Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday & My Album Cover!

 My album cover?! Really? Come on!
After much hesitation, I posted this "Selfie" on Facebook yesterday. Why hesitation you ask?  I don't thoughts went something like this. "What am I, sixteen with this selfie post!? Or....... "Will people think I'm just vain?" Anyway, after putting WAY TOO MUCH thought into it, I posted it because from a photography standpoint, I thought it was a good photo. The response I received? Overwhelming! People were asking me who the photographer was, which totally made my day! Well...... that and people telling me it was beautiful which will never get old for my 42 year old ego! The funny thing is, this picture was really just a fluke. The photography planets just seemed to align that day. Here is how it went down.

It was one of those days when I had time for a quick shower, but not makeup thanks to Little Lord Fauntleroy" AKA Tommy,  so I skipped the eye makeup altogether except for a little mascara which I NEVER do, and just put on BRIGHT lipstick. Mac Viva Glam to be exact! So, there I am sitting with my little buddy on the couch, the sun shining brightly through the window and we began to take selfies, because Tommy loves a good selfie of himself! We took the first picture, (him making faces of course) and I immediately noticed the forgiveness of that warm overexposed sunlight. Forgiveness on my wrinkles that is!

I've learned from my husband, who is a GREAT photographer (add that to the annoying list of things he does well) that overcast days are best for photography, but that bright sunshine became natures photoshop, and I just couldn't pass the opportunity up! So what did I do? Why I did what any loving mother would do. I shoved Tommy out of the shot which threw us both back to a laying position on the couch and while he squirmed on my lap I quickly took the shot, and BAM my album cover was born!
In my opiniion,  here is what makes THIS photo a great photo.

1. Overexposed lighting is very forgiving on wrinkles and imperfections. Take note anyone over 35! There are many photo filters that will give the same effect.
2. Contrast. The lightness of my hair against the darkness of the sofa and black shirt really makes this photo pop, as well as the contrast of my lips against my skin. The same will be true of a brunette against a bright white background.
3. Natural! Aside from that bright lipstick, this photo is very natural. Makeup is important, but you don't want to be too made up. Let the real YOU shine through.
4. Composition. From the angle of the face, to the texture of my hair laying just so, to the contrast of the light and dark is what makes up the composition of the photo, and EVERYONE has a flattering angle. Find it!

Because this photo was taken in a laying position, I had to rotate it to make it face front. Who would have known right?

Simple as that. I have a pretty expensive Canon, but this photo was taken with my iphone. Photography is not about the camera. A good camera will NOT make you a photographer. It's a combination of so many things. Look at photographs that you love and really study what makes them so appealing to your eye. Be creative and practice, practice, practice!
Have a great weekend everyone, and take a selfie, or two or three!

Friday, January 23, 2015

This Guy + LINKS

Happy Friday everyone!
What are your plans for the weekend? We're supposed to get some cooler weather here in the sunshine state, and I can't wait. Cooler meaning mid sixties which equals perfection as far as weather goes. I know a lot of the country is FREEZING so I just need to rub that in a little bit. ( :
I'lll be with THIS guy who is getting bigger by the minute. Michael and I were just discussing the other day how overnight he seems to have gone from baby to little boy. Currently his fav past time is jumping on the bed and saying,"I did it!" Pretty much after EVERYTHING he does. Michael says he speaks in exclamation points and he's right. Every word is loud and full of excitement. Hopefully he can manage to keep this enthusiasm throughout his lifetime. 
Wishing everyone a peaceful weekend. Check out these links from around the web.....

8 Questions to ask yourself to help you declutter.

+ I might have to treat myself to this oversized scarf to stay toasty this winter.

+ I've made this winter soup twice this month and it's a BIG hit with both Michael AND Tommy.

+ Currently reading this book per Oprah's request

+ In case you missed the 2015 Oscar Nominees


Thursday, January 15, 2015

January 2015 IPSY Glam Bag!

I received my FIRST ipsy Glam Bag today! 
You have no idea how exciting this was. When I saw that hot pink envelope in the mailbox I nearly screamed!  I've been on a waiting list for 3 months, and the anticipation was killing me! 
For those of you who have never heard of ipsy, listen up! Each month for just $10. you receive 4-5 deluxe sample or full-sized beauty goodies (including makeup, skincare, hair care and nail care), along with a stylish makeup bag. When you sign up, you fill out a questionnaire with questions about your eye color, hair color, skin tone and style and then ipsy matches you with colors that should work for you. Fun right? Just $10. and the shipping is FREE! Not to mention, the products retail for at least $20. Want to see what was in the January 2015 Glam Bag? Keep reading!

