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This week’s DYL is a throwback from last year. I think it’s definitely worth revisiting my dear friend, Crystal’s DYL, as she is now the fabulous founder and editor-in-chief of the recently launched online shelter magazine, Rue. It’s fascinating for us to reflect on Crystal’s intentions from last year, pre-Rue, because they may have propelled her into this brand new life.

She started early last year as the blogger behind Plush Palate with a restlessness and urge to do something extraordinary with her life. Now, she travels all over the country photographing some of the chicest homes and parties. She’s creating the content and inspiration that she used to glean from the glossy pages of her favorite magazines just a year ago. And it would seem that these intentions she set for herself are the building blocks she used to design the completely new and amazing life of her dreams.


DESIGN YOUR LIFE: Crystal of Plush Palate


Live a Courageous Life

With each decision I make or at each crossroad I arrive, I try to make sure my decisions are not dictated by fear but instead, driven by courage. Only then do I feel I am living the best and fullest version of my life. When the decision seems unclear, I ask myself, “what would you do if you weren’t afraid?” and then in my heart I know exactly what I need to do. Another favorite quote reminds me that, “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Know Who You Are

It is easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to others or trying to be someone you are not, but I find such freedom in reminding myself not to be anyone but me. I try to use and hone the talents that I already have, not to covet the ones I don’t. The way I stay connected to who I am is by making time for the things that truly feed the authentic me – like writing in my journal at night and spending a quiet hour by myself in the morning – and by being able to say no to the things that don’t feel right inside. This quote says it best, “the wise man is always similar to himself.”

Take Pride in What You Present to the World

I strongly believe that this is one of the greatest ways to show respect to yourself and to others. By taking time to dress nicely or by making sure the project I turn in is a reflection of my best work, I am telling myself and others that we deserve the best. I believe this is an important component for healthy self-esteem and a strive to embody it.

Find Balance in Mind, Body, and Soul


When things get busy and I start to feel off kilter, I check in with myself to make sure I am giving ample attention to each. This helps me prioritize my time and get my perspective back where it needs to be. For “mind” I do things like take language classes so I can exercise new areas of my brain. For “body” I make sure to find time to exercise as a way to relieve stress and stay strong. And for “soul” I stay mindful of my values and try to live a life that is consistent and in accordance with them.

Focus On Your Circle of Influence

This is a concept I picked up from reading, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and that really struck a chord with me. There are many things in life we wish were different, but by focusing on the things that we can actually change within our circle of influence, our circle miraculously begins to grow and, in turn, so does the scope of our influence. When I’m faced with a challenge that seems overwhelming, I remember that through action I can go from a place of feeling powerless to a place of great empowerment and impact.



Traveling truly is something that I cannot image a life without. I cherish being able to get out into the world and opening myself up to what other places and people can teach me. Some of my best and most pivotal growing has happened during my times abroad. One thing I’m sure of is that a person or a place is never the same after having passed through it.

Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.

[photo credits: Miss Muse, and Simply Seductive (2)]

[sponsor post] le papier studio giveaway
September 29th, 2010     |    Style

To me, one of the most personal ways to design a life with intention is to design a home with intention. Creating an environment which reflects our vision for our lives helps us fulfill those dreams everyday.

I’m currently obsessed the retro-modern silhouette art which keeps popping up all over the home design blogs. So when I stumbled across our new October MML sponsor, Vana of Le Papier Studio (based in Chicago!), I was hooked. I knew that I had to have a few pieces of her work for my new apartment. The only question was, what silhouette do I choose? I’m single with no kids, so the really cute couple and kid prints were out of the question. And I didn’t quite feel up to staring at my own mug each and every day…

Then a solution popped in my head: my family’s Westie, Mackenzie! For those of you who know me, it’s certainly no secret that I’m dying to have a Westie (or Frenchie) puppy myself, but my traveling schedule and apartment don’t allow for one. So having the outlines of Mackenize all over my apartment make perfect sense! No mess, no clean up, and no fur on the couch.

