December 31, 2010

Oh what a year!

by Shelly

Watch out readers…. for the first time ever I think I’m going to get personal on you! Not usually my style, but I guess today I’m in a bit of a “sharing what I’ve learned” mood. Take it as you will.

The hubby and I had it pretty darn easy going the first few years we were married. We traveled, ate out at nice restaurants (a lot!), threw lots of parties…life was good! We even had our first child within those wonderful years. Life was simple and fabulous.

2009 was a turning point. And life hasn’t been so easy, breezy the last two years. But you know what? I’m ok with that. I learned A LOT in these two short years. I realize I took things for granted and I will say…bad times have a way of slapping you in the face and making you see the world a little differently.

Here in a nutshell is what we went through here in the Van R household in 2010:

Our little girl had a lot of firsts… gymnastics, ballet, swim lessons, FAST roller coasters, preschool.

The economy affected our personal economy. Not awesome after buying a MUCH bigger home in 2009!

We were shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden passing of an amazing human being and friend.

Family members, as well as friends, went another year of being unemployed.

My business took off and I worked on my first design projects!

The hubs and I went on a fab vacation and met up with lots of old friends while there.

I grew closer to a bunch of old friends, including this creative lady.  And also gained a new neighbor who has become not only a friend, but a constant source of inspiration!

And finally, just a few short weeks ago my mom found out that she may be seriously ill. It’s been rough.

{the hubs and I channeling our best Don and Betty Draper at our Mad Men NYE party last year!}

It’s been a mixed bag indeed, but I always feel I personally grow so much stronger when times are tough.  But we aren’t going to be bitter tonight at all.  In fact, we have a fabulouso night planned celebrating a 40th birthday with many of our bestest buddies.  In fact many of the same people were at our Mad Men NYE party last year!   It is sure to be a good time.

And to get myself out of this funk I’ve been in the last month or so I am going ALL out!  Vintage fur coat, sequin top, leather pants, and some HIGH black heels should make me feel like a total rock and roll chick tonight!  And we’ll be eating at one of my fav places for seafood and King Crab legs…yum.

{this is what I’m going for!}

Hope you all have a safe and fun New Years Eve, whether you’re staying in or going out!  And thank you so much for reading my blog and hope to see you around here in 2011! No more whammies 2011…please.  Let’s play nice in the new year!


December 29, 2010

a few goals for 2011

by Shelly

{via Mary Ruffle}

The past few months I started tweeting…a lot.  I use to be TOTALLY against the whole Twitter thing.  Didn’t want anything to do with it. I thought it was all pretty silly actually.  Until….I got sucked in.  Now, I love it!  I’ve met new peeps, stumbled onto new blogs, and learned about (and signed up for) exciting events.
Earlier today I was totally inspired by Erin Loechner over at Design for Mankind. She’s a funny, talented writer and after reading her list of 2011 goals I decided, “Hey that is an incredibly cool idea!”. So here is my list. What do you think?

My 2011 Goals!!!

1. Get out of that bathrobe! No excuse is acceptable anymore. If it’s past 10am I MUST change into clothes. It doesn’t matter that I work from home. Gross.

2.  Drink more water. And no wine does not count because it has some amount of water in it.

3. If I put on my gym clothes work out! Or take the dog for a walk. This whole not working out thing is becoming a habit now. And I use to really, really like to exercise. What happened?

4. Have more dinner parties. Just one or two couples. Not every entertaining venture we do has to include 20+ people.

5. Learn to sew. The machine is just sitting there waiting to be used.

6. Surf more. Again, enough with the excuses.

7. Get that portfolio together!  Take more pictures of the work I do and start showing it off!

8. Have lunch or grab coffee with a friend once a month. Catch up in person more.

9. Paint those fingernails… They look prettier and who cares if they chip quick.

10. Turn off the tv and do something else. Read, sew, craft, play a game with the fam.

11. Finish all those little projects I’ve been putting off. Remember the french chair, the window seat cushions, the black gallery frames that need to be hung, refinishing the secretary desk…oh and the tile that needs to be finished in the bathroom that I remodeled a year and a half ago?

