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


Many Days of Shopping: Secrets in Lace

I think it can be daunting for a guy to buy his lady lingerie, which is sad really, because most women absolutely adore receiving high-end lingerie.

I believe the problem is false advertising on the part of certain companies. Women in certain ads are made to look like prepubescent girls with melons stuck on their chests.

Now before you get all huffy I'm not skinny bashing. But let's be honest, even a VS model doesn't look like a VS model in real life. So it's difficult to gauge how that sliver of VS lace is going to look on a fuller figure.

Luckily I discovered a lingerie company a couple of years ago that uses a more realistic type of model in their advertising: Secrets in Lace. And lucky for you I'm going to share some of their pretties with you to help make your gift shopping a breeze! 

You see, their models have curves... and even rolls. And that's not a bad thing. Not only are the women in their catalogues drop-dead gorgeous, but they give you a much better idea of how lingerie is going to look on the average figure. And to top it off their pieces have a lovely retro flair that evokes a more sensual time and caters to a voluptuous figure.

Because I want to save the shots of myself in my skivvies for my dear hubby, I'm going to share with you two luxurious items that I assure you your lady will go gaga over! These two items make wonderful gifts because they're not something that a woman would generally splurge on. I know I personally love a decadent gift every now and again and I bet your gal will love them as well!

First up is the Eva Sheer Outline Heel full fashioned thigh high hose. At 89 bucks a pop they are a bit pricy... however when I pulled these beauties out of their packaging my first thought was that they had to have been created from magical butterfly wings.

I'm not even joking. They were the lightest weight material I'd ever touched and felt like a whisper in my hands. My husband said... well, I won't tell you everything he said.... but he did say you want to buy your wife a pair.

I'd also never seen a pair of stockings that were shaped like an actual leg and not just a shapeless tube. This is due to the way they're manufactured, (which is the same way stockings were made in the 40's and 50's): they're knit flat and then sewn together to create a backseam.

In fact these 15 denier nylon stockings are actually made on the same machines used in the 40's and 50's! One pair of Eva stockings takes three hours to construct... so now you understand why these stockings are priced as they are. And I promise you, they're worth every single penny!

One side note I need to mention is that these hose are not stretchy and so you do need to size accordingly. Don't think you can vanity size your wife down, (or yourself, ladies) because it won't work and it'll just end up in tears. 

I'm a short and voluptuous person (5'1 and size 14) and I ordered the opera length. They're a tad bit long, but you can see they fit my fuller thighs quite nicely! Seriously, they're so gorgeous that when I'm not wearing them I have them hanging as a display piece in my bedroom. 

Now if your budget will not allow for the Eva, you can still treat your lady to a couture nylon stocking with the Dana Glamour.

At only $14.99 a pair these lovelies are a bit more affordable than the Eva. And because they have a some stretch to them they're a little easier to size as well.

With a glamorous french heel and sassy backseam you lose none of the sexiness. And don't be fooled by the price, they are amazing. They are not Wally World panty hose. These have a high-end feel for a low-end budget... which is one of my favorite things ever.

Another wonderful gift idea that will leave you both happy is something I bet you've never even thought of... (but I bet she has).


Yes gloves. Every girl has dreamed of dressing up like Audry Hepburn of Breakfast at Tiffany's fame. Sleek black dress, sparkly little tiara. and beautiful elbow length gloves. 

Sadly most gals won't take the plunge and just buy themselves a pair. This is where you come in, dear man. 

You can take the plunge for her...

There are so many styles to choose from and you honestly can't go wrong with any of them! From the over elbow length black lace (above) to the sheer wrist length (below)...

And back to black lace again... this time in a shorty length. 

It's a little bit of decadence right at her finger tips (quite literally)! 

All of the gloves are beautifully finished and have fantabulous stretch to them, making them a great gift for ladies of ALL sizes. I have larger upper arms and had no issues with the over elbow gloves rolling or squeezing (the ladies know what I'm talking about). 

The gloves range from $22 on up, making them a budget friendly splurge. 

Now gentlemen, here's what you need to do: you pair one of those lovely pair of gloves with a pair of sexy thigh high stockings, wrap it up real pretty like, and you can guarantee you'll be getting smooched under the mistletoe this year!! It's a gift you will both enjoy! 

