Friday, September 30, 2011

Our Halloween Library

Have I mentioned before that I love Halloween? No? Well, I LOVE IT. And I'm trying my darndest to foster a love for Halloween in Rhys as well. While I'm sure that won't be a hard sell once he gets to full on trick-or-treating, candy nomming age, for now I'm aiming to indoctrinate him with the use of a little reading material.

Our Halloween library includes:



(clockwise from top left)

Biscuit's Pet and Play Halloween - A gift from my parents last year, purchased at a time when Rhys was really into exploring textures.

The Haunted House - A book from my own childhood collection, with an audio tape included!

The Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat - A gift from Rhys' Uncle last Halloween

It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown - Which I picked up for Rhys last Halloween

and

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse's Trick Or Treat (Play A Sound Book) - Which I picked up for Rhys a few months ago, since Play A Sound Books are great for keeping him occupied in the car.

I'm thinking it'd be nice to add a book or two every Halloween season. This year I've got my eye on The Haunted House (Mini House Book) by Bill Martin. It is a board book about a haunted house that is extra chunky and, when fully closed,looks like a real little haunted house. SWOON!

What are your favorite Halloween books for kids?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

NYX Pigment and Soft Matte Lip Cream

Wanna talk makeup? OK!

I placed an order from Cherry Culture several weeks ago that included my NYX Nude on Nude palette, Milani Blush and a few other goodies which I've yet to write about, among them, an NYX Chrome Eyeshadow in Antique . . .



. . . and a tube of NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in London.



I had honestly hoped to be blown away with both products. The lip cream had first come to my attention via a blurb in Lucky Magazine, which was promising, and the eyeshadow looked in the online swatch to be a gorgeous, green gold patina/verdigis shade which very much appealed to my old metal and coin loving sensabilities. (Have you, uh, seen my Etsy shop?)

However, on my lids the shadow was more pale green than punchy gold green. The lip cream . . . ugh, it made me look like a corpse. It was matte (which, hello, it is called Soft MATTE Lip Cream, I knew this going in), but matte lip colors aren't especially flattering on me. I will freely admit that I chose the color, London, for the name, which is a silly strategy as something a bit more vibrant, like Sao Paulo, may have looked better on me. Unless I wear it with a sign proclaiming "My lipstick color is called London!!!" (which isn't a half bad idea), this shade (on me) has little else to recommend it. Actually, it smells and tastes like buttercream frosting, so it has that.

Here's a FOTD. Bleh, right?



You can't win them all, I guess.

Halloween Wreath

It has been a while since I've actually carried through and completed a Pinterest project, but this one was just so overwhelmingly cute, and it looked super simple . . . I couldn't help myself!

The original idea came from Better Homes and Gardens. I don't normally consider myself a "wreath person", and I don't know if it is the goth-y looking organza ribbon, the simple, unfussy design or just the fact that I LOVE HALLOWEEN, but this wreath spoke to me. It said "MAKE ME! MAKE ME NOW!"

A spooky twig wreath form, a bag full of plastic mini pumpkins, hot glue and a spool of wired, black organza ribbon. This project couldn't have been easier! I had the wreath hanging from my door within 20 minutes of getting home from the craft store.

It makes me smile every time I see it!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rhys' Toddler Room Makeover: Meyers, Inc.

So, remember how I was being all accidentally Montessori with Rhys' makeshift floor bed arrangement? Once I realized that, I started perusing the internet for photos of Montessori kids' rooms and noticed that most included a small table and chair. Aside from being completely adorable, I thought a table and chair would be really useful for Rhys as he grows.

In the corner by Fort Meyers, we had just enough space for a small desk set up. I bought this simple, blond wood and white laminate table and chair set from Ikea and figured that I could just stain it to match his existing, dark wood and white furniture. While in Ikea and high on whatever form of Swedish crack they pump through the air vents in that place, I figured staining would be a really simple procedure that could be handled the way most simple procedures are handled, which is to say: MAGICAL ELVES.

However! As it turns out, staining a piece of furniture is actually fairly involved. I was lucky in that the table was unfinished, so I didn't need to do any sanding. I did, however, need to take the table apart (after having put it together initially to make sure it fit our space), remove the white boards to keep them clean, reassemble the table without the boards, rub in a coat of stain, wait 2 hours for the stain to dry, rub in a second coat of stain, wait 2 hours, brush one one coat of poly, wait 2 hours, brush on a second coat of poly, let dry overnight and finally reassemble the table. OY! It was 8:30pm when the first coat of poly went on and I was so not into the idea of extending the paint and wait agony into a second day . . . so I stayed up until midnight to get the second coat on before bed.

While I can't say I'll be quick to stain another piece of furniture, I am very pleased with the way the table and chair turned out. It matches Rhys' existing furniture really well!

Rhys is really into photos lately, so we decided to accessorize his 'desk' with framed photos of him and us and finish things off with his toy phone (totally cute, right?) and a stack of books. When he isn't running around pretending to use it as a phone, his calculator lives on his desk as well.

It is an excellent place from which Rhys can conduct his baby business.

Assvice Wednesdays

AW#11:

If your toddler is WAY into daddy's toolbox, as ours is, and you're not so into the idea of having him running around the house with real screwdrivers and hammers, get him a fake tool set like we did at Costco last weekend and (here's the real assvice:) pick up a REAL toolbox to store everything in. A toolbox that looks like daddy's goes a long way towards suspension of toddler disbelief, and it keeps all the little bits and bobs in one, tidy place.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Rhys' Toddler Room Makeover: Fort Meyers

So! Once we got rid of the huge white chair and ottoman in Rhys' room, we had a great big corner of space to play with. It was actually my husband's idea to get Rhys a tent and a tunnel. We'd been experimenting with building little forts for Rhys in the living room with couch cusions and blankets . . . he really seemed to love them!

We have an awesome space tent that we initially intended to use as a base for Fort Meyers, but it is, sadly, a little too big for the space we have. We wound up buying a new, smaller tent at Ikea, along with a matching collapsable tunnel. The tunnel is just fantastic: it is quite long and takes up a lot of space in the room, but it collapses in on itself and holds itself closed with velcro while still attached to the tent. Which makes it super easy for us to pop the tunnel out when Rhys is using it and fold it back up so it isn't an eyesore when he isn't. WIN.

Rhys loves it!

The only addition we might make are a few knobs attached to the wall for Rhys to turn thorough the holes in the tent that face the wall . . . something that he might be able to use for imaginative play (spaceship controls? submarine knobs? You know . . .that kind of thing!)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rhys' Toddler Room Makeover: A Big Boy Bed

We're in the process of converting Rhys' room from a nursery to a fun, big boy space. *cries because MAH BABY IS SO BIG!*

I'm a little surprised by how emotional I became over this whole room makeover. It is just that I worked so hard on Rhys' baby nursery . . . it was the project that I funnelled most of my energy into during my pregnancy, and I was so, so pleased with how it came out.

The simple truth, though, was that the nursery no longer suited our needs. For one, cosleeping has turned out to work best for our family. Rhys spends precious little time in his crib, and when I did try to nurse him to sleep in his room in the armchair and transfer him to the crib, the results were usually disastrous. Picture me in the chair in the pitch black dark nursing a wriggling, restless Rhys for 30 minutes or so, he finally falls asleep, I try to transfer him, he wakes and cries, repeat, repeat, repeat . . . until it is 11:30pm and I give up and take Rhys into our bed because now I'M TIRED TOO. And, I'm not ashamed to admit, more than a little frustrated.

We eventually worked ourselves into a routine whereby I'd lay out a bunch of blankets and pillows on the floor of Rhys' room in order to lie down with him and nurse him to sleep there. I can't say I'm proud of our arrangement, but the floor had a few big advantages: a) I didn't have to move Rhys once he was asleep, minimizing the risk of waking him, b) there was no roll-off risk like there would have been if he'd been put to sleep in our big bed and c) I was more comfortable (yep, more comfortable ON THE FLOOR than I was in the big Ikea chair). I believe Rhys was more comfortable as well, as he did a lot less restless wriggling on the floor than he had in the chair.

A few weeks ago, I saw this post on a Montessori nursery and I realized a) I wasn't being an ineffective mom, I was, in fact, being MONTESSORI (declared with only a slight trace of irony) and b) I totally should've done this floor bed deal from the get go.

It occurred to me that our existing crib came with a toddler bed conversion rail, and even though, at 16 months, Rhys may seem a little too young for a toddler bed, he wasn't using the crib anyways, so I figured a switch was worth a try.


Guys? Best. Decision. Ever.

I can actually curl up comfortably with Rhys in his toddler bed, nurse him to sleep and sneak out without waking him. The whole putting to bed process takes 20 - 30 minutes max and Rhys has been staying asleep in his big boy bed on his own for several hours, giving my husband and I time to ourselves and time with each other before Rhys eventually wakes up and wants to come to bed with us.

While I'm totally fine with Rhys coming to bed with us at some point in the night (I'm a working mom. Gotta get those baby snuggles when I can.), I do hope that sometime within the next year or so, Rhys will be spending most of the night in his own bed. By the looks of it, the toddler bed may help him accomplish that, since in the week or so since we've made the switch, Rhys has stayed asleep in his own bed a little longer each night.

