Grocery Shopping: Because Being Lazy and Proactive About My Eating Habits Are Better Than Saving Money

I read something on Pinterest the other day about things you should NEVER  buy at the grocery store. Among the items included many of our weekly (okay whenever-we-make-it-to-the-grocery-store-ly, which averages about 2-3 times a month) purchases. And so I said to myself, “Self, someone has to speak out against this insanity. Someone needs to tell these Pinterest Looney Toons to get a hold of themselves and drop the homemade spice mix. Self, that someone should probably be you.”

Okay fine, I didn’t actually say those things to myself. I was busy muttering under my breath about not wanting to put pants on and needing to eat more cheese, but whatever. I thought them. In fact, I’ve thought about this often enough I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to shit I’m never going to do. And about 60 other Pinterest boards dedicated to shit I’m probably never going to do.

Anyways, I’ve come up with a very important list of things you should buy at the grocery store because the cost outweighs the amount of time spent doing whatever it takes to make those things happen.

Whether you're trying to save money or just be the ultimate Pinterest mom, some of these "money savers" are actually not worth your time or energy.

Things you shouldn’t bother Pinteresting or forgoing because the grocery store makes it So. Much. Easier.

Spice mixes: Let’s start with this one (and ignore the fact that I do, actually, make my own taco and fajita seasoning but to be fair, I don’t really measure any of it). Sure, you can mix and match your seasonings easy enough. But ain’t nobody got time for experimentation. When you’re in a hurry, isn’t it reassuring to know that your X,Y,Z isn’t going to be fucked up because you were smart enough to use a spice mix which had the perfect blend of crushed red pepper, dried pineapple flavor and bacon bits (patent pending)? I thought so too. Also, no one makes ranch like Hidden Valley. There. I said it.

Miracle cleaning solution: Let’s talk about this “Blue Dawn and vinegar” bullshit I’ve seen all over Pinterest. I tried it when we first moved into the house. I was thinking to myself, “Self, this is going to make a great post one day. You’ll be all ‘Blue Dawn and vinegar’ was really a miracle in my stained bathtub!” And you know what? I was wrong. Because all that shit did was smell nasty. I understand cleaning with vinegar and baking soda is also supposed to help – I used it dozens of times to try cleaning my garbage disposal. It masked the odor alright…with vinegar smell. Give me Scrubbing Bubbles and a Plink drop any day.

Vinegar: We rarely use most of the vinegar in our cabinets. Brian uses the balsamic for his salad dressing (along with a pre-packaged spice mix) and I use the white vinegar when I dye eggs on Easter. And yet, there are people who make their own fermented vinegar. Dudes. You guys. This stuff is cheap. Who wants to stink up their house for a product you use a couple times a year or whatever.

Dryer sheets: I LOVE the smell of clean laundry. I hate doing laundry, but the smell of fresh from the dryer laundry makes my heart go pitter patter. On Pinterest, I ran across a pin for homemade dryer sheets which looked super cute, but sounded like a disaster waiting to happen. One of the comments on it, though, was priceless – “I tried this and my laundry smelled like vinegar!” Bring on the store-bought dryer sheets so my laundry can smell delicious.

Bottled water: Oh hell yes, I’m going here. I know this one isn’t a Pinterest thing, but I’ve seen it on the money-saving lists. Sure, I’ve got reusable bottles and travel cups and mugs galore (I usually get them free with brand names on them when I go to fancy blog conferences). We even bought fancy pants Brita water bottles (okay – these are great for traveling). But you know what I hate? When I wake up with enough time to brush my teeth, throw pants on, and MAYBE brush my hair before I race to the train…and have to spend more time filling a bottle with water than I did doing all of the getting ready part of my morning. Instead, I can grab a bottle on my way out the door and satiate my thirst while I commute into the city. Besides, when you buy them at Sam’s Club, they’re so cheap per bottle. And water is never truly free, y’all. Need I remind you about your water bill which is payment for water that comes out of your faucet?


