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, 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.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Family Event Alert: Disney on Ice

I know, not one of my normal event alerts, but this sounds like fun! If there was one closer to me I'd definitely take the girls!

Disney on Ice tour: Like the musical numbers one can enjoy at Disneyland, these shows feature the most popular Disney characters, only the stories are choreographed to be performed on ice skates.

My daughters both love Disney characters and had a blast at Disneyland, so I'm a little disappointed I won't be able to take them to any of the shows... If you are lucky enough to live where the performances will be, I wouldn't miss it! It sounds like a really fun show for the whole family.

When and Where:
Disney On Ice presents Mickey and Minnie's Magical Journey
April 15-April 19

Dallas/Ft Worth
Disney On Ice presents Mickey & Minnie's Magical Journey
March 18-March 29

Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy
March 26-April 5

Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy
March 18-March 22

Kansas City
Disney On Ice presents Mickey & Minnie's Magical Journey
April 1-April 5

Disney On Ice presents a Disneyland® Adventure
March 12-March 15

Disney On Ice presents a Disneyland® Adventure
April 9-April 12

Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic
Sept 8-Sept 13

Price of ticket: Get 4 tickets for just $44 by entering the code "MOM" at the Disney On Ice website or on TicketMaster.

Offer good on all performances, minimum purchase of 4 tickets required; additional tickets above 4 can be purchased at $11 each. Offer not valid on Gold Circle Seating, Front Row and VIP seating or combinable with other offers. Other restrictions may apply.

A random rant is still a rant

Should you shop for the life you want, or the life you have? What about positive thinking? What about wanting to own a perfect dress in case you get a surprise invite to a fabulous restaurant? What about owning a pair - or several - of fabulous heels because you just KNOW that once you can go out without kids more often you'll be wearing heels more again? And what about that gorgeous dress, one size too small, you bough as motivation to lose the one size that stands between you and looking fabulous wearing it? Is this shopping for the sake of it and wasteful, or is it positive thinking?

I'm regretting re-joining Facebook. Because there are some people you don't really want to get back in touch with. Why do I have to explain why not? It's my business. Or maybe not, since I joined Facebook. Is joining Facebook like becoming a celebrity? You have to put up with the sometimes unwanted attention, and if you didn't want to, you just shouldn't have gotten into it?

I don't care if Shopbop (which happens to be one of my fave online shops) calls it "The New Pant" – it's not new. It's been here, it's been done, and it's been gone. And oh how I wish it would stay that way! Seriously designers: please stop looking at the 80s for inspiration. I beg you.

When will I learn? Stick to the good stuff. I get bore easily. It's a marvel that I've been married for 12 years (hi, honey, love you – this is totally a compliment!!) I like to experiment, to try new things (stop, stop, this isn't dirty.) Case in point: I was subscribed to InStyle for 2 years. Loved it. Decided to change and subscribe to Lucky instead. WHY? Why coulnd't I just stick to what I had and liked? DOn't get me wrong, lucky is a good magazine. But it feels less focused, kind of all over the place. I like it, but I prefer InStyle.
And now I'm feeling stupid for even wasting a paragraph on this.

I feel like a bad mom. AP isn't entirely working for me right now. Stella is still not sleeping in her crib, in her bedroom, with her sister, as she is supposed to. She is also not potty trained and not showing any signs of friendly demeanor towards the potty, despite several (admittedly, feeble) attempts. And I think she watches too much TV. And doesn't have a lot of friends her age. When Stella was 14 months old, she still couldn't walk unassisted. Someone told me that the fact that she had passed her first birthday without being able to walk on her own was a sign that I was not a good mother to her. I didn't believe him then, but if he came and pointed to things now I think I just might.

