More things!

Are y'all sick of these "things" posts yet?

No? OK, good.

Heather of {just.lovely.things} tagged me for real today....

I posted my random things yesterday - so go ahead and pop over here if you want to read them =).

 My answers to the lovely Heather's q's:

1. Sweet or Sour? Sweet fo sho.
2. What is your favorite kind of music?  I like a mix.  My faves for the past year or so have been Bruno Mars and The Avett Brothers.
3. Where do you see yourself personally in 5 years? Living in Ohio with maybe a child in tow?
4. Do you know any other languages besides English? I minored in Spanish and spent a summer in Spain when I was 21.  So I can get by with Spanish.  But I would need to brush up on my skills if I really had to speak Spanish again.
5. What is your biggest pet peeve of all time? When people lie.  Even to make a story better.  I love honesty so, so much.
6. Have you ever been in a fight and thrown something made of glass at someone, like they do in the movies?  No, I have wanted to...maybe I should one day. Sounds like fun but also a huge mess.
7. Reincarnation - What do you come back as?  A dog in a nice family.  That would be so great - eat, sleep, walk, and be loved.
8. If you could go back to any age and live it again, what age would you be and why?  Probably age three.  Everything is fun when you're three
9. Cats or Dogs?  I love both but my dogs prevent me from having any cats {they would kill them}.
10. Have any guilty pleasures?  The Real Housewives!

4 years ago

The last leap year was four years ago...where were you in life?

I was two months away from my wedding and one year into living in San Diego.  

We lived in are called Ocean Beach in a tiny little rundown {but super cute} house.  It was just me, Neil, and fat little Gordita.  

It was a great place to start our San Diego life and for the first 6 months or so, we really felt like we were on vacation.

This was the view from our window/the pier way at the end of our street {also known as the reason we paid way too much in rent}:

Gordita and Neil on the cliffs.  She had just gotten a summer haircut and looks so young!

And a few photos of the messy house:

{All these photos were pre-blogger Gina, so I paid no attention to what I was doing =)}

We no longer live in this little house by the beach {adding Finn to the mix made the house seem way too small + the rent was high} but I do miss it.

I love our new house.  I love exploring a different area of San Diego.  I love that I can let Finn and Gordita out into the backyard and not have to worry about Finn jumping the fence.  That happened way too many times....

A lot has changed in four years:

I am married and we now have Finn. 

I have new {and really cute} nieces and nephews.

I have this blog, my food blog, and my shop.  

I no longer have a dumb office job that I dread.  

Things just keep getting better and it makes me pretty excited to think about where I will be on the next leap 2016.

Happy Leap Year Day!

10 Things

All these "things" posts are popping up on my blog reader.  Bloggers list random thing about themselves and answer a list of questions.  Then they tag other bloggers.

Well, one of my fave bloggers, Mandy of The Haps tagged everyone.  Yay!  I was hoping to get tagged =).

10 Random Things:

1. I am easily disgusted by gum, people using my toothpaste, and seeing someone brush their teeth.  I absolutely HATE when actors are shown brushing their teeth in tv/movies.  It's seriously makes me want to puke.

2. I hate washing my hair and only do it about once or twice a week.  I use dry shampoo a few others days and just let it be the rest of the time. Luckily my hair is thick and a bit dry so it takes a while for it to get greasy.

3. Even though I hated high school, I would love to go back in an undercover manner.  Never Been Kissed style.  How fun would it be to go back to high school knowing that it's all total bs and not caring one bit?  

4. I fly a lot so I am kind of used to it but I always like to pop a valium if the flight is longer than 1-2 hours.  I think I just pretend to be scared so I can take said's just so relaxing.

5. I think I have adult ADD.  I have to work hard to stay focused on one thing.  Making lists and scheduling my time really helps.

6. I am almost always early/on time.  My husband is always late.  It has really pushed the levels of my patience.  

7. I think animals dressed as humans is the best.thing.ever.  I will never tire of it.

8. I laugh harder at The Graham Norton Show than anything else on TV.  It is the funniest show you're not watching.

9. I consistently have nightmares about spiders.  Just writing the word "spiders" makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry/rip my hair out.

