Back to Reality

Last week, this view was how I started each morning.  It was pretty amazing to start each day off with sound-machine-like peacefulness.  

We enforced a pretty strict no television policy (wish I could stick to that at home), except for movie nights, so the kiddos found other ways to amuse themselves...

I even read two books (a huge accomplishment these days) with minimal interruption. If you're looking for a light summer read I highly recommend Tina Fey's Bossypants. It was hysterical. I think I read half the book aloud to my husband.

And now, it's back to reality. Cooking, cleaning, no stream in the backyard, everyday kind of life. At least it's still summer. 

Have any of you gotten a chance to escape for a bit this summer?



Favorites Friday: Summer beauty

Summer is definitely my favorite season for the laid-back lifestyle it provides, but it's not so kind to my looks. Those of you who know me have probably seen my summer hair.  It's au natural for sure, usually air-dried with some gel  ('crazy-hair', to my daughter). Heat, humidity, chlorine and salt water seem to put up a winning battle that I've given up fighting. Luckily my hairdresser Nicole De-Marco Murray shares some summer beauty tips with us for today's Favorites Friday.  Not only is she a talented hairstylist, she's an incredibly kind and funny person. I'm very lucky to have stumbled upon her chair a few years back when I was big and pregnant.

Summer Hair and Skin Care tips:
1. Beauty from the Inside Out: Anti-Aging
It's something most women do on a daily basis: fight the aging process. Time spent in the sun doesn't always help. Eating healthy foods, exercising and using an array of products (especially sunscreen) are some ways you can wage your personal war on aging. As a professional Hairstylist, I urge my clients to take care of themselves not only on the  outside, but on the inside as well.  I have teamed up with Dr. Roxanne Carfora and Juice Plus to provide my clients with the best medical advice on beauty, anti-aging and taking vitamins as part of a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you in your battle:
  • Oral Nutrition is extremely important for fighting the aging process.  Research has shown that we require at least 8-9 servings of fruit and vegetables per day.  Most people do not get this and need supplements which can help to prevent, slow or reverse graying/loss of hair.
  • Juice Plus is an organic, gluten free, Kosher capsule containing 10-12 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
  • Helpful supplements include: Vitamin B12, Omega 3, Biotin and Folic acid and minerals such as calcium, copper and zinc.

  • The trends have definitely been more natural lately, so don't be afraid of letting those waves loose.
  • For those of you who have bangs and want to pull them up  try this look:

  • Braids are a very easy and popular look that are perfect for summer.


  • Sleek low loops were shown at the DKNY show. In real life, these make a polished alternative to sloppy ponytails but keep you just as cool.

  •  And of course - Feathers!!! Celebrities like Hilary Duff, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and even Steven Tyler are wearing them.  Feather hair extensions offer an easy way to energize your everyday look, without the commitment involved.
To learn more about Anti-Aging and Disease prevention, contact www.nicole-demarco.com.

Do you have any secrets for taming the frizz?

Have a great weekend!



This morning, these pretty white porcelain and milk glass pieces were strewn about my kitchen table after unloading the dishwasher. My daughter asked me, 
        "Mommy, why do you have so many white things?"
        "Because I like them, and they're great for flowers."
         "And candy" she replied.
(Practical as always. I've clearly left my mark on this child.)  

Remember when I said I wasn't much of a collector? Looking at these items grouped on my table like this, I couldn't help but notice what looked an awful lot like a collection or at the very least, the beginnings of one.  It made me wonder if I had other things that might change my status as I know it.

First I noticed these (pared down recently, believe it or not, and in dire need of some rearranging):

 Yep. Here's my brother and me, Christmas 1976 in a frame far too small.

 And some plates...

and tiles

bought on a trip to Key West a million years ago

 and at our friends' wedding in Antigua Guatemala

Oh, and some clear glass.

 In my defense, they usually don't live together like this, but scattered throughout the house and some stored in the basement, just in case.

This guy is one of a very few 'things' that I bought for sentimental reasons: my grandfather was a milkman for Sealtest in New York, way back when. I bought this little guy on Etsy because I miss him every day.

So, it seems that  I'm a bit of a liar.  I didn't realize it.  These items became collections without me even noticing.  I usually only buy things like this when I'm struck by them. It's not really a conscious decision to add them to what's existing.  It's only when I get them home or they end up inadvertently gathered together that it dawns on me that I'm a closet collector.  I guess the key for me is keeping my collections in check. They are pretty restrained collections and not overly busy. I get a little antsy when they are, so I don't foresee me acquiring tons. But maybe that's what every collector says.

Speaking of collecting, check out this link to a fabulous blog called 'bits n' pieces. Patty is one of my favorite collectors (and a talented writer and dressmaker to boot). Her home is filled with a variety of her favorite collections all displayed lovingly, artfully and seamlessly.  She has an amazing ability to make things look fabulous and wrote about her own collections recently.

Any other collectors or liars out there? 

Linking today's post to: 


Taking one for the team

Two weeks ago, when I encouraged my husband to "bring home the trophy" from his annual fishing tournament, for which I told him I'd have a place waiting,  I wasn't prepared for him to actually do so.  (disclaimer: his fishing skills were never in question, my OCD was) When I got the call that he had won the annual fish-off with his life long friends, I was genuinely thrilled for him. I was also mentally strategizing where this thing would reside for the next year, knowing that banishing it to the office would be kind of crappy of me.

