Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Food & Drink

SHOP MY FAVES

SHOP MY FAVES
SHOP MY FAVES

STYLE

STYLE
STYLE

Making Organic Affordable and Accessible

For years I had been reading about the benefits of eating organic foods. There were many upsides to eating organic. However, there was a huge downside: the cost. The cost of organic food was often two or three times the cost of conventional foods. Over time, that cost could add up quickly for a family of four who eats a a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

That was years ago. Times have certainly changed. Buying organic is now accessible and affordable. You no longer have to head to your local natural food store to buy organic produce, frozen foods, dry goods, and beauty products. And you no longer 

Tips for Shopping Organic on a Budget:

1. Use coupons.
Check for coupon circulars in your Sunday paper. Clip what you need and immediately put them in your purse so you have them on hand for shopping. 
Check web sites for organic retailers. They often offer coupons to registered users. I download coupons form Stonyfield and Annie's Homegrown on a monthly basis.

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Cheers To Groundhog Day Cocktails

Groundhog Day may not seem like an occasion worthy of celebrating. But trust me, if I hear there will be six more weeks of winter, I'll be in need of a cocktail. On the other hand, if I hear spring is just around the corner, I'll want a cocktail to celebrate the good news.

Whether Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow or not, these fun and fruity, warm-weather inspired cocktails are perfect for celebrating the outcome, good or bad.

Shadow Spritzer


Ingredients
1 Bottle of Strawberry Lemonade Sparkling Ice
Dash of lime juice
1 ½ oz. vodka
Fresh raspberries for garnish
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Crushed ice

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Friday Fresh Picks: My Valentine's Day Wish List

Anyone else think this week draaaaaaged on? Yes? It sure did for me. Snow days and sick days made this week a long one. Friday is finally here, and I am jumping for joy. I can't believe we are in the final days of January. It seems like I was just clinking Champagne glasses with friends while ringing in the new year, and now I'm hauling out my Valentine's Day decorations.

Speaking of Valentine's Day, the Hubs and I stopped exchanging gifts years ago, but I like to treat myself to something small. Generally, it's nothing extravagant. It's just a small token to show me how much I love me.

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Best Online Reads

Best Online Reads is a collection of the ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week.

1. I need this cat mug in my life via Mug Empire.

2. A retrospective look at Jennifer Aniston's hairstyles over the years via Redbook.

3. A stunning white giraffe spotted in Tanzania via Bored Panda.

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Three Ways to Support Your Daughter As She Grows Up

Growing up is difficult for any child or teenager. It's hard to handle getting older, not to mention how hormones are affecting their bodies and emotions. Girls can have a hard time when they start going through puberty, and many of us moms don't remember it fondly! It can be a stressful time, for both girls and their parents. It's a time of transition for both girls and their parents, and it can be an emotional roller coaster to watch our little girls grow into a young women.

Our oldest daughter is thirteen. We are in the thick of physical and emotional changes and the quintessential teenage struggles. As much as you think it's a losing battle, there are things you can do to make it easier for her and you. Here are three easy and fun ways you can support her during these trying years.


1. Spend One-on-one Time Together
I make it a priority to spend one-on-one time with each of my daughters. It's important to continue to do this as your daughter goes into her pre-teen and teenage yours. Although, don't be offended if she would rather hang out with her friends! As she gets older, you can tailor your activities to be more adult oriented. There's no need to be in a rush to do this. Eventually she'll appreciate your treating her like a grown-up. For example, you might get coffee together or go for lunch at a nice restaurant. Don't treat her like one of your girlfriends, but recognize that she's no longer a little girl either.

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Falling In Love with Fair Isle

I wouldn't classify preppy as my primary style, but I have a tendency to lean in to it (this post on Instagram proves my point). It goes back to growing up in the 1970s when Lacoste shirts were all the rage. Every once in a while something preppy will strike a chord with me. This winter it's Fair Isle sweaters.

