Take a Compliment - Feedback Friday

I attended a fancy schmancy dinner with The Big Guy last week. I spent some extra time on my hair and make up and lots of extra time on my dress and shoes. I walked into the dining room and someone complimented me on my sweater and I immediately said "Oh, I just wore it here last week, but it was chilly and I couldn't find anything else to match and..." blah, blah, blah...

It occurred to me halfway through the explanation that a simple "Thank you" would have sufficed, but instead I was trying to talk her out of it. Like, "I know you think this looks nice, but you're obviously mistaken" What the heck? Why couldn't I take the compliment and actually believe it?!?

Many of us participated in Beth's Get Your Face On Party last week and I've never read such kind comments from all of you. Such support and love when all I wanted to do is photoshop all sorts of arrows into my before picture pointing out all my age spots and red blotches. But, at the same time, it was freeing to just strip it all down and put it out there for the world to see. "I'm real! I have zits! I have under eye circles and a witch hair that grows on my chin! I'm wearing glasses! Hello, can you hear me world?!?"

Many girls made mention of their faults in their own Get Your Face On posts, when all I saw were piercing blue eyes, fantastic hair, and the cutest freckles ever. Something's got to change. We're broken in that way. We are all beautiful, why can't we see it in ourselves?

So, today for Feedback Friday I have one thing I need from each of you (even you sneaky little lurkers). I want you to comment below telling me something about yourself you like. I'm sorry, it's a requirement today - trust me, it's for your own good. Don't be shy or feel uncomfortable, just DO IT! Think about what you like about yourself and tell me, no apologies. Let's break out of this cycle of putting ourselves down and begin to see the beauty we were all blessed with.

So, tell me this Feedback Friday...

What do you love about you?



YOU'RE Into It! Linky Party!

Okay, you all seemed to love my semi-annual "I'm Into It" and a call went out for a party. So, let's get Into It together and link up here so we can see what obsession is filling your (or your family's) days! Is it Thin Mints, American Idol, a favorite movie, a new lipstick?

Link up below to your own "We're Into It" post (please link your actual post, not your general blog address). Make sure to link back here in the body of your post so everyone can join in the fun.

Come on, let's get Into It!

**For those of you familiar with my Tutorial Tuesdays feature each week, I will soon be offering an opportunity for you to link up your own weekly tutorials beginning in March. Watch for details.

Hope Studios

Cinnamon Streusel Cake

We just returned from a fantastic family ski weekend and this cake was one of the highlights. My sister-in-law (hi Sheri!) brought this along and I can attest that it is delicious for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. In fact, it seems to get better the longer it sits. Moist and yummy with cinnamon streusel topping, AND simple to make. Come on, girl, let's make some Cinnamon Streusel Cake!


1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 (4 serving size) pkg. vanilla instant pudding mix
2 tbsp. oil
1 1/3 c. water
2 eggs


1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl blend cake mix, pudding mix, oil, water, and eggs. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Do not overmix. Spread batter evenly in greased and floured 9x13 inch pan.

Combine streusel ingredients. Sprinkle mixture over batter in pan. Bake 40-50 minutes at 375 degrees until done. Cool right side up 25 minutes. Remove from pan and drizzle glaze on top.


Blend 3/4 cup confectioners sugar with about 1 tablespoon milk. Drizzle over cake.

The linky party is ON for Thursday! Compose your own "Into It" post and link up here. For those who want to get a jump on things, I should be opening up the posting around 10 pm tonight, shhhh. Grab your button now, and I'll see you in the morning!

Hope Studios


"Custom" Store-Bought Curtains - Tutorial Tuesday

You don't always have to spend a fortune to have beautiful window treatments AND you don't always have to start from scratch when you begin new projects for your home.

Case in point, my "Custom" Store-Bought Curtains. I loved the rich cinnamon red color in these two panels but since I found them at my local TJMaxx, there wasn't enough of either pattern for all of my windows. I needed to get creative.


4 Coordinating Purchased Window Panels
Sewing Machine

Choose which panels you'd like to use for the center portion. Cut the remaining, coordinating panel in half, lengthwise.

Pin and sew the panel halves to the outside edges of the center panel. Repeat with remaining panels.

Press and hang. No hems or sides to sew...Easy Peasy!

Hmmm, do these curtains look a bit short to any of you? Kinda like the floods you were embarrassed to wear in elementary school...or was that just me...

The Nester inspired me to fix them in an easy, "it doesn't have to perfect" kind of way. So, for part II of this tutorial...

How to Lengthen Your Too Short "Custom" Store Bought Curtains


Hot Glue Gun
Fringe Trim
Your Joann's 40% off coupon

Measure the bottom width of all your too short curtains and head on over to Joann's with that 40% off coupon that is burning a hole in your pocket.

Then hot glue that stuff along the bottom edge.

Ta da!

Click on the the DIY Day button below to check out more great projects for your home:


The linky party is ON for Thursday! Compose your own "Into It" post and link up here. For those who want to get a jump on things, I should be opening up the posting around 10 pm Wednesday night. Grab your button now, and I'll see you Thursday!

