Design Your Own Yoga Mat

Very neat idea – I could perhaps remember all the poses for sun salutation if I had them printed on my mat. Or…my favorite scripture…or my favorite quote…or my kids’ picture…or my own funky design. Great ideas, all! Check out these yoga mats you can design yourself.

Cute Toddler Shoes – UMI Shoes!

Have you seen Umi shoes? Adorable. These little leather classics make me happy. Right now, Umi is offering a 30% discount on any order throughout the month of May. Use the code MAY30 at checkout. I think they also offer free shipping for any order above $75. Quality shoes – you will love ’em!

Dash & Albert Rug Store

Beautiful catalog. Beautiful rugs. Puppies in the pictures…what more could a girl ask for? Love rugs. Love puppies. My only suggestion is if you HAVE dogs, look for olefin or a natural fiber you can wash! My Capel wool oval rug is the nastiest for vacuuming up – the yellow fibers clog my Dyson brush all the time.

Vintage Tubs & Home Decor

Picture from Vintage Tubs.

If you’re like me and you like vintage along with your modern, here is a home decor site for you: Vintage Tubs. I ran across this site and they offer FREE shipping to US & Canada. Now if I could only afford to remodel my bath…just yet. It looked like they had some great pricing on benches and other outdoor furniture.

Hollywood at Home also has some great antiques – but whoa – those prices are out of this world. Still – a girl can look, right? It’s not even that I WANT this stuff but that I really enjoy looking at what people can do with it to create a home or a mood or a feeling. It’s all about making a HOME, right?! I am always surprised at the simplest things that can make a home, like:

– scriptures laying out on a table having been read
– fresh fruit in a bowl with tiny bites out of each and every one
– shoes and socks lining the entryway
– Star Wars stickers all over the bunk bed and toy pails

So what makes YOUR house a home?? I’m just curious!

Ponoko: Laser Cut Your Own Designs!

I’m posting extra today to make up for several missed postings in the past couple of weeks. Check out this site: Ponoko. You provide the concept and they make it a reality. Very interesting, unique and creative offerings. Check out the blog here. I love all things type so, of course, the helvetica necklace just suits me fine but look at the other stuff – puzzle cars, octopus desk art. Reaffirms to me just how creative people can be: brilliant!

Sephora Love & Tarte Eyeliner

I took the advantage of being at Village Pointe last night to get to Sephora to pick up my FREE birthday gift. Did you know they give out FREE birthday gifts if you sign up for their Beauty Insider club (there’s no fee, it’s just a sign-up thing for specials, etc.). The little freebie was fantastic: a set of 3 tiny juicy lip gloss tubes – each their own tasty flavor. I love it! Backstory: I bought a drugstore eyeliner last week and promptly lost it. While I was at Sephora, I picked out a new eyeliner to replace my lost one. I was going to just get the Sephora brand since I like most of their stuff but they didn’t have any in stock so I bought a twist up eyeliner from TARTE. OH MY GOSH I’M SO GLAD I DID THAT!!! It is the tiniest pencil you’ve ever seen – so thin that it makes application extremely precise. And, for a girl who wears eyeliner but can’t wear mascara (it itches too much), this stuff is nothing short of a miracle. It’s like working with a professional pencil instead of a chunky toddler crayon! Anyway…highly recommend it!

Pottery Barn & Buttons

So many people are taking it on themselves to create some of Pottery Barn’s button art. It is beautiful but I say try something different with the same idea – check out these buttonified curtains. Beautiful! Embellish-away. Curtain idea from Better Homes & Gardens online.

Nameflat’s Personalized Name Artwork

Spotted on Cookie. Check out Nameflat‘s kids’ name artwork – great stuff. Very personal. What kid doesn’t enjoy seeing his own name in print? Great gift idea!

Valentine Ribbon Flowers by BurdaStyle

Beautiful. I’ve always wanted to know how to do this and now there’s a tutorial. Check out the instructions here. Thanks, BurdaStyle!

