Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Food & Drink

SHOP MY FAVES

SHOP MY FAVES
SHOP MY FAVES

STYLE

STYLE
STYLE

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.
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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.


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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.

Delicacies Bracelet (Pineapple) ($75) - If mom is passionate about food and jewelry, then a piece from the Delicacies 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.

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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.
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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

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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)

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Best Online Reads


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

1. Ten secrets nutritionists tell their friends via Redbook.

2. The difference between club soda, seltzer, and tonic water via Epicurious.

3. The best way to air-dry your hair via PureWow.
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10 Bathing Suits I Would Actually Wear

My bathing suit philosophy has changed significantly over the years. I used to buy 5-7 inexpensive bathing suits each summer and rotate them according to where I was going or what my mood was that day. At the end of each season, I would nonchalantly toss them knowing that the next summer would bring a new crop of suits.
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

These days I am much more particular about the bathing suits I wear, paying more attention to my body and what looks good on me while trying to play up certain features and distract from the less favorable ones. Rather than stocking up on many suits each summer, I buy one or two quality bathing suits that fit great and are flattering.

Here are ten bathing suits that I'd wear and feel confident and comfortable in.

1. Kenneth Cole Push-Up One Piece - I love that this suit has sexy details while still providing plenty of coverage.
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K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital Presents Superhero Soiree

We often think of superheroes as larger than life. With capes blowing in the wind and biceps bulging at the seams, superheroes are what children's dreams are made of. But many times the superheroes in our lives are children.

On Friday, April 29th, 2016, K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital will honor our smallest heroes at its annual Superhero Soiree at The Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank, New Jersey.

This year's honorees are Kyra Citron who will be honored with the Hometown Hero Award and Charles Dadzie, M.D. who will be honored with the Physician Hero Award.

The cocktail reception will include a delicious menu with hors d'oeuvres and stations, reception style seating and music and dancing.

This year the team at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital will be developing a new Pediatric Palliative Care Program for children and their families with chronic illnesses and life-threatening medical conditions. As the parent of a child with type 1 diabetes, I am all too aware of the struggles that come with caring for a child with a chronic illness. Seriously-ill children require care that focuses on treatment of symptoms, pain and stress management, and patient and family support. Their health conditions affect their entire families, who must cope with their young family member's illness and make difficult decisions regarding quality of life. The goal of pediatric palliative care is to add life to the child’s years, not simply years to the child’s life.


Just as superheroes fight big battles, no matter how hard or long our young patients battles may be, with strength of will and determination, there is always hope. You can help provide courage to our patients and their families by being a hero for the night to ensure our mission is fulfilled. All monies raised from ticket sales for Superhero Soiree will go towards the new Pediatric Palliative Care Program at K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital.


It's sure to be a fun night for a good cause. Hope to see you there!

For more information and ticket pricing, click here or visit www.meridianhealth.com/superhero.


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Menu Plan Monday :: 4.18.2016

It looks as if Mother Nature has finally gotten the memo that it's spring. The daytime temperatures will hover in the 60s and 70s, which means I'm adding some grilling recipes to this weeks' menu plan. Woo hoo!! Looking forward to changing up the menu plan a bit.
Grilled barbecue chicken foil packets
Here's what's on our plates this week:

Monday - Cajun El Paso grill salad

Tuesday - Loaded baked potato soup with a side salad

Wednesday - Pasta puttanesca with a side salad
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Friday Fresh Picks: This Week's Favorites

This week has been a tough one. It's been very hard staying focused and staying on task. This morning I am filling in at my neighbor's acupuncture office while his office manager is out. It's a nice distraction, and the work is so different than what I do on a daily basis, that I welcome the change of pace.

There were a few fun highlights from the week, and I'm sharing them in today's Friday Fresh Picks.
{A beautiful bouquet of blooming peonies}


{A scene from my latest Netflix obsession: Flaked}


{My favorite feature of the Whole Foods Market that just opened in my neighborhood}


{A treat to add a little sweetness to my otherwise blah week}


{Colorful pieces of sea glass found during a walk along the Manasquan River}

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.
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Best Online Reads


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

1. The best ice cream in every state via PureWow.

2. Five movies to watch at home after a long week via Oprah.com.

3. How frequently you should clean your home via Huffington Post.
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Stock Up and Save On Everyday Essentials at Walmart

Thanks to SheSpeaks and Walmart for sponsoring this post.

