Taste{Full}: January 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Taste{full} Goals: Organize Those Photos!

The onset of the digital age has its advantages, but in terms of photography, it certainly has one primary disadvantage.  We take many more photos than we used to because it's so easy to take and [theoretically] develop pictures.  And what happens once we take those pictures? Well the answer for most of us would be (drum roll please).......nothing!  They stay on our camera for a year or if you're more advanced than the rest of us, they actually make it off of your camera and onto your hard drive.  The next level is to actually upload them and print them.  But even that's not really the point of those romantic pictures of you kissing your beau or the beautiful photo that highlights your daughter's big blue eyes or the amazing picture of the Louvre on your European escapade, now is it?! The ultimate goal would be to collect those pictures in a way that's meaningful and reminds you of the people and places you love.  It's such an awesome feeling to look back over a photo album or photo slideshow and be reminded of all the fun moments in life.  Since we don't tend to take pictures of the sad and crappy parts of life, it's a nice way to reminisce from happy moment to happy moment.  Here are a few items to get you started on organizing those photos...

First is to organize the photos. While it would be nice to put each and every picture in beautiful leather bound albums that's just not practical--at least at first.  I personally would feel a whole lot better if my photos were organized by date and placed in any one of these amazing photo storage boxes.  Form and function are not mutually exclusive. 

In terms of organization, you may wish to organize them online only and skip the adorable photo storage boxes altogether.  If that's the case, there are several sites where you can not only store your photos, but also create amazing photo books with them.  These sites also have super cheap printing options (why buy expensive ink when you can print for 8 cents per picture?) along with photo gift ideas, announcements, Christmas cards, etc.  The possibilities are endless.

 Shutterfly, York, and Snapfish are all very easy to use and have varying levels of unique printing and gift ideas. Personally I prefer Shutterfly--their announcements and cards are much more modern. Of course they are also more expensive. York seems to be the cheapest of the bunch. You can actually buy prints for as little as 4 cents per print when they run their promotions (they are 8 cents normally). You can't beat that price. MyPublisher is a little more complex to use but it gives you far more creative license when making photo books.

 So I mentioned photo books a few times.  Rather than post links to pictures of albums and frames, I'm instead going to recommend that you try creating a phtoto book online.  I know there is something to be said for 'real' pictures in an album versus a book but there's also something to be said for maintaining your sanity.  If, like me, you have literally thousands of pictures (either hard or soft copy) the thought of printing them all and putting them in albums can be a tad overwhelming.  However the thought of sitting at the computer for a few hours making a photo book just doesn't seem quite as daunting.  Mypublisher is probably the queen of photo books.  However, due to the ease of shutterfly, it's the site I chose to make this one:

I didn't even scratch the surface regarding scrapbooking, framing, photo albums, etc.  But hopefully this is enough information to inspire you to get those photos off of your camera or off of your computer and make something of them!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fabulous Cake Stand Collectibles

Though I aspire to become more of a true chef in life, I am at heart a baker.  I love making cupcakes, muffins, cookies, cakes, and basically anything I really should NOT be eating.  Therefore, it comes as no real surprise that I have this intense desire to collect cake plates.  What better way to show off a true home-baked masterpiece than on a fabulous elevated pedestal??  With so many styles out there from the modern clear glass versions to old-fashioned colored ceramic beauties, there's a cake plate for just about every person's tastes.  Here are a few I'd love to start my collection off with....
 A modern take on the old classic domed stand.  I can just picture a pile of freshly baked blueberry muffins or a crumbly coffee cake resting underneath that beautiful lid! 
Footed Cake Platter with Dome $54.95 at CrateandBarrel.com.  

Another domed one, but this one doubles as a punch bowl when you simply flip the lid... ingenious!
Glass Domed Cake Plate/Punch Bowl $30.00 Williams-Sonoma.com

Why yes, these DO deserve a luscious Red Velvet cake to top them off.... how perceptive of you!
Laurie Cake Pedestal $19.95 at CrateandBarrel.com, Emile Henry Ruffled Cake Stand $70.00 Williams-Sonoma.com

If the good old cupcake tower is getting old, how about showing off your mini treats in these gorgeous domed creations?
Glass Pedestal Stand and Dome $14.00 at PotteryBarn.com

And from the queen of domestic bliss herself, Martha's take on cake stands both square and round... classics by themselves or even more impressive stacked!
Martha Stewart Collection Whiteware Cake Stands $22-$42 8" - 12" Macys.com 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pick Picnik: The Coolest Photo Editing Software

Why am I just learning about Picnik.com?! I am sooo addicted to that site, which is a problem when you take 150 pictures a day of your new baby and want to edit them all! I got a Nikon for my birthday (which is an amazing camera by the way) and, coupled with my new found love of photo editing makes for a) great photos b) a desire to make photobooks detailing Genevieve's every move* c) having just another thing to do during Genevieve's hour long naps. (Now not only am I choosing between sleeping and eating...I'm also deciding if I have time to 'play' with Picnik).

