Monday, January 25


*Linking up with Becky*
Currently around the Johnson Anderson house we are...

Tired from a full weekend of celebrating! Charles recently turned 10, and we had the chance to celebrate his birthday this weekend. I can't believe he's 10 already and halfway through third grade. We went to hibachi, per his request, and then enjoyed some chocolate cake. I was going to make the cake during the twins nap time, only to discover I had no white sugar...Thank god for google and the ability to get creative. I found this recipe, using boxed brownie mix and it turned out great. I made a few tweaks (mainly I used oil and not applesauce as she calls for.) Virginia and my mother-in-law proclaimed it one of the best cakes I've ever made. Charles loved trying to cut it with one of his presents. And they say city boys don't know how to correctly operate power equipment.
 Speaking of a fun weekend...Sunday gave us the ultimate surprise, a puppy! You know how this story goes, we were just going to look and play with some of the dogs. That went over like a lead balloon. Meet Chance Anderson. Mark and the kids are so in love and I have to admit he's really cute. We really are turning into #andersonpettingzoo. So far I've been able to resist chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs. Here's hoping that trend continues.
Anyone else a Chopped fan? This tickled me. I love watching Chopped and get some of my best dinner out of the pantry ideas thanks to it. I love when they do theme shows or have a special twist to the already challenging format, so coming across this Franciscan sister who actually won is pretty awesome!! Her dessert looked awesome, who knew pancakes could be so decadent. Way to go Sister Torres!

Is anyone else not that great at saying no? Because I'm freaking horrible at it. Last week I agreed to chair a fundraiser and take on some extra work projects. I don't mind, but I probably should have said no. Just like I probably should have said no to the puppy... I am considering printing this poster out and tacking it to my forehead.
Justine Musk via Pinterest

Cheers to a great week!

Monday, January 18

Forward Progress

Raise your hand if you're at work today…just me? feels like its just me. #privatesectorlife

I love this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. that Oshkosh Kids shared on instagram earlier. I've noticed over the last 16 months that not only has everything changed in day-to-day life since F&A were born, duhhhh, but that my mindset has changed.

This quote made me think of all of the times over the last year where I thought we weren't going to make it; where it was just too damn hard, and yet, we woke up the next day and tried again. I frequently tell our daycare director, "There's always tomorrow; we'll be better tomorrow," when I forget sippy cups or nap mats or that one time Mark dropped Fitz off with only one shoe on… We don't always fly, but we always move forward.
via Oshkosh kids insta

Friday, January 15

Lust List: Rent The Runway Clearance

As a Harry Potter fan I would be remiss in not putting this fantastic tribute to Alan Rickman on my slice of the internet. I, along with everyone in the free world, abhorred and adored him as Snape. His character in Love Actually? Not so much. I pretty much just abhorred him in that one. RIP Rickman #gonetoosoon
"Here's to the best damned antagonist a guy could ask for."
via The New Yorker
Now, on to the fun part of the last few days: imagining what I would buy off the Rent The Runway clearance sale had MA and I won the Powerball. Because let's face a few truths here. One, we DEFINITELY had a mess load of tickets. Two, there's no way I can justify spending the few thousand on these items that have my heart going pitter-patter. 

I love Rent The Runway! I've rented gowns for deb balls, cocktail dresses, party dresses, you name it, I've probably tried it—it is just so easy and affordable. I'm not a total labelholic, but I do see the value in a really well made dress. They fit better; they look better; they give you a certain confidence. It's worth the money in my mind.But I don't always want to pay the full price for a dress I'll wear a handful of times. Thankfully RTR let's you get a dress for just a few days. Wear it to your event and send it back, easy as pie. Then a few times a year a magical thing happens...

After every season RTR cleans out its closet, so-to-speak, and we have the chance to purchase items at 85% off of retail. Granted everything is used, but I've never, ever been disappointed in the quality of my rentals. I bought two dresses during the last clearance sale and one of them looked brand new! 

So here's what I've got my eye on for gowns and cocktail dresses.
Rent The Runway Sale: Gowns & Cocktail Dresses

Can't forget simple party dresses.
Rent The Runway Sale: Party Dresses

Or bags.
Rent The Runway Sale: Bags

Don't worry jewelry, I didn't leave you out either. 
Rent The Runway Sale: Jewelry

 I'm probably going to pull the trigger a few things this weekend, because the $11 Slate and Willow earrings just obviously have to be mine. I've been watching the inventory over the last few days and stuff is going fast! Anyone have anything they LOVE from the sale?

Wednesday, January 13

Spotting The Perfect $1.25 Necklace: Antiquing Pro Tips

There's something about a piece of jewelry from the early fifties. The plastic beads, the history, the style. It's all just a little perfect. In fact, the same can be said about every piece of antique jewelry. It's all just a little perfect. Why?

