Thursday, December 8, 2011

Modern..maybe. Ethnic...maybe. Graphic...yes!

It's the Anders Runner, on sale now for 50% off at Crate and Barrel.  From their website:  "Contemporary runner in luxe Belgian velvet rows up textural, angled bands of russet, green, black and neutrals for a colorful study in abstract asymmetry. Finished with mitered corners and tailored hem."  That may all be true, but I just know that it looks amazing down the center of our black granite topped dining room table.    

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Kitchen Poinsettia

Yes, I do really like fresh flowers.... Yes, my brother-in-law is one of the top poinsettia growers in the midwest... and he generously gives me a gorgeous full size poinsettia every year.... but..... this little Faux Potted Poinsettia from Target is just too perfect for my kitchen table.  Only $10 and no dropped leaves, risk of water spots on the wood finish, or droopy petals, and I get to use it over and over again year after year.  I like that.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

$5 Jersey Scarves - Yes, please! One in every color!

Why have I not seen these before?  I'm a regular Target shopper....  I always make a pass through the accessory department....  Anyway, I games across a few of these scarves earlier this week, mixed in with the other scarves in no particular order - Xhileration Oblong Scarves.   At only $5, I snatched up one of every color I could find - blue, maroon (Go UofChi Maroons), and red (Yeah Westside!).  When I came home and checked out the website, it showed a bunch of other colors, but all were listed as being "sold out online".  Bummer!  I am lusting after the light blue, purple, gray and magenta.  What better way to add a "pop of color" (I am getting soooo tired of that phrase, but it just works here) to an outfit?  And the light weight means they are not too hot in the warmer months of the year.  So if you are out and about and come across any of these in another color - give me a call - I may ask you to pick one up for me - I promise I'll pay you back!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Simply Genius

Simply Genius.  Seriously?  Yes, I know it's just a tortilla chip, but these Longboard Tortilla Chips from Trader Joe's are simply genius.  Want proof?  Stand in front of a mirror and stick out your tongue, then hold up one of the tortilla chips next to it.  See... same shape!  And that is what makes these tortilla chips simply genius.  It fits in your mouth, perfectly.  No charley horses in the cheek from trying to get your mouth around a round tortilla chip.  No pokes in the gum from the triangle variety.  Sturdy enough to hold your favorite chunky salsa and traditional corn taste.  Like I said... simply genius.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ready (& RED) for Christmas!

Are you tired of the junky Christmas decorations?  Over the snowmen craze?  Looking for something different that an overstuffed Santa with a cute smile?  Then I may have found just what you are looking for.  A couple of years ago, I ordered this Rouge Candleholder from Crate and Barrel, and I was happy to see they had on their website again this year.   The vibrant red glass sits on a sturdy iron base.  It has a strong, modern look, and with a lit candle, casts a rosy glow over the entire room.  Bring it out for Christmas, and leave it out through Valentine's Day if you like.  Or even all year round.

Friday, October 28, 2011

I am ready for winter!

So furry, so fun, so very faux!  My Tahari Tara coat arrived this week from Nordstroms and I just slipped it on over my T & jeans and sat on the sofa to watch this weeks episode of The Middle.   It was so cozy and comfortable I couldn't take it off.  I think this will be so cute with jeans and boots this winter, or to top a dress for a fancy night out.  What do you think?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

All it takes is a little extra touch... turn a single scoop of ice cream into a very special dessert.  I like ice cream as much as anyone, but I don't find the super-size Blizzards and triple scoop sundaes very satisfying.  It's just too much; too, too much.  But after being in Switzerland, I discovered the Swiss know how to make a single scoop of ice cream feel like a special dessert.  Please note in the picture above ~ just a single scoop of Pistachio ice cream, a bit of fruit garnish, in this case it's a slice of red apple and a slice of kiwi, with a single little cookie across the top.  The dish is set on top of a doily covered plate and served to you with a special ice cream spoon. Add a mint leaf and, voila!  Really very simple, but oh, so much more satisfying than an oversized fast foot concoction.  I'm going to try this one at home.  Easy & elegant.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Beautiful Basic

After trying a few other shades this summer, I'm back to my beautiful basic - Bobbi Brown Creme Shadow in Sand Dollar.  This creamy, creaseless, long-lasting shadow is one of my make-up staples and Sand Dollar is a great neutral color.  It's not too light, not too dark, and rather than looking made-up, I just look "finished".  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cute, Comfortable, Hippie Shoes!

