Thursday, August 30, 2012

Friday Fab Finds

Sometimes when I am bored, I love to check out the online 'Outlet' and 'Clearance' sections of some of my favorite stores. You can find some really amazing bargains on items that may be out of season or are being discontinued. New items are also added all of the time, so it's good to check back frequently to find the best deals. 

Here are a few bargains that recently caught my eye:

Star Cookie Cutters - Crate & Barrel - Originally $18.95 - Marked down to $7.95

18" Wool Jacquard Pillow Covers - Pottery Barn - Originally $49.50 - Marked down to $19.95

Luxe Faux Fur Booties - Restoration Hardware - Originally $49.00 - Marked down to $12.00

Ugh...Theives

I recently had my Macy's credit card account breached online, and someone ordered themselves a new wardrobe, of really heinous clothes, I might add. SO shocking that they have a horrible taste in clothes. It reminds me of this scene from the movie The Hangover:

Stu Price: Why would you give us ecstasy?
Alan Garner: Cause I wanted everybody to have a good time and I knew you guys wouldn't take it. It was just one hit each. I used to do three hits a night.
Stu Price: But it wasn't ecstasy, Alan. It was roofies!
Alan Garner: You think I knew that, Stu? The guy I bought it from seemed like he was a real straight shooter.
Stu Price: [sarcastically] I'm sorry, you mean the drug dealer at the liquor store wasn't a good guy?

Anyhoo - I discovered this had happened upon receiving an email "confirming my macys.com order." Knowing I hadn't ordered anything, I looked into it and sure enough, it was fraud. 

Because they did this all through my online account, I was able to see where the items were being shipped, and did a little Google street view of the building. To my major "EW!" factor, everything was being sent to a pawn shop just outside of Annapolis, Maryland. 

{Please reread scene from above said movie for my thoughts on this}

Of course, I did all of the necessary steps: reset my password, filed a fraud claim and contacted the local police in the town to let them know that they have a pawn shop in their area that is doing some shady business. In total, about 3 hours of my life went to sorting all of this out, and it was 3 hours that I'll never get back.

There really isn't anything else that I can do.

Except...I have their address. He he he. 

Though I am not proud to admit it, my husband and I have had quite a good time coming up with things that I could send them, you know, to go along with all of their free (fugly) clothes. Here my 3 current fav's:

* Order 30 pizzas to be delivered to their place of business sketchiness, once or twice a week. A classic high school prank that I still think holds some value in this world. 

*A large shipment of live crickets. Yes, you can mail-order live crickets. (**I may or may not have been involved in a senior prank at my high school involving thousands of live crickets**)

* A box of dog poop. I think this is my current favorite because, really, what is grosser? 

What about you? Can you come up with any fun items I could send these little lambs?

(Please note I have no intention of actually sending a darn thing - I just enjoy thinking about it...)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Travel Essentials

"The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land."
~G.K. Chesterton

As I have mentioned, the hubs and I recently returned from a 2.5 month vacation in England, Europe, NYC & Pennsylvania. During our trip, we traveled on planes, cars, boats, trains and spent 2 weeks in an R.V. We were on the go constantly and, often, with only a bag between us. Space was limited and I had to think long and hard about what I absolutely needed with me. While some of the decisions were painful, there were certain products that I had to bring, no matter what. 

I consider these my absolute travel essentials. Regardless of where you are going, or how you are getting there, your life will be a little better with these by your side:



1) Clear Eyes Tears + Redness Relief - Removes redness and moisturize dry eyes - perfect for long flights.

1) Up & Up Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes - Target's version of the Pond's cleansing wipes, but these are cheaper and work great. They remove makeup easily are great mid-day refreshers in hot climates.

3) M.A.C Fix + - Helps to set your makeup in the morning AND acts as a skin refresher throughout the day. 

4) Rene Furterer Naturia Dry Shampoo - Because you don't always have time for a full primping session. This is my favorite brand, but there are a ton out there. 

5) Baby Powder - This one gets a bit up close and personal, but sometimes, when it's warm and one is walking around a lot, one might experience some chafing...you know what I'm talking about ladies. This will help you. 

6) TUMS - On vacation, you tend to eat/drink more than you normally would, and it's often much richer food than you're used to. Enough said.  

7) Maybelline Full 'N Soft Mascara - I love this drugstore find, which is never goopy and goes on just how I want it.

In addition to the items above, I also recommend the following, for any long trip:

- A good travel wallet. We use ours all of the time and it's great because it fits airplane tickets, money, passports, etc.

- Some antibacterial wipes in your bag. Not all places are lucky enough to have such nice and clean toilets as we are here, so having something to do a quick toilet seat wipe-down will come in handy.

- A secure and light camera bag, with lots of room. You want something that you can take instead of a purse, and that will not make it easy for anyone to grab your camera. We use this bag, which works great, but there are a lot of options out there depending on your equipment and needs. 

- A comprehensive travel guide. Personally, I like the Lonely Planet books, but again, you have many choices.

- Before your trip, it is smart to take a photocopy of your I.D. and/or Passport and keep it safe and not on your person. That way, if you lose those valuable documents, you at least have something to work with upon trying to replace them. 
  
  
Happy Trails!! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cath Kidston


On all of my back and forth trips to England the last few years, there have been many discoveries I've made that are completely English and such a lovely change of pace from life here in America. Some of these discoveries are as follows:

* Proper English tea
* The great, British pub
* The Inbetweeners (Great TV show...FYI)
* REAL Bangers & Mash
* Edwardian architecture 
* Castles (Oh, how I love the castles)
* Cath Kidston

Cath Kidston is a brand that creates the loveliest, vintage inspired, delightfully feminine and ever-so-English designs that are used to make a large range of fabrics, home decor,
clothing, accessories and much, much more. There will be a day when Cath Kidston is a household name in America, I am sure of it, but until that day comes, I have to stock up on the stuff each time I visit. 