Hope Studios


We're Into It

Every few months I like to share our family's current obsessions. With three kids under 12, they change pretty frequently. So, what are we into these days? Let's check it out!

The number one obsession right now is Gogo's Crazy Bones. They. Must. Have. Them.

At $1.99 for a pack of 3, they are affordable enough for kids to collect many of them. They trade and play some sort of strange flicking game with them. I guess I would compare it to marbles, kind of. All I know, is that my 7 year old cleaned the basement for 2 hours for $5 to buy Crazy Bones. They are no joke.

Line Rider eats up a lot of computer time here, too. Ob. Sessed.

The kids basically draw tracks for a sled to ride on, kind of like a roller coaster. They try all sorts of shapes, jumps, and hills to see if the boy will continue on track or fall off. It's pretty cool.

While playing Line Rider, they almost always have You Tube on another screen playing the Van Halen music video for "Jump". Weird and random, I know.

I'm into American Idol right now. Big time. I even joined a fantasy football type league for the season. Sad. I'm already predicting Andrew will make it to the top ten. And if he doesn't...I will personally wring Simon's hairy little neck! Yeah, Dawg!

I smelled Amarige Perfume on my neighbor a few months ago and have been obsessed with it ever since. Perfumes usually give me a headache, so I haven't really worn it since I was pregnant with my oldest (he's 11!). But this lovely little scent is feminine and yummy and I've worn it every day since I discovered it.

I love this new song by Script, Break Even, so much that I could go all 6th grade on it and replay it over and over while writing down the words in a notebook. For reals.

Would You Rather? is a stupid card game that just cracks me up. I play it on twitter, I ask my friends random questions, I make my brother play it over beers. For some reason, these random and ridiculous questions really strike my funny bone. It's a sickness.

So, that's a list of our current must have's, what are YOU into?

The linky party is ON for Thursday! Compose your own "Into It" post and link up here. For those who want to get a jump on things, I should be opening up the posting around 10 pm Wednesday night. Grab your button now, and I'll see you Thursday!

Hope Studios



How Much Is Too Much? Feedback Friday

Last weekend, while watching Olympic coverage early in the evening with my kids (before 8 pm), NBC corespondents discussed the recent fatal crash of Olympic luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili.

As they discussed the accident, they ran video of the accident (including the actual impact) and a close-up of his bloody face during resuscitation attempts. I'm no prude, but the entire room hushed in disbelief. I saw my family cringe, hide their eyes, and look away from the grotesque scene on the screen. I try not to assert too much opinion on Fridays, but I can't hide the fact that I found this disrespectful to this grieving family and totally inappropriate for family viewing. Totally.

Was the airing of this deadly video newsworthy or over the top? Give me your feedback this Friday...


Natural Decor

I've written before about "shopping the yard" for new decor ideas. I love to use twigs and leaves,

I love bird's nests and stray feathers in jars,

Pine cones and branches

monkey balls piled in trays...you get the gist.

Well, I contest that you can fit anything you love into your decor. Is that a challenge?!? Yes, and to prove my point I give you one of my favorite decor items: Bee's Nest!

I've had an idea to decorate with a bee's nest for awhile, and it took me nearly a year to find one. But once I had it, I knew just what to do with it.

A little gold glaze, some fishing line for an invisible hanger, and a thumb tack and I was good to go!

Do you ever shop the yard for decor ideas?



Get Your Face On!

I had a recipe planned for today until I remembered that I wanted to participate in one of my bloggy friend's linky parties. Beth, from The Stories of A to Z issued a challenge: Post a photo of yourself before and after make up and explain a bit about your beauty regime. Game on!

Get Your Face On

Here I am first thing in the morning, and again after some make up intervention.

I don't wear much make up, and have very sensitive skin, but here is my routine.

I swear by the Roc Skin Care line. I wash my face with the Age Diminishing Facial Cleanser each night. In the morning I wash my face with Dove bar soap and exfoliate with Neutrogena Deep Clean Gentle Scrub.

I moisturize with Roc Age Diminishing Day Cream in the morning and the Roc Deep Wrinkle Night Cream at night.

I use Bare Minerals products on my face. I use the concealer in "Summer Bisque" (under my eyes), all over color in "Medium Beige", then "Warmth" for a bronzer, and "Mineral Veil" all over to set.

I use Nars blush called "orgasm". I swear that's why I bought it! (I feel a bit naughty putting it on.)

I line just a teeny tiny bit above my upper lashes (never my lower) with Mary Kay "Deep Brown" eyeliner and smudge a tiny bit with an eye shadow brush.

Then, I apply Neutrogena Shimmer Sheers all over in "spellbound" for a really natural, bright eyed look.

Then I use dark brown Kirkland (from Costco) mascara. I'm SUPER picky about my eyelashes and apply two coats then brush through about 25 times with a dry wand from an old mascara until each lash is separate with no clumps or bumps. It's kind of neurotic.

I love my new Cover Girl Wet Slicks in "un-wined" when I want an extra punch of color.

That's it, my face is on and I'm ready to face the day!

What do YOU do when you put your face on?