Photo courtesy of Zappos - Love them, too!

When I travel, I only pack two pairs of shoes - a pair of light hikers and a comfortable walking sandal.  So, with just two pairs of shoes for ten days, I am extremely picky.  The shoes have to earn their keep and be very, very versatile and very, very comfortable, and I like for them to have a bit of style, too.   While shopping this summer, I came across this pair of Dansko Sigrid sandals.  Perfect!  Yes, they were comfortable, even after walking hours and hours on cobblestone streets.  The adjustable buckle provided a bit more security and stability compared to a more common slide-style on the uneven streets.  Yes, they were versatile, I wore them with everything from khaki shorts during the day, to jeans and a cardigan for a casual family dinner, and even with a black dress and a bit of sparkle for a romantic dinner alone with B.  The black leather upper with natural wood tone outsole made it easy to dress them up or down.   And I think they are cute in a retro-hippie kind of way.  Even now at home, I still find them wearing them at least several times a week.  Expensive, just a bit - but cost per wear will be very, very low.

Friday, September 16, 2011

I'm Back...

From two of my favorite things...

From that beautiful and culturally rich country... Switzerland!  

I coordinated a trip for my husband and me and seven other members of my extended family to our "hometown" of Frutigen, Switzerland.  It was a wonderful trip filled with lots of laughs, lots of cheese and lots of chocolate and the most incredible scenery.  

Just five days after I returned, it was time for our class workshop followed the next week by the first day of class for Bible Study Fellowship.  As the Class Administrator I am responsible for hosting the ~ 450 women in our class and managing the support staff such as ushers, treasurer, and AV system.  BSF is an awesome way to learn about the Bible.  For more information or to see if there is a class in your area, check out the website:  

So now it's back to more regular, or at least semi-regular, blogging.  I've got a lot more pearls to share with you in the upcoming weeks.  Thanks for reading!

They're Back.....

Vanilla Tootsie Rolls!  A bit of luscious chewy goodness.  Creamy vanilla flavor.  Just a little treat.  The problem is they are only offered a few times during the year.  I found them recently in the Halloween candy aisle at Target, and hoping they will be back again in the Christmas treats section in a few months.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Finally found 'em ~ the perfect fall capri's!  I have not one, not two, but at least three pairs of white capri's in my closet.   No, not exactly the same - they are all different lengths and fabrics, and I do wear all three pairs, so that is not the problem.  The problem is late August and early September.  It's too hot for jeans, but too "fall" for white capris.  I took a chance ordering these Cotton Capri Pants with Tabs from Ann Taylor last week during one of their many sales.  Mostly cotton with a touch of spandex and cute little adjustable tabs at the waist.  The color is called "pine cone" ~  a nice cross between olive green and dark gray.  The fit = perfect.  The length = spot on.  Now I am all set for those early fall football games!  RDP and Boiler Up!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Grapefruit + Bergamot = 7-Up??

I don't why, but whenever I wash my hands with this soap, it reminds me of 7-Up!  Who would have thought that by combining Grapefruit and Bergamot you could get the scent of 7-Up!  Which, if you think about it, is really a nice, crisp, clean scent - not too sweet, not too flowery, not too fruity.  Just fresh and clean.  I keep a bottle of this delicious foamy soap by the kitchen sink for quick hand wash-ups, and save the harsher dishwashing soap for the dishes.  A few years ago you could only find Kiss My Face Grapefruit & Bergamot Foaming Soap at Trader Joe's and some health food stores.  Now, if you look carefully, you will see it on the shelf at Marsh, Kroger, Wal-Mart and other mainstream stores.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


My new favorite for a light lunch ~ a fresh juicy peach or some white cherries, a little bit of hummus (roasted garlic or roasted red pepper) and a piece of this Stonefire Naan.  I picked this up at Super Wal-Mart, but if I remember correctly, I think I have also gotten it at Target a few times.  Anyway, I like to put the tiniest bit of olive oil on the top, give it a sprinkle of California style garlic salt and pop it in the oven for just a couple of minutes.  When warm, tear off a piece and dip it into your favorite hummus.  Yummus!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Looking thru Rose Colored Glass(es) Bottles!