10. I am so socially awkward.  If you ever meet me in real life, I apologize in advance for a. coming across as a bitch; b. talking too much/rambling on and on; or c. not talking at all.

And 10 questions from Mandy:

1. have you ever met someone famous?

I met Jimmy Fallon in college.  He was on a comedy tour and stopped at my school {Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio}.  Two of my very persistent friends begged him to stop by our house.  He did.  And he graciously took a million pictures with all of the fourteen screaming/drunk girls that lived in our house.  He was the nicest, most normal, funniest guy around.  

He said he wished he could have stayed and played drinking games but he was hosting the MTV Movie Awards in a few weeks and wasn't allowed to drink...something about having to lose 10 pounds.  And the boy was skinny.

It is one of my favorite memories ever.  Every time I see him in an interview I am so proud of him.  Like we're old friends or something.  He remains one of my favorite celebs to this day.

2. what is your happiest childhood memory?

Driving to my grandparents' house in Indianapolis.  It was only a five hour drive, but it felt like five years.  We always stopped at this Wendy's that was above the highway or something weird like that.  

We never got to eat fast food while at home, so I loved every minute of those meals.  Arriving at my grandparents' house was equally fun because it usually involved some sort of presents and a candy drawer {we also never had candy at home}.

3. favorite album of all time?

These are all a bit random but.... Irish Heartbeat {Van Morrison and the Chieftains}, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band {The Beatles}, and Graceland {Paul Simon}

4. are you a salty or sweet lover?

I love both, but I think if I had to choose, I would usually go with sweets.

5. what is favorite guilty pleasure tv show or movie?  

Any Real Housewives series on Bravo.  I never, ever miss an episode.

6. describe your favorite sandwich.

Veggie - cheddar cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato, bell peppers, and honey mustard.  Or a cheeseburger with just ketchup, mustard, onion, and pickles.

7. what was your first pet?

A striped cat named Bandit. She hated me because I would try to dress her in doll clothes {see #7 in random facts}.

8. what is your biggest accomplishment thus far in life?

Starting my business. 

9. what is the first blog you started reading?

Hmmm, probably Design*Sponge or Apartment Therapy.

10. if you had to choose one dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

No question: ice cream

And I am going to tag Mandey, Stephanie, and Tammy and any others that want to play along!

Post 10 random things and answer these 10 questions:

1. Where were you born?
2. What is your absolute favorite meal?
3. What TV show could you not live without?
4. If you could only wear one color for the rest of your life, what would you choose {black, white, gray, brown not included}?
5. Were you named after anyone in your family, or did your parents just like the name they chose?
6. Silver or gold?
7. Favorite girl scout cookie?
8. Biggest pet peeve?
9. If you could only buy clothes at one store for the next 5 years, what store would you choose?
10. Ideal Friday night?

Monday, etc.

Hey friends!  I hope you all had a good weekend.  Did you watch the Oscars? Who was your best dressed?  

Mine was a tie between Michelle Williams {hello tangerine tango!}, Emma Stone, Kristen Wiig, and Milla Jovovich. 

{All photos via}

I also loved the little dog from The Artist.  


So, so cute.  Gordita is kind of a fat, speckled version of him.  She should totally go to Hollywood and get discovered.

My favorite speech of the night was Christopher Plummer's speech.  SO classy and well said.  And what he said about his wife?  Perfection.

"My long suffering wife, Elaine, who deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for coming to my rescue every day of my life.”

My other favorite speech was the one done by the father-daughter team from Northern Ireland {Terry and Oorlagh George} who won for best short film.  

With my husband being Irish, I definitely have a personal connection to the country and we were both completely choked up.  In his speech, Terry George said:

"Our little film was inspired by the people of Northern Ireland, Protestant and Catholic, who after 30 years of war, sat down, negotiated a peace and proved to the world that the Irish are great talkers."

OK, that's all for now - enjoy your Monday!

p.s. the winner of the custom facebook landing page giveaway is....

Congrats!  Look out for my email!

