Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I've been instructed by friends to update my blog. The truth is...I've been stupid busy and intermittently out of town which has caused a lag in the blog. I apologize for that. The other truth is that life has been somewhat confusing lately and I simply don't know WHAT to say. I've questioned what is important, what is real, what is true and what is WHAT. ...and I'm NOT talking about the FREAKING economy. I'm SO over that right now.

People: if you can't afford a house...you don't buy it. Duh. If you can't afford a car...you don't buy it. Duh. If you can't afford to take that great vacation...you don't take it. Duh. Have a little respect for yourself. Oh, wait. You don't have respect for yourself? Well then have a litte respect for those who will have to bail your sorry A** out now that you've pissed away your pathetic excuse for a life's savings on that Coach bag that you just HAD to have. You could have ATLEAST wasted it on Chanel.

That's all I have to say about THAT.

And now...a public service announcement for those who still believe Obama is God's gift to WHATEVER. You won't believe this S*it.

Missouri top prosecutors announced this week that they will threaten and prosecute critics of Barack Obama.

St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce and St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch are threatening to bring libel charges against those who speak out "falsely" against Barack Obama.

Gov. Blunt Statement on Obama Campaign’s Abusive Use of Missouri Law Enforcement

JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Matt Blunt today issued the following statement on news reports that have exposed plans by U.S. Senator Barack Obama to use Missouri law enforcement to threaten and intimidate his critics.

“St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch, St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer, and Obama and the leader of his Missouri campaign Senator Claire McCaskill have attached the stench of police state tactics to the Obama-Biden campaign.

“What Senator Obama and his helpers are doing is scandalous beyond words, the party that claims to be the party of Thomas Jefferson is abusing the justice system and offices of public trust to silence political criticism with threats of prosecution and criminal punishment.

“This abuse of the law for intimidation insults the most sacred principles and ideals of Jefferson. I can think of nothing more offensive to Jefferson’s thinking than using the power of the state to deprive Americans of their civil rights. The only conceivable purpose of Messrs. McCulloch, Obama and the others is to frighten people away from expressing themselves, to chill free and open debate, to suppress support and donations to conservative organizations targeted by this anti-civil rights, to strangle criticism of Mr. Obama, to suppress ads about his support of higher taxes, and to choke out criticism on television, radio, the Internet, blogs, e-mail and daily conversation about the election.

“Barack Obama needs to grow up. Leftist blogs and others in the press constantly say false things about me and my family. Usually, we ignore false and scurrilous accusations because the purveyors have no credibility. When necessary, we refute them. Enlisting Missouri law enforcement to intimidate people and kill free debate is reminiscent of the Sedition Acts - not a free society.”

And there you have it. Sorry for the bad mood. It's rare, but wicked.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008


So I'm sure my sweet swap partner, Angela, over at Life w/2 Busy Boys is fairly certain that I'm a total ninny. For good reason. Girl was having a BABY and still managed to get MY swap gift out on time. Me? Notsomuch. I somehow mixed up my dates and didn't think the swap was until this week. OOPS! I did finally get her box in the mail last week. Thanks to Preppy Mama for organizing the swap!

Here's what I got:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

They've Done it AGAIN!

How Fast They Grow is yet again reinventing and rejuvenating the world of scrapbooking. They've come out with a new line of templates from one of MY personal favorites...Hostess With the Mostess.

Here's what they have to say...

"Oh Baby, We Are Growing Up!
Today, HowFastTheyGrow.com debuts 81 original design templates from Hostess with the Mostess®, the renowned lifestyle company founded by Jennifer Sbranti. Jennifer, an esteemed graphic designer and entertaining guru, is best known for her highly successful party planning website HostessWithTheMostess.com, and the uber-popular Hostess Blog. The three new collections, available now, include Mostess Days, a modern interpretation of holidays and other celebrations; Mod Squad, a masculine stylish collection featuring deep blues and browns; and Metro Sorbet, a girly hip design group with modern florals, bright pinks and oranges.

Since Jennifer Sbranti is in the business of creating fun times and we are in the business of remembering them, our collaboration couldn't be more perfect. You can create your own Hostess pages in Digi-Scrapbook® by selecting HWTM from the drop down menu and then choosing from any of the three yummy themes. If you can't decide which you like the best, use our "swap background" feature, which lets you try on all three new fun wardrobes with one click each! We can't wait to see what you come up with! Have fun and don't forget to check out our three new fun fonts: HenParty, Ealing and Wendy..."