Pre-packaged snacks: I love snack packs. A lot. And you know what? Those pre-packaged little goodies keep me from killing my poor boyfriend. Because I’m high maintenance like a freakin’ gremlin. Also, they keep me from eating the whole fucking econo bag of Doritos that I would otherwise buy at Sam’s Club in one sitting. It’s been known to happen.

So the thing is, you guys…I get it. If you’re on a money-saving kick, this might make sense to you. If you’re on an all-natural ingredient thing? I totally get that too. But before you go out to buy the necessary equipment and ingredients to pull these tricks off, don’t forget to add the math for the time it takes you to do this shit. Your hourly rate counts as money spent, doesn’t it?

What crazy DIY shit have you seen recently on Pinterest, or the Internet, or anywhere really, that would be much easier to purchase? Have you tried any of the DIY options I mentioned? Are you a die-hard DIY maven? Are you a bottled water drinker?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Tiny Touches Can Brighten Even the Smallest Room

Now that Christmas is over (okay, almost over…Christmas may still be going strong in our house. I’ve only taken down three of the seven trees in our house), I’m starting to finally get into the making our house a non-holiday-decorated home. I’ve been looking for little accents to make spaces seem more homey and trying to find ways to really brighten the rooms.

I found some really great (and RIDICULOUSLY cheap) window treatments to make our dining room a stunning, sunny space.

And then I started to look online for some other decorative accents. I was invited to try out the home selection at Luna Bazaar, which has a great selection of votive holders, table runners and other really unique pieces to make a house a home. I opted for a few shell votive holders to make Brian’s bathroom a little nicer. We haven’t painted any of the bathrooms yet, so I’m working with what I can. Brian’s bathroom is the master bath, because I’m weird about preferring to shower in a tub – and the master bath is actually a full-size shower. The tiny room is BLUE. Like so blue, da bo dee da bo die wouldn’t even cut it. The entire bedroom and bathroom used to be that blue, but we’ll settle for painting the mostly visible parts and get to the bathroom part eventually.

 

I chose votive holders in colors that would match our blue/green bedroom theme just in case they didn’t work out in the bathroom (or if we ever do something really cool with Brian’s bathroom…I’m thinking maybe a deep sea theme (the octopod and dolphin are a good start, right?). Then the dark blue walls would totally work…

2015-01-18 16.32.12

It’s hard to see the ridiculous blue walls with the camera flash, but rest assured, it’s REALLY blue. I really love the way the votives look. The painted shells are very delicate, but elegant. When I was browsing Luna Bazaar for the products I wanted to purchase, I came across QUITE a few things I’d be considering over the next several months.

PC12WH-white-3-layer-capiz-lotus-candle-holder

With my new yoga venture (have you seen my mad skills on Instagram?), I’ve been thinking about setting up a better yoga space than the one I’ve been utilizing. This is in my bedroom (that weird window looks out onto our front room and I can just see myself falling down on a bad pose…):

2015-01-17 14.05.42

I really love the tapestries and wall hangings, and I think this wall hanging would look awesome in front of the window (and maybe block a little of the resonating sound from downstairs). Isn’t it beautiful?:

patchwork-tapestry-wall-handing-bedspread

And of course, I looked at some of the holiday stuff…For Halloween, I think I may NEED these skull lights.

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Have you checked out Luna Bazaar yet? What items would you want to add to your home? What small accents have you added to spaces in your home to make them a little bit happier?

While no one paid me to say nice things, I did receive a gift code to purchase a few items from Luna Bazaar in order to tell you about them. Additionally, any links you use may be affiliate links, of which I will receive a small percentage of commission from your purchase. 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

21 AWESOME Themed Christmas Trees to Decorate Your Home

If you didn’t already know this, I have a Christmas tree problem. I mean…Brian calls it a problem. I think it’s a fun way to celebrate the holidays. Luckily, I’m not alone in my crazy. I certainly didn’t get this way all on my own, and I don’t think Brian’s childhood was completely immune to the idea of a themed Christmas tree – or an overabundance of Christmas in general. But I LOVE themed Christmas trees. I came across an article on Yahoo! DIY that had a variety of unique tree ideas, and it really got me thinking. My people (and Brian’s people) are evil geniuses when it comes to Christmas tree themes. I knew that I had to share the joy. Without further ado, I’d like to present you with my friend-sourcing project for the holidays. Below you’ll find the Christmas trees that we, along with our friends and family, put up for Christmas.