Here’s some pics of Mackenzie throughout my apartment:

This little wall decal is actually a direct outline of Mackenzie from a photo I sent Vana. She turned it into a wall decal to her exact height, so it really does look like Mackenzie herself is waiting for me to come home. I chose the yellow color (there are tons of hues to choose from) because it was cheerful and would stand out more than white, her actual fur color, would.

I also sent a side profile photo of Mackenzie to Vana and she made this adorable print (secret: my mom is coming to visit today and I made one for her too). I love that I was able to choose a dark chocolate backdrop so that the silhouette mimicked her white fur. Had I gone with a color for the center of the silhouette, she might have looked more like a Scottie than a Westie.

And of course, I couldn’t resist having her on my farmers market tote as well. So cute. (Check out the custom photo option to see Mackenzie become a silhouette!)

I must emphasize, this is just a taste of the product offerings Vana has in her shop. You can also get custom jewelry, aprons, cuff links, stationary, plates, and much more.

Silhouette Art Book Giveaway

Vana has also recently launched a new book, Silhouette Art, sharing the step by step process of creating your own silhouette art! So if you want to get crafty and make your own custom pieces of art, all the instruction and paper you need are right within the book.

If you’d like to try your hand at making some homemade art using Vana’s detailed instructions, simply comment on this post by next Wednesday (October, 6th) sharing what your favorite product is in Vana’s shop.

fall site update
September 28th, 2010     |    Life

As you may have noticed, I’ve been slowly doing some spring fall cleaning around MML. I figured it was time to put a fresh coat on MML as I moved into a new place myself. I’m so happy with how it’s turned out. The berry and camel colors are such a cheerful contrast to the yellow and gray of the summer.

Here’s a little tour of some of the layout changes.

As many of you pointed out, I cut my hair! I cut it last April, but hadn’t changed online photos in a really long time. And as you can guess, I’m now back to growing it out. Since updating the pics, I’m now recognizable if you spotted me at a coffee shop. I also retold the story of how MML got started in a bit more detail on the about page.

I also ditched the tabbed widget that used to be on the sidebar in favor of a more new user friendly approach. This Best of MML page links to some of the most popular categories and feistiest posts. Now it’s much easier for new MML readers to catch up without having to sift through the complete archive.

And lastly I’ll mention a few updates to the sidebar. Of course there are the awesome MML sponsor buttons to the far right. And I’ve updated the look of the contact buttons and added a new feature: Form Spring. Simply click the Ask a Question button to hop over and well… ask me a question. There is also a link to the Best of MML page and of course a Twitter link.

I hope you like the changes and if you have any suggestions on how the site can be even more helpful, please let me know!

the prize mentality
September 27th, 2010     |    LifeThink About It

Good morning! I hope you had a great weekend. I myself got back from a quick trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan yesterday evening. A good friend got married (beautiful wedding!) and I also had a chance to catch up with my friends at Michigan. All in all, it was a great chance to reconnect with so many people who are important to me.

Today I’d like to share an excerpt from a post written by Annie of Turning Pages. I initially stumbled upon her post because she linked to Jess LC, but I really love her perspective on how we should reward ourselves for a job well done. Take a look at the beginning of the post below and then hop over to read the full piece on her blog.

Hi, my name is Annie, and I believe in retail therapy.

Perhaps this comes as a shock to you. I mean, don’t I strike you as a fairly rational, practical being?

Too bad.

After life’s particularly difficult moments have been overcome, I believe in a little self-indulgence. Prizes, if you will.

Impress the boss at work? Prize.

Stay up late to finish writing that paper? Prize.

Help your law student husband pass the bar exam? Prize.

Burn dinner and manage not to cry? Prize.

Successfully make it through another week? Prize.

This may sound excessive. But before you call Jordan and warn him that his wife has a problem, take note: He already knows, and he approves. Or at least, he too, has succumbed to the power of the prize.

Finish law school? Prize.

Pass the bar exam? Prize.

Get a new job? Prize.