(photo courtesy of West Elm)

I recently rearranged some accessories in the sunroom, aka 'treehouse', and added some colored glass bottles.  I just love the way the light shines through them!  The picture above is from West Elm, so they are not exactly like the ones pictured, but a mixture of bottles I collected from the basement, Hobby Lobby and TJ Maxx.  Although I do really like the turquoise bottle in the picture... maybe I should add just one more?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Bowlful of Summer!

Met a friend for lunch last week at Panera and had the Strawberry Poppyseed Salad, it was so good, I bribed Jake into going there to lunch with me again today so I could get another one!  It tastes like a bowl full of summer!  Fresh strawberries - fresh blueberries - fresh pineapple - not so fresh, but still sweet and juicy mandarin oranges - toasted pecans - and a peppery grilled chicken - all tossed up in a light poppy seed dressing.  And the entire big bowl has only 340 calories!  For real!  This could become a weekly habit.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Long Live the Queen!

Queen Anne Cherries, that is!  I love, love, love these white-flesh cherries, available only for a short time each year.  Mmm, so sweet and juicy.   I've been lucky the last few years to be able to find them at our local Sam's club - a big plus because they cost a big more than the standard sweet cherry.  I've also seen the same type of cherry labeled as "Ranier".  I'm guessing it's a different variety of white cherry - and it's just as sweet and juicy as the Queen Anne.  Try either one, you won't be disappointed!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I Can't Believe I Did This...

I have not one, but TWO of this dress... the Notch Neck Shift from Boden.  I ordered the navy blue dress this spring.  And after the first time that I wore it, I was in love!  So easy to wear, comfortable but flattering style, modest coverage, and the nicest slubby cotton fabric.  A great dress to wear all day, no matter where your day takes you.  Nice enough for church or Bible study, but not too fussy for a trip to grocery store.  The slubby cotton fabric is substantial - it doesn't cling or wilt, even on the stuffiest of days.  So the next time I received a discount code from Boden, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to order another one of the exact same style (!) - but in a completely different print and color - hoping that no one will notice that I have two of the same dress, or if they do, they will be kind enough not to mention it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fast Food Favorites - Part 2

I guess it couldn't be Fast Food Favorites without adding something from McDonalds - the master of fast food.  My pick from Micky D's is the 3/$1.00 Oatmeal Cookies.  You can mix and match the 3/$1.00 price with the Chocolate Chip Cookies, but I usually go all out for the almost-homemade taste of the oatmeal.   Big enough to share an order with a friend, and the price is right.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fast Food Favorites

I don't like to eat fast food any more than I have to, but when I do, I look for a Steak 'n Shake and pick up one of their Snack Paks.  You can't beat the price - just $2.89 - for a single Steakburger, small order of their famous skinny French Fries and a small drink.   Really, that's all you need for a quick lunch on the go.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A hint of mint, a bit of basil

I'm not big on burning candles in the summer.  It's just too hot.  But every now and then you need a scented candle to freshen up the kitchen after a particularly "fragrant" meal - but the problem is most candles are just too much for summer - too fruity, too spicy, too flowery... just too much.  This week I was at Target and found the perfect summer scented candle ~ Mint Basil.  The scent is fresh, simply fresh, and the clean, crisp, unfussy jar perfectly complements the scent.  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

White Peach / Red Mango

We stopped in at Red Mango last night after the band concert.  One of their featured flavors was White Peach.  I was speechless.  Tthe best tasting fresh peach flavor ever!  Topped with some fresh strawberries and blueberries - what a refreshing dessert.  Mmmm.....

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Long & Lean Reign Supreme

This Pearl comes from my friend Andria.  She tipped me off to these jeans last year and they have been my favorites ever since!  Long & Lean Jeans by Gap.  What's so amazing, is that these jeans are perfect for both of us, and Andria and I are total opposites when it comes to body shape and size.  The second most amazing thing is the price - $59.50-$69.50 depending on the wash, but with Gap's frequent sales and promotions, I've never paid more than $40.  Much better than the popular designer jeans!  Most days you will find me in one of my pairs of Long & Leans... they are just that good.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Peanut Butter, Not Peeps!

