Steph's Pick - July 4th Idea's

Jun 27, 2008

The Fourth of July is just around the corner - a week away to be exact! In honor of the celebration of our country's Independence, I thought I'd highlight some ways to incorporate festive foods into your day - let's be honest, for those of you who know me, I'm a sucker for theme parties! :) One of my favorite blogs, Hostess with the Mostess, posted some fun idea's that I thought I'd share.

easy breakfast's:
Mini Blueberry Turnover's or waffles topped with berries and whipped cream.

fun cocktails:
Watermelon Crush and Raspberry Collins (as shown above) or Shirley Temples for a non-alcoholic option
And for those of you who like to entertain throughout the summer, pick up a Cold Beverage Jar for serving fun drinks. Check out Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn or for your very own.

delicious desserts:
Red, White and Blueberry Cupcakes and Oat Crisps with Blueberries and Crème Fraîche

These are just a few idea's. If you have any other ideas - I'd love to hear them! Comment below. Happy 4th!


Steph's Pick - the Best Lip Treatment

Jun 20, 2008

Some of you probably know that a couple years back I worked at a small-luxury resort & spa in Scottsdale.
There were various things that I loved about this spa, however, one of the greatest parts was our Boutique. It was at this Boutique that I was introduced to my favorite lip treatment. French made, Fresh - Sugar, with SPF 15.

Now - I have to warn you - this product is a splurge as generally it runs anywhere from $20-$25; however, believe me when I say, it is well worth it! Everyone that I've given it to has just loved it.

You can find this great product at Barney's, Sephora or Saks Fifth Avenue.

Make sure to check back next week as I unveil some Fourth of July party idea's.


Alan's Two Cents - Brown Bag your Lunch

Jun 18, 2008

How often do you go out to lunch per week? Most lunch outings can cost between $5-10 each time. That can add up really quickly. We've found that there is a much more affordable and probably healthier way to eat lunch…pack your own lunch.

We cook at home quite frequently and we usually have plenty left over. We pack the leftovers as we are cleaning up into Tupperware containers, that way there is no preparation in the morning. I simply grab my packed lunch on my way out the door.

This is a very resourceful and economical way to eat lunch. And you will save yourself some dough along the way.


Steph's Pick - Wall Words

Jun 13, 2008

I'm always on the lookout for great art for our home; however, as many of you know, art can be quite expensive. We're just not at a place where we can spend a ton of money on one piece of artwork (maybe someday). Until then, I've come up with a way to create inexpensive art for our bare walls - Wall Words!
Above you'll find various idea's I found online. Personally I have put the quote "Truth, like cream, always rises to the top" (with a traced coffee cup) on our kitchen wall. I'm also currently looking to incorporate a couple new quotes throughout our home. You can obviously adapt the text, font, size, etc for your own space but I thought I'd at least give you an idea of how you might be able to incorporate this great project in your home.
There are various ways to create Wall Words. The way I do it is below (and is probably the cheapest way to do it); however, there are a couple of websites I've found that you can order the supplies from. Wise Decor and Wall Words.

Here's how I do it:
1) Choose quote/words that you'd like to use
2) Measure space and determine what size you'd like your Wall Words to be
3) Create Wall Words on computer and print out on regular paper (this may take numerous sheets depending on the size)
4) Center & Tape printed off sheets of paper to the wall
5) Use Carbon Paper behind paper to trace words on wall (I usually use a pen with the cap on to trace). You can use the same piece of carbon paper for most of the project. Always check to make sure that everything is being copied onto the wall.
6) Free-hand the quote on the wall by following the traced-carbon copied letters. [Note: Make sure to start on the top left side (right handed people) or right side (left-handed people) so as to not smudge anything while painting]

(To get a closer look at the examples above, click on the photo and it will open a larger image)


Alan's 2 Cents - Coffee

Jun 10, 2008

I love coffee. However, unlike a lot of American's, I do not go to Starbucks or Caribou Coffee on a daily or weekly basis by any means. There is person in my immediate family (I won't name names) that might go once a week to indulge herself in a $4 - $5 foo foo drink, and I am sure she would love to go more frequently. Although, as the economy slows a bit and people have less expendable income, going out for coffee might not come as often.
I recently came across this website ( that goes into detail how much money you can save over a 40 year period. Although it might be a little extreme, you will get the point. Check it out…
The Latte Factor® is based on the simple idea that all you need to do to finish rich is to look at the small things you spend your money on every day and see whether you could redirect that spending to yourself. Putting aside as little as a few dollars a day for your future rather than spending it on little purchases such as lattes, fancy coffees, bottled water, fast food, cigarettes, magazines and so on, can really make a difference between accumulating wealth and living paycheck to paycheck.
We don't even realize how much we're actually spending on these little purchases. If we did think about it and change our habits just a little, we could actually change our destiny.
Still not convinced? Consider this:
$5 per day (the average cost of a latte and a muffin) x 7 days = $35 per week
$35/week = $150/month
$150 per month invested at a rate of 10% annual return =
1 year = $1,885
2 years = $3,967
5 years =$11,616
10 years = $30,727
15 years = $62,171
30 years = $339,073
40 years = $948,611


a baby shower...

Jun 9, 2008

I co-hosted a baby shower this past weekend with some friends and thought I'd post a few photos. We did a bright pink, black & white theme. As you can see it turned out pretty great (if I do say so myself). Now we're just waiting for the baby :) Madison Rose is sure to be surrounded by an incredible family & friends that love her already!


Steph's Pick - Where to?

Jun 6, 2008

A little over a year ago our group of friends took some time to put together a list of things to do in AZ. The list contains a full range of activities: Great places to eat, sites to see, free entertainment ideas, annual events, etc. This list has proved to be a great resource for Alan & I as we plan our time with visitors and guests. I've also been known to pull out the list when we don't have too many things scheduled on a weekend.

Although it may take some time and creativity to put it together, it's worth it! Put together a list for yourself today and keep adding to it as new idea's come to mind.

(for AZ residents - I'd be happy to share our list if you'd like, just let me know!)


Alan's 2 cents - the Library

Jun 5, 2008

Steph and I have been reading quite a bit over the past few years. We initially bought some books, however, we recently starting checking out all of our books from the library. Our library has made it so easy that we are able to reserve books online and when they are in, we get an email. You can also renew books online. Easy as that!

We love our local public library. Most libraries contain a wide variety of books, magazines, CD’s, DVD’s, and other reference material available to you. The library is an excellent place, which is funded by you, the tax payer. Therefore, you should take advantage of it. So, instead of buying that new Vince Flynn novel you really want (if you have not read him yet you need to)…check it out at the library!


Our trip to NYC

Jun 4, 2008

We're back - and more tired than ever! Aren't vacations supposed to be relaxing??? :) Regardless, we had an incredible time in NYC. The weekend was filled with a ton of great food, sites and conversation. Our hosts, Nate, Laura, John and Dan were so gracious to give us a glimpse into their lives and take us to all of the great little-known spots in the city. After walking Central Park, seeing Laura in Grease, grabbing a slice of NY pizza in Little Italy, reminiscing about old times and a long flight cross-country we arrived back home just yesterday. Thanks to our dear friends for taking time for us - we already miss you!

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