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I Made It Monday – DIY Furniture Paint Job

Blue Cheese

When I was growing up, we had this room divider in our living room.  It was the 70’s and it was the color of a yellow sponge, you know that 70’s yellow?  It had holes at the top, so we nicknamed it the Swiss cheese.  When we moved in the 80’s, the Swiss cheese found a new home in the unfinished basement of our new house.  Where it sat for years and years and years until the mid-2000’s when I decided I wanted the Swiss cheese in my own house.

Of course it needed a paint job, which my husband took on, painting it a creamy butter color.  According to him, it was a huge pain in the ass.  Because of the holes, the paint would seep through to the other side leaving globs and uneven spots.  He did an amazing job and it worked great in our apartment.  However since then, we have moved into a house and the creamy butter color was not working with the new décor.

The Swiss cheese has found its way to our bedroom where it has been sitting for five years waiting for its new paint job.  Part of the reason it’s taken so long is the fact that I couldn’t decide on a color.  And the other part of the reason is because no one was really excited to tackle the project knowing what a pain in the ass it would be.

A couple of months ago, I decided to take it on with spray paint.  Bad choice!  I went for a nickel color and immediately hated it.  Then the spray paint was super uneven and left droplets all over the place.  It had to be painted.  And now it also had to be primed.

So, 1 can of Primer, 2 quarts of paint, 8 hours, 3 coats, and 2 weekends later it’s finished.  And it was a huge pain in the ass!  It’s a little globby in spots, and the holes are not perfect, but it’s so much better than what it was.  And I love, love, love the color – Martha Stewart Lightstrokes in Watering Can.  It went on way more sheer than we anticipated and took a little more paint than initially thought, but it was worth it.

Martha Stewart Paint

What are your thoughts on painting furniture?  I always like the look in someone else’s home, but have a hard time replicating it in my own!  I won’t even tell you what I did to my coffee table…



Frugal Fashion Friday – January Jones in Polka Dots

I’m a little “Mad Men” crazy this week.  I know I’m not the only one {read Terri’s post on the “Mad Men” premier here}.  We’re all concerned going into this final season about what will happen to Don Draper and company.  And we’re all really, really concerned about what we’re going to do when it’s all over.

January Jones looks just as great in this modern polka dot dress as Betty looks in a 50’s fit and flare.  Not to mention, her make-up and hair are flawless.  The season premiere of “Mad Men” is this Sunday, April 13 on AMC.  Or if you are late to the cocktail party, you can start binge watching on Netflix.


Her dress:

Schumacher Polka Dot Dress – This It’s A-Boat Time dress from ModCloth is a great buy at $55.99 and it’s a great way to wear a polka dot, grab a spirit and toast to a by-gone era.

Harkins Theatres PlayCenter – East Valley Moms Blog

Harkins PlayCenter

Have you ever wanted to go to the movies but couldn’t find a babysitter?  Last week I was on the East Valley Moms Blog talking about the awesome Harkins Theatres PlayCenter.  If you live near a Harkins Theatre, you should definitely check it out.  Please read my post here for all the information!



For the Love of Mad Men… Guest Post by Terri Takata-Smith

Louella {akaTerri} is back today! She was at a super exclusive, super cool Hollywood event last week and she has the photos to prove it! Thanks Terri for sharing your experience with us! We can all live vicariously through you…

When Angela asked me to write a guest blog about attending the “Mad Men” premiere, I was a little worried because I knew that a picture would be worth a thousand words.   For several years of my career, I was a regional movie publicist and in that role, there was one cardinal rule: NEVER ever act like a fan. I have wonderful memories of hanging out with celebrities on personal appearance tours but not one picture or any other piece of hard evidence for that matter to prove it {Oh, except for a wickedly witty thank you letter that John Irving wrote me!}

Jump ahead several years. Thanks to the determination and hard work of my very best friend who now is a very successful TV producer, I’m finally able to just be a fan. Well, sort of.   My BFF works on a very popular show that studies human behavior – the good, the bad, and the ugly – in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. The show happens to be on the network that is home to a show about the fascinating study of human behavior – the good, the bad, and the ugly – in the midst of Madison Avenue circa the 1960s.

