Keepin’ It Real: December 2014

Happy New Year! I hope you are all safe and well! 2015?! Ready or not, here it is.


Can you believe it? It actually snowed at our house on New Year’s Eve! And I mean snowed! My husband woke us all up at six in the morning and we played in the snow while our neighbors slept. I am going to hope they were sleeping and were not peering out their windows at this getup. It was so peaceful and odd and thrilling. I managed to squeeze in five outfit pictures. I had worn these clothes throughout the week (minus the gnome hat, but now you know I have it. The secret is out), but my husband was gone until dark most nights so we could not get pictures. So this setup worked out perfectly. I got to quickly photograph what I wore and it was so fun! This sweater was one that I picked up at the flea market a few weeks ago. The snow was mostly gone by the time the sun set. Wouldn’t it have been crazy if it had done this last week? It was never something I ever hoped to dream of. A white Christmas. But now I ever shall do so in the future.


Here is another peek of an outfit post coming up that I took that day. I went to Anthropologie on Monday and did some reviews that I will be posting soon. This is the one thing I bought besides the most amazing Christmas tree skirt for next year’s small Christmas tree. I just had to quickly talk about this ruffled sweatercoat while the 25% off sale promo is still going on. It is amazing. It is slimming. The color (plum) in person is a zillion times better than what is shown online. This might be my best buy of the season. I used some of a gift card on it. I sized down to a small. I am wearing a black tank underneath it so it is kind of hard to see the exact shape. I am so surprised that this hasn’t sold out yet at its sale price. It is reminiscent of vintage Anthropologie.


Oh my goodness. My husband and I were driving through our town the day it snowed and when we drove by this park we saw it was filled with about thirty to forty snowmen that different children had built throughout the day. It made my heart surge with joy at the rare sight. At this point other kids had come along to destroy the creations. I wanted a picture of the snowmen while they still stood. Well, I was wearing my slippers so I could not get out of the car. As one is wont to always do after a snowstorm. My sweet husband got out of the car and as he was walking along taking pictures with his phone, the other parents (that actually had kids at the park, imagine that) stared at him leerily. I dissolved into giggles so hard that I was crying because the poor guy looked like a creeper at the park. Oh, I owe him big time.


On Monday we also drove down to Los Angeles to go to The Pompei Exhibit. I had wanted to go all year and had been planning for months to get there during Christmas break. Well, it was poor planning. The exhibit was sold out. I tried not to cry and succeeded but it was a huge disappointment.

We went to The Natural History Museum. We had planned on going there after The Pompei Exhibit, because we make a trip there any way once a year. There used to be the coolest exhibits in the children’s wing for kids, but it was different this time. Their extensive live bug collection used to be worth the trip alone, but it has dwindled in size, which was a bummer. We did enjoy the dinosaurs. They have an amazing dinosaur exhibit.


I think this mask at The Natural History Museum looks oddly like my husband. I wasn’t going to say anything, but the lady next to us looked at the mask, then looked at my husband and said, “Hey! It’s you!” So I had to get a picture of it.


Christmas presents. I received the sweetest and most thoughtful presents for Christmas this year. My mom and stepdad actually found me this antique gnome book from Poland. My mom handmade me a sweet present I will post about in a few months. My dad and stepmom gifted me the sweetest bracelet and bird hooks. My sister and brother-in-law hunted down the vintage letters with my husband and my initials and I cannot wait to display them! And my mom and stepdad gave me three unique pieces of jewelry from Etsy. Every time I will wear them, I will think of them. My sweet friend gifted me the yummiest treats, most awesome peacock ornament and a beautiful trivet.

I found my mom a vintage mother of pearl brass jewelry box along with a few other things (including framed self portraits the kids painted) and the Tavia Peasant Blouse from Anthropologie. For my stepmom I purchased a Durango Vests in purple like the one I have. My sister and brother-in-law wanted Disney gift cards to buy passes this year so we contributed towards that and I picked up my sister this shirt in the khaki color from Anthropologie. And now I want it after seeing it on her. I hope to grab mine on sale one day.


Now get thee to a Trader Joe’s stat. These Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles are the very best things ever. Ever. Must go hoard some more.


It is hard to think of things that happened in December without Christmas looming ever present. We went and saw the final installment of “The Hobbit” a few nights ago. I really enjoyed it, but I have liked them all.


