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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Another DIY Martha Stewart Advent Calendar

This is another great advent calendar idea from Martha Stewart.  Rather than spend $78 on this calendar from Garnet Hill, get yourself some inexpensive kid's socks at Target, apply number stickers to the socks, attach them to a pretty ribbon with clothes pins, and make yourself an adorable calendar for dollars less.

You can find Martha's instructions for the calendar here.

I have one more calendar that I want to share with you, but since I am having trouble loading more than one picture at a time, I will have to share it with you in tomorrow's post.

Love, 40

Another Inexpensive DIY Advent Calendar (or, Martha Stewart is the best)

As you can probably tell by now, I have advent calendars on the brain.  Traditionally, my family and I use a felt calendar that has a tree to which we add ornaments every day of December.  But over the years pieces have gone missing, and we always wind up with a few days at the end of December that are advent calendar-less.  Last year, I filled the gap with store bought chocolate advent calendars for each of the kids.  This year, I wanted to do something different.  Something more special than the store bought calendars, but that doesn't cost a lot of money.  Enter Martha Stewart. (Of course).  Her November issue is full of great, inexpensive advent calendar ideas.  My favorite is the Gift Chain Calendar.  All you need to do to have a festive, cute calendar that will get the kids excited is to wrap your gifts and attach them to each other in a long chain.  The number of gifts remaining is the number of days left until Christmas.  To be extra Martha-esque, attach numbered gift tags or stickers to each gift.   

 To find Martha's instructions, you can go here.

I hope this inspires you to go out and create your own advent calendars.

Love, 40

Monday, November 21, 2011

DIY Pottery Barn Advent Calendar

Do you remember this advent calendar from last year's Pottery Barn catalog? 

The calendar was a crowd favorite, but for $299, the price tag left a lot to be desired. Lucky for us, the crafty blogger over at the Feminist Housewife found a way to get the Pottery Barn look for less.  A lot less.  Like $270 less.  Check out her tutorial over at

Love, 40

Hermes Bangle Paradise - Color Your Own Bangle Bracelet!

We just adore Hermes bangles - don't you?
If you love all things Hermes like we love all things Hermes, you should check out Paris Mon Ami.  I plan to follow the bangle paradise, and color my very own bangle bracelet.  Enjoy!

Love, 40

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Inexpensive and Easy Martha Stewart Christmas Ornaments

Generally, I am a major procrastinator.  So I am very proud of myself for having started to think about Christmas before I have sat down to my Thanksgiving meal.  Now, I know for some of you I am late to the party.  And I have one thing to say to you people - OVER-ACHIEVERS!  Anyway, I have long admired Martha Stewart's Christmas ornaments, and for many years now have planned to make one or two of them.  Unfortunately, I tend to be more of a thinker and planner than an actual doer.  But this year, I have promised myself that I will make at least one ornament.  At first, I had set my sights on Martha's paperclay ornaments.  But, if I am honest with myself, they may be above my crafting ability/capacity.  So I was happy to stumble upon her button ornaments on her website.  Aren't they cute?

And they look easy enough that even the craft-impaired like me could whip a few out in an hour.  If you are interested, you can find the instructions here.

I am officially declaring that I will make at least one ornament this year.  Please don't hold me to this!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Missoni for Target, I Love You

I know that the new Missoni for Target line is all over the blogosphere already, but I just had to say how much I love, want and need the Missoni bicycle.  I also saw a pink Missoni pouf I want, but can't locate the picture anywhere.  Anyway, isn't the bike bee-you-tee-ful?

Love, 40

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Well, I must be on to something because today I went to the Walgreen's near my work and the Pssst! was locked up.  Oh, sure, there were other dry shampoos that were on the shelf and accessible without having to get a store employee to retrieve it for me and then take it to the checkout to prevent stealing- but I am feeling awfully brand loyal to Pssst! right now.  Apparently, so are other people.  But come on, is there really a rash of people shoplifting Pssst! and leaving all the other dry shampoos?  I have to admit, since I have an unspoken rule that I don't buy things that are locked up (which has been broken from time to time for diapers), I left empty-handed.  I couldn't bring myself to buy any of the others, and I suppose other, including thieves feel the same.  Pssst! really is that good.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Me, Stacy, and Clinton on the Go with Psst!

