Saturday, January 19, 2013

And then I bid you farewell....

When I started this blog back in September of 2009 it was to motivate me to shop my own closet.
It didn't really work - my closets were still bulging at the seams.
And still I blogged.
Because of you.

I shared with you my outfits, my thrift finds and my thoughts.
I told you about my kids and husband and how much I adore my family.
I brought you with us on our journeys and adventures ~ and we had quite the time didn't we?
You all saw me through a job change, a life change, and the return of an old/new career.
You showed your support and enthusiasm when I started my first solo business venture.
You were all with me through the loss of my grandfather and somehow made the emptiness feel...well, not so empty.
And of course you were always there for all the little things inbetween.

For a while now I've toyed with shuttering this blog ~ but I know I would miss you all too much.
But I'm no longer here for the reasons I first was.
Shopping The Closet doesn't fit anymore, and for months I have been trying to figure out how to make it all feel "right" again.
I've also thought that I gave up on my shop too soon ~ not because I wanted to, but because my new job wasn't affording me the time to juggle both.


There's a happy ending to this post.
While this is the last time I am posting to Shopping The Closet, I am starting a new blog and a new shop called

The shop?
Trinkets, treasures and found items for the home and entertaining.
All secondhand, of course!
My fabulous sister in law will be selling her art and other handmade items.
We hope to be open for March 1, 2013.

The blog? 
All about the things I fill my life with - food, entertaining and finding the pretty in this amazing thing called life.

You can also find me on twitter @ballyhoobedbugs and on Instagram @ballyhooandbedbugs

I hope you will join me on my new journey.

And before I go, let me say
Thank you
for your warmth and friendship for the past 3 years, 4 and a half months.
I value it more than you could know.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Weeknight Chef: Mama's Chicken Pot Pie

There's nothing quite like a hearty chicken pot pie on a cold, blustery night is there?
This one is so simple and so delicious that it makes for a perfect weeknight meal.

Two things I have continued to do since my sabbatical are:
1. Meal plan each week and
2. Clip coupons
I began to do both because, well let's face it, you don't spur of the moment eliminate 50% of your household income and not cut corners and save where possible, right?
The coupon clipping is a hit or miss thing. We don't eat tons of processed foods, we use a butcher for meats and a local farm stand for seasonal produce. At the end of the day, that means there are not a lot of coupons I am interested in.
However, to save money on shampoo, conditioner, cereals and snacks that I would be buying regardless is a definite win in my book.

The meal planning is necessary because we are on the Monday through Friday 9-5 grind with our jobs.
And we like to eat homecooked meals.
After a stinky commute home the last thing either of us wants to think about is "What's for dinner?"
If I have to decide last minute when already exhausted from a full day of work then it's take out for sure.

Over my sabbatical, I actually meal planned to reinvent leftovers into different meals. For instance, we enjoy having a whole roast chicken for dinner on a Sunday night. I make a full 5lb. bag of mashed potatoes to go along with it. Those leftover potatoes become the topping for a quick Shepherd's Pie later in the week and the leftover chicken goes into my Mama's Chicken Pot Pie.
I bet you can guess what we had for dinner this past Sunday night.....

Mama's Chicken Pot Pie

1 can of Campbell's Chicken Gravy
1 box of Pillsbury Pie Crusts
1 can of sliced white potatoes, drained - I use "no salt added"
1 small bag of frozen peas and carrots
Leftover roast chicken

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Place one pie crust in bottom of a deep dish pie plate
Combine gravy, potatoes, frozen veggies and chicken in a large bowl
Season with salt and pepper to taste
Pour into pie plate and cover with remaining pie crust
Bake in oven until top is golden brown
Remove from oven and let stand 5-10 minutes

See? Easy peasy!
Here is the non-negotiable:
You must use the Pillsbury Pie Crust
I don't care what kind of gravy you use, what kind of veggies you add, frozen, can add whatever your heart desires, but you MUST use the Pillsbury Pie Crust.
I've been making this for years. I've even made my own gravy for it, use fresh veggies when I have them, but I always use the Pillsbury Crust.
Trust me on this one.

Mom was a single, working mother of 4 and has been making this since for as long as I can remember. I have no idea where she found this recipe.
I'm just glad she did.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Martha Stewart's Breakfast Cookies

In a recent issue of Martha Stewart Living, I found a recipe for Breakfast Cookies.
Leave it to Martha to find a semi-wholesome cookie!

Packed with some really wholesome ingredients, I decided to give them a whirl.