Because, not only is it (usually) very affordable, one of my favorite necklaces I found at a vintage shop for $1.25, but because it comes with a past. That's why we all like antiques isn’t it? Because they come with a past. A story. A history. An element of glamour and romance that can only come from imaginations.
Take my necklace for example. Each time I wear it I wonder, did someone my age wear it to her typing job? Did she wear it to school? A date? It has blue beads, so did she style like I do, with a blue dress? It's the unanswered questions of jewelry such as this blue necklace that have me hunting garage sales, thrift stores and vintage shops. Not in hopes of finding something with semi-precious or precious stones, but in finding something affordable that I can actually wear and enjoy.

While I always prefer to wear a piece from my Grandmother's collection, I find the thrill of the hunt is just as exciting. These are the Pro Tips I've figured out in my various trips. You never know what you're going to find!
Always be open-minded. See a pair of clip earrings you love but one is missing a stone? A hot glue gun and some hair clips from a craft store will take that clip earring to hair accessory in about five minutes. The same goes for pins. Pins were a very big thing in the 40s and 50s, but aren't such a hit now. They do, however, make great hair clips/add ons to headbands. I've also been known to clip earrings and pins to necklaces with solid color beads to add a charm look.

Don’t buy something just because it's cheap. Yes, I too love when the price tag says a nickel. But if the piece isn't something you love love love at the shop, even if it is a nickel, you aren't going to love it at home. This seems obvious, but it is something to always keep in mind—it also helps cut down on an overflow of projects. I still have a bunch of nickel necklaces I bought that I was going to restring into something else. They've been collecting dust for three five months.

Don't go shopping on Saturdays if you can avoid it. Saturdays are just crazy. That's when everybody and their mother’s brother goes out "looking for deals." The best time is Monday afternoons. The shops have had time to process items that have come in over the weekend and the store will be a little thinner on some of the overall crap, allowing you to see better, from the weekend rush.

Buddy system! Bring a buddy to look with you. It's more fun having someone to laugh with about crazy items, you never know what you'll find (I once found a single jewel encrusted tiger earring.) This is also a great activity you can do with little girls. Since the jewelry won't be (usually) that expensive, when they find something they love you can "splurge" and get it for them. Additionally, they have a good eye for sparkles, and could end up unearthing something you love.

Anyone else love the vintage look? Any tips you want to add?

Monday, January 11


*Linking up with Becky*
Currently around the Johnson Anderson house we are...

SO EXCITED FOR TONIGHT'S FOOTBALL GAME. If you've read around here, pretty much ever, you know we are huge Alabama fans. Tonight our team is playing for its 16th National Championship in Arizona. Did I mention we are very excited? It should be a great game where we absolutely cream them.

Today and tomorrow are basically holidays around these parts, and I'm looking forward to a fun group at our house watching the game over a selection of apps and dips. And lots of yellow hammers.

I realize not everyone might be the overzealous fans we are, to help you get in the spirit here's my favorite "hype" video.

Wednesday, January 6

15 for 2015 Review

A new page, a new year, 2016 is here. I'm glad to see 2015 go. It was a busy, big year for our family and while I didn't do everything I set out to do, I had a lot of fun and learned a lot about myself along the way. It's funny how life works out; it's even funnier how it doesn't.

I have decided not to set any goals for 2016, because looking down at this list, I feel disappointed I didn't hit my marks—and know I probably could have tried harder in some areas, and set really lofty aspirations for others.

That being said, I am glad I used this as a guide to keep me motivated to cook more, read more, experience more.

So here's how it shook out, here's the last update of 15 for 2015.  

