Dirty Shiny Pretty

Musings on Dirty Shiny Pretty Life

May 13, 2011

DIY Gifts

Every year I have the problem of figuring out what to get my mom for Mother's Day, birthday, Christmas, etc. I'm sure I'm not the only one who deals with this. Sometimes she has a suggestion but more often than not she just says "You don't have to get me anything, just spending the day with my family is enough." Maddening! So as Mother's Day approached and I started to stress my mom actually unknowingly provided me with an idea when she mentioned how much she loved these pretty Moroccan inspired lanterns. With a very restricted budget (summer camp fees and upcoming weddings killed me this month) I could not afford two lanterns, and getting one just seemed odd, but then I spotted these small table top lanterns at Target a few days later and decided to make my own.
Great look and size but not the right color

 A coat of gold spray paint and a coat of hammered metal spray paint and they were good to go. I wanted to add a patina to these to make them more like the original but I ran out of time so I might have to steal them back to complete the look.

Bonus points for matching the patio furniture
Soft pretty candlelight

 My mom's also a framed photo fanatic so I bought a simple white frame, inked on a Miu Miu inspired bird pattern I found online and have been dying to use, added a family photo, and presented it to her as another Mother's day gift.
A good gift for several occasions, just customize to fit the receiver
The gifts were a hit especially once my mom noticed that the birds were my personal touch. While none of these items cost a lot of money they were special and valuable to my mom because they created a shared experience between us in that I was thinking of her when I made these gifts and she will think of me when she looks at them. I see that as a win win on both sides.

May 11, 2011

What my mother taught me...

My mom and me
Let me just say Happy Mother's Day to all the lovely mommas out there. I meant to actually post on Sunday but between helping my mom put on a brunch and dealing with my own mommy duties I barely had time to eat that day let alone blog.  I even had grand intentions of writing a loving post dedicated to my mom and I had a very specific beautiful photo of my mother I wanted to use. Well that photo seems to have disappeared but I managed to find another one that I love. 
     In it my mom and I are holding hands walking down the stairs probably headed to a much needed nap from the looks of it. In the photo I'm the adorable shirtless 22 mo. old and my mom is the a very pregnant 26 year old married homemaker.  Now I'm 26, single, working, and the momma of one little girl. It's strange to look at this old photo and think about how different our lives our at the same age yet still connected by our shared experience of young motherhood. I was 20 when I had my daughter and my mom was 18 when she gave birth to the first of her three children. I think it is my personal triumphs and struggles of not only motherhood, but young motherhood, that have helped me connect with her and understand her in a way I was incapable of in the past. 
      We still have our ups and downs and my parenting style is different then her's but she is my rock and the confidant I can turn to when I feel like I'm doing everything wrong who listens, smiles, then tells me  she thinks I'm doing an amazing job and that she wishes she had some of my mothering skills. Coming from a woman who spent a good  part of her life dedicated to raising her children I count this as the highest compliment I could receive and a great help in relieving my mother guilt. More valuable than any compliments though is the strong example and unlimited love she has provided over the years that have taught me what it means to be a good mom. 

Happy Mother's Day Mom! 
Thank you for all you have done and all you continue to do for me.

My mom and my daughter.

May 6, 2011

Cinco de Mayo

     Cinco de Mayo is over and my plan to share a delicious recipe to include in your dinner tonight has failed. Oh well. I'm posting the recipe anyway because it is simple and delicious and you really don't need a holiday to enjoy it.
     This is a recipe for Mexican Red Rice. Yes, Mexican, not Spanish. I have been enjoying this rice my whole life and I plan to keep enjoying it until I can no longer chew solid food. Ironically it comes via my mom, la gringa. It's supremacy over my Grammie's recipe was hard for my dad's family to admit at first because doing so was almost a betrayal of their mother and her amazing talent in the kitchen. Then they got over it because as we all know if food is good, it's good, no matter who makes it. So enjoy this super simple recipe and share it with your friends/family because food always tastes better when prepared with love.  

Mexican Red Rice
8-10 servings

From Mexican Family Cooking 
by Aida Gabilondo
(Highly recommend this cookbook for multiple great recipes)

1/4 c oil
2 c long grain rice
4 c chicken stock
3 garlic cloves, mashed
1/2 onion in thick slices
1/2 c canned tomato sauce
Salt and pepper
1 cup frozen peas and carrots, parboiled in salted water 1 minute and drained (I just cook them in the microwave)

     Heat oil in deep saucepan and saute the rice until golden. Add chicken stock, garlic, onion, and tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; lower the heat, cover, and cook until almost all liquid has been absorbed. Uncover, fold in the peas and carrots carefully, cover again, and cook until all liquid has been absorbed.
     Serve with some carne asada or just eat it straight out of the pot by itself. Trust me you'll want to. 

May 1, 2011

Osama bin Laden is Dead

     The US government has announced that Osama bin Laden is dead and that they are in custody of the body. When I first saw mention of it on FB I was shocked and skeptical, that maybe it was just internet gossip. After quickly verifying the news on CNN.com I must say I don't know what to say.
     Like most Americans I remember exactly where I was when the planes hit the World Trade Center, at an early morning screening for a clinical study on asthma. When I heard the news on the radio I couldn't even digest it. World changing events like that have always been difficult for me to grasp. I see the images, I hear the words, and yet my body and mind are frozen trying to process and react to it all. 
    To me it is hands down the hardest change to accept about becoming an adult. The world is no longer just a word referring abstractly to everything/everyone/every place outside of your own sphere of existence. You become part of it all whether you're willing participant or not. The issues in the paper, on TV, on the radio, and argued over in D.C. and City Hall become your issues. You can't hide from what happens in this world. Sure you can hide under the covers just like when you were a kid but the boogeyman no longer disappears in the morning light.  
    Osama was just one of the many boogeymen running rampant through our thoughts and fears and in the blink of an eye he was caught. So what do I think? How do I react?  I'm relieved that he is dead, that the man hunt is over, and that no troops were hurt in the operation but I'm also very wary of a dead man. Some dead men wield more might and power than they held in life and I'm afraid that Osama might be one of these men. Will a bigger more frightening boogeyman emerge from all this? I want to check under the bed and in the closet to see if he is gone but I'm afraid of what I might find.