. The secret? Hubby used rib eye steak. YUM!

Hubby was so proud, he has never won anything for his cooking. He even thanked me for inspiring him. A fabulous evening and so darn fun.

Here's the recipe!

Fear and Loathing in Las Chili

4 Ribeye Steaks (Approximately 2” thick)

6 Habanero Chilis

6 Red Chilis

1 Large Yellow Onion

5 Cloves of Garlic

6 tablespoons of Chili Powder

1 Teaspoon of Cumin

1 Teaspoon of Oregano

1 Teaspoon of Paprika

1 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 Teaspoon Black Pepper

2 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

12 oz. Can of Tomato Paste

28 oz. Can of Peeled & Diced Tomatoes

24 oz. Spring Water

Grill steaks until medium rare and set aside.

Cut open peppers along one side, lengthwise, and remove seeds from peppers and flatten them. Grill them until they are blackened, but not dried out. Mince and set aside.

Chop the Onion

Mince the Garlic

Saute the Onion and Garlic in a skillet (cast-iron preferably) until the Onions are browned.

In a large pot, combine Onions, Garlic, Peppers , Tomato Paste, Water, Peeled-Diced Tomatoes, and all Spices and Brown Sugar.

Stir and Simmer.

While the base is simmering, trim the remaining fat from the Ribeyes, and cut the Steaks into ½” cubes and set aside.

Simmer the base until it cooks down to a thick sauce.

Add the meat and simmer until the meat is soft.

Serve HOT!

Octoberfest! Landon and Coco's Costumes

Landon and Coco will be representing the sea this Halloween, Landon as Nemo, and Coco as either a mermaid or an under sea princess! Grandma is making her costume and I can hardly wait to see!

Haven't decided on decorations yet, will be unearthing them this weekend. Either way I am doing this pumpkin snake this year for sure!

More on decorations this week!!!

Stay tuned tomorrow for a post on the Chili Cook Off Winner living in out house! Recipe posted tomorrow!

Octoberfest! Get Your Halloween Costume!

So it's October! Time to get your hiney in gear and think about your kids costumes (or yourself for that matter!). I have seen some adorable costumes. Just had to share! I like the catalog "Wishcraft, for Chasing Fireflies".

For babies:
Squiggly Piggly (above) and baby bear!

Little crabby...

and Baby Blossum:

For bigger kids:

Tomorrow I'll tell you what Coco and Landon will be!