Thursday, June 28, 2012

Last Chance Dance

Ok folks -

This is your last chance to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower before the first official Kiss My Smash book club meeting. Go the library, buy the book, download it on your kindle, I don't care - just do it! It's a quick and easy read!

I will be holding the book club meeting on Sunday, July 1st at 7:30pm on the Kiss My Smash Facebook Page.  All you have to do is 'LIKE' the page if you already haven't, and join in on the discussion.

Following that discussion, I'll put up an official review of the book on the blog for those of who did not read the book yet.

Hope to see you on Sunday night!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Heart Will Go On

When I was in the seventh grade, the movie Titantic debuted. I won't tell you exactly how many times I saw the movie in the theater, but it may have been more than 5 times.

From that point on, I was obsessed. I hung posters in my room. I began reading everything I could get my hands on regarding that tragic ship. I even bought the soundtrack to the movie. I remember, so vividly, a moment when I was in my bedroom, full of pre-teen angst listening to the soundtrack. I had "My Heart Will Go On," on repeat and sang my little heart out imagining I was Rose. There was a knock on the bedroom door. My mom came in, looking a little frazzled, and said to me, "If you play that song one more time, I will take that CD out to the trash right now." My heart sank, and did not go on singing. This was not an idle threat. She had a wild look in her eye. I think the 30th play of the song in one evening had sent her over the edge and I had to stop. I'm pretty sure I continued to play the soundtrack, but this time much lower so she wouldn't steal my prized possession from me.

Why do I bring all of this up?

This past weekend GB and I, along with his sister KC and her husband, visited the Henry Ford Museum to see Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. Photography was not allowed, but I can tell you a little about it. Upon entrance to the exhibit you are handed a boarding pass with a real passengers information. I became Mrs. Charlotte Collyer. We then saw replicas of state rooms but more importantly real artifacts recovered from the bottom of the sea. The exhibit displayed playing cards, currency, and even a fascinating glass toiletry bottle still full of the original liquid.

As the exhibit continued, we were able to learn about the fate of so many passengers. Gary, his sister and brother-in-law all perished, however I was a survivor. The list of surviors versus those who died is staggering. Tragic really is the only way to describe it. I couldn't help but think of the poor woman, Mrs. Charlotte Collyer, who although survived, watched the ship go down, and so many around her die. Click on this link to learn more about the life of Mrs. Charlotte Collyer. Also, click here to read her personal account.

I was moved by this exhibit and if you find yourself in the Metro-Detroit area between now and September 30th, 2012 or if this exhibit travels to your town, I implore you to visit. In my opinion, the exhibit is great for school age children and older.

Have you had a chance to see this exhibit? What do you think?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Black Eyed Susans

Today I'm sharing with you my latest foray into gardening.  I showed you the work we did in the front yard in the Flower Day post, and now we move on to the back yard. Along the driveway is a perfect area for a flower bed. It's a long, dirt filled area that lines the fence between our yard and the neighbor's yard. 

I contemplated for quite a long time about what I should plant. I needed to make sure it could withstand a lot of sun and could take a few beatings from the dogs. My step mom suggested I take some seeds from her Black Eyed Susan plants and spread them along the area. She thought it fit all of the requirements for that area. 

I followed her instructions, and during the spring, after the last frost, I spread the seeds. I made sure to give the plants plenty of plant food and water. 

GB and I even put up a little garden fence to keep the dogs from trampling the plants. 

After a few weeks, little green sprouts began popping up everywhere and began growing rapidly. 

I kept a close eye on these plants, but needless to say, I was thrilled that with a little TLC I could grow beautiful flowers from seeds!

Now that it is almost July, I was starting to get a little curious about these plants. They had grown taller than my step mom's plants ever were, and they didn't show any signs of buds for the flowers. 

Also at this point, I was regretting our choice in the cheap fencing. I didn't like the way it looked and I was planning on buying the cuter but more expensive fencing. 

 I began looking really closely at the plants and then I realized the big, bad truth. Take a look, and see if you come to the same conclusion I did. 

These weren't Black Eyed Susans. These were WEEDS! The seeds had never taken and I had been growing weeds. Not only was I growing invasive weeds, but I was growing them with the pride of a master gardener. I always joke with my sister, Sly, that I'm a better gardener than her. Those jokes may need to stop. 

Now that I've realized my major blunder, I had to come up with a solution. GB and I discussed what to do, and sadly we decided he just had to mow it down. There were too many to pull, so he just annihilated  those weeds with the mower. 

I have to tell you, I am so disappointed. I really thought the bright yellow flowers would be popping up along the fence and shining in the sun. Finally, our backyard would begin taking shape and become a source of serious pride. 

Now for the rest of the summer we just have to work on prepping the area for next year. I'm determined to make this work, but I guess it's going to take some time. 

Have you ever made such a big mistake while gardening? 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Homemade Headband

It is hot in Michigan this week. Really hot. Yesterday was at some point 100°. 

I thought this heat wave would be the perfect time to share with you a headband I made. It's the perfect size to hold your hair back when working out or adding some sass to your hair. 

It can be made from old tshirt scraps. I chose to make it from this old maxi dress that I no longer wear. 

I never bothered fixing the broken strap, so I thought this would be the perfect time to 'upcycle.'

I found the how-to for this great headband on Make It and Love It. Make sure you check it out. 

The first thing I did was cut 5 strips out of the dress. 

Next, I hand stitched the 5 strips together. 

