Amateur Mixologist

vodka*lemon*lavender

 

Over the holidays, I love to create gifts from my kitchen.  But, with just having gone back to work part-time, it had to not only be unique but quick and simple, too. I stumbled upon a few recipes for infused alcohols and after researching them, took on the challenge.  With those and a few tips from my friend Kate Dunbar(seen here), I decided on infusing vodka with two of my favorite flavors~ lemon and lavender.

ingredients~

my favorite vodka

mason jars

sliced lemons

fresh lavender from my garden

instructions~

Pour the vodka and sliced lemons in the mason jars and let it sit sealed in a cool, dry space for 3 days.  On the third day, introduce the lavender sprigs for ten minutes only! Then find a pretty bottle..

I found this great vintage-looking bottle at Pier One and topped with a gift tag.  I had hoped to get more creative with my gift tags, as I did last Christmas like these but ran out of time.

I know Christmas has come and gone but with Valentine’s Day right around the corner~maybe your squeeze will <3 a little lemon~infused vodka!

The Laws of Fashion

I found this look on Pinterest, and I thought I just might be able to pull it off.  I would need to keep the colored denim soft and top billowy.  No bright red jeans with a rocker T ala Hot Topic.

The mint hue shown here whispers cool.  The mildly, blush top is the perfect complement to this look~ with it’s angelic sleeves and the neutral, solid heels pull it all together seamlessly.

So,as I shop today I will feel a bit like a rebel.  With each trip to the dressing room twisting and turning in and out of jeans in different colors~ I will be breaking “the rules”.  But don’t worry, I promise not to  pair my new hue of denim with a black, leather jacket and biker boots.  Hopefully, that will make Stacy happy.

What do you think? Do you ever break the “fashion rules”?

Blessing Bags

**pinterest

With the holiday season in full-swing, my mind has been racing with little things we can do as a family to bless others.  We intend on feeding the homeless on Thanksgiving morning and purchasing a few gifts for those in need at our local elementary school.  But, when I came across this picture on Pinterest~I thought what a great way to make this all a bit more personal.  In the next week, the kids and I will assemble six Blessing Bags~one each.  We will include the following:

travel-size toothbrush and paste

water bottle

deodorant

fruit cup

apple sauce

bar soap

granola bars

tylenol

crackers

holiday card with a positive message personalized by each one of us

All six  bags will be kept in our car.  It will be our personal choice, who receives the bag.  My holiday wish is for this tradition to continue monthly, all year-round.

 

Running in Pairs

**pinterest

Last week, I was reintroduced to an old friend.  I hadn’t run in nearly 6 months.  And with the hustle and bustle of Fall, I had no immediate plans to revisit my running routine.  Running was something I had always done solo.  Away from the kids; just me and my thoughts.  It was an escape of sorts.  That is until Hanah asked me to join her.  My 17 yr old daughter is a Senior this year.  And any time she chooses to spend with me- I am there.  I will even be joining her on a field trip next week.  A far cry from our first trip to the Pumpkin Patch when she was 5.  We will be attending UCSB for a team building ropes course~ complete with zip lining and wall climbing.

Running with Hanah is therapy.  We run after the sun sets, so we can enjoy the coolness of the evening and Halloween Lights.  We talk about the day’s events, we laugh when we have to dodge the same pick up truck’s huge, trailer hitch, and squeal when we hear a critter in the bushes.  She’s faster than me(when did that happen?) and I find myself struggling to keep up.   Last night, as we were finishing, the sprinklers came on at a nearby house, we ran in unison through them almost as if it were a synchronized dance.

I am thankful she has chosen me to spend this time with her.  Next October – she will be away at college.  It’s our last Fall together as mother and little girl.  But, I find solace in that, even though Hanah runs a few steps ahead of me now~she will always stop and wait for her mommy.

Weekend Thoughts

**pinterest

The first week in October is off to a great start.  A rain storm made a brief appearance and brought a quick drop in temperatures here in California.  It was fun to pull out my out my favorite wool socks and boots(if even for a day).   With a beach wedding this afternoon though, I was happy the storm left just as quickly as it arrived.

Tomorrow is the Avocado Festival in Carpenteria where my friend, Ali will be debuting her Sweet Avocado Pies and then on Sunday, we are gathering with our new neighbors for a community BBQ(thank God it’s the Cowboys’ bye week).

Enjoy the weekend my friends!

Sunshine Smiles on a Rainy Morning

*photo from pinterest

As I drove my children to school today, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my precious cargo.  With the wet weather and usual idiots driving as if we are contenders for the Indy 500, I thought~ My life is in this car people!!!

I dropped H and J off at their school and with that, my step daughter jumped from the back to the front seat.  I enjoy this time of day with her.  This is our time.  I let her control the radio station.  She likes Coffee House on XM.  The gentle acoustic music makes a nice background for our chats.  Today, we talked high school, college and careers.  C wants to attend Foothill(if they have a water polo team) then off to college in Hawaii. She wants to become a hairdresser or a police woman.  I told her she could do both.  She asked what I wanted to be when I was little.  A quick smile appeared on my mouth(maybe a bit Chesire cat-like), as I thought back to the 11-year-old me~ a writer and ballerina, I answered.  As we went on discussing jobs, C was surprised to learn, I was a fitness trainer for a few years.  I heard excitement in her voice as she asked me questions about it.  I think she was actually impressed – which again made me smile.  I pulled up to school and as she and her little brother exited the shelter of my warm car and ran out into the wet world, I thought to myself how lucky I am to watch this inquisitive girl grow.  She has an actual interest in me as a person.  Something I think biological children may take for granted.  I watched, as she grabbed Roman’s hand and they headed towards the adventures that await them.  And then I smiled, one more time and thanked her silently for starting off an otherwise dreary morning with a few rays of her personal sunshine.

A Flash of Fall

the candle holder broke on this so I covered it in fall foliage

With moving, back to school and two three birthday parties(including my surprise party) marking the month of September, October arrived in the blink of a witch’s eye.  I know I am not alone in proclaiming my love for this time of year. We pulled out the decorations Friday night and just about finished up when Sunday morning football greeted us.

Here are a few of my favorite, current decorations.  Traditionally, we add a new piece or so to our collection each year and I’ve decided to go bird hunting this time around.  I’m looking for black, sparkly, ravens(think Edgar Allan Poe meets Martha Stewart).

fall bouquet from the hubby

love how this candle holder from a year ago is aging

happy jack!

this year's collection at Cost Plus is inspired by vintage halloween postcards

Meatless Monday~ Grilled Cheese Sandwhiches

photo~pinterest

I’m a sucker for cheese~sliced, cubed, in pasta, on sandwiches-you name it, I’ll take it.  So come Meatless Mondays, it’s guaranteed we will have cheese with something.  I try to incorporate ingredients to make my cheese-filled dish as healthy as possible.  So, in my grilled cheese, I use a squash puree in some form(frozen, jarred). Oh, and don’t forget the tomato soup!

Ingredients~

12 slices of a whole grain bread

2 cups shredded cheese(your choice~mix it up half cheddar, half pepper jack)

1 jar of baby food puree squash

1 tablespoon of butter/spread

dash of salt/pepper

olive oil for pan

Directions~

Heat olive oil in pan on medium.  Meanwhile, mix cheese, puree, butter, salt and pepper in bowl. Spread mixture on bread and place in pan.  Cook about 4 mins per side.  Serve with tomato soup and a salad to make a meal.

**Makes 6 sandwiches

Movie Night Themed Birthday Party

My step-daughter was about to turn 11.  We were in the middle of selling our home, moving to a new neighborhood and I had just succumbed to the fact, I was now in my 40’s.  It was a bit of….well, a “busy” time in my life.  When asked what she wanted to do this year, she replied(with the shriek of a lottery winner), “A sleepover!”.  This is where as a step-mother, proceed with caution.  Refrain from answering, “Are you ** crazy?!!”.  So, I decided I better not battle this one and looked to it as a bonding experience.  She decided on a Movie Night Theme after spotting some adorable invites at Hallmark that looked like movie tickets.  We put together the invitations, picked out the paper goods and decided on a  menu.  I created an inspiration board on Pinterest.  I added pictures daily and we would spend our afternoons, swooning over all the creative ideas.  For the menu, we served crap.  Hotdogs, popcorn, candy and more crap.

