December 31, 2007

Goodbye 2007...

Me in the Jardin de Tuilleries in Paris. I never felt so alive...

Today is the last day of 2007, and although it's been a pretty good year, I am always partial to years that end in an even number, so I predict 2008 to be wonderful.

Some of my highlights from 2007 are:
  • Finally learning how to get my roses to flourish and grow.
  • Spending over a month with my 82 year old papa, and learning new things about his past.
  • Celebrating my 2nd year of wedded bliss to J.
  • Going to RL in Chicago for favorite restarant ever!
  • Seeing my mom happily retire after 26 years of teaching.
  • Taking a class and learning how to effectively meditate.
  • Completing our wedding album...2 years late.
  • Going to Europe for the first time and getting to see Paris and London.
  • Accepting my introverted personality (I share this quality with Jackie Kennedy, Princess Diana, Audrey Hepburn, and Grace Kelley...not a bad club to be in).
  • Finally getting my 'craft room' up and running (see I'm stretching here...)
I happily welcome 2008 and predict it's going to be a fun and fulfilling year!

Every exit is an entry somewhere else.

-Tom Stoppard

Christmas Loot.

Santa was very good to me this year. Here are some of my amazing gifts...

A New Ipod Nano...

I completed my collection of Costco Gift cards,
and was able to buy this new camera!

A wonderful Trish McEvoy candle from Saks...

A funky giraffe print duffle bag...

Beautiful Pagliei charm...a J to go with the N I got for my b-day.
I'm going to wear them together on a chain.

An Anthropologie Gift card that allowed me to buy these...

I am very lucky and blessed and am so grateful for all the thoughts that went into these lovelies.

December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas.

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas...and take time to marvel at the twinkling lights on the trees, amidst all the holiday hub-bub.

December 21, 2007

Things I Love About My House...

1. You can hear the church bells chime every hour from the Catholic church about 3 miles away.

2. Everyday there are bunnies playing in the backyard.

3. Old people in neighborhood who don't want to see it change...inspiring to see people stand for something.

4. We bought it from Hazel, the original owner, who paid $22,000 in 1957.

5. Old man across the street still calls me Mrs. Ladner.

6. Families riding beach cruisers are an everyday occurrence.

7. The history of our neighborhood being a citrus grove is the 1920's.

8. In Spring, the orange blossoms are so fragrant that when you drive through the neighborhood, it's all you can smell.

9. The birds that hang out on the telephone wires in the backyard, and sing all afternoon.

10. We were able to choose every single detail of this house, therefore it's completely an expression of us.

Just for fun here are a few of my favorite houses in our neighborhood....

December 18, 2007

Tis the Season.

I am officially done with my x-mas shopping. I checked off everyone on my list today, and am so happy that now I can just wrap gifts and relax. About 3 hours into my 4 hour archaeological dig for perfect gifts, I realized that I am officially sick of x-mas songs. I hate to sound like a grinch, but if I have to hear George Michael sing, "Last x-mas I gave you my heart..." one more time I'm going to boil over. Happy Holidays...

P.S. Kaylie...the big one with the ornaments all over and red bow is yours. :)

Boys in Trees...

After the cookie extravaganza, the boys all took to climbing the grapefruit trees in the backyard. I just want to take this opportunity to remind the universe, God, or whoever is listening, that I think it's best if I start motherhood with a girl first.

December 13, 2007

Birthday Aftermath...

I Love Pink flowers. Luckily, my birthday presented an opportunity to have many around the house. I bought a bouquet for myself the day before my birthday, J. brought a bouquet home for me the same night, and my wonderful friend, Marissa, sent me an incredible floral arrangement...while she is transitioning her move to France! I am so blessed and lucky. Thank you all for your birthday wishes and thinking of me. You all are what make this ride worthwhile....