Am I just having a bad day? Probably, but I'm not going to re-read this, or I'll chicken out from posting it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Insider Shopping, February 2009

Ah yes – Insider Shopping is late this month. I apologize! I hope the shopping deals below make up for it a little bit ;-)

Receive FREE Standard Shipping on any $50 Clinique order, with code COMFORT09. Or use code FEBHM to receive a FREE trial-size High Impact Mascara and FREE Shipping with any $35 purchase.

Receive a free full-size Love Handler ($36 value) with any Bliss purchase, including the sets, where you already save 10%.

Need to get a gift that won't break the bank? Or maybe you just need a little pick-me-up for yourself? Check out the Tarte EcoEyes set. It comes in a nice purple cosmetic pouch and contains all of Tarte's eco-friendly essentials for great eye makeup. A $109 value, it's available at Sephora for a limited time for $39.

And if you want to get a nice present for a real girly-girl, snag something from the Limited Edition Juicy Couture for Sephora collection, now up to 75% off.

I told you about Tobi before – I really love this online store! Online help from a stylist, gorgeous designs from DVF, Botkier, Missoni and others, a section dedicated exclusively to eco-friendly fashion.... what's not to love? Especially with an additional 25 percent off sale items! Enter the code 25MORE at checkout.
And if you are ready to start indulging in some Spring shopping, today is the last day to get 20% off the new spring arrivals, with coupon code SPRING20.

Love the new sample sale websites? Check out Hautelook. This invite-only platform offers discounts on premium brands like Balenciaga and Christian Lacroix. Use promo code INSTYLE09 from February 13th until March 31st to receive 20% off purchases of $100 or more.

Do your New Year's resolutions include "get in shape"? Motivate yourself by getting one of the new bathing suits from the new Victoria's Secret lines and get a free tote with your purchase, with code SWIMVS. And if you shop by February 28, you can take $10 of your order with coupon code 10FORYOU (don't you love that VS lets you input up to 3 coupon codes?)

And speaking about getting in shape... Need new workout clothes? No? Want some anyway? Enjoy 20% off all purchases on fila.com and use promo code FILAINSTYLE from February 13th until March 31st to receive 20% off all purchases.

Valentine's Day has passed, but there's still time to share the love. Through Feb. 23, buy a pair of jeans for yourself at Joe's Jeans and get a pair for your sweetheart at 50 percent off when you enter JOELOVESME at checkout. Additional purchases will receive 25 percent off.

Yoox, the place to get designer apparel and accessories at a discount year-round, has marked down it's Fall-Winter catalog, so you can now indulge guilt-free by scoring items up to Extra 70% off.

If you are anything like me, Valentine's Day is definitely not the only time of year when you like to enjoy gourmet chocolate. Check out Lula's Chocolates and enjoy a discount for orders over $40: enter code CHATTER10 for 10% off. And for orders over $80, enter code CHATTER15 for 15% off.

A trip is a surefire way to fish the winter blues, but we are in a recession. No problem: take advantage of Travelocity's Silver Lining Sale and save up to 50% on hotels when you book a vacation package. Hawaii for $67 a night? I'll pack my bathing suit!

And with with JetBlue's March Into Spring Sale, you can book your flight as low as $39 each way. The deals end Friday, so book now for travel before April 1.

It may be still chilly out, but we are getting ready for Spring. Time to declutter and organize your closet to make space for the new Spring/Summer collections! The Container Store's sale coulnd't come at a better time: save 20% off sitewide, with code CLUTTERCREW through March 1.

That's it for now - happy shopping!

Monday, February 16, 2009

M. Night is a buzzkill

Yesterday we had a family day. I know it sounds all domestic and white picket fence-y and sappy, but that's what it was: a day out, just us, not overly planned, let's-do-what-we-feel-like kind of day. They happen much more often when the weather is nice. Yesterday the weather was lovely, it was sunny and not very cold (at least not compared to how it's been) so we decided to do something with the girls.