So two years ago (or was it three?) my husband bought me Adobe Elements for Christmas. And then last year he bought me Adobe Elements for Dummies. Do you see where I'm going with this? I had no idea how much time it would take to learn new software. Now, I am no technological dummy, but I'm no Megan either (i.e. super computer savvy marketing guru). So I don't think I'm inept; I just think it takes time to grasp a new software and for some reason I always have something else to do--or maybe that's just what I tell myself to avoid bruising my ego ;)

Enter Picnik. This site makes photo editing so easy. Basically other people have programmed edits and you just click a button to apply those edits to your picture. There are tons of 'edit' options, 'create' options, and 'save and share' options. I also love that once you pretty up your photos, they are not so big that you can't do anything with them (plus there's a nifty option for re-sizing them). And the other super fun thing? You can touch up pictures with tools like airbrush, teeth whiten, wrinkle remover, insta-slim, etc. Uh oh, now every time you look at a picture I've posted on facebook, you're going to wonder whether I slimmed myself down huh? Well I have yet to use that tool, but I'll admit I love the airbrush feature. Makes me feel like a celebrity! Anyway, I'm digressing. Back to the point. Picnik brings photo editing to every man (or woman). And best of all...it's FREE! Now, of course you have to pay to upgrade to a premium account which enables you to use 'premium' features. And of course, because of the addiction, I upgraded. But they give you 3 upgrade options--the cheapest being $4.95! So there really isn't an excuse not to check out this site. Let me know what you think! Here are my most recent creations (click the image to see the larger image), and yes, an excuse to show off the newest love of my life.

*Check back later for a Taste{full} New Year's goal of organizing photos...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cheers With Style

I am a firm believer in toasting to the good times, whether it's news of an engagement, a promotion at work, finishing out that impossibly long week, or just because it's Monday night.  That's right, celebrate everyday life with your bubbly of choice, be it some sparkling grape juice or cider, your favorite champagne, or even just a fun mix of seltzer & orange juice.  (No-mosa anyone?) No matter what your drink pick, a prepared hostess should have on hand some festive champagne glasses to raise for the occasion.... here are some picks that would elevate even that OJ to a fantastic new level!

Affordable Beauties: Selma Flute, $6.95 each; Simplicity flute, $2.95 each, both from CB2.com

Out-Of-My-Price-Range Splurge: Nambe Flutes, set of 2, $124.99 at BedBathandBeyond.com 
High Quality Classics With Flair: Mara Flute, $12.95 each, Oregon Flute, $5.95 each & Verve Flute, $12.95 each (Don't you just love the bubbles???)  All from CrateandBarrel.com 


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Year, New You

So we're about three weeks into 2010. How are you doing with your New Year's resolutions? If you're anything like me, you haven't even written them down yet. Perhaps I should consider "stop procrastinating" as the first resolution. I was curious to see what the most common New Year's resolution was so I did a little research to find this list*:

~ Drink Less Alcohol     ~ Get a Better Education     ~ Get a Better Job     ~ Get Fit
~ Lose Weight     ~ Manage Debt     ~ Quit Smoking Now     
~ Reduce Stress at Work     ~ Reduce Stress Overall     ~ Save Money     
~ Take a Trip     ~ Volunteer to Help Others

*According to usa.gov.

I find it interesting that the majority have to deal with finance and physical health. I know those areas are at the top of my list. Here are a few resources that may help you actually stick to your resolutions this year.

Sure SNL makes fun of Suze Orman, but I have always found her advice to be super helpful and very easy to grasp, unlike some finance professionals.  With books including "Women and Money" and DVDs such as "For the Young, Fabulous, and Broke," I feel like she's definitely got my number!!  Check out her resource center for helpful tips on reclaiming your financial health.