12. Keep up with the meal plans and grocery lists.  Last minute meals always stress me out. Remember that.

13.  Hang out with mom more. I like her, remember? And she thinks I only like her because she watches our three year old for us.

14. I don’t REALLY need to drink red wine every night. Have a dry night once in a while!

15. Get off the computer and go do something…anything.

16. Wear jeans less often. A skirt with boots maybe, a pair of cute trousers…. You can do it So Cal girl!

17. Plan more weekend adventures with the family.  Go explore.

18. Creative dates with the hubby. Less dinners and more fun stuff.

I think I have more goals floating around in my head. So there may be a part two.


December 27, 2010

Let me check my calendar…

by Shelly

I’m pretty obsessed with keeping my schedule organized and if it’s not on the calendar…well frankly it doesn’t exist in my book.  It HAS to be written down so that I remember it and don’t over book.  For the last few years I have used the wonderfully, colorful and easy to use wall calendar by Erin Condren.

You can personalize it with your familys’ information, add pictures, there are nice large boxes to write details down in and fun stickers to use on dates with special events or appointments.

But this year my head is reeling with all the cute calendars and date books I am seeing all over the internet. I have a few criteria however: 1. They must have a space for me to write info on at each date (kids, work, hubby’s schedule, social plans…it all has to be in writing for me!)  2.  It has to artistically pleasing since it will hang right smack dab in the middle of our kitchen all year long.

Here are some that have caught my eye.

{From The Art of Joy on Etsy a printable calendar and stickers.  I’m such a sucker for cute illustrations}

{I’m a TOTAL freak about birds. I’m a bird watcher dork…seriously. So this calendar grabbed me the moment I saw it. Graphic-check, fun font-check, nice big boxes for writing in details-check.  From Valentina Design.}

{From Letter C Design who can resist a nice simple, graphic calendar like this one? Umm, especially if you’re an interior designer! Oh boy, and there are some other FABULOUS office/desk items in this shop that are begging to come to my house. Cuteness!!!}

{ This becomes a piece of artwork for your walls. What a fab idea for a teens’ room! Bubba and Doodle}

{Such a smart idea! Just stick this calendar into a 11″ x 14″ frame you have lying around the house, grab a dry erase marker, and go nuts! And talk about being ec0-friendly…this can be used over and over again. By Fashionably Late}

Now to decide on one for our home…. That’s the difficult part!


December 27, 2010

Holiday Festivities Recap

by Shelly

The in-laws just left about an hour ago and of course there are now loads of laundry, lots of cleaning, beds to be made, dishes to be put away…etc. etc.  But we had a lovely time all together celebrating and eating way too much!  I’ve been a little MIA here on the blog because not only did we host Christmas Eve and Christmas Day festivities at our home, but we also hosted a big Christmas party for 35 a week ago.  So to say I’ve done a lot of cooking the last two weeks is frankly a serious understatement!

Here are a few shots of our home just before the Christmas Eve dinner took place.  I was really excited to finally use all of the Etsy, Ebay and estate sale finds I’ve been collecting the past few months on our holiday table.  Take a peek….

Mixed with our wedding china and flatware are the first finds of what I hope to be a large collection of mother of pearl vintage flatware.  I like a clean simple table for Christmas  since I usually serve such a colorful meal.  It really lets the food stand out!  I used simple wood letters from Michael’s spray painted with metallic silver paint at each place setting.  The flowers from Trader Joe’s are set in my collection of milk glass vases and the candlesticks are all vintage silverplate from estate sale finds this past year.

The ornaments are a mix of flea market finds and Kmart.  And the little glittery stars and snowflakes on the chandelier are from a craft supply store. The water glasses are milk glass found on Ebay.

I hung this wreath in the dining room at the last minute.  It had been in our bedroom the whole month, but I wanted to really deck the room out.  So I brought it down and added the Joyeux Noel sign I made for our French Christmas party a week earlier.

