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Human, Woman, Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend & Aspiring Unicorn Breeder

10.31.2014

Trick-or-Treat!

Halloween is probably my favorite holiday ever. You get to dress up and eat candy... and there's pretty much nothing better than that.

Tonight I thought I was going to be all alone, which was something I wasn't looking forward to. My hubby is at work and all of my kids were taking off to do fun teenagery things. It was the first Halloween in a gajillion years that wasn't ridiculously over-the-top excited about.

Anyway, before I dropped my daughter and her BFF off at a party I gave my middle kid specific candy-handing-out instructions.

"If the doorbell rings answer it and give each kid two pieces so we don't run out, and when you leave make sure you lock up. Oh, and don't leave the candy sitting outside!!" 

I had spent $21 on four bags of the 'good' candy and it barely filled up the bowl, so I wanted to make sure we didn't run out. He said ok and sat on the porch to hand out candy.

When I came back, not even 15 minutes later, he was still home. I walked up to see him putting a handful of candy in a little kids bag. And most of the candy was gone. I immediately got annoyed.

Once the trick-or-treaters left I started in on him. "WHY are you giving out handfuls of candy?!"

His explanation made my heart swell. 

He proceeded to explain that when he was little he mostly got one or two dinky pieces of candy... but every once in a while someone would give him more than that. He's get a big candy bar or a whole handful of candy and it would make his whole night, so he just wanted to make these little kid's night special too.

In his sweet teenager way, he was paying it forward.

He then told me that he and his friend were staying in for the evening. 

I apologized for jumping on him and told him that he did the right thing. I also let him know that I was proud of him for being so generous. Then I treated him and his friend to whatever they wanted at Starbucks. 

On the way home we stopped and bought more candy for the trick-or-treaters I know aren't coming... I hope my baby enjoys that candy. He deserves it. 

Like I said, there's nothing better than Halloween.
Pic by: Me

10.25.2014

Many Days of Shopping: Pinup Girl Clothing

Every woman knows that the LBD is a wardrobe staple, but during the holidays why blend in when you were born to stand out!? (-thanks Dr Seuss).

At my husband's company Christmas party last year I wore black. Because black is slimming. Actually almost very gal wore black. Not that there's anything wrong with that; it's one of my favorite colors. But in a sea of LBDs another black frock simply has no impact. 

And I like making an impact.

When I walk into a room I want heads to turn. I want to be the loveliest flower, the brightest star, the most sparkling gem... or at least make people wonder why I left Hollywood for SC. Ha!

So if you don't like attention, you may want to just stop reading now. The dress I'm about to show you garners a lot of attention. 

It's called the Ava dress from Pinup Girl Clothing and it's honestly the only special occasion dress you'll ever need. It takes you from a simple date night to high class social functions with ease.


Constructed from a sumptuous shakira satin, it features a faux wrap bodice and tulip hem skirt for a figure hugging silhouette. An attached, wide sash belt cinches your waist to hourglass perfection and the hidden side zip makes wiggling into this dress a breeze! It comes in a wide variety of lux, jewel-toned colors to flatter any skin tone. 

I bought my Burnt Gold Ava on sale (along with a coupon code, because I'm super fruggle) and was a little unsure of the color at first.... Until I received it and put it on! The color is so rich and completely different than anything I've ever worn. I immediately felt like a silver screen siren, ready for my close-up! 


But I bet you're not convinced yet. Because the one thing I've heard many women worry over is the fit of a garment when shopping online. You know how that goes... 

You're perusing online and there it is: the most beautiful dress you've ever seen! So you order it and count the days... when it arrives in the mail you're soooo excited!! You rip open the package like a 6 year old at Christmas. You hold it up and have visions of looking like the goddess diva you are... 

and then, ever so reverently, you put on your divine new frock...

and you run to the nearest mirror to primp and preen and see your new dress in all it's glory...

and then sit on your bed and cry because you look more like a sack of lumpy potatoes than the sexy woman you know you are.

Wtf. 

As a 5 foot tall, size 14 (US) woman, this worry is very real to me. My waist is more than a few inches bigger than my husbands, (who is way taller than me). But I want you to look below...


