Friday, September 28, 2012

Fabulous Friday - Are You Small Town Or Big City?

By Patricia

I love big cities. Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Seattle all have a very special place in my heart. The one and only time I was in New York City was twenty seven years ago. I had three young children at home, and was seven months pregnant with the fourth.
The airlines were selling round-trip tickets from Los Angeles to New York for $88. I knew if I didn't go then to the place I had always wanted to see, I probably never would. My husband and I went for a week, and it was one of the most lovely and romantic times of my life. From the carriage ride in Central Park on a misty morning, to breakfast at the Plaza Hotel, New York stole my heart.
The fact that I am no longer with my husband doesn't take away from the memories that I have of that time we shared together. And it certainly doesn't change how I feel about New York City. I love New York and I do want to go back.

But I also have a soft spot in my heart for small towns. My family and I once lived in a tiny California town that was a stand-in for Mayberry. The Mayberry of The Andy Griffith Show, so that should tell you that it was charming and expensive. (And if you don't know what I'm talking about, google it.)

Across the water from Seattle is a tiny town called Port Gamble, which was founded in the 1800's. It is so picture perfect, it almost looks fake. The Gilmore Girls could have easily been filmed here, and Luke's Coffee Shop would have fit right in. It's a pretty place, and many of the original houses have been turned into businesses. The above yellow house serves a wonderful cup of tea during the day, and turns into a bistro during the evening.
My daughter Samantha and I came here with the children a couple of days ago to walk around and enjoy the end of these glorious fall days before the rain comes. I still debate with myself, do I love  city living or small town life?
How about you, if you had your choice,which do you pick?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall Dinners From The Farmers Market

By Patricia

With the arrival of fall now here, my thoughts turn to homey, and comfortable dinners in the kitchen. Stews, soups. and oven roasted vegetables are some of the things I am beginning to crave.

Seattle's Pike Place Market is still filled with glorious vegetables of all kinds. I am always happy just to stroll through the market and look at the abundance of fruits, veggies, and flowers that are for sale.
One of my very favorite fall dishes are roasted vegetables. The beautiful thing about roasting vegetables in the oven is the delicious taste and easy way of cooking them. Olive oil and seasonings are all you need to bring out the flavors and depth of even the most humble of veggies.

I love Ina Garten's recipe that includes fennel and grated Parmesan cheese that can be found in the Barefoot Contessa Back To Basics Cookbook. Of course you don't really need a recipe for this, but Ina's take on a dish is always delicious and she is one of my favorite cookbook authors.

So if you live in parts of the country where the Farmers Market shuts down soon, you really should go see what is available now. Let the market be a part of your fall menus and create meals around the veggies that are for sale. Add them to soups and stews that will fill your kitchen with the comforting scent of a cozy, home cooked meal. Sounds yummy to me!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

An Eye On Fashion In The City

Photo via Candace Lake

By Patricia

Whenever I am in downtown Seattle, I can't help noticing the way some women are dressed.
You know, the women that seem to have that certain something, that certain sense of style that you can't help noticing.
Of course Seattle is not New York or Los Angeles when it comes to fashion. We are fairly laid back here in terns of dressing. Jeans and a T-shirt can be found on a good many people who are attending the Seattle Symphony. I find this true fact a little sad, because they are missing out on a fun time to get dressed up for a change.
I do love sitting at an outside cafe in the city and people watching. I love seeing what women are wearing, especially as the weather begins changing.
 Do you love fashion? Are you a fashion watcher like I am? I would love to know what you think about fashion!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fabulous Friday - Pie, Coffee, and Bakery Love

Photo via the beautiful blog, elephantine.

By Patricia

The Seattle area is blessed with many great things. Our fabulous city, the water, the mountains, the people, the coffee. I could go on and on about this place I love.
But you know what else we have? Great bakeries. And lots of them, too. Are you a bakery person? I know I am, and one of my favorite places to meet one of my kids or a friend is at the bakery.

To sit down and share a cup of coffee and a piece of pie or a muffin with someone I care about is one of the small pleasures I treasure in my life. I am finding these small moments begin adding up to a happy life.
So take time to sit down, meet a friend, share a laugh and a pastry, and I think you might agree with me. There is such a thing as Bakery Love, and I don't just mean the donuts.