Dave Ramsey is like the Dr. Phil of personal finance.  I love his straight forward approach.  With city billboards that remind us to "act your wage," he never fails to get our attention.  Check out his 7 baby steps to begin moving toward financial peace.

Ok so these are workouts you can do in the comfort of your own home (anyone else feel like a fool while trying to figure out gym equipment?) with amazing results. To be clear, I haven't done any of them BUT I personally know people who have done each workout and who have achieved the results they were looking for in a relatively short period of time.

I myself put Yoga Booty Ballet on my Christmas list and can't wait to start using it.  I know...you're thinking wasn't Christmas a month ago?  Why hasn't she used it yet?  Well my 6 weeks postpartum was just up last week so I'm really only one week delinquent (I did mention I'm a procrastinator right?).  In any case I definitely plan to use it and will post my review AND results here for all to see!  Beach Body's P90X and  Insanity Workout (above) are both fairly intense, but you (WE!) can do it!  Now's the perfect time to get in shape...what with bikini season only a short 5 or 6 months away...

If you're looking for something a little less intense, or if you already have your workout regime but simply need some tips or guidance, check out Self's Jump Start Diet.  On their site you can get advice on eating healthy and working out.  You can also log your meals (if you've never done this, try it!  It's insane how many calories one can consume without even realizing it) and talk to other members via their community center.  In addition, they email you a tip a day to help you reach your goals one baby step at a time.
Here's to a financially and physically fit 2010!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Taste{full} Goals: Organize My Recipes!

One of my goals for the beginning of 2010 is to finally organize the chaotic pile of papers that is my recipe "corner" in my kitchen.  I'm an avid internet recipe reader, and love to print off recipes I either plan on using immediately or just hope to get around to making.  The result is a bunch of mismatched papers, crinkled and food-stained, shoved in a stack NEXT to the binder I bought to put them in.  Hmmmm.  So I've got two steps to how I plan on organizing them....

The Binder I Bought To Put Them In:  It's not rocket science.  A simple 3-ring binder is a great way to collect the printed recipes from the internet so I can refer back to them in the future.  What WILL help is the sheet protectors I just bought, so I can easily pour out that tablespoon of vanilla overtop of the recipe without worrying about staining and ruining the paper.  Because Lord knows what website that came from and if I could ever find it again!  On top of that, a simple set of divider tabs will let me divide the recipes into various categories such as Appetizers, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Desserts and Cupcakes.  Yes, cupcakes gets it's own tab, duh.  Now, if I wanted to fancy the whole thing up from the outside, I could grab one of these snazzy custom Avery binders available on Zazzle.com.  I'm particularly fond of these cheery beauties...
Yes, that is a cupcake binder.  And yes, you COULD fill it with your favorite cupcake recipes, what a splendid idea!  At around $20 each, they're not super cheap, but since most are able to be personalized with your name and/or title, I think it's worth it. (A personalized one would be a great wedding shower gift, along with a selection of your tried & true recipes for the newlyweds!) If you're ambitious and would like to actually coordinate your printed recipe pages, AND you're a fan of damask, you're in luck... you might like the 3 color variations in these pages.

TasteBook: So the SECOND step I'd like to take before year end is to take my binder full of recipes, pick out my favorites and maybe some good old traditional family recipes from my mom and in-laws, and create my very own TasteBook.  For a mere $34.95, I can get a gorgeous 8" x 10" hardcover binder with a personalized cover and up to 100 of my own recipes in 10 tabbed chapters.  I can use my own recipes or choose from literally THOUSANDS of recipes from tons of major sites like Better Homes & Gardens, Cooking Light, Food Network, SELF and tons more.  I can even add my own photos!  If I don't have 100 recipes in the beginning, you can even order a lesser number of recipes in the book and then go back and add more recipes later.  (This obviously costs more money however!)  If I was ready to do it now I could even save 20% off by purchasing before January 26th and using the coupon code SWEET20.  I can't WAIT to make mine and am already thinking of other books I could order.... one with just family recipes, for my mom or mother-in-law... maybe one with just party recipes to give as a holiday gift to friends... a dairy-free cookbook with recipes geared only towards my little man's needs.  Endless possibilities.  Can't wait to do mine!

Wishing you happy (and organized) recipe-cooking in 2010!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Taste{full} Tip: Deal Alert - Gap & Old Navy Sale Online & In Stores!