Coming up in January:

The Perfect Dress
Cheesy Salsa-Chicken Empanadas
The Talent Show
Making a Snowgnome
Reading: Throne of Glass (series)

I cannot believe it is January. Instead of making a giant goal for the year or resolution, I have decided to break it down and try to do small monthly goals instead. I need instant gratification or a realistic thing to shoot for. I am trying to lose the fifteen pounds I gained last year. So, in January, I made a monthly goal to not eat anything after dinner or 7:00. Back to iced water only for me at night for the next twenty eight days (and then I hope it becomes a regular good habit again) .

Yesterday was the second anniversary of my grandmother’s passing. Instead of the usual “Overheard In” post that would typically follow this one, I wrote about the last conversation I had with my grandma. It was hard.

What did you enjoy most about December? Are you excited it is a new year? Did you make resolutions? If you live in Southern California, did you make it to The Pompei Exhibit? You still have a few days to get there before it ends and moves on to Seattle. I don’t drive on the freeway so my opportunity to see it is unfortunately gone. Maybe one year I will make it to the real Pompei.

Keepin’ It Real November 2014

Ahhhhh, November. I love November, not nearly as much as December, but it doesn’t need to know that. I am behind on my blog. Because it has been so cozy, I have wanted to do nothing but bake and read books. I apologize for my being behind on comments. It is my selfish book reading heart’s fault. I have not been on the internet as much this week. My kids had the whole week off and it was just so nice to decompress with them. I hope to be back on schedule this week. As a family, we went and saw “Big Hero Six.” This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. I give it a ten out of ten. Bring tissues. And be sure to stay until after the ending credits.

My family and I were so sick for two weeks of November. Two weeks. I remember on day twelve bursting into tears because I was so tired of feeling awful, but it did pass. For that, I am grateful. November is a grateful month. It is the dark month of reflection. The lightness of laughter remembered. The darkness of finding light in trying circumstances. I know so many people who are going through a hard time. It is very difficult for me to be happy sometimes when I know their struggles.

My grandmother’s birthday was on the seventh and my heart felt so heavy that day. Yet, I am so thankful for the time I did have with her.

Here is November briefly recapped with things that did not make it on the blog:


I rescued a sea lion.


On Thanksgiving, my aunts, uncle and mother gave me back the last Christmas present I had gifted to my grandma the week before she passed away. It was very sweet. It was a sad moment that day when we watched my laughing grandma on an old VHS tape.

And so now I have this bowl, knives and kitchen mittens that I feel I need to do something special with. That I am terrified of breaking. And yet, they make me feel weary. Tired. My grandma never used them, so even though I try to tie an emotional connection to these things, I find myself incapable of doing so. Unwilling, if you will. For my grandmother never used them when she was alive, so they sat unused because… she died. When I look at these items, I remember her death. Not her life. Hence the weariness. I need to contemplate how I feel about this more. I think instead of the items being a tribute to my grandmother, I will remember them as being lovingly saved by four siblings as a gift to me. I will remember my mother, my aunts and uncle when I use them. Of overcoming insurmountable grief to think of another person during a dark time. Of the love that was saved for me. Ahhhh…So many ponderings over kitchen items.


I have a problem. A tuna problem. I cannot quit it. I ate a whole entire tuna pie all by myself in three sittings. Is there a meeting for this?


Today is Cyber Monday. Because I purchased so much the week of Black Friday, I am sitting this one out (unless you know of an amazing waffle maker on an amazing deal, because I had to throw away my old one yesterday). And I don’t want to do yet another shopping post. However Modcloth is having an awesome sale today offering 25% off everything with code CYBERMONDAY. I will tell you, the following links are affiliate links. Purchasing through the links will provide a small income for this little ol’ blog. Everything I am listing is actually sitting in my cart awaiting a future indulgence (except the blue dress which I all ready purchased through Dear Creatures). Modcloth always offers free shipping on orders over $50:

1. The Chilly Commute Dress. This is adorable. Easy. I like the colors. I like the shape. I like it.

2. Gnome Man’s Land Socks. Oh! I want these so badly! Actually I want ten pairs of these so badly. I have to stop looking at them or I am going to buy them.

3. Channel The Charm Dress by Dear Creatures. If you missed out on Dear Creature’s 40% off sale, where I purchased this dress, this is still a good price with the code. Plus, the return policy is much better.