I hope you all have a Fabulous Friday, and a great weekend with the people you care about.
Here are a few things from around the web I would like to share with all of you.

Would you like a pair of FREE Glasses?
Check out this review to get a free pair, and see the lovely girl modeling them who is my 20 year-old daughter.

A pretty cardigan just in time for fall, and only $34.95 !!

These Pumpkin Pie Ruffle Footless Tights are so cute for a little girl. They can go under her Halloween costume, or wear them just because they are fun. Lots of other cute stuff in this Etsy Shop, too.

Try this delicious Food Network recipe for Ina Garten's chicken chili. It would be perfect for a fall dinner.

Love books, want to meet authors? Northwest Bookfest 2012 is being held this weekend in Kirkland Washington. If you are anywhere in the Seattle area, I highly recommend going.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Turkey Meatloaf, A New Take On An Old Classic

By Patricia

Are you and your family meatloaf lovers? I find that most people either love meatloaf, or it is the very last thing in the world they would ever even think of eating.
In my own family we are divided, a few of my kids adore it and ask me to cook it frequently, which I do. The others are appalled that I keep on making it after all their protests of not liking it. Well, as all moms know, we can't please everyone.

Through the years of making meatloaf, I have tried several different ways of combining the ingredients, but it really does come down to meat, eggs, breadcrumbs, and seasonings. But the thing about meatloaf is that you can combine those ingredients in different ways to create a truly different meal each time.
In the last couple of years, I have been using ground turkey occasionally instead of ground beef. It makes the meatloaf healthier for you, and the choice of ingredients and seasonings are endless. I think turkey meatloaf is delicious, and especially appealing in the fall when cozy family dinners are such a pleasure.

I just came across this great recipe for turkey meatloaf from Whole Foods. It looks delicious, and I will be making it this weekend for the meatloaf lovers in my family.
I actually love the Whole Foods website, it has recipes, a blog, store information, contests, and more. It's packed full of terrific foodie information.  
So next time you are making a meatloaf, you might want to jazz it up a bit by using turkey. It really is delicious, and a new take on an old classic.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Juliska Candle Review and Giveaway

Juliska | Possibly the most beautiful tableware in the world

By Patricia

One of my absolute favorite things in life is a scented candle. As fall nears, I love the cozy feeling of candles lit on the table or desk. 

As a candle lover, I am so pleased to have discovered Juliska Candles. Juliska Candles feel luxuriously beautiful, and are a lovely addition to any home. They are contained in frosted glass with an opulent ceramic top, with a fringe and bead tassel. They are also made with premium quality wax, and have a long burn time of 50 hours.

I have used the Clementine & Cassis scented candle, and I love it. It's luxurious scents are perfectly blended and fill the room with a heavenly fragrance. Juliska Candles also come in Honeysuckle & Jasmine, Fig & Bergamot, and Sea Grass & Neroli scents. I am now a devoted fan of these gorgeous candles, and have put them on my wish list for Christmas and my birthday.

They are perfect gifts for all occasions though, and would be a welcome present in any home. Beautifully packaged, they come in a handsome charcoal grey box that is trimmed with color and sealed with the signature Juliska Medallion.

Juliska also offers many other fine quality items on their website. To see their complete line of products, go to

We are pleased to be hosting a giveaway of a Juliska Candle to one of our lucky readers.

 Enter to win a Juliska Candle in the Rafflecopter Giveaway Below: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 *Limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts Sept. 19 2012 and ends on Oct. 15, 2012 at midnight EST. Winner will be emailed and has 72 hours to respond before another winner is selected. I was not paid for this giveaway or post. The opinions on this item are 100% mine and may vary from others. The sponsor is responsible for providing the prize. I was sent a candle for my review.

What I Wore Wednesday - Wish List

This Purple Jacket from H&M!

And these pajamas as well!

~ By Samantha ~

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Your Desk, Clean or Chaotic?

