Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Food & Drink

SHOP MY FAVES

SHOP MY FAVES
SHOP MY FAVES

STYLE

STYLE
STYLE

5 Ways To Style A Striped Shirt #FashionFriday

Striped shirts are the epitomy of French chic. They are casual yet can be easily dressed up. They are effortless yet they show that you've put some thought into your outfit.

I, for one, love striped shirts. In fact, I hadn't realized just how much I love them until my 11 year old daughter was recently shopping my closet and pointed out to me that I own 17 striped shirts.

I know I need to stop buying them. But they are so versatile and so easy (and fun!) to style.

Take a look at 5 easy ways to style a simple striped shirt.

1. With distressed boyfriend jeans, of course. 

French Chic Striped Shirt

French Chic Striped Shirt by sheila-coleman-hill featuring stripe tops


2. With a pleated skirt
I love the casualness of the striped shirt paired with the dressy skirt. It's a serious but fun combination.

Striped Shirt with a Pleated Skirt


3. With shorts
I especially love mixing prints. The striped shirt with the paisley shorts paired with solid colored accessories is a look I love.
Striped Shirts with Shorts



4. With camouflage and colored denim
I wear my camo skinnies with my black and white striped shirt all. the. time.

Striped Top with Camo Skinnies



5. Accessorize it!
Add a jacket, blazer, trench, scarf, or statement jewelry to a striped shirt and you've taken your look from blah to ta-da!

How To Accessorize a Striped Shirt

How To Accessorize a Striped Shirt by sheila-coleman-hill featuring Tory Burch

Friday is the most fashionable day of the week. Don't miss posts from other Fashion Friday participants including this chic outfit for running everyday errands from Mommies With Style.
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Valentine's Day Fashions for Little Girls

Let's face it. Little girls love any excuse to get dressed up in fun clothes. Whether it's a frilly skirt or a sequined shirt, or a fancy pair of flats, little girls just want to have some fashion fun.

Valentine's Day is the perfect occasion for little girls to don pink frilly skirts, shirts with lace hearts, and red sequin shoes.



Here are a few of my and my daughters' favorite Valentine's Day styles for little girls.

Send her off to school in any one of these adorable outfits, and she is sure to have several new Valentines by the end of the day!

Girls' Valentine's Day Fashions {Gap}

Valentine's Day Fashions For Girls {Gymboree}

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Menu Plan Monday ~ 1.27.14

I am on a roll with menu planning. The past several weeks have gone off without a hitch, and I am hoping the streak continues. So, I am raising my glass to another successful week.


MONDAY - Chicken stir-fry served over basmati rice

TUESDAY - Crock-Pot tomato ravioli soup

WEDNESDAY - Take out from a pizza joint that we've been wanting to try.

THURSDAY - Meatball Tortellini Soup. This was a big hit 2 weeks ago, so it makes it to the MP again!

FRIDAY - Dinner out.

SATURDAY - Make your own pizza.

SUNDAY - Superbowl Sunday!

Menu planning doesn't have to be a chore! For inspiration and to see what others are eating this week, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. To see all of my menu plans, click here.

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Greek Yogurt Showdown: Yoplait Blueberry Versus Chobani Blueberry

I've been eating yogurt on a daily basis for most of my adult life. I started eating it for the calcium benefits and soon grew to love both the taste and the texture.

When Greek yogurt hit the scene, I was hesitant to make the switch. Although it has more nutritional value than traditional yogurt, it was also bitter tasting. I wasn't sure I could acquire a taste for it.

As more and more brands began producing Greek yogurt and adding interesting flavors, I started to prefer Greek yogurt.

But now, with all major brands producing Greek yogurt in an array of delicious flavors, it's hard to know just which one is the best in terms of taste, texture, nutritional value, and price.

This week I was asked to do a blind taste test of two popular Greek yogurt brands:
  • Chobani Greek Yogurt / Blueberry / Fruit on the Bottom 
  • Yoplait Greek Yogurt / Blueberry Blends


I enlisted the help of my daughters in the taste testing. I did a blind taste test while they each had the containers of yogurt in plain view as they tasted.

