Category Archives: Flip Flops On The Rocks

The Big Green Circle

The other day I was thinking back to when I started going to Starbucks. It seems like now, after almost a couple decades, that it is just part of life. Just as we drop off and pick up our kids from school, run errands, fix dinner, etc. we run to the Starbucks drive-thru or pop into a store to fetch our morning, afternoon or evening cuppa joe {or tea. or hot chocolate.}.

It’s become part of the routine. At least for ME anyways.

My first real memory of Starbucks dates back to 1993 when I worked in Hillcrest at a doctor’s office. The office manager, Susan, and I would run across Washington Street to the corner Starbucks and always get a grande nonfat no foam latte with two Equals. A half caff coffee of the day for Dr. Schmidt.

A couple years later when I moved to Pacific Beach with my best friend, Denise, our thing was the coffee frappuccino. I remember one summer when a day might consist of a morning frap and an afternoon frap!

Then around 2000, my co-worker Deb, introduced me to the americano and it was over from there. We would go down to the little coffee cart at our building in the mornings and get a hot one, but once summer came I immediately started ordering them iced. I will say that a venti extra extra ice americano with 2 Splendas and a splash of half & half is my go to coffee beverage 9 months our of the year.


However, I do have other memories of phases that I went through in my own personal Starbucks evolution…

Like when my sister and I would carpool to work back in the day and grab 2 grande nonfat caramel macchiatos with extra vanilla for the road.

Or when we lived in Sunnyvale and I went through my tuxedo mocha {half regular mocha, half white mocha} stage.

At the holidays, of course, I get the pumpkin spice lattes and the peppermint white mochas.


It was fun to sit and reminisce about how my preferences have changed over the years.

How something as simple as a cup of coffee can conjure  up so many old, happy, fun memories.

How many times have we sat and shared a conversation over a cup of coffee or tea?

Sometimes the most simple things in life hold the fondest memories.

I will try to never forget that.

Stripes & Polka Dots

The circus came to town this past Saturday {Holden’s actual birthday} and it was nothing short of chaos ~ beautiful chaos.

We packed almost 60 {59 to be exact} clowns, big & little, into our circus tent and I think everyone had a grand time.

The day started off with Jay taking Holden to get donuts in the trailer…


The invites were just thank you notes that I flipped over so the {thank you} was on the back.

{The cards are from Target and the stickers from CVS}

I fell in love with the detail on the envelopes.

This theme was so fun to plan ~ stripes, polka dots and LOTS of color are right up my alley. About a year ago I found these little monkey flags at Kohl’s for like 49 cents and used them to start the circus craziness.

A huge orange star greeted the guests on the front door…

My friend, Hollie, made this cute “Happy Birthday” sign for the front yard.

If you’re local, you can rent it and have it personalized for your special birthday someone. Contact me and I can put you in touch with her! So fun.

Gramma threw together this “5” banner…

I picked up a rainbow of fabrics and made a little bunting to hang across the fireplace…

{just get 1/4 yard of fabric, rip into 1 inch strips, cut those strips in half, loop around a long piece of twine ~ voila!}

My mom found some polka dot paper lanterns at Pier 1 and I hung 2 of them above our big dining room table…

I love the way they look and want to get some solid colored ones to leave up permanently!

I filled my sconces with bubble gum and stuck rolls of tickets on top…

The large ticket sign is from Kohl’s for cheap…

Gramma Kathy got the clown piñata at Party City {this was the first piñata we’ve ever had!}

{I stuffed with Dum Dums, Smarties, Mott’s Medley gummies and Florida’s Natural Fruit Nuggets}

What’s a circus without popcorn?

Circus animals with sprinkles are also a must…

I made myself a gum ball necklace based on this tutorial.

Gramma schlepped her sewing machine up here to make this shirt for the birthday boy…

Of course we had to feed all the circus-goers…

I found Cotton Candy Liqueur and made this sangria…

I made a 5-layer ombre cake in cotton candy blue…

I found cotton candy sherbet push-ups at Target {Market Pantry} as modeled here by our darling neighbor Miss Nataliyah and her beautiful mama…


Making a wish and blowing out the candles…

I wanted to set up a photo booth backdrop in the backyard, but it was too windy…the kids bounced in the jumper, hit the piñata, played Wii and ate WAY too much sugar!