The way I would love my desk to look. Photo credit Little Blue Deer.
By Patricia

I always find it fascinating to peek into other people's creative work lives. This certainly includes the desk they work on.
My desk is actually my dining room table from my former married life. It is big enough to have everything I need at my finger tips. Pictures, books, papers, my coffee cup, and more are all there. And the truth is, it is dreadfully messy. But in a good way!!
I suppose people would wonder how I ever managed to think straight, let alone get anything done. But this is the way I work, and after years of trying to change it, I finally accept it and embrace it. I even have a pin on one of my Pinterest boards proclaiming "Creative Minds Are Rarely Tidy" and I completely agree!!
How about you? Is your work space neat, or a bit messy like mine?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Weekend In Pictures

By Patricia

This weekend I got together with two of my daughters and one of my sons. We had a great time just walking around West Seattle, having lunch, and enjoying each other's company.
I don't ever seek out car shows, but there was one on the streets, and I did like this pink car. Since I can't get enough of pink lately, I had to get this picture.

I was in heaven with all the thrift stores around. This fantastic shop had three stories of great stuff. My kind of place!!

How cool is this taxi, also a part of the car show. The weather was perfect, and there has been none of our famous Seattle ran for quite awhile now.

There is always time for a cup of coffee whatever time of day it is for us here in Seattle. We love our coffee!

This sweet little dog is the newest member of my daughter Samantha's family. Her little boys adore him already.

I love this mural of the beach that was painted on to the side of a building. The real beach is just about a mile away, one of the things I love about this area.

The best part of the day of course was spending time with my family. I wish my other two kids lived close, but they live in different states. It was a great Sunday.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Champions for Kids Big Book Drive Donation #NickCFK

The September Champions for Kids Simple Service Project is all about children and books. The Nickelodeon Big Book Drive Help Them Read Simple Service Project asks all of us to participate in hosting book drives in our communities to help provide books to children in need.

As a parent of five grown children, I know how important it is to have books available at home for your kids to read, or be read to. Parents reading to their children is usually the first introduction to books that kids have, and it can start a love of books and reading that can last a lifetime.

But 61% of low-income children have no books at home, and that fact is something Champions for Kids and the Nickelodeon Big Help Book Drive is trying to change. Reading is so important to a child's life in school, and lack of reading ability is one of the main reasons that teenagers drop out of school.

I participated in the Big Help Book Drive by hosting one of my own. I asked my family, friends and neighbors to donate new or gently used books so that we could donate them in the community.

 My grandson is lucky enough to have many, many books of his own. He often gets books as Christmas and Birthday presents. When I explained to him that some kids don't have any books of their own, he wanted to give some of his books to donate.

I had gone to Walmart and bought some Nickelodeon books to get my donation drive started. These are all the books that I gathered for my donation. I am so happy that these books will go to children that can take them home and have them read by a parent, or can read the books themselves. #NickCFK

I have decided to make my donation to the Kingston Food Bank. I truly believe in this organization, which is a community treasure, and is really much more than a food bank. Donating the books here will put them directly into the hands of local children in need.

Director Barb Fulton runs this organization that her own parents started 55 years ago. Barb and her volunteers serve over 100 families a month. In addition to supplying food to the families, clothing, diapers, pet food, and other household items are available. When I spoke to one of the volunteers at the food bank, I was told the books would be very welcomed, and given to kids to take home.

When parents are having trouble putting food on the table, there is no money for books, so I know that these books will go to low-income children that will truly benefit by having them.

The food bank had very few books, so I was extra excited to make this contribution to them. It is so easy, and feels so great to put together your own book drive. I found that people really do want to help out, especially when it comes to helping children.

You can participate in The Nickelodeon Big Help Book Drive by asking friends, family, and co-workers to donate books. You can also learn all about Champions for Kids and it's Simple Service Projects by going to their website for all the information.

My grandson knows what the word "donate" means, and I think that's one of the most important words he will ever learn. He came with me to make our donation, and carried stacks of the books inside himself.

When I think of the children that will be reading the books we have donated, I know we are making a difference. I encourage everyone to help make a difference in your own community by participating in this Nickelodeon Big Book Drive Help Them Read Simple Service Project, and reporting it on the Champions for Kids website. You can also be one of millions to help Champions for Kids meet their goal of helping 20 million people by 2020.

