Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Food & Drink




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Best Online Reads

The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. Why your attitude is more important than your IQ via Forbes.

2. Seven secrets to raising awesome, functional teenagers via Upworthy.

3. Girls with nagging moms grow up to be more successful via Good Housekeeping.

4. Toss these 10 things from your kitchen in the next 10 minutes via Real Simple.

5. Twenty movies every woman should watch via Brightside.

6. Packing hacks that will change your life via Marie Claire.

7. The art of drinking without putting on weight via Thrillist.

8. Best anti-aging tips of all time via Health.

9. How to drink tea like a royal via Vogue.

10. Next time I make cookies, I'll be making these vanilla bean chocolate chip cookies via What's Gaby Cooking.

What To Watch On Netflix NOW

There's ALWAYS something to watch on Netflix. Whether you love an educational documentary or need a distraction in the form of a rom-com, Netflix delivers. For those with a longer attention span or lots of binge-watching time on your hands, you can dive into a several-season show. For those who don't want to make the commitment to delve into several seasons of a show, you can certainly enjoy a blockbuster hit, a documentary, or a one-off hit TV show.

Since wrapping up watching 90210 (the re-make based on the Beverly Hills 90210), which was quite a commitment since it was five seasons, I've been jumping back and forth from movies to documentaries to short TV shows.

Here are a few of the Netflix movies and shows that I've thoroughly enjoyed recently.

Flaked (original Netflix series/1 season)
I'm a sucker for any show set in southern California. Flaked takes place in Venice Beach and follows the everyday struggles and personal insights of Chip (played flawlessly by Will Arnett). Chip is one of those characters who you can't decide if you love or hate, but either way, you'll find yourself rooting for him.

Bloodline (original Netflix series/1 season. Season 2 to premier May 26)
Get on this show NOW before the second season starts later this month. You'll want to give yourself enough time to get through all the episodes in the first season so that you can jump right in to season 2. Bloodline is set in the picturesque keys of Florida, but life is often anything but for the Rayburn family. Pillars of their community, this family has deep, dark secrets that slowly come to light and keep you on the edge of your seat.

Copenhagen (movie)
I'm sensing a pattern here with gorgeous scenery! In this coming-of-age movie set in beautiful Denmark, William sets out to track down his family history. Along the way he meets a wise-beyond-her-years girl who embarks on his journey and helps him discover what he yearns to learn. Along the way, he finds out something about himself.

The Seventies (documentary)
This compelling series examines 1970s America with a focus on major political, historical, and cultural landmarks of the decade.

Echo Park (movie)
When two people from different sides of LA meet, they struggle to cross cultural and socio-economic boundaries as well as weed through their own personal challenges to make their relationship work. Set in LA's Echo Park neighborhood, this movie offers stunning skyline shots of Los Angeles.

The Layover with Anthony Bourdain (TV series)
With only 24-48 hours in a city, Anthony Bourdain takes time to kill and makes it a killer culinary time. Follow his adventures as he sets out to feed himself, learn the lay of the land, and meet the people behind the food scene along the way.

Happy May ~ Letter From The Editor

It's finally starting to look like May even though it hardly feels like it. Today is gray and chilly, but I am holding out hope for warmer and sunnier days ahead.

For locals here at the Jersey Shore, May is our last hurrah. It's our final chance to take advantage of the peace and quiet of our beaches and restaurants before the summer tourists and seasonal residents arrive for the summer season.

I've got a long list of places to go and things to do before the summer crowd hits the local scene, and I'll be sharing those places throughout May and into the summer months. What's summer without pizza? I'll be compiling a list of my favorite family-friendly pizza places at the Jersey Shore to grab a pie or a slice. And I'll be sharing the places we love to grab a delicious breakfast before you hit the beach.

It's my favorite time of year for fashion. I love the easy, breezy style of summer. I've got a few photoshoots lined up and outfits picked out for casual summer outings. My youngest daughter Harper will also make a few appearances this month as she shares a few of her favorite fashion finds and accessories.

Another summer favorite: outdoor entertaining. Entertaining tips, must-haves, and recipes are on the way this month. Of course, you'll find all your usual favorites including menu plans, Best Online Reads, and Friday Fresh Picks.

Don't forget to check out my SHOP MY FAVES page for all my current favorite items. I update the page daily, so there's always something new to discover!

If there is anything specific you'd like to see featured on the blog, drop me a line at

In the meantime, don't miss these popular stories from April.

Still looking for the perfect outfit for Mother's Day? Check out this post which features three fabulous outfits from Unpredictable Juno.

Wondering what to add to your wardrobe for spring? Here are my recommendations.

