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 ;-)

Friday, April 3, 2009

It's ready!

There may be a few tweaks to make here and there, but I am ready to welcome you to my new place. Come on over!

Changes: the good, the bad, the lovely

The good:
Diary of an Unlikely Housewife is moving!! I have decided to go self-hosted WordPress, and with that, of course, goes a brand new domain name (yay!!) - soon you'll just have to type www.theunlikelyhousewife.com to get to see the fab purple heels on my header ;-)

The bad:
My "followers" widget will be installed on the WP blog too, but it'll go back to zero :-( Hopefully you'll decide to add me again (pretty please).

I hope that's all the bad will be, and I won't have to go through what Jill just went through to fatten her RSS feed subscriptions back up! 'Cause I don't have any diamonds to give away :-)

I will have of course to adjust all my links, but that won't be a bother to you, I promise.

The lovely:
Diary of an Unlikely Housewife is turning 1! April 15th marks the 1-year anniversary of my first blog post, and I'll be celebrating with multiple giveaways! At the new place, of course :-)

As part of the celebration, a few of my favorite bloggers will be guest posting – the more the merrier, right?

Stay tuned for announcements, as soon as next week!

Also, if I may share something non-blog related with you, we finally found a lovely apartment in Zurich, for after the move! It's perfect, with a playground outside, space for Sarah to ride her bike, a short train ride (15 minutes) to the center of Zurich but not in the middle of everything. And it's very close to the apartment we had before the move, which hopefully will help the girls re-adjust quickly.
Knowing we'll have a nice place makes the idea of moving away from NY a bit more pleasant, so while this may sound mundane, it's a big deal to us! (or rather, to me, since my husband would happily move to the Swiss countryside – my mountain boy!)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cool Finds of the month, March 2009

Barbie talking palette by StilaLeaving it to the last day of the month, eh Elisa? Cutting it kind of close ;-)

Here's this month's Cool Finds post!

One for our pregnant friends: Christian Siriano, Season 4 winner of Project Runway, has designed a line of pregnancy clothing called (what else!) Fierce Mamas, and , you can find it at Moody Mamas. And for designer pregnancy threads without the hefty price tag, check out InStyle Belly. I bet you are feeling lucky to be sporting a bump right now!

How I miss my InStyle subscription! I'm waiting to move before I start a new one. Luckily, InStyle also has lots of great features online, too: like this Spring Trends for Your Shape guide!

Have you seen the new Bonnie collection by Coach? As usual, they are slightly overpriced and a little too small for my taste, but some of them are stunning! Like the jeweled tote, priced at *gasp* $1,000! (bit steep for cotton twill, no?)

You already know how much I love Sephora. My only gripe: too many chemicals, not enough natural brands. Not anymore! Sephora is carrying more and more natural brands, and not just "fake" ones (read: botanical-based but including no-nos like parabens or sodium lauryl sulphate), also fabulously natural ones like Pacifica, which makes fantastic soy candles and essential-oil based fragrances, for those of us allergic to synthetic fragrance. My favorite: Brazilian Mango and Grapefruit - yum.
(If you prefer not to have to read labels, check out Beautorium instead.)

A new magazine has hit... the web. VIVmag, like DuJour, cannot be found on the newsstand, but it can be read online (or downloaded on your computer). The cool part: It's an interactive magazine, which makes the articles much more interesting, like an article on fitness that includes animated exercise moves, or a cooking feature that's the dream of every at-home cook, because it contains a step-by-step video demonstration! Click here for a FREE trial membership.

If you love Rebecca Minkoff's handbags as much as I do, you'll be excited to hear about her new apparel line - drats, now I don't know if I should save for a Nikki or a Tuesday Trench Coat.

Let's talk about shoes: Kate Spade has a lovely, colorful spring collection; SheFinds helps us find great sandals under $100, and the new book (including photographs, sketches, and drawings!! can I get a "squee!"?) about the fabulous Salvatore Ferragamo just came out this month. As PopSugar said, let's put on our reading shoes ;-)

- Shauna from Is it 5 o'clock yet? shares her thoughts on the whole "growing up/getting old" thing.

- The Bloggess gives a great example of why PR people and anyone pitching to bloggers should first read their blogs. (Seriously, please do.)

- Savvy Auntie gives us some ideas to throw the little girls in our lives a Fancy Nancy-themed party.

- Always ready to expand our horizons when it comes to food, Jessie tells us how to make surprisingly delicious eggplant fries.

- The City Sage tells us what online tool is "the human equivalent of a ball of string!"

and last but not least, go here to see Kristen's results on JM's 30-day Shred! Awesome job, Kristen! Great motiovation to the reats of us to get off our... sofas, too ;-)

This end one of my favorite Cool Finds posts! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed compiling it. As usual, if you want to suggest something to be included in the next installment of Cool Finds of The Month, e-mail me or send me a Tweet!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Show me your Calvins. No wait, DON'T.

Ok, I'm sorry, is it just me? Am I getting old? (ok, don't answer that)

What is with the whole showing underwear thing? Believe me, I'm Italian, I am a firm believer in pretty underwear. I'm not exactly a prude, either. However I don't believe you should show it to the world. Even Carrie was reluctant to go out in her underwear, and they were D&G!