How many times have you reached for shampoo only to discover the bottle is empty? Let's talk about the times there's one item that won't fit in the dishwasher so you have to wash it by hand but discover the bottle of dishwashing liquid is empty?

This situation occurs often in our home. We are not a family who keeps a running grocery list on the refrigerator. Not to mention...would anyone actually update it if we did?? So, if we run out of something, you're out of luck. This spring as I am doing my spring cleaning, I've decided to do some stocking up as well.


Thanks to Walmart, stocking up and saving is easy, convenient, and affordable. Walmart and Procter & Gamble have partnered to make stocking up and saving on everyday essentials a no-brainer. You can either head to your local Walmart to shop. Or if you prefer the ultimate convenience, shop from the comfort of your home (and possibly your pajamas!) by logging on to www.stockupsave.com.
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My Favorite Grilled Cheese Sandwiches


Today is National Grilled Cheese Day, and I can't think of a better reason to celebrate. The grilled cheese sandwich is my all-time favorite sandwich, and actually one of my all-time favorite foods. Ooey gooey cheese sandwiched between two crunchy slices of grilled bread is pure perfection.

It's hard to beat an original, traditional grilled cheese, but over the years I have come to love a few variations. I'm not an adventurous grilled cheese eater. The more basic the better. In light of National Grilled Cheese Day, I'm sharing four of my favorite grilled cheese sandwiches.

1. The Best Ever Grilled Cheese
My mouth is watering. A tip...always slice a grilled cheese on the diagonal. It just tastes better.

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Whole Foods Market Set To Open in Wall, NJ on April 13th

Here at the Jersey Shore we've been waiting for years for a Whole Foods Market to open in the area. There have been teasers and rumors of a location opening, but nothing panned out. Then to our surprise, Whole Foods Market announced on its Facebook page that a location would be opening in Wall, New Jersey in the spring of 2016.
Collective cheers were heard all over Monmouth and Ocean counties. People were rejoicing. A Whole Foods would finally be less than a 40 minute drive. In less than 48 hours, the Whole Foods Market will open its doors to hungry, health-conscious consumers and foodies from the Jersey Shore.

Today, I was invited to take a sneak peek at New Jersey's 15th and newest Whole Foods Market. The 39,000 square foot store has a coastal theme and is absolutely gorgeous inside and out.

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Menu Plan Monday :: 4.11.2016

This week is a busy one. Without realizing, I sort of over-scheduled myself with appointments and meetings this week. This morning when I looked at my planner, I was shocked to see what I have going on this week. Anyway, better to be busy than idle, right?

The busy week kicks off today with a private tour of the Whole Foods Market in Wall, New Jersey which is set to open on Wednesday. I am thrilled to have been invited to take a sneak peek today before it opens to the public. I've been a Whole Foods devotee for years, but the closest one to me is about 35 minutes away. :( Now, it'll be a 15 minute-max ride!!
Grilled pizza
Keeping the meal plan easy and manageable this week so that I don't resort to take out every night. Here's what's on our plates this week.

Monday - Pesto pasta with shrimp

Tuesday - Grilled cheese with tomato soup for National Grilled Cheese Day)

Wednesday - Steak tacos
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Friday Fresh Picks: 6 Random Things I'm Loving

This week has totally kicked my butt. Between preparing my taxes to getting a bit of bad news to life's general busyness, I am ready to call it a day, and it's only 9 am!! This weekend I plan to unplug, hug my kids a little longer and harder, and take some time to reflect on what's important.
Hope you have a fabulous weekend filled with your favorite things. xx

Speaking of favorite things, today's Friday Fresh Picks features a few randoms that I am totally loving lately.
Straw Beach Tote
It's safe to say that I am having a moment with tassels and pom poms lately. I love the contrast of the bright tassels against neutral colored straw. I can see this bag quickly becoming my go-to, everyday bag for running errands, hitting the beach, heading to the pool, and for quick trips to the farmers market.



