Stars, Daisies and Butterflies
These are a few of my favorite things...

Friday, April 30, 2010
Old Navy is having a must-shop sale from now through Sunday - 30% off their Spring collection! You can check out the styles involved here: http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/category.do?cid=55882&mlink=5151,1823242,def_bkgd&clink=1823242, or just stop in the store. I'm loving their tanks and dresses this year. Happy Shopping!

Posted by April at 6:02 AM | 0 comments
Something that would surprise some (but not all) people about me is that I am obsessed with horror movies. I know, I know - I am a total girly-girl. As I type, I have pink flowers on my blog, high heels on my feet, and a super-cute Hype handbag on my desk. So you might not expect to see my DVD cabinet as full of slasher flicks as it is Reese Witherspoon movies. But believe me, there are few things that thrill me as much as two hours of knife-wielding, scream-filled, running-upstairs-when-obviously-you-should-be-running-out-the-front-door cinematic entertainment. My first horror movie ever was 1984's A Nightmare on Elm Street. My mother was also a horror-movie fanatic, and despite my young age (six at the time!), she watched it with me, explaining how they make fake blood, remarking about how many times that scream was probably rehearsed, and contemplating how the camera got that angle. This technical approach not only taught me how to not be scared during the movie, but also what a fascinating combination of behind-the-scenes things had to happen in order to make it.

In the 26 years since, I have probably seen the movie 50 (75? 100?) times. I still count it among my all-time favorites. I have every cheesy sequel on DVD. And a few months ago, when I saw the trailer for the remake of the original that opened in theaters at 12AM today, I almost fell out of my chair. I. Am. So. EXCITED! My husband and I have plans tonight, but he has (reluctantly) agreed to take me to see it tomorrow afternoon. He definitely does not share in my enthusiasm for the N.O.E.S. films. He thinks Freddy is cheesy, and (I'll give him this one) all of the Elm Street movies have the exact same plot. However, being the supportive guy he is, he is indulging me. I have very neutral expectations. As anyone who has seen an array or horror films knows, they can go either way - awesomely frightening or just plain silly. And remakes are even riskier. You're trying to capture all of the essence of something that was amazing the first time around, yet update it enough to create a new audience. Nonetheless, pass or fail, I am (almost deliriously) excited to see what they've done with this movie. From what I see in the trailer, they've tried to keep a few key scenes from the original intact. This is good for movie dorks like myself, who will whisper urgently in their spouse's ear things like "Do you hear that song playing on the car radio?? That song was in the original movie!" All of the characters' names are different, however ("Rod" is now "Quentin"...from the 80's to the 00's people!). So we'll see. Even if it's awful, I can guarantee this: Freddy will always have a special place in my odd little heart.


Posted by April at 5:25 AM | 2 comments
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I love my house. We've been there almost four years now, and in that time, we've truly made it into a home. We think it's cozy, pretty, and very "us". There is one area of my house, however, that makes me cringe - the attic. It is a giant, embarrassing mess. I've only let one person besides my husband even see it (hope I didn't scar you for life, Amanda!). For some reason, all of my neatnik ways, my organization skills, and my obsessive cleanliness go flying out the window once you hit that third floor of Casa Parody. Things are strewn everywhere. I have some idea of where all of the important things are. Everything else is just kind of tossed about, practically begging to be organized or thrown away. I can hardly bear to look at it.

I saw this article online today, and I am absolutely in awe. I am not normally a jealous person, but I was absolutely green with envy over this. Check it out:

http://www.shine.yahoo.com/event/haven/a-peek-at-candy-spellings-colossal-17-000-square-foot-attic-plus-how-she-conquers-all-that-clutter-1341944/

I think I might employ some of these tips in my own attic! Then again, I might not. But hope springs eternal. ;-)

Posted by April at 8:07 AM | 1 comments
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Last night, I watched an amazing documentary called No Impact Man. Very interesting concept - you can read about it here: http://noimpactproject.org/. While I'm not about to turn off my electricity, employ a worm farm near the kitchen table, or sell my car for a bicycle in the name of net zero emissions as Colin Beavan did in the documentary, I was inspired. It's always good to be reminded that your small choices really do have an effect on not just your life, but life in general. This morning, I went to Beavan's website, and noticed a Twitter link. Following it to his Twitter page, I noticed he posts a "Gratitude List" every day. Just listing a few things he is grateful for, big or small. What a great idea!
I posted my first Gratitude List on Twitter myself today (rain to water my newly-planted shrubbery, a super-supportive husband, an adoring cat who purrs in my ear when I am stressed). I'd like to make this an ongoing thing. It is so important to remember how much we have to be grateful for! Plus, when I do take the time to count my blessings, I feel so peaceful and happy afterward. Who couldn't use some of that??