When my husband bought me this one for my birthday, I wasn't convinced it was for me, but I was excited to give it a try. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't very cooperative. It was a bit too warm to wear it in early December. So when it snowed this past weekend, I couldn't wait to wear it.


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Menu Plan Monday :: 1.25.2016

We are kicking off this week with our very first snow day of the school year. We were blasted with snow over the weekend, and the clean up efforts are monumental. The kids are thrilled. Honestly, is there anything better than a snow day? Thinking you have to wake up and go to school only to find out that you don't...yeah, the best.

Monday - Chicken and dumpling soup

TuesdayLime chicken tacos

Wednesday - Ravioli with brow butter and sage

Thursday - Chicken saltimbocca


Friday - Dinner out

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Weekend Wrap Up

This weekend was a doozy. We were socked with a snowstorm that dumped almost 2 feet of snow on us. Mother Nature is getting her revenge for all those warms days she blessed us with in December.

The snow is overwhelming. It's everywhere, and there is so much of it. Piled high everywhere you look. I'm trying to stay calm, but it's causing me major anxiety. The only upside is that the kids are loving playing in it.


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Friday Fresh Picks: How I'll Spend a Snowy Weekend

We are gearing up for one whopper of a snow storm this weekend. Most of the day tomorrow will be spent indoors, and to say that I am prepared is an understatement. I've got my day mapped out from what I'll be reading to what I'll be munching on. If you're in the snow belt, good luck shoveling yourself out. If you are lucky enough to be enjoying sunny skies and warm temperatures, enjoy your fortunate weather. Wherever you are and whatever you'll be doing, have a fab weekend! xx

In today's Friday Fresh Picks, I'm sharing how I'll be spending my snowy weekend.

What I'll Be Reading ~ The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
I'm not far into this book, and already I am singing its praises. It has changed my approach to everything from grocery shopping to clothing shopping to everyday tidying up. This book has made me so much more aware of what I bring in to my home and into my life.

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Best Online Reads



Best Online Reads is a collection of my ten favorite stories from around the web this week.

1. The 25 most popular passwords of 2015 via Gizmodo.

2. The cocktail you should be drinking based on your zodiac sign via Elle Decor.

3. How to add greenery to any space via Cupcakes and Cashmere.
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California Dreamin'

For as long as I can remember I've longed to live in California. When I was a software consultant, I spent a lot of time in southern California helping the many biotech companies implement our software program. Each time I visited I fell more in love with the L.A. area. I was always inspired by the city and its diversity, and well, the weather certainly speaks for itself.

As I sit at my desk listening to weather reports and forecasts of a pending snowstorm, I can't help but to dream of the warm breezes, palm trees, and pastel-colored skies of sunny SoCal. I've curated a few of my favorite pictures which I turn to when I need to be reminded that it's not cold and snowy everywhere.
The palms of Santa Monica ~ photo source

The winding roads of the Pacific Coast Highway ~ photo source

The iconic Beverly Hills Hotel ~ photo source

Quintessential sunshine and palms of southern California ~ photo source

Twilight in Santa Monica ~ photo source

What I wouldn't give for a bike ride to the beach right now ~ photo source

How was that little mind trip out to the west coast? Visualization is a powerful tool.
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Get It Now: Fun & Funky

If you're looking for something fun for yourself or a gift for that special bestie who's always up for a good laugh, here are a few whimsical suggestions.
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Menu Plan Monday :: 1.18.2016

We are wrapping up a long weekend and getting ready for the week ahead. It's going to be cold here this week, so I've adjusted the menu plan to include soups and a white chicken chili recipe. Comfort food that warms your insides! I might even try a cornbread recipe this week to serve with the chili. If you have a good recipe, leave a link in the comments.
White chicken chili
This is what we'll be eating this week:


Monday - Beef stir-fry

Tuesday - Chicken, tortilla, and lime soup

Wednesday - 
Mexican stuffed peppers

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My Eight Favorite Movies

I am always up for a rainy or snowy weekend. It generally means binge watching my favorite movies and overdosing on butter laden popcorn and Goobers. As we settle in to winter, I am reminded of the dreadful weather that often befalls the weekends. Those weekends are my favorite time to either channel surf in search of my favorite movies or to fire them up on Netflix.

