3 Oct
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October Task List

I’m back from my crazy long vacation and I hope to post some info on that as soon as I sort through my 1400 photos. Oh yeah, It was an awesome one. I’m quite a bit behind on chores but coming home to a clean house made it easier. I definitely miss having meals prepared for me and turndown service at night.

Source: Anything But Perfect- available for download

We’re into the last quarter of the year which means prepping for Christmas, winterproofing my house, and for my work to get crazy one last time. My real goal for the month is to lock up the last of my summer clothes and finish up all those 90% projects- you know, the ones that need just one last go to be fully completed. Just remember, slow and steady wins the race so choose a few items to tackle from this month’s Get Organized Now checklist and you’ll feel ahead of the game.

  • October 5: After a long week, enjoy your family with a fun family dinner. After heading back to work after 2 weeks of together time, it’ll be nice to relax together instead of giving into the jetlag.
  • October 13: Clear out those coats and accessories. Make sure all gloves have a match, toss anything you haven’t worn in a while (look for a winter clothing drive in your area!) and have all the next week’s items in a convenient grab-and-go spot.
  • October 16: If you haven’t already decorated for fall (I never do before October 1 but I’m slacking this year!) then put out some decor. Pumpkins are always a safe bet and will last you through Thanksgiving.
  • October 20: Outdoor cleanup time! Empty planters, trim back any plants that get a fall trimming and put away any lawn furniture before the winter snow and salt damages it.
  • October 22: Stock up on Halloween candy for those trick-or-treaters. I live in a neighborhood without many kids so I don’t see many besides some cute relatives but I’m always glad to have the leftovers.
  • October 24: Spend your entire evening offline and if you’re really daring, turn off all technology. Hang out with family and resist the urge to be introverted by reading. Play board games, talk about your day or just relax in silence.
  • October 29: Surprise your coworkers by bringing in a treat. Bagels, doughnuts, or flavored creamers for a coffee bar are always nice. You can add a fall twist by throwing some apple cider in a crockpot and serving with a cinnamon stick.
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27 Sep
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Packing Tips

For my big vacation, I had a bit of a time figuring out how to pack for the trip. I’ll be gone for 10 days, I’ll be seeing varying temperatures, some days I’ll need to dress modestly and others more formally. On top of all that, I wanted to leave plenty of room in my luggage to bring home souvenirs.

The first thing I researched was if laundry services would be available for my trip. I’m cruising with Royal Caribbean so I located their laundry service price list to plan out if laundry services were even in my budget. I also learned via Cruise Critic that Royal Caribbean has a wash-and-fold special where for $25 you can get as many socks, underwear, tees, shorts, swimwear, and pajamas washed as you can fit in the bag they provide. As part of our booking special we were given some on-board credit that can easily be applied towards laundry.

My next priority was to map out each day’s outfit needs. For example, day 5 of our trip will have us touring the Provence area of France for a short time, enjoying some quiet time on our ship, and then eating a formal dinner. So a touring outfit, a swimsuit, and a formal dress were all necessary for one day. Since I’ll be changing so much, I know I can get more than 1 wear out of most items. So I made a chart of my outfit needs for each day.

I took some advice from Audrey over at Putting Me Together on the importance of wearing colored bottoms. I’m bringing 4 different bottoms but I can wear clothing for at least 10 days. I’ve actually limited my re-wears of key pieces simply because I don’t know how hot it might get or how clumsy I might be this trip.

I tried to choose a color palette to work with for the trip too. I’ve always been a fan of navy and white and by sticking to a palette it means I can bring just 1-2 belts some brown and white shoes that should work with every outfit. My suitcase is basically filled with these key pieces, though some are just similar and not direct matches since I don’t buy a new wardrobe every year.


I made sure to choose cardigans to layer since some places like Rome require me to have my shoulders covered and nights on a cruise ship can be cool. I also chose several knit pieces for their strong anti-wrinkle tendencies. I’ll also have the obvious things packed like socks, underwear, PJs, and my swimsuit but I’m feeling pretty set with these pieces. I’ll let you know after the trip what worked and what didn’t so you can better prepare for your next vacation. (Now that I’m back, here’s that followup I promised!)

24 Sep
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Vacation Time!

Things will be a bit slow around here this week. I’m out of town celebrating my 5th wedding anniversary with my wonderful husband. It’s been almost 10 years since our first date and he’s still putting up with me!

We’re on a Mediterranean cruise through the end of the month and hopefully I’m having a blast right now. In case you’re worried about the safety of the old Hyper House, don’t worry- I have a great housesitter watching the place so there won’t be any trouble.

I’ll still be having a few posts come up but just be aware that my comment moderation will be slower than usual so don’t freak out if comments don’t appear instantly. I can’t wait to share all the exciting details with you all!