I’ll start with my themed trees. I know that Hallmark isn’t really a “theme” but you know what? I’ve wanted one ever since I saw Katie Kelly’s mom’s Hallmark tree, so you bet your bottom dollar that I planned to have one when I grew up. The family trees pictured belong to myself, my mom, and my aunt (you’ll meet some of their other trees later in this post). Try to guess which one is mine. The bird tree is a tree that I received on my doorstep this year (courtesy of my aunt) with ornaments that belonged to Brian’s mother. It’s my all-time favorite tree. The shoe tree started as a random collection, much like my martini glass collection, and was upgraded from a 3-foot tree to a 4-foot tree last year, and this year has become a full-grown, 6-foot tree. The book tree was upgraded from a 12-inch tree to a 4-foot tree, but she’s got a ways to go before she’ll grow up any further.

Hallmark Ornament Tree

Hallmark Ornament Tree

Heirloom/Family Tree

Heirloom Trees

Bird Tree

Bird tree

Shoe Tree

2014-12-21 21.24.01

Book Tree

Book tree

Chicago Bears Tree

Comic Strips from Christmas past

Comic strips from Christmas past

My mom has her family ornaments strewn out on two separate trees in the family room and the living room/front room. She also has a 5-foot tinsel tree in the front hall. She’s even put lights on a palm tree to remind her of Florida. But the tree that amuses me the most? The Charlie Brown Christmas tree in her family room.

Charlie Brown Tree

Charlie Brown Tree

My aunt, who is one of the most Christmas-loving people I know and the very lovely benefactor of one of our many trees, goes all out for Christmas. I can only hope to have the time and energy to fill my home with as much Christmas joy as she does. The next several trees were all her creations, and I have to admit I’m completely jealous of all of them. I’m working toward a Grinch tree for Brian. My aunt does that one for my cousin who doesn’t seem to love Christmas as much as she and I do.

Grinch Tree

Grinch Tree

Sports Tree

Sports themed Christmas tree

Vintage Tree

 Vintage Ornament Christmas Tree 2

Flocked Santa Tree

Mr and Mrs Flocked Santas

Handmade Ornament Tree

Handmade Ornament Tree

Angel Tree

Angel Tree

Vintage Bone China Tree

Martha Stewart Tree with Vintage Bone China Ornaments

My mom’s best friend who is basically my second mom, has a vast collection of Barbie ornaments from Hallmark. When I was a child, I received many of these from her for Christmas, so I could very well have my own Barbie tree also. Right now, those ornaments live on my Hallmark tree. She has a beautiful pink tree loaded with Barbie, and oh boy is it beautiful!

Pink Barbie Tree

Pink Barbie Tree

One of Brian’s cousins sent me pictures of her stunning Disney-themed Christmas tree as well as her Disney advent calendar tree and S’mores-themed tree (Hey Joules! Lookout!). The Disney tree has 550 ornaments and 2000 LED lights to set a magical atmosphere that makes me wish I was in Lake Buena Vista. I am actually hoping to have a Mickey Mouse Christmas tree one year, and possibly a Disney princess or Disney villain tree as well. So this Disney tree is pretty much amazing. The Disney Advent Calendar tree would fit right in with the advent calendars article I read on Yahoo! DIY , as you can find each day of advent on the tree! The marshmallow tree has S’mores branded ornaments with little S’mores marshmallow men.

Disney Tree

Disney Tree (2)

Disney Advent Tree

 Disney Advent TreeMarshmallow S’mores Tree

Smores tree

My darling best friend on the planet, Katie (of Words for Words fame), with her darling penguin obsession has (obviously) a penguin tree. Which is so full to the brim with penguin ornaments that I stopped buying her penguin ornaments. And occasionally I will buy her penguin-y things…and keep them for myself. Because she has plenty of penguins. And everyone needs a tuxedo bird pal.