And this months ipsy bag contains............ drumroll please!

-Blue and white plastic makeup bag with orange zipper from ipsy-Kind of underwhelmed with this bag. It's plastic and kind of cheap. Might be good for the pool in the summer.
-Elizabeth Mott All Over Shadow Brush (Retails for $10)- LOVE this brush. Quality!
-Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Moisturizer (Organic)- Nice clean grapefruity smell. This will be nice for travel.
-Probelle Nail Lacquer Into the Blue (Retails for $6)-When I first opened this I was like,"Wow! Blue!" But guess what? It's a really nice blue, and this polish goes on very smoothly.
-bellapierre Shimmer Eyeshadow in Exite (Retails for $8)- Nice for evenings on browline.
-Pacifica Natural Mineral Coconut eyeshadow in Treasure (100% Vegan)-LOVE this shadow. Really natural. A great match for my coloring.

In all, I was pretty happy with this months Glam Bag. I will review them every month, but if you want to get a Glam Bag yourself, sign up at

Treat yourself!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Seasons Ending

Seasons Ending! 
I took the tree down and UNdecorated the house this weekend. Worst part of the holidays right? But, it was time to say goodbye to 2014. The Holidays were good to us, but I am welcoming 2015 with open arms.  Here are a few pics from the end of OUR holidays.

(this little blue car on my step)
I saw this little car on my stairs and just had to take a picture. Never in my life did I ever imagine I would have a little boy running around messing up my house! Blessed!

(Butterfly ornament in memory of Cali Rae)
I received this sweet Butterfly ornament in honor of Cali from a wonderful woman whom I have never met. She also shares the sorrow of a lost little angel, and I am hoping to meet this beautiful caring new friend in 2015.

(Burlap wrapped Starbucks Coffees)
A sweet treat from another good friend. I especially love the wrapping!

(Tommy the Tiger)
 I'm looking forward to many more Christmases with this little guy! Sunglasses and hats are all the rage right now. Michael and I are thinking he just might be from the Vaudeville days. He is stealing my heart more and more everyday and is the best blessing of all.

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bring it On 2015!

It's that time of year! 
The time where we make our New Years Resolutions that we rarely stick to. Bravo to YOU if you do, but I usually don't quite follow through. Don't get me wrong, I go into it with great intentions, but something usually derails my plans, and I end up putting my resolutions on hold. Often put on hold for good reason, but this year? This year? I'M READY!  2015 feels like it just might be one of the best yet. It's just a feeling I have. A feeling deep in my soul. 

Mike will be performing and as much as I'd love to be with him, I will be home drinking a nice bottle of Veuve Clicquot while "Imagining my desires." in 2015, with my sweet baby boy asleep in the next room.  What are your plans? Any resolutions for 2015? I have a list. Here it is....

-Less TV, more books
-Take a beach vacation with my family
-Eat healthier
-Write more cards
-More date nights
-Buy new underwear (don't we all deserve new underwear?)
-Operation LEA (this is the biggest! Blog post to follow)

Wishing everyone a fun, safe, and Happy New Year! 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

An Andrew Christmas

How was your Christmas?
It was pretty magical over here. It's amazing how much Christmas changes once you have a child. You realize that it's all about them. As it should be!
With Tommy being a year older, opening gifts was much more fun. He didn't really understand why he was getting all those toys, but he wasn't gonna fight it!
We started our day with coffee and THIS....

and it was DELICIOUS! It's called "California Breakfast Casserole." A layer of turkey sausage, a layer of tomato, a layer of avocado, eggs, hashbrowns and cheese baked and then topped off with salsa and a dollop of sour cream. Yum! Want the recipe? Get it HERE. Oh, and those little pastry balls are Danish pancakes courtesy of Trader Joes. Also GREAT!
Then it was on to opening gifts.

And then................

It was just the three of us, so Michael said not to make a fuss over dinner, but I said that was more the reason to make a fuss! Why should we always go all out for everyone else?
And it was nice. ( :

Baked Cod
Creamy Garlic Mushrooms
Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower
Sweet Potato Gratin
Green salad with pomegranite seeds, almonds, green apples, and feta with a blueberry basamic
Salted Carmel Gelato

Joy To The World!