Do you watch Stacy and Clinton?

This is what Stacy and Clinton would look like after seeing me on the street.

I must admit that I have become a little obssesed with Stacy and Clinton and What Not to Wear.  Their ability to dramatically transform the way a person looks by merely changing their wardrobe truly amazes me.  The hair and makeup is amazing, too, but Stacy and Clinton are able to make chubby women look thin, hip-heavy women look proportionate, women with boyish bodies look like they have hourglass shapes - you get my gist.  Anyway, the last few shows I have watched, Stacy and Clinton have referenced a style I have never heard of - mom on the go.  Now, their version of mom on the go is a little different from mine.  Their version does not include yoga pants, oversized t-shirts, or even gym shoes.  Nope, their version generally includes a cute dress (they love a microfiber wrap dress!), adorable shoes, an awesome bag, and a "completer piece", i.e. structured jacket or sweater.  It is a very put-together look that is supposed to be easy for the mom to throw on in the morning. 

I have been thinking lately that I should buy some cute "on the go" outfits, but the whole process is very overwhelming to me, a person who has worn my own version of the style for over ten years.  I had no idea where to start.  But I had a lightbulb moment reading 35's post.  What could be more "mom on the go" than unwashed hair?

I'm buying myself a can of Pssst!

Sorry, Stacy and Clinton! I tried, I really did!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Big Hair

I should have seen this coming.  With the Mad Men craze combined with the "no-wash" hair trend hitting all the beauty/fashion blogs and magazines, it was only a matter of time that hair was going to get big and retro.  Right? 
Well, I just looked through the August Anthropologie catalog.  It is, of course, beautiful.  And of course, I want everything in it.  You can view it here.  But more importantly, I think I am going to start wearing my hair like this:

  According to Anthropologie, this style goes with every outfit.  For example:
Sexy Secretary

and casual 

I think it will be possible to achieve this hairstyle because I have spent the better part of my summer perfecting my new "no-wash" style.  For some reason, I now get a sense of accomplishment in seeing how many days I can go without washing my hair.  Three?  Four??  Oooh, imagine the money I am saving on real shampoo!  Never mind that I have probably gone through ten cans of dry shampoo since I started this.  Note to those who are selling the no-wash hair trend by saying you save on shampoo: uh, no you don't.  And as my boyfriend so kindly pointed out, I may be saving my hair but I have poked a new hole in the ozone layer.  Anyway, all that aside- I have found that this is my favorite (and also the cheapest!) dry shampoo:
And, as an added bonus, it is sort of fun to say.  Try it- "pssssst!" 

And thank you, 40 for that lovely picture of MJ.  You know I love all references to him and Leos.  But I wonder if he is still a Leo now that they have "realigned" the signs?  Must look into that.......

For 35, A Little MJ Love

35 just told me about a blog that has great pictures of my first and forever love, Mick Jagger.  As a thank you, I would like to give this to you, 35, my favorite Leo:

Love, 40.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Maybe I am a little late to the party but my Poppy King for J. Crew lipstick just arrived today.  And I love it.  It is quite possibly the perfect summer color.  Summer '11 anyway.  There are still enough hot days left, you can buy this here

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Square Foot Gardening - Seedlings!

Look at what I have growing in my garden!


I've never grown vegetables from seed before.  I can't tell you how exciting this is for me.

This picture shows six of my 32 square foot squares.  From left back you can see radishes, lettuce mix, and black seeded simpson lettuce.  The middle row has a mix of radishes and carrots, lettuce mix and black seeded simpson lettuce. Not pictured are two squares of carrots, two of arugula, two of broccoli and two where I planted spinach.  the spinach is giving me a hard time.  Nothing sprouted after my first planting.  I planted a second time, and I think I see a few tiny seedlings beginning to emerge.  I am keeping my fingers crossed!