Problem #1: young men wearing their jeans really low and showing their boxers. I don't know who gave them the idea that this looks good – it really doesn't. I don't want to see your boxer shorts. Pull up your pants!! (And if you don't, you'd better not move to Louisiana.)

Problem #2: super-duper-short skirts/dresses. I mean, that's taking "mini" to a whole other level. The dress Lindsay Lohan wore at the MTV Awards last year? Lovely, but way too short. Are we really surprised that we managed to get a good look under her skirt? Although at least this time she was wearing underwear. But still, did we need to see that? (Hormone-crazed teenage boys, this isn't for you to answer.) I think not.

More: just today, going through my e-mail, I saw two photos, from two different fashion blogs/websites, with gals wearing super-short dresses that I'm pretty sure gave onlookers a good idea of what they were (or were not) wearing.

Example #1: straight out of the latest WhoWhatWear newsletter

Their suggestion: wear trendy accessories with great basic pieces.
What they forgot to add: you know what's a great basic piece? Pants.

Example #2: from today's Shopbop's* Stylefile
Their tip: you've got it, flaunt it.
What they forgot to add: by "legs" we mean the part below your butt. Our model here is actually still getting dressed.

I mean, really.

I do admire these girls for being proud of their bodies, and I understand if people want to live by the old adage slogan "Nothing gets between me and my Calvins". I get it. But there really should be something between me and your Calvins.

*I still love you, Shopbop. This is by no means a reflection of how much you rock. Or maybe it is, just a little ;-)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Who's bringing out the gorgeous?

I bet many of you are, but only one with my help... or rather, the help of the new Clarisonic Plus.

It's time to announce the winner of the Clarisonic giveaway! The prize pack:
- New Clarisonic Plus
- 2 brushes
- 3 face cleansers
- Refining Skin Polish

Congratulations Maggie! You are the winner! I have sent you an e-mail, please get in touch with me to claim your write within 72 hours.

Everybody else – stay tuned! There will be more giveaways coming.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Watch your language! And please, mine too.

I don't usually swear on this blog. But I sometimes do in real life. It may not be ladylike, but sometimes it's very effective in expressing how you feel about something. I don't, however, swear all the time. I can have a long conversation without even the shadow of a curse word passing my lips. I don't have to edit my thoughts to replace words with *beep* sounds or have to quickly think of something that will be less offensive to the other person's ears than what I was originally going to say. To use a SATC reference, may not be a Charlotte, but I'm not a Samantha or Miranda, either. I'm more of a Carrie: I do use the words, but I can just as easily not. (Which is where my similarities with Carrie end.)

However if you heard my toddler the last couple of days, you'd think otherwise. She seems to have realized what words are curse words and what are normal ones, and somehow gathered all the ones I've used in the past few months in her little head and has been coming up with these expressions, perfectly timed, and sounding exactly like me. I have been lucky that my husband hasn't heard this lovely display of the effects of my parenting, or I would never hear the end of it. I have also been lucky for her not to have broken into haiku-like reciting of a string of these colorful expressions when we are with company, especially Swiss friends, who generally swear very little and would no doubt very much frown at the proof that I do, in fact, swear often, and in front of the children, to boot!

Since this started I have tried to decrease my use of profanity even less, to almost non-existent, unless am not in the company of my daughters (or unless I hurt myself, which is when I cannot guarantee compliance with my plan.) But it doesn't seem to help.

While I was changing her diaper yesterday, I said "Oh!" when I almost dropped something on the floor. And Stella cheerfully recited, as if on prompt: "Oh, s***. Oh, f***". And then proceeded to giggle, when she noticed I was staring at her horrified and speechless. (And believe me, I am not often speechless. I am well known for never shutting up.)

And then last night, I was at the pc and something went wrong, and I said "What the..." and she finished my sentence: "f***" - while also staring at the screen. And then she recited "What the f***?" to which I replied: "No, we say oopsie. Oopsie!" and she shook her head and resolutely said: "No. F***." The next minute or so were a match between "oopsie" and the f-word, until I just changed topic altogether, since oopsie didn't seem to be prevailing.

And I wonder: how bad should I feel about this? Is this a measure of my parenting? I feel more embarrassed to admit it than I actually feel bad about it. I do not want my daughters to grow into foul-mouthed teens (and adults), but really, how bad is this?

I know what my husband would say to that. It's very bad. It's very very bad that they know those words. And I agree, but is it really that much of a big deal? And then I remember how stubborn Stella is. How she still, to this day, doesn't go to sleep on her own, and doesn't stay in her crib from beginning to end. How she doesn't ever do anything she doesn't want to. How she remembers everything and likes to recite things: quotes from movies, songs, funny things her sister said. And that's when I think: Uh-Oh.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Event alert: SELF Workout in the Park

What: An event revolving around health and fitness, with a variety of classes that span from yoga and ballet-inspired to cardio boxing and rebounding, and many things in between. The event is sponsored by SELF magazine and when it started it was the first ever event of its kind. This is its 16th edition.

There will probably be a famous guest trainer or two (last year it was Jillian Michaels) plus several others from the area.