15 for 2015 
Hit the Pure Barre Montgomery 250 Tuck Club (Accomplished in January) 
Spend another long weekend in Curacao We did not go back to our favorite place on Earth this year and I am definitely sad about it.
 Show Fitz and Alex the beach We did not show them the traditional beach. I believe this was one of my more lofty aspirations for the year that fell a little flat—unfortunately. It is also one of the ones that makes me the most sad I am not able to cross off. HOWEVER, we did take a trip up to Wisconsin to our family's cabin in the North Woods and they enjoyed boat rides and did see lake water's edge. They even went fishing with their dad!
They even ate supper at the same restaurant notorious gangster John Dillinger did before his capture following a shootout with the FBI. It was a great trip!
Future gangsters atop one of Dillinger's Gang's cars at Little Bo in Manitowish Waters, Wis.
Read 15 books 1: Mending Fences 2: Tonight and Always 3: A Matter of Choice 4: Endings and Beginnings 4: Vegas Rich 5: A Perfect Life 6: Downtown 7: The Best of Me 8: The Little Paris Bookshop 9. Hoping for Hope 10: Driftwood Summer 11: Nantucket Nights 12: Untamed I am disappointed in myself for not finishing two more books, but proud I found time to read on trips, after the babies went to bed and on my lunch breaks.
Take an entire month and not buy a single piece of clothing (or accessory) for myself (Accomplished in May) 
Finally re-decorate our living room (Accomplished in April) 
Update my phone software (Got a new iPhone 6S in September)
Visit Kimber, Gentry and Saylor at the farm in Pennsylvania (Accomplished in July!)
Go home for Alabama Homecoming  This was the same weekend as Fitz and Alex's birthday party, so we let this one go. Though in November we did go to Tuscaloosa and see the Tide take on LSU!
 Write my Nanny once a month January: yes, sort of. February: yes! March: yes! April: No. May: No. June: yes! July: I think so, but I can't remember, honestly. August: Mailed it on Aug 31st, but yes! September: yes! October: yes! November: yes! December: yes!
Try 15 new recipes 1: Creamy Italian Chicken Crockpot Bake 2: Cajun Cake recipe from Southern Living Annual Recipes 1987 edition 3: Basil Chicken Pizza 4: Fiesta Chicken Rice Bowls 5: Carla Hall’s Confetti Blondies 6: Cheeseburger Pie 7: Sun-Dried Tomato and Herb Crusted Salmon 8: Bursting Blueberry-Chocolate Bundt Cake 9: Cheesy Stuffed Meatloaf 10: Rosemary, Thyme Oven Roast  11: Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers 12: Balsamic Braised Chicken Thighs 13: Southern-fied Arrabiata 14: French Chicken Stew 15: Cranberry Oat Ricotta Muffins
Completely clean out my closet (Accomplished in August)
Take about a zillion more pictures I just found it on my phone camera from F&A's birthday and, well, it just speaks for itself.  
Clean out the storage unit and sell the furniture we are never going to use (Accomplished in March) 
Show Mark Philadelphia and the Porecca family We did not visit my family in Philadelphia and I am sad about that, but this was another lofty aspiration I think, with Mark's new job and my existing work travel schedule. 

Tuesday, January 5


A few years ago, a very dear friend of mine started a social media campaign called #posituesday. The "rules" are simple; you share something positive on Tuesday. Last year I pushed myself for every Tuesday in July to "shake it up" posting my own #posituesday here—so I could forget some of the bigger, heavier things on my mind and remember all the adorable animal pictures I found, the jewelry I could never afford and precious memories of my family.

For 2016 I am trying to let go of some of the negative clutter in my mind. One way I thought I might embrace some happy would be to bring back #posituesday. So my goal is for the first Tuesday of the month each month of 2016 to remember the positive things, the pictures that make me smile.

What do I love today?

That this library exists in the world. 
Mental Floss via Pinterest
What are you loving today?

Monday, January 4


*Linking up with Becky*
I took a little break with this little blog over the last few weeks, and I feel like I missed it. Well, no, that's not the right way to say it. I didn't feel like I missed it—I know I missed it. But somehow spending time with my family or going to bed early always trumped putting my millions of thoughts on these proverbial pages.

For 2016 I am recommitting myself to the documentation of our lives here, on this slice of the internet. If not only for the purpose of remembering all the yummy foods I cooked up in the kitchen, the ridiculous books I read, the fun adventures Woods Barbie took and all the lunacy in-between. Especially considering my darling husband got me a brand new Mac Book Pro for Christmas, seems silly not to use it. My sweet husband, knowing I appreciate both old school and new school ways, gave me the laptop and my very own portable Underwood. Lucky girl I am.
Currently around the Johnson Anderson house we are...

Tired. Since I took most of the latter part of December off work, I'm only today strutting into the office since Dec 17th. Damn, I am already tired just thinking about this week. Having toddlers doesn't really mean you get to sleep in, ever, so during the Christmas vacation I was up a little bit later than normal, but not by much. And thanks to the Christmas present my Dad gave me, I know now exactly how much sleep (or lack of sleep) I am getting. Anyone else have a Fitbit? I have become kind of obsessed with it! I never realized how much I moved during the day. I don't really want to lose weight, so I am still trying to figure out how to best use it As of now, I wear it constantly, but also wear my Polar monitor during my workouts.
Laughing hysterically at this picture from Christmas. Talk about the adorableness of good old fashioned excitement. Santa's rocking elephants she woke up at 4am to go buy at Home Depot on Black Friday were a total hit!
So, so excited about the return of The Bachelor! We are cord cutters, and won't be able to watch the premier live—instead we will watch it on Tuesday night via Hulu. Still, I cannot contain my excitement! Ben is probably the cutest, most non-cheesy, most genuine guy they have had in a while. Bring on all the crazy bitches!
Ben Higgins headshot via ABC
On the lookout for a new show to watch. MA and I watched Making a Murderer (Netflix) in about three days flat. I didn't love it. We also watched Toby Maguire's The Details, (Amazon Prime) which I actually hated. Morning Glory (Amazon Prime) with Rachael McAdams and Harrison Ford was incredible and might be in my new Top Five Favorites. We rounded out the vacation binge watching with Jonah Hill's True Story (Redbox). Highly recommend it. But now, we're in a lull. Anyone have any recommendations? I also polished off a Nora Roberts' book. It was a very relaxing weekend.

My truth for the week ahead. God's speed to everyone.
The Glitter Guide via Pinterest

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