Tuesday, November 30, 2010

making a holiday mantel -- UPDATED {pics with sunlight}

Well....it has been raining day after day & with it being winter daylight hours, I just can not seem to win with getting good light. Am I whining? Maybe a tidbit. Oh well. I think you can see beyond the pictures and see what I have done with my mantel for the holidays. I went for something nostalgic and something whimsy...oh yes...and it needed to sparkle.

I changed up my traditional look {real greens, candles, and my glitter pinecones}. I think it comes from my son REALLY getting into the holiday spirit.

I took a cue from Thurgood's new fascination with the nutcrackers {go here for better pics}. Red seemed to just be the color that called to me. I was shocked since I am a neutral girl at heart...but I loved the red.

Here is the final look:


Ok...back to the night time pics. :(

Here is the rundown: I got the stockings from Walmart, the stocking holders are from Hobby Lobby last year at 80% off, the ornaments are a few sets from the Dollar Tree, and the little globes I got at a yard sale -- all for $1.

It amazes me how putting ornaments in a glass jar give just enough sparkle and shimmer for the mantel.

I had some leftover glittery letters from a scrapbook project and thought a word that speaks to the season would be a nice touch.

And some of you may ask...why a wedding picture? Well Mr. B & I were married December 18th. This season is always special for us...and who am I kidding...it is a gentle reminder for him that our special day is just around the corner. {Oh how I LOVE this pic of us!}

So..now that I have the mantel done...time to work on my garland for my entertainment center. Stay tuned...


PS And don't be shocked if I UPDATE this post...especially if the sun comes out.

The Lettered Cottage

Sunday, November 28, 2010

my crack at a holiday mantel

Thurgood and I were busy bees this past week. We went shopping for food for our lovely Thanksgiving gathering and along the way, Thurgood spotted a few nutcrackers. I love how TJMaxx puts all their holiday decor at kid height. Luckily my store is very family friendly. Thurgood and I enjoyed "playing" with the nutcrackers, and he said he wanted them for his new Christmas stuff.

I have never owned a nutcracker but spotting these handsome men and how super cheap they were {I got all 5 for less than $25}..I could not pass them up.

One little green man....that lopsided scepter meant dollars saved for us.

This music box had me at hello and Thurgood loved it. This was the piece that started the whole nutcracker fever.

The little blue man was in a set with the green man and the red man below.

And the last pic of the nutcrackers. So cute!

My mantle is evolving but these guys were the starting point. I am still playing with a few ideas but I think you can see it is all about color this year in Casa B. I look forward to posting to Layla's Mantel party. :)

How is your mantle coming? How has your vision changed from your beginning thoughts?


Friday, November 26, 2010


Oh my, this Thanksgiving I was introduced to a few new lovely ladies.

I know many of you have met Mrs. Meyers, but I have not. That is until I went to TJ Maxx and found a Holiday Clean-Up Kit for -- wait for it...$5.

This pic obviously shows I started with my countertops.

For a small amount of change, I got my 1st "cleaning date" with Mrs. Meyers. The Iowa Pine has a fresh Christmas tree scent that lingers for a few hours. It is not overpowering but hints of the season ahead. I was pleased with the purchase and the products. I thought this kit was an excellent way to "test" her products for myself. I hear there is other seasonal scents: Orange Clove & Peppermint. Would it not be divine to clean different rooms with different scents and have them all infuse together? Anywho...great price for a great product.

My second houseguest was Sister Schubert.

Have you met Sister Schubert? She makes divine yeast rolls. My neighbor talked me into trying them this Thanksgiving. With a coupon from her website, how could I say no? And it was scrumptious! Both pans were empty before the day was out.

All I can say is YUUUUUUMMMMMYYYYY! If you have never tasted her Parker Style Yeast Rolls opt for a pan or 2 or 3 for Christmas. You will not be disappointed.

Have any houseguests this Thanksgiving before your guests arrived? I really was pleasantly surprised with mine.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

so thankful - thanksgiving 2010

I loved today....from the moment I woke up to right now. There was just so much to do from the time I rose,  but luckily I had a buddy share my morning with me as I got all our food ready.

