“I think there is beauty in everything. What ‘normal’ people would perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it.” — Alexander McQueen
I am no fashionista. My style is more “oddball” than couture. I love diving into a clearance rack to see what the normal people have rejected. Thrift stores are also goldmines for finding unique clothing. I am inspired by pictures, colors and feelings.
I do have a few classic pieces, but what I am always drawn to is prints and bold color. Leopard, polka dots, stripes are my go-to clothing staples. After reading this blog post, you could say that I am a little obsessed with making monochromatic outfits with pattern. (And as far as I am concerned, leopard is a neutral color. It goes with EVERYTHING.)
I was going through my closet recently to get rid of the clothes I no longer wear and noticed I had a lot of buffalo plaid…”I wonder if I could make an entire outfit of buffalo plaid?” Turns out, the answer was yes.
That made me want to put together a leopard outfit.
Polka dot? Yup.
Hell, even the Bow Dress was part of the obsession.
Style is subjective. There really are no rules. Wear what you like. Who cares what the trends are.
I have a lot of bold colors and pieces that may seem unwearable to a regular person, but to someone who gives zero fucks on what other people think of them, I can really get funky and express my personality through my clothing. And let’s be real, as a mom who leaves the house with spit up down her sleeve 87% of the time, it is refreshing to dress like the oddball I am and feel fancy with my all leopard ensembles.
I have more monochromatic ideas that I haven’t gotten to style yet, but when I do, be sure I will Instagram them to their fullest potential. Follow me at “makingitwithstephany” to see.
Murphy was my oldest son. He was a ditzy, stinky, but gorgeous 75lb German Wirehaired Pointer. He had turned 13 in August and was still trucking like a GD champion. But December was hard on him. The cold, his age, and arthritis and unbeknown to us, he had some cancer growing in his puppy tummy. By Christmas time, things had gotten worse. The kind of “worse” when an all consuming food beast, such as my Murph started turning his nose up at his favorite foods, I then knew shit was bad.
I am not going to get into the end of Murphy’s life, but if you have been there before, it was as terrible as it gets. My heart is broken, and I feel stupid about it because since he had a large cancerous lump removed when he was 10, we started realizing that our big old boy wouldn’t live forever. When Murph started having problems in December, I kept pushing the reality in the back of my mind that his days might really be numbered.
What pisses me off the most is how dogs get screwed on longevity compared to larger and smaller animals. Cats are small and snobbish, and they can live to 20. Horses are huge and can’t sleep on the foot of your bed and can pull almost 30 years. But dogs, who can lick your tears and steal your orange slices out of your hand (MURPHY….) while looking adorable, get a measly 12-14 if they are lucky.
But I do feel lucky with the years we had with Murph. He loved babies and didn’t mind when they crawled over him, taking fistfuls of his hair with them on the way. He traveled to 9 states with us on vacation and never pooped in a hotel room. He kept me warm in the winter. He loved food, he was particularly fond of oranges, celery, cabbage, lettuce and whatever meat you could shove in his furry beard. He literally could smell the instant your fingernail pierced the peel of an orange and would instantly be at your side, chopping at the fruit that was just out of reach. The only food he would not eat was mushrooms, which was weird since he was a huge fan of eating yucky, dead things/random wild animal poop whenever he found it in the woods. And he could “talk” like Chewbacca. (Imagine Wookie sounds coming out of a dog–YES.)
Since Murph was such a legend, I decided to create a cocktail in his honor, made with his favorite fruit that is only in season in winter, his favorite season. (Pro tip: German Wirehaired Pointers are NUTS for snow.) It incorporates blood oranges and some other citrus flavors, along with elderflower and blood orange liquers to help you think of happy times with your furry dog sons and daughters. Enter: The Murphy.
1 oz fresh blood orange juice
1 oz St. Germain
2 oz Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
2 oz Lemon LaCroix
juice from 1/2 lime
Fill a glass with some ice. Add the orange juice, St. Germain, Solerno, and lime juice to the glass and stir. Top off with LaCroix. Think of your favorite dog and enjoy.
Recently, I was asked by my super awesome friend Janel, who runs the NellieBellie.com site, to come up with a tasty cocktail to share with her readers. With the holidays happening RIGHT NOW, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to make something with whiskey and pomegranate juice. Enter the Whiskey PomPom. It is pretty smooth and delicious, and just what you need to make it through the holidays.
Want the recipe? Head to the NellieBellie blog and check it out!
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. I write stuff on here all of the time.