19 Sep
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September Centerpiece

I’m actually on time with this month’s centerpiece!  I know some people love to jump on fall themes in September but in Missouri it is often so warm that I’m not thinking about fall. This week has been quite crisp so I broke out some apples and had fun with a fall themed centerpiece.

apple centerpiece

I used a basket (previously seen in my June centerpiece) and stacked some books in the center to give it some height. Then I added in a candleholder from Pier 1 and some apples. I’ll have some apple recipes coming soon as a bonus. They’re perfect for some fall freezing.

I also dressed up the table with some new napkins from Home Goods and what else- more apples. The room sure smells very fresh and crisp, just like the weather outside.

What’s on your table this fall?

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10 Sep
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July Centerpiece

I have some catching up to do! My job was crazy all summer so I missed posting my July centerpiece on time so here’s a quick view at what my patriotic centerpiece looked like.

july centerpiece

For my July birthday, my mom gifted me a margarita set I’d had my eye on. When I vacationed in Mexico last year I drank out of a similar set and I really wanted to bring the fiesta home with me. So I threw some daisies in it and called it a patriotic display. Sorry Mexico, don’t hate me!

The best part of the centerpiece was having the brilliant idea to throw some sour cherry candies into the margarita glasses. The glasses worked as an easy handheld candy dish. They did not sit on the table very long. I must have looked like a crazy lady to my husband with me walking around with a margarita glass in my hand for a week (lies- a couple days) but it was just candy! Where’s the harm in that?

3 Sep
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September Task List

I’m freaking out that it is already September. I lost a whole week in August when I got sick and I’m still moving very slowly as I recover. To top it all off, I have a huge trip coming up that I feel woefully unprepared for. I saw September 1 on my calendar and I started making list after list. I’m hoping I can at least tackle a few tasks from this month’s Get Organized Now checklist before I go too crazy.

Source: Anything But Perfect- available for download

This month I already tackled Day 1’s task of looking ahead at my calendar. I think that’s part of the problem. I think my best plan to prepare is to just try to think rationally. Easier said than done, right? Here’s what I’m looking at for my calendar.

  • September 2: Prepare a special dessert to be served for the Labor Day holiday. -This one is easy, I already bought supplies to make a peach cake I spotted over on Glori of Food.
  • September 5: Make DO/GO/CALL list. Perfect timing! Listing out the tasks in little pieces will not only keep me calm but it’ll be a great way for my husband to see where he can help out too.
  • September 9: Call the grandparents for Grandparents Day. I will be doing this though I hesitate to think what advice my grandma will tell me based on what she hears on Dr. Oz. I swear, Dr. Oz should be banned in that household because my grandma is always telling me the weirdest things.
  • September 15: Time swap sandals for boots. Do an inventory on all those Old Navy flip flops and toss the gross ones. Give your boots a shine before breaking them out.
  • September 20: Organize your baking supplies. This is a great time to restock before making Christmas cookies or to organize your baking tools.
  • September 23: Are you making enough time for you? If you don’t have a hobby (and TV watching isn’t going to count) then work on one. If you find yourself with too many hobbies, try to focus on just one for maximum relaxation. I sent my sewing machine upstairs so I can start focusing on Christmas crafting.
  • September 28: It’s apple season! Plan an apple picking trip or start setting aside your favorite apple recipes.
30 Aug
Posted in: Food
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Cookie Delight

If you’re still looking for the perfect potluck dessert for a Labor Day weekend barbeque, look no further than the cookie delight. It’s tasty, doesn’t require a lot of prep and it’s very kid-friendly. The recipe originally comes from Taste of Home Magazine and I’m always finding my new favorites from them. This recipe is perfect right out of the box with one little exception.

cookie delight

Start by baking a tube of cookie dough (or about 16 oz of your favorite homemade recipe) in a baking pan for about 15 minutes. Let this layer cool for about 45 minutes-1 hour before continuing.

You’ll need two separate bowls for the next step. Bowl one will be your creamy layer, mix together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and a portion of Cool Whip for this layer. Bowl two will be your chocolate layer, mix together your puddings and milk for this layer. You’ll layer these onto your cookie base, first the creamy layer, then your chocolate layer.

Now add your remaining Cool Whip and here’s that important little change– sprinkle the top of the dish with mini chocolate chips. This is key to the whole dish being a success. There’s nothing more fun than eating mini chocolate chips as a kid so just sprinkle away.

cookie delight

You’ll want to chill this dish about 8 hours at this point so this is a great dish to prepare the night before or the morning of a barbeque.

Cookie Delight

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 20 pieces


  • 1 tube (16-1/2 ounces) refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 carton (12 ounces) Cool Whip, thawed, divided
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • Mini Chocolate Chips


  1. Press cookie dough into an ungreased 13x9 baking pan. Bake at 350° for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
  2. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Fold in 1-3/4 cups whipped topping. Spread over cookie crust.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes. Spread over cream cheese layer. Top with remaining whipped topping. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight until firm.

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28 Aug
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Organizing My Baking Nook

When I got my KitchenAid Mixer the first thing I did was buy a beater blade for scraping down the sides. This meant I now had 3 extra attachments just hanging around when I wasn’t cooking something. I had a habit of losing them in drawers or the deep space of my baker’s nook.