I have a handful of movies that I can watch over and over again. They never get old, and watching them the 100th time is like watching them for the very first time. That's when you know you love a movie.

Here are my 10 favorite movies of all-time.

1. You've Got Mail
Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are a classic combination that makes for the best rom-com out there. I first saw You've Got Mail in the theater on it's release date, December 25, 1998. It has been a favorite ever since. The iconic scenes of New York and the foray into social media make this movie on the bleeding edge. To this day, I can't turn it off if I'm channel surfing. And, I have this movie to thank for my Starbucks addiction. Yes, it was You've Got Mail that first turned me on to Starbucks.


2. The Holiday
Yes, there's a rom-com pattern here. But seriously, the combination of Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black, and Judd Law is anything but disappointing. There's something familiar and comforting about a movie that centers around the holidays. This one is filled with awkward and romantic as well as heartwarming moments.


3. Star Wars (the original)
I was 9 years old when this movie was released, and I can clearly recall the day I first saw the movie. For some reason, and I can't quite pinpoint why, I have loved this movie, and the original trilogy. OK, so maybe it was the crush I had on Mark Hamill. Or maybe it was my fascination with Princess Leia's hair style. I feigned illness to stay home from school and watch the movie on HBO...way back in the day. I have campaigned hard to get my girls to fall in love with this movie, but alas, one has interest but the other has none. So, I'll continue to watch...with or without them.

4. Clockwatchers
Anyone who has ever worked in a dysfunctional corporate environment will appreciate this dry comedy. Toni Collette plays a temporary employee who is trying to fit in with the regular employees but after failing to penetrate the corporate clique decides to strike up a friendship with her fellow temps. But after a rash of in-office thefts occur, Collette wanders if the temps are being set up and if it's worth it to stand behind them or jump ship.

5. Take Me Home
When a young woman discovers her husband has been having an affair, she walks out to find the nearest taxi. She hops in and orders the driver to "drive". She ends up hiring the down-on-his-luck cabbie to drive her from NYC to California where her mother, father, and sister live. Along the way, these two form a bond and discover that they have more in common than either of them would have ever expected. This independent film has an all-star cast including Sam Jaeger from Parenthood fame and an incredible soundtrack.

6. The Outsiders
This coming-of-age movie about rivals "The Greasers" and "The Socials" includes an all-star cast made up of Robe Lowe, Patrick Swayze, and Matt Dillon. This movie explores the social injustices and the struggles between the rich kids and not-so-rich kids. In the end, the Greasers get redemption but it costs one of them their lives. If you've never seen this movie, watch it. It's a great story of good versus evil and is a great step back in time to see these iconic 80s stars in their hey day.

7. Never Been Kissed
This heartwarming story of the triumph of the underdog will have any skeptic believing in true love by the end of the movie. When a copywriter adorably portrayed by Drew Barrymore is sent on an undercover story to infiltrate the inner circle of high school, her story takes a turn for the worst and her cover is blown. She has one last chance to redeem herself. Watch the movie to see if Barrymore's character prevails.


8. Bridesmaids
Where do I start with this one? I mean, just the comedic talent in this movie is more than impressive. Several SNL alum combined with other funny girls is a recipe for one heck of a funny movie. Some movies start of strong and fade. Bridesmaids starts strong and stays strong until the end. Kristen Wiig and Megan McCarthy are a winning combo, for sure.

What are some of your favorite movies?
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Loaded Baked Potato Soup

This post was written in partnership with Tasteful Selections.

I love a tender baked potato loaded with toppings. But in the chilly winter months, I want something that's more of a "stick to your ribs" kind of food. For me, that would be a hearty, steaming bowl of soup.