And while I put time into the how-to’s and projects that I create, I kind of just write whatever silly shit that comes out of my brain-mouth and hope it makes sense and makes you laugh, because we could all use a little relief from the world nowadays, you know? What is better than smart ass recipes??
But this one below, I put some time in. I wrote an article for the Stillwater Current, which is run by my cool buddy Shawn, about my other rad friend Sara, who makes delicious, ass kicking pies.
I want to do more of these types of articles (possibly some videos too?!) so if you know of any awesome businesses in the St. Croix Valley who would like to talk to me, send me your suggestions!
Is Pikachu haunting your dreams? Do you have a Pokemon lover in your life? Need a great costume in a pinch? Check out this Ash Ketchum costume that I made in a day. And if you know who Ash Ketchum is, this is definitely for you.
What you will need is:
a blue zip up hoodie
a tennis ball
green stretchy gloves
red trucker hat (I found this one at Spencers)
small stuffed Pikachu
yellow, red, white, and black fabric paint
4-5 very large safety pins
Paint the cuffs, pocket trim, and bottom trim of the hoodie yellow. You will need to put on 2-4 coats of yellow, depending on how dark blue your hoodie is. Let the coats dry before you apply a new coat. Using a hairdryer can help speed the drying process.
Paint the triangle “C” logo on the hat with green paint. I googled the logo and free hand painted it on the hat.
Cut the fingers off of the gloves.
The tennis ball is the most time consuming part. I used a thin washi tape and placed it in the middle of the tennis ball. I painted half red and half white and once both colors were dry, I pulled off the tape and filled it in with the black paint while adding a small white circle that I outlined in black.
Note: I used fabric paint on the tennis ball to ensure that it wouldn’t chip off easily as an 8 year old boy would be throwing Pokeballs all over the world this Halloween. It has been holding up pretty well so far.
Once everything is dry, pair with a pair of jeans and some rad tennis shoes and you have the baddest Ash in town.
Remember that one time I made a whole line of La Coix cocktail videos?? Well, if you’re new here, I did and they were recently featured on the super fabulous blog BonBon Break!
Check it out! And thanks to BonBon Break for the share!
DISCLAIMER: I am an expert smartass, I am not a parenting expert. I am only a parent who tolerates her own children, more so when they are sleeping. This worked for my kids, maybe it will help out another exhausted family.
Also: No one likes being told what to do, especially moms when it comes to their kids. I’m included. Consider this a idea you can choose to ignore or ask me more about.
BUY THIS BOOK IF YOUR KIDS SLEEP LIKE SHIT:
My 1st kid slept like a teenager. As a baby, we would have to physically touch him to wake him up. As an exhausted 1st time parent, it was amazing sleeping until 10am WITH A BABY. That baby turned into an even better toddler sleeper.
Life was good. Then we had another baby.
I thought I had this sleep stuff in the bag for #2. HA. My middle boy was a terrible sleeper as a baby. I shudder at the memories of the crying for hours in the middle of the night. Someone suggested I get this book when he was 2 and waking up 4+ times a night. I scoffed. How the hell was a book going to fix my kid “who just doesn’t like to sleep”? Well, I caved after being a zombie for another day and got the damn book. The day I read a few pages that related to our situation, HE SLEPT THROUGH THE MF’IN NIGHT. It took some time to get him caught up on the sleep he missed for 2 years, but my little lamb was on track and Momma got the sleep she needed (that’s me).
Recently, I could tell that the baby was a little off track, even with him being the world’s most agreeable and easy baby, he was getting a little kooky. He would wake up for a bottle at 3 am, but then wanted to play and smile for almost 2 hours. It was cute the 1st night, dumb the 2nd night and by the 3rd night in a row, Momma was pissed. In the morning, I dug out the book, read up on 1-4 month old sleep, and my little giant baby slept from 9p-730a (with a bottle in the middle of the night, cuz he’s a GD giant baby) and just hit 2 hours on his morning nap. (edit, he hit 2 hours 15 minutes)
I use the suggestions in the book that work for us, ignore the ones that don’t, and holy cats, life gets better in the sleeping department in this house quick. You don’t need to read chapters that don’t apply to your age bracket or situation, so don’t say you don’t have time to read an entire book about sleep, you won’t have too. The author is a big fan of “cry it out”, FYI. I am not. But I think it depends on your baby’s temperament. The middle boy could cry for hours. Literally. He once cried for 3 hours. I almost died. Cry it out did not work for him. I haven’t tried it yet on #3 because he’s still pretty young. I like a lot of the suggestions that are in the book, but trust me, you’re the parent. Do what works for your family. The author has some big ideas at times, but he’s not at my house helping out at 4:30am feedings, so he only gets so much say in how things roll over here.