But before we tasted, we had to make a quick trip to the grocery store to buy the yogurt.

PRICE
The Yoplait Greek yogurt cost $1 per container.


The Chobani Greek yogurt cost $1.59 per container, a 60% increase over the Yoplait yogurt.

APPEARANCE AND TEXTURE

#1 Yoplait Greek yogurt
As you can see it was darker in color and contained more whole pieces of blueberries. The Yoplait yogurt is bleneded so there is no need to mix the fruit with the yogurt.

#2 Chobani Greek yogurt
Was lighter in color and didn't have as much whole blueberries or even small pieces of blueberries. The Chobani yogurt has fruit on the bottom and requires you to combine the yogurt and the fruit. I didn't mind doing this as I generally like to stir my yogurt before I eat it anyway.

TASTE
I was surprised by how vastly different the two yogurts taste. The Yoplait Greek yogurt is sweeter and has a stronger blueberry flavor. The Chobani Greek yogurt is much more tart than the Yoplait and doesn't have much of a fruit flavor. The aftertaste was bitter.


WHICH GREEK YOGURT DO I PREFER?
Well, it depends on how I am eating it.

For plain, out of the container yogurt, I would choose the Chobani Greek yogurt. I actually prefer a yogurt that is more tart than it is sweet. So this would be my choice. My 11 year old daughter preferred the Chobani Greek yogurt.

If I were adding granola to my Greek yogurt, I would go with the Yoplait for a sweeter taste to offset the granola. My 7 year old preferred the Yoplait Greek yogurt.

For smoothies, I would choose to use the Yoplait Greek yogurt to add some sweetness to the smoothie without having to add sugar.

Now it's your turn! Try the better tasting Greek! In a national taste test, Yoplait® Greek Blueberry Beat Chobani® Blueberry Fruit On The Bottom. Get all the details and a coupon HERE.

Go on! What are you waiting for? Take the yogurt taste test and come back and let me know which one you chose as your favorite.

This article is sponsored by Yoplait, but the best Greek yogurt was determined by me.

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What's In My Birchbox - January 2014 #Birchbox

For Christmas I treated myself to a Birchbox subscription. I could hardly wait to get my first Birchbox.

Last weekend while I was visiting my sister in Hershey, PA my Birchbox was delivered. As soon as I got home I ripped open the package.

Here's what was inside.


 Do you subscribe to Birchbox? What was in your Birchbox this month?


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Peep Toe Booties and How To Wear Them #fashionfriday

From sexy and sleek to fresh and fun, the peep toe bootie is this season's hot new shoe. Amp up your look for the office or for a night out with a pair of these practical, on-trend shoes.

Here are a few of my favorite pairs and two ways to style them.


Peep Toe Booties

How To Wear Peep Toe Booties

Peep Toe Booties with a Dress

Betsey Johnson black dress / Forever 21 black boots / Blue purse, $22 / Sethi Couture black diamond earrings

Will you be purchasing a pair of peep toe booties?



For more hot fashion ideas including Jo-Lynne Shane's How To Build A Wardrobe (complete with a fabulous check list), visit this week's Fashion Friday.
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Monster Jam Ticket Giveaway 2/14 {IZOD Center, New Jersey}-CLOSED

The world's premier Monster Jam® truck tour is coming to the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. And you could be there!

The Monster Jam® trucks are aptly named as they stand at 12 feet tall and about 12 feet wide. They are all custom-designed and tower above everything else as they sit atop 66-inch tires! Wow! Now that's a sight to see!! And each truck weighs in at a minimum 10,000 pounds.

These Monster Jam® trucks are capable of reaching heights of up to 35 feet and 130 feet across (that's the equivalent of 14 cars sitting side by side).
The Grave Digger is one of several trucks you will see in action at the Monster Truck show.

This popular monster truck tour is seen by over 4 million fans each year and is hosted by some of the top venues all over the world.

If you attend a Monster Jam® show, you can look forward to seeing these 3 components:
  • The Pit Party - This fun component allows fans to get up close and personal with the stars of Monster Jam®. You also have the opportunity to get autographs and pose for pictures.
  • Racing
  • Freestyle
The Monster Jam® tour features some of the most powerful trucks including Grave Digger®, Madusa®, Grave Digger The Legend®, Captain America, Thrasher, Black Stallion, Overkill Evolution and more may be added to the show circuit.