We went to CMoM, the Children's Museum of Manhattan, which to me was a little boring, but the girls had fun. We had lunch at a place on the UWS called Celeste, where we enjoyed remarkably good pizza and caprese salad, but had to put up with a pretty rude waiter. We walked to the park to take the subway back to Grand Central from 81st, but then the day was still so nice that we decided to walk across the Park and take the metro from Lexington instead.

If you had asked me what my favorite place in the world was two years ago, I would have said Piazza del Duomo in Milan, or maybe the Cala Ginepro beach in Sardinia. No more. At the risk of being disowned by my parents, I'll confess that my favorite place is now Central Park. My husband used to say "why go into the city to have a picnic? We have parks here too". One walk through Central Park, and he stopped saying that. And this is a Swiss. Someone used to forests, lakes, and breathtaking scenery. But he had to admit that walking through Central Park is lovely and special. Even in Winter:

Anyway, so after a lovely day we got back home around 6pm and had dinner and so on. And then Stella wouldn't sleep, so I did what I usually do: turned off the lights, turned on Coldplay, put on the headphones and sat on the sofa with her, watching TV. She listened to Coldplay and cuddled, I watched TV: a movie by M. Night Shamalayan, his latest: The Happening. We saw all of M. Night Shamalayan's movies, and we were looking forward to watching this one, so we added it to our Netflix queue. The DVD had arrived the day before and my husband had already watched it, but I didn't even ask him if he liked it. I just assumed it would be a bit spooky but good, like his other movies (most of them, at least).

Boy, was I wrong. The Happening is not spooky, it's creepy. And it's not good. It's incredibly sad and depressing and pointless. It talks about a virus or toxin that starts spreading all of a sudden which pushes people to commit suicide, and it all starts - guess where? Central Park, NYC. That's right.

So my picture-perfect day and the mood that went with it were ruined by a depressing, creepy, bad movie. I tell ya, if I meet M. Nigh Shamalayan I will drop-kick him.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Event Alert: Vivienne Tam shopping event

What: Daily Candy and Vivienne Tam organized an event to celebrate the arrival of the new, gorgeous, much coveted Vivienne Tam HP Mini.

You can enjoy free drinks, 20% off the new Vivienne Tam collection, a free tote with the purchase of a Vivienne Tam HP Mini, the chance to win gift certificates from HP and Vivienne Tam.

Where: Vivienne Tam store in NYC, 40 Mercer St.

When: Thursday, February 19, 6-8pm

RSVP here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Why shoes are better than computers, and other parenting nonsense

As a mom, I am used to having little personal space. I am used to being interrupted constantly. I'm also used to the fact that my daughters end up copying what I do. So if I spend hours on the computer (and I do), it isn't that strange for them to develop an interest in it. And I'm ok with that. What's annoying is that I now often get nudged to get off the computer because my oldest wants to use it. "How much longer are you going to be?" "Why aren't you using your laptop?" are things I now hear often. (She knows better than to ask to use my laptop - for now.)

They mostly play games on the computer - it used to be Sesame Street and the Teletubbies, now it's mostly Barbie and Nickelodeon. But because in the past we have also downloaded games, I never tire to repeat "don't download anything without asking" and she is pretty good about that - for now. Recently she asked me to create an e-mail account for her. I did. But I'm relived she hasn't used it yet. I dread the day when she will discover chatting, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, the works. Because it's not like I can just hover in the background, watching everything she does. So I figured the best thing I can do is educate her. I found a site, NetSmartz, which is targeted to middle school and high school internet user. Granted, Sarah is a bit young for that, but I figure it's a good place to start. At least she won't find it boring, because it has cool graphics, and it sort of looks like a comic book.

