Posted in Fashion Fridays

Fashion Friday: It’s Never Too Late for Love

Ahem… *tap tap tap*

is this thing on?

Hi Dear Readers!

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?  In fact, a little over half a year has passed since my last post!  Holy moly!  Well, no time like the present to get back into the groove, right?  I have to say that I fell in love with this blog over the months that I developed it.  So it’s never too late to rekindle it.  Mostly because blogs don’t judge you back or talk back to you, much like journals.

Anyhow, that’s not the real reason behind my title (though that was convenient, wasn’t it?).  This is a late Valentine’s Day outfit post.  Like many who shun or are not fans of the holiday, I agree that love shouldn’t be a one-day thing.  It should be an all-year thing.  As such, it’s not too late for Valentine’s Day outfits, because wearing outfits that make you feel fabulous shouldn’t just be a one-day thing.  Ignore the fact that this picture was taken on actual Valentine’s Day and that I’ve since been a bit too busy and lazy to wear anything too fancy since that day.  That needs to be remedied.  Starting tomorrow.

I really hesitated to go all-out passionate heart day outfit this year.  Don’t get me wrong; I love outfits that are well-suited for the day of love.  In fact, I recently put as a Facebook status that I wouldn’t mind dressing like it was Valentine’s Day every day of the year.  I love clothing in all iterations of Valentine’s Day:  hearts, red, lace, sexy, purple, pink, cute, feminine, girly, graphic tees with love birds or perfume bottles.  I soak that cheese up, because it just makes me smile when I wear it.  For some reason, though, I didn’t want to scream Valentine’s Day.  So this year, I decided to only have a tiny bit, by way of a rose at the waist:

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Oh, and you can’t really see it here, but my tights are also red (burgundy, actually).  I’m also pointing to my awesome Valentine’s Day present from the hubs in the second picture.  Have you guys ever heard of Origami Owl?  I’ve been singing their praises ever since I stumbled upon them at a convention.  I love them!  Anyhow, here’s a closeup of the chain and charm he got me:
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Isn’t it amazing?  He did all kinds of awesome for me that day, but seeing as this is a fashion post, I’m continuing on.

The day before Valentine’s Day, I held a “Gal”entine’s Day crafting night with a couple of my friends, and it was a blast.  I like any excuse to get together with my loved ones, so this was just the icing on the cake.  We had some yummy treats and great conversation, then made Valentines, Hershey kiss roses, and painted our nails.

For that occasion, I did a more subdued and casual Valentine’s Day look:  gray corduroys, red t-shirt, comfy and fuzzy cowlneck lavender sweater, and some red heart jewelry to top it off.  That outfit I didn’t actually get a picture of.  I did, however, get a shot of the nails that resulted from Galentine’s Day:

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Now’s usually the time in my post where I tell you what colors all the polish is, and also what brand all the components of my outfit are and/or where I bought them.  But seeing as it’s getting late and I’m slowly dipping my toe back into the blogging world (and also my hubby has been patiently waiting to use the computer), I’ll just leave it at this.

I’ll be back tomorrow, though!  How were your Valentine’s Days?  Did you do anything fun?  How did you dress?  Do you like to incorporate red?  Or do you celebrate Singles Awareness Day and wear all black?

Love, Hearts, Fluff, and Glitter (in the best possible ways!!!),
Violet

Posted in Ta-Da! Tuesdays

Ta-Da! Tuesday: Saint Valentin a Paris, DIYer’s Cut

As mentioned in my last Ta-Da! Tuesday post, I had to break up the awesomeness that was bringing Paris to us into two parts.  Today I’ll go through the processes of what I made for the date, in as brief a manner as I possibly can.  So here we go!

Berets:

I thought it was of the utmost importance to sport a beret on our Paris date in order to get us into the spirit.  I had neither the time nor the money to buy some, so I decided to hit the Interwebs for some inspiration.  I found this link and followed it until I got to the whole “cut triangles into the fabric almost up to the seam” part.  I accidentally cut the wrong part (FYI, for super-beginners like me, you’re supposed to cut from the outer part of the circle towards the inner part, rather than the inside out), so I thought I needed a second opinion before attempting it again.  So I found this YouTube video as a reinforcement and had better success the second time around.  Instead of putting in elastic or using the stretchy part of a sweater like the video suggests, I sewed a ribbon into mine in order to make it adjustable.  For the hubby’s, I cut a triangular notch out at the back so it would help to stretch and slip over his head since I didn’t have his exact head measurements.

