Great Expectations

or “My Life in Blog Sounds Much Cooler Than It Really Is”

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Posted by mandyhuckins on February 17, 2010

My girlfriends got me re-hooked on brownies. I just made a tray at home. Here is what you don’t want to hear when your ask your husband (who is in the kitchen) to bring you a brownie….

“Wow.” As in, where did all the brownies go?

Well…I thought I was doing well to have any left at all after two days.


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Virginia Beach Shopalooza….

Posted by mandyhuckins on February 8, 2010

One of the primary activities of my girls week in Virginia Beach was shopping (the others being sleeping, facebooking, talking and eating brownies).  We found some amazing, amazing deals, so I thought I would show off a few.

This is an outfit I put together for church yesterday.  The skirt (Banana Republic Outlet), shoes (Kenneth Cole) and tights were mine already.  The t-shirt and jacket were new purchases on this trip.  The jacket came from Ann Taylor Loft and was originally priced $89.50.  It was on the clearance rack for $49.99 and the store was having a “take an additional 50% off clearance prices” sale.  So, that ended up costing $25 (a 72% savings off the original price).  The t-shirt came from JC Penney, a store I don’t normally frequent.  But, it is very cute and comfortable.  All that bling at the top is made up of little, silver, plastic circles sewn on.  I have no idea how this will wash (I will turn it inside out and wash it on the gentle cycle), but at $5.17, I couldn’t resist.  The original price of this shirt was $26, still not bad, so my savings was 80%. 

Today, I put on this outfit to venture out into the snowy world and have a consultation with an oral surgeon.  Not too happy about having to do that, but at least I was comfortable and liked what I was wearing.  The only thing new in this outfit is the sweater.  I bought it at Macy’s.  Original price was $48 and I paid $11.52 for a savings of 76%.  I paired this with some dark jeans, brown high-heeled boots, a brown t-shirt and some turquoise jewelry.  I apologize for the picture quality – this is what you get when you try to take a picture of yourself in the mirror in the hallway!  But, you get the idea, right?

Stay tuned for more outfits from the Virginia Beach Shopalooza.

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The. BEST. Mascara. Ever.

Posted by mandyhuckins on February 7, 2010

I learned a lot of things last week while spending the week in Virginia Beach with my girlfriends.  One of the most dramatic involved a wonderful new mascara – Double Extend from L’Oreal. 

Apparently this mascara uses “beauty tube technology” to lengthen your lashes and advertises “salon like lash extensions”.  I don’t know exactly how it works, but it certainly does.  Here are some photos to demonstrate my results.  (Please ignore the fact that I need to pluck my brow.  Please do look closely in the reflection in my eyeball to see the ocean – that was the view from our 16th floor penthouse suite in Virginia Beach!)

A picture of my eye without anything on my lashes:

Now, here is a picture of the first step – a white under coat that nourishes and protects your lashes that creates the “perfect base for the tube application.”

The final step is to apply the mascara that wraps around the white undercoat and forms the tube.

Isn’t that amazing!?!?  And, the best part is that this mascara will never run.  You can cry your eyes out (and I did) and you won’t see a single speck out of place.  Once your lashes have been soaked in warm water (i.e. washing your face or in the shower), you can gently slide the tubes off of your lashes and let them go down the drain.  That was scary to me the first time I removed them – I thought my actual lashes were falling out, but of course, that wasn’t the case.  Now, I think it is kind of fun.

A HUGE thanks goes out to Allison, the beauty genius, who recommended this mascara miracle to my friend Lori. 

And, if you want to download a $2 off coupon for this mascara, visit the L’Oreal website to establish an account and then download and print off coupons. (Salley, Lori, Lisa and Jenny, I have already sent you each a coupon via email.){userdata//d+d//|diagnostic|main:subcategory:cosmetics_eyes|media:_blank|nav|overlay:_blank}

We purchased ours this weekend at Target for $8.99 each.  Just now, I looked at the Target website and I see that they have a double pack available online only for $9.99!  If it is possible to combine the coupon (and I don’t know that it is), then that would be a super, super deal.