Oh and if you ever wondered what a crazy woman looks like cooking Christmas Eve dinner, here she is…

Behind me chopping area, in front of where my recipes are…three pans on the stove going, pork in the oven. It was CHAOS I tell ya! But I did it.  And it was good!

Of course I forgot one important thing as I was right smack dab in the middle of cooking…a trussing needle to make my crown of roast pork. Opps. Well, thank goodness for bamboo skewers in a pinch!  TOO funny!

Yummy goodness I tell ya! Highly recommend this recipe!

The wild rice dressing was divine to say the least and so colorful!  I used most of the menu I found on Martha Stewarts’ website.  We started with a roasted pear and shallot salad, and with the pork we had the wild rice dressing, homemade popovers, and glazed honey ginger carrots.  Everything (if I do say so myself) turned out delish!  We finished it all off with another Martha recipe, Gingerbread Cheesecake. Again….yummers…it was a hit!

The evening was a success as was Christmas Day brunch.  The whole weekend was a great time spent with family, but we are now looking forward to some quiet evenings just the three of us. It’s been a BUSY month.  Wednesday I will be packing up all the decorations since I have housecleaners coming Thursday to help out with the mad mess my house has become. So, I figured the day before would be a good time to take everything down. I forsee a ton of glitter… everywhere.  Here is a last look of the house all decorated in her holiday best.

Hope you and yours had a wonderful joyful holiday as well!

Merry, Merry Christmas to you all!


December 10, 2010

the wish list

by Shelly

After weeks of my husband nagging me to “PLEASE SEND ME YOUR WISHLIST”, here it is. Recession friendly, not spending a lot this year…wish list.  I think it’s pretty good considering I usually like ‘spency things.

1.  Feather Duster Necklace

Ahh, J. Crew, do they ever do anything wrong?  This is just that little something a girl needs to amp up an outfit.

2.  Butter Nailpolish in Macbeth

Tomato red polish.  LOVE.  I’ve been looking for the right color for a while and I think this may just be the ONE!

3.  Trumpeting Twosome Shakers

Jonathon Adler’s designs make me smile.  And I have a small “thing” for elephants.  These are just too adorable and would start a possible J.A. collection!

4.  Chinese Laundry At Once Booties

I really, really need to break out of my shoe rut.  Warm weather…I’m in sandals 95% of the time.  Cold weather…I’m in boots.  I hardly EVER wear heels anymore, but I love them.  This shoe would be perfect for a dressier outfit and with jeans and a sweater to run errands with the little one. AND…bonus!…the price is GOOD!

5.  Garlic Olive Oil

Seriously, if you like to cook, you can NEVER have too many kinds of oils, vinegars, and spices.  The hubby and I like garlic…A LOT…so this would get used quickly!

6.  Erin Condren Jumbo 2011 Wall Calendar

I’ve had one of these calendars in our home for the past few years.  I can’t say enough about how much I LOVE these.  It’s bright, fun, plenty of space to write, cute stickers for special events throughout the year and a great babysitter/house sitter emergency page featuring all the important info for you and your family.

7.  Styles: Compendium of Interior

I can always use more design books.  This one features a nice breakdown of furniture styles and is great for referencing.

8. Superskinny Glitter Belt in Gold

I have no clue why I have not bought a sparkly belt yet.  So perfect over cardigans.  And an extra touch to a tomboyish jeans and t outfit.

9.  Loft Faux Fur Vest

I’m about kicking myself for getting rid of the faux fur vest I had a few years ago.  I remember me asking my husband, “Seriously, do you really think this will come back in style? This is so not me huh?”. What an idiot, I regretted it as soon as I put it in the Goodwill donation bin. Darn! Well this one is 40% off with FREE SHIPPING right now!!! Oh wait…actually EVERYTHING IS 40% with FREE SHIPPING at The Loft right now. Run, don’t walk!

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