Penguin Tree

 Penguin tree

Another friend of ours, Kelly (who also sells amazing soap on Etsy), has a tree that she is absolutely in love with (and I certainly can’t blame her). This stunning peacock tree stands out in her home with teal, green, and blue feathers, magical sparkly ornaments and lots of help from her adorable tiny humans. This tree reminds of our bird tree, only with more sparkles and purples. I’m a huge fan.

Peacock Tree

Peacock Tree

And last, but certainly not least, my friend Joules, over at Pocketful of Joules, has her own really amazing tree that makes me super jealous I didn’t think of it first. She has a Wizard of Oz tree with all the fabulous characters from the beloved movie. With almost twenty-five ornaments, in an ornament collection/obsession that begun with gifts from her grandparents, this tree oozes of delicious joy.

Wizard of Oz Tree

Wizard of Oz Tree

Blog Friends, do you put up a themed Christmas tree? Do you celebrate Christmas? If you DID put up a themed tree, what would you WANT it to be?  Have you been following #YahooDIY for ideas and other fun goodies?

Thank you Yahoo! for sponsoring this post. While this was a sponsored opportunity from Yahoo!, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Welcome to My Nightmare…. I Mean My Holiday Workshop

Greetings Blog Friends!

With Christmas a mere five days away, I’m going to whisk you away on a tour of all things deliciously holiday in our home. If you’re not into Christmas joy, you don’t even need to step away, because interspersed with Christmas decorations, trees, and crafts, you’re going to see all the crazy that I’ve experienced. So you’ll get Santa and the Grinch. I promise. It’s not all spotless dining rooms and fancy-pants trees (but there are those).

Let’s start with my holiday workshop. Now, USUALLY around this time, Christmas cards are sent off, presents are wrapped, and I’m patiently awaiting the arrival of Saint Nick. This year it’s more like the fourth circle of hell in which nothing is going right.

Christmas cards

Even though I think our cards are hysterical what with visual puns and stuff, I had a bazillion problems getting my cards this year, including the photo prints being late, our return address labels not getting printed out, not getting enough envelopes for the aforementioned cards and being short-changed on the number of cards printed. Christmas cards were finally sent off this morning with a few adventures in driving…

Like the person who made a right turn from the LEFT lane on a very busy major street. Or the crazy lady who almost hit me in the post office parking lot because she was flying through like a bat out of hell (and then proceeded to make her middle fingers dance in front of me when I was stuck behind her at a red light).

Holiday Workshop Tools

A little Christmas gift from Office Depot and Office Max to help smooth out my ridiculous holidays

Next year, I’m getting everything done at Office Depot. I’ve never had issues with them, and I hear they do holiday cards too. They were kind enough to send me some helpers for my holiday greeting card checklist, including stickers to seal the envelopes and pens to write out all the addresses. I was even able to slide in some of the thank you notes they sent for people who gave us gifts for our housewarming. (I’m all for the multitasking y’all. Some people got three pieces of correspondence in one envelope.)

Christmas presents

Today, I’ll be locking myself in our soon-to-be guest room, which is currently doubling as my holiday workshop with the rest of my goodies from  my wonderful friends at Office Depot and Office Max. I’m going to make a cup of cocoa, turn up the Holiday Lite (our Christmas radio station), and wrap wrap wrap my little heart out. With  gift tags, ribbon, two rolls of tape, markers and a pair of scissors from OD, and the BAZILLION rolls of wrapping paper that I have from the last few years of clearance shopping, I’ll be able to stick to my ridiculous OCD-tendency need to wrap everyone’s individual presents in different wrapping paper.

My holiday workshop

This is it. In all it’s disastrous glory. Boxes, presents, wrapping tools and ribbons EVERYWHERE…and a tree to set the mood.

What are your Christmas card/present-wrapping habits? Are you finished or still kickin’? Have you even started? What would make your holidays easier?