Needless to say, I'm in love. These are my favorite templates yet. I especially love the fact that these aren't only geared toward small children. Those of you with teenagers will go wild for these! The colors, the graphics...it's all phenomenal.

So....I've had a head start! Get going!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Halloween Hysteria!

We're getting all geared up for our second annual Halloween Party here in the Sippycups house. Last year we invited lots of our friends and neighbors over for a pre trick or treat pizza party. It was a huge success so we (I) decided we'd make it a yearly tradition. Last year was pretty basic. Pizza. Beer. Lemonade.

This year, I'm going to try to mix it up a bit. The kids were a little wild last year so I figured this year I'd set up some craft tables so they would have something to do (other than drive their semi drunk and not at all excited about trick or treating parents insane) while waiting for dark. I ordered some cool beading sets and other random craft kits from Oriental Trading.

BabyGirl was VERY excited to help me pick out these adorable invitations...

from Itty Bitty

They open up to display the invite inside the bat's wings. TOO CUTE.

I also thought it might be nice to offer something a little more enticing than pizza for the adults. Sooo, I'm going to try a mashed potato bar this year. If you've never had the opportunity to try a mashed potato bar you are seriously missing out!

First, you make your mashed potatoes. In bulk. Then you'll need to set them up in a chafing dish, such as this one from Sur La Table. Next, you'll need to set up your condiments. I use small square glass vases. You can provide whatever condiments you think people will like: green onions, bacon pieces, sour cream, butter, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, salsa, green peas, mushrooms, etc. Then you'll need regular sized martini glasses. I bought mine in bulk from Pier One. After that, it's pretty self explanatory! Your guests simply scoop some potatoes into their martini glasses and add the toppings. YUM!

And, as you all know, I do love my libations. We had a Halloween themed supper club one year and our friends brought this drink...the "Brain Tumor".

It looked completely disgusting. I personally didn't think it tasted great either. And the texture...blech! It was a fun way to start the party, though. We had them as an "appetizer shot". How cool would they look in this red rimmed shot glass?
Here's how you make them...

Brain Tumor
1 tsp. Irish Cream (Bailey's)
1 oz. Schnapps, peach
1/2 tsp. Grenadine

Mixing Instructions
Add peach schnapps to a shot glass. Slowly add Irish cream. Don't mix... the cream will clump together and settle to the bottom. It will look gross. Pour the grenadine over the cream lump for a completely disgusting looking, but really tasty Halloween party drink.

Nice, huh?

I love to decorate for Halloween as well. I think I've done it all! One of my favorites is the specimen jar.

Fill a few glass vessels more than halfway with colored water (mix 3 drops green or 1/2 drop red food coloring in water; add a few tablespoons milk for murkiness).

Peel off outer layers of a cabbage head for a brain specimen; use a fennel bulb with the fronds cut off for a heart. If a specimen is too large for the jar's opening, cut it in half and stick it back together with skewers once it's inside. With a glue stick, attach a printed or written label on the container.

I've made a little collage of other ideas that I love. The Martha Stewart Head Waiter Tray is another one of my favorites. It works great as a centerpiece!

Another neat touch you can easily add to your party also comes from Martha Stewart. DUH! Jazz up your wine bottles with Custom Made Wine Bottle Labels.

If you still don't have enough great ideas be sure to go to the Grandin Road website. TONS of awesome Halloween Decorations!

If you're not having your own party but you know you'll be attending a friend's, why not send the perfect hostess gift?

1800flowers.com (Martha Stewart)

Right now you can save $10 on $49.95 or more at Martha Stewart for 1-800-Flowers.com! Use code MARTHA16at checkout. Exp. 9.30.08

Friday, September 19, 2008

And the Award for Redneck Family of the Year Goes to...

...the parents of the baby in the Whoopee Cushion Halloween Costume. Yeah, I'm talkin to YOU. You're MORONS.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

WOW. This is SO important.

Just finished watching my Tivo'd Oprah from yesterday about internet predators. I've been to several presentations on this subject and the physician's spouse alliance that I'm president of does a presentation each year to schools. I've also volunteered at a clinic that sees children who have been sexually abused. All I have to say is that these guys should not even be given the opportunity to go to prison. Castrate them publicly and let the children they molested stone them to death. Seriously. What has our world come to? Our COUNTRY, to be more precise. We as a country make up the majority of the problem.
I've copied and pasted the info from Oprah's website. Please, please, please write your senators. I've had contact with many elected officials over the years. They will tell you that emails are the most direct way to get their attention. They have countless minions hired to do just that: read emails. SOOOOO, send them on. As many as you can. This is not a partisan issue. So many of you have kids or grandkids and I know many of you are breathless with excitement to have children someday. Let's make sure we're not breathless from fear or rage at some point in our children's lives...we can do that by making our voices heard.