Because really, she is approaching the age when the only way they listen is if they think it's something cool. And that's about the same age when moms, even young moms like me, tend to lose the "cool" factor in the eyes of their kids. Man, I am dreading that day. With Sarah, I need to come up with things like "I can beat you at this Wii game" and such, so I know it's short-lived. But with Stella, I figure as long as I have some great shoes I'll retain the cool factor in her eyes. One out of two isn't so bad. AND I'll make up for lost ground when Sarah hits her teens and wants to borrow said shoes. See? I knew there was more to shoe shopping than fashion: it's a good parenting tool too! At least if you have girls. Moms of boys, you'll have to find another excuse.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Event alert: Shecky's Girls Night Out, Spring -Summer '09

What: Shopping, browsing emerging designers (up to 75% off), free drinks, games, complementary beauty treatments, ogling cute bartenders (isn't that one of the fun things to go on a Girl's Night Out?)

Where: Philadelphia, Dallas, Boston, Houston, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Miami, Atalanta, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas.

When: The first one, in Philadeplhia, will take place on February 24th-26th. You can see all the dates here.

My "local" GNO, in New York, is scheduled for Wednesday-Saturday, March 11th-14th, 2009, 5pm-10pm

Place (NYC):
la.venue & Terminal Stores
608 W. 28th St. (11th & 12th Aves.)

Price of ticket: general admission is FREE (!!) for Shecky's insiders (i.e. subscribers to Shecky's newsletter), $30 if you want to get Shecky's Deluxe goodie bag.

More info here.

See my review of last Summer edition here.

I'm a Shecky's Insider, and since I'm adopting a carpe diem policy from now until I leave, I might just pop in to check out the merchandise and enjoy few cocktails. Are you coming along?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Oversharing and overbitching

This was supposed to be a different kind of post. I had it all worked out - it was going to be called "Geekdom: the Final Frontier" and talk about why ComiCon is weird and awesome, and all the fun I had there. But I can't write that post. Because this morning, instead of going to ComiCon, I had a mini-meltdown. About what, you may ask. Which brings me to the title of this post. The time has come to address something that I haven't discussed openly, but most of my friends already know. No, I am NOT coming out of the closet. And no, I'm not pregnant (baby dust deflector - activate!) So what just what the heck is wrong with this bloody drama queen?

This summer (at the end of July, to be precise) my family and I will be leaving The Empire State and The City That Never Sleeps to return to The Great Land of Cheese and Chocolate. To stay. For a while, at least.

We knew this was coming and we knew it would be in 2009. Was I hoping we'd stay longer? Yes. Maybe. No. But our first year and half here was much more stressful than I expected; having moved so many time before, I expected the move to be a breeze. Of course none of my previous inter-continental moves included children. But Sarah always had a remarkable capacity for adaptation, and Stella was just a baby, she's get used to whatever as long as we kept her routine in. Heh. "Wishful thinking" is such an understatement.

That year and half was the longest ever. Sarah was having trouble at school, Stella wasn't sleeping. And I don't mean "she woke up every 3 hours to eat" not sleeping, she really wasn't sleeping. Not during traditional sleeping hours, that is. I became a monster. Saying that I was crabby was such an understatement that I could hardly use that word. And you know I don't curse on this blog, but I truly became the bitch from hell. The fact that the lack of sleep was messing up my (sensitive post-partum) metabolism and I gained a bunch of weight didn't help, either. I had lost all my pregnancy weight, only to gain more here.

Anyway... at some point, everyone got settled. Sarah's trouble were handled by moving her to a new class less replete with snobbish queen bee wannabes, and Stella started sleeping a little more. I swear the first night I slept 6 hours in a row I woke up in such a remarkably good mood that I sounded like freakin' Mary Poppins.

That's when I started building my life here, so to speak. I made more friends. I started attending events more, like Here Comes the Sun, Shecky's GNO, SELF Workout in the Park, openings (yoga clubs, stores, etc), and so on. I started blogging. 2008 went by so much faster than 2007 had!