Disclosure: I was not compensated to write this post, but I did receive some very helpful goodies from Office Depot and Office Max to make my holiday workshop just a little bit less of a stressful place to be. 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Sweet Baby Cheeses, We Found the Hidden Madonna

I realize that my mother is probably going to kill me and I’m probably going to hell courtesy of that title. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

Whatever.

So, a couple months ago, I told you about the random shit that was left in our house by the previous owners. As we started settling into the house, we began discovering more little things that the former owners left for us.

Heading down into the basement, Brian found this little log cabin hidden under the stairs. It was kind of cute, and he told me to pick it up. I reached for it and discovered little baggies of stuff beside it.

Log Cabin Incense Burner

Would you have spotted that right away?

My first thought and question for Brian?

Log Cabin Incense

“Weed?”

I’m pretty sure he physically face palmed. “No, it’s for incense!” He was really excited about it. You burn the incense inside the log cabin and the smoke comes out the little chimney. The baggie was full of incense stuff.

“Oh.”

Definitely less interesting.

Another, more interesting, and definitely more random little nugget of awesomely weird that we (okay fine, our friend whose name is also Brian) found was hidden in the rafters of our basement.

 

Meet Madonna

Meet Madonna

I don’t know how. I don’t know why. I certainly don’t know when…but this happened. In our house. Long before it was our house. Someone sketched a permanent marker Madonna in our home. And because it’s not quite clear that it’s Madonna, he or she politely labeled it for us.

It makes me wonder if there were teenagers living here in the 90’s. And what kind of people they were. And if the parents ever found out that the kids did this…or worse – if one of the adults did this little artistic piece for their own jollies. The handwriting (based on my very scientific teaching skills) looks like middle school or early high school writing…but what do I know? My chicken scratch looks a little like that sometimes…and it is practically on the ceiling…So there’s that.

Either way, I’m having a lot of fun imagining stories in my head of the possible family that lived here before us.

Have you left your mark on your home? Have you discovered someone else’s mark left on your home? Even better – if you decide to, what would you do to represent yourself in a place that you may not live in forever?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Get Your Bathroom Ready for the Holidays

I’m working with my friends at Charmin and Roto-Rooter to show you how I get my bathrooms ready for the holidays.

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Charmin. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

As you probably remember, we just moved into our first (and please for the love of cheese, last) house and instead of one piddly apartment bathroom, we’re now the proud owners of three. Full. Bathrooms. This is one of them. This is actually the upstairs hall bathroom, but I like the tree in this bathroom best. I’ve had it for more than twenty years – It started as my bedroom Christmas tree, and now it’s my bathroom tree. The fancy soap dish and soap were Brian’s mom’s. I’m pretty sure that soap just keeps getting put out and no one uses it. I’m okay with that, because the other soap makes my hands smell like gingerbread cookies.

Bathroom Decorated for Christmas

Thanks to our party-friendly house, we (okay fine, I) volunteered to host Christmas. For 30-40 people. Both Brian’s family and my family will be joining us for one of my absolute favorite holidays as we celebrate, eat, drink and make merry.

People keep asking me, “Are you sure?” as if I volunteered out of obligation, but really, ALL MY GRISWOLD DREAMS ARE COMING TRUE!

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to do this. Of course, knowing me, something is bound to go wrong. Thankfully I’m stocked with Charmin (the brand backed by Rotor-Rooter as a clog-free and septic-safe TP) for the holidays so I won’t have to worry about a clogged toilet, even with 30-some-odd people in our house, and can instead focus on not burning myself, cutting myself or falling down the stairs.

Prep your bathroom for the holidays in six easy steps

Step 1: Stock up on toilet paper  – I usually opt for Charmin since it’s the softest, strongest and comes highly recommended by the plumbers at Roto-Rooter. The partnership between Charmin and Roto-Rooters promises that your toilets will stay clog free this holiday season. Make sure to have a couple extra rolls on hand in case someone runs out in the middle of their business. I can’t store them in the cabinet under the sink, since my laundry chute lives there, so I stock TP behind the mirror in the bathroom.