Help Pass Senate Bill 1738—The PROTECT Our Children Act
Hundreds of thousands of children are victims of sexual abuse each year. Due to the sheer lack of resources, law enforcement is unable to follow up on the majority of leads they have.

The PROTECT Our Children Act will:

Authorize over $320 million over the next five years in desperately needed funding for law enforcement to investigate child exploitation.
Mandate that child rescue be a top priority for law enforcement receiving federal funding.
Allocate funds for high-tech computer software that can track down Internet predators.
Act Now!
Your U.S. senators will be voting on the bill soon, so it is crucial you contact them immediately.
Go to www.senate.gov to find contact information for the senators in your state. Search for your senator by name or state by clicking on the arrow from either dropdown menu. Contact information is provided here. To send an e-mail, click on "Web Form" below his or her name, and e-mail your letter to make a difference!

Call Your SenatorsIf you choose to contact your senators by phone, be sure to tell them, "Vote yes on Senate Bill 1738—The PROTECT Our Children Act."

Write to Your SenatorsIf you choose to write a letter, fax, telegram or e-mail, you may use the following sample letter—and modify it how you see fit.

Dear Senator:

I know that you believe, like I do, that we must do everything possible to protect children from sexual predators. That is why I am asking for your help.

Last year alone, U.S. law enforcement identified over 300,000 criminals who were trafficking in movies and pictures of young children being raped and tortured. Experts say that one in every three of these criminals has local child victims. Child pornography trafficking over the Internet has given us a trail of evidence that leads straight to their doorsteps, but the vast majority of these children will never be rescued because investigators are overwhelmed, outnumbered and underfunded.

As your constituent, I urge you to do everything in your power to pass the PROTECT Our Children Act (S. 1738, Biden-Hatch). This bipartisan legislation passed the House 415-2, but it is now the victim of petty partisan politics.

Now that we know where these children are and how to protect them, there is no excuse for the Senate to fail to take action this session.

(Your name here)

Instructions for How to Copy and Paste the Letter
To copy and paste the letter into your senator's web form at www.senate.gov, point your mouse arrow at the beginning of the text that you want to copy. Click your left mouse button and hold it down. While holding the left mouse button, drag your arrow to the end of the text that you want to copy. Release the button. The text should be highlighted. Place your mouse arrow over the highlighted text, click your right mouse button once and let go. A new menu should appear. Select Copy from the drop down menu. When you get to the message form field for your senator at www.senate.gov, point your arrow at the beginning of the message field that you want to copy your text to and right click with your mouse. Click Paste from this menu. Submit your form and help our children!

Photo Freak

Did you know that you can get a free 30 day trial of Photoshop? I've spent the last 30 days playing around with CS3 and I'm an official addict. Only problem is...once the free trial ends you have to buy the $600 plus program! If you go to the Adobe Website you'll see the different programs listed. Just move your mouse over the one you want a trial of and it will show a "try" option. Click on that to sign up for your free trial. It's truly awesome. I have Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 on my computer, which is a very old version of Photoshop. I also have Corel Paint Pro but have been disappointed with it since I discovered that you can't use Photoshop Actions with it. What are actions, you ask? They are the coolest photo editing tool EVER. While using Photoshop, you simply click on the action you want to use and it does all the editing for you. For example, I purchased actions from a gal I found on Clickin' Moms. I think I paid about $20 for the actions. Here are some of the pictures:


















You can see, there are tons of different types of actions. From aging a photo, to aging and adding a pink or purple tint, to sepia, to black and white, to making eyes brighter or sparkly...there's no end! It's addictive!

You can also find actions at these two sites:

Child's Play and Pioneer Woman.

You can find a guide to using Acions at Peachpit.

Now, all I have to do is figure out how I'm going to buy the Photoshop CS3 program AND that new camera lens I want!

PS- Clickin' Moms has tons more photography info and galleries. It's well worth the nominal fee to join, if for nothing other than to get to see all the awesome photos!

