Wordless Wednesday Linky: Hungry Smurfs

Wordless Wednesday Linky!
I’m finally writing up my thoughts on the BlogHer’12 conference, which I will post tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s a snap shot from Times Square, and a Wordless Wednesday Linky for you to enjoy:

Why I Went To BlogHer’12

I’ve been reading a bunch of other posts about BlogHer 2012, and it’s pretty amazing how different each person’s experience was! I was one of the 60% new bloggers that attended this year, so there were a lot of us running around saying, “Holy crap, there’s a lot of people here!”

There are a few reasons why I went to BlogHer, and they are tied into why I started blogging in the first place.

BlogHer 2012 Newbie Breakfast

At the “Newbie” Breakfast

Why I Blog
I’ve always liked to write, but since I had kids they have sucked all the free time out of my life it’s been difficult to find time to write. Blogging gives me a short form where I can get the words out, but without the need to fill up pages and pages. This blog is still a baby, but I had another blog that lasted for over two years, so I’m not exactly new to this blogging thing.

My reasons for starting this particular blog are not completely altruistic. Originally it was a branch of my business marketing efforts. I focused mostly on my jewelry in my posts, but that got completely boring. I mean, my beads are pretty, but I can only write so many posts about sterling silver, know what I mean?

So I decided to write about my life, with a bit of business stuff thrown in. And voila, My Charming Life! was born.

Crowds at BlogHer’12

One of the many crowds…

Okay, that’s all great, but get to the point.
Right, so here’s why I went to BlogHer.

1. I wanted to meet other bloggers. I really like bloggers. They’re my people – we get each other. What better way to meet other bloggers than at a blogging conference! The fact that I sat down at the first table on the first day and met someone who reads my blog (HI, DEIRDRE!) was pretty amazing!

Second Look Sunday: Mompreneurs, How Do You Prioritize Your Time?

Although I’ve been serious about this blog for only three months or so, I started it way back in 2009, when I started Katie’s Charms. I wrote some interesting (I think) posts back then, so I thought I would bring them to the front once in a while so you guys can take a look.

This was one of the first posts I wrote, about prioritizing my time between the kids and the business. This is something that I struggle with even more now. I’ve updated the post to include my little guy (who wasn’t even a thought back in 2009), but the difficulties remain the same, if not harder.

Trying to find time for everything is probably the biggest problem we women have. And if you have a business and kids, it can be the most stressful part of your life.

Please take a look and then add your thoughts – I’d love to hear how you prioritize your time!

Kids Say Funny Things – Record Them with Quotable!

Kids say funny things, don’t they? My daughter Katie is a riot. She’s one of those kids who’s funny without even trying. We’ve done a number of “spit takes” over the stuff that comes out of that kid’s mouth!

I’ve said numerous times that I should be writing down what she says so we can revisit her funniest moments when she gets older. It must have been divine intervention, because I received an email for this:

Paper Coterie Quotable book

How perfect this this? Because I’m a Paper Coterie affiliate, I was able to order one of these books for free.

Check out how adorable the Quotable book is:

Quotable book 1

The book comes with a hard, see-through cover, and is spiral bound to make it very easy to use. Perfect to take on family outings.

Quotables book 2

There are a LOT of spaces to record things. I made one book for all three kids…since all three of my kids say funny things!

Quotable book 3

I got to write something in the book on the day I got it! (And yes, that’s Katie.)

Quotable Book 4

I love how many pictures I was able to put in it! You can place up to 19 photos throughout the book.

The pages are uncoated so you can write where ever you like. With 32 pages, there is plenty of room to record all of those amazing things your kids say!

Jamberry Nails Review & Giveaway

Hi guys! I’m very excited to present my first product review for a fellow Mompreneur! Plus, there’s a fun giveaway at the bottom for you to enter.

Jamberry Nails
Nail shields are the hottest thing in nail art these days. You can get a custom, high quality look without having to be an artist (or paying someone lots of $$$ to do it for you).