I should probably clarify that prizes don’t have to be expensive. In fact, sometimes the gifts I give myself don’t cost a dime. If I successfully make it through 50 pages of Plato’s Phaedrus, I reward myself with an episode of Glee. If I study all day Saturday, I go out to dinner with Jordan Saturday night. If I finish my work assignment on time, I drink a Coke.

This process isn’t so much retail therapy as it is a rewards program.

And it works.

So this week, when I came this close to withdrawing from graduate school — the paperwork was in my hand — I came up with the perfect reward to help me make it through the semester.

Continue reading Annie’s post here.

piper’s dream report: week nineteen
September 24th, 2010     |    Life

It’s official…I’m working for myself full time now!!  Long story short, due to some happenings at work that reminded me yet again why I wanted to leave Corporate America, my last day moved up a week.  So as of this Monday, I’ve been working from home.  And I have to admit – it’s pretty darn awesome!! Although I have to say, it’s definitely going to take some time to get into a routine.  Not to mention staying focused and not distracted by all the things I could be doing at home!  A friend of mine had the best question for me on my first day of working from home…”are you still in your pajamas?”  Since I’m new to this and convinced that by staying in my pj’s I’ll start a descent into complete and utter laziness (think laying on the couch watching bad TV all day), I have managed to get dressed every day. The nicest thing so far about working from home?  Playing music and as loud as I want.  Now that’s fun (and gets the creative juices flowing!) My new co-workers (aka “the dogs”) have been little to no help keeping me focused on all the work I need to do.  When I ask them for their opinion, they just stare at me with these eyes that seem to say “If you’re going to be home, why aren’t you playing with us and giving us attention?”

Another thing that’s official?  I’m in complete and utter “OMG, how am I going to get all this done?” mode.  Ok, so maybe I’ve never left this mode but I swear, I’m at the point now where EVERYTHING is priority and time is ticking down to the store opening.  Granted, the store opening date is my own date – I can push it back. But I feel like it’s important to be up and running weeks before the holidays and I’ve also been talking up the store opening being around October 18th – so I don’t want to let folks down.  My web designers have this great calendar that shows all the milestones related to my website.  When we first started, they had my “go live” date as October 7th based on all the to-do items being completed on time.  Perfect, right?  Gave me plenty of cushion.  Well, this date has already changed…twice.  Gulp.  It’s now moved to October 21st so pressure’s definitely on to keep on task. Especially since starting next week, I won’t have the luxury of a paycheck – if I start thinking about that too much, I’d start panicking even more than I am!  The good news is that I finally decided on the web design after 5 rounds…I can’t wait to show you guys but that’ll have to wait for the grand opening!

image credit

So basically it’s crunch time.  Lots to do in a short period of time.  And I have to keep reminding myself that it doesn’t have to be perfect.  Not easy for a perfectionist…I keep thinking that the first impression of my store is going to make or break it.  Which is making me want to procrastinate on just about everything!  Not something I have the time to do!!  The biggie – writing the content for the site – feels like Mount Everest right now.  It’s due to the web designer by the end of September…any chance we can extend this month??

At the same time, the fun part is happening – products are starting to roll in!!  Each box that comes in gets me more and more excited for the opening.  I just got in these beautiful decals by Shanna Murray (shown above).   They’re so pretty in person – I want to hang them everywhere! If only running a store could just be about buying products.  This is the part that makes me want the store to open right now and feels like 3-4 weeks away is just too long!!  My to-do list for the next week or so is packed with deciding on shipping options, packaging, ordering products, learning how to use my shopping cart system…and yes, writing content.  Think I can get away with having a store website that just has pictures, no words?  Just think, it could be the very first one of it’s kind (grin).  As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and/or advice – any tips for working from home?  As a consumer or a biz person – anything you like (or don’t like!) about receiving packages? I have some ideas for how to make it more personal such as a little note in each package and/or getting a stamp with my logo to stamp on the box.  Would love to know your thoughts!

DESIGN YOUR LIFE: kendi of kendi everyday
September 23rd, 2010     |    DESIGN YOUR LIFE

The DESIGN YOUR LIFE series is back! After it’s vacation this summer, the DYL series is refreshed, slightly tan, and ready to start inspiring all over again. For those of you who are new, this series is where different people each Thursday share their intentions for their life and how they then “design their life” around those intentions.