Happy snapping!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Modern Glamour: The Art of Unexpected Style

Can't WAIT to get this book in the mail! Kelly Wearstler is the designer who decorated the restaurant at Bergdorf Goodman that I LOVED so much. Her website is great, too!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

New Blogger of the Week

Week, two weeks, month, whateva. I'm tryin here people. I do get to read new blogs all the time and I LOVE it. Everynowandagain I find one that I'm smitten with. This week it's Ciao Tay Designs. LOVE her stuff. She reminds me of a young Tory Burch, and we all know how I feel about HER. Here's what Taylor from Ciao Tay has to say...

I am a 25 year old freelance graphic designer from Raleigh, NC but am relocating to Charleston, SC in October (I can not get enough of the Low Country- I went to The Savannah College of Art and Design.) My main interests are cupcakes, color theory and creating new concepts daily. I have spent most of my life absorbing unqiue spaces that have become inspirations of my current designs. After graduating from SCAD in Advertising Design and Metals and Jewelry, I began my creative process through observing typography, patterns, unique paper, bold colors and collecting found objects. My business, ciaotaydesigns is a cultivation of these inspirations that have become fun, eye-catching graphic pieces that inspire me and hopefully others everyday. These pieces include print advertisements, paper products, branding, pattern design, packaging, wedding invitations, social stationery and custom design.

...and here's her Etsy Store. Cutie cute cute. She's just entered a contest on Minted.com, so go on and vote for her! (especially all you South Carolina girls!)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Playing Catch Up

I've had several reader requests and I'm trying to play catch up! If you've made a request lately and haven't seen a post about it please send another comment. It's been kind of crazy around here with the start of school and other things going on. The first request I'm going to address today is preppy pillows. I had a reader ask what suggestions I would make for pillows to go with a muted green couch. To be honest, my decorating style isn't necessarily preppy, per se. I think it's more traditional with a twist, although I do love cute pillows.

I think the number one thing you can do to prep up your pillows is make sure they have a fabulous trim. Mix and match different fabrics for trim and also mix in some fringe or other similar trimming. I'm not big on beads for trim on pillows. They get kind of ratty after awhile and look more eclectic than I usually like.

Let's assume the couch looks similar to this one from Ballard Designs:

If you wanted something quick and easy but also neutral to match whatever else may be in the room you could go with these, also from Ballard Designs:

If it were me personally, I would love one of these fabrics from Thibaut.

If you want to see some other great examples of preppy pillows go over to
Bravado Design. Tons of adorable examples.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

NOW We're Cooking

This is the coolest thing. I've been telling Dr. Daddy for years now that I would love to have one book that contained all of my favorite recipes. Family recipes, recipes that I've torn out of magazines and love to cook, recipes from my favorite cookbooks...all in one place and easy to access.

Well, friends...here it is. Once again, a "why didn't I think of that?" moment. is a new website that allows you to create your own cookbook.

There are four ways to do it:

1: Browse TasteBooks created by top cookbook authors and food editors.
2: Add your own personal recipes and photos to your TasteBook.
3: Search over 50,000 original recipes from top recipe sites.
4: Import your Epicurious recipes to TasteBook or upload a software recipe file from your computer.

Hardcover book with Easy-open binder makes it simple to add recipes anytime. You can add personal recipes and photos. Choose a cover and write your own title. You can organize your recipes any way you want with ten tabbed chapters. Add helpful hints, cooking tips, and personal notes to any recipe.
Plus, it's the perfect gift! You can create a TasteBook as a special gift for bridal showers, family reunions, and holidays.

I have had so much fun putting together this book! I can't wait to give them to family members for Christmas. What a great way to create a lasting family heirloom. Not to mention the kitchen drawer space you'll save after you've cleaned out all those old, stained, wrinkled recipes from years gone by.

I've added many of my favorites to my book so far, but I'll be adding more soon. Take a look! Then get started on your own.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Artsy Fartsy

I have to admit...I'm kind of an art snob. I really don't have any artwork in my home that isn't original. It's not so much that I'm all about spending a ton of money on art, it's just that I really don't care for reproductions. I'd much rather have original photographs of my kids on the wall than a reproduction of someone's work that I bought at Pier One.

That being said, the majority of really expensive artwork we have was done by my husband's cousin, Julie Oriet ...BEFORE she got so popular that we couldn't afford her anymore!!!

We also have a few things that we inherited and love very much. Our most cherished piece of art, however, is the portrait we have of our kids. I left a comment on Happy Housewife's blog about her portrait questions and I could not believe the number of emails I got from readers wanting to know about my China man!

