CSN Giveaway

I'm so excited to announce another giveaway brought to you by CSN stores. I was contacted by them recently to do a repeat giveaway, and am excited to offer you a $35 gift certificate to any of their 200+ online stores once again. Whether you're searching for cookware, home accessories, or swingsets, CSN has got you covered!

Here are some of the amazing products I'm eyeing over at CSN:
Dwell Studio Cream and Citrine Rug
This would be perfect for the living room I'm currently envisioning!

Blissliving Home Maren Candlesticks
I saw these originally on Lovely Little Nest's CSN giveaway and
have been in love with them ever since!

 Cuisinart 14 cup Food Processor
I don't know why I didn't register for a food processor, so
many recipes call for one and I think it would make my life so much easier!

Twinkle Living Zigzag Pillow
I'm a sucker for anything with a chevron pattern these days!

Here's how to enter for your chance to win a $35 giftcard for any of CSN's 200+ stores:

-You must be a follower of Life as a California Wife, and then comment on this post to let me know you're a follower by 5 p.m. Pacific time on Monday, February 7th. 

-Make sure to leave me your email address if you don't have a blog that links back to it, so that I can contact you if you win!

So, hop on over to the CSN main page to check out all of their great websites and products.

Note: I was not paid to write this post, nor did I receive any other gifts as compensation. I was approached by CSN to sponsor a giveaway for my readers and was happy to accept..

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My Birthday Weekend

I officially have bad luck, because for the 2nd year in a row I was sick on my birthday! 

I stayed home from school on Tuesday to get feeling better which didn't really help, but come Friday I was feeling really awful again.  Luckily some of the teachers at school offered to take over my class Friday afternoon, so I left early to come home and rest up and hopefully get feeling a little better before my birthday!  On Friday night we just relaxed on the couch watching TV, cuddling with the dogs, eating Chinese food, and hoping I'd make a miraculous recovery come Saturday morning. 

We got up on my birthday and I was determined to figure out a way to watch Damages Season 3!  I wasn't feeling great, and snuggling on the couch with my favorite new show was not going to allude me.  After about 2 hours of messing with it, I bought Season 3 on Amazon Video On Demand, and was able to stream it through our PlayStation3 onto the TV.  After finally getting it all set up, I fell asleep half way through the first episode... so much for my great idea.  
(For those of you who don't watch Damages, Season 3 hasn't been released on DVD yet, and I have no patience to wait).

After I woke up from my nap, I thew myself a good pity party and had a good ugly cry about being sick on my birthday, and then I realized I was feeling a million times better (talk about being dramatic). 

Now it was my birthday, I was feeling better, and we had no plans because we were sure my illness would linger clear through the weekend.

So, what did I do?  I dragged my poor husband to HomeGoods, we went to get cocktails and appetizers, then went to see Black Swan

They had my favorite hand towels and dish clothes for super cheap, and we
found some vases for our empty nook that go with our rug perfectly! 

I still can't quite wrap my head around what I thought of Black Swan.  I was dying to see it before the Oscar's and am still glad I saw it, but whoa, talk about weird!  CAhusband absolutely hated it (go figure), but was a trooper and didn't complain at all except to inform me the people who nominate for the Oscar's must be nuts because that movie was terrible.   

After the movie we went to dinner at my parent's house, opened presents, and had birthday cake!

Although it wasn't exactly the roaring celebration I would have preferred had I been in tip-top shape, it was a wonderful relaxing day with the people I love most!  I ended up having a fantastic day, and felt very loved with all of the calls, texts, and cards I received!

Now next year I want to plan something really fun far in advance and overdose on vitamin C to insure that I won't be sick.  (Long weekend meet-up somewhere warm to celebrate our birthdays VABelle?)

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Monogram Goodness

Thanks to Katherine at Just Lovely for tweeting about this iPhone cover a few weeks ago.  I've been stalking the seller Dani Notes Stationery ever since, and am now thrilled to say that I've placed my order! 

There are a variety of colors to choose from, and I'm pretty thrilled with the what I've chosen!  I can't wait for the trellis patterned, monogrammed goodness to arrive soon!!

Aren't they adorable?

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25th Birthday Wish List

My 25th birthday is on Saturday, and although it seems like a somewhat big birthday, I'm really a little meh about the whole thing.  I used to be pretty obnoxious about my birthday, so the fact that my excitement has died down is probably considered a relief to some. 

No huge plans for my birthday yet, but I do have a few items on my wishlist (imagine that?)...

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Random... again!