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It was the best of weeks, it was the worst of weeks…

Posted by mandyhuckins on February 7, 2010

I spent the past week in Virginia Beach with some of my dearest and closest girlfriends.  We have been friends for almost 13 years.  And while we have tried to get together for reunions at least annually, the military has done a pretty good job of keeping us geographically apart.  This week, we put distance aside and all six of us met in Virginia Beach.  Unfortunately, a heart-wrenching tragedy was the catalyst that instigated this trip.  One of our number lost her beautiful baby boy, John Matthew Ennis, on November 29, 2009.  The rest of us felt this loss very keenly and wanted to at least try to comfort each other with our presence. 

This week, we cried every day.  But, we also laughed every day.  We stayed up late talking.  We went shopping.  We slept as late as we wanted to.  We renewed our friendships and loved each other. 

The loss isn’t any easier to bear, but I think this week ministered to all of us.  I hope that we were able to provide some comfort to Lori.  I know the sorrow we feel is just a mere drop in the bucket in comparison to the depths of her oceanic grief. 

The post she wrote about the week is more beautiful than anything I could ever write and I encourage you to read it here:

Matthew, your Pensacola aunties love you and miss you.  We look forward to meeting you someday in heaven and until then, we will do the best we can to look after your mom.

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If I had a million dollars….

Posted by mandyhuckins on January 20, 2010

In the immortal words of the Barenaked Ladies….I would buy myself a the cutest dress I have ever seen.  I saw it in the pages of Harper’s Bazaar.  It is by designer Jason Wu (of Michelle Obama inaugural dress fame); therefore, I cannot now nor ever conceivably afford to purchase it.  But, I scanned it a picture so I could share it here and we could all drool.

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Better to give….

Posted by mandyhuckins on January 8, 2010

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season.  I know I did!  Having my family here for a Kansas Christmas was better than I even expected.  I am so glad that the uncooperative weather didn’t keep them away. 

While I know that giving and receiving presents should not really be the focus of Christmas (there are more spiritual and altruistic things upon which to focus) – it sure is fun and I love it.  I love picking things out for people I love and imagining them opening a package and being thrilled with its contents. 

When my sister and I were little, we would sometimes do a little something we called the twelve days of Christmas.  On the twelve days leading up to Christmas, we would give each other a little gift we had made.  One year, I remember my mom bought us each a tiny little Christmas tree for our room.  So, that year, she and I made little ornaments for each other and gave them during the twelve days of Christmas.  By Christmas, we had a nicely decorated little tree.  It was really fun.

This year, I did a grown up twelve days with her.  I gave her twelve gifts – each having to do with the corresponding number.  Some of them were a stretch:

1) An Infinity Scarf from the Limited in Teal (this was on her Christmas list)

2.) A pair of sea glass earrings I purchased during a business trip to Cuba in the fall

3.) Three silver chains of differing lengths

4.) Four matching makeup (0r whatever) bags that all fit inside each other

5.) A set of five little rice bowls, grey with white flowers on them, that I purchased during a business trip to Japan in the fall

6.) A makeup set with 3 pots of shimmery eyeshadow and three application brushes

7.) A set of purple earrings that had seven dangling stones each

8.)  Eight bracelets in different shades of cream and gold, made from tiny beads

9.) A pair of black ballet flats – size 9

10.) A set of 10 notecards with a very cute picture of an Italian Greyhound on the front

11.) A bag of marzipan fruit candy (our favorite) – and can you believe?  There were exactly 11 pieces inside!

12.) A purple Banana Republic wallet to replace the white one I got her last year (12 credit card slots inside!)