Then I stretched each strip by individual pulling each strand.  

The main part of this task is the braiding. This is a 5 strand brand and I've thought and I've thought about how to explain it. I finally realized there is no way I can describe how to make a 5 strand braid better than the blogger. So - if you are making this headband, just head over to Make It and Love It for the instructions. 

When the braid was finished I hand stitched the braid to close it. I know, the stitching is rough, but it gets the job done. Don't judge. 

I then stitched both ends together to close the headband. 

Lastly, I wrapped a small section of fabric around the two ends to create a more cohesive look. 

All done! 

I really like this headband! I'm definitely going to make more. I was nervous to attempt a 5 strand braid, but it really was easy. I can't believe I was actually able to do it. What do you think? Will you give it a try?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Read All About It

Awhile back I introduced you all to my latest idea, a Book Club.

Now that I've finished the book, I hope I can give you some information to entice you to read along with me.

The book I chose is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I knew NOTHING about this book other than a friend of mine, Bruno, enjoyed it years ago. One recommendation is enough for me.

I'm hoping at the end of every month I can have a conversation on the Kiss My Smash Facebook Page about a book club selection. But, I have to be honest with you - I'm terrified no one is going to join in the conversation!

I won't give you my full opinion until the end of the month, but now that I am finished I would like to tell you a few things in hopes of persuading you.

Here are a list of reasons for you to read the chosen book:

1. It is very entertaining.

2. The movie version of The Perks of Being a Wallflower is being released September 2012.

3. It is an easy and fast read.

4. There's a good possibility you will laugh out loud more than once.

5. I have quite a few questions about the book and I really need to talk to someone about it!

6. It is not raunchy like 50 Shades of Grey.

7. It takes place in the early 90's.

8. Awkward teenage relationships are always fascinating.

9. It is always nice to add another book to your list.

10. Reading is better than watching bad television.

Alright, what do you say? Will you join me in some nerdy fun?

Let me know that you're in! Comment below, tell me over at the Kiss My Smash Facebook page, or tweet me @KissMySmash.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Skinny Dip

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Father's Day weekend. My Dad's job keeps him traveling across the country and I wasn't able to see him. I definitely missed him but being able to hang out with my Grandpa and other family members was really nice.  I hope you all were able to spend time with, talk to, or take some time out to think about your Dad. 

GB and I traveled to my Aunt's house and I wanted to bring a healthy and yummy side dish (most importantly yummy.) 

I took a virtual stroll through my pins on Pinterest and found a great recipe on SkinnyTaste. This is a healthy version of a Taco Dip - which is one of my all time favorites at parties. 

8 oz reduced fat Cream Cheese
8 oz reduced fat Sour Cream
16 oz jar mild Salsa
1 packet Taco Seasoning
2 cups shredded Iceberg Lettuce
2 large diced Tomatoes
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheese
2.25 oz black olives

I have never bought or cooked with olives before so I had no idea what I was buying. Is this a good brand or type of olive?

I started with the cream cheese, sour cream, salsa and taco seasoning. 

I combined the ingredients with my electric hand mixer.  The mixture was thinner than I had anticipated. 

The original recipe suggests a glass dish, but since we were traveling I thought a temporary pan would be best. I typically would never use disposable items - so this was a rare case. I did make sure the pan was made with recycled materials. 

Next I chopped the iceberg lettuce and added it atop the dip. 

Next up I added the tomatoes. As I was chopping the tomatoes GB kept asking me if I needed help again and again. He's a very helpful guy but what that really means is: I wasn't chopping the tomatoes to his standards. I have to give him credit though- if this was 6 months ago, he would have taken the knife out of my hand and just taken over. Let's all give him a pat on the back for letting go of control. 

I was only supposed to add 1 cup of cheese but I kept pouring it on. I have to be honest, I'm obsessed with cheese. I just can't stop. I think I need a cheeservention. 

Finally I drained the can of olives and topped off the dip. GB told me olives are, and I quote, "really gross," so I only added the olives to half of the dip. It made for a less cohesive look, but I think it pleased the crowd. 

Verdict? The dip was delicious! I was so happy as I saw person after person going back for seconds. The only thing I would do differently is cut the sour cream or drain some of the salsa to take out some of the liquid. If the base of the dip was just a little thicker it would have been perfect! GB and I decided we would love to make the dip again for parties. It was easy, mostly healthy and scrumptious. What is better than that? 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ripple Effect

I've struggled quite a bit with DIY nail art designs. For example, the DIY Gingham print at Gingham Give Up or the Two Toned Failure.  

When I discovered this fabulous idea on Pinterest, I knew it was an easy, cute look I could finally succeed at! 

The bad news is the original link is from a website in a language I can't read. The good news, I don't think I need instructions for this one. 

I grabbed my favorite summer colors. Additionally, I've been using OPI's Nail Envy to strengthen my nails and it's working wonders. I definitely recommend it. 

I started with a base of the lovely Essie Fiji. 

Using OPI's My Chihuahua Bites I painted 3 lines down the nail, staggering as I went. 

 Next, after a few minutes of drying time, I followed the lines with the classic OPI Alpine Snow. 

After a quick top coat of Nail Envy, I was all done. 

I know I'm not the best at a perfect manicure, but I'm pretty happy with this look. 

What do you think? Do you like it? 

After failing at something so many times, it feels really good to succeed. I know DIY manicures are trivial - but no matter what the task, it's nice to accomplish a goal!