- free full-size samples of products, including makeup, healthy snacks (almonds, protein bars, isotonic drink), makeup and miscellaneous products;
- mini-makeovers at the Maybelline beauty booth
- a complementary hair consultation and style touch-up with a stylist at the GarniƩr booth
- hula hoop lessons (yeah, I know)
- and of course giveaways!

Where & When: this year SELF Workout in the Park will travel to San Diego, New York City and Chicago.

San Diego: Saturday, April 25
Mission Bay Park
2500 Quivira Road
San Diego, CA 92109

New York: Saturday, May 9
Central Park - Rumsey Playfield
(closest entrance at 72nd and 5th)

Chicago: Saturday, May 16
Butler Field, Grant Park
350 East Monroe Street

Price of ticket: $15.00. Online ticket sales just opened today*.

As usual, 75% of the proceeds will be donated to non-profit organizations that support those battling with cancer and cancer survivors. This year's proceeds will be equally divided among: Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Cancer & Carreers, Fertile Hope.

More info here.

If you like, you can also RSVP on Facebook, just for fun!

*Note: tickets to the Chicago and San Diego events will be on sale at the door (cash only), however for the NYC events tickets are only being sold online – if you had seen the mess of people and the two HUGE lines at the entrance of last year's event, you'd know why. And you'd say "Halleluja!" or something to that effect.

Event Alert: BagTrends Green Arm Candy Party

An event focusing on the most fabulous among eco-conscious handbag designers, as well as "in the bag" essentials like makeup, stationery and small goods.

The event, hosted by BagTrends, will also feature the official NYC launch of EcoStiletto.com. (Yay! Finally!)

Attend this event to enjoy:
- complimentary drinks from a stylish, new liquor company
- Gift Bags* full of in the bag essentials, discounts, books, and more
- A spa/wellness center for guests to indulge in
- Exclusive discounts from your favorite brands and the chance to preview new lines

You may decide to go for the shopping, but will likely decide to stay also for the relaxing hand and shoulder massages, and also for the chance to meet the designers, receive special discounts and enter handbag giveaways!

Where: Union Square ballroom, 27 Union Square West, NYC

When: Monday, April 13th, 6 pm-9 pm

RSVP to RSVP2@BagTrends.com

*actual gift bag is reusable, compostable, fair trade, bag-a-liciously donated by GiveaGreenBag.com and Nepalesepaper.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Insider Shopping, March 2009

I seem to be running late on things these days... but as we say in Italy, better late than never! So here are this month's offers:

Friends & Family event at Prescriptives: through March 21, get 30% off your order and free shipping, with coupon code FRIEND9.

For the entire month of March, you can enjoy lots of beauty products up to 75% off at the Sephora sale. And you can also get free shipping with any order of $35 or more with coupon code SHIP35. If, however, the contents of your shopping cart amount to $50 or more, you are already entitled to free shipping, so use coupon code GONATURAL to get 8 natural product samples, in addition to the 3 you already get with each order.

Jane Iredale makeup is without a doubt the best, as far as natural makeup goes. They have gorgeous colors and very good quality. It may not be cheap, but your skin will thank you (and if you are used to shopping at Sephora or Nordstrom, you probably don't spend much less). Through march 23, you have your chance of stocking up on some basics from Jane Iredale and get a fabulous gift with purchase: enter code JIDTBT at checkout and get a free Twice Blushed 2 (a $48 value) with your purchase of $125 or more!

Have you entered the Banana Republic + Benefit sweepstakes yet? they have fabulous prizes! And if you decide to shop while you are there, use coupon code HOTCORAL to get 20% off your order of $50 or more, through March 19.

Know someone who is getting married? For the entire month of March, they (or you, really) can use coupon code BIGDAY to get free shipping and a free eye mask sample on orders of $75 and above. Or forego the coupon code, and get a free blood orange and white pepper body butter with your order of $75 or more.

Shopbop is one of my favorite online boutiques: you can always find interesting and super-trendy items there. Enjoy an extra 20% off sale merchandise already discounted at 70%, with coupon code 20OFF70. Offer is only good until Thursday, March 19, so hurry!

Victoria's Secret always has some coupon codes for us to use. I love having an excuse to get myself something pretty! Here's the latest: use coupon code PNKPTY to get a free lace undie with any purchase from the VS Pink line. And if you are shopping a lot, add code XTRASAVE to get $20 off a $125 order, and $50 off a $200 order – maybe ask a friend to make an order together, so you can put this to good use.

Amazon is having a sale on new spring arrivals! Choose among lots of items of apparel, shoes and accessories, 30% off. And when you spend $25 or more on apparel or shoes, you get a free subscription to Lucky magazine or Details. Add to that the fact that many merchants ship for free with orders $25 and above, and you might find yourself saying "Why not?".

I don't know about you, but I'm of the viewpoint that we can always use a new bag. Check out the selection of affordable bags at Baghaus and get $15 off your order of $75 or more with coupon code GREEN15, through March 22.
Boutique 9 Joleen sandal, at Shoes.com
Need a new pair of shoes for summer? Head to Shoes.com and get 22% off your order with coupon code LUCKY22. Offer valid until Friday, March 20. And if you get there too late, no worries: you can still use MSAVE to get 20% off your order, until the end of March.

