Hello there!

If this is your first visit here, please go to my blog's new home, here. You will find more updated posts and if you are lucky, I might just be running a giveaway :-)

If you have been here before, welcome back! I have moved to self-hosted Wordpress, so now you can find me by just typing www.theunlikelyhousewife.com in your browser. I hope to see you there!

XO, Elisa

P.S. This blog's comment are now closed. One more reason to visit me on WP ;-)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

All the girls wanna go to Shecky's

I know you want to know, so I won't keep you waiting until Monday to tell you about Shecky's Girls Night Out.

If you like shopping, if you are always looking for the next little boutique so you can have some interesting pieces to add to your wardrobe, let me tell you ladies: go. To quote Nike, Just do it.

I went with my friend V. Here's the summary of our night:

Lines & crowds: doors opened at 5 pm. We got there a few minutes after 5 to find a line half-way around the block - pretty scary. But they were well organized and the line moved very quicky - by about 5.30 we were in. The personnel was there to answer questions and give directions and they were polite and friendly(with one exception: yes, I'm talking about you, "security guy" on the 7th floor, Mr. "in a straight line ladies!" - I don't care about your straight line, I am NOT standing by the garbage!!)

Attire: Most of the girls were wearing feminine but casual outfits, like jeans and wedges, sleaveless dresses and so on, with a few erring on the overdressed/underdressed side. I was in wearing dark wash jeans, a black satin top and black wedges, accessorized with bangles and my beloved charm necklace. I felt like I was dressed just right - but I should have probably done what V. did and worn flats (learn from my mistakes!).

Cocktails/drinks: Beer, virgin mojitos (from Bacardi, go figure), Borba skin balance water, red and white wine, margaritas, French martinis.

All cocktails were made with Chambord, which is a black raspberry liqueur, so they tasted a bit different from the usual, but good.

All wine was from a company called Little Black Dress Wine - the bottles are pretty, but I had some of their Pinot Grigio and I was not at all impressed. It tasted more of less like the white wine I use for cooking (which is less than 4 dollars a bottle).

The Bacardi Mojito sounded good, but it was virgin as far as we could tell and very sweet, without any detectable minty taste - it kind of resembled Sprite, to be honest. We discarded ours after 2 sips.

Merchandise and discounts: Some very cheesy, cheap-looking jewellery, accessories and synthetic clothing, BUT also lots of very cute, very interesting merchandise, from several new boutiques/designers. A few highlights:

- Taylor Hayden: totes, clutches and makeup bags in different sizes, made of cotton with beautiful vintage prints. V. and I kept oohing and aahing at all the lovely totes and the bow clutches they had there. And I was happy to find a makeup bag with a lovely Amy Butler print. Very well made - I was impressed. Something cool: they have a "design your bag" service where you can pick the shape and fabric(s) and they'll make it exactly as you request.

- Fused Glass and Leather Bracelets by Fusing Colors: very unusual, a bohemian accessory with a rock n' roll vibe. Really cool.

- Mode Accessories: oh, I think I spend the longest time in front of this booth. Great bangles of many colors, shapes and styles, and some really nice bags. I totally fell in love with the Bee Bag! And I don't even like yellow!

- Accessories and Beyond: The charm necklaces with a suede strap inside the chain are really nice and can be worn as bracelets, too. I also love the charm bangles - they look MUCH nicer than you can see from the photos and they have them in several colors - perfect for accessorizing a simple outfit.

- bags and clutches by Nikita Lynn Designs: OMG, these were fabulous. The detail and fabric were fantastic. The clutches were so delicious, I wish I could have gotten one of each. She had several pieces there that are not yet on her website - but photos simply would not do these bags justice, you have to go check out her boutique!

The discounts varied, but overall this is a great night for shopping. For instance the charm bangles from Accesories and Beyond were being sold for about 50 dollars, but their actual price is $135. The bee bag from Mode Accessories was being sold for $85 and was then lowered even more, to $55, on Friday - but the actual price of the bag is $135 (but if you hurry up and go to the website, you can still get it for the discounted price - or you can get ME one, to thank me for the detailed review). These are just examples - a lot of merchandise was offered at much lower prices than usual. Next year I'll save my summer shopping for my Shecky's Girls Night Out!