When it comes to Easter candy, my favorite by a long shot is the Reese's Peanut Butter Egg.  It is peanut butter perfection ~ the perfect proportion of peanut butter and chocolate.  The regular size Reese's peanut butter cup is close, the miniatures - yech, not quite right, but the there is just something about the size, shape and chocolate to peanut butter ratio in the egg that makes it perfect.  Those fluorescent marshmallow chicks don't tempt me a bit, but I can't let Easter pass without a perfect peanut butter treat ~ a Reese's egg.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thanks to Maggie for this Pearl!

 I have to give credit to my stylish niece, Maggie, for this favorite Pearl.  A few years ago at our Christmas "Favorite Things" exchange, she gave each of us gals one of these - Lash Blast Mascara by Cover Girl - and it has been one of my favorite things ever since!  Thicker lashes without the ugly raccoon eyes I get from some brands.  I do buy department store cosmetics, but when it comes to mascara, drugstore lines are the way to go.  Why pay over $20 for mascara when you have to replace it every few months anyway?  And this mascara is the best I've found - well it was, until.....

Cover Girl came out with a new hybrid - Lash Blast Fusion - for volume and length.  Now my scraggly little lashes can be thicker and longer, and still without the ugly raccoon eyes.  Thanks, Maggie, for this pearl!

PS  I've added a "Follower" tab off to the side, but so far, I only have one Follower (and that's my mom!), so if you are a regular reader, I would love you to make it official and add yourself as a Follower, too!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pretty Little Thing

Over the last couple of years, I've gone mostly electronic, and even more so in the last two months with my new iPhone, but I still like to keep a notebook in my purse for jotting down a quick note.  And for that, I love these pretty little notebooks from Greenroom.  I like the paper size, pretty covers and slim profile.  They are about 4 x 5 in, a little bigger than a standard index card.  In addition, they make a great and inexpensive travel journal.  Look for them in the stationary aisle at Target.  The only trouble you have is picking out which cover design you like the best!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

McAlister's Does Tea Right!

The best thing is at McAlister's Deli is not the Havarti Sweet Chipotle Chicken Panini (Delicious!) or the Southwest Roasted Corn Soup (Mmmmm!) but their really BIG glasses of Iced Tea and the servers who come around about half way through your lunch and offer to get you a refill.  I like to get mine unsweetened and sweeten it up myself with a couple of pink packets, but the Sweet Tea is a favorite of many.  Always perfectly brewed and always perfectly refreshing - in a really big glass - McAlister's Iced Tea.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Where Knowledge Junkies Get Their Fix

I've hesitated to post this favorite because I know you will all think I am such a nerd... but I can't wait any longer:  Mental Floss Magazine!  This bi-monthly magazine is full of easy-to-understand and not-too-long articles on all sorts of topics - art, literature, history, geography, science, pop culture, and technology.  It explains the interesting parts of these topics with a sense of humor and intelligence without getting bogged down in the gritty technical details.  My sweetheart picked up the first copy for me at a newsstand a few years ago, just because he knew I would like it, then started getting me the annual subscription soon after.  When it arrives in the mail, I have to hide it until I have read it all the way through or one of my kiddos is likely to snatch it and sneak it off to their room.  Yes, it's now a family favorite.  If you like to learn about a wide variety of subjects, I guarantee you will love Mental Floss!

*** Update - After I wrote and posted this entry this morning, I opened up the Wall Street Journal to find an article about Mental Floss being bought by a British company.  Apparently the new owner does not like the name "Mental Floss" as Brits don't floss (ewww!) so don't be surprised if there is a name change in the near future.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Perfect Movie Night

For the perfect movie night, pick up a back of Popcorn, Indiana Kettlecorn Popcorn.  Of the brands that we've tried, we think this is the best combination of salty and sweet.  Crispy, Crunchy, Delicious!  And the ingredient list could not be any simpler - popcorn, sugar, canola oil, salt - no high-tech, whacked  out chemicals.   Mmmm, love it!

Monday, February 28, 2011


Do you like Scrabble, but not the LONG time between turns?  Then check out this alternative - Bananagrams!  This fast moving game is a little bit like Scrabble, but each person builds their own little crossword in front of them.  To start the game, you yell "Split!" and to draw another tile "Peel!".  The game is over when all the tiles have been drawn - maybe 10-15 minutes or so.  When you don't have all night for a game, this is a great alternative.  And when you're all done, the tiles store inside the cute little banana-shaped fabric bag.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I may have outgrown Barbie dolls...