And now that I feel I have a life here, now that I fell in love with New York, now that I look forward to spring to take my daughters to Central Park, now that I got used to having a million places to choose from as destination for date night... I always have the moving date looming on the horizon*. I guess I could be very carpe diem about it, enjoy my time here more because I know it's about to end, but somehow it doesn't work that way. Somehow every fun thing I do, every time I see my friends, every event I attend, at the end of the night I feel sadder to go than I did before. And I've tried to keep Zen about it, tell myself I'm ok, that this is not so bad, that it's not a big deal at all.
And then this morning it all came exploding out of me, and left me drained. For a while.

And once I snapped out of it, I realized that I do have to be Carpe Diem about this. And I may have missed ComiCon, but I'll be damned if I'm going to miss BlogHer. I don't care if I have to get off the plane from Chicago only to board the one to Zurich.

*There's more about going back to Switzerland than leaving New York. There's the fact that I'm Italian. I'm naturally perky. And they are Swiss-German. They are naturally grumpy. They march down the street like soldiers when when they are going shopping. They don't smile at children. The speak German, which ok, is enough to put anyone in a bad mood ;-)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Countdown to V-Day: subtle hints for your guy (or not so subtle)

V-Day gifts for Her

With less than two weeks to go to Valentine's Day, it's probably a good idea to give the man (or men, if single and juggling ;-)) in your life some idea of what you'd like and what you expect. Poor guys, most of them already have trouble getting us a present for our birthday and at Christmas/Hanukkah, so Valentine's Day and anniversaries just add pressure.

Lift the pressure by gently suggesting some ideas - or casually leave this webpage open on your pc right as he's walking through the door.

1. Flowers: that's a no-brainer, right? Gotta have flowers on Valentine's Day. Buy us a nice enough bouquet and we might just forgive you for not offering to help with the dishes.

2. Chocolate: very nice addition to flowers, and the two together will be enough for many women (me included). Of course at Valentine's Day there are tons of heart-shapes boxes and such, but don't just reach for the box of chocolate you see: if chocolate and flowers are the gift, get the good stuff.

3. Jewelry: it is often said that if a man wants to get lucky, then jewelry is the go-to gift. I can't promise it'll work (and it definitely won't if that's the only reason you's buying jewelry - you know, karma), but I'm pretty sure it'll be appreciated. I like Wendy Culpepper and Fragments, because their pieces are classics, with a twist - and they have a wide range of prices to fit every budget.

4. Accessories: What girl wouldn't like to open a box and find a gorgeous pair of heels in her size? A pair of designer shoes might be a long shot, but how about something a man perhaps finds more useful (never use the word "practical" when talking about clothes/accessories, unless you mean "ugly" and are trying to be diplomatic), like a gorgeous pair of cashmere gloves or lovely silk scarf?

Another option: combine 2. and 4. with these gorgeous chocolate shoes from Gayle's Chocolates:

5. Lingerie: another popular gift for Valentine's Day, for obvious reasons. If that's what you want to gift your gal, then go for it, but make sure it's something classy (if it's something that might be featured in an adult movie, then it's a NO), possibly silk. And only get this if you know the correct size. You might be surprised to know that many women aren't very truthful about their real size ;-)

6. Pampering: a romantic, relaxing, spa weekend is a great Valentine Day's gift. But if that isn't doable, a gift card for a mani-pedi, a couple's massage or a beauty package at a day spa are great too. And so are the luscious, spa-quality sets available nowadays: they smell great and the products are a real treat, and allow you to bring the spa home. My favorite? The sets from Origins. Always a treat.

So... I hope this helps. And remember, if all else fails, flowers and chocolate are always good. Especially accompanied by a lovely dinner... one that she didn't make herself :-)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Time to ruin someone's diet...

... and improve their mood :-)

Time to announce the winner of the See's Candy giveaway!

Thank you everyone for entering and sharing your favorite flavors! If I could I'd send chocolate to each and everyone of you! But alas, I can only pick one winner.

Congratulations, Carolyn!

Carolyn, I have sent you an e-mail – please get in touch with me so I can send you your sweet prize!

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