I set out to create a soup that incorporated all the delicious flavors of a baked potato in a thick, creamy soup. If you are skipping carbs, you'll want to skip this soup. It's loaded with delicious carb after carb and is the perfect comfort food to cuddle up with when binging on your favorite Netflix series.

To prepare this soup, I used my go-to, bagged potatoes from Tasteful Selections. They are easy to prep, are full of flavor, and cook quickly. 

LOADED BAKED POTATO SOUP

Ingredients
3 slices of bacon, cut in half
6-8 Tasteful Selections honey gold potatoes, cubed
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, grated
1 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk

Optional garnishes: scallions, shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon

Preparation
1. In a large saucepan, fry bacon until crisp, drain on a paper towel.

2. To the bacon drippings in the pan, add potatoes, celery, carrots, onion, salt, pepper, water, and broth. Cook covered for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender.

3. Combine flour with a 1/4 cup of milk. Whisk until smooth. Add to potato mixture along with the remaining milk. Stir to incorporate ingredients.

4. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils. Turn heat to low and cook for 5 minutes.

5. Garnish with desired toppings and serve.

Not only is Tasteful Selections producing delicious and high quality potatoes, its also giving back to the community. Tasteful Selections is donating profits from specially marked bags of Ruby Sensation and Honey Gold potatoes to support your local Katie’s Krops grower. Katie’s Krops growers are part of a non-profit organization empowering children and teens ages 9 – 16 across the US to grow gardens and donate their fresh harvest to the hungry.

To learn more about Katie's Krops, visit the web site or follow on Facebook.


This post was written in partnership with Tasteful Selections.
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Best Online Reads

Best Online Reads is a collection of my ten favorite stories from around the web this week.

1. The 10 most toxic items at dollar stores via Woman's Day.

2. Sixteen reasons 2016 will be an unforgettable year at Walt Disney World via Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.

3. The reason you're still hungry after you eat via Prevention Magazine. 

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December Beauty Buys

December was one of the warmest months on record here in New Jersey. Rather than being knee deep in heavy duty moisturizers to combat dry, flaky winter skin, I had a chance to check out a few new products that have been on my beauty list for a while.

Pantene Pro-V Weekly Rehab Creme $8
I'm the first to admit that I put my hair through the ringer on a weekly basis. From overuse of styling products and tools to yanking it and pulling it into messy buns, I'm sure I cause serious damage to my hair. This creme is a sort of detox system for your hair. It removes all the build up from styling products and repairs the damage caused by the heat from styling tools.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar $6
When I cleanse my face, I like a cleanser that lathers. There's something about a foamy soap that tells me it's working. This cleanser bar lathers, but the big difference between it and other bars of soap is that it hydrates 3 times more than other cleansing bars. Although I always follow up with a moisturizer, it's nice to know that this soap isn't stripping my skin of its natural oils.

Essie Nail Polish ("petal pushers") $8.50
I've developed a slight obsession with gray nail polish lately. This shade takes on an almost purple-ish color in the sun. I love how it looks differently indoors than it does outdoors.

Sun Bum Lip Balm (coconut) $4
I've been using Sun Bum sunscreen products for over a year. You can read my full review here. This lip balm is the one product that I use rain or shine, indoors or out throughout the entire year. With an SPF of 30 this lip balm not only protects but it has heavy duty hydration properties as well. It comes in a variety of flavors, but coconut is my favorite!

Shop these products:
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Crushing on Blush

Pantone has announced it's color of year, and for the first time ever, it's a blending of shades. Pantone has combined Rose Quartz with Serenity to create a calming shade that's easy on and pleasing to the eyes.

I'm looking forward to a year full of blushy shades. I love the lighter, softer shades and find them to be universally appealing on everyone. Here are a few items I am currently loving in this lighter, fresher color palette.