Starting Thursday 19, Bare Necessities will be having a 4-day sale, where everything will be at least 20% off. Plus, you get an extra 30% off already discounted items.

Spring is a great time to shop for clotheing for next fall, too. Dillards is having a clearance sale on women's clothing, shoes and accessories, with items reduced up to 70%.

Luna Boston is my absolute favorite place to shop for handbags and other great accessories. They are really nice and friends, they package everything with care and you get free same-day shipping with all orders above $100, plus free returns! So imagine my excitement when I found this code on the April issue of Lucky magazine: through May 3, you can get 25% off your purchase from Luna Boston with code LUCKYBREAKS12! Now... what to pick?

Hmmm... brownies. Fairytale Brownies is having a 40% sale on their fabulous Brownie boxes! Free shipping too. There, you have your excuse: it's too good to pass up.

Remember the episode of Friends where Rachel gets a little carried away and buys an entire room from Pottery Barn and reproduces it in her apartament as it was in the catalog? Man, I LOVE when Pottery Barn has sales. There are a few cool offers now, like the Bedroom Sale, and for your tots, Pastel Critter Chairs for $99 (instead of $129), the gorgeous Palace Hotel (still expensive, but it would make a fantastic gift for a little girl!) and some of the furniture for its rooms, among other things. But my favorite? The Penelope Love Seat from PBTeens. man, I want one!

What about you? What temps you most of these offers?

"Mad Men" and maaaad women

Do you watch Mad Men?

I really like that show. It's interesting, taking a peek in a time so different from ours it seems like a different world. Of course it also makes me cringe, to see how it was just ok and perfectly acceptable to be blatantly sexists: men are copywriters and advertising executives, women are secretaries - and that's just until they "get the guy", then they become housewifes and look after the kids while their husbands go to work, enjoy happy hour and get home to a perfect roast made lovingly by their always-put-together, wear-pearls-while-cooking wives. Yikes.

Well, today was reminded of that when a blogger posted something on her blog she had written for her column at a well-known online women network. The reason why she posted it on her blog was that it was turned down by the Editor, because it didn't work with the general idea and purpose of the network, which apparently is to "encourage women to be better wives".

I read this post (and commented on it) because I saw it posted on Twitter. And like me, nearly 1,200 people. And some of them re-tweeted it. Which means that the link to that post might now be spreading like wildfire, not unlikely what happened with the stupid Motrin ad (man, what a fiasco.)

Maybe not. Maybe it won't generate that much outrage. But it might. And I'm having trouble deciding what side of the debate I'd be on.

On one side, I think it's just an unfortunate choice of words, and that even if it isn't people are free to congregate for different things, it's not like they need everybody's approval. It may not be my cup of tea, but people are different and have different tastes.

On the other end... well, read the title of my blog. It's pretty obvious that I'm not exactly the poster child for being a perfect wife/housewife. And I don't really think I'd want to be.

I love my husband. I really do. And I think it's wonderful when you love someone so much that they make you want to be a better person. But being his wife doesn't define me, nor should it. And to be honest, the idea that someone else would feel the need to encourage me or teach me to "be a better wife" is kind of offensive to me: A. because I don't think that's the area where we need support groups, like A.A. I mean, what do you do when you get there? Would it be something like this?

Me: "Hi, I'm Elisa and I'm a bad wife."
*chorus* "Hi, Elisa"

Me: "Sometimes I don't have dinner ready when my husband gets home from work, and yesterday I greeted him at the door in my velour tracksuit. Iwasn't even wearing my pearls and I had no makeup on."
*gasps all around*

B. because it seems to stem from the assumption that once a woman gets married, being a wife becomes her job, and she should work at being good at it. And yet, you won't find that same point of view about husbands. And while I'm not one for going around burning bras, the double standard just drives me crazy, sister suffragette.

and C. because that implies that everyone who doesn't fit that mold is not, in fact, a "good wife". Because if writing a humorous post about your husband makes you a bad wife.... well, something is definitely wrong with that assumption.
Because if there is a Good Wife 101, surely there are many many more important rules in it before "never tease your husband".
Because humor and good-natured teasing don't translate into a lack of respect, much less a lack of love.
Because in that case, the hundreds of mom bloggers who post about their children's less charming habits and traits could then be defined as *gasp* .... bad moms? And if you want a major uproar and outrage, that would definitely do it.

Moral of the story: clubs and "networks" are great to make like-minded friends, but make sure you don't turn judgmental.

Oh, and watch this Simpsons spoof of the Mad Men opning credits, it's awesome!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Craving: a gorgeous laptop bag!

Having a laptop is great for many reasons. You don't need to kick out anyone from the pc, you can just grab your laptop. You can blog and surf for hours without getting "chair butt", because you can sit comfortable on the sofa – put your feet up, even. And if you suffer from insomnia, you can browse in the middle of the night from whatever room is the farthest from everyone's bedrooms, so you don't wake anyone up. Last but not least, laptops are portable. Which give you an excuse to buy a new accessory: a laptop bag!