Cute Valentines Letterpress Cards

I’d never heard of Egg Press before but so glad I ran across them! Cute cards. They also offer this adorable monkey. Check them out here.

Warm Heart, Cold Weather

I had just finished a new Everlast: Strike class at the gym and needed to get milk at the grocery store. I love Baker’s because of the Manager’s Special milk. Anyway, there are two boys who work there with Downs Syndrome who bag groceries and help you to your car. I frequent the store enough that I’ve been helped by them at least a few times. I’m ashamed to say I still do not know their names. Well, today I was standing there, holding a very heavy Ben, with my hair still half wet from showering at the gym – no coat – just a sweatshirt and the weather was plummeting into the single digits with extreme wind and snow pellets. I was freezing cold but it didn’t bother me at all because of what I was saw: one of those divine moments when you witness the Lord’s hand in everyday details. I happened to have Daisy, our chocolate lab, with me in the car today because while I was at the gym, somebody was going through our house that is for sale. I asked the bag boy if he was afraid of dogs and he said that he wasn’t. Well, when the car door opened and he started loading groceries, she kissed him and when he was done he stood in the car door and hugged and kissed that dog and told her that he loved her for the longest time. It was really touching. There was no pretense, no social mores or taboo, he just kissed that dog right on the snout. I was freezing, holding Ben, and my heart was so warm that the cold didn’t bother me a bit. I can see why dogs are so therapeutic to us all – it just took a very special bag boy to help me remember that.

My Favorite Strollers – Single, Double & Jogging

Having 4 boys, I’ve been through a few strollers. My friend, Kathleen, is on the lookout for a double stroller and asked my advice (isn’t she sweet?). Anyway, her provoking question led me to reminisce about my favorite strollers and reconsider what I might do if I needed to do it all over again.

I can tell you that my favorite stroller HANDS DOWN is the one we bought 13 years ago when Cole was born – it was a single jogging stroller made by Kool-Stop called the Kool-Stride. It was purple and on clearance for $399 (I know, I know – it didn’t feel like clearance to me, either). This company has replaced the sun shield, the wheels when they got a new easier-to-install feature and the basket for us, as well as two soft grip tubings for the handlebars. It has held up extremely well and it is still my stroller of choice (and still looks great to boot!). I have loaned this stroller out while I needed a double and even now, I still regularly use this stroller to walk, jog, run or even go to the zoo with Ben. If you visit their website, here, they also have strollers for seniors/handicapped and started as a cycling company. They’ve been doing strollers, though, since at least 1996!

My second favorite stroller was my Kelty Deuce Coupe. I used this stroller for Gabe & Jack when they were both small and I needed a double. I remember the day I bought this clearly – blizzard conditions and I spun out over the median near Oakview Mall in order to get it but it was worth it (nobody was hurt!). Zany Brainy was going out of business plus I had a coupon and I got this stroller for somewhere in the mid $200s. When we were done with the double jogging beast, I sold it on ebay for a small profit (low $300s). It was wonderful – great colors, the elasticized net pockets held a ton, easy buckles, great for a tall person, and I did learn how to squeeze it through doors – with my kids still riding in it. I didn’t ever like stadium type double strollers (can you just imagine the hair pulling, candy sticking incidents?). I prefer side-by-sides. We loved this stroller and there have been a few times I’ve wanted it back. Kelty does make a very similar one now and it sells for around $400.

My current garage holds two strollers: 1) the original Kool-Stride and 2) a Peg Perego Venezia that I bought for Ben. It was also expensive (low $200s) but it had a pram option for a newborn and I keep this in the car for places where I know my jogging stroller won’t fit. It has worked well and held up, too, though little things have gone wrong like the logo sticker coming off, snaps no longer snap, and I can never figure out the straps. I do love how you can switch the handlebar to face toward or away from you so the baby can look at you or forward. I also love the swivel wheels but sometimes it’s hard to steer and I don’t like to lock them. We took this out on the ice at Chalco a few weeks back and had to ditch it roadside – it’s pretty much a city stroller. I wished I’d had my Kool-Stride with me then! I would consider Peg Perego for a double but only if I never, ever had to go over a curb or dirt.