Bathroom stocked with TP

Step 2: Prepare for hand washing with lots of soap – I try to have festive holiday soap for the season, and always have a backup ready to switch out. I also like to have different scents in each bathroom.

Downstairs Bathroom - snowmen

Step 3: Use clean and dry hand towels or disposable hand towels – If you can splurge on the disposable hand towels, life will be oh-so-much easier, but a supply of cloth towels is great as long as you have extras to switch out regularly. With 30-40 people coming to our home, I’m going to have both.

I haven't gotten new fancy Christmas towels yet - I'll buy them after Christmas when they're 75% off.

I haven’t gotten new fancy Christmas towels yet – I’ll buy them after Christmas when they’re 75% off.

Step 4: Place a trash bin next to the toilet – You’ll be especially grateful if you use the disposable hand towels to have an empty trash container with a disposable liner or grocery bag. (I don’t think you need a picture of my trash bin.)

Step 5: Set up a Christmas tree and decorations – I kept things simple this year and just put up my mini tree, but other years, I’ve had Christmas towels and other decorative accents to really celebrate the season.

Mini Christmas tree in the bathroom

Step 6: Invite everyone over – Get ready for the hap hap happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, my friends, because your bathroom is ready to go. Don’t invite your elf on the shelf though. You never know what kind of trouble she’ll get into.

Meredelf Grey - just hanging around.

Meredelf Grey – just hanging around.

And just for fun, I made a quick video for you! Welcome to my upstairs hall bathroom. Thanks a million to my pal Brookie Banosnapper for coming over to shoot this little vid for me. I can’t even tell you how much flack I got for the way I put the toilet paper on the roll. Apparently, she’s of the toilet paper must be placed over and not under camp. I personally could care less, but she made me change it.

Blog Friends, what do you do to get ready for the holidays? Do you host parties this time of year? What holiday-ready bathroom tips do you swear by? Do you have a toilet paper brand preference? How about over or under?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

7 Easy DIY Halloween Costume Ideas for Women and Couples

Halloween is definitely the holiday of all holidays around here.  My family and friends totally jump into Halloween head first. It’s the fourth family holiday. It’s the ONLY holiday my aunt flies in from out of state to celebrate with us. It’s kind of a big deal around here.

I figured you may be looking for some Halloween costume ideas – I know I still am…so I thought I would help you out and share some of the best costumes my people have put together in years past. You’ve already seen my bouquet toss winner Halloween costume…and my Sally costume…but I’m not the only one with the ideas. Several of my friends have given me permission to share their photos and costume ideas with you, so you can see what excellent company I keep over here in the real world.

Fast(ish), Easy DIY Halloween Costumes

My pal, Brookie Banosnapper showed up at my RIDICULOUSLY EARLY (First week of October early) Halloween party last year in this ensemble. Best. Idea. Ever.

Grumpy Cat Halloween Costume

One of my friends from college, Shelli was unrecognizable by many of her friends when she showed up in this costume! I was a big NCIS fan a few years back (which was when Sheli threw down this costume. I wish I could have seen it in person, but she lives a few (hundred) miles away from me.

DIY ABBY NCIS Costume

Deb, one of my favorite English teachers, rocked it in her garden ho costume. Her English/theater background worked well with this punny costume.

DIY Garden Ho Costume

Valerie showed up to one of our Halloween parties in this creative garb a few years back, before everyone was doing it. She already had dark hair and a good chunk of the wardrobe requirements, so this costume was a breeze for her. No one noticed that she had black chucks on (shhhh).

Flo Progressive Halloween Costume DIY

Dynamic Duos: Couples/Pairs Halloween Costumes

Ron and his best friend decided they would be the ultimate best friends for Halloween. Not that I’m a fan of these two dumb dudes, but I hear they’re pretty popular with the ladies.

Lloyd & Harry Dumb and Dumber Costumes

Our friends Ava and Mike are super awesome, and they came to our Halloween party at the apartment last year as Hawkeye and Hawkeye, which I thought was a totally fantastic couples’ costume. Right?

