friends and family

Gardner Village Sale

by Lucky Red Hen on December 11, 2013

Friends and Family Sale at Gardner Village

Gardner Village Sale

Have you been over to my other blog yet? It’s still in the beginning phases (spacing is not quite right, the colors won’t budge, the margin has my cute face TWICE) but I posted about the fun time I had at Gardner Village’s Bloggers Night Out during the Halloween festivities.

Well, ’tis the season for shopping lately, so they sent me their latest Gardner Village Sale for Friends and Family for me AND my readers! Hop on over there for some unique holiday shopping and swing by Taste for a hot beverage as you duck in between the stores.

The sale starts tomorrow, Thursday, December 12th, and ends three days later on Saturday, December 14th.

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Gymboree Rewards + 25% Off

by Lucky Red Hen on December 3, 2012

This post is sponsored by Gymboree Children’s Clothing. Bring a friend to a Gymboree store and sign up for Gymboree Rewards together and you’ll both SAVE 25% off an in-store purchase.

Today’s post IS sponsored by Gymboree, but the thing is is that I LOVELOVELOVE their clothes so it’s almost as if this ISN’T a sponsored post and just me telling you about another great company/product that I’d recommend.

I have NO bad things to say about shopping here (and y’all know I am honest and would divulge to you anything I’m not happy about.) Really. I sat here and thought and thought if there’s something negative to mention but there isn’t. Service has always been great, helpful, and not annoying (you know those places where you’re annoyed with the pushy or snotty sales people; not this place – and I’ve been to many across several states). Returns aren’t a hassle like other stores, as long as you’re following their policy (I don’t remember the details, but haven’t had trouble).

When my kidlets were in the sizes that Gymboree sells, they were mostly wearing Gymboree clothes. Even now that they’re too big for their sizes, I still stroll through the store to ooh and aah over the cute clothes and shop for gifts.

We stopped into the Riverwoods store in Orem, UT last night…

The pajama’s are my FAVORITE EVER! They fit snuggly against little baby frames and kept them cozy in cuteness. Seriously, every baby ever put in Gymboree pajama’s look AfreakingDORABLE! Their little booty’s waddling around with their feet kept warm in gripped-so-they-don’t-slip footies. Can you tell I love Gymboree’s pajama’s?!?

Their clothes are quality made. I’ve never had an issue with wear, seams, or design flaws because Gymboree only puts out well-made clothing and accessories. The tights last because they’re thick (for the cold weather kind) or tightly woven (for the not-so-cold times) with strong seams and snug waist bands. They’re clothes are great for hand-me-down’s because they stay looking good a lot longer than any other children’s clothing out there that I’ve tried or heard of.

I love how they coordinate their outfits so you can get more wear out of each item by mixing and matching. If I had a little girl to shop for, I’d get the following giraffe themed pieces (and what a coincidence that the giraffe is my favorite animal!)

Check out the close-up of the sequined giraffe shirt…

The clearance prices are always great. That’s where I’d usually get the pajama’s. And check out the FREE SHIPPING sign… they’ll order it for you and ship it directly to you if you can’t find the right size, color or style (some restrictions apply, subject to availability).

And don’t think that they only have girl stuff. The boy section has plenty of handsome shirts, sweaters, vests and outer wear to mix-and-match that are sturdy, rugged and won’t fall apart. Notice the sign in the next picture above the boys clothes that says 50% off!!! When we went there yesterday, there were several 50% off signs as well as a couple of clearance racks (which is a great place to look when shopping for a baby gift).

We aren’t having anymore kids of our own, but we have at lease one niece being born next year that would look adorable in this faux fur number Ben is showing you…

Don’t forget to sign up for the Gymboree Rewards card. You’ll get sale notifications, special deals, and reminders about the Gym Bucks redemption when you’ve earned FREE Gymboree credit to use in the store. Remember if you bring in a friend and BOTH sign up for Gymboree Rewards you’ll BOTH get 25% off your in-store purchase(s)!

Let your friends and family know about Gymboree and their great deals. You’d be on Santa’s AND your friends/families NICE list.

