Thursday, April 29, 2010


And while we're on the subject of parties...
I don't know what it is about kimono dresses but I think they're perfect hostessing dresses {tongue-in-cheek...of course it's the Asian in me!}. They have a bit of dramatic flair without being too pretentious.
{Victor & Rolf circa 2005}
{Moonspoon Saloon Cape Dress}
{Nanette Lepore}
{Issa Cape Dress}
And when I found 2 at TJMaxx for a steal, you better believe I snatched 2 of the same dress up in different prints!

I think I could wear a dress almost every day...


Hostess {with the Mostess} just featured new Jonathan Adler products just yesterday. Perfect for a funky Springtime soiree, non?


Now, for the real Wish List:
  1. I wish I had an outdoor dining set/living space so I could host a dinner party al fresco.
  2. I wish that bugs would magically either be gone for good OR would never be pesky or bite.
  3. I wish that turning 29-yrs next week was really 25.
  4. I wish that I'd had my act together sooner to throw myself a Very Merry UN-Birthday {to me, to me!} with guests only of course {no presents...only party-goers!}

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Berry Fun

I used the Strawberry Tutorial {HERE} but tied french yellow french knots instead of straight stitches for the "seeds" and used my pinking shears on the green tops to add texture. Sheesh- I just wasted spent another $8 on felt to make more foods.

{Felt Tip: Walmart has $0.20 per sheet but a 30% off sale at Hobby Lobby now has $0.17 per sheet & they have a million colors}.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Someone's in the Kitchen

C'mon, admit it- you KNOW you want a Gigi {aka "G"} and Grandadder- so they can make you a really cool playkitchen like Baby M's! I realized I've done a great injustice having not posted a follow-up from the first post and photos . And while I think I may add some hooks on the side {for pot holders, towels, and such} and a chalkboard {for grocery lists, menu ideas, and such}, I just can't bring myself to change anything on it at all because it's just so darn cute!
Here's the play kitchen:
The faucet knobs and stovetop knobs all turn. The under-sink cabinets open. The oven door opens and has a plexiglass window.

Baby M has a stainless steel sink and a cool backsplash faucet {modern & manly, no?}. He even has a flat-topped stove {way better than Mommy's 1978 appliance!}

And while I can't bring myself to alter it yet {only with the hooks/chalkboard}, I did accessorize with an apron during my Friday midnight sewing spree:
And without using a pattern or a tutorial, it fits and works pretty well.
My next sewing project will be some felt food {check out Homemade By Jill's post on making felt food with fantastic tutorial links!}, but I picked up a $5 plastic bin at Target to hold Baby M over for now.
We LOVE LOVE LOVE our new kitchen!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ziggity Zaggety

Right now I'm digging all things zig-zag. The Chevron Stripe {aka zig-zag stripe} is a perfect combination of whimsy, graphic print, and fun...I'll take it, please!

And yes, I know I need to edit my little office corner, but my Linda & Harriet zig-zag notepad will definitely be a Keeper
{P.S. Those grey and white striped pencils are from the $1 bin @ Michael's, thanks to Haven and Home's post!}
And then I tried to mirror that design in a print {yes, wall editing needed}
Sadly, I had to put up a barrier curtain to block my office from the kitchen view while I'm working and Baby M eats {another midnight sewing project Friday night}, unfortunately it blocks the adjacent kitchen eat-in area...
...and this lovely rug!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Identity Theft

In 2009, Identity Theft was the #1 consumer complaint with more than 1.3 million victims. This accounts for 21% of the total complaints.
source: Federal Trade Commission {}

Yesterday I received an odd call from someone saying they " in the back office of a law firm and needed contact information for my 'Attorney of Record' for a case filed against me for an unpaid loan."