Breakfast Cookies:
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of coarse salt
4 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
3 cups packed dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tbsp + 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened dried coconut
1/2 cup raisins or currants
1/2 cup finely chopped dried mango
1/4 cup finely chopped dried papaya
1 cup banana chips

*I omitted the sunflower seeds (mine were not raw), the papaya (couldn't find at my grocer) and used craisins instead of raisins/currants - it's what I had on hand.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together flours and baking soda in a large bowl. Set aside.

Beat butter in a large bowl with with mixer until light and fluffy.
Add sugar and beat well.
Add eggs, 1 at a time beating well after each.
Add vanilla, beat until just combined.

Slowly add flour mixture and beat until well combined.
Add oats, almonds, seeds, coconut, craisins and mango and beat to combine.

Form dough into 8 large cookies or 16 small cookies and place on parchment lined baking sheets.
Top with banana chips and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and firm.

*this recipe made way MORE than 8 large and 16 small....I got at least 2 dozen GOOD sized cookies out of this batch!

My husband has proclaimed he is addicted to them.
I packed up a small bag of them as a hostess gift for our friends who had us for dinner Saturday night.
The husband proclaimed them, "Ridiculously delicious!"

Aside from an "on the go" breakfast meal, I think they are perfect for an after school snack as well.
Even Little Miss Picky Eater thought they were good!
(Even though she plucked out the Craisins!)

You will not be disappointed!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Scenes From The Weekend

My sweet baby girl had a tough time last week while I eased my commute and spent the night in New York.
I haven't been away since early October and I was surprised to see the effect it had on her.
From her melancholy mood to the 11pm text messages she was sending me with teary faced emoji' was heartbreaking.
I told Charlie to head off to work early Friday so I could take her to school hoping that it would help her feel better.
Later that morning while I was chatting with my boss, I mentioned my little Miss Melancholy and she immediately instructed me to wrap up what needed to be done and be out of my office in enough time to surprise Ryan at school.
I literally made it in the nick of time and the look on her face when she saw me standing on the sidewalk in the rain was priceless.
We made a little video in the car of her thanking my boss to send and show our appreciation.
Later that evening, we watched Frankenweenie, cried our eyes out together and shared ice cream.

We slept in on Saturday then started our day with strawberry banana smoothies.

I spent the early afternoon baking a new cookie I discovered.
(Recipe on the blog tomorrow!)

Then made fried egg blt's with baby spinach for lunch.

We took the dogs for their usual walk and I noticed a secret pathway I have never seen before.
Don't you just love little wooded hideaways?
I sure do....

Saturday night we headed to dinner at a friend's house.
The husband and I worked together for quite some time many, many years ago and were the greatest of friends.
We reconnected a year or so ago via social media and at Halloween time we got to meet his beautiful wife and adorable daughter.
His wife looks like Kate Winslet and is so cool it hurts.
I think I have a girl crush.....
After hours spent drinking and eating the amazing meal she prepared we were sad to say goodbye.
The only upside was knowing we would all get together again VERY soon....

 Sunday morning I picked up Liam at his dad's house then made a bagel run.
Our bagel shop pumps their water in from New York.
NJ bagels are good enough, but if you've ever had a NY bagel then you know EXACTLY what I am talking about....

I broke all my own "lady rules" on Sunday by doing a grocery run sans makeup and in workout wear.
Sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do...

I stopped at the liquor store after my grocery run and picked up a scratch off for each of us.
My little "gamblers-in-training" loved every second of the mania that ensued.
We live about 45 minutes from Atlantic City that's not too dangerous is it????

I hope your weekend was filled with love and laughter too....


Friday, January 11, 2013


I don't know about you, but I am sure glad it's Friday!
This has been a busy week of non stop running and I'm looking forward to relaxing and unwinding with my family.
On Monday I headed into Manhattan where I got to play "stylist for a day" helping to put together mannequin looks and merchandising spring product that rolled to select stores around the country this week.

I got back in the groove making smoothies for breakfast.
Strawberry banana is my all time favorite.....

I wore some different bracelets finally.

My daughter and husband made some cute stuff with model magic that I put on the desk in our home office because it makes me smile.

Found this sweet note sitting on a shelf in my son's room.

Stayed in New York on Wednesday night for work commitments.
Why do I always choose hotels that resemble The Shining?

Perhaps because I always pick hotels that are Shining~esque, I find it hard to sleep in one.
I got to my room around midnight, fell asleep around 1 and was up again at 3:50.
Then had to spend the morning with the CEO and other Execs.

See why I'm so glad it's Friday???