Unfortunately, despite much (much, much) browsing and searching, I don't seem to find a laptop bag I like. Not one under $100 at least. Sure, I found the Kate Spade Calista, Hayden Harnett's Catalina, the Nika by Francesco Biasia (my favorite!) and the J'Tote laptop bags (thank you, GeekSugar!) but honestly, if I'm going to spend $200 or more on a bag, it's most definitely not going to be a laptop bag! It would have to be a handbag, something I can use with or without my laptop.

I have been looking, on and off, but haven't settled on anything yet – my laptop still doesn't have a lovely bag to call home, so it has never left the house.

But now that I'm planning to go to Blogher, I'm thinking I should probably get a laptop bag. But since I don't want to be schlepping several bags in the July heat, I'm thinking a lovely tote, large enough to accomodate my laptop as well as my handbag essentials (phone, wallet, necessaire, sunglasses, iPod) is probably the best way to go. Which is when the search for a laptop bag became a small obsession, because it became a handbag search. And that, my friend, is a whole other ball (bag?) game. So I spent several hours on the web, as I often do when I set out on these virtual expeditions, to find the perfect handbag/laptop bag. The requirements:
- must not cost more than $300 (it's a handbag, so it gets a bit more string)
- must be large enough to accomodate my laptop (when it's inside a sleeve)
- must also leave space for my handbag essentials
- must have straps long enough to be worn on my shoulder
- and of course, must look lovely.

My favorite findings:

1. L.A.M.B. Signature Williamsfield Tote, (pictured in Marigold print): coated canvas, with leather trim/accents and gold tone hardware. This tote is the perfect size. It's not huge and cumbersome, but it's large enough for your everyday essentials plus a couple of books and a bottle of water... or a laptop! The Marigold print is great for spring and summer, but I also like the Masala print, which is more versatile year-round. The tote retails for $295 and it's available (in three prints) at many online retailer as well as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks, and so on – but it's now on sale (Masala print only) at Luna Boston for $235.

2. Lucky Brand Starbust Runaway shoulder bag: canvas, with cotton lining and suede detailing. It's such a cute bag for spring and summer! And a perfect bag for traveling, because it's spacious and has a wide shoulder strap. You can find it at Piperlime, for $138.

3. Steven by Steve Madden Summer Vertical Tote: leather, with cotton lining. Lots of pockets and the silver-tone hardware give it a bit of an edge, like most pieces by Steve Madden. It retails for $298, but right now it's on sale for $187 at Macy's, where it's available in Yellow, Mauve and Black.

4. Antonio Melani Michael Clutch: fabric with orange leather accents. This one is really cute, it can be carried as a double-handle tote or folded, the handles held by a leather strap with a cute goldtone hardware accent, and carried as a clutch. (This would make a nice gift for for my mom, who has a short attention span with handbags.) It's sold at Dillard's for $159.

5. Foley+Corinna Summer Fun Tote (pictured in black): canvas and patent leather. I almost didn't include this one, because it retails for $395, which is out of the price range I had set. But it's a really great summer tote, so I decided to google it and I was able to find it on sale for $276.50 at Pink Mascara, where it's available in white/black and grey/silver. I also found it on sale at Luna Boston for $135! And I love that they also have it with red patent leather accents.

6. Nine West Justine Convertible Tote: synthetic leather, with contrast fabric accents. This is a more affordable option. I found it on Piperlime, where it's sold for $89, but after a quick search I found it on eBags for just over $71 – and there are more colors available too: Geo Mandarin (above), Powder Lemon (yellow), Garden Ice (white), Garden Denim (a sort of aviator blue) and Black.

I realize that you, like me, probably don't dish out $100+ for a summer bag very often, however these bags are very versatile, and you have to admit these are pretty good deals, considering they are all quality brands. If you want to save even more, don't forget to go through eBates every time you shop, and you will get a percentage back. 3% seems like nothing, but if you shop online a lot, it adds up. Also check websites like RetailMeNot and CouponCabin before you shop at a specific store, you might find a discount coupon, or one for free shipping or a a gift-with-purchase.

For my part, I promise I'll try to find some discount coupons for the stores where these bags are sold and include them in this month's Insider Shopping, so you can get your favorite one and save as much as possible!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Feel like partying?

Ultimate Blog Party 2009This year I decided to join the Ultimate Blog Party thrown by 5 Minutes for Mom. I don't think I've ever done a Carnival before, but this time I decided to jump in. There are so many amazing bloggers in the blogosphere, there's no way I'll find them all without participating in one of these events!! I don't like to feel like I'm missing out, and this seemed like a great chance to find new blogging friends!

So if you are visiting from 5 Minutes for Mom, welcome!

My name is Elisa. I'm 32, happily married and a mother of two. These are my daughters, Sarah and Stella. Sarah is 9 and Stella is 2 and half.

Sisters in the Dark

We currently live in the NYC suburbs, but I'm originally from Italy and my husband Sascha is from Switzerland. We'll be returning to Switzerland this summer, after 3 fantastic years here on the East Coast.