Posted by April at 6:12 AM | 1 comments
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I've always believed it's best to take the "latest trends" with a grain of salt. Let's face it - we've all beelined to the fitting room to try on one of the hottest items of the season, only to break out into hysterical giggles over how it actually looks on. A good example for myself is jeans. Here it is, like it or not: I wear flare jeans. Not boot cut, and definitely not skinny - flare. I love them. They look good on me. Regardless of the fact that they probably haven't been the "in" thing in denim for about 10 years, they are what I know and adore. And until someone stages an intervention, that's what I will wear. Some trends that people seem to adore (Crocs, Vera Bradley, and those sweatpants with sayings across the derriere), I cannot fathom. Other trends (Uggs, long cardigans, statement necklaces), I have jumped all over with wild and reckless abandon. I think you need to have that "This is so me!" moment with the trendy item - once you do, that's it. Fashion victim or not, it's become part of you and what makes you happy. On the flip side, if you're just doing it because everyone else is, you will probably end up feeling really let down. Not to mention duped out of your hard-earned cash.

Instyle.com is one of the websites I like to visit regularly. Like the magazine, they do a good job of balancing the newest trendy items with classic fashion and beauty. They posted a great article recently about accessories to update your look for spring (http://www.instyle.com/instyle/package/general/photos/0,,20351207_20348028,00.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+instyle%2Fthisjustin+%28InStyle%3A+This+Just+In%29). As I clicked through the pictures, I saw a little bit of my friends in each of them. For example, the bronze shoe trend they depicted made me think of my BFF Amanda, who has a really cute pair. The jewelry trends made me think of my friend Summer, who has been pulling that sort of thing off for years - trendsetter! And the red bag trend totally reminded me of Gillian's adorable Kate Spade. That's the fun part about fashion trends - some of them are you, some of them are definitely not, and some you just know will be perfect on one of your girlfriends. To each her own. Somewhere out there, I'm sure there's a girl wearing Juicy sweatpants and Crocs, carrying a Vera Bradley bag, feeling fabulous about herself. :-)

Posted by April at 11:31 AM | 1 comments

I get inspired easily. It doesn't take much for me to joyfully throw myself behind a new book, CD, hobby, etc. Sometimes this fervor lasts and turns into something I end up loving/doing for a long time...other times, catch me in a few days, and I'm already over it. My new inspiration for Spring is gardening. My husband and I have put mild effort into the outside of our house in the three years we've lived there. Some grass seed here, a hanging plant there. But we really haven't done much of what you'd call gardening. I'm talking digging holes, planting shrubs and bulbs, and nurturing them into something pretty. I tend to forget to water them, and I hear this is very important for plants. ;-) I have convinced myself that this year will be completely different. I'm treating it as a hobby - one that needs my daily attention. I am actually really excited to get my hands dirty, and be that girl that walks her yard, carefully eyeing every plant and picking any dead leaves off with lightening precision. I've ordered a few bulbs from an online site, and the hubs and I have found a few things we like at Home Depot. Here's the plan:

In my postage-stamp-size front yard, we'd like to plant rhododendron bushes along the house and hostas along the walkway. Our house is all white, so we thought this would be a nice splash of color. Plus we couldn't decide between flowers and bushes - this seemed like the perfect solution. The hostas are on their way - the rhododendrons still need to be purchased.