In the coming weeks I will plant a zucchini plant, which takes up 9 squares!  Luckily, zucchini is generally prolific, so the planting will be worth the space.  I haven't decided what I will plant in my remaining 9 squares.  I may just plant more squares of lettuce and carrots to extend my harvest.  I have another 4x8 bed that I plan to dedicate to tomatoes and peppers.  A third bed is in partial shade.  I am going to plant beans, peas and cucumbers in that bed. 

Hopefully, 35 will share her garden here at some point.  She lives in a condo, but has been able to do great things with a bunch of containers on her balcony.

Love, 40.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Vintage Movie Star Chic

I don't think I have mentioned this before but the sun is not and never has been my friend.  I am pale.  Very, very pale.  So when summer comes, I start the hat search.  It is nearly impossible to find hats that keep my delicate head covered and look normal.  There is just always something so dorky about summer hats.  Or maybe just on me.  This winter I became obsessed with knitting a turban.  I just wanted something different- I have a cloche, I knit a few slouchy berets.  So, after a short search, I found a vintage pattern on Ravelry.  I was very pleased with my knit turban, it is oh so very vintage movie star.  But now I need a warm weather head covering.  After many unsuccessful attempts at tying a scarf turban-like around my head, I began to wonder if I could sew one (stop laughing at me, 40!).  But then I found these on Urban Outfitters website:

You can buy them here.  See you at the beach!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spring Planting/Square Foot Gardening

I haven't written in a while.  I didn't feel like I had anything interesting to write about.  Then I realized that I have been spending an inordinate amount of time planning my vegetable garden, learning how to compost, and building raised beds.  Which I find pretty interesting.  So I thought I would write a little about that.

This is a picture of our garden mid-summer last year.   It was our first vegetable garden.  We had one raised bed with peppers and tomatoes.  And a hanging planter with strawberries.  I also planted some broccoli, but I don't really want to talk about that.  Anyway - it was SO exciting to watch our veggies grow, and to watch the kids actually eat the veggies we had grown, that we  decided to expand our garden this year. 

We plan to have at least three raised beds.  I am still playing around with my planting configuration, but I know that one of the beds will be dedicated to peppers and tomatoes.  In the other two beds I hope to grow lettuce, spinach, carrots, radishes, bush beans, corn, zucchini and maybe eggplant and broccoli.  We are also growing sunflower seeds.  It sounds like a lot of planting for only three beds, but you can squeeze a lot more plants into a raised bed than you can a traditional garden bed.  Also, this year I discovered square foot gardening, which tells you exactly how many of each kind of plant you can plant within a square foot of a raised bed.  I had no idea I could plant SIXTEEN carrot plants in one little square!  There are charts explaining square foot gardening all over the internet.

We live in zone 5.  This means that we need to wait to plant many of our plants until Memorial Day.  But I have planted seeds for some cold-tolerant plants.  I hope to see lettuce, spinach, radish, arugula and carrot sprouts coming through the dirt in the next few days!  Fingers crossed!  Last year, the only seeds I planted were spinach seeds, which yielded me a great big NOTHING. 

Okay, I am off to read more about composting!

Love, 40

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hello, Spring!

I'm not a fan of nail art, really I'm not.  But sometimes I find myself bored and at Walgreen's simultaneously.  It can be a dangerous combo for me- as in, "really, hair dye for only $7??".  Well, this fantastic find is Sally Hansen and costs about $10.  With short nails like mine, there is enough for two full applications.  That's only $5 a "manicure" and it is supposed to last TEN DAYS!! The 12 year old girl in me (the same one that loves all things Hello Kitty) is just thrilled!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Just keep pinning, pinning, pinning

As thirty-five says - "Time waster alert!"