Friday, December 19, 2014

An Early Florida Christmas

With my side of the family all living up north, we started a new tradition where we have an early Christmas the first week of December in Florida. It's great for airline rates, gets everyone out of the cold and into the sunshine for a week and it's always a good time! 
There is no agenda. We like to fly by the seat of our pants around here! The "Christmas Vacation" usually starts with a few delayed flights, followed by relaxation, good food, and a visit or two to a theme park. When in Rome right? Some even take a chilly swim in the pool which is CRAZY to me, but when you live up north it's exhilerating I suppose! There is always plenty of chaos, with little cousins running around and the best part of all is having my whole family in one place. I'm sure my parents are in Heaven with their children AND grandchildren all under one roof for a whole week. My dream is to have Michael's whole side of the family join us one year.
Here are a few pics from the O'Connell, Witherspoon and Andrew family Christmas.
 Hope everyone has a lovely holiday with YOUR families. ( :

Monday, December 15, 2014

Being Festive

Tis the season to BAKE! 
 Christmas cookies are kind of like Girl Scout cookies. They only come once a year, and everyone loves a good Christmas cookie so there was no way I wasen't going to bring a bit of festive into the house by baking some myself. Now that I have a son, I am trying to start some traditions and Christmas cookies are something I want Tommy to look forward to every year.  My mom used to make these green Christmas tree cookies made with a cookie press and they were just SO GOOD! A lot of work, but good!
My cut out cookie of choice will always be stars because, well.... they're just so pretty! This year I made sure to add colorful sprinkles (just for Tommy), and sure enough his eyes lit up when he saw all those beautiful colors. He now stands at the kitchen counter pointing up to the plate of stars screaming,"Cookies!" all day long!

These little beauties are "Peppermint Crunch Dark Chocolate cookies." They are a new recipe for me that I found on Pinterest and I will definitely be making them for years to come. They're mouth wateringly delicious, and SO EASY. I mean...... way too easy not to make! All you need is......

-Dark Chocolate Cake mix (I used Betty Crocker chocolate fudge) 
-1/2 cup of vegetable oil
-2 eggs
-1 bag of Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips

Mix the oil, cake mix and eggs together in a mixing bowl. No need to use a mixer. I do it by hand with a fork. Something a friend taught me years ago. A fork is the perfect mixer! Next add the peppermint chips. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into balls, and drop onto a ungreased non-stick cookie sheet. Bake 8-9 minutes or until done. You will know by the cracked appearance. 
These cookies are great if you are doing a cookie exchange because they make up to 40 cookies. Enjoy!

The next cookie I'm going to conquer are adorable "Grinch Cookies" that I found over at Karttina's Kitchen see HERE. They are just too adorable and easy not to make!

What are your favortite Christmas Cookie recipes?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

In Loving Memory of Cali Rae

My dear sweet beautiful Cali,
It has been two years since you took your last breath in my arms, and my love and loss for you is as strong as ever. 
You are missed more than you could ever know. Life continues to go on, yet there is not a day that goes by that you do not creep into my mind. I don't know how you do it, but I hope you always will. It must be the love I have for you that never leaves me. 

Your brother is growing big and strong, and I can't help but think you have your sweet little hand in all of it. I know he misses you too. Afterall, he knew you the longest. Your father and I continue to love eachother, and we make sure to love Tommy twice as hard in your absence. ( :

I still get frequent visits from butterflies, and I smile every time knowing there is a piece of you in each beautiful flutter. ( : 
This past week we had our early annual Florida family Christmas and your father and I felt it was the perfect time to do something special in your honor, so we brought everyone to a butterfly garden to release what else? Beautiful butterflies! It was magical, and everyone felt touched to be a part of it. I know you were there and felt the love because later that day, a beautiful  rainbow appeared over our house. It felt like it was YOU smiling down from Heaven saying....... thank you for thinking of me. ( : We did think of you Cali, and always will. We miss you and love you to eternity.

Love and peace,

A butterfly lights before us like a sunbeam, 
and for a moment its glory and beauty belongs to our world. 
But, then it flys on again, 
and although we wish it could have stayed, 
we feel blessed to have seen it.