I have the perfect front porch for hanging baskets. The problem is, nothing tends to thrive in them. My house is in full sun most of the afternoon, which fries the front of the plants, and the backs don't get enough sun due to being under the porch roof. I told my mother-in-law that I should just get fake flowers to hang there. She looked at me as if I'd said I was going to hang dead rats from the porch. Oh well - it was a thought! Guess I'll just buy petunias again. :-P

Our back yard is another tricky spot for sun. Much of it is in the shade, either due to our house casting its shadow or to our neighbor's sprawling, messy box elder tree. I have a little area between our garage and our fence where I'm going to try to plant some blue hydrangea bulbs. Along our main fence, we currently have some little azalea bushes that are not growing any more (but I'm not sure they're dead, either - bizarre). I bought some pinky-purple lilac bushes, and I think I'll plant them in between the azaleas. Then along the back of our house, I'm planting my favorite flower ever, daisies. Finally, on the right side of our garage, we have the new and distinct pleasure of looking straight into the back yard that borders ours, thanks to an old tree that was chopped down. We're going to plant a few of those tall evergreen bushes to help obscure the view of Mr. Whoever roaming his yard in his skivvies.

Pretty ambitious all in all! I can't wait to get started. Wish me luck!

Posted by April at 8:02 AM | 1 comments
Monday, April 19, 2010
I have been reading a lot lately about diet soda, and why you should never drink it. Then my doctor mentioned it at my latest appointment ("Nothing but water and skim milk!" she shouted). This is terrible! Diet soda (and morning coffee, for that matter) is my salvation, especially in times of dieting. It's the one sweet thing I thought I could feel good about consuming. Arrrrgh. I don't mind drinking water. I already drink a few bottles a day. But having it as my only beverage? This is going to be a real challenge. I never drink regular Coke, so I'm not expecting to see a big weight drop from switching to water. However, many sources say that diet soda changes what you crave eating, leading you more towards sweets and empty calories. Interesting! I guess I'll give it a try. If I notice any big health differences, I will definitely post about it!

http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/health/8-reasons-to-kick-your-soda-habit-for-good-1289263/

Posted by April at 9:01 AM | 0 comments
Friday, April 16, 2010
I'm getting my hair cut today. I have thin, fine hair, and I wish more than anything that I could just grow it out, and have a nice, thick head of hair that looks fabulous and blinds everyone with its shine. Damn you, Pantene ads! Alas, when it's in damaged mode (as it is right now), growing my hair out just results in stringy strands that feel like straw. Sigh! Luckily, my stylist is also one of my BFFs, and she is fab-u-lous. I really have little to worry about once I'm in her chair. But I still get a terrible wave of anxiety when those scissors come out. I worry that my round face will look rounder the shorter I go, and I always have an awful image flash in my head of the scissors slipping and lopping my hair off somewhere around ear length. Shudder! Today, I'm going to see Summer (aforementioned stylist/BFF) armed with a super-cute pic of Kelly Clarkson just after she got her hair cut into an awesome asymmetrical bob a year or so ago. Observe!

This look even involves (gasp!) bangs! Long ones, though. I'm not about to get my curling iron and can or Rave hairspray out again or anything. Hopefully, I will love it. Time to take a deep breath, push the salon door open, and banish the Pantene girl with the long, shiny hair from memory!

Posted by April at 7:33 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Today on Shine, there's an article about crazy high heels. I'm talking way over 5 inches here, ladies! Now, everyone knows I love a good high heel shoe. Preferably something classic, somewhere in the 3 inch heel neighborhood. However, I am adamant about one thing: they must be comfortable! No matter how good you think you look, hobbling in pain is never, ever sexy. If they hurt out of the box, the odds you'll be able to "break them in" over time is relatively small. Do yourself a favor, my fellow fashionista, and keep looking...that perfect-fitting, glamorous pair of heels in just the color you're looking for is out there!

Here's a link to the Shine article:
http://www.shine.yahoo.com/channel/beauty/dangerous-high-heels-womens-shoes-reach-hazardous-heights-during-the-recession-1278751/#photoViewer=1

My favorite online sites for shoe shopping are http://www.zappos.com/, http://www.6pm.com/, and http://www.endless.com/. They all offer a staggering selection, great customer service, and free return shipping, just in case the shoe doesn't fit. ;-)

Posted by April at 8:02 AM | 0 comments
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
1. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. This...stuff...is...amazing! My normally oily skin has been changing a lot in the past few years, and I've noticed it feeling rough and downright dry in the Fall and Winter months. Even when I'm shiny, my cheeks sometimes feel parched. So began my search for an effective moisturizer that wouldn't turn me into a shine monster or clog my pores. I found CeraVe in my local CVS, and for $13 for a giant 16 oz jar, I figured I'd give it a try. I was surprised to learn that you can use it for your body too. It's fragrance-free, which I like. But best of all, it sinks in quickly and leaves my skin so soft, without a trace of slickness. A must-try!