Random is all I've got for you tonight....
*American Idol started last night, and although I really didn't want to watch it, I couldn't help myself.  I loved Simon, and was sure the new judges would disappoint... I was wrong.  I was prepared to HATE J.Lo and Steven Tyler, but found myself loving them.  I cried at least three times, got goose bumps several times, and laughed out loud!  I was thoroughly entertained, and as much as I hate to admit it, I will be watching this season.  What did you think?  Are you watching?
*In other TV news, Parks and Recreation starts again tonight and I am beyond excited!  I love that Rob Lowe is joining the cast (although I miss him on Brothers and Sisters) and can't wait for a good laugh that this show always guarantees!  Does anyone else love this show as much as I do?

*My mom has been out of town this week on a wedding planning trip in Louisville with my sister, and I am so bummed I'm not there!  They've found a dress which is beautiful, met with the florist, and checked lots of items off the list in preparation for the big day in September.  I'm so happy that they're getting so much accomplished, but I really wish I'd planned ahead and could've joined them. 

*Our dear friends recently had a baby and we finally get to meet him tomorrow night!  They are our first friends to have a baby, so this is very new and exciting to us.  Honestly, we feel way too young to have friends with a baby, but we're the youngest in our group of friends here, so I guess it's to be expected!

*The fact that it's getting warm here makes me think it's almost summer; which it definitely isn't!  I counted and I still have 91 days of school left, which is about the most depressing number ever.  Why I counted I have no idea!!! 

*I don't think my poor husband has seen me out of my PJ's since Sunday.  When he leaves in the a.m. I'm still in my jammies, and I've already put a new pair on by the time he finally gets home at night.  Poor guy... polka dot pants, a hoodie, and a ponytail are all he sees these days.  It's a miracle he hasn't mentioned it yet, because he has to be noticing.  : (

Have a great night everyone!
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Recipe:: Poblano, Potato, and Corn Gratin

I've had this recipe bookmarked forever, and am so glad that I finally made it last week.  This recipe is originally from Bon Appetit, but I found in on First Look, Then Cook and boy am I glad I stumbled across it, because it's fantastic!

Unfortunately it isn't even remotely healthy, so it will only make a reappearance every great once it awhile, but we both absolutely loved it.  The poblanos are such a mild chile, and provided excellent flavor in the dish.  I highly recommend it!


3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 large fresh poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded, cut into 2 x 1/4-inch strips
1 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 cup coarsely grated Oaxaca cheese or whole-milk mozzarella cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups half and half
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
(We also added onion into the layers, about 3/4 cup total)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Rub 9 1/2-inch-diameter deep-dish glass pie dish or cast-iron skillet with 2 teaspoons oil. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add poblano strips and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Arrange 1/3 of potato rounds, overlapping slightly, in prepared pie dish. Sprinkle 1/3 of poblano strips over, then 1/3 of corn and 1/3 of cheese. Repeat with 1/3 of potatoes, 1/3 of poblanos, 1/3 of corn, and 1/3 of cheese. Top with remaining potatoes, poblanos, and corn, reserving remaining 1/3 of cheese. Place pie dish on rimmed baking sheet.

Whisk half and half, flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in small bowl. Pour over potato mixture in pie dish; press potatoes to submerge. Cover dish tightly with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle remaining cheese over gratin. Continue to bake gratin until potatoes are tender and cheese is golden brown, about 25 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


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Golden Globes 2011

While watching the Golden Globes last night one thing became very clear, we need to see The Social Network and The King's Speech!   For some reason I hadn't gotten too excited about either of these films, but it's now become clear that they're must sees.  I also still need to see Black Swan but I just can't seem to find the perfect person to see this with, everyone else seems so on the fence about seeing it, and I don't think this is a film I could do alone. 

Anywho, let's get to the fashion...

I know everyone and their mother is posting about Golden Globes fashion, but I loved it so much I feel obliged to share my opinions.  Overall, I was pretty impressed, and feel like a lot of celebs looked fantastic last night.  Here are my favorites:

Anne Hathaway in Armani Prive
Love the sparkle, love the open back, love Anne Hathaway!

Julie Bown in Max Azria Atelier
I'm a sucker for ruffles!

Mandy Moore in Monique Lhullier
Such a beautiful shade of blue!

Claire Danes in Calvin Klein Collection
This dress was so simple and classic!

Kyra Sedgwick in Emilio Pucci
Love this color with the turquoise earrings!

Lea Michele in Oscar de la Renta
I normally hate pink like this, but I love this on her!

Angelina Jolie in Versace
I was kind of on the fence about this, and it is a little 80's, but I think I've decided I love this on her.

Olivia Wilde in Marchesa
I normally hate princess gowns, but I think this was so pretty and unexpected on her!

January Jones in Versace
I am majorly on the fence with this one, and would never wear it myself, but you've got to give it to the girl... she's got an awesome body and knows she can pull it off.  It was completely different than anything we saw from anyone else, and I think the risk paid off.

Jane Krakowski in Badgley Mischka
She definitely wins for the best dressed with a baby bump (take note Natalie Portman)! 

Who were your favorites?