December 12, 2007

32 things I know... 32

  1. I will always get excited for cake.

  2. That unconditional love is rare.

  3. Some friendships, even if you don't keep in perfect touch, will last a lifetime.

  4. Dogs can heal a human soul.

  5. I still need to learn how to stand up for myself...sometimes.

  6. Money does not make a crappy job worth it.

  7. I still constantly think about, and miss my nanny, even though she's been gone for 20 years.

  8. That google answers almost all my questions.

  9. I will always be filled with joy when driving down a tree lined street.

  10. Random acts of kindness do make a difference in the world.

  11. It is possible to have an amazing wedding without spending a fortune.

  12. Having good neighbors is important.

  13. Traveling to new places changes you, in ways no book or movie can accomplish.

  14. Looking at pictures of yourself when you're 7 yrs old, reminds you of a time when you were truly happy.

  15. Having a handful of true friends, who are there no matter what, is much more valuable than many acquaintances.

  16. I am still shy in a group of strangers.

  17. I Love Lucy is still just as funny today as it was 50 years ago.

  18. Nothing beats a good cup of coffee in the morning.

  19. Contributing to the lives of others is essential to a happy life.

  20. Sometimes it's best to say nothing...

  21. The greatest success is not measured by the number is your bank account, but by how content your soul is.

  22. It is not our job to judge others.

  23. Sometimes a good cry is like pressing a "restart button" for our soul.

  24. I will never like crowds.

  25. It doesn't matter what the number inside your clothes says, what matters is how they fit.

  26. There is no shame in asking for help.

  27. No matter how much advice we give, people have to learn lessons on their own.

  28. Kindred spirits have no age limits.

  29. It's important to marry someone with impeccable values.

  30. Women are the true great nurturers in this world.

  31. Setting personal boundaries is one of the keys to a content life.

  32. Glitter will always make me happy.

December 10, 2007

Things That Make Me Happy...

I don't care how one feels about dressing up dogs...these pictures make me so happy, it's not even funny....of course I'm slightly partial to the frenchie in the argyle sweater.

December 9, 2007

The Holidays.

Today, J. and I did our first official full day of holiday shopping. We started at 10:00 am and finally settled in at 7:00 pm (sigh). It was exhausting, fun, crazy and festive. Here are some of my observations about the general public from today....

I enjoy:
  • Friendly people who say "Merry Christmas".
  • People who hold the door open for you.
  • Fun and laughter while doing x-mas shopping.
  • Seasonal salespeople who are so nervous, they are overly nice to you.

I don't enjoy:

  • Crabby drivers who won't slow down for people walking across the parking lot.
  • Shopping carts left in the middle of aisles by inconsiderate shoppers lingering around.
  • People who cut in line at Starbucks.

I crossed many names off my list today, and besides the anxiety attack in Target at 11:00 am, and then again at 1:00 pm in Michaels...sweating to death in Old Navy....and going to 4 different stores for J's clients x-mas was a good day.

December 8, 2007

Raining with Style.

All of the rain the past 2 weekends inspired me to buy this from J.crew...

Won't it be the perfect accessory to an all black rainy day outfit? By the way, is having an additional 20% off their sale until tomorrow! Get some good gifts for someone on your list...or, like in my case, yourself.

December 7, 2007

Peaceful Days.

It's another (slightly) rainy, peaceful day here in's wonderful (sigh).

December 6, 2007

Neighborly Love.

I finished up a little project tonight for all the neighbors on our street. We are so lucky and have the best neighbors with a lot of little ones. Like clockwork, every day after school, kids are out in the street playing football, riding bikes, or, like in my front yard the other day, throwing grapefruits at each other (grrrr). I love the energy of hearing children playing and laughing every afternoon....and so happy they are not all inside playing video games.

After x-mas last year, I bought tons of wrapping paper on sale for this years little gift. I stole this idea from Keri, after she received it last year from someone at school.

Each neighbor is getting 2 rolls of wrapping paper,
with this note tied with ribbon...

It's such a great gift, because who doesn't need wrapping paper for the holidays? If you like it, go ahead and steal it...your neighbors will thank you.