The most wonderful thing about blush pink is that it pairs well with anything. This color looks just as great with black as it does with white, gray, or denim.

What do you think of this shade? Love it or leave it?
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Menu Plan Monday :: 1.11.16

I'm putting this meal plan together as I watch the Golden Globe awards, and Denzel Washington just received the Cecil B. DeMille award. He brought his family up on stage with him. He is a class act, and I love that gesture of appreciation. But I digress...

On to this week's menu plan. It's a short week due to the MLK Jr. holiday. The girls and I are traveling to Pennsylvania to visit my sister for the long weekend. We are heading to the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg on Friday night, and the food there is amazing! So, I am looking forward to grazing on all the fun food.

Here's what's going to be on the table this week.

Monday - Pasta e Fagioli and a salad
Bang bang shrimp pasta

Tuesday - Skinny taco stuffed peppers

Wednesday - Turkey meatballs and pasta

Thursday - Bang bang shrimp pasta

Friday - Dinner at the Pennsylvania Farm Show

Saturday - Traveling

Sunday - Traveling

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.
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Winter Comfort Cooking with MARY'S Secret Ingredients {Giveaway}

After a series of spring and fall-like temperatures, winter has finally arrived. I don't love much about winter, but the one thing I do love is tasty, hit-the-spot comfort foods. From soups to roasts to warm and bubbly desserts, there is nothing better than warming your insides with winter's best comfort foods.

For inspiration for my seasonal cooking, I turn to MARY'S Secret Ingredientsa seasonal subscription box designed specifically for foodies. Whether you love cooking or eating, MARY's is for you. The carefully curated boxes come out 4 times per year and are filled with new and exciting food ingredients and products that will spice up your everyday meals.

I recently received the winter box from MARY'S. The box included items from six different food brands that were unique as well as interesting.

Let me break down the box for you.

Laiki Rice Crackers
Most rice crackers can be hard and gritty. The crackers are light, flaky, and tasty. I was completely surprised by the texture. I loved them so much, I served them at our New Year's Eve get together. 

Just Cook
I tried this herbed coffee rub on a beef roast, and I couldn't believe the flavor it added to the roast. Oregano, cumin, and chipotle add a nice dimension and richness to meats.

Nutraw Snacks
The trend in food is definitely going towards fewer ingredients and ingredients that are all-natural as well as raw. Nutraw Snacks makes a pistachio bar that contains only five ingredients and has zero preservatives or additives. I snacked on this bar after a yoga class, and it was incredibly satisfying. I didn't even want my usual protein drink.

Michel et Augustin
I have a mean sweet tooth, but to be honest, most of the sweets out there aren't the healthiest. It would be nice to be able to satisfy my sweet tooth without the guilt. Thanks to Michel and Augustin I don't have to feel guilty for indulging my sweet tooth. These cookies are part-chocolate/part-shortbread with a dash of sea salt.

RawSpiceBar
During the winter months, I love to make roasted chicken on Friday nights. I love the way the chicken makes the house smell so good and feel so warm. This winter herb blend from RawSpiceBar is the perfect spice blend for roasted chicken. Melt butter and brush it over the chicken, sprinkle the spice blend over it and any veggies (I add potatoes and carrots to the roasting pan) and roast for about 50 minutes.

Loacker
The best chocolate I've ever had was when I visited Belgium. I was second guessing myself when I received the chocolate roses from Loacker. In addition to eating these chocolates alone, we also placed them atop of cupcakes or on a cake.

MARY'S secret ingredients boxes are available 4 times per year (see full schedule here) for $25.95 per box. Quantities are limited each season, so jump on ordering if you are interested in checking it out. Reserve your spring 2016 box now while it's still available. The box will ship out to customers on March 25th. Annual subscriptions are available for $103.80.

About MARY's secret ingredients:
This spring, MARY's secret ingredients is offering a great surprise collection of unique gourmet food products and kitchen tools you've never heard of that will inspire you to cook delicious meals. Need help with the recipes? Mary's special recipes using each product from the box are emailed to you after delivery.