In keeping with the theme of the week, I’ve asked Kendi our Diversey lookbook model and blogger behind Kendi Everyday to kick off the series this fall. If you haven’t seen her blog yet, go check it out. Her writing is as funny as her husband Bryan’s photography is great.


DESIGN YOUR LIFE: Kendi of Kendi Everyday

Are you guys tired of me yet? As I’ve been masquarading all over Jess LC and Makeunder My life, Jess thought it would be appropriate to have me write the Design Your Life post for this week. I was a little surprised when she asked me to write for this post, as I’ve admired each and every author of Design Your Life but I’ve never actually considered my life designed, unless you count a sink full of dishes as abstract art. But I have been trying to realign and redesign my life with intention over the past two years. During that time, I started a style blog called Kendi Everyday, a venture I never would have dreamed of in a million years. And now at 25 years old, I’ve feel like I’ve hit the stop sign to where my life was going and now I get to decide where I want it to go. This is what I’ve learned.

Three years ago if you would have asked me who I was I would have answered with this: someone’s daughter, someone’s fiance, someone’s employee. I had no idea who I was. I listed off titles of what I was to someone else, and although they were true and perhaps a part of my identity, they were simply parts to a whole.

A few months after getting married, my husband moved me to the smallest town I’ve ever lived in. Ever. It was his hometown so he was a local name, people knew him, his family, his history. I was just an extension of him. After introducing myself as his wife (and hiding behind that title) far too many times, it finally hit me that I didn’t know anything about who I was or what I wanted in my life.

After this revelation, I started listening to myself more, asking myself what I wanted and how I would do things. After about a year, I decided to take a risk and start a style blog. Let me re-phrase that I started a style blog in a town that could care less about fashion and even less about blogs. But even so, I knew I wanted to write and I wanted to be heard. I’ve since found a path that I’m excited to take on the journey of self-discovery all due to a risk I took a few months ago while trying to find who I am. And while I am still all of those things — a daughter, a wife, an employee, I now know that I am so much more.

The other part is understanding that who you are as a person is not yet finished. But to know who you are at this exact moment is priceless.

That’s right, I said unrealistic. Realistic goals are boring, do-able, expected. Unrealistic goals are bold, risky, and unpredictable. Why would you ever give yourself realistic goals? Where is the fun in that?

As a pessimist by nature and probably by nurture as well (hey Dad), that small voice is always at the back of my head giggling at my unrealistic goals. So paired with my lists of goals are normally my reasons as to why they could not happen, what deems them truly unrealistic. This is when my husband stops me and says “Why not?” to each goal I read aloud. I give him a laundry list of reasons why I would I fail to which he looks at me blankly and says “It seems like you’re the only person that’s holding you back.” And as much as it pains me to say this — he’s right. Dream big, no one is stopping you but yourself.

In the book Through the Looking Glass, this sentence sticks out the most to me: “Sometimes I believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” (Well said, Lewis Carroll.) Make this your goal, think of 6 impossible things for your life each morning. We have imaginations for a reason, for which I like to think is to dream. Dream up the most amazing story of your life, who says that it can’t come true?

Let’s stop for a second and be honest. On your path of life one thing is for certain: You will fail. It’s true, no one that has ever succeeded has failed to fail. (That was a tongue-twister.) As a perfectionist, this statement make my stomach turn. I hate to fail at anything. If I burn dinner you would think that I had just burned our house. I cry over spilled milk, can you imagine how I react to failure? Let me tell you, it’s not pretty.

Kendi Everyday is my third attempt to a style blog. I can’t say why the other two failed, or even if Kendi Everyday has succeeded but I do know that I stuck with it. And that in and of itself is a success. I was afraid to fail but I kept going because I knew that it was what I wanted to do. It’s never an easy route but as I’ve learned if you are afraid of failing you will never try. Try to fail, at least you’ll be trying.