Wouldn't you love to be there? Now's your chance to win a Family 4-Pack of Tickets to the Friday, February 14th show at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This show begins at 7:30 pm. The family 4-pack DOES NOT include access to the Pit Party (5:30 - 6:30).

WIN A FAMILY FOUR-PACK OF TICKETS TO SEE MONSTER JAM

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just can't wait to win the tickets? Tickets to the Monster Jam show are affordably priced for the whole family with $15 seats for kids. Tickets can be purchased in-person at the IZOD Center Box Office, by visiting www.Ticketmaster.com or calling 1-800-745-3000.
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Menu Plan Monday ~ 1.20.14

Getting my menu plan off to a late start today. We spent the weekend in Hershey visiting my sister and her family, and just returning home this evening. Snow is in the forecast this week, so I better be prepared with some ideas for dinner. So, here's my menu plan...better late than never...


MONDAY - Take out pizza (Taking the easy way out on a holiday)

TUESDAY - Southwestern style stuffed peppers

WEDNESDAY - Broccoli cheese soup with a side salad

THURSDAY - Slow cooker chicken enchiladas

FRIDAY - Dinner out

SATURDAY -  I'm attending a gift auction with girlfriends so the Hubs is in charge of dinner.

SUNDAY - Beef roast in the slow cooker with potatoes and carrots (my own recipe).

Menu planning doesn't have to drive you crazy! For inspiration and to see what others are eating this week, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. To see all of my menu plans,click here.
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Heat Holders® Thermal Socks {Giveaway & Review}

I am always cold. Always. It could be 33 degrees or 83 degrees. No matter. I am cold.

The first place to suffer the effects of the bitter temperatures is my feet. My toes become numb...even when I am wearing heavy socks and boots.

Even a simple stroll through the grocery store leaves my toes without feeling. I've tried several type of heavy socks, but to no avail. Nothing has seemed to work.

WARMEST SOCKS EVER!
And then I discovered Heat Holders, the warmest socks EVER! Heat Holders®. You take them out of the package and put them on. That's it. There are no batteries to insert. There's no putting the socks in the microwave or any silly tricks like that. You put them on your feet, and you are good to go.

I must wear socks when I sleep, so I wore these every night this week to sleep. My feet were perfectly warm and thankfully did not become sweaty. I also wore them on 2 rainy days with my Hunter wellies.

The Heat Holders® are thicker than normal cotton socks. Because of that, I wasn't able to wear them with my every day leather boots. Since the Hunter wellies run on the big side to accommodate boot liners, the Heat Holders® were a perfect fit with my Hunter boots.

Heat Holders® are available for men, women, and older children, and come in a variety of colors. In addition to socks, Heat Holders® offers boot liners and leggings and tights for women.

You can view the full product line here.

See exactly how Heat Holders® work.

WIN A PAIR OF HEAT HOLDERS!!

I love Heat Holders® so much that I am giving away a pair of Heat Holders Originals to one lucky winner. Winner will have his/her choice of color, if inventory allows.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get social with Heat Holders!

You can find Heat Holders® on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary pair of Heat Holders® to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.
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Beauty Products ~ What I Use During a Typical Day

I received an email from a reader who asked me to itemize the beauty products that I use during a typical day. At first, this task sounded easy, but as I really began to think about my beauty routine over the course of an entire day, the products really started to add up.

Today was a typical day for me, so I thought I'd jot down exactly what I used throughout the day. There are certainly some variances. Some days I don't wash my hair. Other days I don't apply full makeup. But for the most part, this is how a typical day plays out.

Shower

Shampoo and Conditioner
I change up my shampoo and conditioner regularly. It really depends on what kind of good deal I can get at CVS or Walgreens.

I am currently using Aveeno Active Natural Pure Renewal Shampoo and Conditioner. I love how this shampoo and conditioner effectively cleanse without leaving behind a residue.

Shower Gel 
I don't use bar soap as it's too drying on my skin. I prefer shower gels and body washes. Here are a few of my favorites.