Our little clown friends were sent home with some practical party favors ~ socks! Striped for the boys and polka dots for the girls…

I also made little bow ties for all to take home…if you didn’t get one and would like one, please let me know and I will whip one up.

The bigger boys {that are too cool for striped socks} got to take home a box of Bottle Caps…

A huge THANK YOU to the following:

Mia for the props and photo booth stuff

Hollie for the Happy Birthday sign

Karen for the popcorn machine

Alina for the jump house

Sun for her face-painting services

Cheryl & Janet for being my sous chefs

Gramma for her sewing skills

Jay for his photography

Here was my {pin}spiration for this party.


I love putting these parties together for my babies ~ it truly is a labor of love.

Thank you to all who came and helped us celebrate our little clown. He loved having all his buddies there and is such a lucky boy!


This was my happy view from the couch the next morning…


I didn’t think I ever wanted to see another paper plate or plastic fork, but I’ve recovered.

When’s the next bash?

Going Door-To-Door

Still don’t have plans for New Year’s, but want to get out and do something?

Why not coordinate a Progressive Dinner Party with a few neighbors on your street? That way you can ring in the new year with friends ON your street and not have to be out on the roads. We have done this the past two years and it works well {especially if you have kids}!

Just get three or four families that live on your street {or around the corner!} and assign one house to a cocktail and appetizer, the next to a soup or salad, then a main entree and the final house can be for dessert and some bubbly to ring in the new year!

I think it’s fun to do big punch bowls of pre mixed adult beverages and have a ladle handy for serving. That way, the host/hostess isn’t stuck mixing drinks all night.

Here are a couple options:

{Malibu Mimosa Punch}

1.75 liter Malibu Coconut Rum

1 liter Champagne

2 quarts Orange Juice

{recipe via}

{photo via}

Note: I have not actually tried this, but I wanted to include something with champagne ~ it IS New Year’s Eve after all. It does sound delish, though.

I have tried this Swamp Water for Halloween, but it is a great beverage to mix up ahead of time and ladle into a glass of ice. You could call it {Countdown Cocktail} or {New Year’s Electric Punch} or something more festive…


Here are a couple sangria options, as well…

Simply Citrus Red Wine Sangria


Citrus Ginger Sangria Blanca


Here are links to some of my favorite appetizers…

Jalapeño Popper Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Baked Brie With Roasted Garlic

If you want to make it more courses, serve up a simple soup or salad:

Black Bean & Salsa Soup

Blue Cheese Coleslaw

Make the main dish simple and {serve yourself}:

Taco Bar

Homemade Sloppy Joe Sliders

And you can’t forget dessert!

How adorable are these New Year’s Eve Midnight cupcakes?


Or a dessert pizza with Nutella & fruit?

Or how about some espresso brownies to help your guests stay awake until midnight?


So, go door-to-door this New Year’s Eve and you won’t have to worry about driving home!

Progressive dinners are lots of fun ~ hopefully you have awesome neighbors like we do.

Can you believe there’s just one and a half days left in 2011?

Like A Gingerbread Man With It’s Head Cut Off

Oh my.

It’s been 5 days since I’ve posted! Every day I plan on sitting down and doing so, but it just hasn’t happened.

