Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year's Eve!

Happy New Year - this year goes to eleven! 

I totally stole that from my friend on facebook but I love all things Spinal Tap so the fact that our next year goes to 11 leaves me quite excited and filled with great hope for all things wonderful.  My sister also keeps insisting that Snookie is jumping out of the ball that drops down in Times Square?! What a wonderful sight to begin a fresh new year with.... might have to stay up to see that one.  I guess it will take our minds off of poor Dick Clark. 

Someone was saying on twitter that they are setting goals for the new year verses resolutions as goals are more attainable.  Oh yes sir-ee there will be a list of goals made up in here and plenty of them. 

First up getting this house in gear b/c I am hosting a little dinner soiree tomorrow for 10 adults and 17 kids - (yes I said 17) - good heavens, I should have counted out that number ahead of time..   I sure hope they like to play Just Dance 2 and my house is still standing by the end of the night!   

I am planning of serving Barefoot Contessa Paella which I have had before and it's VERY good and my sister tells me I can make it ahead and keep on the warm setting of the crock pot so I just don't see how this can go wrong.  Except for the fact that saffron threads are 17.99 for a teeny jar at Stop and Shop - an essential ingredient I understand for paella but holy shnikes!  I am told this tiny jar will last me a long time - it had better!  I want to make paella with this very bottle for my 95th birthday.  Stay tuned :) 

I am ordering pizza for the 17 kids - I don't have enough saffron threads....

Cheers to a Happy New Year to all.  One of my goals is to be a MUCH better blogger in '11 xo, Brie

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

French Quarter Cheese

Wow is Christmas really in 3 days?  This month has been a whirlwind - I have a lot of great pics and shopping scores to share but since many of these are gifts and the recipients of these gifts check in here from time to time... it may be best to wait until the new year.   I think they'll be worth the wait :) 

I am oddly feeling calm as the holidays approach.  We are hosting again which I love.  House is decorated, cards are mailed, presents are wrapped, menu is planned, groceries and beverages are purchased.   It's a great feeling and if I'm being totally honest, very unlike me!!Maybe I am going to become a super organized Fly Lady now that I am officially 40!! We can only hope.

Today I am going to start cooking a few things ahead in the hopes of sparing my kitchen from being a complete overloaded mess for my company to feast their eyes on. 

On the to do list today are Crab Puffs and this French Quarter Cheese Ball (just the cheese part, the topping will have to wait until the day of b/c it's yummier if the topping is warm). I got the recipe from a friend I am in a fundraising group with and it is a crowd pleaser. So yummy! In addition to serving it with crackers, I also put some Anna's Ginger Thin cookies and it is really really good!

Here is the recipe - I highly recommend it :)  Picture and Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home


1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon grated onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard

1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted

Assorted crackers


In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, onion and garlic. Transfer to a serving plate; shape into a 6-in. disk. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Cook and stir over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat; stir in pecans.

Cool slightly. Spoon over cheese mixture. Serve with crackers. Yield: 8 servings.

They also include all the calorie info etc over there but I I'm not needing that right now.  Let's look at the bright side and know there are 4 g of protein per serving ;) 

Wishing you a glorious holiday!!!!!  Hope Santa is good to you!  xo, Brie

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fabulous Surprises

See that little message there to the right saying I'm a girl in my 30's?  Well that little message is going to have to change this week.   I had a fabulous surprise party this weekend and I am still riding high from all the fun.  If only everyone could forward me some pics so I can write a beautiful post and remember this weekend forever!  Girls gone Wild in NYC.   Sara, you are off the hook - the only photographer who mailed pics!  Stay tuned.... xo, Brie

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Major Omission

WHERE IS KEVIN AND WHY IS HE NOT ON ALL-STARS?!?!?!?!?!?!!??! (yes, I'm yelling)  He must have declined, right?  He was a shoe in to be on the show.  I'm sad :(  xo, Brie

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tonight's the Night!

Top Chef All-Stars at 10pm on Bravo!!!!  I can't wait :)  I'm pulling for Carla or Tiffany.  Will you watch?  xo, Brie

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Keeks' Baby!!

Keeks had her 2nd ultrasound today (baby did not feel like cooperating first time around) and the results are in!!!

Let's just say we can scratch penis ointment off of the list ;)  Is anyone else loving Real Housewives Atlanta this season? 

It's a Girl!!!! 

Another cute niece on the way for me :) Yipee!!  Can you help us think of a cute nickname for "Keely"? - some of the obvious ones like Kiki and Keeks have been ruled out.  She got excited about making Ellie work but then remembered that's her dog's name!  No dice.  Let me know if you can think of a good one for her!  xo, Brie

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Elf of the Shelf is Watching You

I am big fan of our little Elf on the Shelf!  Whenever I look at him and his swoopy hair, all I see is cute little Kurt from Glee!

Now we have a tv commercial to add to the paranoia with a catchy little jingle that kind of reminds me of a song from one of the Halloween movies! 

Jingle arrived here on Thanksgiving evening and has been working WONDERS!  He really likes his little spot though b/c he keeps forgetting to move each night.  We are 2 for 5 which according to my calculations is a 40% success rate.  We can only hope this will improve but I would say we're off to a terrible start!  xo, Brie

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all my fellow Americans - enjoy your day and join me in  focusing on things you are thankful for.  I have a bad habit of focusing on the little things NOT going right, and for today, the focus is all about what IS right and there is quite a lot to be thankful for!  Wishing you all a wonderful holiday! xo, Brie

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hot Holiday Tip

Chances are, if you have a little girl between the ages of say 3-8 this little gem might be on their Christmas list

Apparently FurReal has about a 5 million dollar advertising budget because you really can't avoid the commercials if you tried.  They run approximately ever 4 seconds. 

Go Go here retails for $50.  She's marked down to $45 at Target and in their circular there is a $10 coupon that EXPIRES TODAY (Wed 11/24) so I got this bitch (get it?  female dog) for $35 dollars!!!!  SCORE!!  So run, don't walk, and don't trample anyone to Target and enjoy the savings.  xo, Brie

PS take an advil or 2 before you go because once you put Go Go in your cart it will bark throughout the entire store annoying both you and other nearby shoppers

Monday, November 22, 2010


Pomegranites can be fun but eat them at your own risk.  and.... don't wear white while enjoying.  xo, Brie

PROMISE to get back to some regular postings - Keeks and Brie showtime is in full swing and I feel like a traveling salesman.  Happy Thanksgiving!!! xo, Brie

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ebay Friday

Sorry to be neglecting one of my favorite segments here on the blog - I am actually keeping a list here and have some goodies stored up and ready to share! 

I had this toothbrush set - I LOVED it, especially little Wilma there who helped you get every last bit of toothpaste out of the tube!

picture courtesy of
My kids have never even seen the Flinstones!  We went to a basketball game once and the band was playing the theme song and my kids had never even heard the song.  How sad!  I can't find it on tv ever but when I was in Ireland a few years ago, it was all over tv there.   I am perplexed.

Good news however.... if you are in the market for a used electric toothbrush set from 1974, ebay is the place to be! 

Have a great weekend!  xo, Brie

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Post Halloween Post

Just wanted to present some photographic evidence that nobody in this household went trick or treating dressed as the Nasty Banana! 

In other post Halloween news

  • our two jack-o-lanterns are literally turning to soup on the front step despite this chilly weather, and also seem to be attracting nuclear dinosaur sized flies.  Must get rid of those promptly (I'll make a sticky note).

  • I put on some bright purple nail polish for Halloween - it seemed like a good idea at the time but now Halloween is over and it is chipping, and I can't find polish remover.  I look like a witch in need of a manicure or a rest home.  I am also so overdue for a haircut it is really lending itself to the whole aged witch theme which works.  (sticky note:  get your darn hair cut broom hilda)

  • Halloween decor remains up for a month and counting now.  I'm tired of looking at it already but seem to be lacking much needed energy required to pack this stuff up.  (sticky note:  halloween is over broom hilda,  eat an energy bar and get these decorations outta here!)