On this last trip back, I splurged a little bit and got a few things that I have coveted for awhile. I love them. I mean, LOVE them - and I have a feeling some of you will too.


Vintage inspired, gray table cloth
The most adorable napkins





I purposely bought the table cloth and napkins in different patterns; they really compliment each other without being too matchy-matchy. 


This little pouch has been great in my purse. It currently houses some dental floss, Advil, Tums and a few tissues - you know, all of the essentials that women carry in their bags :)


My lovely husband caught me eying this laptop bag and then bought it for me after I had talked myself out of it. I'm absolutely in love with it.
 

I love how everything looks together on the table.

I was also happy to discover that the fabrics coordinate nicely with a yellow chair and striped pillow I already had in the dining room.
Though we are not yet lucky enough to have Cath Kidston stores readily available here in the US, she does have an American website that carries her entire line (found here). There is SO much more than what I have showed you here, and I highly recommend checking out the kids stuff, if you are with child(ren). Enjoy!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Best Summer of My Life

My husband and travel buddy - Amboise, France
I am almost in disbelief about my own life the past few months, as it has been so amazingly awesome. I keep having these, "...how am I so lucky..." moments that I am quite enjoying, I will admit. 

Because my husband and I work in the film industry, we were able to take a long break from work, upon finishing our latest project. It lasted from the beginning of May through the beginning of August.  (I am actually still on this sabbatical, though the hubs is back to the grindstone.) We decided to use this time to take a 2.5 month trip across the pond. We spent time with my husband's family in England, took a road trip in an RV through France and into Italy, had a week on the island of Cyprus, visited NYC and then made a stop in Pennsylvania to visit some of my family. It was...incredible - truly a trip of a lifetime. 

While I could go on forever about everything we saw and did, that would be beyond boring. Instead, here are a few of the thousands of pictures that we took. I think it gives a good glimpse into some of what we have been up to. 


Our home away from home. We explored France & Italy in this beauty.



Le Chateau du Clos Luce - home & death place of Leonardo da Vinci - Amboise, France
 
Drawings done by da Vinci on his bedroom wall - Amboise, France
Death bed of Leonardo da Vinci - Amboise, France

Le Chateau du Clos Luce - Back Garden - Amboise, France
Amboise Royal Castle

Chateau de Chenonceau - Built in 1430s and home of Catherine de Medici - Loire Valley, France

Another view of Chateau de Chenonceau

One of the many fireplaces in Chateau de Chenonceau. Imagine cooking in that!

Royal Bedroom in Chateau de Chenonceau with original linens and wall tapestries

Street view of small town called Sommieres in France. Town was established in 1248!

Window shutters in Sommieres, France. These window coverings are all over the place in France, in different shades of pastels, and they enchanted me the entire time.

Main town square, filled with cafes - Sommieres, France

Rooftop view - Sommieres, France

Pont du Gard - Roman Aqueduct from the 1st century AD - near Remoulins, France


Macaroons in every color and flavor - Cannes, France

The most amazing cheese shop I've ever seen in my life. The entire store was refrigerated. Cannes, France.

The French know cheese - that is all I can say. Cannes, France.

Beach view - Cannes, France

Me (front and center), swimming in the Mediterranean - Cannes, France

Gorgeous street view of Cannes

The cutest little street - Cannes, France

The prettiest restaurant I have ever seen in my life - Cannes, France

Palace at Monaco. I loved this because it is still lived in by the royal family.

Amazingly gorgeous homes facing the palace in Monaco

Monaco - one of the most incredible places I have ever been. It is on a whole other level.

Italian Piazza - Torino, Italy

Street View - Torino, Italy

The most insane coffee I have ever had. I don't even know how to describe it's deliciousness. It was rich, chocolaty, foamy, creamy heaven. Caffe Torino - Piazza San Carlo - Torino, Italy

The Alps - Along the French/Italian border

My in-laws vacation home where we spent one glorious week - Pissouri, Cyprus

Another view of the house - Pissouri, Cyprus

Ruins of a Roman amphitheater - Paphos, Cyprus

Ruins of a Roman house - Paphos, Cyprus

Ridiculously amazing chicken kabobs. I don't know what they did to this chicken, but it was one of the best meals I had the entire trip - Paphos, Cyprus

Beautiful view from a hilltop in Cyprus

Watching the sun go down while swimming in the in-law's pool - Pissouri, Cyprus

Extremely cluttered and dusty antique shop - Nicosia, Cyprus

Haloumi, which is a Greek cheese that you grill. It. Is. Out. Of. This. World. Pissouri, Cyprus

My darling husband, strolling a beach in Abersoch, Wales where he spent many summers as a young boy

Beautiful Welsh coastline and sky

My Father-in-law's house. Beyond charming. Northern Wales.

The infamous Tower of London. I loved this place. A tourist trap that is totally worth it.

Tower Bridge - Getting ready for the Olympics - London, England

Back state-side. It was my 7th or 8th time in NYC but my husband's 1st, so we checked out all of the wonderful and classic New York things to see.

Stunning old home near where my Mom grew up. I love Pennsylvania so much! New Hope, PA

And there you have it - a smattering of some of the places I have been this summer. I am still feeling deliciously enchanted by all of it, and I cannot wait to get back to Europe in the future. But, in the meantime, I am trying to just reflect on this trip and how thankful I am. Dan and I will always remember it so fondly. Even though the real world is slowly settling back in, I cannot help but be reminded that life can be so, so wonderful. 
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