Here are the 10 bathing suits I would actually wear this summer.

I've fallen hard for pineapple-inspired clothing and house wares this spring.

May Must-Haves

Turkish Towel (super stylish for impromptu picnics at the park or beach)

Off-The-Shoulder Top (summer's hottest fashion piece, available in 4 colors and under $40!!)

adidas Stan Smith Sneakers (the iconic sneaker from the 70s is back and better than ever!)

Odette Scalloped Flat Sandal (a cute flat sandal is a must for spring, and I LOVE the scalloped detail on this one)

Are you following along on Snapchat? It's been my social media channel of choice lately where I post my day-to-day happenings. Scan the photo or add me "piecesofamom".

And you can follow along on Pinterest.

Or find me on Instagram.

Menu Plan Monday :: 5.2.2016

I'm looking forward to a quick week and a relaxing weekend celebrating Mother's Day.  My daughter and I went to Whole Foods yesterday and stocked up on all the ingredients we need for meals this week, so I have NO excuses not to get in the kitchen and cook!

Grilled pineapple chicken foil packets
Here's what's planned for this week:

Monday - Tortellini, bean, and pesto soup with a side salad

Tuesday - Rice and bean bowls (similar to this recipe)

Wednesday - Dinner out

Thursday - Steak tacos with lots of guac for Cinco de Mayo

Friday - Lasagna stuffed peppers

Saturday - Grilled pineapple-chicken foil packets with roasted potatoes

Sunday - Mother's Day!!!

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 Fresh Picks: Athleta Girl

I've always loved Athleta for workout and athleisure wear for myself. But now, I've got another reason to love it. Atheta introduced a collection for girls. This line is for every girl who shines bright, dreams big, and does everything she puts her mind to.

Atheta has always been a line that has made me feel confident and empowered. From workout wear to casual dresses to bathing suits, the Athleta brand has always made me feel strong AND feminine.

Now, it's doing the same to empower our girls to feel the same way.

In this week's Friday Fresh Picks, I'm sharing a few of my favorite items for Athleta Girl.
This tee enforces the message that our girls should never hold back.

My girls love anything that's sporty and girly like this skort.
Sporty Skort (in Melon Shock)

Gone is basic black. Girls can embrace and express their fun side in the colorful tank.

When comfort and a slow pace are what is needed most, these comfy capris get the job done. There's even a matching pair of mom, too!

Kickin' It Capri (in Grey Heather)

It's a top priority to look cute at the beach or pool. They'll be the cutest in this braided bikini.

Braided Bikini Top and Bottom (in Floral Burst)

Throw these shorts on over a bathing suit for a quick walk on the beach.

This soft, stylish sweatshirt will be your daughter's go-to sweatshirt for sure.

Thanks for checking out this week's Friday Fresh Picks. Swing by the rest of the FFP gals to see what they are loving this week.
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.

Best Online Reads

The ten stories from around the web that I'm loving this week:

1. Food hacks that will change your life via PureWow.

2. Five things you need to stop doing at work via U.S. News & World Report.

3. Student pays off grandparents' mortgage as a thank you via Today.

4. Nine ways to look stunning in your profile picture via Woman's Day.

5. What nutritionists pack in their kids' lunches via Real Simple.

6. Twenty-one delicious snacks from Whole Foods that are under $5 via Refinery 29.

7. A lovely article on living with kids post-divorce via Design Mom.

8. Five steps to help you de-overwhelm via Yoganonymous.

9. Fitbit addict? 13 problems only steps addicts understand via Cosmopolitan.

10. This lightweight pullover is perfect for chilly summer evenings via L.L.Bean.

11 Fab Mother's Day Gifts

Do you stress every year looking for the perfect Mother's Day gift? I like gifts that are practical but with a unique spin. Something I can use that's either a little different or super special is the kind of gift I love to receive. I've put together a few recommendations for fabulous Mother's Day gifts for the special mom, mother-in-law, grandmother, sister, aunt, mother figure, or self (hey, I'm not above buying a gift for myself!).

S'well Water Bottle ($35) - Who couldn't use a little encouragement to drink more water? S'well bottles make the perfect gift because they are the type of gift that's slightly too expensive to treat yourself, but it's within ideal dollar range to gift. There are 2 different sizes and so many cool colors and designs to choose from.

"Ladies First" Canvas Tote Bag ($34) - I seriously can never have enough canvas totes. I use them for toting goods from the farmers' market, packing books and magazines for the beach or pool, and as gifts. I love the black, white, and gold color scheme of this one, and of course, "ladies first" is perfect for Mother's Day!