  • either someone is hoarding the candy or it's almost gone.  Our community basket is in pathetic mode sporting a couple of fun sized crunch bars, a handful of peanut m&ms, and 2 million almond joys. (sticky note:  almond joys are not all that delicious) 
xo, Brie

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I'm Talkin Pedicure on our Toes, Toes

You know- if I owned a black leotard and a pumpkin head I would be very happy to distribute candy to unsuspecting trick or treaters in this get up.  It's probably best for all involved parties that I don't!  Happy Halloween!  xo, Brie

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Serendipity Books

Not sure WHAT made me think of these books today but they were my all time favorites when I was little.  Just looking at the covers make me happy in a nostalgic way.  Did anyone read these in the 70's?  I can't wait to see if the library has them!  My favorites were the Gnome From Nome, Hucklebug, Creole, The Muffin Muncher, and The Wheedle on the Needle.  xo, Brie

Friday, October 29, 2010

Post it Notes

Again, I'm so late to the 21st century... but do any of use the desktop post it/sticky notes?  You can make little reminders and stick them all over your computer desktop - I have two versions, one you have to hand write with the mouse (which I hate) and one you can type (love it!)  It has truly changed my life for the better!  I just searched it out on my computer and it was there!   Check it out... xo, Brie

Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Easy Fall/Winter Dinner

Making a dinner that everyone likes in this house is no easy task.  One young man in particular (who shall remain nameless but he knows who he is) hates EVERYTHING!!!
Believe it or not, this is one dinner in my house that everyone likes and looks forward to.  I've created some easy shortcuts too so with a little planning in the morning, it is very possible to get this on the table even on a busy sports night.

Easy Chicken Pot Pie (this recipes serves 6)

4 chicken breasts
box of chicken broth
1/2 cup flour
4 tbsp butter
splash of heavy cream
bag of frozen peas/carrots
pepperidge farm puff pastry shells (or sheets)

The morning of, I put 4 pretty much frozen solid chicken breasts in the crockpot and go on my merry way for the day. 

4 hours later they are fully cooked and falling apart

I transfer them to a bowl or something b/c some weird juices accumulate in the bottom of the crockpot and want those out :)  I clean the crock pot and put the chicken back into it (crockpot is off now or you can put to warm if you want to assemble the rest later)  and shred it all up with 2 forks. 

Start preheating your oven to 400 to cook the puff pastry

In a pot on the stove melt 4 tbsp of butter and then add flour - stir it around a bit to "cook" the flour

Add the whole box of chicken broth and whisk until thick, add that splash of cream for color and richness now

You can pop in your puff pastry now if the oven is preheated (please don't focus on my gnarly cookie sheet)

Add your chicken and about half a medium bag of the frozen peas/carrots and stir until everything is cooked through and no longer frozen.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Beep, Beep, Beep - puff pastry is done in about 20 min (again no looking at the gnarly cookie sheet)

Scoop and serve over the puff pastry shell and put the puff pastry hat on top if you are feeling fancy :)

Bon Appetit!  xo, Brie

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Holy Flashback

This song just came on my ipod - I had totally forgotten about it!  I had a flashback to my old college workplace Saxa Sundries :)  xo, Brie

Monday, October 18, 2010

Complete Salon Manicure

It's been 10 days since my last blog post?  Yowza - I'm in full production mode for Keeks and Brie as we are about to enter the trenches of back to back to back to back boutique shows.  We need to arrive with lots of product that we will hopefully be saying "goodbye" to ;)   Each year I vow I will build up tons of inventory during the summer and can never seem to make that happen! 

Have you tried this Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure?  It's amazing and I give it my highest recommendations!  Only $7.00 a bottle and lots of nice colors!  My current fall selection - Pedal to the Metal.  Love it!  xo, Brie

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sending you on a Blog Field Trip

A friend of mine posted a link to this great blog on facebook today.  In the wake of these bullying/suicide cases that are all over the news and most recently right in our neighborhood at Rutger's University, I can't help but be troubled.  I feel like the pressures on our kids are so much more than the pressures I certainly felt growing up.  I feel like it's bigger than me and often overly complicated.  