These all earned my husband's sexy seal of approval. 
Btw, all photos by: My Hubba-Hubba Hubby 


A Memory: Our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.

Tonight my hubby, the kids, and I will put up our Christmas tree and bake cookies and listen to Christmas music... and I'll cry a little bit with happiness and a little bit with sadness. 

I cry because every year I always remember one of our earlier Christmases as a family...

The boys were little toddlers and our daughter wasn't even a thought yet. We were so poor that I didn't think we'd be able to afford a tree that year. I cried and begged my husband to please figure out a way to get us a tree... I wanted our boys to wake up with their meager presents under a decorated Christmas tree. 

My poor husband had the weight of supporting three people upon his (sexy) shoulders and he worked as hard as he could to make sure we didn't go without... So I can't imagine how horrible he felt about not even being able to get us a tree. 

Milk & bread... or a Christmas tree? That was the decision he had to make.

My husband was determined to make me happy... so on Christmas Eve, at around 8:00 PM, he ventured out with our last $10 in his pocket. 

He drove all over town trying to find something, but it seemed every Christmas tree place had closed down for the year... He was sure he was going to have to come home empty handed and he dreaded it. 

Luck seemed to strike though... On the way home he came upon a tree place and noticed someone was still there, standing around a bonfire. Feeling very much relieved he pulled on in.

It turns out the guy wasn't trying to keep warm while selling the last of his trees, he was burning the last of them to get rid of them... and he was about to throw the very last one onto the burning pile. 

My husband explained his hopeless situation and asked the guy if he could please have the tree since he was throwing it out anyway. But the guy, quick to make a buck, told him he couldn't do that and that my husband would have to pay for that sad little Charlie Brown looking Christmas tree if he wanted it. 

So, after much haggling, my dear husband parted with our last $10 and came home with a Christmas tree. Our children woke up to presents under a decorated tree. They never knew how much we struggled because we made sure they didn't.

I think we left the tree up till almost Valentines Day that year....

So you see, when you see me constantly writing about how wonderful everything is and how grateful I am for every teeny tiny little thing, it's not to brag... It's because we've been at the very bottom in life. And when you've been that low, every single blessing in your life is tremendously magnified. Life feels fuller and the meaning in every (seemingly) little thing is so much deeper. The good shines brighter than the sun, and there's no ignoring that. 

So if you're lucky enough to have a Christmas tree... or food, or shelter.... really if you have anything at all, count your blessings. And if right now you have absolutely nothing, know that one day you will be more prosperous than you are today... and it will be all the more beautiful because of it. 

Our fancy new sassy Christmas decor. 
Pic by: Me 


Many Days of Shopping: Tarahbelle Jewelry Designs

I collect loose gemstones and have for years. Trying to figure out what to do with them without breaking the bank has been a source of angst to me for years.

Until, thanks again Etsy,  I found Tarabelle Jewelry Designs!! (Also on Facebook!) 

Now if you don't have loose gemstones just laying around, (because really, who does that except weirdos), you need not worry... Tarabelle Jewelry Designs has beautiful pieces that are already made to sell. Or she can even make you a lovely piece made to your specifications using a gem or stone of your request.

For my piece I asked her to use 5 cut quartz stones I already had: 1 lemon quartz and 4 smokey quartz. For my custom piece I requested a pendant in this formation. 

Before I received the piece she messaged me to let me know she had thought of a different design and asked me if I would mind if she went for it. Being a little artsy myself I know that when inspiration takes hold you go with it. 

So I let her know to have her way with my stones (haha... sorry, I'm being pervy). Soon after she sent me a pic of the progress... I was quite pleased with what I saw!

When I received the pendant it was beautifully packaged in a plush burgundy velvet box, packed inside of a white jewelry box. 

And when I opened the box my jaw dropped. It was absolutely stunning. My terrible pictures do it no justice...

I was immediately blown away by the detailing on the piece! Intricate swirls of silver and copper securely cradled the stones, without overwhelming them.

The setting ensures that the sparkle isn't dulled. I went to grab a chain from my jewelry box to put it on.... but then I discovered the back of the piece. 

It was just as beautiful as the front... and maybe even more so! The design is as such that it looked absolutely perfect worn either way!!