I started blogging in April 2007, after a somewhat trying post-transatlantic-move first year, and decided to shamelessly share my lack of proficiency for the domestic life. Along with that, I also share some of the other things I enjoy while not cleaning, like fashion tidbits, shopping tips and sales, local (and not) events, cool spots in the blogosphere, and of course some adventures in parenting.

I have found many fantastic blogs in the past year, and I am looking forward to visiting yours. Thank you for passing by, I hope you enjoy your visit! See you at 5 Minutes for Mom :-)

P.S. If you are not visiting from 5 Minutes for Mom, head on over to the Ultimate Blog Party page and join in! You will have the chance to find new fantastic blogs and win some prizes! I'm hoping to win one of these:
- Core Fitness for Mom DVD from Busy Mommy
- $50 gift certificate to Target Stores from Shoot-Me-Now
- Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD and The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook from Pudget: Losing Weight On A Budget

If not, there's a number of other cool things I'd love to win, like 11, 15, 21, 22, 50, 101.

I'm also offering a prize – go see the list to know what it is!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Event Alert: Rodney Yee to teach class at Pure Yoga in NYC!

Back in January I attended the opening of the new Pure Yoga club in New York, hosted by SELF magazine. I was very impressed with the club: fantastic instructors, great premises and really friendly and helpful staff.
The only thing that stopped me from joining immediately was the fact that I woulnd't be able to attend more than one class a week (in the weekend) because of travel time and babysitting – if I didn't have a young child I would have been happy to go into the city several times a week to take their classes, they are just that good.

If you live in NYC or surrounding area and you enjoy doing yoga, this is one club you absolutely must visit and try out. And here's the perfect chance: a Master Class with Rodney Yee!!


What: Hips to Heart Master Class with Colleen Saidman Yee and Rodney Yee

When: Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Where: Pure Yoga, 203 E 86th St., @ 3rd Avenue

Call Pure Yoga at 212.360.1888 to reserve your spot.

More info about this event at PureYoga.com

More info on Rodney Yee here and here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Is there a Shopaholic in your future?

Two week ago I went with a friend to see Confessions of a Shopaholic. I read all the books in the series, and while I can't always relate to Becky, I certainly find her funny. And Isla Fisher was the perfect choice, she portrayed the character beautifully.

You probably have already seen the trailer, but if you haven't, here it is:

I enjoyed the movie, it was definitely a "girls night out" type of movie, for a relaxed evening and some fun with friends. But even more than the books, it left me wondering: are we celebrating shopaholics? I don't mean it as a critic to the movie, but when you think about it, Rebecca isn't the only popular character who got herself in financial trouble because of her shopping expenses. Carrie Bradshaw did, too. SATC aficionados will remember when she realized that she couldn't afford to buy her apartment but she had over $40,000 worth of shoes in her closet. And that was without counting the clothes and other accessories.My daughters obviously don't watch SATC, and my shopping habits are nowhere near Rebecca's or Carrie's or any other one of those gals – but Stella already has a passion for shoes, makeup and jewelry, and I do wonder what it will be like to shop with them when they grow up. Will they be all about the "magic cards" like the child version of Rebecca in the preview?

I was just talking about this with another friend who also has two girls, and she had the same concerns. Sure, it's probably too early for me to worry about it, but in a few years Sarah will be a teenager and then she'll have to start managing her pocket money and any money she gets as part of birthday presents, etc. Perhaps I should start teaching her now about saving money and so on – although I am not entirely sure I'm the best person for that, to be honest. I don't even trust myself with a credit card, I only have a debit card for my own shopping: much safer, once the money is gone it's gone, can't go below zero ;-)

I think probably that'll be the best way to go for Sarah too, especially if it's something I have some control over, like the Current debit card by Discover, where parents can set spending limits and restrict the categories the card can be used to shop from. Something like that would make me feel a bit better, sort of like a child safety on a pc: you set the parameters, and then you can give your child a reasonable amount of freedom to use the pc, or in this case their card, with their own money.

I do realize that like everything, we'll have to let go of any control on this too, when our kids grow up – but it's nice to know there's smarter ways to draw that fine line between freedom and lack of control. 'cause I don't know about you, but I prefer my purchases without a side of guilt.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Watchmen against insomnia, 1-0

I have just returned from a date with my husband. We ate at a cute new bistro near where we live, and then we went to the movies. Which is where the romantic evening I had envisioned crawled up and died. Or rather, fell asleep. Because as unlikely as I thought that might be, the movie was incredibly boring. And I mean seriously, majorly, I'd-rather-be-at-the-dentist-or-at-the-ob/gyn-or-please-God-anywhere-else-but-here boring. The kind of boring that makes you think "Wow, these are three hours of my life I'll never get back".

Think I'm being a tad dramatic? Well, that's probably because you haven't seen the movie. Go see it after you are done reading this, I dare ya. Then come back and tell me. Yes, you can do it after your post-movie nap.

Ok, I don't really want you to go see it - not unless you really want to. Because if you want to waste 10 bucks (or whatever the price of a movie ticket is there days, don't know, my husband paid) there's other things you could do, like get a good book and read. Or go to a Barnes & Nobles, get a cappuccino and a copy of InStyle and chill while simultaneously keeping up to date withe current trends. Or, I don't know, go to H&M and get a scarf or something. So many better things come to mind.