Here's the deal: I have a friend in town whose husband is a VP at Uttermost. As part of his job he often travels to China to meet with artisans and visit factories, etc. During one of his trips he met a man in China who does portraits from photos. Now, there are many websites you can find that offer this same service. I'm here to tell you...this guy is the best. His portraits are amazing. He is truly talented. My friend, Susan, collects your photos. You tell her how you want the portrait done. For instance, I gave her this photo:

Along with a few others to emphasize hair style, color, etc. She sent the photo to her guy in China with the measurements of the painting I wanted and several months later I received this:

It's an unbelievably beautiful likeness. The details are incredible. I really wanted to capture their true selves, which was why I didn't send a picture of both of them smiling and "happy". They are happy children, but they are also inquisitive and observant and the LOVE the ocean. This picture was taken just as we reached the end of the beach path and they saw the water. They knew they were in their "picture taking clothes" and couldn't just run into the water. It's a moment I'll never forget and I'm so blessed that I'll always have this portrait to remind me.

Here are a few close ups:

BabyGirl was wearing the most adorable dress by Catimini. You can even see the detail of the appliqued flowers on the skirt...

I surprised Dr. Daddy with the portrait two Christmases ago. He didn't know what to think. At first, he thought it was just a photo that I had put on canvas. Then he took a closer look and realized it was a true oil painting. He was in tears, people.

The best part? The price. It literally cost me more to have the thing stretched and framed than it did to have it painted. This $10,000 for a portrait stuff is not even an option now that I've seen the work I can get for so much less. We're talking 90% less.

Sooooo, per your request my friend Susan has given me her info to pass on to you. The website is pretty rudimentary. Not tons of samples of her work. I'm sure if you want more she can send you some. We have a friend who has three kids. She had two of them painted by a very expensive local artist...in the thousands of dollars each. For the third child she did the Memories In Oil from China. NO LIE...the third child's portrait is as beautiful if not more so than the first two. He's that good.

So, if you're interested here's the website...it has Susan's contact info.
Memories In Oil. ***UPDATE*** I'm told the email on the website isn't working. Try this one: kdelp@cox.net

Whatever you do...don't Google "Memories in Oil". There's some joker in LA who has a site by the same name who also has a guy in China. Not nearly as good.

I hope that answers your questions!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

TRULY Proud to be an American

If you've tried in the past few days to view the P. Diddy video you've most likely discovered that it's been removed from YouTube. To all of you who sent me comments insisting that this was not an Obama approved message I simply have to say...DUH.
That wasn't my point. The point was that the ignorance that is so richly prevalent in our country is staggering. The point was that there are actually people out there who listen to P. Diddy and take his advice. The point was that P. Diddy was making a salacious attempt to defame Sarah Palin with absolutely no knowledge of her background. THE POINT was that this is the pathetic rationale that many people will use as an excuse to vote for Obama. It wasn't anti Obama. It was anti stupid. P. Diddy can't even decide on a name, what makes him qualified to decide for us who our next President should be?

On a lighter note, my Dad sent me this video this morning, which I find much easier to watch. A true American hero.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hopped Up on Halloween

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays here in the Sippycups household. I love decorating for it and have had several Halloween parties over the years. Last year we had our first pre-trick or treat Halloween Happy Hour and Pizza Party with neighbors and kids. We had so much fun we decided to do it again this year. I'm planning to do a big post about decorations, invitations, etc. sometime next week. For now, we're focused on costumes! Last year was the first year I let the kids buy off the rack costumes. I've always made them myself just like my Mom did for my brothers and I when we were kids. This year, we've been overwhelmed by costume catalogs and websites. Who knew there were SO many to choose from? My favorite so far is CostumeCraze.com. They have a little of everything, even Dog Costumes!

BabyBoy is absolutely positively, as he says, going to be Young Anakin Skywalker.

He of course, recommended that BabyGirl be Padme Amidala

BabyGirl, horrified by the lack of pink or cuteness insisted that she was going to be Mariposa Butterfly Barbie

Dr. Daddy became very excited about a family themed Halloween when he discovered the Sexy Adult Princess Leia Costume.

Tragically, it's out of stock.

Other favorites of his included, but were certainly not limited to:

Sexy Adult Princess Leia Slave

Trixie Speed Racer

Sexy Lady Bug

and his personal favorite, the Maid of Money French Maid Costume

Which I gamely replied I'd be thrilled to wear...just as soon as he agreed to wear this.

The Parade Pleaser Big Dollar Daddy Pimp Costume.