J'adore Brooks...

Brooks is one of my highlights of being on this earth. He is the equivalent of a class clown, and loves attention. He is like a 30 pound meatball with fur...and he never ever, ever misses a meal (ever!). This dog loves food. We always say that if he morphed into a human, he'd take on the likes of Emeril Lagasse, or some other figure who's life revolves around food. He is like a kind little old man, whose only care is making others happy. Brooks has made impressions in our lives that we will treasure forever.

He was present the day we got married...

He accompanies us every summer to Laguna Beach
for our summer vacation...

And he makes holidays way more fun...

The things that endear this little animal to me, are as follows...

  • Whenever a guest starts to leave, he barks and attempts to bite at their feet. His way of saying, "Stay awhile..." People who are here, doing work on our house, get pretty freaked out.
  • He walks around the house looking for anything that is out of place from the normal structure. Once he places the culprit, he repeatedly barks until we come and tell him that "It's Ok...we know it's there" (we're talking even a grocery bag sitting on the counter).
  • He snores like a little old man...all night long (did I mention he sleeps in our bed). Now, when we travel and he's not there, I have trouble falling asleep.
  • He has never, even a little, attempted to hurt anyone by biting or growling.
  • The sweet smell of his fur is a comfort to me, that can not be duplicated.
  • When I ask for "kisses", he immediately licks my face.
  • He has healed parts of my husband's soul, in a way that no therapist or book could even touch.
  • Sometimes, when he takes a deep breath and just looks into my eyes, I feel like he's the only one who gets me....

December 5, 2007

Paris in Winter.

Notre Dame in Paris with christmas tree in front

Looking at Notre Dame across the Siene River

These amazing pictures came across my email this morning and thought I'd share the beauty. There is something unexplainable about the lights in Paris at night....the beauty is breathtaking. My sweet husband surprised me last x-mas with a trip to Paris. We went in March/April and were amazed at the brilliance at night.

Here are a couple shots from outside our hotel room...

And here was our hotel, Caron de Beaumarchais, at was adorable!

And just for fun, here is what our room looked like...I was in heaven.

And for Christmas...I am dreaming of going back.

December 4, 2007

The "It's OK" List.

In every issue of Glamour magazine, there is a page that reads, "It's OK...." at the top. There are then bulleted points following with quilt-free permissions to not be perfect. Since the holidays are quickly approaching, I've made my own list to get me through.

It's OK....

  • If you're not stressed.
  • To be the last one on the block to put up christmas lights.
  • If the food at the party is the only reason you are excited to go.
  • To have three cappuccinos in one day, as long as the last one is decaf (I actually did this the other day!)
  • To focus on one thing at a time and whatever doesn't get done....well, it just doesn't get done.
  • To indulge your sweet tooth a little more this month.
  • To wish someone else would clean up your mess after wrapping gifts.
  • To find yourself getting sentimental at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas, when they all sing around the x-mas tree.
  • To walk by the salvation army representative, ringing the bell in front of a store, and not dig into your wallet for change.
  • To actually enjoy the holiday season....after all, isn't that what it's all about?

Let's enjoy this Merry Season guilt-free...

November 30, 2007

Magical Rainy Day Schedule.

Today was actually a rainy day here in Phoenix. These days are so rare it's ridiculous, so when they present themselves, I take full advantage. I stayed inside all day working on projects, wrapping gifts, doing crafts and writing out x-mas cards. I had candles burning, ate soup for lunch and sipped hot herbal tea while hanging out in my comfies all day was heaven. The rain fell from the sky all day. I sat by the window and watched with delight as the tips of tree branches dripped into puddles, and passing cars sprayed water on the sidewalk. There is something about the rain that makes me stop rushing and just be.

November 29, 2007

Apron Strings.

I'm sitting here in a computer trance at 11:30 pm obsessing over this apron....