My days have been filled with the following…

driving around to four stores looking for gingerbread syrup for some martinis…then it dawned on me that I could have just walked into Starbucks and possibly begged them to buy a {tall} gingerbread syrup. Then I visited every CVS in town tracking down some calendars. I tell you, once I get something in my head, there’s no stopping me.

making more of these with Caramel Kisses {delicious, but don’t press the m&m down too hard or you will have oozing caramel which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just not as tidy for packaging them up nice and neat} and the Hugs {milk chocolate inside white chocolate with stripes ~ those turned out super cute! {you can see the salted caramel ones to the right ——-> under my Instagrams}

Our little ballerina partook in her fourth recital and Gramma and I had the {pleasure} of working backstage. Keeping track of a dozen tutu’d 4-6 year olds is no joke. This paranoid mom was doing a head count every 10 seconds when I wasn’t filling cups with goldfish or providing water refills, that is. I {think} I may prefer sitting in the audience cheering on my girl rather than stressing backstage and applying lipstick touch ups at the last minute, but she’d been wanting me to be a stage mom for some time and I most certainly didn’t want to let my little lady down. Thanks again, Gramma, for being on potty duty!

Also, thank you to Gramma for starting a beautiful new holiday tradition and treating to front row seats at our local production of The Nutcracker. I was amazed at all the beautiful young dancers….my goodness. My girl decided to wear her costume straight from her recital to the ballet ~ swapping her ballet slippers for some boots and adding in one {Fancy Nancy} coat…

Holden sang a very simplified version of {Soon And Very Soon} in church on Sunday ~ You Tube to come!

I hosted a little Merry Mama gift wrapping to-do where several gals came over armed with rolls of paper, rolls of tape, bags of gifts and lots of chit chat. This was where my gingerbread martinis were supposed to make an appearance, but honestly my girls were so busy wrapping they didn’t even notice! I served the Winter White Wine sangria, artichoke dip, cranberry meatballs and Christmas pasta salad {2 packages Buitoni spinach tortellini, one box small shells, 4 small tomatoes [chopped] and a whole bottle of Bernstein’s Light Fantastic Cheese Fantastico ~ cook both pastas [separately] according to package directions, add chopped tomatoes and then stir in the bottle of dressing…can be made the night before} along with my beloved Hershey pretzel snaps and See’s molasses chips for a little sweet somethin’.

My little Pinterest find came together for treats for Elliott’s classmates:

{I picked up a bulk bag at CVS and divided them up into cello bags, but later found them prepackaged in a box of 24 at Smart And Final which is the route that I will go for Holden next year}

I also literally threw together a frame and some glitter clothespins to hold thoughtful gift cards from the kids to E’s teacher ~ one Goodwill frame, a can of black gloss Rustoleum, some twine, a glue gun, some clothespins {thanks for lookin’ out, Lisa!} and a rainbow of glitter…

These frames are also perfect for displaying Christmas cards during the holidays or birthday invitations throughout the year. Just get yourself a frame and discard the graphic and glass, spray paint it if need-be, use your glue gun to string twine across the frame every 4 inches or so by pulling it tight and securing it with hot glue onto the back of the frame. Easy. For the clothespins, just brush some Elmer’s glue onto the pin with a foam brush, sprinkle on your glitter over a bowl, shake off excess and let dry. Easy.


And that is where I’ve been, friends! I’ve missed you and hope to post more regularly now that the kids are both out of school and we’ll be having some LAZY mornings days while they’re on break.


Wild Ride

This weekend has been a wild ride already with a trip to {The Happiest Place On Earth} yesterday and a new adventure awaiting us this afternoon {will hopefully share more soon!}.

{Elliott & Holden’s Wild Ride}


Powering up and recovering this morning with Martha’s Banana Oat Smoothie and LOTS of coffee to get through the day!

{1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt, 1 banana {cut into thirds ~ I froze my bananas first!}, 1/2 cup fat-free milk, 2 teaspoons honey, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon processed in blender until smooth}


Happy Sunday, friends!


Frugal Girl’s Frap

On Monday afternoon I fixed my Pops and me an iced coffee with Coconut Creme coffee-mate ~ it was the perfect warm afternoon pick-me-up.

I thought I’d try it blended and make a frugal girl’s version of a Mocha Coconut Frappucino.

All you need is come chilled {strong} coffee, crushed ice, Coconut Creme coffee-mate, Splenda, Hershey’s syrup, whipped cream in a can, some coconut, a blender and a straw!