... but I still like to play dress-up.
As a mentioned in my last post, I love my new iPhone, but my iPhone seemed a little bit cold and a little bit exposed.  It wanted a cover that would protect the phone and also something pretty that would be easy to find in the depths of my bag.  I looked at a LOT of options, both on-line and in the stores.  Nothing was quite right - until I discovered these adorable cases. The Speck iPhone covers are sold through the website  (Note ~ Zazzle is also the website I used for the Calling Cards ~ see March 2009).  They have hundreds or rather thousands of cute designs to choose from.  You can tweak the design to get exactly what you want, and then personalize it with your name in your favorite font.  I had such a hard time picking just one, that I didn't - I picked three.  Fortunately, they were running a special last week!  Although I have long outgrown Barbie dolls, I still like to play dress-up ~ only now it is with my new iPhone.

The Apple of my Eye!

Well,  I wasn't one of those people up at 3am to put in my order, I did get my order in the first day for the new Verizon iPhone.... and I love it!  Easy to use ~ Seamless syncing ~ And great sound quality.  Worth waiting for!

Monday, February 14, 2011

This time the "Beauty Experts" got it right!

I've become a bit suspicious of the "Best of Beauty..." lists that are compiled by various magazines.  Year after year Maybelline Great Lash Mascara appears on these lists, and the couple of times I have tried it have been a major disappointment.  But after seeing Essie "Mademoiselle" in several lists and articles over the last month or two, I decided to give it a try.  What a nice surprise! Mademoiselle is a soft sheer pink that really does go with everything.  Not too white, not too peachy.  Classic.  And unlike darker nail polish, any little nicks and chips are not very noticeable. (Yeah!)

Friday, February 4, 2011

In honor of my favorite guy... one of his favorite things!

The Basic Binder Clip.  Not very pretty to look at, but a real work horse.  You will find these in almost every room in our house.  In the kitchen, they hold the chip and pretzels bags shut tight.  In the bathroom, I use one to hold a couple of drawer dividers together and from sliding all over the place.  I keep one or two in my purse to hold the assortment of store coupons.  In the office, it holds a stack of papers (duh!) or a cord along the edge of a desk to keep them neat and untangled.  You get the picture, and I'm sure you have your own unique uses for this simple but clever little thing.  Please share!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Best of GFS - part 3 of 3

And now,  the highly anticipated final installment of the Best of GFS.... GFS Sweet Yeast Dinner Rolls!  You will find these fully baked but frozen dinner rolls in the freezer section of GFS Marketplace.  Just pop them in a 350 degree oven for about 5-7 minutes to warm and lightly brown them up just a bit.  I like to keep a bag of these slightly sweet dinner rolls in my freezer to fill out a meal - perfect with a hearty soup and a nice change from garlic bread with pasta.  They are delicious!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Best of GFS - part 2 of 3

Old way to make Spaetzle - boiling hot water, messy dough covered grater thing to clean up....

New way to make Spaetzle.... Marzetti's Frozen Spaetzle Dumplings from GFS Marketplace!  
I am so excited to find this item.  My family's favorite recipe is Chicken Paprikash - served over Spaetzle.  But honestly, as much as I like Chicken Paprikash, I limited making it to just a few times a year.  The Paprikash is easy, and actually making the Spaetzle is easy, it's just a big mess to clean up.  Now, I am happy and my family is happy as I have found these frozen Spaetzle, just cook in boiling water for a few minutes, drain and you are done!  Ta-Da! 
PS  My spell checker is having a hard time with this post!  Heehee!
PSS  Don't tell me you've never had Chicken Paprikash?!  It's delicious, and I would be happy to share the recipe.  Spaetzle are also a delicious side dish to many other dishes, too.  Try them sometime!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thank you!

Just a quick note to say "Thank You!" to those who commented on my last post.  I'm having fun with this blog, and I'm happy to know there are at least a few people that read it!
~ Marti

Best of GFS - part 1 of 3

Woohoo!  Does it get any more exciting that this?  Minor's Chicken Base!  But with this item in your fridge, making soups and sauces is very easy.  I rarely, if ever, buy chicken broth - just use the measurements on the side to make your own quickly and easily.  This chicken base is made from real chicken, contains no MSG, and is full of real chicken flavor, not salt.  It is so convenient!  Look for it in the refrigerated section at your local GFS Marketplace.