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Almost-finished hubby’s beret, pinned up and ready for its last seam to be sewn.

3D Eiffel Tower:

I found inspiration from The Vintage Farmhouse blog but tweaked a few things.  I was originally going to use one of the big boxes leftover from unpacking, but they had all since been recycled, so I took a trip to the craft store for one of those 3-paneled presentation poster boards (boy, did that take me back to elementary school science fairs!).  Obviously, I didn’t decoupage it in sheet music (though I was debating book pages for awhile) and didn’t add tissue paper, though it had quite a cute effect for what she was doing.  Instead of decoupaging anything on it, I practiced how to draw the Eiffel Tower over and over and over (and over…AND OVER…I should’ve taken a picture of the nearly-dozen index cards I practiced on.  I’m an absolutely horrible artist!  My dogs look like dinosaurs).  When I felt comfortable enough, I drew it onto the poster board then cut it out with an exacto knife.  Then I took the other two sides and formed a little trifold stand to prop it up.

“Couture” Burlap Background:

This kinda came about accidentally, but the result was so much more fun than if it had gone the way I originally wanted it.  I had seen a Parisian-themed printed burlap print on the JoAnn Fabrics website and was really wanting to buy that, but when I got to the store, I found they had sold out.  So I went back to the drawing board and saw other things that might’ve been okay, but I really had my heart set on the burlap because it made such a nice, neutral backdrop.  So I thought, “Why not make my own?” I had the idea to turn the whole creation of the backdrop into a “stop at a couture house”.  First, I just took some stencils and a black Sharpie and did a cute stencil at the top.  Then, as an additional flourish (and because I wanted to show off my newly-acquired Eiffel Tower drawing skills), I sketched the Eiffel Tower next to it.  Come Paris Day, I introduced what we were going to do with a “making of” video from Chanel’s couture line.  Afterwards, we sewed scraps onto the burlap to make a masterpiece.

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The stencil was straight when I started, but of course burlap stretches.  I still love the way it looks.  Also?  Contrary to what you may believe, the hubby actually made the masterpiece on the right.  I made the abstract weird sculpture thing on the left.  🙂  Yep, he won artist.

Props for the Photo Booth:

I found this link and drew inspiration from it to try and make my own.  Basically, I found lots of cute free clip art on the web, printed it out, and taped it to some wooden skewers.  Super-cheap and super-cute!  It added a lot of fun to our photo booth session.  (I also freehanded the moustaches, and I feel really proud of how it turned out!)

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Fondue Recipe:

Though we do own a fondue pot, I didn’t feel like combing the town to find the right candle thingy for it (the proper name escapes me at the moment).  So I used a modified version of this recipe that doesn’t require a fondue pot.  This, I think, was really the only oopsie of the whole date.  I was so looking forward to the deliciousness that was going to be the fondue.  The chocolate that I used was 100% cocoa, so needless to say, it was extremely bitter.  I knew hubby liked pure cocoa, so I got the purest cocoa I could find, which was a mistake when it came to fondue.  We added a bit of hazelnut syrup and some sugar water and a little more cream to sweeten it up and take out the bitterness, and it was okay, but it wasn’t out-of-this-world good.  It was disappointing…

Until the next day, when the refrigerated leftovers settled into a mousse-like consistency.  THAT was just heavenly!  🙂

French Onion Soup Recipe:

I pretty much followed this recipe to the letter, except I halved it because I was only cooking for two.  I also used three kinds of onions:  red, yellow, and sweet.  I used an Australian Traminer Riesling that tasted not very sweet when I had it by itself, but when reduced in the soup and combined with the sweet onions I put in, the soup ended up being a little too sweet for me.  Perhaps that’s the way real French onion soup should be (I’ve consistently found that the French onion soup I get at restaurants tend to be much too salty), but I think next time around I’ll not use the sweet onions and use a less-sweet wine.  It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t as good as I expected it to be.  The Swedish meatballs I made from it, though (see recipe in answer #4 in this post), turned out to be absolutely delicious.