Other complimentary services/items: manicures, makeup and hair styling were available, but the waiting list was miles long. There was a Nintendo DS corner where you could play for free and admire some new DS with a blinged-up cover. We also got a cute pink Nintendo DS compact mirror.

Gift bags: The gift bags were a major disappointment. See the contents below and tell me if I'm being picky:

Hair products: a can of Redken Fabricate 03 heat-active texturizer, a tube of Redken Satinwear 02 blow-dry lotion (sample size), a can of Göt 2b Smooth Operator (sample size), a jar of Alagio Trend Starter twisting paste.

Cosmetics: Bioré blemish fighting ice cleanser (sample size), Avené soothing moisture mark (sample size), Roc daily microdarmabrasion cleansing disk (1), Couvrance foundation.

Personal hygiene: Intuition shaver, Dove beauty body (sample size), Dove body mist (sample size), Aquafresh White Trays, DentaBurst freshening teeth cleaners, a full-size tube of Colgate toothpaste in MaxFresh Burst.

Other: 2 packets of Boost immune booster (sweetened with sucralose - stick with Emergen-C!), black Shine To Go shoe polisher (2), a booklet of Chambord cocktail recipes, Shecky's NYC Beauty Map and NYC Fashion Map (the maps are actually pretty cool).

But this I have to say: Hey Shecky's, what's with all the practical stuff in my gift bag? I can walk into a Target and get myself some shoe polish and Colgate toothpaste if I'm so inclined, you know? (I'm not because I despise Colgate, but either way...) Do you call this a deluxe gift bag? I know you know it's not - because I saw the merchandise you had at the Night Out and I subscribe to your newsletters, so I know you have higher standards than that. How about getting rid of all the stuff we may get while grocery shopping and instead include some fun stuff, like more makeup? If only you had included some mascara and/or a cool eyeshadow I would have already been much happier!

Also, considering how most companies are making an effort to include more eco-friendly practices in their business, I would have liked to see canvas totes instead of synthetic ones, but that's just me.

In short - was it worth the price of the ticket? Well, I paid $ 15 because I caught the advance purchase offer of 2 for 1, so yes. Considering the great boutiques featured and the special prices, definitely. But if I had paid 30 dollars mainly for the gift bag, I would be very, very annoyed.

Just as a note: it's not as posh as they make it sound. It's pretty crowded, it's very hot and the cocktails are served in small plastic cups, and I wish they'd been more selective with some of the jewellery, which resembled stuff I saw at my daughter's school Holiday Market.

That said, it was still fun. And if you are ready for it and don't make big purchases before going you'll be able to do your big (and some small) purchases there, often at a fraction of the price. So yes, I would go again!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Short and sweet... but it won't make you fat

Ok, I had a crazy busy weekend and I have tons to do this week to get everything ready for next week's trip - so let me give you a summary of some cool things I ran across in the past few days:

1. Endless.com's free overnight shipping: how cool is it that you can order a dreamy pair (of several ones) of shoes or a bag (or several ones) and have it arrive to your house the day after, without paying for the overnight shipping? And that if you don't like it you can send it back - also for free? I tried it and loved it - if my husband only knew he'd be shaking in his (new) boots!

2. Recyclable toothbrushes: I had been buying these toothbrushes for months when I found out that you can actually send them back to the company and the plastic will be recycled to make plastic decking, picnic tables and boardwalks. How cool is that? I used to buy them at Whole Foods, but now they also have them at Target, for $2.04. And I scored a coupon, too! If you want to use it, just go here. So you can keep ther environment clean as well as your teeth *wink*

3. A wonderful post illustrating the feelings of mothers the world over on unsolicited advice: Things you should never say to a new mother

4. RememberTheMilk.com - finally you can do it all in one place: create to-do lists (that you can manage also offline), mark your important dates, set reminders for tasks on your list or your event and choose if you want to getthem by e-mail, text or IM. And all for free! Hate the name, like the website.