I would like to thank my family, friends, and neighbors for contributing books for this donation. I would also like to thank the Kingston Food Bank for all you do for the community. You can read my first blog post here to learn more about how you can help make a difference in the lives of children in your neighborhood by participating in a Simple Service Project.


Go HERE to the Champions For Kids website to learn all about the Nickelodeon Big Book Drive Help Them Read  project.
You can learn more about Champions for Kids and Nickelodeon by following them:
Champions for Kids Twitter
Champions for Kids Facebook
Nickelodeon Twitter
Nickelodeon Facebook

You can read my Google+ Story to see my shopping trip to Walmart for Nickelodeon Books for my Big Help Book Drive.

*I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Champions for Kids. #NickCFK #CBias All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

It Really Is The Little Things In Life

By Patricia

Fall is my absolute favorite season of the year. I can feel it coming on, with the cooler nights, already turning leaves, and fall fashions in the stores. I love the peacefulness of fall, and the excitement of Halloween and Thanksgiving as well.

Last weekend I was at Pike Place Market in Seattle and picked up this bouquet of flowers for $5. That is one of the best things about the Market I think, the abundance of inexpensive flowers. A lot of people buy flowers there, and when you see someone with the white paper wrapped bundle, or if you are the one carrying the bundle, smiles are always exchanged. To put it simply, flowers make people happy.

So starting today, I am going to embrace and seek out the little things in life to make myself happy. The $5 flowers, the cup of tea, the free library books, and the walk in the park. The big moments in life really are few, and certainly don't happen often. We have to look for happiness in what everyday life brings to us.
What small things bring you happiness? I would really love for you to share them with me!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday - Wish List

As we start looking towards fall I start to make a wish list of things I would love in my closet. I thought I would share it here in a "What I Wore Wednesday Wish List" for you all to see. 

I am loving this Vintage Havana Sweater - Skull that retails for $74.00. The combination of black sweater, the mustard yellow pants and open toed shoes really caught my eye . I am also loving the heart shaped eyes!  

If you would like to see more trends and fashion check out our Pinterest Boards!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pediped Shoes for Back to School Review

My boys went Back to School last week and it was great! Between the backpacks, the school supplies, the clothes and the new shoes they were so excited! Growing up school shopping was a big deal in our family. My mom always made a big deal about how getting new things for the new school year was important and fun. Showing up to the "big day" with all of our new things was awesome!

There is so much to think about and get for the new school year. Shoes were high on the list for us, getting the right shoes is a must. When it came time to get shoes for my sons I knew that pediped was the place to go. Pediped shoes are children's shoes designed to promote healthy foot development in kids. Pediped shoes were among the first children’s footwear to be awarded the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance for promoting healthy foot development. 

They are great quality, comfortable and stylish, all the things I am looking for in a shoe for my growing boys. There are over 120 styles to choose from for ages 0-7 years. My 5 year old has been wearing the Flex Vail - Chocolate Brown from the Youth Boys 4-7 section and we also got the Flex Hayden - Grey, Blue. I love the Vail Chocolate shoes because they look a bit dressy but they are standing up well to my energetic 5 year old! The shoe flexes with each step keeping him comfortable during his busy day.

For my 2 year old we got the Flex Jake - Navy from the Baby and Toddler Boys collection. These shoes are my favorite in the Toddler Boys collection! They look like they are lace up shoes but they are faux laces with velcro across the top that keeps the shoe in place, perfect for a 2 year old. 

About the Pediped footwear system from Pediped:
Whether your child is crawling, learning to walk, or running all around, pediped® has a stylish shoe that fits comfortably and ensures healthy foot development.
Each of our three footwear lines is specially designed to meet the needs of a particular walking stage while looking stylish, too!

Pediped has great new athletic styles, cold weather boots, and lots of great new styles for school or any holiday. You can also sign up to become a pediped Insider on so be the first to know any news of special promotions, new product introductions and more. And don't forget to like pediped on facebook at

If you are looking for great quality shoes for your little ones pediped is the place to shop!