There were many more little crafty flourishes that I added to the date, like making a sachet of Herbes de Provence, wrapping a baguette of French bread in a French newspaper, and the little chalkboard sign I made for the basket, but for the most part, I think I covered  the things that took the most time.  I hope you enjoyed!  🙂

To Your Own Flashes of Creativity!  🙂

Violet

Posted in Ta-Da! Tuesdays

Ta-Da! Tuesday: Saint Valentin a Paris

For those who have been following, I gave my hubby a “Passport to Love” for Christmas.  The short version of what this means is that every month, I let my creativity run wild, recreating vacation spots at home.  Last month it was Hawaii.  This month, I did Paris for Valentine’s Day.  A little cheesy?  Yes.  Cliche?  You betcha.  Ordinary?  Oh, no.  Anything but!

I really liked my previous structure of listing what I tried to recreate, then a followup with what it actually was, so I think I’ll borrow that formula for the rest of my vacation spots.  🙂

We arrived in Charles de Gaulle airport in the late afternoon, got our passport stamped and changed out some American currency for Euros.

Immediately afterward, I, being a bibliophile, had to had to HAD TO visit Shakespeare & Co.  We loved it so much that we picked up three books (France-related, of course.  Because it just seemed to fit.)

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Afterwards, we took a stroll down Rue Cler and put together a picnic basket from things we picked up along the markets.
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(not pictured but also eaten:  French onion soup, a baguette of French bread, and fresh strawberries to dip in the fondue)

Then we went to the Parc du Champ de Mars, plopped on our little slice of green grass, and enjoyed our “pique-nique” (picnic).

With our bellies full, we strolled on the Ponts des Arts bridge and followed tradition by attaching our own padlock.  It was fun to see the hubs get into something symbolic.

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What the hubs wrote on our lock.  I was surprisingly more generic and just wrote our names and the date on the backside.

Next was a quick stop at Deyrolle, the strange little taxidermy/curiosity shop.  We had fun taking pictures with the animals.

(need to get the photos we took off of my hubby’s phone later, so right now this will be a placeholder)

After walking a little while, we decided the picnic of bread and cheese wasn’t quite enough, so we tried our hand at making some chicken cordon bleu in the kitchen of our hotel room.

(we ate it all before getting the chance to take a picture)

By that time, it was getting late and we were tired from the flight, so we decided to call it a night and extend activities to the next day (I had a lot planned, and we weren’t quite able to fit it into one day like I originally thought.)

The next day we started out with a trip to a patisserie to get some energy for the rest of the day.  We had some freshly-baked croissants with Nutella and French vanilla lattes. We weren’t able to do the fondue the night before, so we thought some of the strawberries would be a good complement to the chocolate and croissants.  It was the first time I had ever had croissants dipped in coffee, and lemme tell ya, if you’ve never done it before, do it.  Like, right now.  It’s that good.

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I convinced my other half that a trip to Paris wouldn’t be complete without a peek at some high fashion, so we took a detour and browsed the avenue Montaigne and got the special treat of seeing how some of the Chanel 2013 collection dresses were made.  Then we found a photo booth (with a couture backdrop!) to take some photos in.

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(obviously, we weren’t *quite* ready for the first picture.  Haha.)

We were pretty tired after that, but we couldn’t let another day go by without some fondue.  So we found some energy and made some marzipan hearts to dip into it, added it to the strawberries and crunchy breadsticks spread, melted the chocolate we got at the market (with some liquor and cream added, of course), then enjoyed our creation with some wine.

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Then (warning:  maybe TMI) we perfected our French kissing.  Mostly because nothing says “kiss me” like strawberries, chocolate, wine, and marzipan.  🙂

*Reality*:

I let my little brother in on our plans and gave him a quick training on how to be a ticket-taker (I gave him the “stamp” to put on hubby’s “passport”), so the airport was really my parents’ house.  We also really did switch out American currency for Euros.  I dug up some from when we went to Germany a few years back.