My little hiccup in the day was not pulling out the camera and taking a few pics of the day and all the fun we had. I hope your day was full of many blessings.

I am about to head to bed...but let me share with you 3 sweet blessings that will carry me throughout the weekend.
A few leftover Bourbon Ball Cupcakes...MMMMmmmm.

An almost complete Dutch Apple Caramel Pie....double MMMMMmmmmm.

And yes...a WHOLE Derby Pie!!  Triple Mmmmmm....

I hope the blessings of this day continue to bring you joy  & sweetness throughout the weekend and this holiday season.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

what a wonderful day

Today was my 1st day off....no rotation...no school...just a splendid day with my little family. And tomorrow -- shall be an even more splendid day. I la-la-love Thanksgiving. Tomorrow at Casa B we will be gathering with family {over 15 of us} in my little abode.

My appetizers are ready for the oven.

My pies are baked.

A few decorations are up.

Is everything perfect? No. I have a few stickers that Thurgood placed here and there in our family room today. And Atticus keeps trying to sleep on my biggest platter.

Will everything be perfect tomorrow? No. I may or may not get the tree up tonight. I don't have a table large enough for everyone to gather at...I will be lucky if I have enough chairs.

And it is ok...because at the end of the day, I will not be thankful if my Derby pie is perfect or if my stockings tilt to the correct side...I will be thankful for my little family {the 3 of us} and my entire family {all 15 of us}.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Friday, November 19, 2010

in my back pocket

Ever come across a project and think...I MUST do this. This happened to me today and I just had to share the wealth. Over at My Repurposed Life I was browsing current projects by other bloggers and ran across this:

It is perfection...right out of a Williams-Sonoma Home catalog, isn't it?
Starting with a regular wingback chair, a EZ Care slipcover from JCPenney, and some nailhead trim -- Sarah at Three Boys created something so stunning...I was knocked unconscious from falling out of my chair. It is perfectly tailored and there was NO SEWING. Yep...NO SEWING!!! {she also tested the slipcover and its "fixed" position by sitting on it 20 times or so.}

What a FABULOUS project. This is giving my dear Layla chair...a run for her place in my bedroom.

Oh my mind is spinning!! Mark this project...it is definitely a keeper.

Have any projects in your back pocket? I have a PB knockoff I am ancy to do. I think this weekend will be a perfect time to work on it too.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

trade secrets: Q&A about the flu vaccine

Right now, I am the the flu vaccine queen at Walgreens. People always ask lots of questions and so I thought I would make this my topic this week for trade secrets. This is great info for those of you who have yet to get vaccine OR hear people discuss myths as facts with the vaccine. And as always, Walgreens gives shots EVERY day ALL day long. Come see me if you can. :) I promise it will not hurt.

Q: What is influenza?
A: Influenza (also referred to as the flu) is an infectious respiratory illness caused by a set of viruses. Complications from infection can result in hospitalization and death.

Q: What is the difference between seasonal and novel flu?
A: Seasonal flu infections are caused by viruses that are common from year to year. Novel flu infections are caused by new viruses that have evolved, and there is little existing immunity to them.

Q: What is the seasonal flu vaccine?
A: The seasonal flu vaccine is composed of the 3 most likely strains of influenza virus for the coming year. Administration of a flu vaccine increases the likelihood of protection against seasonal influenza infection by causing the body to develop antibodies to the viruses.

Q: Will the 2010 seasonal flu vaccine protect against the novel 2009 H1N1 virus?
A: Yes, the 2010 seasonal flu vaccine will provide coverage against the novel 2009 H1N1 virus, as well as 2 other common strains of the flu.

Q: Who should get a seasonal flu vaccination?
A: Anyone 6 months of age and older should receive a seasonal flu vaccination. For children under the age of 8 years, 2 doses may be needed depending on previous flu vaccination status. For healthy individuals aged 2 years to 49 years, the nasal vaccine is safe and effective. Health care workers, elderly persons, children, pregnant women, and those with chronic conditions are at the highest risk of contracting the flu and should be vaccinated as soon as possible.