2. Origins A Perfect World (Antioxidant Cleanser with White Tea). I like the cheerful smell (most Origins products smell fabulous), and I love the way this cleans. It's effective, but not too harsh. Wheat protein helps balance and moisturize, while sea kelp helps control oil. Also contains bergamot, spearmint, and lavender. What's not to love?

3. ANEW Rejuvenate 24 Hour Eye Moisturizer SPF 25. I feel like eye creams and treatments are, for the most part, not really geared toward women my age. I don't have full-on wrinkles, so some creams feel too rich, and a few treatment gels I've tried for my bags and occasional dark circles have even burned - not good for the sensitive under-eye area! Enter Avon (ta-daaa!) with their spiffy little jar of Anew Rejuvenate. This is actually two different eye creams in one. The "AM" side has an SPF to protect, and really helps diminish the look of undereye circles. The "PM" side is richer, and treats dark circles and puffiness. Love!

4. The Body Shop Tea Tree Cleansing Wipes. I'll admit it - I'm too lazy to wash my face before going to bed on a regular basis. However, if I don't take my makeup off before hitting the sheets, I feel gross. These totally solve my dilemma! Just grab a wipe, and a few swipes over the face removes all traces of dirt, oil and makeup without drying alcohol. Tea Tree oil is amazing at fighting blemishes, too. I keep one pack in my gym bag to remove my makeup before working out or to freshen up afterward. A few years ago, The Body Shop changed the packaging of these, and put the old ones on clearance. I nearly hyperventilated when I thought they were discontinued. :-P

5. Benefit Boo Boo Zap. What a fun name for a not-so-fun task: banishing pimples! This little glass bottle is a wonder cure - dab a little of the solution on, and within an hour you'll notice any inflammation around your pesky pimple start to diminish. And while no potion will make your zit go away on the spot, this helps heal them faster than any drugstore medication I've tried. And, it is colorless under makeup.

6. Lush Mask of Magnaminty. This combo mask/cleanser is such a treat - since they don't have any Lush stores in the area, though, I have to rely on their website. Or, use my need for this mask as an excuse to visit Mohegan Sun - their store there is where I first discovered this awesome product! This fabulously cooling mint mask has a clay base, and is super deep-cleansing (it's great for blackheads). I like to use it whenever I'm feeling oily. Spread some on in the shower, enjoy the tingly mint feeling, and wash off to reveal a soft, refreshed face!

7. Avon Foot Works Deep Moisture Cream. This foot lotion is the best I've used! And hellooo 2.99 price point! This is a really creamy lotion, but it does sink in relatively quickly, which is key for me. I put it on at night under socks, and wake up with super-soft tootsies. Comes in several scents, but I like the original the best.

8. Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray. I have this in my purse at all times. It's a light spray that you mist on (even over makeup) whenever your face feels a little dry. I've read that it also helps "set" your makeup and acts as a toner. Talk about multi-tasking!

9. The Body Shop Seaweed Pore-Cleansing Facial Exfoliator. This is my favorite scrub ever! I never get red and irritated after using it, which is often the case with exfoliators for me. It smells sooo good - like swimming in the ocean! And you only need a dab at a time. This is made from seaweed harvested in the Roaring Bay Co-Operative in Ireland, which has helped a struggling community thrive again. So you can feel good about yourself AND your pores! ;-)

10. L'Occitane Shea Butter Milk Soap. This is my ultimate shower indulgence - at $10 a bar, I really can't justify buying it often, but it is sooo lovely. The scent is so clean and uplifting, and it really moisturizes your skin, due to its 20% shea butter content. I like that this is a vegetable-based soap, which is much kinder on your skin. It's a giant bar, so if you store it away from the spray of the shower, you can make it last a long time.

Posted by April at 10:19 AM | 0 comments