Shakespeare & Co. was a local used bookstore in my town that I absolutely LOVE.  I only just recently discovered it, but apparently it’s been around for 23 years.  I hope it continues to be successful.  I always come out with a new treasure.  Anyhow, I sent a message to one of the owners on Facebook about the Parisian Valentine’s Day plans, and she was so incredibly sweet in saying that it was such a cute idea.  She got into it and set up a little French display for us to see when we came in.  Needless to say, I think I’ll be frequenting that store much, much more in the future.  They really went out of their way for their customers.

Rue Cler was a local fresh foods/gourmet foods market.  It prides itself on having both local produce or quality imported foods, so it just so happened to have some fabulous French cheese, wine, and chocolate.  Here again, I became puppet master and arranged for them to have a basket ready to pick up.  So I bought the goodies for the basket ahead of time, decorated it myself (I’m very particular about my wrapping), and dropped it off with the manager.  When we got there, we bought some things to dip in the fondue.  Imagine hubby’s surprise, though, when I picked up the basket at check out!  I tried to give the cashier the Euros we had, but I think the manager might not have relayed the message to her, because she looked a bit confused.  That’s okay, though.  It was still fun.  🙂

The Parc du Champ de Mars was a nearby outdoor plaza.  It had plenty of outdoor tables and chairs set up, and I had carefully picked out which table we were going to dine at in advance.  It had globe lights above and was situated near the complex’s outdoor fireplace.  Some Parisian Cafe music from my phone, and the ambience was set!  There was a nice little grassy hill with animal statues close to where we had our picnic, so we pretended that it was the grass under the Eiffel Tower.

Conveniently, the back part of our backyard has a chain link fence.  So I got some outdoor lights to outline a bridge, printed out a picture of the padlocks on the Ponts de Arts, then taped it to the chainlink fence with a hole cut out for us to put our own padlock on.  Originally I was going to have a bucket filled with water to be the “river” to throw the key in, but I ran out of time, so we just threw the key into the yard.

Deyrolle was me setting up my stuffed animals in silly poses and situations.  I had one in an armchair reading a book, one having tea, another playing the piano.  It was hilarious, because when we were coming back from the “Ponts de Arts” and I told hubby that the next stop was the taxidermy shop, he saw some of the animals and even remarked, “I see it!  I can see the shop!”  He did a wonderful job of really getting into the spirit of things and the illusion I created (rather than being grumpy that he wasn’t getting the “real thing”), and for that I’m so very thankful.

As you might’ve guessed, our “hotel room” was our own bedroom.  I made a 3D Eiffel Tower to have as our “view”, and topped it off with some adorable string lights.  I even put a light inside the tower that changes colors so we could watch the “light show”.

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For breakfast, it was obviously at home.  I made my own croissants and got Nutella out of the jar and put it in little bowls in a pretty pattern to make it look cuter.  I did cheat a little and got some French vanilla lattes from our favorite coffee shop (conveniently open 24 hours!), then poured them into coffee cups so it looked more homey.  What you don’t see, though (because I forgot to take a picture) was that I set up a morning picnic outside in our huge backyard’s wooden table and chairs set, with candles and the “lights from the bridge” on.  I also brought my Parisian Cafe music again, and set out the books we bought at “Shakespeare & Co.” to browse through while having breakfast.  I set it up right before the sun came up so we could enjoy the sunrise.  It was wonderful.

In reality, Gruffy (nickname for the hubs…haven’t used it in awhile) had to go to work in the morning right after breakfast, so we had to put a pause on Paris until he got home at night.  We had some French onion soup for dinner when got home,

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So. Freakin’.  Good.  The Swedish meatballs I made from the leftovers were equally good.  I’ll post that recipe next Tuesday.  🙂

For the couture houses, we watched a “making of” video of Chanel’s 2013 collection.

Afterwards, we decided to make something “couture” of our own:  a couture fabric background for our photo booth!  I had made a pretty neutral background beforehand: some burlap that I stenciled with “Saint Valentin a Paris” and a freehand drawing of the Eiffel Tower.  Then I laid out my fabric and ribbon scraps, stickers, and needle and thread so we could hand sew some stuff onto the burlap.  It was a great time and we both really got into it!  We spent much more time putting together the background than I originally thought, but it was SO worth it.