Hawkeye and Hawkeye
And then there was the costume set that Brian and I opted for last year. Captain Mal and Kaylee from Firefly. It wasn’t my favorite (partially because I ordered the coveralls from eBay and they did not fit the way I wanted them to…)

Captain MaL & Kaylee (3)Friends, what should Brian and I do for Halloween this year? It appears we’re going to be moving right around Halloween, so we’re strapped for time. Any suggestions? What are you going to be for Halloween?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

DIY Halloween Costume: The Bouquet Toss Winner

Happy October, Blog Friends! It is now officially acceptable for me to get excited about Halloween and BOY OH BOY am I excited for Halloween.  Of course, we won’t be throwing a Halloween party this year. And we don’t (yet) have a house to decorate for one of my favorite holidays, but big things are happening this month. Big things.

I figured I’d kick the season off this year with a little Halloween costume love.

A few years ago, whilst I was dating the bartender, I came up with the most brilliant Halloween costume, if I do say so myself. Mom and I were sitting in her room, brainstorming ideas. My mom is a BRILLIANT costume creator, so it only seemed right to run ideas back and forth with her. I was broke, out of work, and in college, so I knew I wanted to keep it cheap. I figured I had a couple of bridesmaid dresses hanging around my closet to use, so we started thinking about ideas…

The next thing I knew, I was plotting the ultimate bouquet toss winner Halloween costume. I started with the dress, which I ripped to absolute shreds. Then I bought fake nails, which I glued into the shredded dress. I saved a few of the nails, which I left to put in my hair.

On the Saturday before Halloween that year, my mom and I got to work for all the parties I was headed to. We started with my hair, spending an hour creating one of those bridesmaid-esque updos. As soon as it was finished, I pulled and tugged and messed it up. It was important work. I then stuck fake nails into the knotted mess and even a few flower petals.

I put on the dress, so Mom and I knew what skin space we were working with. We started with bruising, using a plethora of eyeshadows to create blue-gray-green bruising all over my body, including one black eye. We moved on to scratches (with all those broken nails, scratches were a must). This was accomplished with real scratches (light ones) that Mom traced with dark red lip liner to maintain them all day long.

Bouquet toss

I needed to add a smidge of fake blood, so I put one earring in, and blood coming down the other ear. I also figured a bloody nose would look pretty convincing. I finished the look with a single high heel, crutches and an ankle brace because I’m hardcore.

My then-boyfriend picked me up for our Halloween festivities in a hoodie and camo pants with a mask in his backpack. A mask that he may have put on twice throughout the entire day.

We started at a Halloween wine-tasting event at my local liquor store, where I was competing in a costume contest to win a wine refrigerator. I walked around the place, petitioning my cause and making sure that EVERYONE voted for me. If ever I had to explain what I was, I had a whole speech prepared.

“I caught the bouquet. You should see the other girls. I mean, it’s not what catching the bouquet MEANS…it’s about taking out the competition.”

I went home with a wine refrigerator that day.

Last year, at work, I thought I would revive my favorite Halloween costume of all time. I took it to a more gruesome level, and was pretty pleased with the results.

If you're looking for a creative, unique Halloween costume with an old bridesmaid dress, consider the bouquet toss winner.

I may have looked more like a zombie than a live person, but I couldn’t stop adding gore. I especially liked the knee cut. I won a contest there, too…but never received my prize…grumble grumble grumble.

Of course, the best part about this was taking the train home in costume. I looked fucking spectacular, and it wasn’t Halloween proper, so no one else on the commute was dressed up. It was kind of magical.

If you're looking for a creative, unique Halloween costume with an old bridesmaid dress, consider the bouquet toss winner.

I still don’t know what Brian and I are going to be for Halloween this year, but it’s sure to be a scream.

Blog friends, what’s the most creative costume you’ve ever come up with? Would you rip a dress to shreds to have fun with Halloween? Are you down with the gory costumes? What are you going to be for Halloween this year?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

My Brother’s Menagerie: In Which my Little Brother Flexes his Creative Muscles (and Something About Pets that aren’t Dogs or Cats)

My brother is a crafty, creative genius. Long before Etsy was a thing, my brother was hand-making jewelry, whipping up delicious creations in the kitchen and helping me build the most elaborate indoor forts known to man.