Dove Go Fresh Body Wash - Pomegranate and Lemon Verbena - $7

Sephora Collection Creamy Body Wash Lagoon - $7

Bliss Soapy Suds Body Wash Blood Orange + White Pepper - $18

Facial Cleanser
I use Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel in the morning and in the evening.

Shaving

Bic Soleil Razors are my all-time favorite. Close shave without cuts, and I am not afraid to shave my bony knees. $12/ 5 pk of 4 blade razors.

eos 24-Hour Moisturizing Shave Cream - $4

Skintimate SkinTherapy Moisturizing Shave Gel Sensitive Skin - $4

Moisturizers

Post-Shower
After I have turned off the water but before I step out of the shower, I put Johnson & Johnson Baby Oil Gel on my legs and feet. It needs to be applied on wet skin and then dabbed dry.

Facial
I am currently using CLEAN & CLEAR MOISTURIZER. It's dirt cheap. I think I paid $6 for it at Target. But it works like a charm, and is gentle on my sensitive skin.

Body
I've been using extra virgin organic coconut oil, and I am addicted to it. Addicted. I can't see myself ever using any other kind of moisturizer on my lower body.  I like Jarrow Formulas Coconut Oil 100% Organic, Extra Virgin, but there are lots of different brands available. On my upper body, I like a scented lotion such as Bath & Body Works White Citrus scent. It's light and if you follow it up with a squirt of the body mist, you'll be good all day long.

Makeup Routine

I used to spend about 20 minutes on my makeup, but in the interest of time, I have streamlined my makeup routine. It's down to about 8 minutes now.

1. I apply a BB cream first. I picked up a few free samples of Boscia BB Cream a few months ago at Sephora and it has now become my favorite brand. I buy it online at HSN.

2. I put a dab of Laura Geller "The Real Deal" concealer at the inside corners of my eyes where I have shadows. I apply a little more BB cream over the concealer.

3. I brush a color correcting powder on my T-zone. I love e.l.f. Studio Tone Correcting Powder (it's a steal at $3) and stila "set and correct" baked correcting powder (it's a splurge at $34).

4. On to my eyes. My eyebrows are thinning and are starting to go gray (ahhhhh). My sister introduced me to the Anastasia line of eyebrow cosmetics. They are FABULOUS!!!

I swear by the Brow Wiz pencil in Ash Blonde or Caramel depending on how light my hair is. The Brow Genius Kit is magnificent too. You can't go wrong with any Anastasia product.

The eye shadow I use religiously is Cover Girl Eye Enhancers 4 Kit Shadows in Country Woods.

And I do not leave the house without mascara, Eyeko mascara to be exact.


HAIR


After I apply my makeup, I finish my hair.

On days that I don't wash my hair, I spray a generous amount of Aveeno Pure Renewal Dry Shampoo.

On those days when I wash my hair, I spray the damp ends with Garnier Triple Nutrition spray. This helps to restore moisture to dry ends. Keep it away from roots. Otherwise, it will give your hair a greasy look.

I blow dry my hair with Revlon's Ionic 1875W dryer. I use a big round brush from Conair to style it.

I spray some Finesse hairspray on, and I am out the door!

You can find a few of my favorite things here.

 
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Easy Vanilla Cupcakes

Over the weekend, Harper had a playdate. She wanted to make and decorate cupcakes, and she really wanted to use the Funfetti cake mix.

After a few minutes of arguing back and forth and hemming and hawing, I finally convinced her that we should bake the cupcakes from scratch. "They'll be so much tastier and healthier", I told her.

This is my favorite cupcake recipe. The cupcakes are light and airy and turn out perfectly smooth on the top. Once you try this recipe, you will never go back to a box mix.


Easy Vanilla Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 lb. butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar (use 3/4 cup if you want a sweeter cupcake)*
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
For the icing:
  • 2 oz. butter, softened
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 dash of salt
* I use 1/2 cup of sugar since the icing will sweeten the cupcake.

PREPARATION

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin tin with paper cups or spray the tin with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Set aside.

3. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time.