Is this not adorable?!? Unfortunately, it's sold out at the moment. I'll just have to wait and see if the obsession remains when it's finally in...

Beauty Review.

I thought I'd share something I've been learning a lot about lately, and hopefully enlighten those of you ,who care, about what is actually in a lot of our beauty products. I am obviously not a health care professional. I do care a lot about health and wellness, therefore read and research whenever possible. Here is some interesting data:

  • Unlike (most of the) food and drugs we ingest, the cosmetic industry requires NO pre-market safety tests, monitoring, or labeling. That’s right companies can put virtually ANY ingredient into personal care products.

  • The European Union has made major advances in the regulation of cosmetics in the past several years and has banned the use of substances classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction in cosmetic products. Unfortunately, the US hasn’t yet followed in these footsteps!
Here's some food for thought:
  • The average consumer uses between 15-25 personal care products per day! Many of those products contain hundreds of dangerous synthetic chemical compounds.

  • The largest organ in our body is our skin. What you put on your body, you literally absorb!

  • Chemicals like parabens, which are synthetic preservatives found in shampoos, make-up foundations, shaving gels and even food, have a chemical structure similar to estrogen which interferes with production of the body’s natural hormones and more importantly, contains potential links to cancer. Parabens are absorbed through intact skin and from the gastrointestinal tract and blood.

  • U.K. researchers found measurable concentrations of six different parabens in 20 human breast tumors. The study highlights on the potential link between products containing parabens and increased breast cancer risk.

  • Look for words like methylparaben or propylparaben in the ingredients of beauty products. Also, any personal care product that says "EU compliant", which means European Union compliant, is pretty safe to use.

Much more information can be found on The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website with sections on lead in lipsticks, etc. There is also a cosmetics database site, run by an environmental working group, that allows you to search any beauty product and see their rating on its safety based on ingredients. I use this a lot! I also, now try to buy all my beauty products at Whole Foods. They have a great section with everything from nail polish and face powder, to lotion and shampoo/conditioner.

Whew! I know that was pretty long...I wanted to make sure to give you all the information I had. I think it's so important to be aware of our own health, and what we are doing to hinder it or contribute to it. It's a shame that we have to be our own advocates, since their are so many loopholes in the FDA right now. Little changes everyday can make a big difference in the long run!

November 26, 2007

The Classics.

The other day while having my hair colored at the salon, I picked up a Harpers Bazaar and came across a list of "classics". I thought that I'd share them, since I absolutely agree...

I love everything on this list...but will have to continue dreaming of an Hermes Birkin or Kelly bag, since they start at about $7500. I will probably, also, never own Louis Vuitton luggage - given the price and the fact that I kick and beat my luggage while traveling. I will, however, try and hold out for a classic watch one day. Meanwhile I am going to clean out my closet and try to get back to the classics. No matter what you wear, I believe that:

"Great style happens when a bit of attitude meets a lot of confidence."

-Natalie Massenet, founder of

The luckiest dog alive.

As I passed the couch, carrying armloads of laundry, I caught a glimpse of Brooks in just another moment of his lovely little life. There he was wrapped up in a blanket on a cloudy, cold morning...I hope he knows how lucky he is.
Of course, after I snapped a photo, he looked up...
got annoyed and turned away.
Yup...luckiest dog in the world.

November 24, 2007


Well, Thanksgiving is over and the Christmas holidays are officially upon us. I vowed not to indulge in the black Friday madness at the malls, but did hit a few downtown spots. First, Keri, Kaylie, Kendall and I headed to downtown Mesa to have lunch and hit some of the adorable shops down there. Here is our favorite little shop, appropriately called, domestic bliss.

Then, I met J. over in downtown Scottsdale and we went to the mix which is a new collection of shops all under one building along the canal. It's was pretty interesting...J. loved it because it was bustling with Scottsdaleites. I think I'm partial to the charm of domestic bliss and company in downtown mesa. Oh well...something for everyone. Now, I am off the do more shopping!