That's me. Little old chubby, almost 40 year old me in my Ava dress. I don't think I look like a sack of lumpy potatoes in it. I mean I definitely have lumps... but they're lovely lady humps. (-thanks Fergie.)

One of the things I absolutely adore about Pinup Girl Clothing is their mantra: Couture for Everybody! 

They're not playing either. 

This dress, as with the majority of their dresses, runs from size XS to 4XL. Yes, you read that right... 4XL. 

And, unlike some companies, they're very concise with their measurements. There's no vanity sizing here and no "an XL really means a size 8" bullshit. 

Also their customers are really great about giving their own experiences with fit & measurements in the review section of each particular article of clothing. And if that's not enough, their friendly customer service reps are more than happy to assist you via the handy online chat option! 


Now, as a person of demure stature I must tell you that their dresses run extremely long on me. If you're under 5'7 they'll probably run long on you as well. However, (though I wish they'd offer petite lengths), I expect this with pretty much any article of clothing I purchase. Even petite lengths have a tendency to be too long in the legs for me, so this is more of an observation for you all than a complaint from me. I had my Ava hemmed for $15. Because I got it at such an amazing price, even with alterations, it was still less than the original retail price. 

Also keep in mind that the undergarments you wear make a big difference in the look of this, (and really any), dress... So if you're more modest than me you can still wear this dress and not have your boobies shining in all of their mammarific glory. 

I'd also like to add that I believe proper undergarments are essential to a flattering figure - so I'm rocking my c-411 Orchard Corset (in satin) underneath for a smooth silhouette. But again if you like a less exaggerated figure, you can forgo these foundations and the dress still looks absolutely amazing! 

I really encourage you to treat yourself this holiday season and splurge on the perfect dress for yourself. No matter what your size you deserve to feel like the belle of the ball when you walk into a room. And I promise you, you'll feel that way in the Ava. 

Oh, and if you're a hubby/boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/booty-call/whatever reading this, nothing is more romantic than gifting your goddess a decadently wrapped package containing this dress in her favorite color. But if you're unsure of your lady's size, a beautifully wrapped package containing a nice gift certificate is a close second. 

Happy Holiday Shopping... CHEERS!
Photos by: Lori Lucas of Digital Eye Photography
Edits by: Justin Lingle of 6 Romeo Studios

10.21.2014

Little Thank You's.

Nothing feels better than being loved and appreciated. Especially when it comes from your children... and even more so when said children are teenagers.

I started back to work recently. And though the time which I get up hasn't changed, (it's still early), it means I have to actually put on clothes and brush my hair when I leave the house in the morning. On top of all that major effort, I work all day in a busy office. 

When I'm done working I come home, cook dinner, make lunches for the following day for hubby & kids, I do the dishes and straighten up around the house, get the laundry done, and make sure the animals are tended to before showering and hitting the hay.

Last night after the hay was hit, my sweet daughter came in my room to chat and hang out.

She cuddled up to me and said, "Mommy, thank you for everything you're doing. You go to work all day and then you come home and feed us and make us yummy lunches and then do lots of dishes. That's a lot of work. Thank you." 

And she didn't even ask for anything afterward. She just wanted me to know that she noticed and that that she was grateful.

It's just so amazing to feel loved and appreciated by one of the people I'm doing it all for. My darling husband tells me several times a day how much he loves and appreciates me, and I do the same for him, but when it comes from one of your children... What a gift! I'm thankful myself that we have such great kiddos.

Have you told someone today how much you appreciate them? I bet it's just as nice for older parents to hear too. It's such a small, simple gesture - but it could be one of the best gifts you ever give them.


A simple thank you can be better than an extravagant present. 
Pic by: Me 

10.18.2014

Many Days of Shopping: Orchard Corset

For hundreds of years the modest corset was a fashion staple. And then for some horrible reason they went out of fashion and were eventually considered taboo... something only worn by the kinky folks of the world.

Thankfully they're enjoying a comeback.

I've loved corsets for a long while due to their glorious shaping properties, so I knew that they'd be a must add to my holiday shopping list for you! Honestly every woman needs a good corset, especially with the holidays approaching! I mean really, who wants to look like a potato at the company Christmas party?!

