Monday, December 31, 2007

Thanks Keely, I WUVIT!

I once read a great book about starting your own business called Mommy Millionaire by Kim Lavine. I love this book because it is great no nonsense advice about starting your own business. I was jealous such a great resource was not available to us back when we were just starting out.

Not only is Ms. Lavine a great business mentor, she created this cool little bean bag thingy called a "wuvit" that you put it the microwave for a few minutes to heat up. Now being one of those people that is constantly freezing in the winter, I dreamed of owning one of these and putting it on my shoulders as I watched tv, or braided headbands, etc etc etc. Now I don't need to tell you that I never got around to purchasing one, right?

Well Keely (aka Keeks) being the awesome sister she is, got me one for Christmas and even let me choose the pattern. I instantly wanted the leopard one, only to find out it was out of stock at the time. I needed to make a quick second choice and fast b/c I had already starting planning out all the good times wuvit and I were going to have. I chose the black stripe from the groovy collection b/c it is made from the same fabric as our "sisters of nausett" bag.

Well its here and I WUVIT!!! You heat it up for 2.5 minutes and this thing continues to deliver heat for a long time. Its really all I hoped it would be and more. The cover is removable and washable and it can even go in the freezer and act as an ice pack. I highly recommend one and the best part is they are on sale right now for 19.99!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Great Dig Out

We had a quiet night last night and for some reason Dave and I decided to start to tackle our terribly over crowded and disorganized basement. Our finished basement (or at least the part we worked on) is home our "office", tool bench, holiday decorations, things that have no official "home" within our home and last but not least, ALL of my sewing supplies and accumulations from the last 5 years (I have a hard time throwing things away!)

Well... after an hour and a half, I could NOT believe how much we had accomplished. Still not fully picture ready, but I did take one of my newly organized ribbon shelves. Every time I look at this neatly rolled up assembly of colors, it makes me sooooo happy!

We are going out tonight for dinner with the kids to one our favorite places. Great food, and no cooking or clean up for me! Who can argue with that? Have a great weekend, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! xo Brie

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Braided Headband Combos!

I enjoyed taking about a week off but as some of you know I start to get antsy. The braided headbands have been a great creative outlet for me! Here are some new combos I put together last night. My favorite one is the navy and kelly green combo but I am also loving the tan and pinks! These are really fun to make and the best part is you can still play catchphrase with the kids while you weave away on the couch :) xo Brie

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Top 10 Beauty Products!

Got lots of my favorite bath and beauty products for my birthday and Christmas! Thought I'd share my top 10 all time favorites.... in no particular order ;)

10. Tarte Cheek Stain - I love this stuff for a few reasons, its sheer so you can layer it on and get just the right amount of color. No clown cheeks! They come in tons of great colors and they even smell yummy!! They last a LONG time so its a good investment. I have blushing bride which I love and plan on picking up some bronze goddess for the summer.

9. anastasia eyebrow gel - say goodbye to unruly wild eyebrows. This is a clear gel that you brush on very lightly and offer all day smoothness. Comes in colors too, but I'm a clear girl :)

8. sephora primer - I use this after I put on a light moisturizer in the morning. It makes your skin feel so smooth like velvet!

7. Philosophy - I really love most of the philosophy products. There are so many great scents, it's hard to choose. This year Caitlin gave me the cranberry and I love it! As coincidence will have it, I also gave it to her! Their lemonade cream is awesome too and on sale!

6. Lush - my cousin Sara discovered this place and my godson Brendan sent me a little Christmas care package. The box smelled SO good, I can't wait to try out these fun products for your bath. Check out their huge selection of bubble bars!

5. Jo Malone - My favorite, favorite! I have several of her perfumes and they are all designed so you can layer fragrances (although I must admit I never do!) They smell great all on their own. My favorites for winter are: Pomegranate Noir and Fig and Cassis. Summer favorites: French Lime Blossom and Nectarine Blossom and Honey.