Seriously??? The girl above is admittedly RIDICULOUSLY cute, but I think that if I saw her in the waiting area for my plane I would instantly feel completely like a slob in my cardi, tank & jeans.  And I certainly hope she is a very neat toddler who won't ruin that gorgeous coat with pretzel crumbs and an apple juice spill from her in-flight snack.  In spite of the fact that it's completely not PRACTICAL, it is really adorable to look at.... I think I honestly want it for ME!

Find some other adorable items online at Gap, Old Navy or Banana Republic and use code SAVE123 at checkout to save 15% off $75, 20% off $100 or 25% off $150!

AND... if you have the time to hit up your local Old Navy today, don't miss the chance!  All clearance is marked an additional 50% off the clearance price!! It's an excellent time to stock up on items for next fall/winter, either for yourself or the little ones in your life.  Both Tiff and I have purchased most of the little G's wardrobes for next year, at truly a FRACTION of the original costs!  I scored long sleeve polos for my little man for $1.50 each, a winter jacket for only $4.48, and a bunch of Christmas pj's for both kids for only $2.74 each.Trust me, you'll be so proud of yourself next fall when you pull out that tub of brand new clothes that were only $1 - $3 a piece.  Save an additional amount by going to Old Navy Weekly and finding a coupon to print... right now you can go and click and drag the blue men's rec tech top on to the green rec tech top to switch them, and a coupon for $10 off $50 will pop up!

Also, didn't get the chance to check it out yet, but saw that Baby Gap is having an additional 25% off clearance in store and seemed to be running a big sale also in both adults and GapKids.  Might be some great finds there too... I'll be off this afternoon to find out! :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Please someone take my debit card...

And do not allow me back to J. Crew's sale section, where you can currently save an additional 20% off the already low prices AND get free shipping on purchases over $150 with the code EXTRA20.  No, I didn't go blow a bunch of money, but I want to and I am especially enamored with these little girl pieces from the CrewCuts line... seriously ladies, I'm in trouble when my little doll baby hits two...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Deal Alert!

Spend some hush money. Through Sunday at Victoria's Secret, you can save an extra 20 percent off of clearance bras and panties already reduced up to 50 percent when you enter the code 20VSCLEAR at checkout. And, if you spend $100 or more, you can snag free shipping with the code FREE100.*

*Courtesy of Popsugar

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In Transition...

As many of you know, both of us are currently adjusting to different schedules in life, brought about by the arrival of our little ones.  Please bear with us as we blog a little less frequently for a short period of time.  We promise we will be back at it full force very soon.  Til then, our quick posts will hopefully entertain you with our favorite shopping finds, sales and other quick things that we love.  Thanks to all who take the time to stop by, we appreciate each one of you…

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Free Photo Book at Shutterfly!

If you're a Shutterfly member, log on to the site by the end of they day tomorrow to make a FREE 20 page 8" x 8" photo book!  You might need to sign up at the site to be eligible for the promotion.  Use the code JANBOOK at checkout!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Etsy Find: Keep Calm Print

I have wanted this for so long for somewhere in my house... I think for my laundry room.  Definitely a good reminder when facing the unending stream of dirty clothes that magically appear each day...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Free Weekend Entertainment!

Looking forward to a relaxing weekend at home? Well, here’s a free DVD rental for you courtesy of Deal Seeking Mom.   Right now you can get free DVD rentals at your local Redbox by using the codes  BX2NITE or FREE45W.  These can be used once per debit/credit card, so you can rent more than one for free by using different cards.  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Deal Alert - 77Kids Super Sale!

If you've ever purchased from 77Kids, the kids apparel line from American Eagle available exclusively online, then you know the super high quality of their pieces.  If you haven't, now's the time to try them out!  Their prices can be pretty steep for kids clothes, but right now they have tons of styles for boys & girls, sizes 2T and up, on sale for $7.77 and up.  Come on ladies, that's Wal-mart/Target cheap! Stock up now for next fall/winter, or pick up a few extras for the cold months ahead.  My little man's wardrobe is largely comprised of 77Kids, and I can personally tell you the stuff is GREAT.  Washes well, doesn't wear out easily, looks adorable on.  At these prices, it's a steal!  Here are some of my favorite pieces:

All of the above are only $7.77!

These ones are all only $9.95! The sweater was originally $29.50 and the hoodie on the end originally $39.50!!!

$29.50, marked down from $89.50.... STEALS! :)  
And if I were stocking up for baby girl... these are all $7.77 too!

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