About Mary:
As a passionate cook, Mary always looks for new inspiration and interesting flavor combinations. In each box you’ll find mouth-watering sweet and savory products to create wonderful tasting food. On her LOVE – the secret ingredient blog, Mary shares recipes to inspire, which include ingredients from the boxes. In addition, being a part of our community helps us in our partnership with Feed The Children. No one should go hungry.

WIN IT!
MARY'S secret ingredients is offering one lucky winner a spring 2016 box. The box will be shipped to the winner on March 25th. All entrants will receive a coupon code for MARY'S secret ingredients. All entries must be made January 14th. Winner will be notified on or around January 16th and will have 24 hours to claim the prize.

Simply click this link to enter to win: http://eepurl.com/bKWSgX

MAKE IT!
I was so surprised by the amazing taste of the rice crackers that I wanted to whip of a cheese spread that would taken these crackers one step further. I love cheese spreads but wanted one that would balance out the taste of the rice crackers. I finally decided on a cheddar bacon horseradish spread. 

Cheddar Bacon Horseradish Spread
Ingredients
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup heavy cream2 tablespoons prepared horseradish1 teaspoon distilled white vinegarBacon (5 slices), crispy and crumbled
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
Preparation
Place all ingredients, except bacon, into a food processor or blender and mix until smooth. 
Remove the mixture to a bowl and stir in the bacon crumbles.
For smoother spreading, serve at room temperature.
Can be refrigerated for up to 5 days
Disclosure: I received a complimentary MARY'S secret ingredients box to facilitate this product review. No other compensation was received.
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What We're Reading

I realized yesterday that it's been a while since I've done a What We're Reading post. When the summer ended and school began, it fell off my radar. I'm using the new year as a good excuse to revive it.
What I'm Reading: Elle and Coach by Stefany Shaheen
Elle and Coach is the heartwarming true story of a Type-A mom struggling to care for a daughter who has Type 1 diabetes--and the incredible service dog who changes their lives forever. As the parent of a child with type 1 diabetes, I can relate to this story. The author takes the reader on her emotional journey as she tries to manager her daughter's unpredictable disease. It is only through Coach, a specially trained medic-alert dog who detects dangerous changes in and levels of high and low blood sugar levels, that the family finally finds a sense of peace.

What Emma's Reading: The Hunger Games (Book 1) by Suzanne Collins

Emma has wanted to read The Hunger Games trilogy for a few years now, but I didn't feel it was appropriate until now. She was thrilled when she received the trilogy for Christmas. She hasn't been able to put the first book down. Katniss is an inspiring heroine for young girls and a symbol for perseverance. 

What Harper's Reading: Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

When Emma read this book in the 4th grade, I read it along with her and immediately fell in love with Opal and her beloved dog Winn-Dixie, who follows her home from the grocery store. An unlikely friendship develops between a girl and a dog, and it's one that saves them both. Now that Harper is reading it for school, she has fallen in love with the characters the same way both Emma and I did years ago.

What are you currently reading? Leave a comment to let me know!
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Friday Fresh Picks: Weekend Favorites

I swear I heard the trumpets blaring this morning when I woke. It's Friday, and after having a nice, long holiday break, it was tough to get back to business this week. But I buckled down and crossed a ton of stuff of my to-do list, and now I am weekend-ready!

Speaking of the weekend (who doesn't love the weekends?), I can get my weekend on like no one else. Sleeping in. Starbucks runs (maybe more than one in a day). Netflix binging. Oh, you know, the usual.

In today's Friday Fresh Picks I'm sharing a few of my weekend must-haves. As the French say, "C'est le week-end!" xx

1. My Yoga Mat
While most people take a break from working out on the weekends, I often kick it up a notch. I love my Saturday and Sunday yoga practices. The weekends around here can get crazy with everyone home from work and school, so squeezing in 90 minutes of yoga is my personal respite.