Then, ya know.  French kissing is pretty straightforward.  😉

Since your eyes may or may not be glazing over by the length of this post, I will do a part 2 of this next Tuesday, with a “behind-the-scenes”/”making-of” post.

More for my own accountability/organization than anything else, here’s what I’ll be going into:

*berets I sewed
*3D Eiffel Tower
*burlap background
*props for the photo booth
*fondue recipe
*making of couture background
*French onion soup recipe
*Swedish meatball (from leftover French onion soup) recipe

…and perhaps more.  That’s all I can remember for today.  So sounds like I’ll have my work cut out for me for next Tuesday!  Can’t wait!

Au Revoir! (at least until next time)
Violet

Posted in Making Memories Mondays

Making Memories Mondays: Love & Blogs

Two weeks!  It’s been two weeks since I’ve last blogged?!?  Wow.  I can’t believe that.  When I post tomorrow’s post, you’ll probably see why it’s been so long, but still.  My own mind’s blown.

Anyhow, I think today I’ll switch things up a bit and do the Friend Making Monday first, then the pictures from my Pictures to Take checklist next.

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 If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: http://www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Blogger to Blogger

 1.  Does your blog have one overwhelming theme?
It does, because organizing things help to keep me sane.  In the case of my blog, the overwhelming theme is getting things done, or as the tagline says, “checking things off, one day at a time”.

2. How did you come up with the theme(s) for your blog? Was it intentional?
Oh, if you could only have seen the planning stages of List Love Laugh!  I went through many different themes before realizing that I could put all themes under the umbrella of getting things done.  It was every bit intentional.  I told myself if I was going to start a blog, that it would help me get things done in life, rather than take me away from the things I wanted to get done.

3.  Share something cool that has happened in your life as a result of blogging.
Though these all sound very small, they’re all cool things to me:  having an outlet to express my thoughts and bounce them off of others, defining my fashion sense even more and taking more pride in my own sense of style, and getting more into crafting.  And Flash Mobbing, but I think that may have happened even if I didn’t start blogging.  🙂

4. How much time to do spend reading blogs everyday?
I have to confess that I’m pretty loyal to only a few really good blogs, and I rarely stray from those unless something really catches my attention.  So if I follow you, consider it a huge compliment because I don’t follow just anyone.  I make it a point to not spend more than about an hour a day reading blogs, but realistically, I probably only spend a maximum of three hours a week reading blogs since I enjoy books and other things more.  🙂

5.  Do you blog on the weekends?
My original plan was to blog a bit every day, including weekends, but that hasn’t really panned out.  So I do when I can.

6.  Do you keep track of your stats?  Do they matter to you?
In the ten months I’ve been blogging, I’ve probably only checked my stats three or four times, just out of curiosity.

7. How do you decide how much to share about your personal life?
This has perhaps been my biggest challenge so far as a blogger.  I get differing opinions on how much to reveal about your real life, but I think in the end, the best thing is to go with your gut.  I liken it to when I first started AOL chatrooms in the 90s (do you remember that?!?).  I didn’t reveal my real name or location because I didn’t want any crazies knowing that personal information, and I maintain that right now as a blogger.  Perhaps as I get more comfortable with my readership I’ll reveal more, but I don’t think I’m at that point.

I believe it was around May or June that I finally revealed a picture of my face, and I feel good about that.  And I think if people really wanted to figure out my location it wouldn’t be too hard to figure out the general area, but I’ll let them do that and not reveal where I am outright.

The events in my life, though, are all true, as well as my thoughts and sentiments on a subject.  It’s definitely more than just a didactic tone.  I reveal if I’m having bad days, I go into personal experiences, and I let you know my trials and tribulations.  I think that helps a blog to be more relatable, and they are the same things I appreciate in other blogs.

8. Do you aspire to be a writer, or did blogging happen for some other reason?
I’ve wanted to be a writer for pretty much my entire life, but more than being a writer, I really want to either be a poetry therapist or a literary agent or someone in publishing who works behind the scenes to get someone else’s talent noticed.  I’m not really one who likes the spotlight shined on her.