Have you heard of pinterest?  It's amazing.  It's a website where you create virtual bulletin boards where you can "pin" cool things you find while surfing the web.  You can also search topics that interest you and view other members' pins for inspiration. 

If the site is still in beta when you attempt to become a member, don't worry, it took less than two weeks for me to get an invite to join. 

Happy pinning!


Friday, February 11, 2011

You're Either On The Bus or You're Off The Bus.....

Back when I was in high school and college- I fantasized about being a hippie in the sixties.  The Summer of Love and Haight/Ashbury and so on... it all seemed so romantic to me.  Naturally, I went to as many Dead shows as possible (without actually ever touring because I am not particularly adventurous like that).  I was fascinated with all that surrounded the whole hippie culture (or counterculture, perhaps?).  Of course, I read up on all things related, including Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters (though come to think of it, I never completely read the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test- how odd.  Must add to my "after grad school reading list").  Any how, as we all know, the Merry Pranksters traveled America in a painted bus, living the bohemian life which consisted of dropping acid and whatnot.  This led to Ken Kesey famously saying, "You're either on the bus or you're off the bus...."  Meaning of course, either you "got" their lifestyle or you didn't, you were with them or you weren't.  And as an aside, was I ever excited to learn the Neal Cassady drove the bus(THE Neal Cassady and by that I mean Dean Moriarty from my beloved On The Road- is everyone still with me?)!  Oh, the irony of course that Jack Kerouac was none too fond of the whole hippie movement- but never mind that right now.  Continuing on- my point is that to me saying that someone was "on the bus" meant that most likely they were a fried acid casualty. Until this happened....

My son has a security blanket that he loves to drag around and sniff.  He calls it noo noo.  And in an unfortunate event recently, on the way home from the babysitter's, we accidentally left noo noo on the bus.  Of course I panicked but noo noo never turned up in the lost and found (what a surprise, that tattered thing?) But it actually turned out okay- I replaced it with a new one (stupid me but that is a different story...) and we talk about the old one occasionally.   For example, the other day he told me that our cat smelled like noo noo on the bus.  But then yesterday my poor son couldn't find his favorite Thomas train and he was growing increasingly frantic as we looked for it.  Finally he grabbed my hand and said "Where is he?  Did we throw him out?  Is he in the garbage?"  and then after a short pause his eyes widened, his voice got a little more quiet and he said, "Is he....on the bus?" It broke my heart a little but still I had to laugh to myself and say, "No,Thomas the Tank Engine is most definitely not on the bus!  I think I can say for certain Thomas is off the bus!"

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Valentine's Day Gift - Part II

Oh my, 35 is funny, isn't she?  I may have to buy that cute little teddy for my hubby.

I have been thinking about Valentine's Day gifts, too, which is kinda sad, since my valentine never gives me anything.  Anyway, my idea is not as a funny as 35's teddy bear, but I promise your loved one will love it for years to come. 

Curious?  Get your valentine one of these:

Or one of these:
35 gave me a clementine tree for my birthday this year.  It definitely ranks as one of my top ten favorite gifts EVER.  I am hoping for a lemon tree next year. 

Buy the trees here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Man, I hope I get this for Valentine's Day.....

If you are not lucky enough to get this as a gift this Valentine's Day (or you want to give it to a loved one) you can buy this lovely little teddy bear here.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fabulous Sixties

I finally watched A Single Man.  I don't know what took me so long, considering the imaginary, torrid love affair I am having with Tom Ford.  The whole movie was gorgeous (naturally) but this girl was my favorite.  I love the way all she did was stare and smoke.  And she has a fabulous (albeit a little trite) sixties look.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Couch Fantasy

Ha ha, funny.  Because I have been having my plaid couch fantasy again.  I love plaid.  I have always loved plaid.  I am sort of partial to plaid pants but I'll take any item of clothing in plaid.  Really, makes no difference to me.  Of course, it has to be a good plaid- not any old cheap looking plaid will do.  And no more Burberry check, please- I'm tired of it.  But lately I have been dreaming about a plaid couch again (the need comes and goes)- how fantastic would that be?   But good ones are not easy to come by.  In fact, I haven't found a single one I really like.  I mean there is this one from Anthroplogie.  But, well, it sort of, um, misses the the mark (Sorry, Anthro- no offense).