Since I don't have that old club-house feeling in my living-room and I'm sort of off on clutter these days (not that the trophy is clutter), finding a good home for this puppy is my challenge.  I don't have the heart to relegate it to a bottom cubby in the shelving thing-a-ma-jig that it's currently sitting front and center on.  I did think about hitting an antique store or two in search of some smaller "vintage" trophies to create a little vignette with, but that would sort of take some of the spotlight off of this cup and really cement my insanity in the minds of most.

I really don't want my husband to feel like he's not represented or has no say in the space we all share, but I fear that sometimes this is the case. I try to include him in my musings, but my brain is usually on overdrive when it comes to this stuff. Sometimes, I know I must seem unreasonable, like when it comes to the height and placement of artwork, or my need to add trim to the curtains that are just shy of touching the floor. The man has patience. A smile and shake of the head is usually the most response he gives when he comes home from work to a room in disarray because something wasn't working for me.  He doesn't bat an eyelash when I sit back and smile and remark about how much better all that rearranging makes me feel.

All that said, harmony is what I'm after. The trophy is really not so ugly. She's not exactly the leg lamp from A Christmas Story (although we have one of those to contend with too). Honestly, looks and my OCD aside, she is a great emblem of the bond my husband and his childhood friends share.  Their collective friendship is enviable and enduring. They are phenomenal guys, fantastic husbands and hands-on dads. I admire their loyalty and the work they put into maintaining their connection, no easy feat with demanding jobs and growing families. They have also married amazing women, with whom I've been lucky enough to find friendship, laughter and support through the years.   

So today while the kids nap, I'll be tweaking, editing and rearranging (without cringing or disparaging remarks) to give my husband's well-earned trophy a rightful place of honor. He really deserves it.

Have any of you ever struggled or fumbled when incorporating one of your partner's treasures into your home? Please tell me I'm not alone ; )


Favorites Friday

Last week some of you shared some favorite tips and summertime activities with me, so today will be my first installment in featuring your summer favorites.  The common thread among your emails and comments was family time. Whether it was an annual gathering for a picnic, vacation with extended clan or an afternoon doing arts and crafts with your kids, some quality down-time with loved-ones is what we all seem to strive for in the summer.

An old friend of mine, (old as in I've know her since we were in Brownies together, not as in old lady) who clocks a lot of beach and  pool time with her three adorable boys, shared this recipe. Sounds like the perfect way to end a fun summer day...

After a long day in the sun, the kids are beat - and so am I. Rather than sweat it out in the kitchen cooking food they're not going to eat anyway - I make Belgian waffles w/ice cream and whipped cream (sliced bananas... whatever!) for dinner. We do this about once a week :)

Light and Crispy Waffles Recipe - very crispy!

2 egg yolks
2 c milk
2 c flour
1T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/3 c oil
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Preheat waffle maker. Beat all ingredients (except egg whites) on low until moistened. Increase speed to medium until smooth. Gently fold in egg whites by hand. Pour 3/4 c batter over grids, close, bake until steam no longer escapes.

I think we'll be trying this after our next beach day. Please keep your tips and favorites coming via email (erinoutonalimb@gmail.com), comments or for you fellow bloggers, the link below.  Thanks to all who shared their suggestions with me!

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend.


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Frugal Fridays – Save Money With Frugal Tips And Recipes!


Simple Gifts...

July 4th has long been one of my favorite holidays. I've never spent it in any extraordinary fashion: no concerts in the park or Macy's fireworks for me, but there's something special about busting out the red, white and blue on Independence Day no matter what your plans.  I didn't decorate with much, but was inspired when I found red, white and blue in the simplest things.

The giant flag we've had forever, hanging from our back fence.
I love that I can see it from the kitchen.

Don't mind the screen: I loved this view through the
blue glass jar in my bathroom.

Last minute wreath:  I found a long banner in the garage, and wrapped it around the empty
grapevine wreath that was on my door, waiting for me to decorate .

I found this old water ski hanging from the rafters in our garage. We've lived in our house for seven years and I noticed it on Saturday. Johnny-on-the-ball, I'm not. Apparently it's been here since we moved in. Loving it in my garden right now.

Regardless of how we celebrate, I think I love July 4th for its' simple, old-fashioned pleasures. 

Beyond the fireworks and ice-cream, showing off my red, white and blue evokes the pride and gratitude I feel to be American.  It reminds me of how fortunate I am to have the freedoms and opportunities I enjoy, which countless men and women throughout our history have fought for.

Have a wonderful, safe and Happy Fourth of July, full of simple pleasures!

Linking up with:


Summer Love...

It's inevitable that summertime forces us to slow down and relax our schedules a bit (or try to at least). It also forces us to sweat, get sunburned and have frizzy hair.  After participating in Centsational Girl's Vacation Destination Link Party, my wheels started turning.  

How do you unwind over the summer? What are your favorite summer reads, recipes, activities, vacations, or tips for braving the heat? Maybe you just have some simple pleasures about the summer you'd love to share. 

I'd love to hear from you about all things summer and feature them each Friday through Labor Day. Simply share your favorites and tips in the comment section, send me an email at erinoutonalimb@gmail.com or join the link party below. Here a few a my summer favorites.

1. Bob Marley, Legend: a best of album.  We listen to a pretty steady diet of Marley around here in the summer.  I remember stopping to buy this cassette on the way to a week at a friend's house in Amagansett, many, many, moons ago. Nothing slows me down or reminds me of that fabulous week more than this album.

2. Beach days, that turn into beach nights: There is nothing better than putting sleepy little kids in the car after a full day of sun, sand, friends and good food. Bliss in my book.

3. OXO Good Grips Cherry Pitter: We eat a ton of cherries in the summer. With little ones, this makes my life so much easier. 

Okay, your turn. Spread the summer love and have a great weekend.