Cute Box of Matches
In anticipation of receiving a new Diptyque candle for Mother's Day {hint, hint, cough, cough}, I treated myself to these super cute matches from Design Darling. Even if I don't get the candle, these matches will add a stylish touch to my coffee table.



Linen Romper
I wandered into Old Navy yesterday in search of some tank tops for the gym and wandered out with this little gem. After a day at the beach or pool, I love to come home, shower, and slip on something comfortable and light. This romper is ideal for just that.


Kate Spade's #missadventure
I loved season 1 and couldn't wait for season 2. Now that it's here, I am not disappointed! Watch it.


Leather Tassel Necklace
I wasn't kidding about being hooked on tassels! What I love about this particular necklace is the leather tassel. Most necklaces I've seen have fabric tassels, but this one is a bit different.

Pineapple Throw Pillow
I'm on the hunt for some pillows for the bench in our dining room. I want a few that are summery but don't scream overly beachy. I just adore this gold pineapple pillow from Target.

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.
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Spring Wardrobe Must Haves

Can't figure out which wardrobe essentials to purchase this spring? Here's my list of what to invest in for the months ahead.


A Classic Trench
You know the saying "April showers" blah, blah, blah. Well, those April showers are no joke, and a trench coat is a must. Over the years, I've amassed quite a collection of trenches and raincoats, and each spring, they prove to be a handy wardrobe essential. This trench shown above is from London Fog, but I also like this one, this one, and this one.

Striped Sweater
Mild days lead to cool nights, and for those cool nights, a striped sweater will do you no wrong. You know how I love my stripes, but most of the striped tops I have are not suitable for cool weather. This sweater from J. Crew is soft and seriously matches everything. I also like this striped sweater, and this one too.

Lace-Up Flats
If there's one shoe you'll see everywhere this spring, it's the lace-up flat. You'll find them in just about every store and at every price point. I love the rich brown suede of these Steve Madden lace-up flats, but these deep blue ones and these python print ones are beautiful too.

Off-The-Shoulder Tops
Everyone has sexy shoulders, and this season is your chance to show them off in an off-the-shoulder top. I've seen so many cute OTS tops, but I am a bit partial to chambray ones, like this one from Gap. This chambray-inspired one is also a fave, as is this one.

Rain Boots
Remember those April showers I talked about? Yeah, you're going to need a decent pair of rain boots. I have a pair of original Hunter wellies, and they have saved my feet on many occasions, but how fun is this pair of striped boots?

Straw Hats
I am not a hat person by any means, but I am loving the straw Panama hat trend. This type of hat looks great on the beach and off. I love it for casual shopping on a sunny day and for shielding evening sun while having cocktails al fresco. Because this hat is super trendy it's not the kind of thing I would spend a lot of money on. I have the one above from Target, but this is good option too.

Stylish Sunnies
For those days when it's not raining buckets, you'll definitely want your favorite sunnies. I'm having a moment with round sunglasses lately, and these Ray-Bans are a favorite. This pair is my personal go-to pair.

Must-Have Mules
Chunky heeled, peep-toe mules are popping up all over. I love to pair them with flared denim. It's a bit boho, but the combination works. Again, these shoes are not something I'd spend a ton of money on since they are so trendy. Try this pair from Charlotte Russe or this pair from Missguided.

A Sturdy Tote
I spend a lot of time shuffling around my kids in the summer. From gymnastics camps to theater and drama camp to lacrosse camp, I find myself all over the place and lugging everything with me. A large tote is must for hauling my laptop, iPad, snacks, water bottle, phone, notebook, and Nook with me. I love the pretty detail on this scalloped tote. This roomy reversible tote is fun and functional for everyday use too.
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Casual Mother's Day Outfit Inspiration From Unpredictable Juno

Me | Corine | Carly
Mother's Day is a big deal in our family for two reasons. One is the obvious, of course. It's a day to honor me and other moms for all of our selfless acts. The second reason is that Mother's Day always falls near Emma's birthday. She was born the day before Mother's Day, and most years her birthday comes either just before or just after Mother's Day.