4. Add the pure vanilla extract to the milk.

5. In 3 batches, add the flour mixture. Beat. Add milk. Beat. Add flour. Beat. Continue until all ingredients are added and well combined.

6. Pour batter into muffin cups and fill 2/3 of the cup.

7. Bake for 16-18 minutes.

8. Remove from muffin tin and place on a wire rack to cool.

9. Prepare the icing by creaming the 2 oz. of butter in a bowl with a hand mixer. Add the remaining ingredients and mix for about 4 minutes.

10. Either spread the icing on the cupcakes or place in a bag fitted with a frosting tip and pipe the icing on to the cupcakes.

Having a few good baking tools will insure success. Here are a few of my favorites:

A fun apron is a must!

Sur La Table Muffin/Cupcake Pan - $25

KitchenAid 5-Speed Hand Mixer - $49

Cupcake Liners and Picks - $10

Collapsible Mixing Bowl - $20

Silicone Spatula - $12
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Menu Plan Monday ~ 1.13.2014

I get a few days off from cooking this week as the girls and I are going to Hershey for the holiday weekend.

So that means that while we are home, I don't get any breaks and will be cooking every night (frozen pizza counts, right?). Luckily for me, the Hubs picked up the latest issue of Food Network magazine last week while he was traveling. It has provided plenty of meal time inspiration for the next few weeks.

MONDAY - Meatball Tortellini Soup served with crusty rolls.

TUESDAY - Pasta with kalamata olives and roasted cherry tomato sauce.

WEDNESDAY - Udi's Gluten-Free frozen pizza (Margherita). The Hubs has a business dinner, and Emma has gymnastics and CCD. I picked up a few of these pizzas yesterday at my local supermarket. They were on sale for $3/each, regularly $8. Can't wait to try them!!

THURSDAY - Pennsylvania Dutch ham and bean soup. If you've never had PA Dutch rivels (small dough balls) in soup, you have got to try it! My mom made this soup, and it always brings back fond memories.

FRIDAY, SATURDAY, and SUNDAY - We will be in Hershey.

Menu planning doesn't have to be a chore! For inspiration and to see what others are eating this week, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. To see all of my menu plans, click here.
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What's In That Milk You Are Drinking?

It's milk. It's loaded with calcium. It does the body good.

But does it?

If it's on grocery store shelves, then it must be safe to consume. Right?

Well, not exactly.

I admit that I was blissfully unaware of the dangers lurking in my everyday food. I had no idea. I had never really considered that what I was feeding my body could have been doing more harm than good.

It wasn't until I attended a luncheon hosted by Stonyfield Farm, the makers of organic dairy products, and featuring food activist Robyn O'Brien that I realized that foods produced in the United States are below par compared with foods produced in other industrialized nations. If you have never read my recap of that luncheon, head over there now and give it a read before you continue.

Ok, you're back. Great. Let's move on.

After hearing Robyn speak, I had an overwhelming urge to rush home and completely overhaul the contents of my pantry and kitchen cabinets. But I knew that was neither practical nor cost-effective. So, I asked Ms. O'Brien when making the switch to organic and clean eating, where is the best place to start?

Her answer: dairy products.

Conventionally produced milk contains artificial hormones. Any milk that is not labeled as organic, as raw, or as being rBGH-free is conventionally produced. To boost milk production, farmers treat their cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST). What farmers and the FDA fail to tell consumers is that rBGH also causes udder infections and pus in the milk. rBGH also leads to higher levels of the hormone called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in milk. High levels of IGF-1 have been linked to breast, prostate, and colon cancers.

IGF-1 is banned in most industrialized countries including Canada and 27 countries in the E.U.

Have you spit out your milk yet?
Photo Credit: The Telegraph UK

If those hormones are reaching the bloodstreams of the injected cows, they are eventually reaching your bloodstream if you aren't drinking rBGH-free or organic milk.

After attending the Stonyfield luncheon, I came home with a mission. I vowed to learn more about the food I am eating and the food I am feeding my family. And my mission started with dairy products.

Robyn O'Brien admitted that switching to an organic and clean food diet would not be easy nor would it be a quick transition. It would take time and effort.