4. The Copious Comfort Poncho looks almost exactly like the poncho from Anthropologie that I missed out on last year.

Outfit Outtakes:


Ollie being a stubborn bulldog. Original outfit post here.


Being a dork. Original outfit post here.


I found my perfect restaurant. Individual brewed iced teas and tuna sandwiches. What more could a girl ask for?


Coming Up In December:

Three Stripes Your Out-fit
House Tour
Sisters In Tulle
Crazy Searches
The Easiest Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

I am also going to need some help deciding on some purchases I made during Free People’s awesome sale. I bought these boots in red for my husband to gift to me for Christmas. Well, I could not resist peeking at them or trying them on. Now I am unsure. My thighs are much larger than my calves. I feel like having the boot stop right at the start of my thigh is unflattering. I might post a picture soon to see what you think. And I am thinking of returning The Embroidered Moto Jacket. I love the embroidery but I am not sure of the fit on me. And I need some styling help on The Eyelet Duster. So would it be wrong to have a post about items I need help deciding on?

We are now in December. My very favorite month. I love the brightness of the big holiday. The colors everywhere. The excitement. I love giving gifts. I love the smells. It can be overwhelming, though. Because of this, I do a random act of kindness every single day this month. It makes me put the holidays into perspective. It is something I do for my soul to try to balance the present greed. With that in mind, I want to note that while it is so awesome to donate toys for children at this time, please do not forget the elderly amongst us. I definitely will be donating toys, but this is the month when my heart goes towards the forgotten amongst us…

The day after Thanksgiving, I ran into a grocery store to quickly grab two items. I decided to cut through the cookie/cracker aisle to get to the register. As I entered the aisle, a lone woman was slowly pushing her cart in front of me. She was in her late sixties. Not old by any means. Her pants had slid down underneath her bare bottom.

I did not know what to do.

I did not want to embarrass her, but I also did not want a mean person to laugh at her circumstances. I approached the woman and said to her, “Ma’am, you’re pants have slid down.”

She thanked me as she groaned. She was ill. It was the day after Thanksgiving. She was sick. She was shopping for food. By herself. Alone. Like so many elderly people. They have to venture out sick, alone, spend the holidays by themselves. I did not know what I could do for her. My family was waiting in the car. My husband had to get to work. Selfishly, I did not want to get sick myself. So, I left. I have many excuses, but none of them are enough.

I am so imperfect.

Yet it breaks my heart. Makes me feel helpless. Overwhelmed. Guilty.

It could happen to any of us. And so for me, I try to concentrate on making sure I am remembering to take the older generations into consideration this month.

How was November for you? Are you more excited for December? How do you decompress during this busy season? Are you reading anything good? I have read five books this week. I can recommend one of them. It is One Came Home. I will be doing a review about it soon, but it is an easy (it is a children’s book) beautiful read.

Keepin’ It Real: September 2014

September did it. It almost broke my blog. It almost broke me. I was feeling so incredibly down. But I am feeling better. Some situations have not improved, but I am doing everything in my power to make them better. And that is all I can do. It seems as though September was felt this way by a great many people. This post by Dane on the blog, Dooce, helped bring a little more insight into what I was feeling.

And I am one day late with this post. I had been counting down the days until September would be over, and yet, my blog calendar was off. Blame it on the date on my bread (which said it expired on 9/31/14, but I forgot to get a picture of it). My husband told me that since the date does not exist, it must mean that our bread is good forever. I did not test his theory. We ate it last night with Spaghetti Carbonara.


I have been cooking and cooking all month. Nothing makes me feel better than whipping up something good in the kitchen. I even experimented with my cookie recipe. I cannot wait to share a new trick I learned.

Outfit Outtakes:


It would not be a close up without me scratching my nose (original outfit post here).


And having a moment with my son (original outfit post here).


I needed an easy read. I used to hate books filled with short stories, but as I have gotten older, they have become some of my favorite reading materials. I love David Sedaris and I am halfway through this book, “When You Are Engulfed In Flames,” I found in the Barnes and Noble bargain bin a few days ago.


September was my no-buy clothing month. So, how did I do? Well, I would love to say I made it through the whole month. But that would be a lie. I am obsessed with Otomi and when Carolina K’s (one of my very favorite designers) Aurora Dress in the Otomi-like print went 50% off, I had to buy it (my husband made me. He said the dress was perfectly “me”). It is VERY short. I layered a tulle slip underneath mine to add some length. It is dramatically low-cut, so I layer in the front, as well. I took a medium. I LOVE it. Heather from The Peacock Fairy recently wrote a post about her new Otomi inspired dress. It is so pretty.