It's completely lovely facing front... see??

And just as gorgeous facing back... 

The wire work appears so delicate yet the stones are set firmly in place. And she guarantees her work, so that if a stone ever comes loose she will fix it for free. Another aspect that I adore is that each piece is 100% hand made... so no two pieces will ever be exactly the same.

I've tried to show the piece in different lighting so you can get an idea of how it will look in different conditions. You'll notice that regardless of the lighting it shines like the sun!! 

With jewelry ranging from $10 on up, it's affordable for any budget! However, keep in mind that a custom piece can take a couple of weeks to complete, so if you're looking to go custom you will need to get your order in soon if you're wanting it under the tree. But again, she does have pretty pieces already made for your convenience. 

And if your gifted doesn't care for pendants Tarahbelle Jewelry Designs makes rings, bangles, arm bands, and earrings as well! 

Remember, one can never, ever, ever go wrong giving a gift that sparkles! So, guys, bling her up this Christmas... Happy holiday shopping!!

All photos by: Me 
*Except the in-progress photo: Credit to Tarahbelle Jewelry Designs* 


Many Days of Shopping: Deconstructing Eden

I love perfume. I love the way it makes me feel, the memories it invokes, and of course the way it smells. Funny thing is, my nose seems to be attracted to the more expensive varieties.

My old work friends still talk about the time, several years ago, that my husband delivered a basket of my favorite perfumes to my job: Christian Dior, Thierry Mugler, more Christian Dior... and a bottle of JLo Miami Glow because I like it and don't judge me. 

What I'm trying to say here is that fragrance is one of the few things I don't bargain shop on. And it has to smell exquisite if I'm going to wear it.   

Well a friend of mine posted about a perfumer friend of his on Facebook so I decided to give her a try. If I'm being honest I didn't have super high expectations, but I thought I might find something worth spritzing on every now and then... you know, if I was feeling earthy and free and hippie-like. 

Because everyone knows that everything on Etsy is for hippies. Right?


Oh but how little did I really know...

Before I start my review I want to say a couple of things:

1. These are definitely NOT what I thought they'd be, i.e. "a couple of essential oils blended in a bottle that all smell like patchouli." These are legitimate high end perfumes. They're a blend of 50% perfume oils & aromachemicals and 50% high-grade, scentless perfumers alcohol. Keep in mind that even most high end perfumes you buy are only anywhere from 20-40% perfume oils & aromachemicals and the rest alcohol and water. So again, these are true perfumes... they are not eau de perfumes, eau de toilettes, or eau de colognes. And they're definitely not hippie essential oils blended in a bottle. They are what I'd expect to find at the fragrance counter of a swanky store. 

2. I ordered the sample sizes, however I'm more inclined to call them miniatures as they're much more generous than a mere sample. One of these samples would last at least a week if you used it everyday. 

3. Because perfume is such a personal experience, and because it's impossible to try and discern how a fragrance is going to smell over the internet, I'm going to tell you the first perfumer that popped into my head when I smelled each perfume. Now I'm in NO way comparing them or saying they smell like a certain fragrance... I'm just giving you an idea of what to expect. Because if you love a certain house, (I myself am a Christian Dior gal), then you'll be able to get a better idea of the fragrance as I'm describing it. Make scents? (Get it... scents, sense? anyway, moving on...)

I absolutely love these perfumes and I think they make the most wonderful gifts. They're an enigma really... Classic yet unusual and honestly some of the most beautiful fragrances I've ever smelled. 

So without further ado I present to you Deconstructing Eden: Inspired Perfume for Unusual People.

Friday: Eros
This is part of the "Love: Light & Dark" collection. Bold and lush. This fragrance started off extremely intense as a heady rush of exotic florals with a delightful shock of cinnamon. Over time it mellowed into a rich, warm cinnamon-laced amber on my skin. It lasted all day and I can still faintly smell it on my cardigan a week later and I'm glad I can... Simply put it smells divine. *Christian Dior

Part of the "Dangerous Women" collection, this fragrance is possibly my favorite of them all. If an ocean and a forset had a baby, this is what she would smell like. It's fresh, crisp, and clear... an ocean in the middle of a mossy forest. Salty air, oak trees and just hint of lavender lingered on my skin all day. I imagine Ireland smells exactly like this and I will be buying the full size. *So unique that it stands alone.