The first step I took was to switch to organic milk. We are not milk drinkers per se, but occasionally we use it for cereal as well as for cooking. Over time, we made the switch to organic cheese, butter, and yogurt, sour cream and other products that contained milk such as ice cream.

As we were in the process of swapping out conventional dairy products for organic ones, I continued to do some research. I found conflicting research and opinions. But the more I read, the more I knew that I didn't want my daughters drinking milk which contained rBGH.

A majority of the research I found stated that rBGH contributes to girls reaching puberty earlier than ever before, with onset occurring as early as the age of 8.

As the mother of 2 daughters, I can tell you that 8 years old is too young to physically or emotionally handle puberty. Menstruation alone would be overwhelming at such a young age.

Through my work with Stonyfield Farm as a brand ambassador I have had additional opportunities to learn about the organic cattle farming industry and the many benefits of organic dairy products. I stand by my decision to stop buying conventionally produced dairy products just as much today as I did 3 years ago when we made the switch.

To learn more, visit these sites:

Stonyfield Farm

Robyn O'Brien
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Let a Sleeping Cat Lie {Wordless Wednesday}

This week our usually snuggly and attention-seeking cat wanted nothing more than to be left alone.





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Menu Plan Monday ~ 1.6.14

A new year, and a chance to get back on track with healthy eating and meal planning. The sweet treats and indulgences over the holiday break were nice while they lasted, but now it's time to get back to balanced meals.

To start us off, this is what we'll be eating this week:

MONDAY - White pizzas with roasted garlic and broccoli on flour tortillas with a side salad. (my own recipe but I should really post this one. They are light and tasty.)

TUESDAY - Chicken noodle soup in the slow cooker (my own recipe).

WEDNESDAY - Once a month, Emma's middle school has a fundraiser at Jersey Mike's Subs. We'll grab dinner there and support her school at the same time!

THURSDAY - Black beans and rice

FRIDAY - Dinner out.

SATURDAY - Chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. (This is one of the Hubs' specialties. It's delicious. Another good one to post in the near future).

When I first started meal planning, I was overly ambitious, planning out full meals each day. I quickly learned that doesn't work for me. My schedule is too hectic, and I don't like or want to cook each and every day. So, now I sprinkle in take out or dinner out twice a week to space things out a bit and give us a break.

Do what works for you and don't beat yourself up for not cooking every day.

Click HERE to see all of my meal planning posts.

For more menu planning inspiration and helpful printables to make meal planning easier, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie to see what others are eating this week.
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3 Cocktails To Warm Your Insides

It is C-O-L-D here in the Northeast. And I mean cold.

On a cold winter's night the only thing that will do is a nice, toasty cocktail that warms the insides right down to your bones.

Here are 3 recipes that will have you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside in no time.


Spiked Hot Chocolate
  • 1 part Three Olives ® Chocolate Vodka
  • 2 parts hot cocoa
  • Whipped cream
  • Pour both ingredients into a tall mug and stir. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.

Vanilla Cocoa Twist
  • 1 part Three Olives ® Vanilla Vodka
  • 1 part amaretto
  • 3 parts hot cocoa
  • 1 dollop of whipped cream
  • Pour the first three ingredients into a tall mug and stir. Top with a tablespoon of whipped cream.

Hot Buttered Rum (see recipe and picture here).

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream (heavy)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons rum per each serving/mug (I prefer dark rum, but any will do)
  • Boiling water (1/2 cup per each serving/mug)
  • Beat butter and brown sugar in bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
  • Beat in whipping cream and powdered sugar alternately on low speed until smooth and well combined.
  • Stir in nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. This mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for several hours (or freezer for up to 3 months) until ready to use. For each serving, place 2 tablespoons of rum and 2 tablespoons of batter into a mug.
  • Stir in 1/2 cup of boiling water.
  • Sprinkle with nutmeg.


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8 Winter Wardrobe Basics Every Woman Needs To Own {Fashion Friday}

One of my goals for the new year is to make better, smarter choices when it comes to clothes. I can be impulsive on occasion, especially when it comes to deep discounts. If I eye up a pair of pants that have been marked down several times and the final markdown brings the cost to under $20, I grab them without a second thought.