Some strollers I’ve had and did not like: Graco, Evenflo. They fell apart quickly and wheels were not sturdy at all. I had liked the infant seat combo convenience but it’s really only necessary for such a short while. I never have liked the Duo Gliders – so many friends say they’ve fallen apart. I think you do get what you pay for! If I had to do it over again, I would like to try Phil & Teds. Maybe a Bugaboo – but I don’t see any of those in double. Maclaren is supposed to make great double models. I would buy another Kool-Stride in a heartbeat – although I did try a double of this stroller that I bought on Ebay and, although it worked, it was mammoth and hard to maneuver. The front swivel wheel on some of the new strollers intrigues me but I don’t think I’d like one for actually jogging (knowing how much I hate the swivel on my Peg Perego). I would buy the Kelty again and would consider a single jogger, too from them – if I still didn’t have mine from thirteen years ago!

p.s. Here’s a link to Cookie Mag’s top strollers – see what they have to say!

French Country Furniture & Kate Madison

I had insomnia and was up until 3 a.m. wondering what I could do relatively inexpensively to spruce up our kitchen to maybe help sell our house. I was online searching for remodeling or refinishing kitchen islands and I found Kate Madison and fell in love (every Kate that I know is adorable so it is only fitting that furniture named Kate should be as well). So much for inexpensive! A girl can dream, right? I love to browse pictures and discover what I truly think feels like home. It’s all about home and not so much about the stuff, I try to remember most of the time but some of these really do just feel like home to me! Be sure to check out the Kate Madison website for more inspirational ideas.

Bisphenol-A Free Baby Bottles

Oh, baby! I knew I was going to be wantin’ another one soon so I made Don swear to not give in to my ticking clock. These babies may not include German engineering but these new bottles are just about cute enough to have a baby for. No, not announcing anything. Must move first and, hopefully, regain my senses. HOWEVER, I do have it on good authority (thank you, Facebook) that some of my in-laws might be needing this type of info very soon. Each picture links to the source – and each one a different glass bottle and/or bottle sleeve, whether silicone or knit. Click away!

Say Hello to Fisher & Paykel – Our New Washer!

Fewer moving parts. Top loading high efficiency. GREAT price. This machine usually sells for around $900 but Don and I put in a marathon clearance shopping trip to Lowes and Nebraska Furniture Mart last night. It was next to a brand new Whirlpool Duet high efficiency front loader in a discontinued color of shimmery brown (normally about $1,000 but for sale at $550). The Fisher & Paykel was marked down because it had been returned. The Whirlpool was new but the color was discontinued. After talking to the service people there, we had actually decided to NOT get a high efficiency machine until after we moved because they can be difficult to move and expensive to fix. We were looking for something really cheap to get us through then after we moved, I could use the machine to felt and we would replace it with a new high efficiency set in Houston. Well, the price of this thing convinced us. Fisher & Paykel warranty it for TWO years (Whirlpool only offers one year) and then we splurged for the 4 year Lowe’s plan that starts AFTER the 2 years are up – so our washer is covered for 6 years. We had a 10% coupon, too, so this is how the deal went down: $324 washer plus $59 delivery fee (we wanted them to take away our old one) plus $26.81 tax = $409.81 for TOTAL washer, delivery, takeaway. Add the other $99 for the policy and we spent just a bit over $500 for our new high efficiency washer. I’m so excited to have a top loader because a) I don’t have to bend and b) I don’t have to buy a podium/stand and c) they are much sturdier and more reliable than the front loaders and d) better for felting. What convinced us is that we saw the same exact machine at NFM for $900 that very night. It was a difficult choice. The shimmery brown Whirlpool was pretty but it wouldn’t match my already white, working-perfectly dryer. So that sealed the deal. I can’t wait to try out all of its features. You can check out the machine and capabilities here and here – then you will KNOW we got a smokin’ deal.