My Face in a Mirror

I actually took these pics last Saturday before going out to dinner.  I am experimenting a lot with my new camera and having so much fun.  All these pictures are of my reflection in the mirror {obvs}.

Next on my list of things to buy is a remote for the camera.  Although the timer function is easy to use, it can get a bit annoying. 

Enjoy your weekend!

I am linking up with The Wonder Forest for Self Portrait Saturday.

March Sponsors

Interested in sponsoring my 'lil blog in March?  

If so, I would love to have you and I promise to make it lots of fun!

I have lots of spots available, including the XL Feature spot.

Also, I am currently offering discounted ad rate via my BlogHer 2012 Fund Page.

If you're interested, you can purchase right from my GoFundMe page and email me your blog button.

If you have any questions about sponsorship - please email me

Roasted Apple + Butternut Squash Soup

This soup is so easy and delicious and as a bonus, it is also super healthy.  It is full of vitamin rich squash, it's very low fat, and has a nice sweet flavor.  I topped my soup with a tablespoon of low fat sour cream.  It was the perfect accompaniment. 

Roasted Apple + Butternut Squash Soup {makes about 5 servings}
-5 heaping cups of butternut squash, cut into large pieces {I'/ lazy so I just used 2 bags of pre-cut squash from Trader Joe's}
-1 large apple, cut into large pieces
-1 large onion, cut into large pieces
-6 cups of vegetable broth
-1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
-1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
-salt, pepper, and about a tablespoon of olive oil

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees and lay the squash pieces, apple pieces, and onion pieces out onto a large baking sheet.  Sprinkle the cinnamon, ginger, a little salt and pepper, and one tablespoon olive oil over the squash, apple, and onion,  Use a large spoon or your hands to toss all together.
2. Roast for about 45 minutes.
3. Remove pan from oven and dump everything into a large soup pot.  Cover with 6 cups of vegetable stock and simmer for about 20 minutes.  
4. Turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool for a little before blending.  If I have time, I like for the soup to completely cool before I blend.  Blending hot liquids can be a little risky...if you decide to blend while the soup is still hot, crack open the lid of the blender and cover with a dish towel.  This will allow steam to escape and will prevent the soup from popping the lid off the blender....and burning you in the face {I had this happen once, it is not fun :)}.
5. Serve with sour cream on top and/or with a few crackers.


p.s. If you are looking to lose a few pounds before Spring, this recipe is Love Food: Lose Weight approved!

5 things Friday

Happy Friday everyone!  What are your weekend plans?  I have a lot of work to do on my 2012 bridal line and spring/summer headbands.  So, I will be busy.  But at least it's fun work.

5 things from my week...

*I am hosting a giveaway over at Jessica N Designs.  Stop by for a chance to win!

*I drink a smoothie every morning.  They are so tasty and refreshing and healthy.  Plus, they are the start to every day in my Love Food: Lose Weight eating plan.  I posted a few of my favorite 150 calories smoothies recipes over on taste, my food blog.

*St. Patrick's Day is so, so soon.  I listed new Lucky Me: Shamrock Studs in my shop.  I have a limited supply of these so if you're interested...get on it!

*Speaking of St, Patrick's Day...I ordered a St. Patrick's Day shirt from CLE Clothing Co. this week.  If you live in Ohio or are from Ohio, then you need to get one of these t-shirts.  They are my favorite.  Also, you can get free shipping on all the St. Patrick's Day shirts through March 10th!

*I posted my top blogging tips earlier this week.  What are your tips?

That's all for now - have a wonderful Friday!

150 Calorie Smoothies

I make a smoothie every morning.  I really do think they are the perfect start to my day.

I created several 150 calorie smoothie recipes and am going to share a few of my favorites with you guys.  If you are concerned with your calorie intake and don't want to overdue it, then make sure you are measuring the ingredients....rather than pouring in the OJ with a heavy hand =).

I would say that 99% of my smoothies consist of three key ingredients: bananas, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and a splash of orage juice.  I like mix up the fruits and veggies that I add to these three main ingredients and I strive to keep them all around 150 calories.  

*Note: All the recipes in this post make two smoothies.  Also, if I am using frozen fruit, then I omit the small handful of ice.