Q: What if I’m pregnant or nursing?
A: Pregnant women are considered a high-risk group and should receive a flu shot as early as possible. You should coordinate this with your obstetrician/gynecologist. The flu shot is also safe and effective for nursing mothers. However, be sure that you only receive an injection and not the nasal version.

Q: When should I get a flu vaccination?
A: Because immunity takes up to 2 weeks to develop, it is important to get your vaccination as soon as possible.

Q: Will there be enough flu vaccine to go around?
A: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has worked very hard with vaccine manufacturers to ensure that there will be an adequate supply of the 2010 seasonal influenza vaccine. Two newer formulations of the vaccine will be available this flu season. In addition, 2 formulations of the flu shot (already available in the market) were approved by the FDA for use in young children.

Q: Who should not get a flu vaccination?
A: People with a history of severe allergy to eggs or any component of the vaccine should not receive the flu shot or the nasal vaccine. Also, children and adolescents taking aspirin should not receive the nasal vaccine. Patients should consult their health care provider to determine if they have a condition that precludes them from receiving the vaccine.

Q: What are the risks associated with a flu vaccination?
A: The risk of a flu vaccine causing serious harm is extremely small. Almost all people who get a flu vaccine experience no serious problems. The most common side effect of the flu shot is soreness at the site of injection. The most common side effect associated with the nasal vaccine is a mild runny nose and congestion, which lasts a very short time. Like any medicine, however, the vaccine may rarely cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. If you experience a severe reaction, promptly report it to your health care provider.

Q: Can the flu vaccine give me the flu? {my #1 question or reason for NOT getting the vaccine}
A: No!!! The viruses in the flu shot are killed and purified. The viruses in the nasal vaccine are severely weakened and cannot produce an infection. They can not multiply and make more baby viruses...soyou can not get the flu from the vaccine. Now because it takes up to 2 weeks to obtain full immunity, it is possible to be exposed to influenza during this time period and develop the illness. Additionally, the flu vaccine only protects against specific seasonal strains, not all viruses.

Q: Why do I need to get vaccinated each year?
A: Flu viruses change often. Viruses that are common one year can be different than the year before. Therefore, the vaccine in the flu shot changes every year. Also, you can be infected more than once in your life, so previous immunity may not provide protection against another infection.

Q: Do I have to go to my physician to be vaccinated?
A: While you can certainly get a flu vaccine in your physician’s office, many pharmacies offer this service, as do local health departments and walk-in clinics. So once again...come see me. :)

There you have it. You are now experts on the flu vaccine, but you are not the queen. I am not giving up my throne that easy.

This commercial is just sooo cute. Had to share a pic of it with you.

Feel free to share away with friends and family or not. Either way, it will be our little secret.


Monday, November 15, 2010

ready {RED-ee} for christmas

So this past weekend amid everything going on...I hopped over to the Pottery Barn in Louisville for a little Christmas inspiration. I just adored the Christmas pillows they had.

Interestingly enough, I found myself drawn to ---- RED.
I think it is the stitching...maybe it is the cursive lettering....wait -- it is the pocket. So cute!

This picture does not do the pillow justice. Such a perfect holiday red.

But...this one was my favorite. I love the tease of color in berry form. Swooning over a $49 pillow cover. Ugh.

And I had to show you Thurgood's favorite one. He loved the jingle...and of course Santa. This pillow has my creative juices bubbling. {that sounds like gas. :) } I need to find some jingle bells.

Hmmm.....I am curious as to what PB copy I can create.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

dreaming of a {fill in the blank} christmas

I need to start my decorating for Christmas STAT.

Long story short...most of my family {except for myself, my little one, and my Lola} will be going to the Philippines December 26th. They are staying for the official canonization of my great-great aunt, Mother Rosario.