Luckily for me, I’ve been fortunate enough to be my BFF’s “plus one” to many fun Hollywood events.   In fact, I was invited to the “Mad Men” premiere in 2012 but had to cancel at the last minute because my dad had back surgery scheduled.   Oh, and then I was invited again in 2013 but had to cancel at the last minute because my dad had back surgery scheduled. YES, that is right, back surgery scheduled on the day of the “Mad Men” premiere TWO years in a row. What are the chances?

This year, there was no stopping me. Not the fact that for the first year in three years my BFF didn’t initially receive an invite. Not the fact that there have been a series of earthquakes in Los Angeles. Not the fact that my dad had back surgery scheduled again… Kidding! I love you dad! But seriously, since this is the final season of the show, premiere tickets were tougher than ever to come by, but it all worked out and I was there!

Let’s go back to my first paragraph. Remember that cardinal rule… well, it kind of applies to the BFFs of successful TV producers. I couldn’t just go around stalking Jon Hamm while my BFF was busy talking to other producers; the head of the network; critics; publicists; actors, etc. – right?   Yes, right… but my BFF can. And, she did!   At the after party, she was talking to her boss and cut him off mid-sentence to tell him that we had to go stalk Jon Hamm. She grabbed my arm and we were in hot pursuit {he was walking to the restroom.} There is no better place to find celebrities at an after party than hanging out right next to the restrooms. Even celebrities have to go!

Photo courtesy of Terri Takata-Smith

Photo courtesy of Terri Takata-Smith

Fans have to be brave and fast.   There is no time for posing to make sure that you get your best angle… you get in, take the shot, and get out of the way.   I was able to get my four favorite actors from the show – Don, Roger, Pete and Ted. {Notice I say ‘actors’. The actresses were all there and they were all gorgeous, but if you think I’m going to take a poorly staged photo standing next to one of them, you are crazy!}

Photos courtesy of Terri Takata-Smith

Photos courtesy of Terri Takata-Smith

“Mad Men” fans, you’ll be thrilled to know that the premiere episode was as thought-provoking as ever and that maybe, just maybe people do change – and some maybe even for the better.   While I don’t want to give too much away, I will tell you that there is an extremely graphic scene where zombies invade Madison Avenue and Don and Pete get into a fight. At one point, Don winds up biting Pete’s… Wait, I can’t say anymore or Matthew Weiner will come after me. You’ll just have to watch for yourself!   Season premiere happens this Sunday {April 13} on AMC.

{Special thanks to Tom, Jill and Alex who all helped make this happen and most importantly my BFF,Denise!}

Photo Courtesy of Terri Takata-Smith

Photo Courtesy of Terri Takata-Smith

I Made it Monday – Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

If you grew up anywhere near a Furr’s Cafeteria, you’ll recognize this dish!    It was a staple at Furr’s, and a favorite with the “older” crowd {and probably still is}.  I admit, as a kid I thought it was gross, but I was only interested in the desserts while pushing my tray down the cafeteria line.  It doesn’t look that appetizing {even here, sorry!}, but it does taste delicious, I promise.

Even when my mom used to make it at home, we wanted none of it. The tradition continues as my daughter wants none of it either.  But, I like it because it’s quick, it’s simple and it tastes good!

*Recipe from Family Circle Magazine

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

1 ½ pounds beef chuck steak, trimmed and cut into ½-inch cubes

1 package white mushrooms, cleaned and quartered

1 onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup low-sodium beef broth

½ cup white wine

¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce

1 cup reduced fat sour cream

2 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon black pepper

6 cups cooked egg noodles

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Combine beef, mushrooms, onions, tomato paste, broth, wine and 3 tablespoons of the soy sauce in slow cooker bowl.  Cover and cook on High for 4 hours or on Low for 6 hours or until beef is tender.

In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, cornstarch and black pepper; whisk into slow cooker bowl and cook an additional 30 minutes, or until sauce has thickened.  Serve over egg noodles and sprinkle with parsley, if desired.


Red Carpet to Reality – Jennifer Connelly in Alexander McQueen

Jennifer Connelly is a stunning beauty and an amazing actress.  She’s so good in fact that if you ever saw “Requiem for a Dream,” which she co-starred with Jared Leto about 10 years ago, it might take you that long to get over her performance.  It’s an incredibly hard movie to watch and Jennifer’s character is so rifled with addiction that the final scenes of the movie make you want to throw up in your mouth, and you will never look at her the same way again, or at least for 10 years.

I’m happy to say, I finally got over it and she looks bananas in this Alexander McQueen gown at the London premiere of her current film “Noah.”

If you want to get into the floral trend in the real world, this Olivia Moon Floral Appliquè Tee from Nordstrom for $48 is perfect!  Pair it with skinny jeans and you’ll look just as stunning in your life as Jennifer looks on the red carpet.

RCR Jennifer Connelly

Navigating the Self-Esteem Waters and Trying to Ensure my Daughter Never Loses her Oars


Animal Print Pants2Self-esteem.  It’s a tricky thing to navigate.  As someone who at times has had very low self-esteem, especially during those darn teenage years, it’s important to me that I raise my daughter to be confident, worthy, and loved.  My hope is that with these three things, she will be able to get through this thing called life making good choices, and come out of it a good, happy person.

According to PsychCentral, self-esteem answers the question “How do I feel about myself?”  Global self-esteem centers on “who I am” and tends to stay consistent.  I have no problem with global self-esteem.  I know I’m a good person with high moral character, a good set of values and if I wasn’t already me, well, I would want to be friends with me.

Situational self-esteem on the other hand, fluctuates.  You may feel confident and awesome at work, but at home you may feel unimportant, unsure of yourself or unworthy of love.  For me, I tend to let what others think about me or what they say to me take over.  All that confidence I have with global self-esteem goes out the window and one situation, such as a party my junior year in high school where some jackass I didn’t even know told me I was ugly, will still bother me 25 years later.

When things like that happen to me I tend to become depressed and withdrawn.  I have years of practice, so I know the triggers, know how I’ll react and I can usually pull myself out of it fairly quickly.  Unfortunately for others, low situational or global self-esteem can lead to poor decisions in life such as drug use, promiscuity, or staying in unhealthy relationships.  This is what I am trying to protect my daughter from.

Every day I try to pump her with messages about how important it is for her to only care about what she thinks of herself, to love herself, and to not care about what others think of her.   In kindergarten she was pretending to be a dog on the playground when a boy threw a ball in her face and yelled “no dogs allowed.”  She was so horrified she never told on the boy and internalized the incident until I picked her up from school where she immediately started crying and was having a hard time understanding how someone could be so mean.

Who knew kindergarteners could be such assholes?  It was a good teaching moment to let her know it had nothing to do with her, and everything to do with him.  That kid will probably end up telling girls at parties in high school how ugly they are.

And it doesn’t get better, first graders are just as mean.  She has already been in a bullying situation where she was told by one little girl for a few weeks what a mean and horrible person she was.  I told her to tell the bully “I don’t like it when you say those things to me,” and then just walk away and play with friends who do not treat her that way.

Unfortunately, “I don’t like it when you say those things to me” somehow came out as “I hate you” and the bullying got worse for a couple of days.  Eventually she got it, the bullying stopped and now they are friends.   In those weeks it was easy to see the effect this other person was having on her when I picked her up from school.  She would be upset and crying, but I kept trying to pump her with positive messaging.

I never know if it’s sinking in.  I mean, I hope it is, but I’m not sure.  Until yesterday.  She has these adorable animal print leggings.  I love them.  She used to.  She has since decided she does not like them, but told me it was because she didn’t like the shirt that went with them.  So, I bought her a new shirt.  She reluctantly wore them to school yesterday, and wasn’t very happy about it.  I dropped her off with a frown on her face and told her she was going to have an awesome day because her pants were magic.

When I picked her up, the frown had been replaced with a smile.  She did have an awesome day.  A little girl told her she loved her pants, she found out she gets to have lunch with her teacher because of her good behavior last month, and her clip landed on purple {the highest color level for good behavior} for the first time all year.

I told her, “See you did have a good day!  You’re animal pants are magic!”  She just looked at me and said, “No they’re not mom.  I’m magic.”  Success!  It’s working.  Now I just have to pray to God it doesn’t wear off when she hits 13…


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