Color Me Stress-Free Adult Coloring Book ($14) - Adult coloring books are all the rage and for good reason. The art of coloring can be very relaxing and soothing. I received a sample in the mail a few months ago, and I've been hooked ever since. When mom needs to unwind, she can open up this book which includes over 100 coloring templates and colored pencils.

Sanuk Yoga Sling Sandals ($38) - Remember my gift objective...practical and unique. These sandals definitely fit the bill. They are super, super comfortable and look just as good with a pair of yoga pants as they do with a long skirt. If mom is a yogi, she'll love these for going to and from class.

Delicasies Bracelet (Pineapple) ($75) - If mom is passionate about food and jewelry, then a piece from the Delicasies collection is for her. These fun food-inspired bracelets and charms are a pretty way to express yourself. I have a pineapple bracelet, and I get so many compliments on it.

Scrabble Wine Charms ($2.50 per charm) - The wine glasses will never be confused again with these fun Scrabble wine charms.

Mini Macarons from Baked by Melissa ($25/box) - Delight mom's sweet tooth with a fun twist on a traditional treat. Available in gift boxes of 25.

Lilly Pulitzer Large Notebook ($12) - Has mom been a little scatterbrained lately? This colorful notebook is fun and functional. Perfect for daily reminders, appointements, to-do lists and more to help keep mom organized.

Diptyque Mimosa Candle ($62) - It's no big secret that Diptyque candles are my favorite. They smell divine. I haven't found a candle that compares to them. They make fabulous gifts for a special mom because they are quite a splurge, but so worth it. They are available in an array of amazing scents, but this one is one of my favorites.

Minimergency Kit ($47) - Mom will never be in a pinch or a pickle again with this slender survival kit filled with essentials for getting out of any jam from chipped nail polish to a splinter to a hole in a stocking.

Tocca Travel Parfum Set ($45) - I always pare down my beauty when I travel. For me that means smaller containers for all of my essentials, and that includes perfume. These small bottles smell delicious and are convenient in their miniature form. They are also an economical way to try scents before committing to buying a large bottle.

April Beauty Buys

This winter really kicked my skin's butt. In last month's Beauty Buys post, I shared a moisturizer that has helped alleviate a lot of the scaly, dry skin I experienced. I'm excited for warmer weather to be on its way. I tend to pare down my makeup regime significantly during those months, often wearing only a tinted moisturizer, bronzer, mascara, and lip gloss.

These are the products I am loving this month.

St. Ives Green Tea Scrub - I initially wanted to try this cleanser because it promised to soothe redness. But I ended up loving it for a few other reasons. It has a great scent, and has small micro beads for scrubbing that don't irritate my skin. Green tea is a natural remedy for rosacea and redness, and so far, I am loving the results I am getting from this cleanser.

L'Oreal Paris Elnett Hairspray - I've never paid more than $6 for a bottle of hairspray, but when I found this one for color-treated hair, the price ($14) wasn't an issue. In addition to the UV filter, this hair spray offers exceptional hold without stiffness.

Colgate Enamel Health Mineral Repair Toothpaste - I start most days with a mug of hot lemon water. All the acid from the lemons can quickly break down tooth enamel. As a preventative measure, I've started using this toothpaste. It has a nice minty flavor and isn't overly chalky. It provides whitening benefits as well.

Bath & Body Works French Lavender & Honey Body Lotion - I had a coupon for a free trial size lotion, so I picked this one up while Harper was stocking up on hand sanitizer. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the scent. I find Bath & Body Works scents to be overwhelming but the French Lavender & Honey is actually nice.

Menu Plan Monday :: 4.25.2016

This week promises to be a little less crazy than last week. Thankfully I'll have more time to prepare dinners. I've added a few new recipes to the rotation that I'm excited about trying. I'm taking the night off on Friday to attend a very special charity event where I'll have a chance to indulge in some delicious hors d'oeuvres and cocktails.

Here's what's on the menu this week:
Chicken tortilla soup
Monday - Crab cakes over greens

Tuesday - Chicken tortilla soup

Wednesday - Pasta puttanesca with a side salad

Loving Lately: Pineapples

Summer is coming, and that means pineapples! Fresh pineapple to snack on. Grilled pineapple for dessert. And pineapples on clothing, accessories, and home goods.

This summer I am loving pineapples as a summer motif. They are summery without being overly beachy which can be overdone, especially if you live in a coastal area like I do.

Here are a few of my favorite pineapple finds for summer.

Ann Taylor Blouse | Phone Case | Canvas Tote | Shorts | Necklace | Brass Jars | Espadrilles | Candle | Pillow | Romper | Pool Float ~ similar (float shown is no longer available)