American Girl

When I was a kid, I used to look at the American Girl catalog for hours. I loved day dreaming about which doll I wanted and all the accessories that you could get for them. Baylor has now taken on the tradition of pouring over the catalog for days – she cuts out the things she likes and she circles the pictures of Shirley (who is the baby version of the American Girl dolls). And if I thought the accessories were fun when I was little, the things the dolls have now are nuts. They have everything including  a bike hot dog cart for the dolls. Totally nuts…and yet adorable.

catalog

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Original Art

One of our favorite restaurants, Orange Table, constantly features local artists work. Most of the time we love what is on display, but it’s out of our price range or we can’t figure out where it would hang. But this past month, we found the perfect combination of great art, great price and a location desperate for something great.

The artist for August was John Arvizu from Trapdoor Studio. He featured several screen prints that almost had a pop art feel to them. I love this look, but this is not the style of our house and I was afraid they would look strange…but Peter’s office is totally devoid of actual art (except for the awesome oil painting of the Georgetown Law archway I had done as a graduation gift – awesome, yet lacking in funkiness). PW agreed that the cowboy print was perfect for his office.

 

When contacting John about picking up the print, I asked him about another picture on his website. He told me that it was already sold, but that he would talk to the owner to see if they would be willing to switch for a similar print. Thankfully they were willing to trade so Ralphie the Buffalo came home too:

 

John has a great video on his website that shows the process that each print goes through from drawing the stencil, cutting it  and then creating layers and layers of color, dimension and interest swipe by swipe of the screen. Be sure to check out the store section of his website – his prices are great for a one of a kind piece!

 

Run Run Runner

I have been dying for a chevron stripped table runner. I love the pattern and needed a way to incorporate it into my life and a table runner was the best and easiest way I could think of doing it. But what color?? And where to get it??

I sat down last Sunday and strategically avoided doing acual, paying work by doing some googling. I came across an Etsy shop called I Need it Homemade. Such cute and simple chevron patterned pillows, purses and of course, table runners. But the best part, all of her runners are reversible with the buyers choice of colors. Perfect!! And they had they gray I wanted for fall and the teal I wanted for summer. Best yet, she was willing to make a custom listing for me of an extra long runner to fit our extra long table. AND for an amazing price. As if that wasn’t all I needed, Melissa the owner was wildly quick to respond to my emails. I ordered on Sunday 16th and got it yesterday the 20th. How’s that for turn around time?

And look how cute it looks with some fall decor

 

So if you’re hankering for some chevron or other cute goodies (she does everything from sugar scrubs to baby onsies – I’ve got my eye on the tie onsie for Mr.Man) head on over to I Need It Homemade (http://www.etsy.com/shop/ineedithomemade) and get to shopping!

All Natural Beauty

A few weekends ago, Baylie and I ventured out to the Scottsdale Farmers Market where there are a number of local farmers and tons of other local products. We always get the great olive oil from Queen Creek, the goat milk lotions and delicious grass-fed beef from a farm in southern Arizona. Peter and I  were horribly spoiled when we lived in DC and visited Eastern Market every weekend – this is a close second and we love it!

While walking through the maze of booths, we came across one selling all natural beauty and wellness products. The scent wafting from the small area was amazing – herbal and clean – like an expensive spa. I was hooked. I talked with Maggie, the owner of  Holistic Earth Remedies and sampled a number of the products. I was tempted by all of them, I know I’ll be sad I didn’t buy the Herbal Muscle Mist after my workout this week. I settled on the Organic Face Wash and the Ultimate Eyelash Conditioner.

The face wash is made with organic tea tree oil and Arizona honey among other natural ingredients. The tea tree oil gives a little tingle as it foams and the wash leaves the skin feeling clean but not dry. Even Peter liked it and getting him to even try something new is hard, let alone like it! I use the wash with my Clarisonic face brush and it’s like I’m at the spa and my skin looks like it’s been there too.

I use the  Ultimate Eyelash Conditioner as a makeup remover and it’s wonderful. It’s very thick , almost like an ointment. It not only does a great job of removing all my makeup, but leaves my eye area incredibly moisturized – great for preventing those under eye wrinkles and it makes my makeup glide on the next morning. Bonus? It contains caster oil which promotes hair growth – helllooo eyelashes!

The best part about these products is that Maggie, the creator and owner, has a tremendous offer for The Goon Room readers! If you purchase the Organic Face Wash, she will throw in the Ultimate Eyelash Conditioner FREE! A $10 value! Visit http://www.holisticearthremedies.com/ and peruse the variety of products and then contact Maggie directly (mzombro1@cox.net or number on her website) for The Goon Room deal. Also see where Holistic Earth Remedies will have a booth in the Phoenix area so you can smell for yourself.

Valentine’s Flower Dilemma

I love flowers but I hate red roses on Valentine’s day. They seem so generic  and because everyone wants them, they’re crazy expensive too. So I have an alternative for anyone looking for a Valentine’s idea or really for any time a bouquet of flowers is necessary.