As part of my kitchen makeover, I’d built a little baker’s nook to hold all my extra baking supplies. That might sound a little silly but I have a lot of supplies. The baker’s nook was actually built to accommodate our lower window and give me a surface to roll out cookie dough (or bread dough or pizza dough) on easily. The nook was made by substituting vanity cabinets for kitchen cabinets and then just using a separate piece of countertop.

One side holds all my baking sheets and cake pans while my drawers hold things like cake piping tubes and tips, food coloring, sprinkles, and just general odds and ends. I had one lower cabinet left to fill. I added in my cake and cupcake stands, my hand mixer, and my double set of springform pans. The whole thing felt a bit empty still.

Enter those pesky Kitchenaid mixer attachments. There was plenty of space in there for them but I didn’t want them to get lost in medium springform pan #2 (heaven forbid!) so I came up with a solution that seems so obvious I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner: 3M hooks. Look how easily I can find my hooks now.

And a closeup

For under $5 I’ve got an easy storage solution that my college self would be proud of.

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27 Aug
Posted in: Life, Site Announcements
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Welcome Back

Wow, I did not intend to be gone that long. I even have a vacation coming up that I don’t plan on being that quiet for.

After posting 2 Mondays ago I was busy pushing for a work deadline when I started to feel kind of bad. I sort of chalked it up to the stress of the job and just kept pushing on. Eventually “kind of bad” turned into pain in the night which would last 30 minutes and then I’d be fine in the morning. That wasn’t cool but I figured I’d get to the weekend and I’d feel better. When the weekend came I started to feel worse and I passed on skipping a marketplace I’d been looking forward to all summer just to try to relax. I figured whatever this was had to be all in my head from the stress, right? The deadline at work was finally over and I could just calm down.

Monday I was a little worse so I called into work and ran to the pharmacy to grab some unrelated items and in the short time I did that I had a fever jump several degrees. That was a little scary. The rest of Monday, all of Tuesday, and early Wednesday were just a blur to me. I had such high fevers during that time and some other scary side effects that I really had no clue what was going on. I ended up going to the Urgent Care, having the Urgent Care get freaked out enough they wanted me in the ER and then I got some medications in the hospital before coming home. Major infection and 4 medications needed in the hospital + 3 more outside.

I expected when I was released that I’d start feeling better but I was just as sick and it took another few days for the meds to kick in. My fever finally broke after 6 straight days of 103+ temps and then I started finally being able to hold down food and water. I’m still on some meds but I should be fine (or at least good enough to move around more) in another week or so with some more rest and learning how to take it easy for a bit. I’m just glad I was able to catch things when I did and that I have so many people like my husband, parents, and in-laws who helped out when I needed the most.

nova freaked out
My dog Nova also believes she deserves some credit and since this was the look glued to her face last week, I’ll say she was a dandy little helper too

I do hope to do some casual postings between now and Labor Day but I have some resting up to do in the meantime so forgive me if I’m a little quieter than usual. Have a good week everybody and remember to take it easy!

13 Aug
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Go for Gold

Just because the Olympics are over doesn’t mean you have to stop going for the gold. Gold is back in style and I couldn’t be happier. I know some people will always be loyal to white gold/silver/platinum but I’ve always loved all things bright and shiny and the right shades of gold and brass can be so beautiful. I’m happy to see more designers giving gold a chance and I’m hunting for the perfect accents to bring some gold into my home.


(clockwise from top left- Blueprint Magazine (December 2007), Gold Leather Metallic Pouf, Art by Maurie Hartel, O’verlays, Anthropologie’s Prospero Journal, Royal Crown Derby Creamer)

I like to view gold as a neutral since I think it pairs so well with brighter colors like a bold blue, a soft aqua, or even a royal purple. Pink and gold have been a personal favorite since I saw a spread in Martha Stewart Weddings back in Winter 2007/2008 featuring a dusty pink and gold. That was also the same year of Blueprint Magazine’s beloved pink Christmas (also by Martha, RIP Blueprint). Since then I’ve really grown to love all shades of pink with gold.

gold bw

(clockwise from top left- Kate Spade NY Ticker Tape Plates, Crate & Barrel Hakkari Hurricanes, Cover of Gifted Magazine, Tulip Family lamp & shade, Crate & Barrel Give Thanks Plate, Brushed Brass Ice Bucket)

Gold seems to work even when paired with other neutrals. Gold and white can bring an amazing warm tone to a look and always makes me think of the fall and winter holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Gold and black is such a bold contrast that I find it looks sophisticated and bold. I’m noticing the trend of black interior doors and trims coming back and when paired with gold it can form a daring choice.

gold art

If you’re not a gold person but want to try out the shade as we head into fall, artwork is always a great way to test out some color. I love the mixing of gold and brass in this space. (via Ana Antunes Home Styling, LOVE artwork by Jen Ramos at MadeByGirl)

If you’re as into gold as I am, follow my gold-inspired Pinterest board to see my favorite gold pieces all year long.

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