But why don't these other two lovelies come in plaid?  Is it too much to ask?  Surely, I am not the only one who has a plaid couch fantasy. 
p.s. to 40- yes, I did recently change my ultimate dream couch from the DWR Theatre to the DWR Bantam.  I don't know why, I just did.  And blue velvet is nice, but wouldn't it be a pet hair magnet?  Just saying......
Urban Outfitters

Design Within Reach

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Dreaming of Blue Velvet Couches

I am dreaming of blue velvet couches. 

Any one of these would be more than welcome in my home.

What do you think?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Yummy Kahlua Pound Cake Recipe

I made this cake this week.

You can add frosting, too.

There are a few steps to the recipe, but the end result is worth the extra effort.

Try it.  You'll like it.

Kahlua Pound Cake:
Kahlua Fudge
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup coffee-flavored liqueur
1/4 cup water

3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda

Kahlua Glaze
4 oz semisweet chocolate
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp coffee-flavored liqueur

1.  Make fudge:  In saucepan, over low heat, mix ingredients.  Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring.  Cool.
2.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Grease and flour 10 in. tube pan.
3.  Make cake:  In small glass measure, mix milk and vanilla.  In large bowl of electric mixer, at high speed, beat butter and sugar 3 minutes or until fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add flour (in fourths) alternately with milk mixture (in thirds), beginning and ending with flour.  Spoon one third of batter (about 2 1/2 cups) into medium bowl.  Stir baking soda into fudge; stri into batter in medium bowl.  Pour half of remaining plain batter into tube pan.  Top with fudge batter; add remaining plain batter.  Bake 1 hour and 40 minutes or utnil tester insesrted in cake comes out clean.  Cool cake in pan on wire rack 15 minutes; invert onto rack.
4.  Make glaze:  In food processor, chop chocolate.  In saucepan, heat butter, cream and liqueur to boiling.  With motor running, pour into chocolate; process until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.  Cool completely; drizzle over cake.
Makes 20 servings.

Notes:  I baked this in a bundt pan and it turned out fine.  Also, when making the glaze, I chopped the chocolate with a knife and poured the chocolate into the saucepan of cream and liqueur.  I was too lazy to take out my food processor.

You Know Me Too Well, 35!

In fact, I bought those glasses for myself last winter when I first saw them at Target.  But, true to form, I repeatedly washed the glasses in the dishwasher despite the label's clear instructions to not do so, and my glasses no longer wear the Stones logo.  So - perhaps I will make a trip to Target today (my third this week!) and buy myself another set of glasses, which set I may or may not put into the dishwasher.

As for my baby doll, she was very well taken care of, thank you very much.  She just looks like that because it was Christmas day, and she had had a long day of partying and had spent the previous night lying awake because she could not fall asleep under the tree.  Sure, she wasn't as well cared for as your dolls, but to imply that she was NEGLECTED is just cruel.

Love, 40 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Will 40 buy these?

I just found these at Target online. On clearance for $4.98.   I wonder how fast they will sell? 

p.s. 40, that is hilarious about the Toy Story/ profile picture connection.  Is that why I love that baby in the movie?  It must of reminded me of your doll.  Lord knows, my dolls were far too well cared for to ever look like that!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Toy Story Three Has Invaded My Brain

For Christmas, my parents gave my #3 the Toy Story 3 DVD.  It has been on a constant loop ever since. 

This evening, as I was preparing to write a post for this blog, I glanced at the picture of my sister and I that we posted for our About Us section.  I got so distracted by the creepy resemblance that the doll I am holding bears to "Baby" in Toy Story 3 that I am no longer fit to write a post.  You fans will have to wait.

Love,  40