If laughter is the best medicine, then pour yourself two tablespoons and call me in the morning. Some days are just bad days, there is no way around. Some days are downright horrible. On the days when it is hardest to smile, just go ahead and make yourself laugh. Finding a positive light in a situation is tough, but find it. Positive thinking can change your outlook and way of life. If there is nothing else left to do, then laugh. You might just laugh yourself happy again.

(Also, laugh lines are much prettier than frown lines.)

This is not a plug for the Jess LC Franklin Collection necklace. But it’s found here.

I am a dreamer. My brain is always in constant motion of impossible. I think of at least 6 impossible things before lunch and by the time lunch is over I’ve tossed those aside and I’m on to 6 more. There is an upside to this but there is a downside as well. Sometimes I’m so busy with my future plans that have not yet happened that I forget to be where I am, that which is happening. I forget who I’m with, I forget to enjoy what is happening right in front of me. (See? Being a dreamer is a blessing and a curse.) Too many times I’ve looked back at a situation in our lives and I don’t remember it. I let my mind go elsewhere instead of dealing with the present, which as I’ve learned is important if you want to deal happily with your future.  I’ve had to learn to slow down. To be present to what is happening around me and not just in my dreamy little head. Be present to your life now and be hopeful for what’s to come.

This won’t be the last of me, just the last of me on someone else’s blog. Find me at Kendi Everyday.

Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.

you’re invited to the diversey launch party
September 22nd, 2010     |    Life

If you live in Chicago or can make it tomorrow, please come to the Diversey Launch Party at SG Grand! Details are below. There will be wine, nibbles, and other local designers as well! Bring a friend and make it a girls night.

meet the diversey collection
September 22nd, 2010     |    Life

Thanks so much for such sweet, encouraging comments on the Diversey Lookbook! I’m happy to know you all love how it turned out as well.

Design Inspiration: Paisley

Of course if you’ve been following my twitter or MML, you know I’ve been inspired by paisley for this collection (some people have mentioned it looks like a ying on a ying-yang, but that was not intended – no meaning there). I chose paisley as the inspiration oddly because it was a pattern popular in interior design (my main source for jewelry design inspiration), that I actually hated growing up. It is often depicted in a very ornate, detailed way which did not rest well with my personal tastes as a fifteen-year-old. Now that I’m a bit older, I’ve learned to appreciate the intricate pattern more, but still haven’t found a paisley variation to adore.

So I decided to make my version of paisley. Something clean, fresh, and (as with all my jewelry) naturally graceful. I picked berry and winter white for this collection because I thought they would pair beautifully with fall clothing and add a much needed pop to dark navy, charcoal, and black tops. They also happen to do double duty and transition into spring and summer wardrobes beautifully as well- something that with my own budget, I’m quite aware of. I want my jewelry pieces to fit in my wardrobe 365 days a year. And as those who’ve been to my apartment can attest, I have an addiction to white and gold in any form.

A Sample of the Collection

To give you a taste of the collection, browse below- all our new paisley pieces are palladium gold-plated (palladium is a great high quality material to add longevity and durability) and our chains and wire are gold-filled as usual. I have designed each of the paisleys by sketch and then had an b-school buddy create the pendants. Then we take the pendants and design and assemble them in our studio by hand – Susie’s talented hands. The great thing about these pieces is that they are great quality but we’ve also been able to keep the price points between $25-$98.

Diversey Enamel Post Earrings, $25

Available in white and berry.

How. Cute. Are. These? I have been wearing my white posts with my Franklin necklace. At $25 they are great addition for almost any outfit.

Diversey Six Paisley Drop Earrings, $90

Equally flexible for outfits of all kinds, these puppies make a great statement without taking over the whole ensemble.

Diversey Simple Dotted Earrings, $62

Available in white or berry.

I love how the dots on these earrings mimic elaborate paisley designs in a modern way. Their asymmetrical shape is also so refreshing and unusual in jewelry. Love.

Diversey Medium Solid Paisley Necklace, $73

Available in white or berry.

Oh, my. I think this one gives a great pop to so many looks. I wore it with a blazer, flowy top, and dark jeans going out last weekend and felt like a million bucks.