Now you might wonder why you need a corset. Let me just show you...


No, it doesn't hurt... It's actually very comfy.

That's my waist. Gloriously sucked in to lovely, wasped proportions. I'm a big girl and not one of those big girls who can rightly call herself curvy. I'm not curvy. My curves flew out the window shortly after having three kids. Now I'm just lumpy. So if I want to fake curves, I throw on a corset.


See?? Curves!!! 

Now there is a GIGANTIC different between the flimsy fashion corsets with plastic bones that you get from eBa...(cough,cough) and honest to goodness steel boned tight lacing corsets. There's even a difference between tight lacing and waist training, (which is all the rage these days).

Fashion corsets are basically shaped like tubes (which does nothing for your shape), while a true corset can come in quite a few figure flattering shapes. Two of the more popular silhouettes are a wasp and an hourglass.


Flattens that tummy!

My blog today isn't going to train you on all of the what's, why's and how-to's of corsetry, but I will get you started off in the right direction by recommending a fantabulous brand that sells high quality corsets at ridiculously reasonable prices. 

ORCHARD CORSET! 

(Side Note: Orchard Corset has an ENTIRE BLOG dedicated to any corseting questions you may have.)

I stumbled across Orchard Corset on a Facebook group page dedicated to tight lacing. After lurking in the shadows for a while I took the plunge and ordered my first "real" corset, a satin CS-411 from Orchard Corset. The very first thing I noticed was the weight.... It was wayyyy heavier than any of the fashion corsets I had purchased previously. I also noticed this:

Look at how beautifully they're packaged!! 

The corset you see in the photos here is not the satin CS-411, however it is an Orchard Corset: the mesh Waspie CS-201. It comes in the always perfect black, a fabulously neutral nude, and a festive holiday red. It's also one of the more versatile corsets out there in that it can transition from summer to fall to winter to spring and back to summer again (i.e. you won't get heatstroke wearing it). 

The hole-y grail of corsets... Get it?? Holes, holy... Anyway, moving on.

This corset is so beautifully made and looks just as lovely over your clothing as it does underneath! Aside from the vanity factor, you'll probably also notice that your posture magically improves while wearing it. Your clothing may even feel more comfortable and you'll find that you're not wrangling tight waistbands over chub rolls all night. And don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about....

Back of the corset... Notice that curve. RAWR!

I'm also going to touch on the subject of price while I'm at it because, to me at least, price is always an important deciding factor when making a purchase. I told you that I lurked around on that Facebook group for a while and I learned something while I was lurking: a good quality corset is expensive. 

Truthfully you can expect to pay up to a couple of hundred dollars. Which was why I was so very please to find that most of the Orchard Corset lovelies were under $100. Score!!

Channeling my Irish side.

So let's recap here... 
1. These gorgeous corsets need to be an essential part of your holiday wear, whether you boldly wear it over top your clothes, or you demurely stealth it underneath. 
2. Yes you can afford to treat yourself this holiday season.
3. You can even afford to treat someone else! (Hint to the hubbies out there... You know you want to see your wives in this).
4. You have no excuses... I've linked their home page as well as every info guide you'll ever need to help you order. Of course if you still need assistance you can always email or call Orchard Corset directly at: (email) info@OrchardCorset.com (phone) 1-866-456-7411.

A sneak peek from my next holiday shopping guide on Pinup Girl Clothing, 
and also what a corset looks like worn UNDER clothing... 
(just incase you're wondering).


Happy Holiday Shopping!
Photos by: Lori Lucas of Digital Eye Photography (and Me).

10.13.2014

Italian Sausage Lasagna Roll-Up Recipe

It's time for another easy-peasy recipe! My husband and middle son singlehandedly devoured the entire thing. Here's to hoping you enjoy it as much as they did!

Italian Sausage Lasagana Roll-Ups

Ingredients:
10 sheets uncooked Lasagana pasta
1 - 24 oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce
5 - Italian sausage links
10 oz fresh mozzarella 
1 - cup ricotta 
30 - fresh asparagus spears 
1/2 - cup grated parmesan
Olive oil
Italian seasoning to taste

Directions:
1. Cook pasta according to directions and drain. Set it aside to cool a bit.