Here is a video of my kids trying out their new Pediped shoes:

 *I was not paid or compensated for this post. The opinions in this post are 100% mine and may vary from other opinions. I was provided for free shoes to conduct my review.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fabulous Friday - Window Shopping, It's Free, Fun, and Fabulous!!

By Patricia

Do people still use the term "window shopping"? You know, when you are going shopping just to "look".

When I was a little girl in Los Angeles, my mother and I would put on our dressy clothes and go to Downtown to window shop. Back then all the major department stores had beautiful window displays, especially at Christmas time. My mother and I would have a lovely lunch, and often didn't buy much, but we had a wonderful time "window shopping".

A few days ago my daughters and I got together to do our own kind of window shopping. After coffee and muffins at a great bakery, we strolled around some local shops, just looking.
Of course, the best part was the talking, laughing, and just being together. Just like it was with my Mom.

I hope you all have a Fabulous Friday, and enjoy these last days of summer. It went so fast. And here are a few things I found I wanted to share with all of you.

A pretty, vintage dress for only $1?? This lady knows how to shop cheap, but always chic.

Go see Tonia's great DIY for making a seriously gorgeous pillow.  Your friends will be amazed by your talent!!

You can buy your child a cute pair of rain boots for half price, and the company will donate a pair to a child in need.

Can't get enough of West Elm's darling white owl kitchenware? Look at these sweet Owl Espresso Mugs on their website.

Visit Equipment for the beautiful, crazy and inspirational pictures you'll see there.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

MICHE Review and Giveaway

When it comes to fall fashion everyone needs one of the greatest accessories there are, a stylish purse. A purse is an important addition to your outfit, it represents your style as well as totes all of your much needed on-the-go items. A great purse can carry you throughout the seasons. That is why we love MICHE!!

Miche bags are perfect and affordable for the busy women in all of us. How many times have you wanted to change your purse to match your outfit for the day or change your purse for a special event but the thought of emptying all of the contents into a new purse and organizing it seemed like a huge task? The answer for me is A LOT. I am always on the go and so busy that I seem to carry around the same tired purse until it was past it's prime. Well that was me until I got a Miche. I tell you the Miche has changed my "purse carrying" life! It is so easy, you pick a base bag (there are 4 styles to chose from Prima, Classic, Demi & Petite), then add any of the stylish shells (each style has over 25 shells to chose from) so you can change your purse in seconds! The base bag holds all of your "stuff" and when you are ready for a new look you remove the magnetic shell and replace it with the new one. Here's how it works, so easy and so fun. If you are like me and also like to change your purse to match your mood for the day, each shell has a fun or sassy name to suit the style!

I am loving my Demi Base with the "Dawn" shell. I love that the cinnamon (light brown) faux leather can be worn for may occasions. It's soft and semi-gloss look is perfect for day or night!

For our Fall Event we are hosting a giveaway for 1 Miche Base Bag and 2 Shells!  

 Enter to win in the Rafflecopter Giveaway Below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 *Limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts Sept. 6 2012 and ends on Oct. 1, 2012 at midnight EST. Winner will be emailed and has 72 hours to respond before another winner is selected. I was not paid for this giveaway or review. I received the items pictured for free to conduct my review. The opinions on this item are 100% mine and may vary from others. The sponsor is responsible for providing the prize


Donating Books For A Good Cause With Champions For Kids #NickCFK

This month I am proud to be participating in the September Champions For Kids Simple Service Project.
This month's project is all about children and books, and helping to provide books to children in need by hosting book drives in your community.

The Nickelodeon Big Book Drive Help Them Read Simple Service Project encourages everyone to participate by hosting a book drive for your friends, family and co-workers to donate books and magazines that are appropriate for children.

Did you know that you can make a difference? Yes, each book collected puts a book in the hands of a child who will benefit in life by reading. I am asking my family and friends to participate in my  book drive by donating new and gently used books. I have even asked my five year old grandson, and these books are his contribution to this wonderful cause. I am so proud of him for his concern for other children.