Stephanie, a Jamberry Nails Independent Consultant, sent me some shields to try out at home. You can see all the different shields and how they work on her website. The shields are basically stickers for your nails! No harsh chemicals, no damage to your nails, and they last for 2 weeks (6 weeks on your toes!). Check out the package I got from her:

Normally you would get 18 shields per style you choose, here I got nine, which was still plenty to do both my hands. She also sent me a little manicure set, plus sheets that had tips on applying the shields.

To be honest, I don’t usually do my nails – in fact, I usually rip them off (I know, TMI), so I wanted to let them grow out a bit. Here’s my pork chop hand and my naked nails:

I cut each of the shields in 1/2, then matched the sizes up with my nails. At first I was using a slightly larger size, thinking it would be easier, but I found when I chose a size that seemed slightly smaller, that gave me the best fit.

Then, I peeled the shield off the backing, and held it with a tweezer while I heated it with my blow dryer for about 20 seconds. (The tweezer keeps you from burning your fingers). Then I placed the shield on my nail and smoothed it into place. I trimmed off the excess with my nail scissors, then used my file to smooth the edges.

It was pretty easy, although I would say it takes about as long as using nail polish. But with the Jamberry Nails there is no drying time, and no worries about chipping or messing up your manicure!

Stephanie has a video on the application process, which you can see here.

And here’s the finished look (yes, only one hand, I was by myself and taking pictures):

Cute, right? The shields stayed on really well, and didn’t move an inch until I took them off a week later. They didn’t feel any different than having polish on my nails.

To take them off, I just heated them a bit with my hair dryer, then peeled them off. My nails looked a bit “dull” that day, but by the next day they seemed fine. No damage, they didn’t feel thinner or brittle.

I would say the one drawback is that it would have been much easier to do this with a friend. I was able to put them on by myself, but if I had invited someone over to do it with me, it would have been faster (and more fun).

You can shop for Jamberry Nails on Stephanie’s website, and see new shields and tips on her Facebook page. Each set of shields gives you 3 to 4 applications, and when you buy three sets you get a fourth set for free! There are also great options for hosting online parties, so take a look to see how you can earn free product.

10 Hopefully Interesting Things About…Me!

I thought it would be neat to post some interesting things about me today, so if we met at BlogHer and you’re looking me up – hi! And if you’re just here because you like to read my blog –hi to you too!

10 (Hopefully) Interesting Things About Me

1. When I was about 10 I decided I wanted to be a Broadway actress. I took lessons and did community theater until I got to college, but eventually fell out of love with the idea. I secretly wish to be in the theatre world again someday.

2. I’ve shared elevator rides with P. Diddy (when he was on trial back in 2000 and he is really, really short!), and Jay Mohr (I was in his apartment building in NYC).

3. I was a contestant on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” and won enough cash to buy our mini-van! You can check me out here (this is the first part, there are 10 total if you want to see how I did.) Oh, and Joel Stein is a big fat jerk (you’ll see why):

4. I went to 8 different colleges before finally getting my degree in 2006 – it took me 16 years!

5. I’m a lefty, and was the only one in my family until my lefty daughter Katie came along.

6. I’ve had a couple of articles published in local magazines and on the Internet. I wish I had more time to write, I have a few books running around in my head.

7. I hate naked chicken. Ever since I was pregnant with my oldest, I cannot stand the sight of “naked” chicken. I can eat it as long as it’s covered in something – bbq sauce, breading, even burnt. But just plain ole’ chicken makes me want to toss my cookies.

8. I’ve lived in the suburbs, the city and the boonies, and I know my heart belongs in the city. Specifically, Brooklyn. I was born there, moved to the suburbs when I was 3, went back to Brooklyn after I got married, then moved to the boonies of New Jersey to have kids. I miss Brooklyn every. single. day.

9. When I was in my 20′s I went to London all by myself. I spent 5 days alone in another country and had a great time! It was the scariest thing I had ever done, but it changed me and made me my own person.