Fill a glass with coffee and ice as you would for an iced coffee. Pour that into a blender with a couple tablespoons coconut creamer and your sweetener of choice, if you desire. Process until blended. Drizzle chocolate inside a glass, fill with coffee goodness, top with a fancy spray of whipped cream, another drizzle of chocolate and a sprinkle of coconut!

Longing for my first pumpkin spice latte of the season, but still waiting on Mother Nature for the perfect morning!



Linking up over at Cast Party Wednesday @ Lady Behind the Curtain and What I Whipped Up Wednesday @ Sugar and Dots!


I’m {here}!

Back from the East side…we spent 2 glorious weeks in the Carolinas and now we’re here to spend the last few weeks of summer on our turf.

More pics to come, but first I need to share this easy recipe for refreshing Watermelon Agua Fresca.

No, we didn’t sip this in the south, but since we DID overindulge heavily, my first stop was to pick up a cart full of fruits and veggies to get us back on track with our {attempt} at eating healthier!

One of our favorite restaurants in Nor Cal was Aqui, nestled in the adorable Willow Glen area of San Jose. Aqui serves aguas frescas out of big jars and was a must to wash down their delicioso fare and the perfect thing to sip out on the patio.

It’s a breeze to make and I chose watermelon as my first attempt. Just picked up a personal sized {Dulcinea} watermelon and used about half of it for the drink {4 cups, chopped}.

Add the chopped melon to 4 cups cold water {I did it in 2 batches in my blender} and process until smooth. Run through a fine mesh strainer, pour into a pitcher, add 2 tablespoons sugar, stir and serve over ice with a squeeze of lime.

{umbrella optional!}

Other juicy options….cantaloupe, mango or honeydew cucumber ~ just follow the same process.

Next time I think I’ll add honey as the sweetner.


Sweet Sippin’

I am not an iced tea drinker per se.

If I do drink iced tea, it must have lots of lemon and a little sweetner. The southerners have it all figured out with their infamous {sweet tea}. It’s a little too sweet for me, but I wanted to share a recipe that strikes the perfect balance between lemon and sugar and will have you thinking you’re on a wicker rocking chair under a leafy palm porch fan…


6 cups boiling water

5 Lemon Zinger Celestial Seasoning tea bags

1/2 cup sugar

Drop tea bags into boiling water that has been removed from the burner. Let steep for 8-12 minutes. Remove tea bags and pour warm tea into a pitcher and add 1/2 cup sugar. Stir until dissolved and fill the rest of the pitcher with ice. Serve with an extra squeeze of lemon and a mint sprig, if desired.

{Another summertime favorite is the Arnold Palmer ~ half iced tea [unsweetened] & half lemonade}

Happy Monday!


There’s a new time suck in town…

It’s a fun way to create virtual bulletin boards of all your favorite things, ideas and inspiration.

View recipes, craftiness, home decor, diy, tutorials, on & on!

You could spend DAYS finding inspiration.

I spent 10 minutes and {pinned} some Summer Lovin’ goodness…

You can see it here.

I’ve only touched the tip of the Pinterest iceberg ~ still new and not quite sure what I’m doing, but I sure like what I see!

Someone even pinned my saltine toffee off this here blog! Kinda cool…

I need to figure out how to add {pins} to Pinterest.

Will have to wait ’til another day…we’re off to the pool!

Happy Friday!

A Summer Smoothie ~ Fresh Ginger & Homegrown Peach

My friend Vicki gave me some mini homegrown peaches. Thanks, Mama!

This morning I gathered four of them, some fresh ginger, a squeeze of honey, a few big spoonfuls of plain yogurt, a splash of milk and about 2 cups crushed ice and gave it all a whirl in the blender.

It made the most beautiful pastel orange smoothie with nice specks from the fuzzy skins that I left on…

I put just enough ginger…about 2 tsp grated. It complements the peaches perfectly and the honey gives it just the right amount of sweetness.

{I keep a big piece of ginger root in the freezer in a plastic bag. When I need it for a recipe, I pull it out, use a potato peeler to remove the skin just from the section that I’m going to use and grate in on a microplane}

Summer through a straw!