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Station 22 & Provo’s Kevin Bacon

by Lucky Red Hen on November 16, 2012

When we lived here before, the restaurant market in Utah Valley was minuscule. Thank goodness others felt the same and did something about it while we were in Seattle! Now we have a lot more to choose from and to recommend to visitors and friends who may not know about the new gems.

My favorite, Carrabba’s Italian Grill at University Mall, never gets old for our family, but sometimes our dinner dates aren’t in the mood for Italian (WHAT?!?) and Station 22 Cafe in historic downtown Provo, Utah will please most palettes.

The owner describes his menu as fresh, reinvented versions of American family recipes and classic dishes. His version on the website is wonderful as he takes the reader on a journey through tradition, history, and thoughts of growing up eating grandma’s cooking. Experience it here. I admire a well-written bio.

It’s a great place for friends to gather and celebrate the birth of any friend, such as Jet Set, who made (with her own two, bare hands) the divine frock she’s wearing. Maybe when my birthday comes around she’ll make me one ;)

First time at Station 22 Cafe and you want to try a sure bet? Lisa (my birthday twin; hope you have one) excitedly shows you what ordering the Chicken & Waffles will get you… a perfectly toasted waffle with a mound of  bacon and tender, battered chicken drizzled in syrup.

The birthday girl with our design-fiend friend (no wonder she designs for a living, she’s so GREAT at it) Amelia Merritt.

Maybe you don’t know this yet, but Carina (that’s the birthday girl) is Provo’s Kevin Bacon. Apparently almost everyone in the city (and outside of it) can trace their ties back to her within six people.

The last photo is me with one of my besties, Cathy. We moved into an upstairs apartment and she and her husband lived in the basement apartment. If it weren’t for her, I would NOT have the circle of friends/family (put them together and you have “framily”) here that I do. She worked with Carina and a few others back in the day, and that’s how I met the first of my circle…

  1. LaYen/Waldo lived next to
  2. Formerly Phread.
  3. Waldo worked with Cathy, Jet Set,
  4. and Topher (who’s the husband of my birthday twin who’s coo coo for Chicken & Waffles), who’s a brother of CJane (she was with Jet Set at Formerly Phread’s house when I met them years and years ago).

There are other places in the Valley I have on my eatery list. I wonder if you like any of the same? Drop their name(s) in the comments section (maybe with a recommended food item) and we’ll see!

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What’s That I Smell? MOMMY!

by Lucky Red Hen on April 20, 2012

The other day my son came to give me some squeezes, and he smelled something.

Wait. I need to back up.

A while back, I finally got my prince to agree that sugar cereals are like eating dessert and that’s the opposite way we should be starting our day.

He’s gotten on a healthy kick after starting a Navy Seal workout program (Your Body is Your Gym, or something like that; he works out at home with household items like the broom over two bar stools, a towel on the back of a chair, pull ups on the pantry door knobs).

After finding out how important it is to eat healthier, lower your glycemic intake, and cut processed foods and drinks (he used to have pop/soda/cola regularly), we’ve all been eating more fruits and veggies as well as enjoying healthier meals together.

Because of this new eating situation, we eliminated sugar/dessert cereals from our house. We don’t make the kids eat granola, bran, or muslix stuff, but we don’t buy Cap’n Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, Sugar Smacks, or Frosted Flakes anymore. Except for holidays; birthday’s, Christmas, etc.

Then recently we decided not to torture our kids completely and changed the rule to Saturday mornings (which is kind of like a holiday in this house.) After they eat their one bowl, we note the amount left and put them up super high (the shelf would break if they tried climbing them to reach; so far we haven’t had to worry about that).

Back to the squeezes… it was a weekday (definitely not a Saturday or holiday) and my son bounded over to me in the afternoon and snuggled up close.

Then he backed his head up and said, “What’s that smell?” O_o

He came closer to my face and sniffed like a dog. Sniff. Sniff sniff. Sniff.

“That’s,” sniff again, “dessert cereal!” Sniffsniffsniff, “That’s… TRIX!”

He found me out. I had a bowl as a snack about four o’clock (it was a hard day, don’t judge) and thought I’d get away with it.

I pulled the, “I’m an adult and the rules don’t apply to me,” but felt guilty as I said it because it’s definitely a rule that should apply to me. It’s not like I was driving a car and telling him he couldn’t because he’s not an adult.

Shame on mommy. Shame. But look how pretty they are in the bowl!

I’m not the only one who’s been a bad mommy like this, am I? What’s YOUR shame on me story? Go ahead, you’ll feel better getting it out :)

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Gourmet Grilled Cheese: Cravings Bistro

by Lucky Red Hen on March 23, 2012

Don’t laugh, but all growing up (note: I haven’t finished that yet) it was my younger (by 7 years) brother who outdid me in the kitchen. Except for dishes. I’m the only one in the house who ever did them, so he could never do that better than me ;)

(Mom, this isn’t the time to comment about how you think I didn’t always do the dishes. This is my blog and, according to my stellar memory, I ALWAYS did the dishes.)

When he was probably 10ish, he started making the grilled cheese sandwiches. It was probably after I had burnt one too many of his that pushed him to try. Let me clarify so you don’t think me a rotten sister (which I was, but not because of my cooking). I usually only burnt one side of the sandwich, not both, and in the beginning I’d scrape off the burnt part with a butter knife. But that became tiresome so I stopped and left the burnt part, calling it “Cajun-style.”

(I still burn things when I cook. When we buy French bread, we’ll buy double because I’ll no doubt burn one of them and have to start over.)

Today I found a source for delicious gourmet grilled cheese and the beginning of never eating another burnt one in my house.

It’s a new little shop on Main Street in American Fork, Utah, called Cravings Bistro (in the left side of what was Finders Keepers; man I miss that store). I heard of it the other day from someone random, then again today by Suzanne at The Quilting Cottage just before lunch time.

The favorite is the ABC (apple, bacon, cheddar) so I got that. You should do that when trying a new place to eat, ask for the most popular dish. We’ve had plenty of soul warming Tomato-Basil Soups in Seattle (you know it rains there, a lot, and soup hits all the cold spots), and the Cravings Bistro organic version makes me wish for rain. Topping off my comfort food lunch was a fat/phat, dense, and sweet-tooth-satisfying frosted sugar cookie the owner proudly makes from scratch (Thursday is BOFOHO sweets, stock up).

Thank you Cravings Bistro ladies for your hospitality, foodie conversation, and yummy grub! I hope it rains people on your place so you can stick around to feed me whenever I want.

Pardon my crummy iPhone pics, but I wanted to include as much information in case you’re interested in checking them out (and you should be, seriously, I’m already looking forward to my next visit… take me with you if you need company).

Heading west on State Street, this is what you'll see when you need to get ready to park. Cravings Bistro is a couple doors down from Allen's (there is also parking and an entrance behind the building)

Cravings Bistro 801.756.3333
63 East Main Street, American Fork, UT 84003

Mon-Thur 11a-6p
Fri-Sat 11a-8:30p
Sunday closed

Twitter: @CravingsBistro
Facebook: Cravings Bistro

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NEVER Have I Missed A Flight : Until Now

by Lucky Red Hen on January 13, 2012

Mulling over the thoughts I have about what I’m about to write, I worry that I won’t get them out in letters the way you’ll understand what I’m trying to say. Thank you for trying to get it. I do have a point. Now let’s see where I put it.

(This post may be more about me needing to get out my feelings, not make a statement, or make sense.)

Tommy and I have known each other since grade school in New Mexico, spending most of our time together in school band (I played clarinet, he played sax) 5th grade through our junior year. We never dated, were just friends. Always a gentleman, very sweet and kind hearted, he once made me a wooden stand in his woodshop class to replace the pile of books I’d use to rest my bass clarinet; out of the blue, I hadn’t asked for it. That’s the kind of guy Tommy was back then, and continued to be throughout the years, even after I moved away the summer before my senior year. (Yeah, that sucked.)

He opened his home to me in 2009 for our 20 year high school reunion. Even though I hadn’t been back for about 19 years, those four days felt like no time had passed. We laughed, caught up, and reminisced about the good ol’ days (am I really old enough to say that?) He trusted me riding his Harley so we could ride around the area (heavenly). He introduced me to my favorite Mexican dish, Pozole (he had Menudo, a common hangover remedy, which made me gag and tasted like stinky zoo animal feet) at a local restaurant. The master bedroom with attached master bath was all for me; he insisted and slept in the guest room. He would tattoo anything I dreamed up, anything at all (I didn’t get any). Picked up a shirt for me at the Harley Dealership (fake tattoo sleeves; people freak out and think they’re real when I wear it.) I got to be with and photograph KP as Tommy memorialized our friend Tony Dodds, with his football number (76) tattoo’d on her heel (she will tell you it was the most painful thing she’s ever felt; and she’s had two babies.)

My wish was his command as he drove me past my old house, my friend’s old houses, former schools, favorite eateries, the zoo I volunteered at, the public pool where I had too many crushes on boys, the skating rink that was every teens rite of passage in that town, and to/from the airport that is two hours away. Two hours away. What kind of person drives that far to pick up someone from the airport then two hours back and all over again for the return flight… without expecting anything in return? An awesome friend, that’s who :)

(That’s a little shout-out for others who have and have offered to do so for me; forever grateful to have people like that in my life. [curtsy])

Then four months ago I went back for a late-80’s reunion. This time extending my trip to nine days because the four before seemed too darned short. There’s a Ben Franklin saying, “Fish and visitors stink after three days.” Tommy didn’t believe that. Not when it came to me, anyway. I insisted that I should stay at a hotel, or break it up and stay with other friends this time. He said he’d be offended if I didn’t stay with him (he was a lonely bachelor at the time). “What if I rent a car? You wouldn’t have to give me a ride to/from the airport and I would have my own transportation while I’m there so long,” I’d suggest. Tommy replied, “Don’t be silly. I will get you from/to the airport and you’ll use the truck anytime you want. Don’t get a rental, save your money.” That was HUGE. The thing about his truck, he never let ANYBODY drive it; not even his dad! I’m the only one. Ever.

We spent a lot of our time talking about deeper things than last time and than what we could over the phone or text. God was a big topic. Parenting was another. We’d discuss what life is all about and what happens when it doesn’t go according to plan. I cherish those more intimate moments with my friend. This time it was more laid back (instead of the rush getting to everything and seeing everyone in the four days the first trip). Having more time before the scheduled reunion events was perfect for us to be honest with what we were feeling, things we worried about, thoughts of what the future would be like. We went to a couple stores together, picking up bones for the dogs, ingredients for homemade Pozole that we made together, going back to the store to get another set of ingredients because the first batch burned, a John Deer shirt for me (I was looking for something Kelly green and joked when I saw this pink camo shirt, which meant we HAD to get it)…

Fast forward about two months to the first Tuesday in December. I was in Seattle for two weeks. As I was shopping at a mall with a friend, I started getting The Calls. A thunk landed in my heart as I stared at the phone. The first went to voice mail, (another thunk) then the second. (thunk) I knew something was wrong and I knew who it was about. William’s voice mail said I needed to call him as soon as possible so I texted him back…

Then KP called, followed by Mike. I knew I couldn’t answer the phone. In the middle of a mall during Christmas shopping season isn’t the best place for that kind of conversation.

I finally called back from my friend’s car. She drove while I got the news. Tommy is dead. His body was found a couple hours ago. As people were getting the news, they’d say, “Does Shannon know? Has someone called Shannon?”

Long story short, made arrangements (thanks to friend’s) to fly from Seattle to Texas then a two+ hour drive to New Mexico in snow and icy conditions in time for the rosary Sunday night. There was a 5:20am flight Sunday morning, I’d have to leave at 3:30am to get to SeaTac early enough to get a stand-by spot on that flight. A friend graciously offered to wake up at the butt crack of dawn to take me.

My bags were packed, wore the clothes I’d travel in to bed, loaded toothpaste on my toothbrush in the bathroom, checked my alarm, texted with my morning ride to make sure, and sent my visitor home at 9p so I could get to sleep and wake up at 3:15am to get to the airport by 4am.

I woke up at 4:35am O_O Was supposed to BE at the airport by 4am.


My ride came on time, called and texted multiple times over a 15 minute period before heading back home (she didn’t know where I was to knock on the door).

I’ve NEVER not woken to my alarm. I’ve NEVER missed a flight. There was NO WAY I would make the 5:20am flight. How in the WORLD did this happen?!?

All I can think is that there was a reason. But it’s not like there was something that happened that proves I shouldn’t have been on that flight. Whatever the reason, I couldn’t beat myself up over it. “It is what it is.” I got on a later flight (stand-by all the way, with fully booked planes, not knowing if I’d get on each time), had to fly into a different city (which is a big deal when your ride is coming two hours away), took four hours to get home through icy and snowy conditions instead of the two, not making it in time for the Sunday night rosary service. Which was a huge bummer, although expected. There was a slideshow of Tommy’s life, photos that I took of him, and photos I was in with him, that was only shown that night. Sigh.

Why I didn’t make that flight will remain a mystery. It’s made me dig deep, wondering what’s truly important.

What matters most is the moments we share, memories that make our heart smile, having people in our lives we trust and can count on, and taking these kind of situations as a lesson on life. What do I want? Who should or shouldn’t be in my life? Am I willing to make changes for that to happen? Yes. A resounding “YES.”

Photo I took of Tommy in 2009 that was used in his obituary and the funeral program.

P.S. I am grateful to all my friends and family who helped me get to New Mexico, gave their support, sent me texts of love, provided rides, a place to lay my head, and meals. You put a smile on my heart that will never go away. XoxO

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Santa, Wishbones, & Chocolate

by Lucky Red Hen on January 1, 2012

Santa thought I was a GOOD GIRL this year because he gave me a new treasure (pictured above)! No, it’s not the blue and green floral couch, although it IS a gift to the eyes. Aaand he knew I wanted to take an Adobe Illustrator class from so he gave me a class for the end of January! I’m SOOO excited!

Maybe I wasn’t a good girl but he was smitten by my delicious cheek last year…

The image on the left was circa 1979 (the sweetest orange bell bottom jeans, am I right?!?) and last year (in an orange hoodie) on the right.

Yeah, Santa and I had a moment that will last forever. LOVE YOU, Santa, thank you!

And this blondie got the surprise of her life from Mr. Claus… FIVE GIGANTIC POUNDS of pure milk chocolate :p I tell you what, if I were Mrs. Claus, I would’ve explained to my husband that there’s NO WAY this little tiny girl needs THAT MUCH chocolate! No matter if it was (which is was) her first word as a baby. Okay, it was more like chaw-at, but she knew what it was, knew what she wanted, and this girl ALWAYS wants chaw-at… I mean, chocolate.

And tonight, if you’re reading this December 31st, please be careful on the roads and don’t drive if you’ve been drinking a-a-a-a-a-alcohol or consuming mind/body altering drugs.

Happy New Year, I hope you all DON’T drop a 5lb bar of solid milk chocolate on your foot. Not that I would know what that feels like, but I’m sure it doesn’t tickle.


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Middle Name Mellay

by Lucky Red Hen on July 1, 2011

My daughter is eight and doesn’t know how to spell her middle name. Is that bad?

It’s not like she has to use it anytime soon. There aren’t college applications to fill out, driver’s licenses to apply for, police encounters, or other legal situations that require knowing her middle name.

She at least knows how to pronounce it. And she knows it starts with a ‘d’.

See, that’s the other thing is that her middle name has a capital letter, just not at the beginning O_O



I just asked her what her middle name is and she said it. Then I asked her to spell it…

D, uh, A… no, I mean E, um… L? O X E?

Sad, isn’t it? Have we failed her as parents because we haven’t taught her yet? Should we sign up to be on Dr. Phil to discuss our dysfunction?

The other trick about her middle name is that it’s French. Poor thing is not bilingual.

Maybe this can be our summer goal… learn how to spell your middle name.

P.S. It’s not a made-up, wacky spelled nayme :p We got it from an artist we know (and have one of her painting’s). The girls in her family all have the same middle name (and it has an official crest as well!) I had told my best friend that if I had a girl, I’d name her middle name after her. Well, her first and middle didn’t work as well for my daughter’s middle name so we went with her last name, Low. It’s spelled differently, but sounds the same.

P.S.S. Because I know you’re curious… her middle name is duLaux (pronounced dew-LOW). Sometimes we pronounce it “deluxe” for fun, but as a nickname and not the proper pronunciation because paired with her first name it kind of sounds like a stripper :p

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