But keep in mind, it is the parental units that have to make the decisions and the sacrifices to make these tips work. Sometimes it SUCKS to put kids to bed at 6 in the evening. But think of the long run. And think of the luxurious sleep YOU, too, can get. HALLELUJAH.
If your little (or big) monster isn’t sleeping well, check this book out. Will it work for you? What the hell do I know? I’m just a mom who has a blog and is currently liking her kids a little bit more with the sleep they are getting.
It might be a huge waste of time for you. But, it may change the way you live and you might get a whole lot happier. Than you can spend more time on my lovely blog looking up delicious cocktail and food recipes to make life even more grand. Everyone’s a winner.
I am on a tequila kick this summer. I blame having a newborn. My motto for this new little baby is: work smarter, not harder. So far, so good, as the babe is HUGE and sleepy and sweet.
But, that doesn’t mean I’m not exhausted and thirsty. Tequila sounds like the only remedy. Amitrite?!?
So I created this super, flippin’ delicious cocktail with ripe peaches, tasty tequila, and some fresh mint. Absolutely perfect for summertime patio sitting.
And I promise you, the simple syrup is CAKE to make. Don’t let that scare you from not making this hot little number.
Peach Mint Margarita
2 oz Peach Simple Syrup (recipe below)
2 oz silver tequila
1.5 oz Cointreau
1-2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
3-4 fresh mint leaves
kosher salt for rimming the glass
lime wedge for garnish
Rim glass with lime wedge and dip rim of glass into kosher salt and fill with ice. Then, add 2 ounces of Peach Simple Syrup and silver tequila to glass. Add 1.5 ounces of Cointreau and 1-2 ounces of lime juice (I like mine more sour so I do the 2 ounces). Grab the mint leaves, give them a slap to activate the oils in the leaves, add them to the glass and stir until well mixed. Add lime wedge for garnish and enjoy. Makes 1 margarita.
Peach Simple Syrup
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
1 ripe peach, cut into chunks
Add water, sugar and peach chunks to a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Turn heat down to a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and strain the syrup from the peach chunks in a glass container. Let cool completely and store, covered, in the refrigerator.
It’s summer time and I’m exhausted. Black coffee is still a staple in the morning, but when afternoon comes around and I need a little pick me up, I have been making iced coffee to enjoy. I HATE!!! the oil-based creamers out there so sweetened condensed milk is my favorite addition to cold coffee, Vietnamese-style. Yes, you can just add the canned stuff, and it is tasty, but I wanted more. More flavor, more depth.
I have seen lavender latte recipes floating around on the internet, but I wasn’t loving the idea of making a syrup to add to my coffee but I was loving the condensed milk, so I came up with a way to make lavender infused sweetened condensed milk. It was pretty simple, but you need to have an hour to consistently stir the milk mixture to make this. But let me tell you, IT IS WORTH IT. The sweet lavender milk is so good, I was tempted to drink all of the milk with a straw once it had cooled. It is SO GOOD!!
Want to make your own? Here is what you need and how I did it:
1.5 cups of milk, whole or 2%
1/2 cup of sugar
2 tbsp of dried lavender
1/4 tsp of vanilla extract (optional)
First you need to infuse the milk with the lavender. It’s really easy, you just need to make sure you don’t over heat the milk to prevent curdling. Yuck.
To infuse the milk, combine the milk and the lavender in a saucepan and bring the milk to a simmer. As soon as bubbles start to form, turn off the heat and let it sit for 20 minutes. Then, strain out the lavender and return the milk to the saucepan.
Then I followed this awesome recipe from the Food 52 blog, but instead of it taking 2 hours, my milk reduced in an hour, which was nice because devoting 2 hours to stirring did not sound fun. Again, you need to watch the heat on this to prevent curdling. Double yuck.
This reduced down to about 2/3 cups of sweetened condensed milk and I split my milk into 2 small jars to try one with vanilla added and one without. I liked both versions so I can’t say which tastes better as I really liked them both. So if you like vanilla, I say add it, and if not, leave it out, it still tastes amazing!
Once your infused milk has cooled, it’s time to make your coffee! Pour it into a glass, add ice cubes and then add 2-3 (or 4 or 5) tablespoons of the milk and stir to combine.
Pop in a straw and POOF! Your iced coffee dreams have come true!
The lavender pairs so well with the cold coffee and the milk, it is absolute coffee perfection! I will be drinking these all summer long and think you should too!