5. DailySugar: I already love TeamSugar so I was excited to hear about their daily newsletter - but a little incentive never hurts, right? Subscribe to DailySugar and be entered to win a Giant City Balenciaga bag! Invite friends, and you have more chances of landing the fab prize.

Feel free to drop a comment with any websites or stuff you'd like to pass on! I love new things :-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Going against the grain... and the cupcakes, and the lasagna

Ok, I want to know who is conspiring to keep me fat. I demand you step forward and confess right now! I promise I won't hurt you. I will force-feed you though. I will just sit you down on a chair and then proceed to make lasagna, tiramisù, lots of barbecued meat (with lots of potato salad on the side, of course) and several kinds of cupcakes, and I will make sure you eat it. All of it. Ha! Sweet revenge.

For the past several weeks, I have been working on improving my shape. I love my curves but some of them are making it a struggle to fit into my jeans and to find cute summer clothes that don't make me look like I'm wearing a circus tent, so I have to shave things down a bit.

Willpower can be a problem at times, especially if I haven't slept, in which case my body starts screaming for sugar and carbs in the afternoon. However I was starting to make good progress. Then it started. Every single weekend for the past 4 weeks there has been something going on. And the next 2 weeks are even worse: something EVERY single Saturday and Sunday - in fact, multiple things to attend on some of those days.

Now, I have been bi***ing about being bored so you'd think that would make me happy, having a social life. I am happy.
But I HATE hate being in a room with lots of party food that I really shoulnd't eat - but probably will, anyway.
I blame my DNA. Italian genes are hard-wired to make you feel like a party-pooper if you don't join in the celebration by diving head first in eats and drinks and being merry.

What is a girl to do? Stay home? Not an option. Eat beforehand? Might work when the event isn't an all-day thing. Sew my mouth shut? Ah, but then I coulnd't chat, and anyone who knows me knows I value my right to gab much more than my right to eat.

I guess I'll just have to brave it - I know, tough job, but someone's got to do it.

Friday, June 13, 2008

All the questions you've always wanted to ask about moms...

I really hate chain mail. No, seriously. I hate ANY kind of chain mail or anything resembling chain mail. So I never forward that kind of stuff or even jokes, unless they are really funny. But when I received this in my e-mail box the other day, I thought it was worth sharing:

Answers given by 3rd grade school children to the following questions:

What ingredients are mothers made of ?

1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

What kind of little girl was your mom?
1. My Mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mom marry your dad?
1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms & dads?
1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller & stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.
4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mom do in her spare time?
1. Mothers don't do spare time. [wow, this one is REALLY smart]
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mom perfect?
1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?
1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head. [he he]

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The 80s are back - RUN!!

I'm a child of the 90s. That is, I was actually a child in the 80s, but my "coming of age", my teen years, my oh-that's-how-the-world-works moments, all happened in the 90s. I'm quite proud of that - afterall the 90s had better fashion, better dance music, better hairdos and makeup - what else is important to a teenager?

Don't get me wrong, I do look to the 80s with fondness in some respects, precisely:
- cult movies: Back to the future, E.T., Roger Rabbit, Indiana Jones, and oh, remember when Star Wars movies didn't suck?
- dance movies (that didn't involve tap dancing): Footloose, Flashdance, Dirty Dancing
- the creation of the modern romatic comedy (I know, movies again, but it does deserve its own category): When Harry met Sally, Say Anything - I love John Cusack!)
- music: The Police, The Bangles, The Cures, Duran Duran (sorry boys, not the same since)...

However in other respects the 80s fall squarely in my "things I'd rather not see again, like, EVER" category: I literally cringe when I think of the big hair, flashy eyeshadows, fluorescent clothing and accessories. I mean, seriously - already just a few years into the 90s I looked at 80s fashion and style (or better, lack of style) and thought "wow, that was a mistake - glad it's over". Except it isn't. Except the 80s have been worming their way back into fashion, thanks to some nostalgic or simply out-of-fresh-ideas designer, and now they won't leave.