As troubled as I am by any kind of bullying in general and all the mean girl crap- I've sounded off about it before and I'm sure I'll do it again.... I've got zero tolerance for it.  I am equally, if not more troubled that so many teens are turning to suicide as their way out/answer to their problems.  The real problem lies there, we need to assist our kids with coping skills and seeking out support.... I love what Vicky Bell so simply and so beautifully. xo, Brie

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Halloween Costumes

I hesitated whether or not I should share this due to its seedy underlying subliminal message but I have decided to throw caution to the wind because it's one of those stories I don't want to forget and I need it in print.

My 10 year old was browsing through one of the Halloween costume catalogs that came in the mail. He's been walking around with it in his clutch like he does every Sept/Oct as he changes his mind every other day.

His original suggestion was this

yeah RIGHT - I am not interested in raising a young Juggalo (that's a devote follower of Insane Clown Posse) even if it's only for a day.   I can't even believe this sort of thing would even appeal to him but I think they are at that weird 4th grade age where they want to be "cool" and certainly don't want to be mistaken for being a "baby".  Suspicions were confirmed when I suggested a normal clown which was met with a sneer and a "are you kidding me?"  I will take your concerns into consideration but please know, you are not being an Insane Clown.   Even your run of the mill circus clown is high on my creep meter and this guy is just off the charts.  It's a NO, end of story, moving on.

Now he's back to the catalog, intently leafing through and asks if he can be a banana.  A banana?  A somewhat odd choice but certainly an improvement over Penny Wise up there.  He tells us he has seen other bananas on Halloween and he really thinks this banana has a funny face.   Before the big reveal I really want you to know he has NO IDEA that there is anything odd about this banana costume.  The name of this costume is the Nasty Banana.......... so without further ado, I give you, the Nasty Banana

I wish you could have seen my husband's face when he showed him.  Again, an emphatic NO.  My son goes to our local catholic school and on Halloween they have a big parade in the front.  To make matters worse, because he is in 4th grade and an "older" kid, he will have a little kindergartner in tow as his buddy in the parade.  The thought of Nasty Banana parading around school escorting a little one sent me into a fit of laughter at least 3 or 4 times yesterday. 

So it's back to the drawing board - can't we go back to simpler times when being Santa and Ronald McDonald were "cool"?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Show and Tell

I have been having a very hard time keeping Ms. C out of my closet.  She loves shoes, the higher the heels, the better.

Early this am we all got to enjoy the smooth sounds of her clomping through the foyer in her school uniform and my old heeled short black boots.   She announces she will wear them to school in the name of show and tell.  I sadly had to break it to her that that was not happening.  She pleaded with me to change my mind about this, which I did not.   Her biggest argument was - I just want to show my class the boots daddy wore when he got married!

I came very close to letting her bring them in after that :)  xo, Brie

another "surprise" self portrait found on the camera

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I certainly don't want to brag here ;)  but I got a very special follow request on twitter today - Alexis from RHOC.  So from now on I am on my very best twitter behavior and I will most certainly not be requesting to follow her husband Jim or anything b/c we all know she doesn't like anyone up on her man.  Remember, "he's taken!"  I'm hoping our new twitter friendship will blossom into something very special and that she'll loan me some of her jewelry whenever I want!!   Signing off with.... of course I'm high maintenance, look at me!  xo, Brie

Monday, September 20, 2010


My dad used to make stained glass pieces when we were younger all the time but then gave it up for awhile.   I am SO happy he is back to it because he brought me this adorable little jack o lantern piece for Halloween!  Isn't it so cute?  The Pumpkin piece is lit up by a small light bulb in the back so it looks great both day and night.  The pumpkin is also removable so I am hoping there may be more holiday themed stained glass in my future.  I ♥ all kinds of colored glass and the fact that my dad made this makes it all the better!

Ms. C has been BEGGING me to PUH-LEASE pull out all the Halloween decor so after many hours of badgering me asking politely, I finally brought up a few boxes. I know I have at least one more down there but I don't have the energy to hunt for it just yet.

She also took it upon herself to make some scary decorations and hang them all over the front entrance.  I am expecting House Beautiful to be here any moment as I am sure they will want to do a full feature on this in their October issue. 

In other Halloween decor news....

This guy is living in my backyard.  I'm kind of horrified and fascinated all in one - this is very close to his actual size. 

and this lady is living in my hallway and won't shut up

Given the choice of the spider or the witch, I'm choosing the spider.  My poor head... xo, Brie

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What I Am

Ok... I'm having another "how adorable is this" moment
My old college roomie posted this on facebook today

I've always admired's fashion sense, but now I think I love him.  xo, Brie

Don't Mess with Me!

How great is this hat? 

Here's what I am thinking..... everytime my teenage daughter gets lippy with me, I will make a note to wear it the next time I drive carpool, pick up a friend's house, or perhaps cheer her on at a chilly soccer game. 

The possibilities are endless and I am quite in love it.... available from talented etsy seller taraduff

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Real Housewives Orange County Season 1

I am only slightly ashamed to tell you this is the ONLY season of Housewives I've never seen.... don't judge, I love sewing to mindless reality tv that doesn't require my complete attention.

NBC is running the season from episode 1 daily during their soap operas spot (for NJ it's 2 pm but check your local listings)

I can't wait to see Lauri PRE marriage to mega baller George and working for Vicki and would love to learn more about this stranger Kimberly Bryant who pops up every now and then on the OC finales.   This season also includes more background on housewife 7 Slade Smiley who plays a pretty big supporting role.  The years have been kinder to some and harsher to others.

More Housewife gossip on one of my favorite new blogs to read Absurd to Sublime!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Talking Shop and Mermaid Love

I've been working on some new mermaid inspired hair accessories and hope to have them up on the site soon.  This little first grade mermaid is loving them! xo, Brie

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I got suckered

Into buying a fish for each of the kids the other day.  C really wanted an angel fish and the lady at PetCo asked me how big our tank was because they really need at least 20 gallons to thrive.  I told we had a cylinder vase with rocks in the bottom, she then directed me to the beta fish :)  which come with a 2 week guarantee (hopefully we won't need it!)

Introducing C's fish Diamond

The boys share a room, so their fish are sharing a bowl.  Two female betas can reside together peacefully.  Bon Jovi and French Toast get along beautifully!

and Ponyo - who might need a little windex on his vase

C is so in love with this little fish - she talks to it and reads to it.  Kind of makes me feel bad that I can't commit to a more exciting pet, but I know my limitations and a pet with fur just isn't happening anytime soon!

In other news - 2 out of 4 started school today and 4 out of 4 will be in school tomorrow!  If you need me I will be turning a cartwheel in the front yard ;)  xo, Brie

Monday, September 6, 2010

Menu Monday

Happy Labor Day!  Sports schedules are in full swing and school starts tomorrow!  I am sad to say goodbye to the summer of 2010, but I am definitely ready to try to form a more structured fall routine.  Here's what's cooking this week......

Monday - Sausage Pasta by Sara Moulton (tip: I don't use breakfast sausage, just regular italian) and salad

Tuesday - Tacos

Wednesday - Hot Dogs and fruit - (crazy football schedule)

Thursday - Stuffed Shells, rolls, salad

Friday - Grilled Lemon Garlic Chicken, tomato mozzerella salad, potato packets on the grill

Saturday - out

Sunday - Pioneer Woman's Penne A La Betsy

So there you have it - I feel so much better to have it down in print before I lose the list :)  xo, Brie

PS Monday and Sunday's meals are linked to the recipe

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fabulous Home Goods Find

Completely fell in love with this decorative shallow bowl at home good.  The interior of this wooden bowl is a glossy deep red rust which fits in nicely with our family room decor.  The exterior of the bowl has all these coiled up pieces of paper in different colors.  I am in LOVE with it, only 14.99 - no way was I leaving the store without it!  xo, Brie