But because I know you won't believe me unless I post a somewhat professional movie review, I will give it my best shot. As far as the format goes, at least.

Title: Watchmen

Genre: fusion. "Comic book movie" meet "spoof" meet "film noir" meet "science fiction" meet... I don't know, something really boring.

Summary: weird old super-heroes with costumes that range from ridiculous to slutty, and including a blue guy wearing absolutely nothing. That's right, one of the super heroes was a very tall, very blue, very n*ked guy. Who, by the way, was very philosophical. How everyone stayed serious when he talked about scientific phenomena and metaphysics while being buck n*ked is a testament to how terribly unlikely and unreal the story was.

Anyway, summary: the former superhero who smokes the cigar and wears the costume that looks like a cross between a G.I. Joe doll and a dirty, second-hand quarterback uniform gets kicked around and thrown out the window by an unknown villain. (He happens to be played by the actor who pays Danny on Grey's. That poor guy just dies over and over.)

The psychotic former superhero who is kind of dressed like a detective-who-became-a-hobo breaks into places, hurts people and talks in a low, sort of hissy voice that make you want to reach into the screen to hand him a cough drop.

The daughter of the gal with the slutty costume, now a superheroine (that sounds bad) with her very own slutty costume and super-high stiletto heels has s-e-x with the tall blue n*ked man (the only scene in the movie when him being n*ked makes sense) but then gets mad at him and dumps him and goes hang out with the former superhero that looks like the child of Batman and Catwoman, and then has s-e-x with him on the hovercraft. Very visual, BTW. Waaaay too much information.
Also, said superhero was played by the guy who played Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera, so every time there was a shot of him without costume and without glasses I'd get a flashback of him singing "Christiiiine, that's all I ask of youuuuu".

Anyway, to make a long (loooong, very long) story short, one of the former good guys is a bad guy and... I don't want to give away the ending, since you might decide to see the movie despite all my warnings (you masochist, you); and if you do, feel free to fall asleep during hour two but try to be awake during part of hour three so you can see the ending and feel like you got your money's worth.

As far as I'm concerned, the only real superhero in the story was the slutty daughter of the former slutty superheroine, because she could kick the bad guys' butt in stilettos. I can't even run after my toddler in stilettos, so my hat's off to her.

Duration: 3 long, long hours.

Nudity: much. In fact, way too much. Especially the blue guy, he totally creeped me out. In fact, the whole movie traumatized me. To much n*ked, too much talking, too much cheesiness... it literally suffocated whatever plot there may have been. Although perhaps there wasn't much plot, in which case all that other stuff was sort of a brilliant way to conceal it, I guess. If by brilliant you mean tedious, monotonous and several other synonyms of boring.

And you know what? My husband kind of liked it. How we stayed married 12 years, I don't know. But I do know that my rehab shall include something funny and short, where everybody is fully dressed.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bring out the gorgeous - A Giveaway!

It's snowy outside, but I'm ready for Spring. I'm ready to swap the heavy clothing and thick sweaters in dark colors with airy, breezy tops in brighter colors. And I'm ready for warmer weather, that allows me to spend more time outdoors and trade my pasty winter skin for the naturally flushed cheeks and brighter eyes that come with spending more time outdoors, getting more fresh air, and running around with my daughters. No amount of makeup can replace that.

While waiting for spring, I thought I'd offer a giveaway that will allow you to get your skin ready to shed the winter makeup and be more beautiful, no retouching needed *wink*. I'm talking of course of Clarisonic, which has received lots of buzz in the past year for being a useful beauty tool to help busy women keep their skin clean and clear – 'cause I don't know about you, but I cannot just run to the spa for a facial every week, or even every month. (In fact, I don't remember when I last visited a spa for some pampering.)

I have been wanting to try Clarisonic for a while, since I first heard of it on BellaSugar. Being also a Sephora-holic, I also admired it on their website. I don't watch Oprah, but apparently she is also in love with it! My curiosity got the best of me and I finally managed to get one and try it (insert excited jumping about looking silly). I was amazed at the a change there was in my skin after only 10 days using the Clarisonic. My skin is softer, my pores are shrinking, and I think my face products are working better as a result of my skin being cleaner! And the Clarisonic seems to be finally clearing my skin, which after my second pregnancy seemed to have gone a bit crazy.

Woulnd't you like to approach Spring with clear, radiant skin, and not need makeup to cover it up? Just moisturizer, sunscreen, maybe a bit of mascara and lipgloss, and out the door?

Here's something even better: not only you have a chance to win your own Clarisonic here, but the latest model, the Clarisonic PLUS, that just came out last month and is only available at Sephora!