Diversey Lariat-Style Dotted Paisley Necklace, $86

Available in white or berry.

This guy is a stunner. I think he’s best suited for clean, modern tops – a simple shell or shift dress is a perfect match.

Diversey Paisley Layering Necklace, $90-silver, $96-gold

Available with gold or silver chain (paisleys are gold)

A Jess LC collection isn’t complete any more without a great layering necklace. This is it.

Diversey Single Paisley Bracelet, $30- silver, $32- gold

Available with gold or silver chain (paisley is gold)

This little guy is so sweet and subtle – which means he’s a no-brainer for everyday of the week.

And of course there are eight other awesome styles online as well. Check them out and let me know what you think! I’d love to know which ones you love the most.

the diversey lookbook
September 22nd, 2010     |    Life

Diversey is live! Here are some shots from the lookbook. It was so hard to pick a few to share, so go to the complete lookbook to see all the looks and locations!

You can also start shopping the collection as well. I’ll be back later today to explain the collection in more detail and share why I think it’s the most well-rounded collection I’ve ever done.

And as always, if you like what you see and want to share it with your friends or on your own blog, feel free! Comment here with a link to your post here and I’ll hop over an thank you for your support!

behind the lookbook
September 21st, 2010     |    Life

Man, oh man. I know I said that the Diversey collection would be launching today, but we have a few pesky product images to sort out this evening so the official launch will be tomorrow.

In the meantime, I’d like to whet your appetite by giving you a bit of background on the experience of shooting the lookbook for the collection. Two weekends ago, Kendi of Kendi Everyday and her husband Bryan flew all the way from Texas to partake in this Jess LC project. Raise your hand if you’re surprised and amazed at the generosity of this couple.

(My hand is high in the air.)

From the moment I picked them up at the airport, I knew we would be the best of friends. (Sidenote: Not sure if they expected us to be the best of friends, but that’s besides the point.) During the weekend we spent together shooting the lookbook and hanging out, I also became a Chicago tour guide. I’ve since done everything I can within my power to convince them to move to Chicago. Some things are easy to sell (Lake Michigan, the beach, the food, the people, the shopping) and some things are a bit more difficult (rent, parking, January). Either way, I’ve done my best to make their decision to stay in Texas as hard as possible.

The reason I was so insistent on them moving here is because I like them. I really like them. Kendi is adorable, down-to-earth, and the kind of friend you’d like to hang out with during a rainy afternoon doing absolutely nothing (which we did). Bryan, her husband and lookbook photographer, is wickedly funny, honest, positive, and incredible at photography.

While showing them around the city, I also brought them past my favorite walk up in Lakeview. Kendi and Bryan decided it would make a great location for an outfit post, and on the yuckiest of days this photo came out (I know, I said he was talented).

Bryan also snapped a shot of the two of us, which explains why I picked Kendi as my model instead of doing it myself (I kid, I kid).

Okay, so back to the whole photo shoot thing. We shot the lookbook in two days. The first one was Friday evening and I was actually unable to attend since I had a Macy’s Trunk Show that night. But the shoot went well. Megan, my stylist helper, and Susie, the heart of Jess LC, went along and helped out in my place. The most regrettable thing about missing this shoot for me was the fact that I didn’t get to meet Meatball.

Below are a few snap shots I took with my phone before heading out the door that Friday night.

The next morning was supposed to be our full day of shooting, but due to an inconvenient rainstorm, we postponed until Sunday. I’m glad we waited. That Sunday morning was beautiful. We decided to shoot everything again to get a variety of choices and doing eight outfit changes and showcasing 15 pieces of jewelry took just two hours with a few outfit changes in inconvenient places. Kendi and Bryan work so well together I felt like my main job was to be encouraging, make sure the jewelry was laying properly, and make sure the clothing bags were all accounted for.

The result, as you’ll see tomorrow, is quite extraordinary. To me, the lookbook feels effortless, and that’s because it was effortless. Bryan and Kendi completely understand what Jess LC is all about and were able to capture this collection perfectly. I hope you feel the same.