I'm not one to splurge on workout clothes, but when it comes to my yoga mats, I want the best. This one from Lululemon is reversible, making it ideal for hot or regular yoga. It offers the perfect amount of support without being too hard or too squishy.
Yoga Mat (in jeweled magenta) | Yoga Pants | Where I Do Yoga

2. Starbucks
For the love of all things holy, I have to have my Starbucks on the weekends. I usually stop by on my way home from the gym and grab a trente unsweetened iced green tea. It's the perfect refresher after a good sweat session. But I have been known to drop in more than once a day if my inner caffeine goddess is prodding me.

3. Netflix
Winter weekends were made for binge watching. I've been taking full advantage of my downtime and totally throwing myself into Netflix. Hey, why not? Here are my current favorite binge-worthy shows.

Making A Murderer - Surely you've heard about this documentary by now. It's one of those "Can't watch. Must watch" shows. I'm half-way into the 10-episode series. This true crime story leaves you pulling out your hair and biting your nails.

Girfriend's Guide To Divorce - Season 1 of this Bravo Original Series in available on Netflix while Season 2 is currently airing on Bravo on Tuesday nights. OK, so I have to admit. I watch this show for the beautiful people, gorgeous clothes, and the breathtaking LA scenery. What can I say? I'm embracing my shallow side. It's only fair to admit that the storyline is engaging and sucks you in quickly.

Bates Motel - Everything that Girlfriend's Guide is, Bates Motel is not. Creepy, odd, and strange only start to describe the spellbinding series. This modern-day prequel to the cult classic film Psycho explores the twisted relationship between Norman Bates and his mother Norma.


Rectify - Rectify is the fictional version of Making A Murderer. It follows the story of Daniel Holden who spent 19 years in jail and on Death Row only to be exonerated and set free to a world he no longer knows.

4. Weekend Uniform
Oh, come on. You know you have one too. In our house, we call them "comfs". They are our comfiest clothes that you generally spend either all day in or all day looking forward to being in. I love a comfy sweatshirt with a dressy twist. You look more pulled together in this type of sweatshirt and less frumpy or messy. This Soft Tech top from Athleta is a fave.

5. Breakfasts at the Blue Peach Cafe - If you are in the Jersey Shore area and are in search of a great breakfast, Blue Peach Cafe is your place. BPC is my go-to breakfast place! It reminds me of a French bistro. You can sit and linger over bloody Marys and mimosas all morning. Great food and great service. At times it can be bustling, but the tables are a nice distance apart that you don't usually notice the crowds. I get the Belgian waffle with fresh berries and granola drizzled with caramel sauce and topped with a heaping dollop of whipped cream.
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.
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Best Online Reads


Best Online Reads is a collection of my ten favorite stories from around the web this week.

1. The 9 most common regrets people have at the end of their life via MindBodyGreen.

2. Goals to set for the new year that are enjoying what you have rather than having more via Thought Catalog.

3. Fourteen things you should always buy at the dollar store via Woman's Day.

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Simple Weekend Style : Jeans and a Sweater

My favorite weekend wear in the winter is a great pair of jeans and a light sweater. I'm not big on chunky turtlenecks. While I think they look fab on everyone else, they seem to envelope me since I'm petite. On Saturday morning, I woke before the Hubs and kids to get out of the house to tie up some loose ends (exchange a few gifts, grab some groceries, and do a Starbucks run). I reached for my favorite pair of distressed denim, a lightweight cowl neck sweater, and wedge booties.
Rochelle Sweater from prAna | Distressed Jeans (similar) | Wedge Booties (similar) | Rebecca Minkoff Bag

When I first saw this sweater by prAna, I immediately fell in love with the color block sleeves. I love the contrast the color adds to this simple sweater.


These wedge booties are incredibly comfortable and don't strain your feet when running from the car to stores.

Shop this look:


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