Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cleaning up

As part of my constant quest to achieve maximum frugality while still using my favorite products, I've recently decided to start buying everyday items in bulk. Laundry detergent, bath soap, toilet paper - stuff like that. I considered buying into a membership like Sam's or Costco, but I'm not down with paying a yearly fee to save money. So I started looking online to see what kind of deals I could find. I found on I can buy most of what I use in bulk at a great savings and, in most cases, shipped FREE. Take for example the multitude of Seventh Generation dish detergent here in my pantry. At our local market it sells for $7.99 per 75 oz box (ouch!) and isn't available in bulk. From amazon I bought a package of 8 and saved $2.49 per box with free shipping. That's a total savings of nearly $20! I used to think it was a huge downside to fork over that much money upfront to buy in bulk. But really it's just about shifting your paradigm about how you shop, spend and use. Shop smart, spend less - works for me. Guess there's no excuse for dirty dishes at my house anymore ;-)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Vintage Scholastic Books

I've recently fallen in love all over again with this adorable little book! The image above is one of my favorites, though it's hard to pick favorites when they're all so great. Let me introduce you, or maybe reintroduce you to The Lucky Book of Riddles (©1974) written by Eva Moore and in my opinion masterfully illustrated by Olivia H. H. Cole. The ultra-simplistic campy line drawings of sweetly posed children are dreamy! This book clearly set me on the path of clean and simple art at an early age. This was presumably one of my very first scholastic books when I hit grade school. By the looks of the wear and tear, it was also one of my favorites and now is one of Blake's favorites. Thanks Mom for taking care to keep track of it all those years while you were waiting for me to settle down. It's a very small book, perfect for little hands. The jokes are a little corny but homespun and cute nonetheless. Clearly set the bar for my sense of humor. Guess that makes two of us now ;-)

p.s. I'd love to know more about Olivia H.H. Cole but I found very little specific information about her online. If anyone has info on her or finds something, please post the info in your comment. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


About a year ago I was introduced to by my good friend Courtney of feelings flash like fireflies. I've been putting off getting new glasses for a long time now. Too long. My poor old frames are over stretched and worn out. Today I remembered this super thrifty resource. They even have this feature where you can upload your photo and virtually try on different frames. If you wear glasses or know someone who does, please pass it on. Where else can you get a cute pair of glasses for $12.99?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Love in a bowl

Ever since I ate at Stonesoup, I have been craving butternut squash-pear soup. I found this recipe over at the gracious bowl - in a word, fantastic! The curry mixes elegantly with the pear, perfect on a cold February day. Though I'm thinking I'll be wanting some of this cold on a hot summer day -- either way it's so tasty!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Promising Pink

With springtime just around the corner, I've started gathering inspiration for our garden and happened onto this bit of loveliness. Pink Promise is the official rose of the American Breast Cancer foundation, with a portion of every sale going to this worthy cause. It's a hybrid tea, which I've historically not had great luck with given our over abundance of dreaded japanese beetles. But this one's worth a try. I think the subtle pink petals with dark green foliage is such a quietly dramatic look. And I like the idea of enjoying 5" fragrant blooms all summer while helping fund the cure.

Friday, February 20, 2009

It's all good

The mother and consumer in me loves the good guide. It's a great place to check out everyday products and see not only what the health ratings for their ingredients are but also how the company rates on overall health, environmental and social responsibility. It's definitely worth checking out.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Information growth-spurt

It was one of those weeks were I was finding out about new things almost every day. I love that, except that I wonder how all this stuff was out there circulating without me knowing about it? Probably the fact that we don't watch TV has something to do with it.

First I was introduced to Kuler. It's a rockin' online color tool! Featuring tons of preconceived color palettes and options at the click of a button. If you click the tiny slider icon near the selected palette you get the color breakdown for RGB, CMYK, Hex, etc. Hats off to Adobe for yet another innovative tool.

Then I saw an article in a national trade magazine about the USS New York. I had no idea that a military ship had been made from the steel recovered from the World Trade Center. Sorry if this is old news but I found it pretty interesting.

I also found this great online tutorial for enhancing photos with the high pass filter in Photoshop. Definitely worth tinkering with if you're looking to boost your PS skillset.

And finally, I had a taxpayer epiphany. Instead of paying my accountant a sizeable chunk of change to hammer out our taxes this year, I made the leap to TurboTax. Downloaded last evening for a fraction of our preparer's tab, completed within about 2 hours rather than 3 weeks which is the usual wait from our busy accountant's office -- our taxes are done & e-filed! Crazy. The downside is that we aren't getting a tax break on the Toyota Prius hybrid we purchased last April. Apparently our government, in its infinite wisdom, decided to do a percentage phase-out on that exemption. Interesting concept to dangle a $3,100 carrot in front of the consumers nose only to have it vanish after they made the purchase which should have earned them the carrot. Verdict: TurboTax good, IRS bad.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sharing the soap-love for Canus

Favorite Things: Canus Goat's Milk Soap

Let's just say that a rather unpleasant skin issue led me to this wonderful soap. I wasn't searching for a new soap. Instead I was searching for a natural treatment for folliculitis. I happened onto a customer review raving about how this soap helped them. So I ordered a bar of the original from and within about 2-3 weeks my issue resolved. No expensive steroid cream just a well PH balanced, moisturizing goats milk soap. Go figure. I highly recommend picking up a bar at your local health food or grocery store if it's available near you. I use the original but it also comes in fragrance free, shea butter, orchid oil, marigold oil, olive oil/wheat protein and a lil' goats soap for children.

shopping tip: My first bar from with shipping was a bit pricey. I've since switched to ordering it in bulk from with free shipping.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Valentines & vampires

I just had to share this photo. It looks a little like my daughter's trapped in a bad zombie flick - but in reality she was at the Father-Daughter valentine banquet this past weekend. I'm not sure what the little blonde girl was doing at that moment, but her expression is priceless. ;-)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Mimosa for everyone

Ah the delicious Mimosa, it's not just for breakfast anymore! Pantone, the global authority on color standards, has named Mimosa as the color of 2009. Their reasoning, "Mimosa embodies hopefulness and reassurance in a climate of change." Last year's color blue iris was an equally intense color but had a very different feel. I'm not much on blue in general, I only used blue iris on one retail design piece last year. I really dug chili pepper, which was 2007's sweetheart. For all you designers and color-geeks, pantone started this yearly award in 2007; though they did chose a color of the millenium in '99 and one in '05 which you can read about here. I have to say I'm pretty excited about Mimosa. It does carry with it's sunny exterior an edge of urgency and a welcoming call to action. Cheers ;-)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

sketchy subject

Wanna hear a secret? When you take the time to stop and sketch something - life actually slows down a little...seriously, try it. I think this one captures Mango's "inner kitten" ;-)

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's snowing!

I just had to share the snowy wonderfulness that's happening here in Virginia tonight. Our cherry tree out front is looking all frosty and the snow is so beautiful. The kids are busting to get outside in the morning to make a snowman. I suspect tomorrow might be the snow-day we've been waiting for ;-)
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