2. Cook sausage accorind to package directions (or if no directions, over medium heat until cooked through).

3. Cut sausages in half.

Kinda like this... except I burned mine. Oops.

4. Divide up the mozzarella into 10 pieces (I sliced it up and then halved it).

5. Cut or break the hard stems off the ends of the asparagus .

Looks delish already! 

6. Oil the bottom of a large baking dish. This keeps everything from sticking. I also sprinkle Italian seasoning on the bottom of the pan... Dunno why. I guess I'm hoping it adds more flavor. Ha!

7. Place 1 piece of sausage, 3 asparagus, 1 piece of mozzarella, and 1/10th (or a heaping spoonful) of ricotta on the cooked lasagna.

Like so....

8. Roll up the lasagna and place it in the baking dish. 

9. Repeat until all of the ingredients are rolled up and I'm the baking pan.

It doesn't have to be pretty... Obviously.

10. Pour pasta sauce over the rolls and top with the parmesan cheese. You can also sprinkle more Italian season over everything if you like.

Everything looks (and tastes) better covered in sauce and cheese...

11. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

12. Eat and enjoy!! 

Recipe & Pics By: Me 

10.07.2014

Many Days of Shopping: Sew Simply Chic

It's October, which means it's time to start shopping for Holiday gifts! I'm big on word of mouth advertising because if someone I like loves something, chances are I probably will too. 

So I thought that I'd share with you, my dear readers, a few shops I've discovered that I absolutely adore! Some, (like today's pick), are local artisans who ship all across the country, and some are bigger companies who ship all over the world. 

Today I'm showcasing a local fave: Sew Simply Chic (<--click the link) - an accessories shop out of South Carolina, specializing in scarves, headbands, and necklaces (they do Christmas and home decor too). 

I first heard of this little gem of a company when I entered their Facebook contest... and WON! (You can also check them out on Instagram at: @sscbycrystal or #sewsimplychic).

The scarf I won... I picked birds, duh!

There are several things I love about Sew simply Chic, and of course you know I'm gonna name them all.

1. Impeccable customer service! This is a must as far as I'm concerned. You can have the best product in the world, but if your service sucks, I'll never buy from you again. I had an instance with SSC where the wrong scarf was sent to me. No biggie. I contacted them and the correct scarf was shipped immediately, along with a bonus scarf and a note to please keep the incorrect one. That's above and beyond if you ask me!! Needless to say I ordered everything after that.

Hello beautiful... Oh wait.... That's me!

2. Customizability! Is that a word? Well it is now. Their in stock selection is pretty fabulous, however if there's a fabric you like on one scarf and want it mixed with a fabric from another scarf, SSC will do it if at all possible. Lace with polka dots? Add a flower? Make it 3 inches longer? Matching necklace? No problemo. It's a fantabulous way to get exactly what you're looking for.

Part of my Sew Simply Chic collection. Don't judge me.

3. Quality, quality, quality! These beauties are extremely well made. My daughter runs off with my scarves all the time... I'll find them balled up on her bedroom floor, under our napping cat, who made biscuits on it til' it was juuuust right before plopping down and getting fur all over it. I throw it in the wash and it comes out good as new. 

These labels are just darling - and they have birds on them squeeee!

4. Price! Ok, I'm sorry but I'm going to mention price because it's an important factor to me. I understand that you pay for quality, however I'm not about paying for brands/labels. $120 for a Michael Kors scarf is not gonna happen, no matter how cute it is. But... $25 (and under) for a Sew Simply Chic scarf is gonna happen every.single.time. 

Check out how sophisticated and intelligent this makes me seem.

I urge you to check them out! These scarves and accessories make lovely gifts for gals between the ages of 7 and 77... Teachers, friends, nieces, daughters, neighbors, spouses (hint, hint hubby), mothers, aunts, BFFs grandmothers, coworkers, etc, etc. 

And because they're so affordable they're brilliant to keep on hand as "oops I forgot this person" gifts. (Don't try to act like that's never happened...)

Anywho, happy holiday season and merry shopping!! 

Mucho Love,
Flippa Bird 

If you are a company interested in having your products reviewed, please feel free to email me at: Flippa.Bird@gmail.com