The PLUS model still uses sonic technology to deeply (but gently!) clear pores of daily impurities, but it also has several additional features:. So if you win, this is how your Clarisonic will be better than mine (this is how much I like you):
- the Clarisonic PLUS comes with a special brush that allows you to use your Clarisonic on other parts of your body, not just your face
- it has 3 speeds, with separate control buttons
- it has an international charging cradle, so you can use it no matter where you are
- it comes with the Refining Skin PolishOne lucky reader of Diary of an Unlikely Housewife will win a Clarisonic PLUS bundle, including the Refining Skin Polish and 3 different cleansers (for dry, normal and oily skin), and of course the extra brush for the body.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling me why you'd like to win. For extra entries:
- Blog about the giveaway (2 entries)
- StumbleUpon this page (1 entry)
- Tweet about this giveaway (1 entry - only once)
- Place the giveaway graphic on your sidebar (2 entries)

Feel free to tell me everything you did in one comment – I'll give you the right amount of entries, I promise :-)
Please include links to your tweets/posts. Contest entries will be accepted through March 25th. Contest is open to U.S. residents only.

Good luck everyone!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Cool Finds of the month, February 2009

Barbie talking palette by StilaWow, I seem to be running late on everything this month (well, not everything, thank goodness - my baby dust deflector seems to be working ;-)). Someone might question whether I deserve a Swiss passport ;-)

Let's move on to what we are here for, shall we? Here are the Cool Finds Of The Month.

The beauty world seems to be having a midlife crisis: all of a sudden we see lines dedicated to iconic childhood characters, like Hello Kitty and Barbie. That's right, the MAC Hello Kitty collection debuted this month, and not only it includes makeup, but also designer Hello Kitty-inspired designer clothes, currently being auctioned off.

And what about the glamour girl of our childhood, Barbie? She, too, has inspired a makeup line. The latest of Stila's famous talking palettes is dedicated to Barbie, giving and excuse to those of us too old to play with Barbies to... you know, do that anyway. Oh, and just in case Barbie isn't happy with that, we should remind her of the fact that she'll soon be wearing Christian Louboutin heels, and that her 50th birthday celebration included a special fashion show (not too shabby!) during New York Fashion Week, and that Patricia Field also has a small Barbie-inspired accessory collection. Spoiled little thing.

The above is followed, quite expectedly, with an obsession with pink. Bergdorf Goodman shows us the prettiest pink things we can't afford now in it's current Color Story.

Craving more bright colors? If you, like me, are sick of the snow and cold, brighten up your day and accessorize for spring with Accessories & Beyond new colorful leather bracelets, available at Fragments, starting at $30.

Need a special outfit for your little princess? Look no futher. Alice + Olivia's new girls line is now available at Neiman Marcus, and if the Eloise dress (pictured here) isn't enough to make you melt into a puddle you have a black, black heart.

If you already love your MasterCard, I bet you'd love it even more if it got a little facelift... especially if it was done by Roberto Cavalli. The Italian designer, in association with MasterCard and a number of luxury retailers, has designed a new credit card for the fashion-obsessed. Together with the gorgeous python-print card you get VIP services at Cavalli boutiques, and some pretty exclusive perks. Salivating yet? You can apply here.

Last but not least: for those of us not so much into yellow (like yours truly), luckily coral is another hot hue for spring and summer. And here's a fabulous coral-inspired giveaway sponsored by Benefit and Banana Republic: Coralista Fashionista Sweepstakes (bad name, good contest!)

- KidCity staffers share the best chocolate treats in their Chocoholics Choice Awards.

- Whether you love crafts or like me, despise them, you must check out Craftastrophe. If you thought your craft efforts were a little less than awesome, you'll definitely feel better after seeing some of the... ehm... inventive crafts posted.

- Racked give us the scoop on the McQ line for Target (and the launch party - making me regret not going!)

- Bakerella showed us how to make a chocolate praline box... out of of cake.

- Six Revisions shared their list of 10 Features That Would Make Twitter Better.

That's it for this month! I hope you enjoyed this post. If you want to suggest something to be included in the next installment of Cool Finds of The Month, e-mail me or send me a Tweet!

Friday, February 27, 2009

They searched WHAT?

I didn't think I could be one of those bloggers who have peculiar searches leading to their blogs.
And maybe I'm not, but when I finally decided to check out the search terms leading to my blog in a moment of boredom, my yawns changed into "Huh?" and then laughter and then "Ewwww".

So I decided to share with you a selection of searches performed (that somehow led to this blog) in the past 10 months:

- "amish friendship bread, food poisoning" (I'm not surprised)

- "disneyed" (I knew that must be a real word!)

- "organizing freak" (ah! a kindred soul!)

- "I talk to barbie" (o-kaay.... just out of curiosity, does she talk back?)

- "amish friendship bread, urban legend" (nope. unfortunately it is very real. the smell is real, too.)

- "amish friendship bread is gross" (yup. I agree.)

- "good looking housewife" (me? aww shucks, thanks.)

- "how to get coffee without coffee" (hmmmm.... I don't know, I think I need coffee before I can answer that.)

- "code lizzie shecks" (what? is this an espionage search?)

- "housewife legs" (are they special? a delicacy, maybe? like frog legs?)

- "housewife sex blogspot" (ok, you are on your own there, pal)

variations on the "housewife sex" theme: 16

Ok, seriously. How did some of these get here? What about my blog says "dirty"? Do the fabulous Brian Atwood heels in my header scream "S&M" to you? Yeah, me neither.

Whatever it is, I'm pretty sure that I would get a big fail whale on SEO from the new species of mommy blogger.

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