Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday's Fresh Picks: Festive Fall Cocktails

Just as you change up your wardrobe each season, you should change up your cocktails too! I love to take advantage of in season produce and incorporate it into my cocktails. Autumn is the perfect time for this. An abundance of apples and pumpkins makes for some incredibly tasty concoctions.

Pick one or two and try them this weekend. You'll be glad you did!

{Warm your insides with spiked apple cider}

{Take a break from beer and serve up a pitcher of Autumn sangria for football Sundays}

{Fall is synonymous with apples. So, what's fall without a candy apple martini?}

{It may not be better than a sweet, crunchy caramel apple, but a caramel apple martini comes close}

{The trifecta of drink combinations: pear, vanilla, and vodka cocktail}

{Grab the chips and guac and serve them with spiced apple margaritas}

{If you like white Russians, you'll LOVE autumn Russians}

{A hot buttered rum is perfect for a cozy night in}

Friday Fresh Picks are hand-picked favorite items, reviews and highlights from the amazing women you see above.
Visit their websites to learn about other amazing picks from this week!

To view all of my Friday Fresh Picks posts, click here.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Apple Cookies

These cookies are pretty much ideal. No measuring. No mixing. No baking. No cooling.

Just make and eat. This is a great recipe for getting little hands involved in the kitchen. They can help sprinkle the toppings on the cookies.

Apple Cookies


Apples (about 1 per 2 people)
Peanut butter
Chocolate morsels (mini or regular) and/or white chocolate chips
Shredded coconut
Chopped nuts (almonds, peanuts, walnuts, etc.)


1. Core and thinly slice apples.

2. Spread a layer of peanut butter on the apple.

3. Top with chocolate chips, coconut, and nuts.

*Note: You can substitute toppings based on your personal preferences. We've used crushed pretzels, granola, and cinnamon. Whatever you like!

Best Online Reads

The links I am loving this week:

1. 11 things you never knew you could do with Pinterest via Business Insider.

2. 8 hairstyles every girl should know via Style Me Pretty.

3. Anniversary gifts your guy will actually love via She Knows.

4. Spend a chilly afternoon whipping up a batch of salty oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies via Barefoot Contessa. 

5. Can making your bed change your life? via Psychology Today.

6. Halloween costume ideas for couples via eBay.

7. Must-have fall fashion finds that are under $50 via HuffPost Style.

8. A seven-day guide to sleeping better via GQ.

9. Family-friendly trips to take with your kids this school year via Triple Threat Mommy.

10. 21 cat photobombs not to be missed via Mashable.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cooking Tips for Beef Lovers

Beef is one of the most delicious meats out there when cooked properly. If you’re buying a quality cut of beef, then you want to make sure you’re preparing and cooking it properly. This way, you’ll enhance the texture and flavor and make something wonderful.

When Harper was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last February, we made several changes to our diet as a family. One of those changes was to incorporate more protein, specifically beef, into each of our meals. Since then, I've cooked different cuts of beef many different ways, and I've come up with a few helpful hints for getting it just right.

These cooking tips should give you some great ideas when it comes to what to do with your beef.

Sear Your Beef

You can do this with pretty much any beef recipe you can think of. Before adding your beef, sear it on both sides. This will add to the flavor of the dish and make your beef even tastier. You do this by getting a pan to a very high heat, then adding your beef for around 1 minute on each side. Before you add the beef, make sure you’ve brushed it with coconut or olive oil first. You may also like to season it. Don’t move the beef or be tempted to mess with it. You can then add it to your casserole, stew, or even continue cooking in the pan once you’ve seared it.

Get the Timings Right

Everybody knows that you can eat beef well done, rare, or somewhere in the middle. You should know your timings in order to cook the perfect piece of beef. For rare you’ll only need to do both sides for about 2 minutes, but for well done it could be up to 5 minutes each side depending on the size of your beef. It depends what dish you’re cooking too.

Buy The Right Kind for the Job

Different kinds of beef are suitable for different kinds of dishes. For example, a joint of beef is perfect for creating a roast beef dish, while chunks of beef are great for a casserole. The packaging will usually explain what the meat is good for, so pay attention to it.

Enhance the Flavor

Enhance the flavor of your beef by adding different ingredients to complement it. You may like to add sauces, herbs, spices, or all of them to see what you can create. Peppercorn sauce goes great with steak, for example.

Use Good Knives

If you aren’t using a good set of knives on your meat, or any of your food for that matter, you aren’t doing it justice. Make sure they are sharp enough, and that you aren’t having to hack away at your meat to use it. You should be able to slice through it with no problems. This will not only enhance the texture, but the presentation too.

Make Sure You Let it Rest

In most cases, the meat should be rested before you eat it so you can enjoy it properly. This gives it a chance to drop any juices it doesn’t want and soak back up the juices it does want. If you plop it straight on your plate, it might bleed on there and make your vegetables all gloopy. Yuk.

Now, go ahead and make the most of your beef!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Best Berry Lipsticks For Any Skin Tone

This fall berry-, plum-, and wine-colored lipsticks are HOT! They are the must-wear shade of the moment, but the problem is it's difficult to find a shade that looks good on you.

After doing a bit of lipstick research, aka happily testing out a bunch of shades, I've found 4 shades that will look great on anyone, no matter what your skin tone, age, or size of your lips.

1. MAC Rebel
This shade is by far my favorite out of all of the ones I tried. It is near perfect. If you need a liner, MAC has one that will complement this lip color.