Since 2003 when Emma turned one, we have been hosting the Mother's Day festivities which are always a combination birthday party/Mother's Day celebration. Since we host it in our home, it's always a casual get together where guests arrive comfortably dressed and ready for fun, and every year I consistently overdress for the occasion.

This year I promised myself that I would not overdress for our casual gathering. I've been known to get pretty gussied up in fancy dresses, jumpsuits, and pantsuits. But this year, I'll be dressing appropriately for a fun, simple celebration.

I am always game to try something new. So when Unpredictable Juno invited me, Carly from Thirty Something Fashion, and Corine from Complicated Mama to participate in a Mother's Day outfit collaboration, I jumped at the chance. A chance to catch up and shop at a new to me boutique with some of my besties? Oh yeah! I am so there.

Unpredictable Juno is an apparel and accessories boutique located in Oakhurst, New Jersey and owned by Danielle Tucci. It features a unique collection of the season's most sought after looks. With a variety to choose from, Unpredictable Juno can outfit you for a day at the beach, a night on the town, and anything and everything in between.

Danielle and her staff are incredibly helpful without being overbearing. I liked how they offered suggestions for outfit pairings but also gave us freedom to browse about the store leisurely.
From dresses to jumpsuits to rompers to jeans, Unpredictable Juno can dress you for an occasion.
For my Mother's Day look I knew I wanted to go with jeans. I found this AMAZING pair of destructed denim from Elan. These jeans. They are so fabulous. I love the light denim. I don't have a pair of jeans in this color, so I was thrilled to find them. The fit is spot on, and let's talk about the comfort factor. This denim is so light and soft that the jeans almost feel like pajamas.
Jeans by Elan c/o Unpredictable Juno | Tank by bishop + young c/o Unpredictable Juno | Necklace c/o Unpredictable Juno. Call store to order 732-222-5860.
Blazer, shoes, and clutch are my own.




When I wear destructed denim, I like to balance it with a structured, polished top. I love the way this faux leather panel tank balances the distressed denim. A top like this is a great way to dress up any pair of denim, destructed or otherwise.

The blazer is my own, and I added it as the weather around Mother's Day can be unpredictable. But I won't be wearing it indoors. This fabulous tank will stand on its own.






I've been having a love affair with tassel necklaces lately, and I fell in love with this one the moment I saw it. It has the tassel detail I adore, but the beads add an element of interest that many other tassel necklaces don't have. In addition to this necklace, Unpredictable Juno has a full selection of jewelry to fit any budget and occasion.

The first thing I do every Mother's Day is treat myself to an iced coffee and then I do some browsing. This outfit will be perfect for carefree coffee and shopping.


To see Corine's Mother's Day outfit, click here.

To see Carly's Mother's Day outfit, click here.

Ready to shop? Unpredictable Juno is offering you 10% off your purchase when you mention this collaboration. Visit the shop and pick up a few beach essentials like a coverup and a bag. Or have a special occasion coming up? A dress and some fabulous jewelry are waiting for you at Unpredictable Juno.

Can't make it into the store? No worries! Unpredictable Juno offers shipping. Just call the store (732-222-5860) to arrange to have your purchase shipped to you.

Stay in touch with Unpredictable Juno by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

This post was written in partnership with Unpredictable Juno. All opinions are my own.
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Menu Plan Monday :: 4.4.2016

The kids are back to school today after a long, relaxing spring break. And I'm ready to get back to my regular routine. This week I'm adding a few new recipes into the rotation. While H was traveling last week, he bought a few cooking magazines where I found plenty of new meal time inspiration.
Pasta Puttanesca (recipe via Budget Byte$)
Here's what's on our plates this week:

Monday - Roasted red pepper and ricotta soup and a side salad

Tuesday - Meatball Parmesan sandwiches (meatballs leftover from the weekend) with sweet potato fries

Wednesday - Pasta puttanesca with a side salad

Thursday - Cheeseburger salad

Friday - Dinner out

Saturday - Grilled steak with pineapple rice

Sunday - We'll be attending a Christening and a celebration afterwards.

Don't make menu planning a chore! For inspiration and to see what others are eating this week, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

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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