Sunday: Orchis House
From the "Kushiel's Legacy" collection. This is a very sweet and fruity and utterly feminine scent. When I wore it I imagined lounging on a chaise, in a greenhouse filled with orchids, sipping on mimosas... It sparkles with lush fruit scents and just the right amount of soft floral. We had dinner with my in-laws the evening I wore this and my father-in-law complimented me twice on my fragrance. *Escada 

Monday: Winter '14
This is a Limited Edition perfume, though I'm hoping she'll keep it around for a long while as this was the other toss up for my favorite. She truly captured the essence of winter in the fragrance. Winter '14 is icy and minty with a hint of hot chocolate... But it's not ridiculously sweet or candied. This is a crisp, clean scent that melted to a powdery snow cream finish on my skin over the course of the day. I kept sniffing my wrist to get more... It's just that addictive and another one that will be purchased full size. *Calvin Klein 

Tuesday: Beloved
Part of the "Love: Light & Dark" collection, this perfume is Southern elegance in a bottle. Soft and demure, sweet and fresh, floral, fruity, and slightly flirty... It reminded me of gardenias and candied apples and my beloved south in the spring in all it's floral glory. My daughter complimented my fragrance the day I wore this, and she's the pickiest teenager in the world. *Marc Jacobs 

Wednesday: Jacqueline
Jacquline is a house scent created for the perfumers friend. I'd like to thank that friend. This fragrance is powerfully provocative... It's a pure jasmine scent with a hint of powdery softness. It's sexy, alluring, confident, and makes you want to curl up with it.... naked... on silk sheets... with a bottle of red. *Chanel 

Thursday: Saraswati 
This scent is part of the "Deities" collection. It harmonizes beautifully with notes of sandalwood, lilies, orange blossoms, and a hint of milk & honey. It immediately gave me a feeling of warmth and peace... a feeling that remained all day. This is a quietly seductive fragrance fit for a goddess. *Theirry Mugler

Friday: Melisande
This is another fragrance from the "Kushiel's Legacy" collection. Though very much a women's perfume, I found it to have somewhat of a masculine twist to it. Melisande is bold and comes at you with a wild punch of spice, woods, and musk... yet it mellows somewhat as it warms to the skin, leaving behind a softer, milder earthy scent. *Lancôme

Deconstructing Eden is extremely generous when it comes to throwing in an extra or two, and when I mentioned I'd like to try something for my hubby sometime she hooked me right up. I'm really glad she did because one of these is sex in a bottle....

Delauny immediately made me want to cuddle up on my husbands neck and smell him for hours. It's a softer scent, but definitely anything but feminine. With notes of citrus and leather it's a romantic and comforting let's-cuddle-under-the-blanket-on-a-rainy-day scent. Hubby liked this one... And I did too!

Unfortunately I didn't get an opportunity to spray his on my dear husband (terrible schedules where we rarely see one another). However I did spray it on his pillow and snuggle with it (again, don't judge me haha). Leather, musk, and oranges round out this house fragrance making it a yummy, masculine scent for your man.  

Sex. This is sex in a bottle. I don't know if she figured out a way to bottle male human mating-pheromones or what, but this is amazing. This is what a man should smell like: strong and completely masculine, without being overbearing. With notes of bay rum and oak moss my husband thought it smelled like beer... I thought it smelled like we needed to get it on. Seriously, that's all I could think about when he wore it. This is getting stuffed in his stocking this year for sure.

Soooo there you have it! 

Her processes are pretty intense and one perfume takes a minimum of a month to  develop... It's truly a study in patience. Per Toni (our master perfumer), "Most aroma-chemicals are not necessarily easy to work with and most do not smell good straight from the bottle. I also have the added complication of having to let a blend 'sit' for a few weeks to allow the assorted components to come together. I check once a week to see if it's all "coming together" the way that I want it to, and, if needed, add components."

And one of the things that really struck a chord with me (haha) is how she related perfume with music. As a mother, sister, and aunt of musicians I immediately related. "I often tell people that perfumery isn't really so different from music in that I'm still dealing with base notes, heart notes and top notes. I believe very much that a well-blended fragrance can be almost symphonic."