He recited my name, home address, and telephone number and advised this was all on record as the person who applied for the loan through "PayDayUSA", a paperless loan company. He even provided me with a Case File number but when I pressed to verify that I was the correct person; he advised he couldn't share any other information with me. There was a significant language barrier too as his accent was thick and I could also hear a great deal of background noise with personal cells ringing, other people talking; it wasn't very professional.
But here's the tricky part: he never asked for personal information other than "my Attorney of Record" contact information. He advised they already have my Social Security Number on file as it was required for the loan.
I advised that if PayDayUSA was paperless, then he should have my e-mail address on file. The address he provided had a questionable domain and I haven't been able to find it Online since the call.
And NO, I never provided him any information at all and was stern in advising that he couldn't validate that he was a verifiable company and not a " Phisher"; and told him that he never provided any information he couldn't easily find on the Internet or in the White Pages. He stayed on the phone surprisingly and said something to effect that he'd write in my file that I was "uncooperative."

My problem now is that I don't know if:
1) This "back office of a law firm" is simply phishing for information
2) Perhaps someone really did apply for an Online loan using my identity.
What I did:
  1. Immediately I went to the Federal Trade Commission Website to find information on obtaining my free credit reports Did you know that there is only ONE Website that the government authorizes for free credit reports? It's . We've probably all seen those Free Credit Report Websites...I'm glad I checked the government Website first to find the authorized site!
  2. I'm ashamed to say I've never exercised my right to the free annual report until yesterday. But I pulled 2 of the 3 reports Online {for some reason Equifax must be requested via mail}. After obtaining my Credit Reports, I reviewed my accounts and didn't see any suspicious activity or negative credit items; I also reviewed the credit inquiries as well.
  3. I called Equifax and placed a Fraud Alert on my account for an extra add of protection against identity theft. This will remain in place for 90 days and then I'll continue to review my credit to ensure there's nothing suspicious. Did you know you only have to call one of the 3 credit reporting companies {for instance, when I notified Equifax, they automatically alert Experian AND TransUnion for me- yay!}
  4. I also called my personal Bank to place additional security measures; I advised them of the call and had to go in-person to make arrangements but it was well worth the trip.
  5. If you have other lines of credit open, make sure to alert them and monitor them frequently. I'm personally conservative about opening any line of credit anyway...but for my identity protection, I'll leave it at that!

Make sure to visit the FTC's Website and links on Identity Theft: Their mantra is to- Deter Detect Defend I've visited the site years before and regularly practice the methods to minimize my risk of identity theft...and apparently it's still an issue I have to deal with.

From my personal assessment "The Morning After", I believe this to have been a Phishing Phone Call. I specifically asked to speak with a supervisor in the firm and was advised that they would call me back; it hasn't happened yet... My credit history remains the same and I also didn't see any suspicious credit inquiries on my reports, nor did I see any odd activity with my personal Bank.

So for now, I'm thankful for conservative financial practices, shredding documents {especiallly after taxes & ridding of obsolete docs}, a watchful eye, and financial institutions who add alerts additional forms of protection and free credit reports!

If you have any additional tips, please feel free to add.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mommy Jeans

I've been scared to death to buy a new pair of jeans since the baby, and I haven't...until NOW!

GILT had a sale on AG Adriano Goldschmied Club Flare jeans and I couldn't resist. These are the jeans Oprah was fitted in...they're great for curvy women with a bit of stretch and a flattering flare leg.
I can still hardly believe that I bought a pair of jeans online...and had NEVER tried this style much less the brand on in-person. I've never done that before. I still need to hem them, but my only complaint is they don't make my butt bigger {I have a serious case of Flat Butt}
Ahhhhhh- it's like a Corona commercial, only it's me in my new jeans {with tags still on}.
Oh and GILT Groupe is a membership-only site with luxury and name-brand fashion, home decor, and some childrenswear. If you'd like an invite just leave your e-mail in the comment section and I'd be happy to send an invitation to you!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fit for a King

Everyday items are a landmine for playful imaginations. Remember when you were little and the refrigerator box meant a playhouse or fort?

Well a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to make Baby M a castle out of the plethora of boxes in the garage {I'm not sure if I should admit the pack rat in me that justifies saving boxes for future shipping cartons / projects / moving OR how about the gazillion glass baby food jars that infiltrate my pantry that will one year likely be sent to the recycling bin}. Here were my inspiration photos:

Well last night after 2 hours of cutting, taping and keeping poor Baby M in the itty bitty baby walker {to keep my rambunctious toddler somewhat contained}, I finished the task.