I also finally purchased this dress when it went more than 75% off during Anthropologie’s latest promotion and this skirt (because of the over 75% off price and the Otomi-like print). So, three things went home with me. I should feel guilty, but I don’t. All three items have lifted my spirits in this hard month.

I am only purchasing things I truly, truly love. I am still not looking to purchase any clothing in October, but if something amazing comes along, then I will contemplate it. In the meantime I am having a great time shopping my closet.

Oh! I almost forgot. I also purchased an accessory with a gift card (making it free! Thanks Mandi), but I am not linking to it due to the customer service I received from the company.

Some random info: Someone wrote me awhile back about my Mara Hoffman Eye Wrap seen here. I am sorry, but I cannot find that email. I am still not selling mine (in fact, I cannot wait for it to get cold enough to wear it), but the preview for The Golden Tote in October looks like it might have it? I am not sure. I am simply basing my guess from the picture of the clothes found here. I have never purchased from Golden Tote, but if you are looking for that wrap, you might want to check their site on October 6th. UPDATE 10/6/14: The wrap is not the same as my eye shawl. It is missing the eye on the back. Sorry for getting anyone’s hopes up!


Coming up in October (I still have not posted my Pee Wee Herman story. This is because I am searching for the prop I lost in my house to photograph. Hopefully it will go up soon):

Ruffle Me This
I Hate Pigeons
Tamale Casserole
Sunny Skirt
How The Jenni Got Her Gripes

How was your September? Are you glad the month is over? Any plans for October? My daughter turns fifteen in a few weeks and I am at a loss as to what to get her. She has requested no clothes (be still my heart). Any ideas?

*If you missed last month’s Keepin’ It Real Post, it can be found here.

Keepin’ It Real: July 2014

July was such an easy month. I think with the languid weather it is hard to get the gumption up to do much of anything. But we did manage to get ourselves to The Fair, Comic Con, Turn Thirty Seven, and even stopped at The Rose Bowl Flea Market for two hours (post going up on Monday).



I made a bunch of goodies I cannot wait to share soon.


And one I won’t be sharing. Even though the recipe picture was so pretty it breaks my heart, I did not like this noodle recipe from Pinterest. And I only share recipes I love.


My husband began cutting the kids watermelon fries. They love them cut this way.


I read some books I will be doing reviews on soon. I really liked three out of the four books and the one I did not rate the highest is because I feel very strongly that it is not for kids although it is marketed as such.

And we cannot forget Outfit Outtakes. I ended up with more bad outtakes this month than in any other. I guess I got really lucky. It is definitely a huge boost to my self esteem. In fact, because of the nature of them, they garnered their own post. That will go up in the next few weeks, but until then, here are two from this last week’s outfit photos:


I got hit in the face with that branch a mere second before. Thankfully my husband caught this face on camera when it happened.

I am grateful.


My son was on the ATV and I needed to talk to him about safety rules. First I tried being Nice Mommy to get him to stop.


But it didn’t work. So, Mean Mommy had to step in. As she does. Too often.

Last month, I made an outline of what would be going up on this blog in July, but then I never posted my Hulk Hands Part II. That is because I still need to take the picture for that post. I was even hoping to do a video, but at this point, that seems too out of reach (although once the kids are back in school and I finally have the house to myself, maybe that will be a possibility for a separate post). Hopefully I can get the written post up in the next few weeks, because I think it is funny.

Also, I have changed the feature, Littlest Things’ posting dates from Thursdays to Saturdays (except this week it will run on Sunday to accommodate the Overheard In July post going up on Saturday).

Whew! Sorry that was so long and boring.

I do know these posts will be going up in August:

Rose Bowl Flea Market Recap
The Day My Brain Broke (meeting Patrick Rothfuss again)
Chess Squares (a recipe)
Outfit: Goldilocks and The Hundred Bears
The Icky Itchy Incredibly Inspiring Tapestry

How was your July? Was it relaxing? Did it feel like summer?


Ollie loved July. Never even flinched at the fireworks. He loved the relaxing theme of July. Although I suspect every month might be a relaxing opportunity for him.