I am actually still processing the idea of being related to an actual saint. It is surreal to say the least. My husband is far from Catholic, but considering we went to midnight Mass at the Vatican for our honeymoon and now a member of my family reaches sainthood --- he most definitely is honorary Catholic.

Switching gears just a tad----

So...because most of the family will be jet setting off to the islands, we are focusing on Thankgiving as being the holiday for us to all gather. And as it is for every holiday, the festivities come to my home.

With festivities coming here...HERE has to be ready. I have included some of my thoughts that have sparked my interest.

{pic from Bower Studio}
Oh..this tease of color is fabulous. My home is saturated in neutrals {in fact my wall color is very similar to this wall} and for some reason this color combination is dynamic. Maybe this is the year for color.

{pic from pewter & sage}
This pic makes me swoon. With little effort one can create a stunning decor piece for the home. No glitz or sparkle required, and really the simplicity of greens speak for themselves.

{pic from Pottery Barn}
Nothing celebrates the holiday season more than red. I have never been an every day red kinda girl. I use a spectrum of red for that...rust..marroon, but not red. Hmmm....a velvet red though is Christmas now and forever. Looks like PB has perfected a nice red.

{pic from 320 Sycamore}
Or do I keep with elements that I have and use my sparkle and shimmer of silver and gold?

I keep bouncing back and forth on what to do and how to do it. My tree never changes...I will blog about that later. So for now...I need to any and all suggestions to make this Christmas/Thanksgiving special.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

trade secrets: to flush or not to flush

What do you do with your old, expired medications? Flush them down the toilet, right? Out of sight, out of mind.
Every day we get a phone call at the pharmacy that asks -- Can I flush old meds down the toilet?

To  reduce the amount of drugs that end up in your drinking water and the environment, The US Fish and Wildlife Service, the American Pharmacists Association, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America have banded together to develop

SMARxT DISPOSAL: A Prescription for a Healthy Planet.

The following steps can make a huge difference in protecting our environment. If you are unsure how to dispose of a specific medication, contact your local pharmacist and ask for directions.


1. For most medications: DO NOT FLUSH unused medications or POUR them down a sink or drain.

2. Be Proactive and Dispose of Unused Medication in Household Trash. When discarding unused medications, ensure you protect children and pets from potentially negative effects:

a. Pour medication into a sealable plastic bag. If medication is a solid (pill, liquid capsule, etc), crush it or add water to dissolve it.

b. Pour kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds (or any material that mixes with the medication and makes it less appealing for pets and children to eat) into the plastic bag.

c. Seal the plastic bag and put it in the trash.

d. Remove and destroy ALL identifying personal information {prescription label} from all medication containers before recycling them or throwing them in the trash.

3. Check for Approved State and Local Collection Programs. {hospitals often do medication disposals/take backs with the state police}

4. Another option is to check for approved state and local collection alternatives such as community-based household hazardous wastes collection programs. In certain states, you may be able to take your unused medications to your community pharmacy or other location for disposal.

5. When in doubt...call the pharmacy or state police. I guarantee you they {mainly the police}will collect a control rather than let it make its way into the wrong hands.


So you followed everything above, but you notice the medication says to FLUSH any leftover old medication or after usage.What do you do?

When a drug contains instructions to flush it down the toilet,  it is because  the FDA, working with the manufacturer, has determined this method to be the most appropriate route of disposal that presents the least risk to safety.

About a dozen drugs, such as powerful narcotic pain relievers and other controlled substances, carry instructions for flushing to reduce the danger of unintentional use or overdose and illegal abuse.

For example, the fentanyl patch, an adhesive patch that delivers a potent pain medicine through the skin, comes with instructions to flush used or leftover patches. Too much fentanyl can cause severe breathing problems and lead to death in babies, children, pets, and even adults, especially those who have not been prescribed the drug. Even after a patch is used, a lot of the drug remains in the patch, so you wouldn’t want to throw something in the trash that contains a powerful and potentially dangerous narcotic that could harm others.