The Cardboard Castle Project
Boxes...where it all started
I first taped the flaps open and then cutout the brick-top design {I'm sure there's a fancy schmancy name for this but I don't know it}
I cut out the windows, adjoining walls, and the castle door. Then I taped the 3 boxes together in a crazy sticky tape fashion. My poor scissors weren't dulled by the cardboard, they were stickified by the tape.
I reinforced weaker areas with extra tape and then took the empty tape roll and flattened one side to make a door handle.
Et Voila

This was a super-easy project and I think would have been completed sooner had I not been watching my ever curious toddler perusing the garage. Oh and PS it was FREE! Well, other than the cost of a new pair of scissors to replace the uber sticky ones =)

His Royal Highness Baby M happily welcomes you to his humble abode!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Next Room to Furnish

YAY- thankfully I'm receiving a refund this year! With a new dependent, plus job loss last year, I was pleased when I completed my return, but then realized, "Wait, that's MY money anyway!" But I digress... {hehe}

I've decided I'll go ahead and fix up the back deck as it's been neglected for almost 3 years. It'd be nice to have furniture out there...for Baby M to eventually destroy of course.

The original back deck, boring, naked, and needing some personality- 3 years ago.
The back deck today: not much different as it's still boring, naked, and needing personality. At least I installed some wrought iron flower planters on the rails. {well also I've had 4 trees removed for safety, but you can't really tell much from the dense forest that is my backyard}
So, where to start?

I was really impressed with Home Depot's Martha Stewart line. I first saw these outdoor sets in-store and the cushions are very comfortable, the metal structures seemed sound, and I was happy that they offered free shipping for purchasing Online.

Martha Stewart Fireside Set {$500}

Martha Stewart Chat Set {$400}
And then I searched for Walmart's offerings. They have a Better Homes and Gardens line which looks better aesthetically, but I honestly couldn't tell the quality difference in-person.

Seaside Garden 6-piece set {$474}
Sand Dune 4-piece set {$250}
Rattan 5-piece set {$218}

International Caravan 4-piece Settee Set {$318}

If it were purely by price, I'd choose one of the WalMart offerings BUT I'd like to select something with both quality and a good price. {oh and after reading reviews, many of the WalMart sets use the plastic bands for seating rather than keeping everything the same metal material-BOO!} Target has a great Smith & Hawken line, but their prices are actually quite a bit more than Home Depot's.

Deck Challenges:

  • I need to invest in easy-to-keep furniture...or really no-maintenance furniture. Teak would be pretty, but I'm thinking metal for easy spray down
  • I have a small toddling child who will indeed enjoy moving everything around. So I'd prefer furniture of substantial weight {to discourage rearranging} and am maybe thinking Wrought Iron but this could change
  • Speaking of my small toddling child, it might be nice to keep the adult furniture somewhat small to midsized so Baby M can have some room to play on the back deck too
  • With the constant fall of neon dust {pollen}, I'll need to budget for outdoor cushion storage {plus this will preserve the cushions longer}

What do YOU think? Tips or Suggestions? Recommendations?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Blog Round Up - Cheap & Chic

No, it's not the Moschino line, it's that time again: Blog Round Up! Of course this series is just as sporadic as My Favoite Things postings...but nevertheless.

The good news about a bad economy is that it forces people to reprioritize, live on a tighter budget, and in my opinion become a better steward of money in general. With that being said, here are 3 great blogs with tips on creating stylish living {both fashion and home} without breaking the bank.

Can you be in love with a blog? Because I am. Copy Cat Chic has featured beautiful furniture and accessories that are exact or ridiculously-close-to replicas of higher-end designer pieces. My mother bought this fabulous settee {HERE} a year ago after I shared the post with her and I just recently ordered a fun zig-zag rug for my kitchen area {HERE}. This blog is definitely a bookmarked favorite!

The Broke Socialite is a fun lifestyle blog with everything from fashion to decorating, and even posts on manners. It's full of Southern graces and I get a kick out of seeing what all TBS is up to each week.

The fruGALs are two of my bestest friends. They recently started a great blog with tips and ideas to style your home frugally. There are easy DIY posts and "great finds" posts with information on how to design within a budget.