It started slowly, a few years back, with some leg warmers worn over t-strap heels. Innocent enough, we though, and while I would never wear that, I though it looked sort of grungy-cool, sort of Kate Moss, sort of "it's so uncool it's fabulous", sort of "I don't care but I look fabulous anyway".

Then the skinny jeans came back, and those stuck. Fine, with a modern twist they sort of look ok. (Note: leggings do not get the same pass.)

Then the ballet flats - and I shivered because I had hated them back then too, but then some designers came out with such cool styles I gave in too - afterall a fabulous pair of flat is the best pick for everyday wear for a busy (but always trendy!) mom.

Then it was the toys: Care Bears, My Little Pony, Cabbage Patch kids - I was actually happy about that, not in a nostalgic way, mind you, but more in a "aha! I can afford them NOW!" way (which is kind of sad, I know). My little one loves them, so it's all good.

Then it was Lacoste's turn: after undergoing an apparent overhaul, they came back with a bang. And brought with them the polo, except more colorful, younger, more hip (sort of). And suddenly you see people wearing polo shirts, not just golfers and my dad. Fine, bring them on. Unbuttoned, they are more flattering than t-shirts and look more polished, unless you overdo it and start falling a bit too much on the preppy side (sorry, Ralph Lauren aficionados).

But I draw the line at big hair and tapered pants. That's just too much. I'm not giving in, that's just unflattering, ridiculous and just plain ugly.

Unfortunately not everone agrees. Rihanna has been sporting them often, out shopping and at awards shows - granted, she looks adorable either way, but the pants really should be ditched. Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so - Gap had decided to make tapered jeans part of their collection, calling them "classic jeans", but they didn't sell well and now they are on sale for 9.99.

Why uncover perfectly buried ugly trends? Been there, worn that. Ok, now I feel old. But at least I dress well.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Do you hate Mondays?

How many times have you heard someone utter the sentence "I hate Mondays"? Boomtown Rats dedicated a song to this specific feeling back in the 80s, scientists are looking for a cure, there is even a website dedicated to the collective dislike for Mondays.

Ok, so Monday is not the most popular day of the week. Something must be done to give it a positive spin! Inspired by Jen's I'm Digging It post, I decided to focus on the positive and make my own "I'm digging it" list.

I'm digging:
- that it's only 3 weeks till Summer Break
- that my husband is actually thinking of getting me a notebook (would love some recommendations, BTW)
- that my house is clean today, and has been since Saturday (after Saturday's emergency cleaning)
- that I just received the last book I requested from PaperbackSwap: Janet Evanovich's Lean Mean Thirteen - just on time, since I have already read all the magazines I'm subscribed to and I finished The Yummy Mummy on Saturday! (for those who don't know me well, I MUST have a book to read at all times)
- that my friend K. (yes, the one who justifies my "organizing freak" ways) is coming to New York so I have an excuse to go into town (good for dh, any reason is good for me!)
- and last but not least, I'm really digging that I managed to convert my template to a 3-column one!

Go on now, share yours!

What do you think?

I changed things around a bit. What do you think? Do you like it? Is there too much pink (it's peach, actually, but there can still be too much).

Post a comment and let me know!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Need a girls' night out?

If you feel like you really need some "me time", a chance to relax and have fun with some friends... I think I know the perfect thing for you!

is a website that keeps (and keeps you) abreast of all the happenings in several large cities around the US. Just choose the city closest to you and you'll receive their newsletter, so you can easily plan your dates, fun evenings with friends and so on.