When he wakes? We have a handy dandy video monitor, so we've been able to observe that in detail. The first night, he sat up and said "Get down. Get down? I wannnttt Getttt downnnnnnnn . . . ." for several minutes before finally realizing that he wasn't stuck. He climbed out of bed, toddled over to the door and tried to reach the knob on his tippy toes, but couldn't in the dark. Thereby we learned to leave his door open. On night #2, Rhys wriggled out of bed without so much as a token "get down?" and toddled out into the living room calling "mama?". Last night was the first night Rhys woke and we were already in bed, instead of in the living room. He sat in bed whinging for a bit, finally stood up . . . and when we eventually called to him in hopes that he'd come find us, he started crying in earnest, so we went in to rescue him. I think it'll be a process, Rhys learning to come find us when he wakes . . . but if the worst case scenario is that he cries, we hear him and we come rescue him, then that's fine with us.

He seems pretty proud of his toddler bed . . . and it has made our lives easier so far. Huzzah!


As you may have guessed, we also removed the big chair . . . stay tuned for further posts on Fort Meyers, Meyers, Inc. and Rhys' new artwork!

How old was your little one when you made the toddler bed switch? How did the experience go for you?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Labor Day Disneyland Trip

It turns out that our Disneyland passes are not in fact blacked out on Monday holidays, which fact I realized on the evening before Labor day. And since my hubs and I get to claim Labor Day as our own, being part of the workforce and all, we decided we'd celebrate ourselves with a quick trip to the park.



We caught the Disneyland Band marching past Snow White's wishing well beside the castle:



We rode quite a few rides, including Pirates (which is now closed down for almost two months for refurbishments, SOB!), Casey Jr's Circus Train and The Storybook Land Boats. We posed for pics in a Dumbo ride car, but didn't actually take our first flight (although we should soon ... right? Maybe? 16 months, too young for Dumbo???)



We enjoyed root beer floats aboard the Mark Twain:



We had lunch at The Hungry Bear and did our traditional feeding of the ducks:







We let The Meyers run amok on Tom Sawyer's Island (which, despite it's pirate retheming, will ALWAYS be Tom Sawyer's Island to me!):



And, from the island, I got two photos of which I'm very, very proud:





It was a pretty perfect quick Disneyland day. Days like this one make me really glad we have annual passes. We can run down to the park, paying only for parking and lunch, and cherry pick what we'd like to do for the day. There's no $100 ticket looming over each of our heads, causing us to rush around like crazy people trying to fit in every single ride. We can take time to feed the ducks, to ride small rides, to skip things when lines are too long. Our passes let us relax and truly ENJOY Disneyland. I hope we keep getting them as often as we can, as Rhys and his (SOMEDAY!) sibling grow.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Assvice Wednesdays

AW#10:

The best time to let a toddler paint is right before bathtime. The best outfit for painting in is a diaper. Amen.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

To Dupe or not to Dupe . . .

Do you ever fall down the internet rabbit hole? It usually starts out innocently enough . . . searching for a black down vest, checking prices on camera lenses, etc . . . then the next thing you know, you've Googled "does breastfeeding make you sweat more?", remotely set your TIVO to record Mickey Mouse's Space Adventure and planned a Disney World vacation straight through to the booking and confirmation stage without actually meaning to book or confirm anything.

These aren't specific examples, of course.

It was on one of these such meanderings that I stumbled upon a few beauty blog entries regarding color dupes; the general idea being that there really are only so many possible blush, eye and lip colors out there and, as such, there could very well be a $2 eyeshadow that is the EXACT SAME COLOR as your $22 favorite shade. A great resource for finding dupe shades can be found here.

Before my wedding trip, I bought a pan of Nars famed Orgasm blush, which I love and use almost daily (Yes, I know, I should've replaced the blush after 2 years or so, but at $27 for the pan, I couldn't bear to toss it! Please don't tell the makeup police on me!):



It is widley purported online, via the Temptalia resource linked above and elsewhere, that Milani's Mineral Blush in Luminous is a solid dupe for Nars Orgasm.



So, I took the plunge and bought a compact of Milani's Luminous. They look pretty darn similar side by side in thier pans:



However, on the skin, they aren't quite the same, in my opinion:



The Nars blush is on the left, closer to my wrist. It comes across as a sheer wash of peach with shimmer. The Milani blush is a little lighter, a little more opaque and a touch powdery, compared to the Nars. It doesen't have the same clear, sheer, wash of color effect. It looks more like "makeup", sitting on top of the skin rather than glazing over it. On the cheeks, the Milani does look remarkably similar to the Nars, but it doesn't wear quite as long.

Is Milani Luminous VERY CLOSE to Nars Orgasm? It is, indeed. Is it an exact dupe? Nope, not in my opinion. Would it be worth it to buy the Milani instead of the Nars given the $21 savings? Maybe. I wear this shade of blush more or less every day, and my Nars blush is still about 1/2 full 2 1/2 years in . . . so figuring cost per wear, it is worth it to me to have the slightly nicer color of longer lasting blush. I don't regret having bought the Milani at all, and I think it would be a great alternative for someone who wanted the Nars Orgasm look just once in a while, or for someone who wanted to try out the shade before comitting to a $27 pan of blush.

