Hurricane Sandy

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I want you to know that my thoughts are with all of you here on the east coast who are experiencing or who have experienced the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

Schools are closed here today in the Rochester area and there are many without power, but we are so thankful that the community was spared from what it could have been. We lost some tree limbs, but nothing else here.

I know so many more in NYC and New Jersey are going to be rebuilding for a long time and my heartfelt thoughts go out to you.


Child Safety Tips (Sponsored Post)

Monday, October 29, 2012

10 Tips for Child Safety at Home

You cannot, perhaps unfortunately be in two or more places at the same time, although with young children in the home, you may often wish you could be. There are steps you can take to protect your child from harm in the house, and you can enlist the support of your older children to help keep the youngest member of the family safe from harm.

Keep all detergents, medication and alcohol out of reach, and do not put convenient chairs close to medicine cabinets or cabinets in which you have stashed your detergents or alcohol. You should put childproof locks on all such cabinets.

Put locks on all your windows, and if necessary call in a locksmith to do the job for you. Locksmiths can advise you on the best childproof locks as well as ones which are intruder-proof.

Don’t leave chairs close to windows, as young children can clamber up them and may fall through an open window. A screen is not sufficient to prevent a child falling.

Cover any sockets which are not in use as children are curious and will put their fingers or any other small objects into the holes, and this could cause a fire.

Never leave a child unattended in the kitchen, especially when you are cooking. Make sure that all pan handles are facing towards the back of the hob, so that a child cannot grab them and make them fall. No one wants to take a child screaming to the burns unit of the local hospital. Also instruct older children to take particular care when using the kitchen.

Stair gates can prevent accidents happening and can be locked into place- the older family members will be able to climb over them, but they are insurmountable for a very young child.

Cover sharp corners with rounded plastic covers so that you young child does not cut his/her head on them.

Never leave sharp items on a surface, even though you don’t think your child can reach them. Put scissors, needles, knives, and so on back in drawers and cupboards and if you think it is necessary, keep these places locked.

You should fix any free-standing furniture such as bookcases to the wall, so that even if your toddler tries to climb up them, they will not fall and crush him/her.

Pools can be very dangerous if you have a young child, and perhaps the best thing to do if you have one is to install an alarm system which alerts you if anyone falls into the pool. You can also cover it when you are not able to supervise your child outside, but the alarm system is probably the safest option.

When you have a young child at home, you suddenly become aware of all the potential dangers which have always been lurking in your home. If you crawl around the floor yourself, you may be able to find even more things which could harm your child. Look at your home from a child’s point of view, and address any possible problems. You may feel a little stupid, but it’s worth doing this to protect your young child form harm.

Author Bio:
Marry Jojo is a freelance writer and a mother who wants to take good care of her children. She often write article about child safety and home security. She is also a contributing author of Bellevue locksmith website.

Editor's Note: This post is a sponsored post. We received compensation for publishing this piece.

5 for Friday -- Vanilla Almond

Friday, October 26, 2012

Beginning today, I will showcase 5 tried & true favorites of mine. I cannot think of a scent (or flavor) combo that I enjoy more than vanilla and almond.  Here are some of my favorite vanilla-almond products:


Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
Republic of Tea Vanilla Almond Black Tea Bags
Shadow Lake Vanilla Almond Pure Castile Soap
Nourish Almond Vanilla Organic Deodorant
Nature's Path Organic Flax Vanilla Almond Granola

Home Safety


Evaluate Your Home Security & Keep Your Family Safe

Keeping those things we care about in life is among our most basic, primal urges, right up there with
eating, sleeping, making love and filling in tax forms (I’m kidding, I’m kidding), but the fact remains
that looking after others is an important thing to everybody. Our homes are an extension of that
ideal, we live inside them but so do all our worldly possessions, everything we own, all our memories
and the good times we’ve had, and for a large portion of us, it’s also where our loved ones live. Be
they relatives or children and wives, they’re as much a part of the fabric of that building as we are,
and it’s for that reason why ensuring your home security is up to snuff is one of the most important
things you can do.

Evaluating your home security isn’t something you need hire a professional to do either, it’s
something you can easily achieve yourself with just a little care and knowledge. For example, you
might not have thought about it, but a robber is highly unlikely to come crashing through your walls
in order to make off with your computers and television, no, their only real options are your doors
and windows, which are coincidentally two of the easiest things to check.

Starting with windows, the biggest mistake people make is to simply leave them unlocked or even
worse – open. It’s hard to remember when you’re tired, but leaving your windows open or unlocked
whilst you fall asleep is just one big welcome mat for a thief, who will jump at the opportunity of
slipping quietly in your home to make off with your possessions. A little common sense and diligence
can fix this problem, but heightened security never does any harm and many companies offer
inexpensive ways of further securing windows via restrictors, this is absolutely worthwhile. Common
sense should prevail, always make sure your valuables are out of sight, don’t leave your keys near
your door and always shut your curtains in the evening because if they can’t see it, they won’t want
to steal it.

From there, check your doors; regular barrel locks work okay in practice, but any burglar with a
little know how and some basic DIY tools can break through them in less than 20 seconds. Replacing
your locks with high security cylinders (there are plenty on the market) will ensure that your home
remains safe and sound.

One final, vital addition to any home security should be CCTV, which has been steadily dropping in
price since it rose to popularity a few years ago. These days, a good quality CCTV system is within
the grasp of most households and you need not fear the cost. By evaluating your home security and
making repairs where you see fit, you too can ensure your home is free from robbery, vandalism
and anything else which may seek to harm or hurt you, your loved ones or your home. It’s all in the
simple things, and in no time you can get back to living without the fear of being broken in to.

Jakk Ogden writes for, a home security specialist helping
consumers secure their homes with products such as home security locks and UPVC window

Editor's Note: This is a sponsored post and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this blog.

Thrifty & Fabulous with Ellie

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Note: It is so great to have Elizabeth back with another Thrifty & Fabulous! Today, her adorable almost 9 year old is the girl behind the DIY:

Adorable Halloween project alert!! And I am proud to announce that this little project was thought up entirely by budding designer, Eloise Thompson. 



Sharpie Marker.



We had all these things already, so, this little project was, well, free!

Can't get much thriftier than that!

Wet pieces of tissue (or any paper, really), squeeze water out and maneuver into little ghostly shapes. Let them dry, then add eyes with your sharpie marker. Adorable. You could do a number of things with these cute creatures but we strung them into garland and hung them from our wreath.

Good job, Ellie!

Before & After: My hands with (seed)

Monday, October 22, 2012

I am going to show you a dramatic before and after photo today. We had a lovely weekend and we bought a new sectional sofa for the living room. Since my current living room theme is vintage chic with pastels and brights and our new sofa is a rich chocolate brown, it was time again for me to paint the living room.  If you've been reading the blog long enough, you'll know that I always get the "itch" this time of year to paint one of the rooms in our house.

I spent about 9 hours yesterday painting the living room. I ended up with paint all over my hands and had to scrub, scrub, scrub them to get the paint off. They were so dry and chapped after I did this.  Just look at the picture below. It looks like I have the hands of someone much older. My hands were so dry and sore.

I took 5 minutes to give myself a bit of pampering with (seed) -- I used the Therapeutic Hand Scrub and my beloved Healthy Hand Cream.  

I love the scrub because the shea butter, grape seed, and glycerin really treat and nourish my hands, while the apricot seed powder gently (but effectively) sloughs off dead skin cells. My hands looked 10 times better with just the scrub.

When I rinsed off the scrub, I applied my go to cream -- it's the hand cream I use on my face and neck as well.  Used as its intended purpose, though, you can see that my hands are supple and moisturized.

See the difference for yourself:



My Favorite Pressed Powder Foundation

Thursday, October 18, 2012

This time of year has my skin always in a state of pure confusion.  We jump from humid, warm weather to windy, chilly temps and the heat running--and sometimes we get that bit of "Indian Summer" and my skin is left wondering what's going on yet again.

That means it's time to change up my foundation once more.  It happens EVERY single October.  I've been using the Jane Iredale Amazing Base loose foundation I told you about. It is my holy grail of mineral powder foundations for when my skin is more oily. And it really is fabulous with its built in SPF. 

It is a bit drying for me now, though, so it'll be put away for a few more months.

Last week, I opened up my makeup case and took out my Honeybee Gardens Pressed Mineral Foundation.  It's been several months since I used it and it was really great to have it back in my makeup lineup.  The shade I wear is called Supernatural and it is just perfect for my skin. You can see the color below in the photo.

The foundation sells for $9.99 and I promise you it feels like $30, $40, and $50 foundations. Honeybee Gardens, like my other favorite small makeup company, Silk Naturals, has perfected the art of creating high quality cosmetics at prices everyone can afford.

I think that what makes me so fond of this foundation is the fact that the texture is just divine. It is so silky smooth and I love the buildable coverage it provides.  It is sold in refill form and you can buy the compact to keep it in. If you buy the compact, it sells for $11.99, but remember you only will be investing in the compact once. I also like that it is mess free.  It is pressed, so I do not have to worry about specks of powder getting all over the place.  This also makes it portable, so I can tuck the compact in my purse.

As far as foundation application, I apply it with the Honeybee Gardens Mini Buffer/Kabuki Brush which is also just delightful.  My brush from Everyday Minerals broke not too long ago and this one features even softer bristles. The brush is high quality and sells for $12.99.

What is your favorite pressed foundation? I'd love to know!

Favorite Short Hair Products

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

In July, I got several inches lopped off of my past the chin bob into a cropped pixie. While the first couple weeks were a HUGE adjustment period, I am loving it!

I save soooo much time--no blow drying, no flat ironing, no deep treatments, etc. I can sleep 45 minutes later than before!

I was just thinking about my current routine and what I am now using. It is amazing what chopping a few inches off can do in terms of how your hair feels. Things that would've weighed down my hair before don't do that.

Here's what I am using right now:


Where to Buy

(seed) Citrus Thyme Hair Shampoo Bar, $4.49
Acure Organics Leave-in Conditioner, $9.99
Original Moxie Piece-Nik Styling Paste, $14
Not Your Mother's Shine Mist, $5.99

I also can be found in the kitchen making 3 DIY hair care favorites:

Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse (used 1X weekly now)
Homemade Texture Balm for Blondes (used as a styler)
Beer Honey Shine Booster (used 1X weekly)

PS: My lipstick is Captivate from Silk Naturals, made locally in the Ithaca area!

Before you Pink, You Need to Think

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  While this is a wonderful reminder to do good for others and to raise awareness for a disease which has impacted so many women's lives (and men's), it also is a month when companies try to use slick ads to lure customers in, believing that their purchases will benefit breast cancer patients and charities.

Unfortunately, many companies are not helping the cause--they are contributing to it.  By using ingredient linked to breast cancer, they are part of the problem.

We all want breast cancer to go away. We all know someone who has been affected in one way or another my breast cancer.  I've had cousins and great aunts with breast cancer.  My grandmother had breast cancer as well. But buying products LINKED to breast cancer will not stop breast cancer.

I'd like everyone to go over to the Breast Cancer Action website and read about the  Think before You Pink campaign.  It's important.

The truth of the matter is, pinkwashing is on the rise.  Check out a piece I wrote on this subject last year.  I think you may be surprised by the companies involved and how their "pink ribbon" products actually may be causing you potential harm and increasing your risk for breast cancer.

Etsy Love: For the Birds

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

This morning it was 36 degrees while I was walking Ben over to school. I felt something warm hit the shoulder of my cardigan. A {bird} pooped on me. Yep. One of those mornings!

I still like birds, here are some handmade bird finds for you on this chilly day.


Buying Info:

Set of four little bowls from dgordon
Domino pendant from Smitten
Sppon ring from Birdz n Beez
Pill box from MMIM (which is local!)
Pillow cover, Classic by Nature
Wall decor from Lori A. McKee Design

5 Bits of Randomness

Monday, October 8, 2012

I have been slacker tends to get in the way from blogging at times and I do apologize! My boys are off today for Columbus Day and they're ramming around the living room playing with their Legos....the Legos which are supposed to be in neat storage bins upstairs and inevitably end up strewn all over the place for me to step on.

I thought it's long overdue for an edition of 5 Bits of Randomness!

1. I have an addiction--to AMC's "Breaking Bad". I started watching the show on my tablet on Netflix at night. I quickly became hooked after just two episodes and I found myself watching seasons 1-4 in less 8 days. Is that bad? It is so expertly written by people who truly know how to craft amazing stories and the acting is just REAL and amazing. Season 4 happens to be the last season on Netflix, so I spent last Friday watching most of season 5 with my friend Cheddy over quiche, soup and conversation. I then downloaded the rest from Amazon and I am officially caught up and am waiting until the last half of season 5 to return in 2013!

2.  I had the pleasure of meeting an online friend Saturday! Once upon a time a couple years ago, I was sent some products to review for (seed), a company owned by Rebecca and Benjamin Gournay.  I have talked about the line, especially the Fragrance Free Healthy Hand Cream over and over again on this blog.  Well, Rebecca and I had the chance to meet when she was visiting Wegmans in Pittsford to do a demo this weekend! It was so wonderful to meet such a lovely person with some much passion for her business.

3.  It is COOOLD in New York the past couple days! We have the heat on right now. That means I have been drinking lots of warm drinks.  MY favorite yummy concoction today?  It's a recipe I found on Pinterest for a Pumpkin Spice Latte from the blog Averie Cooks.  It is non-dairy, gluten free, and vegan. I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk in this.

4.  Speaking of So Delicious....I do not drink cow's milk.  My favorite alternative has taken lots of trial and error, but my absolute MOST favorite milk substitute is So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk.

5.  Last but not least--TODAY is the day that my red lipstick piece in USA TODAY's Modern Woman magazine hit the newsstands! If you want to know which red lipsticks and glosses are my favorite wiithout the chemicals, check it out!

Grape Pie Time!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Originally posted fall 2009...grape season is here again, so I thought I'd share once more!

Delicious grapes from the Finger Lakes

With the skins slipped off

The filling

Nick wanted a pumpkin cut out

It may not look beautiful, but it tastes heavenly!

Naples, New York is considered the Grape Capital of the World. Nestled in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of our state, you'll find dozens of wineries in the area. Every September, thousands of people from across the nation come to Naples to go to the Grape Festival. There are a couple of major festivals in that area in September and October, and you'll find Grape Pie stands everywhere.

Don't think of your typical white or red grapes found in the grcoery store. These are dark, almost black and very robust. They are used to make wine--and pie.

We have grape pie in this house every fall--they are simply delicious!

Here is the recipe I use. Please note I am not gifted at making good looking pies! I can tell you that it'll taste phenomenal!

I adapted the recipe below from one found on All Recipes.
I used the New York Table Grapes sold at our local farmer's market, Aman's, in Irondequoit.
I also used the Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts. Why? Since it took an hour to take the seeds out of the grapes, I didn't want to fiddle around with a crust for a long time. Plus, my crusts either come out flawlessly or majorly flawed--one never knows--and I didn't want to waste a Saturday afternoon on a bad pie!

This pie is absolutely delicious! My husband said I should sell them...but if I were to do that, my slogan would have to be 
"Karley's Pies: They May Look Bad But They Taste Fabulous!"

Here's the recipe:

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch
double crust pie
5 cups New York Table grapes (or Concord)
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
Wash grapes, and remove the skins. Save the skins. Place grape pulp in a large saucepan; mash a few at the bottom to release their juice. Cook over medium low heat until grapes come to a full boil. Remove pulp from heat, and press through a food mill to remove seeds. Combine pulp and skins in a large bowl. Stir in lemon juice.
In a separate bowl, mix sugar, flour, and salt. Stir into grape mixture. Pour filling into pastry crust, and dot with butter or margarine. Cover with second pastry shell. Flute edges, and cut little slits in the top crust for steam to escape.
Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 45 to 50 minutes, or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in top crust. Cool.

Serve with a wedge of sharp NY aged cheddar...or warm with some vanilla ice cream.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Latte from Pastry Affair

Pumpkin Spice Syrup for drinks from Pennies on a Platter

Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate from Good Life Eats

3 years ago, I crowned my winner of the Rochester area's best pumpkin donut. Here it is -- and I continue to buy these in the fall-- from Herman's on Five Mile Line Road in Webster.

 ♥ I found this monogrammed pumpkin on Pinterest today. This one makes me think of a beautiful friend of mine and her sweet girl. You know who you are, and you are both in my thoughts.  

Fall Facial Care

Monday, October 1, 2012

It's fall and getting cooler once again. As it has been in past years, that means my skin is changing and getting DRY. I know that that the simpler the routine, the better, for me. I'm talking about skin care. A few weeks ago, my skin started to rebel. Why wouldn't it? I am sent, on average, 8-10 facial products per week for the purpose of trial and review. Of course, I do not review all at the same time. When I try so many new things, even spaced out over time, my skin can get angry with me.

A few weeks ago I wanted to cry. My skin started itching, getting red, irritated, and just ticked off at me for wreaking havoc in its routine. Essential oils were causing redness, anything with more than 10-15 ingredients has been a trigger. This has resulted in some changes to my routine--a return to the basics. To what works and is gentle.

Here are my thoughts on "the basics." I looked back at my own product usage and results over time in terms of the most basic cleanse/tone/moisturize routine. I'm not counting serums or eye care right now.

I returned to what always has worked in the past--fragrance free, as natural as possible, and with few ingredients. I am happy to report that my routine is working once again and my skin is no longer mad at me.

I've gone back to the double-cleanse. I remove my makeup with oil. Right now, I am using pure grapeseed oil. After I remove my makeup and wipe away the residue and splash with water, I follow with an old standby--Aunt Nancy's Carrot Goat's Milk Soap ($6).

Next, I use Thayer's Alcohol-Free Cucumber Witch Hazel with Organic Aloe Vera ($7.99). It is the most soothing toner ever and makes my skin feel clean and takes away any itchiness. I used to use the Rosewater formula of Thayer's, but the rose parfum in it started to irritate my skin. This formula contains no added fragrance. In the summer, I simply use Dickinson's Witch Hazel, but my skin is much more oily then.

Lastly, I continue to stick with my favorite cream: (seed) Simply Fragrance Free Healthy Hand Cream. It's not marketed as a face cream, but it is the perfect recipe and blend of ingredients for dry skin. This one also retails for $7.99.

Each of these products is well under $10 and will work beautifully without irritating the skin and breaking the bank! You do not have to spend $20, 30, or $40 for each item to have healthy and glowing skin.

The total for the 4 products I am using is right around $30.

All are paraben free, sulfate free, palm oil free, fragrance free, phthalate free, and free of other nasties.
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