I found out just a couple of months ago that Shecky's organizes a Girls' Night Out in a bunch of locations, where you can shop at discount prices, have free drinks, chat with friends... it's a ladies'only event, and every participant gets goodie bags - the gal I talked to was going on and on about the goodie bags, which is when it got interesting for me! I already bought my ticket for the NYC event - two tickets, in fact, with two different groups of friends on two different evenings, just to make sure I'd make it there! Now the Thursday and Friday events are sold out, but the Monday-Wednesday are not, so hurry up and get your ticket! The deluxe bags are supposed to be amazing!

Leave me a comment and tell me if you think I should blog about it after I get back.

The messy organizing freak: split personality or charming quirk?

For someone so unadept at keeping house, I am surprisingly (some might say annoyingly) neurotic about organizing.

My computer files are organized in folders, sub-folders, sub-subfolders, so are my favorites. My spices are in alphabetical order, with the spice mixes all on one side, separate from the single spices. When I do my grocery shopping I place all produce in one bag, all frozen foods in a separate bag, all refrigerated foods in a third bag and all dry, canned and packaged foods in a fourth. And if I buy any beauty products or toiletries, they go in a small paper bag inside the dry foods bag.

Now, to me this just makes sense, because it makes putting stuff away a piece of cake, and avoiding leaving something that goes in the fridge at the bottom of a bag with dry stuff in it. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm weird. I am messy, I have to actually force myself to put things away every now and then just so I'll be able to find them again, but if anyone helps me put stuff away, they HAVE to put it exactly where it belongs or it irritates me to no end. I should be thankful for any help I can get, right? Instead I prefer having no help to having to move things to the places where I think they belong.

My poor husband, who has been putting up with me for 11 years (I do have some good traits, you know), after almost 2 years in this house still doesn't totally get where everything goes when the dishwasher is unloaded or the groceries are put away. To me it's very simple: the burgundy plates on one pile on the lower shelf - next to them the lavender plates and then the everyday white plates. The chinese tea set, the bowls and the mayan-inspired dinner set on the middle shelf, the white porcelain dinner set and Croatian coffee set on the top shelf obviously, because they are only used for special occasions. What is so difficult about that?

Or the arrangement of pots and pans in the kitchen: frying pans in one pile, pots with one long handle in another, pots with 2 short handles in a third; lids on the higher shelf, baking dishes in the other cabinet (on the opposite side of the kitchen).

I don't know, to me there is a logic to all this - but I guess it isn't apparent to everyone. My friend K. thinks this is where my Virgo personality shows up, my mom thinks I'm just concentrating on the wrong things and thinks that I'm neurotic just for doing a weekly menu and shopping list, but understands some of the organizing points (and questions others). The only one who understands me is my cool aunt Rox, except it has always been sort of an in-joke in the family, how high-maintenance she is because she wants her things just so - so I'm not sure that her support gains me any points.

Meanwhile, in my universe there is a technique to organize just about everything: kitchen cabinets, pantries, closets, drawers, office shelves, computer files... but when it comes to cleaning, my biggest accomplishments are more often done in form of very specific checklists, compiled and typed up, with check boxes and bulleted or numbered item lists - afterall, for a messy organizing freak like me, writing a list is almost as good as actually doing the stuff on it. So after all that typesetting is done, and my gorgeous checklist is ready and printed, I'm ready for a break - my new book and a cup of tea are waiting for me on the side table, right next to the comfy sofa where I have my pillows just so.

Being misunderstood can be very tiring.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Blogger's Survival Kit

There's a new cool blog in the blogosphere: it's . To get it started with a bang, the two lovely ladies behind it are holding a contest where we can win a great kit for any blogger: digital camera, recorder, t-shirt, and more!

You can find the contest here.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Go on, get it off your chest!

Ever felt like you really wanted to get something off your chest but you didn't feel comfortable posting it on your blog? (Come on, be honest...)

I have the perfect place for you!


No judgements, no advice, no husbands,
children or even your own mother finding you.
Simply your own place to let it all hang out!

Anonymous Thoughts
Anonymous Dreams
Anonymous Stories

Your secrets are safe with us
Share your story

That's not a bad idea, isn't it? I just hope people play nice *wink*
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