To kick off my book drive I went to Walmart to purchase some Nickelodeon books to donate. You can go to the Champions For Kids website to read all about the Nickelodeon Big Book Drive Help Them Read Simple Service Project.

You can learn all about hosting your own book drive and the easy way you can share it on their website. This is such an important cause, and you and your community can make a big difference in a child's life with your donations.

I am looking for Nickelodeon Books here in Walmart. Dora the Explorer and Sponge Bob are two very popular Nickelodeon characters, and there are the these books here.

The book drive welcomes all books, new and used, that are in good condition. Did you know that 67% of 4th graders in the U.S. are reading below a Proficient level?

I like the Dora the Explorer books because they always make learning fun. Books play such an important role in a child's education, and many children have no books at all in their homes, or access to them in the programs that they are involved in.

Approximately 8.7 million fourth through twelfth graders struggle with required reading and writing tasks. And ongoing difficulties with reading and writing are major reasons that teenagers drop out of school. 

I have selected my books to purchase for the start of my book drive. I am going to be asking friends and family for their own donations.

I am planning to make my book donation to a local Head Start Program in my community. Head Start is an important program for low-income children that helps prepare them to start elementary school. 
Head Start also provides social services, health services, and tries to work to meet the needs of individual children. 

I am very excited to be participating in this worthwhile and important Champions For Kids Simple Service Project. I am encouraging everyone to get involved and host their own book drives and to make a difference for the children in your communities .

Go HERE to the Champions For Kids website to learn all about the Nickelodeon Big Book Drive Help Them Read  project.             .

You can also connect with them on their social media accounts:
Champions for Kids Twitter
Champions for Kids Facebook
Nickelodeon Twitter
Nickelodeon Facebook

You can read my Google+ Story to see my shopping trip to Walmart for Nickelodeon Books for my Big Help Book Drive.

*I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Champions for Kids. #NickCFK #CBias

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

Megan, our What I Wore Wednesday regular model, is in the middle of revamping and restyling her What I Wore Wednesday pictures and posts so I am filling in for her this week. This is not normally my thing, I don't think I am great at the posing for pictures but I did it. It wasn't easy with the baby awake crawling around the whole time. See my sweet baby girl Ashley crawling around? Apparently she liked her outfit today as well and wanted to be in the pictures! I didn't crop her out, this is me keeping it real haha. My life is 24/7 for kids right now but that doesn't mean I still can't try to look good while running errands or driving carpool! Here is a breakdown of my outfit, at least what I can remember. I am a shop-a-holic with a bad memory, oh dear.

Scarf - Old Navy - Gift
White V-neck T-shirt - Macy's - $24.99
Red pants - Walmart (seriously) - $14.99
Shoes - Target - $14.99 (I think)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

DIY - Wooden Bench Makeover

By Patricia

I've had this old bench around for years. I bought it at a yard sale, and it's been passed back and forth between my daughter and I a few times. I thought it really needed a makeover, and I was tired of the black wood and old fabric.
This is such an easy project to do, all I needed was some white paint and some new fabric. The new fabric I decided to use was actually an old drapery panel that I bought at the Good will for a few dollars. This was going to be a fast and inexpensive way to give new life to an old piece of furniture.

I took the bench outside and took off the seat, super easy since it just lifts out. It's a gorgeous day for an outside project!

I only had to do a little bit of sanding before I could apply the first coat of paint. Luckily the old paint was in good condition, but I would need to apply two coats of paint because I was applying white on the black paint.

Applying the first coat of paint. The can said it covers in one coat, but I could already see that wasn't going to work on my bench.

Here is the bench after two coats of paint. I let the first coat of paint dry over night because it was enamel, and it seemed to be drying slowly. Now on to the bench seat.

This is the drapery panel that I cut to size. I measured how much I needed for the bench seat, then I added four inches to each side. Using the staple gun made it very fast and easy to adhere the fabric to the seat. Super simple!

Going around the corners of the of the seat was a little trickier, but you just have to pull the fabric taunt and then staple it down. I didn't remove the very first layer of fabric, but it didn't interfere with stapling the new fabric on.

Here is the bench all finished! I love the light colors and what a big change it is. This DIY project was very easy and inexpensive to do. Love it!