To me the most fascinating aspect of each collection is how she takes scents that would have been familiar with the perfumes namesakes (whether historical or fiction) and adds a modern twist to them, creating something entirely unique. They're quaintly old world, yet completely modern at the same time! And as the same perfume smells just a little bit different on everyone, every perfume is a uniquely beautiful gift to the wearer. 

Now as far as gift-giving... I would definitely suggest choosing a sample gift set and then adding a gift certificate to it so that your gifted can buy the full size of whichever one she/he loved the most. A good description is given under each perfume, so if you know your gifted loves floral or fruity or wooded scents, you can choose a few of each and let him/her decide.

Oh, and here's one of the absolute best parts: a full size 1 ounce bottle is only $22.00. 

Yes, you read that right... Twenty-two dollars for one of these gorgeous perfumes! Needless to say my high end nose & low end wallet are loving that!!

And if you really want to splurge, (and believe me, I do), she makes completely custom perfumes for $150 (contact her here). HINT HINT HUSBAND!!! Seriously, what could possibly be more romantic than having a custom perfume created, that no one else will ever wear, for the person you love?  


As a certified hopeless romantic I can promise you that nothing is more romantic than that. Keep in mind the custom process takes about 6 weeks, so get to shopping! But whether you go custom or order a ready made perfume, you simply cannot go wrong with any of these lovely fragrances!

Happy shopping!!! 
All photos courtesy of Deconstructing Eden... 
Except that crappy last one. That was all me.


See What Had Happened Was... (18 yrs ago)

My husband and I met many, many years ago - wayyy back in the spring 1996 - at his house on Beaver Lane. If the name of the road doesn't give it away, it was the quintessential drunken bachelor pad.

Upon meeting we immediately disliked one another. I was bitchy and he was, well... ok I was bitchy. 

Dates at the hardware store cause bitchy wife face... 

However one thing led to another thing, and after a night of one too many beers, his quiet demeanor, large muscles, and long Fabio-esque hair piqued my interest. And so I did what any other reasonable 21 year old girl would do: I pretended to pass out on his front porch to see what he would do. 

After unsuccessfully trying to wake me - (haha) - he scooped me up in his big arms, carried me to his room, set me down on his bed...and proceeded to rip my clothes off. 

Just kidding. 

He didn't do that at all. He did scoop me up in his arms and carry me to his room, but he laid down on the floor next to the bed and went to sleep. Of course I had to wake him up and ask him why he laid on the floor instead of on the bed with me. His response was, "To make sure no one comes in here and messes with you."

Well that was it. He passed the test and I was smitten! I got his cute little arse up on the bed with me and asked him out on a date for the very next evening. He answered with a shy "Yes." Oh, and get your mind out of the gutter... We didn't even a kiss that night. He held me while I slept.

In the morning I gave him a hug, reminded him about our date, and went home. 

Now unfortunately for me my brother had "borrowed" and wrecked my new car into a ditch the evening before, while watching his friend get sexual favors from a prostitute in the back seat. 

Yes I'm serious. 

And there is a reason I'm telling you this. You see my not-yet-husband unwrapped his arms from around me long enough that night to pay to have my car towed out of the ditch. But didn't tell me what had happened... he didn't want to get in the middle of obvious white-o-rican-trash nonsense. 

At any rate I got a flat tire, (due to the wreck the night before that I had no knowledge of), on the way to pick hubs-to-be up for our date... and I was over an hour late. 

When I showed up, Hubs-to-be, thinking I was a no show, had already spent his money on beer and was fast approaching drunk. But neither hell nor high water... nor prostitutes, nor flat tires, nor drunkeness... would keep me from this man. 

We went out anyway. 

We went out again the night after that. 

And the night after that and the night after that. 

A week later we were living together.

A month later I was knocked up. 

Six months later we were married in a small church ceremony, with a pitiful reception that my hubby likes to refer to as having been held in the "church mess hall." 

There was no first dance, no toasts, no big celebration. Just two scared kids wondering what the hell they'd gotten themselves into. See that church picture?

That's where we got married.