Happy Weekending Everyone!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Everyday Pieces

If you've been coming around here for any length of time, then it's no secret that I love me some arm candy.
If your newer to my humble blog, then you will soon discover that I love me some arm candy.
It's true.

I stack bracelet after bracelet on top of each other ~ mixing metals, mixing colors...anything goes really.
Nary a day goes by without my men's Citizen watch and my Tiffany charm bracelet clinging to my wrist.
They are the old standbys.

Over the past few months I have received a few really special pieces that have now become my daily de rigueur.
I spotted the two~tone Yurmanesque rope bracelet at a designer consignment shop just outside NYC.
It was love at first sight.
For my birthday in November, my boss gave me a beautiful Michael Kors bangle (not pictured~I wore the lucite one instead this day) and my other boss gave me the Alix and Ani Hope bracelet because of my work this year for St. Jude Hospital.
At Christmas, I was taken by surprise when a very kindred spirit presented me with the Tiffany hook bracelet. It is so elegantly simple ~ I adore it!
Not to be outdone, my husband had the diamond link bracelet under the tree for me.
It's a stunner!

Now I have 6 pieces I cannot possibly leave the house not wearing.
All my novelty bangles are already collecting dust because these beauties go with everything.
I see no hope on the horizon for them all either.

What are your daily accoutrements?
Do you like to switch things up or stay with the same few pieces?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Fairytale of Sorts...

Once upon a time, a little doll house curio cabinet presided on a wall in the nursery of a sweet baby girl.
For the past few years, it has been living in the corner of a cold, dark garage unused and unloved.
One December day, that sweet baby girl (who is now 10) made a little family from plain wooden spools.
She lovingly crafted them clothing from fabric scraps, hair from yarn and then christened each with a beautiful name.
The little girl's mother, who can sometimes be incredibly wise and thrifty, remembered the neglected curio and thought it would provide a fabulous home for the Spools. So she suggested they spend a weekend refinishing it for the family.

They started working on it on a Friday night, even convincing Daddy that he should help them!
The little girl insisted that the house should look like their house: red with white trim and a black front door.
So that is just how they did it.

By Sunday night the paint was dry.
The mother fashioned some wreaths from pipe cleaners to welcome the Spool Family to their newly remodeled home.
They were truly home for the holidays.

The End.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


My new favorite trick to layering?
Wearing my denim vest over my clothes, but under my coat.
I can still pop the collar and give those denim button ups a well deserved break.

Do you have any favorite layering secrets?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Scenes From the Weekend

Just as planned, we spent Saturday dismantling Christmas.
It was sad to see such our beautiful tree so naked and bare.

As I was leaving work on Friday just outside NYC, I stopped at this cupcake shop and picked up some treats for the family.
We indulged on Saturday.
It got a little ridiculous around here.
As in, ridiculously good.

I reorganized our bar.
Then contemplated never leaving the house again.

Got some sweet hugs in between puttering about the house....

...and spent a few quiet moments basking in the pretty afternoon sun.

Saturday night we headed to our favorite dive for dinner and drinks with our favorite family of four.

We ate too much, warmed ourselves with conversation and drink and realized that Santa prefers Bud.
Who knew?

What were the scenes from your weekend filled with?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Over The Weekend

It was really tough trying to get back into the swing of things at work Wednesday, Thursday and Friday after such a lovely time off.
My weekend exists of only today because I have a 6 day work week ahead of me that starts tomorrow.
Who said January was a quiet month?

Today we need to dismantle our holiday decor, do laundry, change sheets on all the beds, meal plan and make sure the pantry is stocked for a busy week.
After all that, I'm looking forward to curling up under a warm blanket and digging in to some of my new books.
I've mentioned before about my enormous cookbook collection (I think it exceeds 300 titles now!) and over the holidays I was gifted a few new titles to add to my vast amount of tomes.

I will always be a book lover ~ you can keep your Nooks and Kindles and machines and give me the scent of fresh pages and the feel of a sturdy hardcover.

Do you still love books or do you prefer electronics?

Happy Weekending!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Those Last Days

The last few days of 2012 were spent:
...sipping wine by 3pm while having movie marathons
...eating care packages of cookies my sister in law baked
...spending time with some of my favorite people
...admiring my brother's home so perfectly appointed for the holidays
...having my mama in town and watching her spend time with her grandchildren
...delicious dinner parties my sister in law "whips up" ~ she's one incredible gal!
...watching my goddaughter become more and more mobile
...baking more cookies steaks on the charcoal grill even though it's 30 degrees outside
...then warming back up with parmesan risotto
...catching up on magazine reading

We wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
Happy New year!