Most recently, he’s been found hand-making hamster cages.

Hamstervision: Homemade Hamster Cages and Other Pet Palaces

My hamster spent his entire life trying to create his own condo in my dresser. My brother turned an old television into a hamster apartment so his didn’t have to. He called it “Hamstervision.”

We grew up with hamsters. We started with a gerbil named Axel Rose, followed by a hamster named Jon Bon Jovi. The string of hamsters in our lives ended with my little furry lover, Romeo, who ironically ended his own life by trying to escape his cage, Houdini-style.

My brother’s menagerie was always a little more exotic than mine, though.

  • The chameleon that I may have terrified into losing it’s tail… (Seriously, this was the most horrifying thing on the planet. My brother told me to hold the damn thing by its tail…so I did…and the next thing I knew, I was holding a tail…but no chameleon).
  • The sickly turtle that couldn’t get used to living in a terrarium, even under a heat lamp. It was part rescue mission/part lost cause.
  • The hamster that we mated with our cousin Rachel’s hamster…who proceeded to eat all of the babies (Rachel’s hamster, not my brother’s hamster…or Rachel.)
  • The cannibalistic snail that ate my snail…and my replacement snail – jerk.
  • The pair of hermit crabs that lived in various seashells in the short time we had them.
  • The spunky dalmatian that was born in a thunderstorm and captured all of our hearts (including the old-man dog and old-man cat that dominated our household zoo).
  • The frogs that I apparently have zero recollection of whatsoever (but my brother assures me that they existed).

You can see, he’s always been quite the animal lover. Me?

Okay, fine. I loved animals too.

I haven’t had my own pet since Sammy Fish (my finned college bestie, who hated car-travel but had to suck it up at least four times a year). And according to Brian, I won’t have one for quite some time. Sad face Although we have discussed our very own exotic menagerie…and maybe a bunny named Bunnicula.

My brother, on the other hand, has had a string of delightful pets, including several hamsters and my newest little furry nephew, Biscuit the Hedgehog.

Biscuit the Hedgehog

Biscuit the Hedgehog – My spiky nephew currently lives in a cage built out of storage cubes

Whenever my brother gets a new pet, he feels the need to really create a home for it. But those store-bought cages just don’t do it for him. So he BUILDS HIS OWN PET PALACES. He builds cool toys for them to play with. He basically does some crazy juju magic to create these genius inspired homes for his fur babies. I absolutely adore him.

homemade hamster cages

Roxxi the Hamster lives in this china-cabinet-turned-hamster-palace. Note the details…like the cork cabin and the cork bridge.

So there you have it, my friends.

My brother is a creative genius and has the coolest pets around. With the coolest pet palaces around.

Would you build unique homes for your pets? Do you have any cool pets? Do you have any ridiculously crazy pet stories? Am I the only person in the world who de-tailed a chameleon?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Christmas Party Favors for Everyone!

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

I wanted to stop in before my annual Polish Christmas Eve festivities begin and give you one of my favorite new traditions…that I just started THIS year.

Every year for as long as I can remember, I’ve hosted holiday parties. I had to sucker my mom into letting me do it for many of those years, so when Brian and I moved into our little apartment of joy last November, I consider that the first official party.

This year, I wanted to offer my guests party favors, as many people come carting home baked cookies and bottles of wine (which they ABSOLUTELY do NOT have to do, but it’s what people do.) So I made a plethora of my DIY Scrabble ornaments for everyone, placed them on a mini Christmas tree and made a sign explaining that the ornaments were favors for them to take home. I used pastels and fancy paper for the sign, despite the crayon look!

Guests went home with presents and I made good like Clark Griswold with the hap hap happiest Christmas party since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny Fucking Kaye.

Every year, I’ll make a new homemade craft to share with my guests. Sweet idea, right?

What do you think of my crafty little idea? What did you do this Christmas that you hadn’t done before?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!