2. Smashbox "Fig"
A combination of plum and berry like a deep red grape.

3. NARS "Scarlet Empress"
This rich, vivid shade of wine adds sexy to your smile.

4. Maybelline "Blissful Berry"
A plum/wine shade that's perfect for the upcoming holiday season.

For more of the best in beauty this week, be sure to check out #BeautyBuzz hosted by Momtrends, Mama in HeelsSassy Moms in the City and Jo-Lynne Shane! Don't miss it for the best beauty products, beauty secrets, and fabulous beauty giveaways.

Fall Fun: Jenkinson's Boo at the Boardwalk #JenksAmbassador

For two weekends in the fall, Jenkinson's Boardwalk hosts Boo on the Boardwalk, a seaside celebration filled with Halloween fun including games, trick-or-treating and more. The kids get a chance to take an early spin in their costumes and collect candy from Jenkinson's businesses including the Sweet Shop and the aquarium.

On Saturday, we took a stroll on the boardwalk to check out the festivities. It was a nice switch up from the pumpkin patches and apple orchards that we've been visiting as of late.

There was plenty of fun for the kiddos including a coloring table with fun and spooky pictures. You could even turn your coloring creation into a mask.

There was a prize wheel. You spin it. You win it!

There were fun photo opps including a threesome of scarecrows.

And a Jenkinson's step and repeat.

We had a chance to sneak in a few games of Skee-Ball too!

After the boardwalk fun, we headed to the aquarium. The penguins are in the spirit of Halloween!

Our timing couldn't have been more perfect. We hit the seal and shark feedings.

Jenkinson's Boo on the Boardwalk is a limited engagement. You can enjoy the fun on Saturday, October 25th and Sunday, October 26th from 12 - 4 pm. The aquarium hours are 10 am - 5 pm on Saturdays and Sunday.

For more information, visit

Monday, October 20, 2014

Life Lately: JDRF Walk To Cure Diabetes ~ 2014

Yesterday was the 2014 Jersey Shore JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes in Avon-By-The-Sea, New Jersey. I was a little late getting on board since this was our first year participating in the walk, but I pulled off putting a team together.

And...the best part is our team, Harper's Heroes, raised $1,620 towards finding a cure for type 1 diabetes! THANK YOU if you donated, if you walked, if you sent an encouraging message.

Thank you. Thank you!

I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of how crowded the walk would be. This is the first year that the walk was combined to include 2 counties. Once we arrived and navigated the crowd to find the registration tent, things went smoothly. We checked our team in and grabbed a few t-shirts.

It was crowded, but the crowd was so excited. Everyone was so pumped and thrilled to be part of such a worthy cause. And when you see the type 1 diabetics walking around proudly wearing their blue ribbons, you can't help but to feel empowered. Empowered to help change the future landscape of juvenile diabetes.

My little hero wearing her blue ribbon
We had an awesome team comprised of friends and family. Here's a shot of everyone huddled together to stay warm at the starting line.

Harper's Heroes 2014

The walk was 2.32 miles and took place on the boardwalk or beach, where the kids preferred to walk. The energy was infectious. I loved seeing all the creative team t-shirts. We've already starting planning our tee for next year's walk.

Type 1 diabetes is a disease that requires the support of everyone around you, and it was definitely obvious at this walk that there is plenty of support and commitment in the community. I feel fortunate to have a fantastic team of people supporting Harper and our family.

Harper after crossing the finish line
A finish line celebration
Official team photo (minus a few members)
For more information about JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) or to donate or find a walk near you, click here.

Menu Plan Monday :: 10.20.2014

The weather is finally turning fall-like, and I'm excited about making a few soups and some meals in the slow cooker this week. Not only is it comfort food at it's finest, but it's also super easy!

Here's what we'll be eating this week.

Monday - Swedish meatballs over egg noodles

Tuesday - Slow cooker chicken noodle soup

Wednesday - Southwestern style stuffed peppers

Thursday - Orange chicken and vegetable stir-fry

Friday - Spicy chicken pasta

Saturday - Hubs is on dinner duty

Sunday - Pulled Buffalo chicken sliders

What's on your plate this week? For more meal time inspiration, visit I'm An Organizing Junkie's Meal Plan Monday linkup.

To view all of my menu planning posts, click here. Visit my What's For DinnerPasta, and Soups On! Pinterest boards for even more ideas.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday's Fresh Picks: Favorite Coffee Table Books

I truly believe that you can tell a lot about someone by the books that they have sitting on their coffee table. You can glean what they are passionate about, what they love to do in their spare time, and what appeals to them.

It's pretty obvious what I am passionate about based on my favorite coffee table books.

{California Book - a picturesque tour of the Golden State}

{More than Human - a fascinating look at animals as you've never seen them before}

{Tory Burch: In Color - Tory's latest creation is chock full of her favorite things}

{Hollywood: Then and Now® - a comparison of the glamorous Hollywood of yesteryear to today's slick urban existence}

{Humans of New York - a look at the people who inhabit this diverse city}

{Paris in Color - a glorious, full color look at the City of Light}

{HUE - if drooling over impeccable interior design is your thing, this book is for you}

Friday Fresh Picks are hand-picked favorite items, reviews and highlights from the amazing women you see above.
Visit their websites to learn about other amazing picks from this week!

To view all of my Friday Fresh Picks posts, click here.