4. Laura Mercier - Her creme brulee line smells incredible. The kids beg me to put a little in their bath, the bubbles really last and the fragrance really stays.;jsessionid=SQQWHXIRXZ5HJLAUCJBRXCQ?id=P110033&categoryId=C12210

3. Bi-Facil Double Eye Makeup Remover by Lancome - Hands down THE best eye makeup remover I have ever used!

2. Trader Joe's Purify Tangerine Sugar Scrub - available in the bath aisle at Trader Joes. Smells and feels great and it's cheap! 5.99 for 18 oz!!!! So moisturizing you can skip the lotion! Definitely pick one up next time you there.

1. Archipelago Botanicals Pomegranate Dry Body Oil Spray - smells great, light and not greasy mist of oil keeps the winter dry skin away! My mother in law gave me this for my birthday, I love it!

Here's to looking and smelling great in 08! Cheers, Brie
ETA: Hey what gives, does anyone know where my pics went? It took me forever to add them and I thought it gave it a nice touch. Now they are all gone...... sniffle

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas, don't go!

As much as I detest lugging out all the Christmas decorations, I really get attached to the way house looks decorated. I hate to say goodbye to them and really hate packing them away ;) so up they will stay for at least another week! Isn't that over sized ornament so cute? My mother in law gave me that a few years ago, it's green nylon stretched over a cool wire form. I attached a red polka dot grosgrain and hung right over my kitchen sink. I love it!!!!!

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!! Ours was great, it was nice and relaxing. The meal turned out great thanks to the pre-planning! The roast always take longer to cook than I ever remember... will definitely invest in a meat thermometer so I do not have to keep reheating slices of tenderloin to desired doneness. 45 minutes in a 500 degree oven with a 20 minute tinfoil rest ought to do it just right (I went 35 minutes and it was definitely too rare for me!)

Ok, so the house is in such disarray.... I need to pull up the boot straps and start organizing room by room. With the help of fly lady and my trusty timer (more on that later) I do believe we'll get somewhere! To be continued...........................

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Best Christmas Show Ever

Period. Personally I am a snow miser fan. I am very taken with his young apprentices and ice helmet hair!
Enjoy!! Happy Holidays to all!! xo Brie

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Banana Bread

Originally uploaded by kbbags

3 browning bananas left in my fruit bowl always makes me so happy b/c they are perfect for banana bread! This is a family favorite. I have tried other recipes, and while they are similar, they do not compare to this one. The secret is the browning bananas and lots o sugar! This bread will dwindle away on the counter and be completely gone in about 2 hours (there are 6 of here) Enjoy :)

Banana Bread

one stick of butter
1 cup of white granulated sugar
3 eggs
3 very ripe bananas (mashed with a fork)
1 cup of chopped walnuts (optional)
2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a med/large mixing bowl in the microwave, mix in sugar and eggs and blend well. Add banana and walnuts. Sift in flour and baking soda. Mix well, pour into a pam sprayed loaf pan and bake at 350 for 75 minutes (may cover with foil if the top is browning up to much). Serve with whipped cream cheese! xo Brie

Friday, December 21, 2007

Keely you're going to love this!

I just can't get enough of the Office Max fun! Sorry Keely, but yours is the only head I saved from the elf bit! My favorite dance move by far is the little squirrel moves with the limp wrists - good times!

Striving for Fair and Balanced :)

So... I am wrapping away last night for the kids (I have 4) and one pile is looking a little slim - I hate when that happens. I try to plan these things out! I do not want anyone to think they have been bad this year! Truth be told, they are really very, very good (most of the time!!!). So off I go to shop a bit more and balance out these piles! Wish me luck, ugh! xo Brie

Thursday, December 20, 2007

French Toast Casserole

I swear this is not a cooking blog :) but it has been what I've been up to lately, so I figured I'd share a few oldie but goodie recipes! A good friend gave me this recipe a few years ago - This will be the second year I serve it for breakfast on Christmas morning. My kids all love this (they can be very picky), so this is a special treat. The treat for me is that you can make ahead and freeze it which I plan to do today!