I think she was really excited and it was so fun to watch her open all twelve gifts.  My dad said, “Is anyone else going to open any presents?”  🙂

So, the old saying is that it is better to give than to receive.   But, I don’t know about that.  Take a look at some of my loot:

My mom and dad bought me this GORGEOUS lamp to put in my home office.  I would take a picture of it in action, but I am embarrassed at the disreputable state my office is in at the moment.  So, you just get the stock photo:

Lamps  Warrior Horse Table Lamp

I do feel terrible about how much they spent on this lamp, but it is breathtaking and is truly the most beautiful horse lamp ever made.

Equally lovely is the pair of pumps my sister got me.  Again, I would take a picture of the actual shoes, but I can’t quite stand up in them yet!  I need to practice. 

Aren’t they to die for?  So gorgeous.

And, my sweet husband bought me a Big Buddha handbag I had been wanting.  Have you heard of this brand yet?  They are great.  They are pretty inexpensive (as far as handbags go), but they look really high end.  I always get compliments whenever I carry one.  And, so far, every time I have used this new bag since Christmas, someone has stopped me to tell me how pretty it is or to ask where I got it.  It is just like the picture below, except in a deep purple.  Apparently that color was hard to find.  My husband bought the last one in our local Dillard’s and my mom and sister admitted that they had tried to get it for me at their own Dillards, but were told it never came in purple!

He also gave me this lovely grey/silver velvet blazer from Ann Taylor.  He picked this out all on his own as a surprise and it fits like a tailor made it especially for me.

Petite Stretch Velvet Jacket

I am definitely a lucky girl!

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Christmas time is here….

Posted by mandyhuckins on December 21, 2009

Since you haven’t heard from me in over three months, I thought I might ease my way back into your good graces with a Christmas post.  I have always, always loved Christmas.  I get totally wrapped up in the fun and excitement of the season.  When we lived in Germany, I was in heaven – those Germans really know how to elevate the holiday season to a whole new level – Christmas markets – hot spiced wine – beautiful and unusual decorations.  I really have to exercise self control not to start decorating the house or listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  My husband, on the other hand, is the opposite.  I think every year he says “we don’t really need to have a Christmas tree this year, right?”  What?!?  I never really know if he means it or not, but needless to say, this is our 13th Christmas tree.  🙂  I am not even sure why he complains, since the output he expends in decorating for Christmas is very, very minimal. 

No matter – I am up to the task.  And, this year, despite our house being one of the smallest since our very first apartment, I have really gone overboard with the decorating.  I just can’t seem to stop.  Seriously, I think I have added something to the decorations every day since Thanksgiving!  And, the shopping – my goodness!  Seems like everyone is having sales this year before Christmas and I have been taking full advantage.  So, come on in, look around and soak up some holiday cheer.

This is the view coming in the front door.  Don’t you just love that beautiful golden deer?  I attended a Holiday Table Display at the Wichita Arts Center back in November and I saw this deer decorating one of the tables.  I had to have him! 

Here is a shot of the tree.  Sort of blurry, but you get the idea. It is very traditional and filled with a variety of ornaments we have collected along the way.

And, here is one of our favorite ornaments.  It is a glass santa made in Poland.  We bought it at a Christmas Market booth in Strasburg, France.  The picture doesn’t even do it justice.  The detail is amazing.

And, speaking of Santas, here is my Russian Santa collection. 

The German Christmas village:

And, the German Christmas Market display:

And, here are two close-ups:

This is the pyramid from Germany:

Here is the picture hanging above it – a depiction of the Strasburg Christmas Market.  I love this picture – sorry about the glare from the flash, but it was too dark to do without it.

I have two poinsettias in a basket on the table beside the couch.  They were left over from the Thanksgiving decorations.

That’s the living room.  Tomorrow – the tour continues in the dining room.

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Posted by mandyhuckins on May 5, 2009

Is this not the coolest thing you have ever seen?  Use your mouse and click on the water to drop some fish food and watch them scramble.  You can get your own by clicking on the AB at the upper left hand corner.  You can choose how many fish you want and what color you want them to be.  Fun!

[clearspring_widget title=”Fish” wid=”48cfe5b37f644537″ pid=”4a00479be8528b3b” width=”296″ height=”196″ domain=””]

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