January 31, 2017

..Four Favorites

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1. The "Up and Vanished" podcast is the BEST. It's so juicy, there are so many characters, the suspense factor is through the roof. If you are a podcast person, get on it. 

2. I have many pregnant friends at the moment but don't yet know what they are having. I just about died over these unicorn booties so I am ready to pounce once someone gives me the "pink" light.

3. I just loved the idea of a middle ground between a card and a small gift. Greetabl is the perfect step up. I love the designs and all the options to get to fill your box. They are so cute I sent one to my bestie going through chemo a couple weeks ago as a pick me up. This is not sponsored, I just love them.

4. Mini backpacks are my current JAM. I got this simple black Coach one that holds my DSLR camera perfectly. With my third weekend of travel in a row this week I can honestly say it was a great buy. I love being hands free in the airport or roaming the streets of a city.

See others from this series, even though the last one was six months ago, here.

January 23, 2017

..V-Day Gift Ideas Under $60

..V-Day Gifts Under $55
The deets: floral nighty $32 | sequin earrings $38 | tassel clutch $57 | cashmere gloves $50 | candle $26 | cat eye sunnies $42 | fancy chocolate bar $10 | glitter kitty iPhone case $45 | Tom Ford lipstick $53 | Cravings cookbook $30

I love Valentine's Day. I love the sentiment, the cute confections, I love the flowers. I also know that as a women, V-Day is really all about us. We get the pretty things, we get to dress up and get taken for dinner, and we usually are the ones given the fancy presents. Since the flower giving/dinner taking are already pricey I wouldn't ever expect anything over the top for this holiday (or even anything at all). I actually gifted Mike some really nice sunglasses a couple years ago to make up for all the lack luster v-days he has had to endure on his end which I think was a really great surprise. If a fellow decided that they just HAD to get me something then here are some really fun gifts that are under $60 that would absolutely make my night. I actually already have the cook book and can attest to it's fabulousness. 


January 19, 2017

..Baby Shower Attire

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My cousin's baby shower was last weekend and this is the outfit I wore to it. The event itself was so adorable, my family made it a "Peanuts" theme and really went to town. I also had my first "diaper cake" construction experience (photo evidence here). Up until this point in my life I never really imagined myself rolling up 112 tiny diapers into little diaper diplomas and then gluing tulle onto cardboard on a Friday night but I guess that is just what happens when you reach the big 3-0. Everyone had a nice time and it's always a pleasure for me to spend a weekend up in NJ with my sister and extended family. I have one city down and three (or four if you count the one I live in) to go in the next four weeks. Wish me luck!

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January 17, 2017

..Perfect Pink Dresses

..Perfect Pink Dresses
The deets: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

Call me basic, call me lame, call me predictable and cheesy, I don't care. I like to stick to the theme when it comes to holidays and Valentine's Day calls for pink. I wore pink last year, red the year before, way back when, and even on the years I skipped it in my outfit still incorporated pink lipstick or pink shoes. I just enjoy sticking to the plan in that way. On my hunt for a cute one for this year I came across so many different styles and hues. I guess pink is super in right now because my options were aplenty. Here are some of my favorites. Happy V-day outfit planning!

January 10, 2017

..Easy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake

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I can't take credit for this recipe, I found it here and once I took one look at it I HAD to try it myself. Of course I swapped out the semi-sweet chocolate chips for milk chocolate ones because I am a WILD WOMAN but everything else is the same. She calls this cake "ridiculous" and it truly is, and easy! I love love love any recipe that starts with boxed cake. Don't tell anyone but I think doctored boxed cake is better than from scratch in certain cases, especially this one or anything involving funfetti.

INGREDIENTS (recipe is from http://cookiesandcups.com/)

Cake
1 (15.25 ounce) box chocolate cake mix
1 (3.9 ounce) box instant chocolate pudding
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream 
3 eggs
⅓ cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)

Frosting
¼ cup butter, room temperature
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS

Cake
Preheat oven to 350°F. Liberally grease a 10- inch bundt pan with butter or shortening and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine all the cake ingredients. Mix on low for 30 seconds until combined and then on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, until the cake is set. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then invert the pan onto a cake plate. Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed beat the butter, cocoa powder and powdered sugar until combined. Add in the vanilla and cream and beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Frost the top of the cake and garnish with more chocolate chips if desired.
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January 9, 2017

..New Year Thoughts 2017

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Photo from last October when we were venue hunting for our wedding in NJ.

I have never been one to stick to set "resolutions." Honestly, who can? I'd like to meet one of the aliens with these super powers. You basically set yourself up for failure and a heaping serving of self loathing when you can't execute the impossible. I didn't even set any resolutions for myself in 2016 and that year went pretty darn swimmingly for me so I know they definitely aren't a requirement for success or happiness. I do, however, think that while last year was amazing, I tend to get complacent when things aren't thrust in front of me. So, because I'm not huge on "resolutions," or even it's less stuck up cousin "goals," I think I can get comfortable with selecting an over-arching "theme" for 2017. Themes are like the cool-mom version of resolutions. The most loose interpretation of the idea, like a target with a bulls-eye takes up 75% of the board and the outer 25% is still considered a "you did great" zone. The "participation trophy" if you will. A theme is the opposite of setting yourself up for failure, it's setting yourself up to be elated with a mediocre performance..which sounds good to me. So, without further ado, the theme I have selected is (drum roll please)... transformation & self-love. Here are just a few of the items that hope to have crossed off my list by December.

1. I want to actually USE the airline credits that I received in 2016 that will expire this year. Go somewhere new, take a weekend to just have fun. Treat myself. Much of my vacation was used on wedding planning last year and while it was super awesome, I need to switch it up from my usual NJ long weekends.

2. I want to do something active (workout, go for a long walk, take a class) 8-10x/month. I know people who work out regularly will think that's nothing but ...baby steps here. I purchased a bunch of cute workout clothes as motivation and it's actually pretty effective.

3. Break out my camera more, learn it's features better. Take more photos of my friends and life (if they allow me).

4. I need to add more fulfillment to my life to transform it a little. This means doing things that I deem scary and breaking from my very comfortable routine, following my heart more, and finding passion.

5. Be a better friend, relative and human in general. I always beat myself up over not making the call or sending the package or even shooting an email. If I take the time to just do the things I intend I'll be nicer to myself later.

6. Keep bringing content to this blog even if it's different so it can transform with me.

7. Keep things simple. Don't worry about the things and relationships I can not change. Don't sweat the small stuff.

8. Be nice to myself. I don't want to be a person that sets that kind of tone anymore. I imagine if I have a family one day I wouldn't want my children to emulate those vibes. In order to be able to set good examples for the little ones in my life (be it friends babies or my own future ones) I need to start with me.
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