While the pants may be a good deal in the whole scheme of things, it's not a smart purchase if I never actually wear the pants.

This winter I am focusing on adding a few key pieces to my wardrobe. These essentials can be paired with each other as well as with other items in my closet. The pieces are versatile and cost-effective when combined with other wardrobe items that I own.

The key to buying basics is to invest in quality. Do not skimp on classics. You don't have to go high-end designer, but good quality pieces will last you for years and will be well worth the money spent.

8 Basic Wardrobe Essentials {Winter}



1. A white collared shirt - This shirt will never let you down. It's a classic. The crisp lines will give any outfit a polished look. This one from Banana Republic is one of my favorites.

2. A black blazer - With jeans, pants, or a skirt, the black blazer is always a winner. This one-button, fitted blazer from Banana Republic is perfect for a day at the office or a night on the town.

3. A leather tote - A large tote is perfect for stashing all your winter accessories such as gloves, hats, and scarves. The Hamilton tote from Michael Kors is a fave of mine and is available in several different colors.

4. A pair of tall boots - Tall boots add sexiness to a skirt for the office or jeans for cocktails and dinner. This pair by Via Spiga is available in black or dark chestnut brown.

5. A pair of sleek booties - Booties are a great alternative to boots when you want the look without the bulk. I love a great pair of booties with a skirt and a pair of tights. Kick it up a notch in this pair from Nine West.

6. A tweed skirt - Speaking of skirts, a tweed skirt is the go-to skirt of the season. If you can find a fabric blocked one that has some leather like the one above, even better. Try a tweed skirt like this one from Proenza Schuler (if you are in the mood to splurge) or this one from Banana Republic.

7. A pair of great fitting dark denim jeans - If you can afford only one item from this list, make it the jeans. You can dress them up or dress them down. You can wear them for just about any occasion, and it won't take long before you see a return on your investment. I have my fair share of inexpensive jeans, but a pair of designer jeans is well worth the money. You'll look and feel great. A favorite brand of mine is Seven For All Mankind (shown above).

8. A turtleneck - Who can forget the iconic picture of Audrey Hepburn in a black turtleneck? A black turtleneck is simple yet chic, practical yet fashionable. Check out this cashmere turtleneck on sale right now at Neiman Marcus.

If you are wondering exactly how to spend your holiday gift cards, don't miss these fabulous suggestions from Jo-Lynne over at Musings of a Housewife.

Be sure to visit other Fashion Friday participants for more inspiration.

Fashion Friday
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2014 Word of the Year

And just like that 2013 is over. Time to move on to bigger and better things in 2014.

I stopped making resolutions years ago. Instead, I started making goals. Lists of things I wanted to accomplish and master within the year.

We often start the year off eagerly. Lots of goals and resolutions can only mean one thing in the end. Failure. Too much too soon leaves us feeling frustrated and defeated. 

So, this year I am switching it up a bit. I am choosing a word for the year, and throughout this year I will live by that word.

My word for 2014 is FEARLESS.


Fear holds us back from doing so many of the things we want to do...things we NEED to do. This year, I'm not giving in to my fears and inhibitions. It's time to take control of them, conquer them, and kick them to the curb.

Here's a good example. I belong to a gym. Most of the time I stick to the cardio and weight machines. To me they are safe. I know how to use them. I know the people who use them. Group classes scare me. I know how ridiculous this fear is. It's silly, but I am intimidated by group classes. I have this fear that everyone knows one another. One big clique that I am not a part of.

Then there's also the irrational fear that everyone will think I am out of shape. I have to remember that it's a gym, and we are all there to get and stay in shape. For the most part, I have avoided most group classes for these 2 reasons. I have made excuse after excuse to avoid taking them. But not this year. I am conquering my fear of group classes.

That's just one specific example. The bottom line is that fears can have an overwhelming and subconscious control over our every day lives. We avoid certain situations out of fear. Fears keep us from doing what we desire and from being who we want to be.

Being fearless is being free. I want to wake up each day and say, "Today I will not be afraid to ____________________." and fill in the blank any way I wish on any given day.

I want to choose bravery.


What will you choose this year?

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