***Please note the reason a lot of pharmacies do NOT want to take meds back for disposal is because the cost of destroying the meds is $$$. They get no money for this. So the cost-benefit analysis does not weigh in their favor to do it.

Feel free to share away with friends and family or not. Either way, it will be our little secret.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Am I the only one who is captivated when I stalk peek into other bloggers' homes and find exact home decor pieces that I have in my own home?

Not only does it peak my curiosity into their little world & decorating style, but I also find such inspiration in how they incorporate the piece.

I have this lovely entertainment center {a knockoff of the PB Logan Entertainment System} and was giddy to see how Pewter & Sage decorated it....especially for Christmas.

Oh Thrifty Decor Chick....we love the same chandy. She is ever so beautiful, isn't she? I am still so proud of myself for installing this darling. I only wish I had installed a dimmer as she did. I guess I still can.

I was amazed when I saw my bed in the award winning home tour that The Stories of A to Z attended.
 {I think my Master Bedroom is much more luxe, but this picture does uphold my ongoing debate with Mr. B for hardwoods in the bedroom.}

Oh Miss Layla....I will be honest. I think I bought this chair because you had it. Your influence has ever been infused in my style ---and the chair was sooooo cheap too.

Ummm....the couch...the ottoman...her love of neutrals.
{I think we must be related. Now all I need to replicate is her closet
--- oh my, I sound like such a wannabe, but luckily Honey We're Home and I are friends {and hopefully stay friends after my abnormal fixation with her home}.

And lastly...one of my dearest & oldest "online" friends.
 Hahaha...I almost said virtual friend.
Ahhh...FrecklesChick....in this room we share so many accessories it is sad that I do not drip with the same style that she does. The pharmacy lamp, the porcelain lotus flowers, the coral, the ottoman cubes, the wicker...I have issues people. {I do adore that starburst mirror and have sadly been on the hunt for one as divine as hers.}

There you have it. The decor twins in my life.

I am so lucky to share some fabulous elements with these lovely ladies...their style is perfection. Found any twinsies in your stalking peeking? I am so curious. {Basically I am hoping I am not the only weirdo out there.}


Sunday, November 7, 2010


I’ve got nothing.  {me speechless...it is shocking.}

Nothing funny, nothing serious, nothing new and exciting, nothing.

It all started when blogger "ate" 2 posts I had ready to go this past week. My Trade Secrets post for Thursday and another one. Argh! Rewriting a post reminds me of HS when I forgot to save my essays in the midst of writing them on my parents computer and then -- SOMETHING {insert anything & everything possible} -- caused me to lose the whole thing. How have I yet to learn this lesson?

Yes I could have rewritten it, but it never sounds the same when I rewrite it that second time.

So this weekend...we spent much of it in our jammies and eating breakfast foods. We made cinnamon rolls Saturday. I would like to tell you I made Pioneer Woman's yummy version.

But I have yet to attempt that culinary delight. I resorted to the can version.

For $2 and 20 minutes, it was yummy enough for my little family and easy enough for me....and let's be honest icing is icing.

So backs to rewrites.


Monday, November 1, 2010

my love of baskets

As you look around my house, you will see baskets.  Big baskets...small baskets. I love them all!

But I have a few in the kitchen that have been there since I painted my cabinets {5 years ago}.

Most think they are for decoration.

They rest above my cabinets adding height, color, and texture. But they have a secret job.

Within each basket we have ziploc baggies that contain receipts, direction manuals, warranties, extra plugs, etc to our various electronics. Here is the one for our DVD player. Each basket guards and keeps the information.

You can bet you can find the ziploc baggies for these counter appliances in the basket above them.

Yes we could file them in a cabinet, but most of those are spilling with my pharmacy notes & lectures. Plus, I think this is so much cuter...and gives my baskets some responsibility {outside the realm of looking pretty}.

And yes, one basket is a snuggle box for Atticus. He has many hair tumbleweeds in his.  I am always cleaning that one out....but look at that face. How could I say no?


Thought this would be perfect with The Nester's Linky Party that is all about secrets to a less messy nest.


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