Got lots of wrapping done last night (yay!) but still have more to do! Project Runway was a rerun last night (booooo) but I realized I fell asleep last week before I saw who was "auf" - sorry Steven but you had to have seen that coming, that wedding dress was a toughy! I was SO SAD to see Jack go.... he was my favorite, his clothes were totally "me" and I had predicted him the winner. Health issues forced him to exit early, so now my new prediction for PR4 winner is (drum roll.......) Rami! Stay tuned :)

French Toast Casserole
Combine the following in a pan over medium heat:

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
3 Tbsp. maple syrup

Spray 11 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray (I am going to use on those recycle aluminum tins). Pour the mixture into the dish. Slice a loaf of French bread into 3/4 to 1 in. thick slices. Arrange bread on top of the sugar mixture.

In another bowl beat:

7 eggs
2 cups milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Pour mixture over bread. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 30-45 minutes. (it will set like a custard and I will say when I make it, it is closer to 45 minutes and sometimes even over that)

Can also be frozen unbaked. Allow to defrost in fridge overnight and bake. I do this for Christmas morning. Yummy and effortless! Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mmmmmm Caramel Rolls!

These have been a family favorite for years. My mom always makes these for holidays and it was one of the very first things I learned how to bake. They are delicious! My mom makes the dough from scratch, occasionally I do too, it's definitely better. In the interest of time I often use the loaves of frozen bread dough that you can find in the freezer section. Time is tight this year so we are going with the frozen dough. The recipe can be made ahead and frozen too so it's perfect for a delicious breakfast or to give as a gift. We traditionally serve this with holiday dinners. These are not low calorie, but who cares? It's the holidays :)

  • brown sugar
  • light corn syrup (karo)
  • ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 loaf of frozen bread dough (freezer aisle near the pizza)

Take out your frozen loaf of dough the night before, lightly spray a big bowl with pam and cover with a cloth to rise over night.

Next day: Put 1/2 cup of brown sugar , 4 tbsps of butter, and 1 tbsp of light corn syrup in a saucepan. Heat slowly stirring often until melted and combined. Pour mixture into the bottom of your round pan (mine is an 8 inch)

flour a flat surface and roll out your dough into a large rectangle shape. Melt 4 tbsp of butter and brush onto the top of your rectangle dough. In a separate bowl mix up 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp of ground cinnamon. Sprinkle all of this mix on top of the butter you have just brushed onto the dough.

Very tightly start to roll up the dough, round and tuck the ends.

Using a thread, you can "slice" round rolls about 1 inch and place into the round pan on top of the sugar mixture. Cover and let rise again for about 30-45 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes (buns should be light brown)

Let cool 2-3 minutes, put a plate over the top of the pan and invert.

Let them cool completely if you are planning to freeze. Wrap them with saran wrap and put in a big ziploc. To defrost take out the night before, remove all saran wrap and cover in tin foil. Warm them in a 250 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes. Enjoy! These are THE BEST!!!

Am I actually done with two parts of my holiday meal??? yahoo! Tonight, I wrap and watch project runway!

xo Brie

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Holiday Menu

  • So I am hosting Christmas dinner again this year and I am excited about it! I really like to cook and I generally have a few tried and true crowd pleasers, so its really not all that scary. Christmas will be smaller this year than usual, but we will still be hosting dinner for a total of 10 people.

    If I plan it just right, things do NOT have to be stressful. So here's the menu: hors d'oeuvres: (yes I had to look up the spelling, thank you Cath ;) will be shrimp cocktail, polska kielbasa in brown sugar sauce, (or as Liam calls them "sweet sausages") baked brie in puff pastry with brown sugar and pecans, and crab puffs (recipe below) Main Menu: roast filet of beef with creamy horseradish sauce on the side, mashed potatoes, spinach gratin (barefoot contessa), caramel rolls, broccoli casserole, and a small side of macaroni and cheese compliments of stouffers. I am not a huge fan of the mac and cheese, but the majority rules on this one. Dessert: tiramisu (from costco - it's in the frozen section and it's awesome). Now all I need to figure out are wine and fun drinks to balance out the menu. I usually like to do a fun martini, last year it was white chocolate ones and they were BETTER than dessert!

    Here is the recipe for crab puffs. As I peruse the ingredients here it does NOT look all that appetizing. Trust me it's good, it's EASY, and people will ask you for the recipe (if they like crab that is!)

    . package of louis kemp crab delights flake style (or like Keely calls them, Krab with a K)
    on a side note, I cannot stand this type of fake crab in anything but in these for some
    reason its ok
    . 1 stick of unsalted butter
    . 1 jar of kraft old english cheese (it's usually by the cream cheese section in a glass jar)
    . 2 tbsp of mayo
    . 1/2 tsp of lawry's season salt
    . 1/2 tsp garlic salt
    . one package of thomas' english muffins

    rinse and drain the "crab" and chop it up really small (not good if its too chunky)
    mix all the ingredients together in a bowl
    cut english muffins in half (so you have two circles)
    spread mixture generously onto muffin halves
    put muffin halves with spread on a flat plate and into the freezer for about 40 minutes (this part believe it or not is impt!)
    Remove the frozen muffins and cut into quarters
    Throw them in a zip lock bag until ready to use (could be months from now which is the real beauty)

    Broil the pieces until slightly brown and puffed on a cookie sheet with a lip (approx 5-8 minutes)
    Serve and say goodbye to them because they will be gone within minutes ;)

Monday, December 17, 2007

I just like to smile... smiling's my favorite!

Happy Birthday!!

..........To me :) I had such a nice, fun, low key birthday yesterday. We went to a great Christmas brunch in NY with the kids, Dave, and my in laws. My parents and sister were also supposed to come but mother nature did not cooperate :( The spread was incredible and the Christmas music (guitar player and accordion!) were awesome. I know a lot of people who feel gypped by the December "so close to Christmas" birthday, but not me!! It's a fun time of year and I have always loved having a December birthday. I also share my birthday with Beethoven, Jane Austen, and the guy with the long beard from ZZ Top - not too shabby :)

Birthday highlights included (in no particular order) a portable speaker system for my ipod, fur lined crocs, a yankee candle mosaic tea light burner that I used to own, LOVE, and broke replaced (thanks mom and dad!), itunes card, all the fixings to make balloon animals, (long story, my grandparents are hilarious!), some bath and body goodies, TWO jo malone perfumes (my all time fave), homemade cards, lots of kisses and hugs, and a Friendlys ice cream cake with an "edible" image of strawberry shortcake. Who could ask for more? I am a lucky girl :)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I HEART the Holidays

Really I do....... I think I must love the stress b/c my lists are always a mile long and growing. Our holiday shows are all finished, inventory is low which is always a good news/bad news scenario. It does feel great to be done, the shows were especially great this year (thank you to all who came to see us!!). The time has now come now for undivided family time and all that needs to be done before Christmas.

Starting in January, I am going to begin to slowly rebuild inventory AND I will be taking you through the reorganization of my sewing studio. This reorg is in the very initial stages of my mind.... should be interesting, won't you join me on this mission impossible :)

With all of the wrapping, packing, cooking, frosting, shipping, and shopping that still await me, I somehow manage to find time to make this! (see link below) Procrastination is my middle name :)

Enjoy this time with your families! xo Brie

Here We Go!

This has literally been on my "to do" list for years!! Start my own blog that is... so I made it a New Year's resolution to start a new Keeks and Brie blog for 2008. Since technically it's still 2007, I think we are off to a great start!

There are a couple of things I hope to accomplish with this shiny new blog. I hope you'll get to know us a little better, I hope to show off new products with contests etc, and I hope to improve my writing, photography, and overall computer skills. This last part will take time, so please pardon the larger than life pictures, typos, and rambling :) This blog will definitely be a journey with a high learning curve for me!

Thanks for stopping in, I promise to update lots and lots! xo Brie