And hey, if they decide not to move to Chicago, they offered to adopt me. But I’m not sure how my legs will look in cowboy boots, so I’m still insistent that they move here.

grandma’s macaroni and cheese
September 20th, 2010     |    FoodLife

Good morning! I’m launching the Diversey collection on Jess LC tomorrow and have plenty of work ahead of me (lookbook, programming the online pages, uploading product shots, drafting an email blast, MML posts, and so on) so I have my little hands full of things to do. But in the meantime, I thought I’d re-share this recipe for mac and cheese via my mom, from my Grandma Constable. It. Is. So. Good. And easy, oh so easy. I made it last night for my friend Cathy and her husband.

Judging by the (lack of) leftovers, I’d say it was a huge hit! Try it yourself. I promise there will be no regrets!


Yum. This wonderfulness is my dinner tonight. I got the recipe from my mom, but the cheese sauce is actually from my Grandma’s Cheesy Onion recipe. Since I had all the ingredients on hand except for the cheese, this was a logical, delicious, and inexpensive dish to make. I used to be intimidated by the homemade cheese sauce, but it is really easy since it requires the microwave(!). Try it and let me know what you think.


Macaroni and Cheese

  • 2 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 box pasta (I used whole wheat), cooked and drained
  • 2 C milk
  • 4 T flour
  • 4 T butter
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1/4 t paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 350* and cook pasta.
  2. Melt butter and stir in flour, pepper, and paprika. Whisk in milk. Cook in microwave for 8 minutes on power level 8 (stir 2-3 times during cooking).
  3. Stir in shredded cheese until melted.
  4. Add sauce and noodles to greased casserole dish and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Let stand for 10 minutes and enjoy!


For those who like a softer, unbaked mac and cheese you can call it quits at this stage like my brother, Mikey C.


kelsey’s list: september dos and don’ts
September 18th, 2010     |    Life


After the awesome reception of Kelsey’s list last month, she’s back to share her list for September. Enjoy!

First of all I would like to say thank you to all of you.  Because of your wonderful feedback, Jess would like me to contribute more often to Makeunder My Life and I couldn’t be more honored.  Since it looks like I’m sticking around for a little while, please feel free to contribute ideas for future “dos and don’ts” in the comment section.  I want to write what you want to read.

So this month’s Dos and Don’ts are about one of life’s most important treasures: television.  September brings back our favorite show premieres and football.  And let’s be honest, if you haven’t been fantasizing about Mr. Shuster singing to you and only you in the choir room all summer- wait that was just me?  Oh…moving on!


  • Theme your cocktails around what show you’re watching (i.e. martinis for Mad Men, blue or red slushees for Glee).
  • Give yourself a pat on the back for allowing yourself 30 minutes, an hour, or 3 hours to enjoy a show- no Blackberry allowed.
  • Make delicious dips, spreads and finger foods for football games.  It gives you a reason to invite friends over and its cheaper than going out.
  • Allow yourself to relax!  September is a stressful time; whether it’s the beginning of a new school year or things are picking back up at work- just know you are worth sitting down on the couch and laughing at The Situation.
  • Let yourself grieve that Jack Bauer isn’t coming back this Fall, but 30 Rock, Modern Family, and The Office are so it’s going to be ok.


  • Complain about his incessant remote-control flipping on Saturday and Sunday.  Men know when and where to flip the channel.  It’s an innate gift.  They’re just trying to catch as much football as possible.
  • Try to understand why the show Wipe Out got renewed for another season.
  • Count the number of Cool Ranch Doritos you’ve eaten during a quarter.  It’s the law.
  • Rely on Snooki for your political issue awareness.  Yes, Obama put a tax on tanning beds but Snooki was also arrested for being an “annoying drunk”.
  • Allow your DVR get down to 0% capacity; you deserve a little ‘me time’ and whether that is Discovery Channel with Mike Rowe (swoon) or a guilty pleasure like Jerseylicious; it doesn’t matter, enjoy it!

Like me? Well thanks, I like you too! You can also find me at thecapitalbarbie.blogspot.com.













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