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Love for Country Strong

My friend Brooke and I went to see Country Strong this weekend, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since.  I've seen all sorts of reviews on this film, and because I had strong feelings about how much I loved this movie, I feel compelled to share. 
I keep trying to write a full review for this movie, but can't seem to without giving too much away; therefore, I'm just going to leave you with some brief thoughts!

  • I loved Garrett Hedlund's character as the blossoming country star, although I constantly was hoping his character would shave this very shaggy and pitiful beard. 
  • I was fully prepared to be annoyed with Leighton Meester's character, but ended up loving her charm and was rooting for her in the end.
  • The music in this movie was wonderful, I've already downloaded both soundtracks!
  • This movie isn't all country music and song and dance, it's a sad story of addiction and depression.  I didn't mind this and expected as much.  It's still a touching story.
  • I have always loved Gwyneth Paltrow and think that she did a great job pulling off this role.  I was sympathetic for her character, but also found myself being extremely frustrated with her!
  • I can't believe Tim McGraw was in a movie about country music, and DID NOT sing!
  • Despite some sad and difficult moments in the movie, there is a still a love story which I enjoyed. 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and have already vowed to buy it once released so I can watch it again and again.  I know some people didn't enjoy this movie, and it isn't all happy-go-lucky, but I still highly recommend it!

If you've seen it, I'd love to hear what you thought!
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Over my Christmas break, I accomplished one very productive thing!  I planned 3 weeks worth of work outfits, and ironed them all.  By last Sunday evening I had them all hanging in the closet in order, pressed and ready to go.  Yes, this is very type-A of me, and sounds a little ridiculous, but I despise ironing and hate picking out my work clothes in the morning.  This is one little thing, that didn't take too long that has made my transition back into work a little smoother. 

Anyway, here are some outfits...

My Last Day of Freedom, Sunday
Grey T-shirt, J.Crew (Spring 2010)
Ivory and Grey Striped Hoodie, J.Crew (Fall 2010)
Downtown Skinny Jeans, J.Crew (Fall 2010)

Grey Tuxedo Pleat Shirt, J.Crew (Fall 2008)
Pink Mohair Cardigan, J.Crew (Fall 2009)
Charcoal Trouser Corduroys, J.Crew (Fall 2008)

Ivory T-shirt, J.Crew (Summer 2010)
Striped Drapey Cardigan, Ann Taylor Loft (Fall 2010)
Trouser Denim, Banana Republic (circa 2008?)

Grey Turtleneck Sweater Dress, Banana Republic (Fall 2008)
Black Leggings, Victoria's Secret

Flower Tee, J.Crew (Fall 2009)
Yellow Twist Front Cardi, J.Crew (Fall 2009)
Brown Corduroys, Anthropologie (Fall 2008)

Tunic Sweater, Unknown Boutique (circa 2008)
Toothpick Ankle Jeans, J.Crew (Spring 2010)
Brown Boots, Steve Madden (Fall 2008)

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Random Much?

Last week I was full of things I wanted to blog about, and now, I've got nothin'! 

There are always some random thoughts floating around in this little head of mine though, so I'll share those...

-This week back to work has been rough!  My first day went so well, (too well really, because it set me up for an unrealistic rest of the week) but the rest of it has simply crept by.  How it is only Wednesday, is a mystery to me!  I'm just keeping my eye on the prize though because MLK Day will grant me a long weekend very soon.

-I'm currently reading (and loving) Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.  I really like the story and the characters thus far, but have one small complaint: the chapters are an eternity long!  I'm one of those people that likes to read a chapter here, a chapter there, and that just isn't possible for me with this book.  Some chapters are like 70+ pgs long and that doesn't allow me to read a little before bed, that requires me to read A LOT at a time.  I like 13 page chapters, hell, I like James Patterson style 3 page chapters... 40+ is too long!  Does anyone else hate it when a book has SUPER long chapters? 

-After neglecting my Netflix queue, I randomly got the first disc of Damages over Christmas break.  I'd forgotten that I added it awhile ago, and what a pleasant surprise it was!  We watched Seasons 1 and 2 in record time over Christmas, and now I'm dying to get my hands on Season 3!  There is no release date for it on DVD yet, but I did find it on iTunes.  Which brings me to a question: can you watch a TV show you've purchased through iTunes on your TV?  I just know CAhusband will never huddle around the computer to watch it! 

-Calypso St. Barth has a line coming to Target in May!!!!  This news absolutely made my day today, and I've already added it to my calendar (with an alert scheduled the day before).  I've been drooling over their resort collection since it was released, and am now thrilled that I'll be able to get their look without the major dent in my wallet.  I can't wait to see what the collection looks like, and you can bet I'll be at Target first thing in the morning on May 1st! 

photo from instyle.com

Well that pretty much covered all of my usual topics (work complaints, TV, books, shopping)!  Hopefully I'll be back with some more riveting material soon!

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