This is my all-time favorite smoothie combo.  Blend together 1 cup of strawberries {fresh or frozen}, 1/3 cup of frozen chopped spinach, 1 medium banana, 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/4 cup OJ, and a small handful of ice.  If needed, add in a splash of water to get the blender going.

Blueberry Machine
Blend together 1 cup of blueberries {fresh or frozen}, 1/2 cup of frozen chopped kale, 1 medium banana, 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/4 cup OJ, and a small handful of ice.  If needed, add in a splash of water to get the blender going.

Peachy Pineapple
Blend together 1 large peach, peeled and diced, 1 cup of pineapple pieces {fresh or frozen}, 1 medium banana, 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/4 cup OJ, and a small handful of ice.  If needed, add in a splash of water to get the blender going.

Green Drink
Blend together 1 cup of frozen chopped kale or spinach, 1 medium banana, 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/4 cup OJ, 1/2 scoop of green protein powder, and a small handful of ice.  If needed, add in a splash of water to get the blender going.

A little note on ingredients:
*I always buy frozen pineapple pieces or canned pineapple packed in juice {no added sugar}
*I buy big bags of frozen chopped spinach.  I have never seen frozen, chopped kale so I buy a fresh bunch, chop it into small pieces, steam it, put it in a large ziploc bag, and store it in the freezer.
*Be careful to buy unsweetened vanilla almond milk.  The sweetened kind has too much sugar.  If you don't like the vanilla flavor, try plain almond or soy milk.

Buh-Bye Picnik

About a month ago, the beloved Picnik announced that it would be shutting its virtual doors in April.

So many bloggers/small business owners I know were bummed.  I think some people even created {or considered creating} a "Save Picnik" Facebook page.

I used Picnik all the time.  It was simple and quick.  I could easily resize photos, edit exposure, create fun vintage-ey looking effects, and more.

Are you worried about losing access to Picnik?  Or are you over it?  I was worried but am over it now.

Even though Picnik is fun and easy, it has no where near the capabilities that reside in Photoshop.

Are you intimidated by Photoshop?  Well, guess what?  Me too!

Picnik's closing has been a blessing.  I have forced myself to learn a few Photoshop techniques.  I  learned was through trial and error on an eight hour plane ride home from Ireland {the things you will do without access to Wifi...}.

Even though I have been able to find my way with a little trial and error, I would get frustrated.  I would search the internet for certain tutorials and often end up empty handed.  Or with a tutorial that was way too complicated for poor, Photoshop challenged me. I needed to know super basic stuff.

I know I am not the only one in this world who is intimidated by PS.  I also know that I am not the only one who relied a little too much on Picnik.  

So, rather than sit around and wallow {which I can do really well, in case you were wondering} I decided to join forces with an internet friend of mine.

After a few back and forth emails, I enlisted the super talented Leonora of Yellow Heart Art to team up with me for a little something to help all of us PS challenged blogger/small biz owners.

Our special project will be released within the next few weeks.  And it will help you, I promise.

Just look at this....

and this....

I know none of this a few weeks ago.  And there will be so much more in the coming weeks....

My Top 5 Blogging Tips

I often get questions from new and aspiring bloggers in regards to the "secret" of a successful blog.  I guess the biggest secret is that it's hard work and it can be time consuming.  If you love it, the time commitment or work won't bother you.  

I love blogging.  I look forward to it every day.  And days when I am not feeling it, I don't force it.  I would rather post quality over quantity.

I certainly don't know everything about blogging and I am definitely not the most successful blogger around.  But, I have learned a few things these past few years....and thought I would share.

1. Be yourself!  I have blogged about being genuine before and I really think it is so important.

2. Photos - This is totally a personal preference of mine, but in most instances I think it looks so much better if all the photos are the same size. Also, good photography helps.  I am not a great photographer by any means but I have improved a lot since I started this blog.  Find online tutorials, buy a book or two, and learn how to take better photos.  It  will do nothing but help.

3. Who are you?  I like a nice, thorough, about me page.  Maybe this is a little stalker-ish of me, but when I stumble upon a new blog, I like to learn a little about the blogger.  A well done about me page always makes me so happy.