We had such a memorable beginning. And although we started out rather ass-backward, we've come full circle and reached every goal we've made for ourselves: We've raised 3 intelligent, beautiful, incredible, talented, creative, awesome kids. We've made a beautiful home together. We've proved that a marriage can survive and thrive despite ANY obstacle, as long as both parties are willing to love, accept, compromise, forgive, and work at it... every single day

I won't say it's been complete wedded bliss the many years we've been married. While it has been better than any fairy tale dream these past several years, sometimes, especially toward the middle of our time together, it was the exact opposite. But there is no one on heaven or earth that I'd rather go through life's highs and lows with than my darling husband.

So today I give you our story.... because on Sunday I will be snuggled in bed with the love of my life celebrating a happy 18th anniversary to us!

Getting ready to get hitched! 

PS. And thank you to my brother for introducing the hubby and me... I'm now kinda glad he wrecked my car. Ha!


Cooking a Whole Chicken

It's no secret that I love to cook. One thing that used to scare the crap outta me though was cooking a whole chicken.

I mean what do you do with it?? How do you work with it? It seemed like an awful lot of work for not very much payoff. 

But I was mistaken. 

I've learned that you can get more than a few meals out of a single roasted chicken. In fact one average sized roast chicken will feed my family 4 decent sized meals (with a little help from some side dishes). 

Meal One:
First things first... You'll want to prep your chicken. That means sticking your hand in the cavity and pulling out all the guts the processing plant puts in there. But whatever you do, don't throw those away!! You'll need them for later.

Next you'll pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and season it. I like using adobo, but you can use whatever seasoning you like. The next thing I do is chop a medium sized onion in half and shove it up in the cavity. If I'm feeling fancy I'll go to my herb garden and cut a few sprigs of fresh herbs and shove those in there too. 

Next you'll roast the dang thing. I like to serve mine with root veggies (potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc) and green beans. Whichever way you decide to roast the chicken (oven or crockpot) you'll put the root veggies on the bottom, put your green beans on top of that, and place the chicken on top of the whole mess. 

You can roast it in the oven: 375 degrees at 25 minutes per round of chicken. 

Or, as my cousin showed me, in the crockpot: cook on low for 6 hours.

Once it's done voila! you have a delicious meal. 

Meal Two:
Once we've decimated the chicken there's always a few big chunks and a lot of leftover bits still clinging to the bones. I take those chunks & bits and make chicken salad. Now you probably don't think there's very much left, but once you start to pickin' you'll find that there's plenty! Make sure you save everything though (the skin and bones and any fat drippings...) You'll be using those later!! 

My chicken salad recipe is as follows: 
leftover chicken meat (usually about a cup)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup olive oil based mayo
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 ripe avocado, cubed

Make sure the chicken is finely shredded. Now just mix everything together. You don't even need to season it! Serve on toasted bread and top with lettuce and tomato. 

Meal Three & Four:
Now you're going to make a soup base that you'll be able to use not once, but twice! 

Get yourself a big stockpot and dump the chicken guts from meal one and the drippings, skin, and bones from meal two into it. Add 16 cups of water, 1 bay leaf, half of a chopped onion, and two cups of frozen veggies. Again you don't need to add seasoning because you've already seasoned the skin with adobo (or whatever). 

Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for two hours. Let it cool to a reasonable temperature before you continue.

Now comes the tricky part... Fish all the veggies out and place them in another smaller pot.

Now you'll need to strain the broth you've made into yet another large pot. I use a fine mesh strainer so that it captures everything and I'm left with a nice clear broth. 

You will now divide up the broth: half will get poured over your veggies in the smaller bowl and the other half you will bag up and freeze for later. 

Once you've put away the freezer broth you can toss the stuff that's left in the strainer. 

Now to get started on your soup... Yes, yes... It's another step, but I promise it's an easy one: you simply open a can of beans (I like black beans) and pour it in the smaller bowl containing the broth and veggies. Heat it up, sprinkle some cheddar on it, add a dolop of sour cream, and serve with crackers. 

For meal four you do the same exact thing with the frozen broth: thaw, add veggies, beans, and whatever else tickles your fancy..... you'll just do this at a later date, because by this time everyone will be sick of chicken and they'll want red meat. Ha!

Pics & Recipes By: Me