It is all relative, I suppose, but, in sum: Milani Luminous vs. Nars Orgasm . . . Nars wins (which may or may not mean you should fork over your $27).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dinos . . . RAWR!

I assume we've all seen at least one of the Night at the Museum movies, yes? I LOVE them and I can't wait until Rhys is old enough to enjoy them with me. We can watch a movie . . . then go to our very own Los Angeles Natural History Museum which, while it probably won't come alive, is still jam packed with awesome, awesome exhibits.

I actually have a whole list of movie tie-in activities to share with Rhys when he is a little older . . . watching Ratatouille / making ratatouille, watching Pirates / riding pirates, watching old school 50s movies / making recipes from my 50s Betty Crocker Cookbook for Kids.

BIG SIGH . . . it'll be so much fun.

ANYWAYS.

We visited the Natural History Museum a little while ago. And it was rad.






Friday, September 16, 2011

Dear Photograph

Have you guys seen DearPhotograph.com? No? GO LOOK. It is rad. I'll wait here while you check it out.

Awesome, right?

When we were at Disneyland for the birthday extravaganza (YEP, a month ago and I'm still blogging it. WHAT OF IT?), I asked my parents to pull out a few of our old Disneyland photos in order to try our hand at replicating the effect. Here's what I came up with:





What do y'alls think? Should I submit one to DearPhotograph.com?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

NYX Nude on Nude Palette

You know how I'm a sucker for Urban Decay eyeshadows? Well, I REALLY REALLY wanted the Urban Decay Naked Palette. I couldn't, however, justify spending $48 on something I, frankly, need only a little more than a hole in the head. I stumbled upon a few glowing reviews of the NYX Nude on Nude palette, however . . . some even claiming it was BETTER than the Urban Decay palette . . . and at $20.99 with a 20% off coupon, well . . . $16.79 I could justify, is all I'm saying.

Here's the palette:






I'm pleased as punch with it. The shadows are all wearable neutrals, not one weirdo among them (I'm looking at you, URBAN DECAY!), and while they aren't buttery like UD's shadows, they are totally acceptable in terms of pigmentation, blendability and wear time . . . above average for a drugstore brand but not quite luxury brand caliber, I'd claim. I especially love that the tones lean more grey/taupe than brown. I'm not a huge fan of brown shadow and there's really only one shade here (out of TWENTY!) that I'd call "brown". The rest are variations of grey, taupe, gold, even a antiqued looking green/gold that I can't wait to try.

The palette also includes 10 lip colors, none of which look all that outstanding in the pans. They're kind of meh . . . the only thing I could say about them is that if I were taking this kit on a trip (and I shall!), it might be nice to have those 10 lip color options if I get a bee in my bonnet and decide I want red lips for a night. Otherwise, I don't think they'll see much wear, which is less a testament to their quality (*admits I haven't tried any of them*) than a testament to my own pickiness about lipstick.

And speaking of lipstick, I also picked up an NYX jumbo lip pencil in Copper Pink. I was kind of hoping it'd be similar in texture to my new True Blood for Tarte pencil, but ALAS, it is not. It is a fairly greasy feeling yet reasonably long lasting lipstick in an ok color. Is it just me, or do cheap lipsticks often have a weird opaque, white-ish cast? I remember myself complaining about that in some of my e.l.f. picks, and I see the same cast here. Which isn't to say it is unwearable or won't get much use, just that it isn't a new favorite.



Here's a fotd using the Nude on Nude palette and the Copper Pink lip pencil:



I've had it for about 2 weeks now and of those 14 days, I'd say I have used the NYX Nude on Nude palette maybe 10 of them. That thar's a solid recommendation, I think.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Assvice Wednesdays

AW#9

Buy this skirt. It is insanely cheap, has a foldover waist (like yoga pants!) that is extremely comfortable and would even work as maternity wear (I'm NOT PREGGO, for the record. HI MOM!), and it is longer than it looks in the photos online . . . it hits just above the knee for me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Baby in a Suit!

Ready for the rest of the photos I took at my brother in law's beautiful wedding? OK!

For starters, the groom picked awesome 16 sided die cufflinks as groomsmen's gifts. Here's my hubs modeling them:



Little Man made a new baby friend . . . :



. . . he behaved himself admirably, playing with Grandpa Allan for hours on the stairs while bridal party portraits were being taken. . . :



. . . and he looked quite dapper in his suit:



Mama and Dada didn't look half bad either:



The bride and groom looked gorgeous showing up for their reception (at their home! how incredibly fun!):



The best man had really appropriate hand tattoos:



The babies enjoyed a little sci-fi inspired story time:



And the whole evening was just plain gorgeous: