Thursday, July 29, 2010

Frugal Spotlight: Sweet Libertine

I discovered Sweet Libertine cosmetics thanks to my friend Jen, who is a nonsense kind of gal and stands for no bullshit, so I knew her praise to be 100% honest.

Still, I must try something out for myself if I'm going to recommend it - Sarah Waller, the founder of Sweet Libertine, often has sales and promotions so I took advantage and a few months ago, I ordered a few eyeshadows.

I was very happy with my purchase - the amount of product was a very good value for the price (even non-sale price!), the quality was top notch, the color was very saturated, which is good because otherwise it won't show up on my eyelids.

All my shadows were winners, but my favorite color, I have to say, is Dragonfly:

Perfectly named, this shadow has a brownish base but once on your eyelid it can appear to be various shades of blues, greens, and purples! I love it. It's glam enough to perk up but not too much for everyday. And most importantly, it did not irritate my super sensitive eyes!

Head over to Sweet Libertine for wonderful products that contain on talc and are not tested on animals - you can even get free samples. Oy, what are you waiting for??!

Join me for . . .

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I have been counting my blessings - I do all the time - but since my beloved dad's passing earlier this month, I try and counter the grieving with the rejoicing, for life does, indeed, go on for the rest of us, and knowing Dad, he would hate to see me sunken with sadness.

I am very happy dad got to see the veggie garden fairly recently, a couple of months ago in fact, and he was awed by everything we had growing. My poor little dahlias were struggling at best, but I think I have some new influence up there yonder, because ever since dad left us, the dahlias have been blooming and blooming:

Our corn, too, has already delighted us with its sweetness. Last year we only got a few ears, but this time there's about a dozen almost ready to pick - this was the first one:

The Concord grapes are growing - I am meant to make jelly with these and we'll see whether that actually happens but it's been nice to watch them grow from little pinhead-sized dots to their current state.

We've had tons of onions already, not only the spring onions (their season is now done) but some of these yellow and white beauties. They've gone into omelets, chicken dishes, even gave one to mom for her stew. They're not the huge onions you see in the market, but that's perfect for us, because one of these is just about the size we usually need.

My Early Girl tomatoes do not disappoint, they are flavorful and have definitely made up for the disappointment of last year, when all I got all year were two marble sized tomatoes. They're doing better on this side of the yard!

The favorites are the strawberries, I can barely pick them and rinse them before they're in one of the boys' mouths. Usually my oldest gets them :D but they're so good and sweet, I can't blame him at all.

We are all enjoying the fruits and veggies from our backyard and next year, we're doing it from seed, baby! I mean to start some heirloom varieties now that I have my fancy potting bench to help me along. I'm already making lists of what I'll get, it's so exciting! When all is said and done, the veggie garden is helping us eat better, because we don't want to waste any of this precious organic produce, and help our boys eat more veggies, not to mention saving a little money off the grocery bill.

I think Dad would be proud. Ok, who am I kidding, I never could do anything wrong in his eyes, so I know he's watching us pick those strawberries and corn and onions and smiling down at us. And that's a blessing to me.

Monday, July 26, 2010

a day in the life

10 GBP -

kindergarten love

cup+of+tea (image)


Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Fall Five from IKEA

We took Dad to IKEA a couple of months before he passed. He had never been there before, and he was amazed by the displays, the sheer amount of products, and the prices. I never got to take him there for breakfast, but I know he preferred his coffeehouse, where he could chat with friends.

For fall, I am looking at these:

1 - MALM storage unit - $69. I have been looking for a shoe storage solution in the entryway and this piece goes with the light-colored furniture in our living room and also fits the required measurements.

2 - LINGO magazine files - $2.99/4. For that price, how could you not? I would choose the red/white floral print but they also have blue and a bright stripe option.

3 - along with these LINGO storage boxes - $7.99/2. I bought a couple of boxes that are blue/green striped, so those will be going to my oldest boy's bookcase, while mama gets some pretty red flower boxes, both to store, and for holiday decor.

4 - ERSLEV rug - $29.99/6'7"x4'7". This is the perfect neutral rug for my bedroom. The dark red color mirrors the burgundy accent wall while contrasting the beige/gold sponge finish on the rest of the walls. It also helps ground the bed in the room, which is a rather offset shape.

5 - SOLIG solar-powered light chain, $19.99/8 globes. I absolutely love these in the cream color for lazy evenings. Our backyard gets a lot of sun during the day and I think these would work quite well.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Your proxy Bucket List

My father's loss is the first big loss of my life - I have not only lost a parent, but also a dear friend. We could chat about sports, politics, gossip about various family drama, etc. I will miss him more than I can ever explain here.

There were a few things that gave me some comfort during the days dad was in a coma, and after his passing, and I will share them with you.

1 - Make memories now. Dad had health issues, sure, but his passing was still unexpected. I will forever treasure the pictures I asked a friend's husband to take back in February. There was no "reason" for them, I just wanted photos of my parents with the boys, so we went to a park. Little did I know one of the photos would be the last one of my father and I together. His face reflects the love, pride, and joy he felt for me, and it is one I will treasure always. We had planned to go to Peru in a couple of years so he could show off his grandkids to his friends and relatives there, but sadly, that never happened. I wish we had taken the plunge and done it.

2 - Plan, plan, plan. I was fortunate in that I had spoken to both my parents about their wishes in case they were not able to make decisions for themselves. This was a few months ago after my mom had an emergency appendectomy. With this document, signed by my father, I knew he didn't want to be kept alive if there was no chance of him coming back to us, I knew he wished to be cremated, and I knew he wanted to stay here and not go back to Peru. Had we not discussed this, raw emotions and confusion would have led me to make some very different decisions. I also knew I wasn't making decisions for him, but merely carrying out his wishes. That was a comfort amidst all the grief.

3 - Honor important people in their lives. We had a steady stream of friends and coworkers at the hospital, and when dad was finally taken off the machines that kept him breathing, there were not only several people inside the room with him, but many others standing at the door and even outside the door, paying their respects. I didn't know most of them, but I would not have dreamed of turning them away. These people worked with my father for over a decade, shared conversations at the coffeehouse for over 15 years, and were very important to him. They brought him joy and he saw them more often than he saw me and the boys. Some in my family were not happy to have these people there. I am glad I could decide for dad, to have them accompanying him on his last minutes. He would have wanted that.

4 - Make them part of your life. My boys and I visited my parents twice a week. Not only that, I frequently took photos of everything going on in our lives - playdates, gardening updates, and dad loved seeing all of them. He took joy in the boys' antics, he took pride in my gardening adventures, and I was so happy to share all these moments with him. My dad visited my backyard a couple of months ago and was amazed at everything I am growing. His praise will live with me forever. His delight at seeing Halloween pictures or hearing funny stories about the boys is something that makes me smile.

5 - Leave nothing left unsaid. Dad and I had some rough times. At times, I didn't speak to him for months. The last few years were very different. He was a very loving father and grandfather and adored me and my family. I made sure he knew he was loved as well. We discussed the rough times, talked everything out, and I have the peace of knowing there is nothing I didn't say to him before he died. Oh yeah, I'd love to have a few minutes with him to tell him I love him and I will miss him and I wish he'd been in our lives longer, but there was nothing left unsaid that would have changed anything in our relationship.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


i won't fulfill my promise of not buying any clothes/shoes/accessories for the rest of the year.

my beloved dad passed away on tuesday. in our culture we wear black as a sign of mourning, so it is for this most heartbreaking of reasons that i break my promise.

my heart is raw - dad was one of my best friends, we talked almost daily and were giggling like teenagers during this World Cup whenever one of our teams did well. in fact, my last conversation with him, about an hour before he had the massive heart attack that took his life, was full of silly comments and giggles.

i will be back in a few days to share more about my dad.