10. I’m the type that has a very small circle of good friends. I have a hard time getting close to many people, but if we are good friends you will find that I am loyal and will go to the mattressesfor you.

Holy Crap – Summer’s Almost Over!

Staten Island’s South Beach with the Verrazano Bridge in the background

Holy crap – Summer’s almost over!

That’s exactly the thought that popped into my head last week. And then I frantically tried to cram a summer’s worth of activities into these last two and a 1/2 weeks. Visits with friends, going to the zoo, gymnastics open play, pool days at my in-laws.

Pool time with my little guy!

I’m exhausted!

In June it seemed like we had soooo much time. It was nice to be lazy. I loved the mornings we spent in our pj’s, coloring and doing puzzles.

But now, the girls will soon be in school. My oldest starts FIRST GRADE – the big time! She’ll be gone all. day. long.

I try to make it sound like a good thing:

“First grade is so cool! You get to do so much stuff every day!”

Inside my mind, though – I’m crying. She’ll be gone all day. My baby!

My middle girl comes home at 1PM from Kindergarten, and she’s going to miss her sister.

And my little guy? It’s just him and me for 1/2 the day. Which is nice, but I know he’s going to miss the girls a lot.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m also looking forward to school starting. The girls are at each other’s throats on a daily basis, even with all the activities we’ve done each day. And I miss the routine of school – I like knowing what we’re going to do each day, it helps me plan a bit better.

My best friend and I finally got to see each other – we’ve been friends since we were 17!

And my work schedule during the summer is just non-existent. I had all these plans on using the summer to increase my inventory, organize my desk, get myself ready for the busy season.

I am so not ready.

I’m hoping that once school does start that I’ll get into a routine, and I can get organized, but if I couldn’t do it during the summer, I don’t have high hopes for things suddenly falling into place in September!

Healthy Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe

Let me preface this post by saying that I did not make up this recipe. I found it on allrecipes a few years ago, so  you can see the original there.

I have a bunch of really picky kids when it comes to food. I don’t know what I did wrong – I fed them all sorts of stuff when they were babies and toddlers. But it’s basically a chicken nuggets, toast and macaroni with butter (“NO SAUCE!!!”) kind of world in my house.

One night I had the cojones to serve up tacos for dinner. I was desperate – I couldn’t stand another night of making three separate dinners. I set up a “taco bar” on the kitchen counter, where they could make their own tacos. I called the girls in and held my breath….

THEY LOVED IT!

Now, my middle child will not eat meat (again, where did this come from???), so I put out black beans for her. But otherwise, the rest of the spread was fair game. Tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, salsa – they had fun making their tacos, and ate everything on their plate.

So of course, we now have tacos every single week.

Which brings me to the seasoning. Have you ever looked at the ingredients in the seasoning packets at the store? They are pretty scary, so I found a great homemade recipe that has no weird stuff in it, and you can adjust each spice to your own liking. Our biggest trigger is salt, since my hubby has high blood pressure, so I love that I can control the salt content.

I made some very slight adjustments to suit my family’s tastes – I encourage you to do the same! If you like your tacos really spicy, add a bit more crushed red pepper. I’m listing the original recipe here, and putting my adjustments in parentheses so you can see how I modified it. I also tripled the recipe, so you can make it and store it, use a bit each time you have tacos!

Healthy Homemade Taco Seasoning

  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I use 1/4 tsp)
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon sea salt (I use 1 tsp)
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper

In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container.

Fall Decorating Ideas From Pinterest

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. I can appreciate the other seasons, but Fall has my heart, and I already have fall decorating ideas on my mind…

The colorful leaves, bright pumpkins and gourds in all shapes and sizes, corn stalks and scarecrows…oh, my list goes on and on…

I’m just waiting for school to start and then I’m decking my house out for Fall in a big way! I’ve been scouring Pinterest and finding some great stuff, so I thought I would share some of them: