Hurricane Sandy ~ One Year Later Children Are Still Struggling to Cope

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
It was exactly one year ago today that Hurricane Sandy struck the coastal areas of New Jersey and New York with a vengeance. She pummeled the beautiful landscapes until they were unrecognizable.

She didn't let up until she had completely leveled towns. Boardwalks that just a few weeks earlier were alive with tourists looked like war zones. Beaches that were filled with laughter and sea gulls were eerily quite.

As a resident of the Jersey shore, I am hard pressed to find someone who wasn't somehow affected by the storm. My family wasn't displaced, but we suffered without power for 6 days, which seemed like 60. My daughters' school was closed for weeks. We had no Halloween. No little creatures ringing our doorbell last year looking for goodies.

I can't help but to think about the thousands of children living in these coastal areas who suffered the brunt of Sandy's wrath.

365 days later, there are still children who are coping with the devastating and destructive effects of Sandy. From basic care to the comforts of home, the worlds of so many children have been turned upside down.


The reality is that disasters occur, and unfortunately, most are at the hands of Mother Nature and are thus, unpreventable.

However, what we can change is how we prepare for and deal with the disaster in its aftermath.

Save The Children has started an initiative called Get Ready. Get Safe in an effort to help communities prepare for worst-case scenarios. Whether it's emergency plans or gathering supplies, Save The Children and Get Ready. Get Safe puts plans in place to protect our children.

We can't prevent disasters, but with the help of Save The Children, we can be ready.

Take a look at how Save The Children has helped in Sandy recovery efforts so far.

Are you prepared for the next disaster? Save The Children can help you get organized and ready with this plan and checklist. It's a must for any home. I printed it out immediately. A checklist like this would have been helpful to have last October as we prepared for Sandy's landfall.
For more information on Save The Children's Get Ready. Get Safe initiative, visit the Web site. You can make a donation, print checklists, find out if your state is prepared for a disaster, and get updates on Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cake Mix

Monday, October 28, 2013
Last winter, I went gluten-free as an experiement. I was struggling with rosacea symptoms and was hoping that a gluten-free diet would help alleviate my symptoms.

For six weeks I followed a strict gluten free diet.Although I didn't see a vast improvement in the redness on my face, I did notice other significant changes to my body and my overall disposition.
I am convinced that all of us has some sort of gluten intolerance. How can that much gluten be good for our stomachs?

I have slowly been introducing gluten free foods to my family in an effort to make our diets more healthy. This weekend the girls wanted to make a cake, and so we tried Becky Crocker's gluten free cake mix as an alternative to traditional cake mix.

We prepared the cake according to the package directions. The box stated that we should use 2 teaspoons of gluten-free vanilla extract. I thought all vanilla extract was gluten-free, but I decided to Google it to be sure. Since the alcohol is vanilla extract is distilled, most vanilla extracts should be free of gluten. I know for certain that McCormick's and Nielson-Malley are gluten-free. But to be sure, read the packaging.

We frosted the cake and dug in! There was absolutely no difference in taste between the gluten-free cake and a traditional one. None at all. The Betty Crocker gluten free cake was moist and delicious!

I am so happy we tried this cake mix! We now have a mix that we can use for birthday treats since there is a child in my daughter's Girl Scout troop and school classroom with celiac disease.

Friday Fashion: 5 Fabulous Flats for Fall Under $50

Friday, October 25, 2013
While I love boots just as much as the next gal, there are some days and some pairs of jeans that just call for a great pair of flats.

Here are 5 pairs that look great with your favorite traditional denim or colored jeans and are perfect for days when you just don't want to wear boots.

5 Fun Flats Under $50

5 Fun Flats Under $50 by sheila-coleman-hill featuring camo flats

1. Women's Mossimo Nella Ankle Strap Cap Toe Flat $25. Available at
I love the color of these flats, and the silver cap toe adds interest without being tacky or overly ornate. You could easily wear these with jeans or a dress.

2. CHERRY-11 Camouflage Round Toe Suede Ballerina Flats $15. Available at
It's all about the camouflage this fall, and these flats are fun and inexpensive way to wear the trend.

3. Bold Plaid Flats. $17. Available at
I am loving fall's plaid trend, but not for a jacket or a pair of pants. These flats are right up my alley!

4. Ava Animal Print Ballet Flat by CIRCUS by Sam Edelman. $35. Available at You cannot go wrong with a pair of animal print flats. Animal print is a neutral!!! And it's perfect for a shoe!

5. Pointed Toe Flats by ASOS. $45. Available at
I love the pointed toe and the cut-out detail on the sides. This flat is perfect for both dressy and casual outfits. 

Be sure to check out Friday Fashion including these fabulous forest green finds from Jo-Lynne Shane!

Fashion Fridays at Musings of a Housewife

How To Save Money at Bath & Body Works {VIDEO}

Last weekend, I was armed with a handful of coupons for Bath & Body Works. Many of them were for free items with no purchase required, and one coupon required a purchase. I saved $35, and spend $11.77 for 6 items.

How did I do it? Watch my video to find out all my little saving secrets. It doesn't requires hours of clipping and organizing. It's simple.


Random Ramblings: An Update on the Broken Arm and More!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
It's been almost 4 weeks since Harper broke her arm. Looking back, the time has gone fast, but at the time, it seemed to move at a snail's pace.

She has adjusted well over the past month. She's been flexible despite the fact that she hasn't had mobility in her left arm. She hasn't missed a beat, and she's counting the days until she returns to gymnastics in January.

We've traveled to Maine and attended a wedding. Of course, the dress HAD to match the cast!

Today, the original cast came off and was replaced with a short cast. We weren't sure exactly what was going to happen at today's visit with the orthopedic surgeon.

She had the cast removed.

Someone was happy to let her arm breathe! That was short-lived.

And then x-rays were taken to determine if her new cast would be a short one (below the elbow) or a cast like the above one.

Annnnnd..... we got the good news! Harper's new cast would be a short one!! She is healing very well. New bone is forming and fusing together the broken fragments. In another 4 weeks, the short cast will be off, and she'll be in removable brace.

It was a happy day!

Beauty Must-Haves for October 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013
This month I'm sharing some great drug store finds that are wallet-friendly but will have you looking and smelling like a million bucks!

Exaggerate Undercover Shadow Primer by Rimmel London
At one of the skincare events I attended several years ago, the makeup pro told me that eye shadow needs to be applied liberally in order for it to stay visible all day as it comes off easily and quickly. The only way around this was to apply several layers of eye shadow and avoid touching your eyes for fear of rubbing off the makeup.

But now there's a solution! I've been a huge fan of primers but I've always been uneasy about using them on or around my eye area. But now there's a primer specifically for eyes. Rimmel London's shadow primer is applied with a soft-tipped wand to the lids and areas where eye shadow is worn.

The primer is silky and a little goes a long way. I love this stuff! I only need apply a single layer of eye shadow and I am set for the day.

Normally retails for about $7, but I picked it up at WalMart for a steal, $4.44, and I had a $1 coupon!!

Pacifica Body Wash in Tahitian Gardenia
I have long loved Pacifica products, but I had never tried the body wash. When I was at Marshalls the other day waiting in line to pay, my eyes wandered to a shelf with trial-sized body products. I found a 3 fl. oz. bottle of this body wash.

One smell, and I just knew that I had to have it. And it smells even better once it's lathered up on a sponge! Pacifica makes a fabulous line of body and skincare products. Be sure to check them out.

The trial size bottle was $2.99 at Marshalls. The full size bottle (8 oz.) costs about $10 and is available at Target.

CoverGirl Smoochies
For the past 3 weeks, Walgreens has had CoverGirl products on sale. Buy one, get one 50% off. Combined with the newspaper coupons in the P&G circular, this is a tremendous deal!!!

My daughters and I have been stocking up on these sheer-ish lip balms that add a light color and moisturize your lips for "smoochable" lips. They are available in 12 shades and are a great alternative to lip gloss because they give a hint of color without the thick, gloopy mess.

Smoochies cost about $5 or less depending on where you shop. And keep an eye out in your Sunday paper. P&G often offers coupons for CoverGirl makeup.

Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Nutrient Spray for Dry, Damaged Hair
True confession: I haven't had my hair cut for about a year. I'm not kidding. After a bad haircut at the end of last summer, I have been intent on growing out my hair, and in that process, haven't had it cut. I know, how can a beauty obsessed person like me avoid a haircut for one year? It happens.

Last week, I purchased the Triple Nutrition spray to help my dry, damaged ends and bring some shine to my hair. I am LOVING this spray. Spray on wet or dry hair for a noticeable shine. I like to spray it on my ends rather than up top close to my scalp. It has helped bring some life back to my ends until I get my hair trimmed (which, BTW, I made an appointment today for later in the week). Yay!!

And lastly, winter is approaching, and I have a tendency to get lazy about moisturizing my skin. It's mostly because I hate being cold, and I like to get dressed the moment I dry off. Putting lotion on just exposes me to the cold for a longer period of time.

I bought the spray at WalMart where it costs $4.97/bottle.

Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer
What I love about this product is that you spray it, quickly and easily rub it in, and get dressed. It's fast, and leaves little time for me to get cold between showering and dressing.

My sister gave me a bottle when we were on vacation together. Although I love it, she thought it was messy. I like to spray it into my hand and apply it to my body. If you spray it directly onto your body, it can go beyond your body and end up on the floor, walls, etc. Best to hop back into the shower once you have dried off and spray this onto your body.

You can find this at Target for about $7.

Menu Plan Monday ~ 10.14.2013

Monday, October 14, 2013
I hope you'll find some inspiration from this week's menu. Everything is easy, and since the kids have a holiday today, I am enlisting their help in grocery shopping.

MONDAY - Creamy potato soup with arugula salad

TUESDAY - Corn and black bean stuffed peppers with a side salad.

WEDNESDAY -  French onion soup

THURSDAY - