Favorite Candles & A Giveaway

I love candles, don’t we all? A few of my all time favorite candles are…

Henri Bendel- I love the unique scents Henri Bendel offers. These are a little expensive but you can find them at Bath and Body Works on sale from time to time.

Yankee Candle- Yankee is the brand I buy the most often. The prices are reasonable and they always offer specials and coupons. My favorite scent is Butter Cream, it makes the entire house smell delicious.

Trish McEvoy=Love. My friend, Tiffany, introduced me to these candles. I LOVE them! You can find Trish McEvoy Candles at Nordstrom and Niemans. They’re pricy but I’ve found them much cheaper on eBay. I love a deal!

Tyler Candle Company- Not only do these candles have cute names like Diva, Cashmere Elegance, Chateau, French Market, & Homecoming, they smell SO good. Their fragrances are unique and long lasting!

Since I love my blog friends and I’ve won a total of 5 giveaways since May, I’m hosting a Pay It Forward Giveaway for all my followers, current or new. The winner will receive an 11oz. Tyler Candle. The scent I chose for the giveaway is Orange Vanilla, one of my favorites. Tyler Candle Company describes the scent as- “Pure orange & rich vanilla bean blend together with a hint of spice to create an invitingly clean year round favorite!” It’s so yummy.

Basically, I’m too lazy to count multiple entries. To enter, just leave one comment and let me know you are a follower or you’ve just become a follower and tell me your favorite candle scent and/or brand. I’m always looking for new favorites. I’ll announce the winner on Monday, August 3rd.


A Retail Victory & Misc.

Y'all today I had a retail victory at Target. I got this super cute tin bucket for 75% off! I think someone had just returned it. The original price was $18.99 and I paid $4.74. I love a victory! I think it will be perfect for ice and beverages!

Be sure to stop by The Design Girl for the chance to win a deluxe blog makeover. She is hosting a raffle for New Day Foster Home, my favorite charity. 100% of money raised will go directly to the formula project. A lucky winner will receive a deluxe makeover, and a runner up will receive a pre-made template. Without the formula project many orphans in China would be fed water. Can you imagine? The New Day Formula Project is a great cause and it saves lives.

Today I had a surprise in the mailbox! In May I got an email from Pearls are a Girl's Best Friend letting me know I won her giveaway. I won this CUTE bangle bracelet for A. Tierney. I choose the white bangle and I love it! There was a delay in shipping because I moved and had a change of address. Thank you SO much, Pearls are a Girl's Best Friend.

Don't forget to stop by my blog tomorrow evening for my Pay It Forward Giveaway! You must be a follower to sign up. I'm off to Chuy's for dinner with some new girlfriends! Yum!!!


Monogram Art, Food Network Star, & Upcoming Giveaway

A couple of weeks ago Danielle hosted a giveaway on her blog for a monogram decal from, Decal Monogram, an Etsy store. I entered the giveaway but I also placed an order immediately! I love the decals from Decal Monograms and they’re reasonably priced! She has the cutest decals for your walls, cell phone, cars, vases, etc… The possibilities are endless. Being creative is the fun part, right?

I ordered the “extra large wall monogram decal” for my bedroom. It was only $25. I didn’t want to attach the decal to the wall so I used a 22x28 canvas from Hobby Lobby. I got the canvas with a 40% off coupon. Next I put the canvas into a 22x28 frame that was on sale for 50% off. I love the way it turned out and I can move my new art around the house or take it with me when I move.

Another view, so you can have a better idea of the size

Is anyone watching The Next Food Network Star? Who do you want to win? From day one, I’ve been pulling for Melissa and Debbie. Since Debbie was voted off on Sunday, I’m pulling for Melissa. Love her!

~Go Melissa~

Debbie~ voted off on Sunday. Too bad, I was looking forward to an Asian chef on Food Network.

Since I've won 3 giveaways in a row, I'm going to pay it forward and host a giveaway on my blog this week. It will be for anyone who is a follower or becomes a follower. Stay tuned....


Gracie Has Been Adopted!

The weekend I moved to San Antonio I received an email from New Day Foster Home informing me that Gracie had been adopted. She was adopted by a local family so the process was fast. NDFH was notified that Gracie had been matched and within days she was gone. I'm so happy for her~ Gracie has a family!

I was sponsoring Gracie for a year. Since she's home, NDFH has matched me with another baby to continue my sponsorship. Meet Sadie...

Little Sadie has Spina Bifida. She was born on April 25, 2009 and abandoned on the side of a local street on May 4, 2009. She arrived at New Day Foster Home on May 14. Currently, Sadie is waiting for surgery. She is still too young and she's not strong enough yet for the surgery. Poor baby.

Sadie's Little Hand Prints



I can’t believe this…. I won another giveaway. Thank you so much The Cape House. I won her giveaway for a one year subscription to Vogue. Be sure to stop by The Cape House. She’s a world traveler and has great posts on the places she’s been, the people, the culture, and the food. Check out her recent post on food in China. She is moving to South America in just a few days. How exciting and Congratulations!

I’ve had a couple of people ask to see pictures of my new home in San Antonio. I’m not completely done with all the rooms; I have a few touches here and there I want to work on. I’m not sure if I’ll post pics of every room but here is my favorite room so far, the bathroom. The weekend in April I decided I was moving to SAT, I went to Anthropologie and bought this beautiful shower curtain. I LOVE ruffles.


I Feel So Loved....

I’ve received a few blog awards and won 2 giveaways! I’m so excited. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you…

~The Awards~

Baker Girl at An Extended Vacation

Check out their blogs!

A few months ago I told Danielle that I was over giveaways because I always enter and never win. :) Right after I said that, I won a giveaway from Kate at Nautical by Nature. In the last 2 weeks, I’ve won 2 more giveaways and I’m so excited!. When I entered these giveaways I thought, “I really want to win this one but I probably won’t.” Ha, maybe I need to stop being so negative.

Last week, Polka Dots and Protein Bars notified me that I won her "Sew Your Own" Giveaway. She is an incredibly talented seamstress. Miss Polka Dots and Protein Bars is letting me pick anything I want and she will custom sew it out of this cute fabric. I picked an apron and I’m so excited. I think sewing is really hard and I’m just amazed at her talent.

Monday morning I woke up to an email from my blog friend Stacilyn at Shore Aesthetic. I won her giveaway too!!! I can’t believe it. I won the cutest ice bucket from Dabney Lee at Home. I got to pick the background and monogram for the ice bucket. It was such a hard decision; it took me all day to decide, like an act of Congress. :) I emailed a friend for her opinion, my sister, and my mom. There are TOO many cute choices and combinations on Dabney Lee at Home. I’ve never owned an ice bucket, this is so exciting!


Gigantic Zucchini

Can y’all believe the size of the zucchini my sister and brother-in-law picked up at the Farmer’s Market in Omaha? It’s bigger than Daisy! Jenn asked me for my Zucchini Bread Recipe. It’s from one of my favorite cookbooks, Back To The Table. I thought I'd share the recipe in case anyone else has purchased a gigantic zucchini. I think she'll be able to make several batches of Zucchini Bread with this baby.

Since I figured Jenn might need more than one recipe for her zucchini, I pulled out another favorite cookbook, Apples for Jam. LOVE this cookbook and it’s very cute! I found a really interesting recipe for Zucchini Omelettes. I haven’t tried these but I sent the recipe to my sis. The lemon touch at the end sounds SO good. My sister really should start a blog.

What are some of your favorite go-to cookbooks?

Zucchini Bread from Art Smith
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons five spice powder, pumpkin pie spice, or ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 cups of sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 10 inch fluted Bundt pan and tap out excess flour. Whisk the flour, five spice powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Make a well in the center. In another bowl, whisk the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla and pour into the well. Mix well, and then stir in zucchini and pecans. Spread evenly in the pan. Bake until wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. About 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Invert onto rack and cool completely.

Zucchini Omelette- Makes 4 omelettes

About 1.5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Clove garlic, peeled and squashed a bit
1-2 Small green zucchini, finely sliced
3-4 Basil Leaves, torn
4 Eggs or egg whites
6 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
A little lemon juice

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 egg, swirling the egg evenly around the pan. Scatter about a quarter of zucchini over the omelette and about 1.5 tablespoons of Parmesan. Cook until omelette is set and the underside is lightly golden. Slip out onto a warm plate while you make the other omletes. Serve with a few drops of lemon juice and grinding of pepper.


Week Update

Today I worked in South Austin. On my way home, I made a couple of stops. First, I stopped at Spec’s , (a HOU company)to purchase a couple of bottles of wine. After checking out, the clerk handed me my receipt with an attached note. The note was priceless. It said, “Protect Your Wine!!. Texas heat is a KILLER! Leaving your wine in a hot car can cause it to spoil and/or burst!” Too bad I didn’t get this note last week!

Last week while working out of town, I picked up a few bottles of wine. I knew my sis was going to be in town for the weekend and we were planning a Girl’s Night at the town house. It was early in the week so I left the wine in my car trunk. Thursday afternoon I got in my car and noticed a strange smell; my car smelled like wine! I thought, “Oh no, did one of the bottles hit another and break?” I opened my trunk and 2 bottles had popped open. You know the thick foil that covers the cork? Well, the cork blew through the foil, popped open, and spilled all over the trunk. The cork was fat and swollen from the “Killer Texas Heat.” I had no idea this could happen! Remember, when I said I was born in the wrong state? I wasn't kidding!!!

Last Friday as I was driving back to San Antonio I thought, if a police officer pulls me over and gets a whiff of the nasty scent inside my car I’m going to be taking my first breath alyzer test. Luckily, I had an event free drive back to SA. Saturday morning I had my car washed and completely shampooed.

My second stop today was at the San Marcos Outlet Mall. If you’re ever in the area, the San Marcos Outlet Mall is worth the stop. It has been voted the 3rd best place to shop in the world by The View on ABC. I’m not your biggest outlet mall fan; sometimes I think it’s a scam but this one has some great shops. By the end of summer 2009, the San Marcos Outlet will have a Tory Burch store. I’m on the email list for grand opening and I’m looking forward to a retail victory! Anyway, I ran into the Williams Sonoma Outlet and picked up this cookbook for 50% off.

Beyond the Great Wall~ Recipes and Travels in the Other China

This cookbook is full of stories about the real China… the people, the culture, the food, and the history. The cookbook has great photography and authentic recipes. My friend, Mark C., just returned from Fiji for a Habitat for Humanity trip. When he returned Mark C. said to me, “You know how you say there’s real China and there’s Olympic China? Well, I went to real Fiji, not Honeymoon Fiji.” I forgot I had said that but it’s so true!

Pics from Mark C's Trip

There was a moment on my China ‘08 trip that I’ll never forget. It was Sunday morning; we piled into a van and headed to Beijing for church service. As we pulled into Beijing, all I could see were beautiful sky scrapers. Give me some big city any day and I’m happy! Although this time was different; my heart was heavy and my stomach was sick. An hour before arriving in Beijing we left rural China. Most of the people in rural China didn’t have indoor plumbing; they lived in homes with dirt floors, and they lived in extreme poverty. Just 24 hours before, I was at a Foster Home playing with orphans; children living in full time day care (and this is the good scenario). Can you imagine? As we approached Beijing everyone in the van was silent. The founder of the Foster Home was driving. After a long silence he said, “There is a rich China inside poor China.” I think about that statement almost everyday. Outside of “Olympic China” is another China. I appreciate this book.


Weekend Update

I hope y’all had a great weekend. My weekend was too short. Aww, I wish I had another day. Oh well...

I’ve mentioned my friend, Leslie, on my blog before. However, I must formally introduce Leslie. I call Leslie "My Famous Friend." Leslie is one of the Shamu trainers at Sea World-San Antonio. She is so talented! Now that I’m living in San Antonio I’m so excited about hanging out with Leslie more often. If you happen to visit Sea World-SA and Leslie is the trainer at the Shamu Show, be sure to cheer extra loud. Here are a few photos my sister took of Leslie at work.

This is my favorite picture! I'm so amazed at Leslie's skills. If you know me, I'm 110% unathletic. I don't like to walk outside unless it's to and from the car! I don't like to be wet, unless I'm showering. I don't like the majority of animals (I won't hurt them) but I'm kinda grossed out. So, I can't imagine jumping off Shamu's nose and flying through the air. Amazing!

My sis is working in San Antonio for a couple of weeks. Saturday night we invited a couple of girls to the town house for a Girl’s Night. Jenn made Shrimp Tacos that were delicious and healthy. I made Guacamole and Diet Soda Cupcakes. I didn’t get many pictures on Saturday night but here’s a few.

Middle Sister Wine~ a gift from me

Me and Leslie


~Guacamole Recipe~

I don't have an exact recipe for guacamole; it's "to taste." You'll need avocados, lime, fresh cilantro (a must), tomato, onion, salt and pepper. For this batch, I used 7 small avocados.

Scoop the avocado into a mixing bowl, don't mash. Squeeze the lime juice over the avocado. I used about 6 small limes. Add fresh cilantro. Cilantro really makes the guacamole; I don't think you can have too much. Add 1-3 chopped roma tomatoes. Add about 1/4 cup white or red onion, chopped. I prefer red onion in this dish. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste and mix well. As you mix mash the larger pieces of avocado with a fork. I like it a little chunky.

The trick is you have to taste the guac and determine what adjustments need to be made. After I made this batch, I added more cilantro, salt, and pepper.

Diet Soda Cupcakes

~Diet Soda Cupcake Recipe~

Use 1 box of store bought cake mix. Add 12 oz. of diet soda. Optional~ add 2-3 egg whites. This will make the cake fluffy. Follow the baking directions on the box. Bam! You have low cal. cake. I used a white cake mix and 12oz. of diet 7-Up. This time I made real buttercream icing but you can use cool whip or low fat pudding.

Here are some great diet soda and cake mix combos...

Spice Cake Mix with Diet Orange

Banana Cake Mix with Diet Root Beer

Lemon Cake Mix with Diet 7-up

Chocolate Cake Mix with Diet Coke

White Cake Mix with Diet Cherry 7-up

Lemon Cake Mix with Diet Ginger Ale

Orange Cake Mix with Diet Mountain Dew

Lemon Cake Mix with Diet 7-up

Angel Food Cake Mix with Diet Orange

White Cake Mix with Diet Orange

Yellow Cake Mix with Diet Orange

White Cake Mix with Diet Peach

Spice Cake Mix with Diet 7-up

White Cake Mix with Diet Ginger Ale

Chocolate Cake Mix with Diet Cherry Coke

Devils Food Cake Mix with Diet Vanilla Coke

Chocolate Cake with Diet Rootbeer

Marble Cake Mix with Diet Cream Soda

Lemon Cake Mix with Tangerine Diet Rite

Red Velvet Cake Mix with Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper

Banana Cake with Diet Root Beer

Pineapple Cake Mix with Diet Squirt


Fact Sheet

Prior to moving to San Antonio my sister, Jenn, sent me a very informative and detailed fact sheet on the town house and the city. She also left me a goodie basket, but she didn’t have time to purchase a basket. So it's a goodie assortment in the armoire.... just as good. My assortment contained a wide range of to-go menus, cute napkins, a bottle of my favorite wine, brownie mix, and "What to do in San Antonio" cards. It was very thoughtful. Thanks, sis.

Here are some of the highlights from the fact sheet...

~I’ll clean out the small mammal that’s in my bath tub drain before we leave.
~I think the upstairs toilet clogs more often than the downstairs one. Not sure exactly… maybe it’s me.

Winter / Fall Yard:
~LEAVES! Too bad Mawmaw can’t rake anymore. She used to love it. I’ll most likely deal with the leaves when I come back. Last year we raked about 3 times. Probably had 6 – 12 bags of leaves each time. It’s obnoxious. They fall from about mid-October and then bloom in March.

~The only thing to remember is turn it off when you’re not using it. It’s the red button on the bottom in the front.
~Don’t fall off. That would really hurt.
~If you do fall off, aim for the bed.

~Stray cats are a pain, so kick them out if you see them lounging or sun bathing on the back porch. Don’t be soft with them. They have a decently sized posse & are multiplying so you don’t want to be known as the softie.
~You may encounter a possum or coon. Don’t be alarmed, just scare them away. Sometimes coons run on our roof. Not sure why they do that but it’s a weird sound.

Other HOA rules:
~I left the binder of HOA rules in the cabinet above stove in case you’re interested in some dull reading.

Area dining:

~I’m leaving a bunch of to-go menus for you. I think you will be delighted with the range of excellent choices.

~ Some of our favorites are:
Pasha meditterean (only downside is they don’t serve wine)
Mama Margies (margaritas for $3.50)
It’s Greek to Me (only get carry-out)
Rome’s Pizza (love the bistro bread)
Lee’s Chinese Food
Samurai Sushi – think you’ve been there
Aldos is nice Italian. Go there on a date.
Hooters @ Wurzbach… just kidding
Shogun (just as good as Benihanas)
La Fagata (beware of strong margaritas)


Poor Blackberry

Last Thursday I accidentally dropped my Blackberry into a cup of water. Devastating! I was getting out of the car, my hands were full, it was dark, and I had to go to the bathroom... bad combo. I had a cup in the cup holder of the car. I put the cup in my purse, standing up. Next I dropped my Blackberry and Bluetooth into my purse but they went into the cup. Not a problem, right? I ran inside used the bathroom, made a sandwich, and retrieved my Blackberry from the cup inside my purse. I thought the cup was empty but inside were 3 melted ice cubes.

I panicked. I took the battery out and used a towel to wipe everything down. I ran to the computer and Googled “What to do if Blackberry gets wet.” Most sites said to immediately remove and the battery and let it sit for a few days but more than likely its dead.

Then I read something bazaar. A couple sites said to place your Blackberry in a bag or container of rice. Supposedly, the rice will help absorb the moisture from the phone. I did it.

That night I woke up several times thinking about the Blackberry situation. I kept thinking, “Did I really put my phone in a bag of rice in the pantry.”

Well, the rice trick didn’t work. My company sent a new Blackberry to my house on Tuesday but I’m out of town until Friday. I feel so lost without it. My Grandfather let me borrow his phone in case I have an emergency or I need it for work. I told him I would not use it unless I absolutely needed it. He told me to talk as much as I want because he has 2000 minutes. I thought that sounded strange. Not only does he not use his phone, it’s usually turned off.

Monday morning on my way out of town, I stopped at the Sprint store to confirm my Grandfather’s cell phone plan. He has 200 minutes, no internet, no texting, and no sprint to sprint. Bless his heart and thank goodness I stopped to find out which plan he’s on.


Winner, Discount, & My New Look

The winner of my Summer Stationery Giveaway is #7, Sweet Simplicity. Congrats! I hope you love you new stationery set.

The Design Girl has generously offered a special discount on all stationery designs to my readers until Sunday, July 12. Just mention Peeptoe Pumps and Pearls and you'll receive your personalized stationery for $15.

All stationery is size A2, and will be sent to the customer as a printable PDF file via email. Your order can be printed at home, or by a local or online printing company. I use Vista Print. Once you have purchased your design you can print as many or as little designs as you like.

What do y'all think about my new blog look? The Design Girl is now offering pre-made blog templates and they're on sale for $25! What a deal!


July 4th Project

I thought I had a BBQ to attend on July 4th (not the BBQ at my parent's house). I double checked the date and the BBQ was on Sunday, July 5th. Oopps but it ended up working out perfect. I had so many small details to finish at the new home and my mom and I got to do a project. I love projects!

I wish my mom had a blog so she could write about all the projects my sister and I have asked her help us with. A few times (or more), she has actually done the majority of the project and we watched. When Jenn and I were in college, my mom made 26 throw pillows one summer. You must start the semester with a stylish apartment, right? One year for Christmas Jenn and I had an idea to make homemade food gifts for our friends. We (kind of) helped and mostly watched as my mom made homemade jelly and homemade salsa and canned it. Jenn made labels and we wrapped the lids in fabric and ribbon. My mom was a home economics major in college and she can do anything!

As my dad watched the fireworks from the front porch on July 4th, my mom and I covered an old Pottery Barn lamp shade. I thought about purchasing a new shade but the one I had fit the lamp base perfectly. Originally when I purchased the shade, it had crystal beads hanging from the bottom. They started falling off. WHAT???

Poor lamp shade~ the original

Supplies you'll need~ fabric, spray glue, paper for the pattern, hot glue gun, and scissors

Lay the lamp shade on your paper. Slowly turn the shade and trace a pattern.

After you trace the lamp shade, add a 1 inch border to fold into the shade at the end.

Pin the pattern to the fabric and cut.

Place one end of the fabric on your lamp shade. Spray small sections of the shade with the spray glue and carefully smooth the fabric around the shade section by section.

Once the fabric is attached to the outside of the shade, hot glue the 1 inch borders to the inside of the shade.

Ta-Dah~ This project was easy and we had extra fabric for pillows but not 26 pillows.

In my bedroom