So while I do enjoy writing, I started blogging mostly because I wanted to sort out my thoughts, and also as a way to hold myself accountable for checking things off of life’s checklist.  It’s been an interesting ride so far.

9. As a blogger, do you think it’s more important to write for yourself, or for your readers?
I have to say that it’s more important to write for yourself, because you can’t always count on your readers, but it really depends on what your goal is when you blog. That’s just my personal opinion.  Because I think it’s more enriching to your soul to blog about what you love, rather than falling prey to what others want from you.  The great thing is that blogs can be about any topic, so eventually there will be someone out there who will read what you have to say.  After that point, you can ask readers for their opinions, and that is when that magical moment happens where you start writing both for yourself and your readers.

10.  What kind of plans do you have for the future of your blog?
I say this a lot, but I’d really like to stay more on top of it and blog more often.  I’d like to, at least once a month, have an entire week where I blog each day.  Every “day topic” is important to me and I’d like to give them all equal attention.  I’d really like to especially start concentrating on Written Word Wednesdays and Scholastic Saturdays more, since I feel as if I’ve been ignoring those days, yet they’re the most important for me to accomplish.  I also hope to get many, many more checkmarks done when it comes to my Big Scary Life Checklist, educational books to read, Things to Do Before I Die, and clothing inventory.  Mostly I just really want to streamline the blog and get it back to the basics that I set it up to be before I started straying from my original goal.

And now, pictures!

Pictures to Take Throughout the Year

February (week three)
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Favorite gadgets
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My “new” camera that I received last May (because I love taking pictures of EVERYTHING!), the new phone I received about a month ago (because I get to come out of cell phone Dark Ages and finally have a keyboard…it’s still not a super-advanced phone by any means…it’s not even a smartphone, but I still love it!!), and good ol’ pen and paper (because when all the other fancy gadgets fall away, these are all I need)!  And yes, I took a picture of my camera in the mirror, because that’s really the only way to take a picture of  the camera you’re using, yes?

DSCN5167My loved ones
(warning: mushy photo to come)
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Though I have many loved ones, this is the only picture I have of a loved one during the month of February.  It’s a good loved one to feature, seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day month, and this (along with my doggie) is my Valentine. 🙂  This is also a preview of tomorrow’s post, where I’ll talk about our Valentine trip to Paris!

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From our outdoor picnic table at night.  Better pictures of this picnic to come (have to get them off hubby’s phone).
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Valentines I receive
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Don’t get me wrong.  I love every Valentine’s Day present the hubby has ever given me, but I’ll be honest:  these presents are some of, if not THE MOST, memorable.  And by memorable I mean freakin’ awesome.  I got crayon rings (yes. Jewelry you can color with.  I know.  Bask in the awesomeness!) and a unicorn that has a projector on it.  That projects stars, a moon, and a UNICORN FACE.  If you don’t know by now that I am obsessed with unicorns, this must be the first post you’ve read from me.  Because I do.  Thus, the combination of these two items makes me extremely giddy.  Here they both are again, closer:


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DSCN5167Creating Valentines (with bonus “goodies”)
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I feel like all of Paris was one big Valentine that I created for the hubs, so I’ll leave that for tomorrow and feature the more stereotypical Valentine: the card.  You can sorta see it behind the chocolate fondue.  Mmm…
And the heart was made with the crayon ring he gave me!  Woohoo!

DSCN5167Goodies (cookies/candy/cupcakes)
I did make some red velvet cookies for the day, but I gave most of them away to my mom & little bro before I could take a picture of them.  The few that I left behind were eaten before I could photograph them.  Believe you me, though, there were plenty of goodies to be had, though they weren’t cookies, candy, or cupcakes.  As you can see above, there was fondue, strawberries, wine, and marzipan hearts (that we made ourselves!).  We also had croissants with a Nutella-like spread for breakfast the next day:

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That’s all for now.  All details regarding Paris, I’ll do tomorrow! 🙂

Wishing You Sweet Things Too!  🙂
Violet