I bought 2 bunches of these over a week ago (10 days to be exact) from the grocery store. They’re called Alstroemeria and you’ve probably seen them as filler in a multi flower arrangement. Personally, I find them unattractive when used that way, but when you use only Alstroemeria, they’re stunning. And cheap. And they last forever! So next time you need a pretty centerpiece or a gift, grab two or three bunches of these beautiful flowers in either one color or more than one hue of the same color and enjoy!

iBert is Imazing

We recently purchased a bike seat for Baylie – I had seen the seat we wanted on other people’s bikes, but couldn’t find out what it was.  It attaches  right under the handle bars and so your kiddo is right in front of you. We finally figured out it’s called an iBert and we promptly ordered one – strategically combining our rewards program number, coupons, a gift card and a free shipping deal from Babies R Us. The verdict? It. Is. Awesome!! Not only do we love it, the kiddo loves it. It took about 10 minutes to install and is very comfortable. It’s not any harder to ride the bike and it’s easy to steer. The part I was most worried about was my knees hitting the seat and the reality is I haven’t bumped it once. It’s very easy to get B in and out and is very stable. So if you’re looking for a fun new way to get around with the munchkin, be sure to check it out: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3006280

Cheap Fun

I found this at Buy Buy Baby this week and it is a HIT – not only with Baylie, but with Bear. Naturally, Travis is throughly terrified.

It is an awesome combination of a tent and a tunnel, what more could a 16 month old toddler and an 11 year old dog ask for?! They come apart and can be used separately and  inside or outside – or put the tunnel inside to get to the tent outside; the possibilities are endless. Also, the tunnel makes an awesome, vertical hiding place for Mommy – which is a huge hit with the kiddo. It’s the perfect excuse to get out and enjoy the fall weather – and at $19.99 plus your handy 20% off coupon (also, Buy Buy Baby will take Bed Bath and Beyond coupons!), a cheap way too.

Also – each of the pieces break down and fold flat – like your windshield cover. Easy storage – bonus!

http://www.buybuybaby.com/product.asp?SKU=16695491&

I love that it looks like they are having a deep conversation…

Buddies

Bear Bear coming out of the tunnel

“Mommy, please stop taking my picture.”

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee

Like most people, I like to start the day and mid day and sometimes late afternoon with a coffee. And again like most people, going to Starbucks once or twice a week is not in the budget let alone three times a day. So I make my own delicious drinks at home.

At an after Christmas party last year, a  friend of a friend’s college (I kid you not, that’s actually the connection) began telling me about a great coffee shop in North-ish Scottsdale that roasts their own beans. She detailed how amazing each of the blends were and how unique each of the types of beans were in flavor, color and scent. I don’t fancy myself someone who knows a lot about all that jazz, but I do like a really delicious iced coffee. So Bay and I ventured out to the Village Coffee Roastery and were very pleased with the results. Not only is the shop its self adorable, but they offer a variety of pastries and sandwiches in addition to great beans. The best part is the coffee is really noticable better than something you buy in the grocery store or, dare I say it, Starbucks. I tried the Mexican blend this time and it has a very noticable chocolate flavor to it. It is delicious with some Truvia sweetener, two shakes of cinnamon, milk and ice for an afternoon jolt.

The manager is always there and might be one of the nicest ladies I’ve ever met. She knows about each bean and what it tastes like and is more than helpful with trying something new or bagging up your long time favorite. Try it for breakfast and take a bag home to keep your caffeine addiction fed.

Village Coffee Roastery

http://www.villagecoffee.com/index

The Many Uses of Sunscreen

Ok, I know this is totally random, but it made me very happy (and my lips too) so I thought I would share.

While in San Diego this past week, I realized my SPF 15 lip gloss and or chapstick were not cutting it for the several hours we were outdoors each day. And as someone who is prone to cold sores from too much sun, I was concerned. We made a stop at a local surf shop and while buying other goodies, I asked the doodlebop behind the counter if they had anything stronger. His response? “noooo dude, we don’t. But, you could, like, totally uuuusse one of the sunscreen ssttiiiicks on your lips instead of, like on your whole face, man”. 20 minutes later when he was finally finished with this sentence, I kindly thanked the “dude” for all his “like, advice” and headed for the hotel.

I realized I had packed a sunscreen stick for Baylie and thought I would try it while we were still in the hotel and could wipe it off, rinse and repeat before leaving incase it left a funky sunscreeny taste. It turns out the duuude totally knew what he was talking about! Not only does it not have a funky taste, it’s waterproof, SPF 55 and it moisturizes as well as chapstick. I now carry a stick with me for my use and Bay’s – so nice to have one less thing in my bag rather than one more thing. Oh, and it works great on your part too so your scalp doesn’t get burned – no greasy hair! Not to mention the benefits of being able to get sunscreen UNDER the kiddos eyes (yes, they do get sunburned because they don’t wear sunglasses. I am an idiot) without getting it in their eyes.

So as the weather finally begins to cool and we start to pull out the beach cruisers for a ride to The Vig, a hike up Camelback and get your drink on at a football game, remember to pack your handy sunscreen stick!

Run to Buy Buy Baby

If you are in need of some new clothes for your munchkin, a baby shower gift or are on my quest to complete your Christmas shopping list months early – run, don’t walk to Buy Buy Baby. They are having a huge 75% off sale on select clothing. And my select, they mean anything but the Halloween costumes! I got this adorable dress for $1.77. No, I didn’t miss a decimal point! So stock up for next summer and for all your gift giving needs!

For all the non parents buying gifts, remember to buy bigger and for the right month. I.E. don’t buy a cute short sleeve 6-9 month dress for your sister in Buffalo when her daughter is going to be in that size in December 🙂

Happy shopping!