4. White Space - I am not even sure if I am using this term correctly...but I like some white on a blog.  A colored background hurts my eyes.  Super busy blogs with buttons all over te place also hurt my eyes.  There is no "correct" amount of designs or buttons for a blog.  It will vary based on your design.  My suggestion is to look at your blog for a while.   Does it seem cluttered?  If so, remove a few things or re-organize the space.

5. Design - If you are like me and don't know very much about graphic design/html then hire someone!  A talented designer can make such.a.difference.

OK, so those are my top 5 blogging tips.  Do you blog?  What do you consider to be your top blogging tip{s}?

Camera + Learning

I spent a majority of last weekend taking pictures with my new camera.  I am having so much fun learning how to use the camera and experimenting with my two favorite subjects - Gordita and Finn.

Before I bought my camera I promised myself I would not be one of those people that stuck the camera in automatic and just clicked away.  I don't want to waste the camera's potential.

In order to help with my learning process, I bought the Photo 101 book from Nicole's Classes.  This book has been so, so helpful.  It is fun to read, easy to understand, and full of beautiful photos. 

I made mini low-fat chocolate donuts.  YUM.

Pretty Boy.

 He should be a model.

 Super Finny!

Tug of war...

...and she always wins.

OK, enough dog photos.  I promise to take pictures of something different this week :).

Simple Screen Printing DIY

Today I am really excited to have Amanda from Dragonflight Dreams with a simple screen printing tutorial.  I cannot wait to try this out - thanks Amanda!

Hi everyone! I'm Amanda from Dragonflight Dreams.  This is the method that I personally use to make all of the items in my shop. It is not, by any means, the only method, but it is very good for beginners and costs less than investing in a big press. 

That said it does still cost a bit of money to get started, and is a fairly big time investment. But it's also loads of fun and you can wear your projects after!

What You'll Need:

Step 1: Create the screen (or buy a pre-made one)

You can buy a new, ready-made screen from your local art supply store for every design you want to do, or you can make your own screen. I like to make my own, as it tends to be more economical in the long run if you're doing lots of designs - you just need one hoop, and can swap out as many screens as you desire. 

For this, I just use a basic plastic embroidery hoop in whatever size I need for the design, and stretch some gauzy white material through it until it's taut like a drum. I got both the hoops and my screen fabric at JoAnn's. 

You can also buy rolls of actual screenprinting fabric (like this), but I didn't know that when I first started. I line the inside edge (where the hoop meets the screen) with blue painters tape, so that my filler paint and fabric inks don't get the hoop itself all messy.

Step 2: Create the design

I draw my design by hand, or if I made it on the computer, I print it out. Then I trace it onto the screen lightly in pencil with the screen laying flat on the paper.

Step 3: Fill the screen

Fill out the screen - in other words, block out all the negative space that won't be printed, leaving only the design unpainted

I use latex paint for this, since it's pretty durable (won't wash off in water when you wash off the fabric ink) and also cheaper than the commercial screen filler. 

I just went to Home Depot and grabbed a small can of the mis-tinted paint, which is hugely discounted. This is by far the step that takes the most amount of time, particularly if it's a design with lots of small details. I also usually do two coats, and check the screen by holding it up to the light to make sure there are no tiny holes I've missed. Let the screen dry overnight before doing any printing with it.

Step 4: Print!

Once I've got the screen done, I decide which piece of clothing I'm going to print on, mix up the color ink I want with my Speedball fabric inks, and print. 

The screen goes face-down on the area of the clothing I want to print, and I use a layer of cardboard inside the piece of clothing so that if the ink leaks through it doesn't spread to the back of the shirt or whatnot. 

I also just use a sponge brush to apply the ink, pressing very firmly. If you have a small enough squeegee to fit into your hoop size, that is also a good method. But either way you need to make sure your pressure is mostly downwards, not sideways, so the ink gets pressed through the screen and not just moved around on top. Once ink is applied, I lift the screen off the fabric, and immediately wash it and the brush (Speedball fabric inks are water-soluble... until they dry. If the ink is left to dry in the screen, it becomes unusable again). 

I get my inks from a local art supply store (Jerry's Artarama), and my blank clothing from different places -, Target, my closet, etc. If needed, you can touch up areas of the print with a small paintbrush. If you are going to do multiple colors/layers of prints on the same shirt (like this), do all of one color at once, and let that dry (both the ink on the shirt, and the screen you washed out) before doing the next layer/color. Don't proceed to Step 5 until all printing on your shirt is done.

Step 5: Heat-set the ink

This might be the most important step. Once the design is on the shirt and looking great, and the ink has dried, I grab my trusty iron and a spare piece of cotton fabric for an interface, and iron BOTH sides of the design on medium-high heat. 

So, once with the shirt right side out, and once with the shirt inside out. Each side gets this treatment for 3-5 minutes. This binds the ink to the fabric, and makes it so it won't come out when you wash it (remember how they're water-soluble? Not so, after this step). It's important to use a cloth interface when ironing on the ink, because otherwise you will end up with a sticky mess of melted ink on your iron.

Step 6: Sport new duds proudly

The new piece of clothing with a custom design is ready to be worn!


Giveaway: Win a custom Facebook landing page!

Hey everyone!  I hope you all are enjoying your Monday.  And if you're off for president's day, I hope it's even better than usual.

Last week I introduced you guys to my featured sponsor, Amanda of Royal Daughter Designs.  

Today the lovely Amanda is giving away a custom Facebook landing page to one of you lucky people.

This is the one she recently made for my {Acute} Facebook page.....

She worked with me to customize the colors, font, and design {I have a love for lace and doilies}.

Want to win a custom landing page for your Facebook fan page?  

All you have to do to enter is {mandatory} follow this blog via Google Friend Connect or bloglovin and leave a comment with the link to your Facebook fan page.  I would love to check them all out.

Additional entries {please leave a separate comment for each}:
*Follow me on Twitter

I will announce the winner next Monday {Feb 27th}.

Good luck!

p.s. interested in sponsoring in March?  I am offering discounted ad space over at my BlogHer2012 fund page.  

Weekend Wear: favorite skirt

Saturday I put on this skirt and realized that I wear it all.the.time.  

I wore it last spring in the photo shoot I did with ae martin photography.....

I also wore it in the holiday photo shoot I did with Camille Lem Photography....

I guess I never realized that this is my favorite skirt.  Or my only presentable skirt.  I'll let you decide.

Saturday night we went out to dinner with some friends and their three kids who were in town for the weekend.  

We ate at the Hotel Del Coronado and it was delicious.  

I am not one to turn down good food, so I went all out with the short ribs, polenta, mac and cheese, and strawberry ice cream.   

Yes, I am back to my healthy eating starting right now with the 150 calorie green smoothie I am drinking....

Top: Gap//Skirt: Lauren Conrad for Kohls//Tights: Gap//Shoes: Target//Belt: Forever 21

What did you do this weekend?

Berry Pancakes

I really love making pancakes or waffles on the weekends.  I always make a healthier version using low fat sour cream and some sort of fruit.

Last weekend I made mixed berry.  I used a cup of frozen berries {raspberries, black berries, and blueberries} that I had defrosted in the microwave.  I like using frozen berries because they hold a lot of moisture which makes the pancakes light and fluffy.

If you don't like berries, try using a mashed banana or a cup of cooked apples pieces.    I always make a big batch so that I have leftovers for the next few mornings.

Berry Pancakes {makes about 20 pancakes}
1 cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen mixed berries {defrosted}
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup low fat sour cream
½ cup skim milk

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt {feel free to use whole wheat flour for this recipe}.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla extract, sour cream, milk, and berries.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  If the mixture feels too thick, add a splash of skim milk.
4. Heat a non-stick skillet sprayed with pan spray over medium heat.  Spoon equal portions of batter out and cook until the pancakes begin to bubble.  Flip and cook for a minute on the second side.
5. I like to put my oven on at around 275 degrees and place the cooked pancakes on a plate in the warm oven.  It keeps the finished pancakes from getting cold.  And if they aren't completely cooked through, they will finish cooking in the warm oven.


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