More T-shirt Rehab! Tutorial Tuesday

I had a few more of my Old Navy 97 cent t-shirts left from my last t-shirt rehab project, so I decided to figure out how to liven them up with some custom designs. Remember I told you this picture of my layered tee tutorial inspired another project I promised to work on?

I tend to have a few t-shirts that are scarred with unintended bleach marks from laundry and cleaning projects. There must be a way to save them? Well, here is what I came up with.


Rag or old sponge
Squirt bottle


Line t-shirts with newspaper to protect the backs.

Using a purchased stencil, (or a design just cut out of computer paper like mine) blot bleach onto the t-shirt using the rag or sponge. Let sit for about 5 minutes then rinse thoroughly and dry. (tees that have been washed previously will soak up the bleach better).

For a more free-form design, fill a squirt bottle with bleach and "draw" your design free hand. I found these ketchup and mustard bottles at Walmart for under a dollar.

Here I drew a drippy heart, but you could use an initial or smiley face or whatever else you can think of. Let sit, then rinse and dry as directed above.

See? A one of a kind tee!


Sunday Funny

As you all know, I've been snowed in with 3 (or more) kids for the past week here in Pittsburgh. So, this weather forecast is fitting:


Man's (Woman's) Last Stand

So, did you all watch this commercial during the Super Bowl?

It kinda pissed me off a little. A teesy bit. I guess I wasn't the only one?


Unconscious Pelvic Exams - Feedback Friday

This may be old news to some of you, but I just wasn't able to fit this post in until now. None the less, it should be mentioned.

Did you know....Canadian medical students routinely practice giving internal pelvic exams while surgery patients are unconscious?

Yep, you can read about it here at The Globe and Mail.

Thoughts, comments, questions, reactions?


One of my Canadian readers gave us an explanation straight from a Canadian medical professional, her husband. Isn't the world wide web amazing?

"Yep. I am in Canada. And (her husband) went to the University of Calgary and just finished the three year program (it's year round) and then is now 6 months into his 2 year residency to be a family doctor.

Actually the way they learn how to do pelvic exams is that they have actors (and actresses) who play having something wrong with there parts. And those people have had many many exams so they know how it is supposed to feel. There are actors and actresses for all exams of any body part.

My husband asked the woman who had these exams how she got into it and she said she had started out having her knee examined and did that for years. And then one day someone at the university asked her if she would be willing to do pelvic exams and she said yes. (i can't image WHY but it's good that she is willing cause we ALL benefit that she and others do that.) They do get paid (it depends on the exam you get done now much).

Anyone who is getting something done like a D&C or anything else in that area is told up front that they will be having vaginal exams and if you are in a teaching hospital with residents, clerks or med students, then you are told up front that you may be examined by multiple people.

I'm not saying that nothing fishy happens cause let's face it there are Weirdo's everywhere (including the medical field) but those are soooooooooo not the norm AT ALL. Can you tell that article drives me crazy??? hahahahahahahahaha I've had to explain this to almost everyone I know since they know my husband was just in medical school. Did I explain it all well enough???


Thanks, Rhonda! This information should set many people facing surgery in Canada at ease. We will all be watching you tonight at the Olympic opening ceremonies!



Valentine's Lunchables for your Munchkins

Do your kids beg for "Lunchables" every time you go the the grocery store...or is it just mine? Here is a tutorial to make your own. For this holiday treat we went with junk food, but for an everyday lunch you can boost the health factor by using ham, whole wheat goldfish, grapes and chocolate milk.

You will need:

A clean disposable sushi tray or an old Lunchables tray
A small cookie cutter measuring between 1-2" (this heart shaped cutter came in a great set from Pampered Chef packaged in a silver tin)
Lunch meat
Juice box

Cut the meat and cheese into the desired shape with the cookie cutter.

Now, stack them up to look like they do in the lunchables container and arrange in the tray. Fit the juice box on one side and pile up your crackers and cookies. My son isn't convinced unless there is a small piece of candy tucked in someplace.

Use the leftovers to make a Mom "heartwich" and there is no waste!

Set them loose to create little heart-y concoctions...

Using the sushi tray with the lid, this can be packed in a lunchbox for a sweet surprise. If you do this, you should pack the crackers and cookies into small snack-sized baggies.

You can even type the brand name "Heartables" or "Loveables" and tape it to the lid. Happy Valentine's Day!

*** Originally posted in February 2008. Happy Valentine's Day!



Fudge Blossoms

Yesterday, I was making a sweet treat for the boys during our Second. Snow. Day. In. A. Row. At this point, I'm feeding them anything to keep them occupied long enough to let me check my email.

I started with an old favorite, Peanut Butter Blossoms:

And then wondered if I could make Fudge Blossoms? I began to experiment with my BH&G Cookbook recipe for Buried Cherry Cookies.


1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup flour
Hershey's Kisses

Beat butter with electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda,and 1/4 tsp. salt. Beat until combined, scraping bowl.

Beat in cocoa powder and flour.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls, and roll in sugar.

Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Remove them from the oven and immediately pop a Hershey's Kiss into the center of each cookie. Cool and eat!

***Check back tomorrow for a cute lunch time treat you can make for your kids for Valentine's Day.

Your Skin Fix, December Edition