And though it wasn’t as elaborate as my creative side would’ve liked, it turned out sweet.  My biggest accomplishment was the cake.

I baked a box cake in a 9×13 pan.  Frosted it entirely in white and then used red Fruit By The Foot for the stripes and “label”.  For the popcorn, I used marshmallows.  I kept some whole and tore the others in half.  I have a lot to learn about cake decorating, but the giggling girls didn’t seem to mind as they consumed and then later threw it all over each other and our new backyard.

Voodoo Couture Vintage’s Robyn Hove

Ever since I can remember I have loved all things “old”.  As a child, my room was draped in antique linens and pictures and I spent my time watching old movies and then raiding my mother’s closet for anything that resembled the female character’s wardrobe.

I met Robyn Hove at a charity fashion show last year.  I had heard of her company~ Voodoo Couture Vintage around town and was excited to finally meet her.  If you are looking for something truly, special Robyn is the gal to contact.  This Summer I had two events coming up~ A daytime wedding and an evening birthday dinner in Santa Barbara.  I contacted Robyn, one foggy morning and later that day found myself trying on a multitude of colorful dresses from the 60’s and 70’s in her home.  I loved the fact, she was there and was more than helpful with what would work on my frame and with my coloring.  I ended up falling in love with a pastel floral piece that stood out with butterfly sleeves(wore this to the wedding) and a soft yellow YSL-inspired pleated dress for the birthday dinner.  What I adore about vintage is, (1.)these purchases are long-term.  They will be with me until I can’t fit into them any longer.  (2.)They are unique(sorry~H&M, Forever21) and I won’t fear running into anyone in my dress and lastly, (3.) they have a history.  Let’s find out more about Robyn and how she is making a business out of her passion. 

Where did you come up with the name Voodoo Couture Vintage?

I thought voodoo sounded kinda old & cool and mysterious, couture means sewing

When and what was your inspiration to start your business?

I am a former antique dealer, and I have loved vintage things ever since I can remember. I had to give that up to take care of my mom when she got Alzheimer’s disease. She eventually went into a nursing facility. I have a friend named Tanah who sold vintage clothing at expo’s and shows. She got me interested in vintage clothing. I bought a few pieces at garage sales & listed them on Ebay. They sold and I was hooked!! Soon I shopping for vintage clothing every weekend. I had to learn all the era’s and words for different types of clothing styles. (Still learning) lol! Been doing it for about 3 years, first year and a half getting my feet wet & now I’m obsessed! I don’t find much at garage sales these days so I have to travel to find it. All that to say I am inspired by the beauty and history of the clothes. The intricacy of the design and fine sewing of the older pieces. I’m inspired and enamored by who may have worn them and to where. I have to admit I get a little giddy when I find a special piece. I recently found a crochet skirt and the women told me it was from a flea market in England and was worn by Kate Moss back in the day before she was famous for a photo shoot. THAT inspired me! How exciting can you get. Anyway it was bought by a gentlemen in Paris. ( I never mentioned the story, who would have believed it anyway Ha) I’m inspired by the delicate nature of old silk and how some has held up so long. Also inspired by newer 60s, and 70s which covers so many styles…Hippie Boho, Jackie O and so on.
 
Did you have a shop at one time? Do you reinvent/re-design any of the pieces you find?
 
Well, I was inside a shop on Oak street. I had a large room call “Robyn’s Nest”- sounds corny to me now but at the time It was pretty popular. lol. I do some redesigning only if needed. If particular dresses are selling short , then I hem them. I pretty much keep up on what is selling on eBay on popular stores and try to apply what I learn.. I LOVE to repair things in a way that will never be detected or seen. I call them my “magic tricks”
Also getting stains out that may have been there forever is very rewarding for me. LOL. I’m so glad my Mom taught me some sewing skills when I was younger. I don’t know a lot but what I do know is invaluable.
 
Robyn, What is the next step for your business?
 
At this point I just want to keep getting my name out there and to continue to keep up with inventory and photo shoots. I want to get as much of a reputation as I can.
 
 
 

Voodoo Couture Website

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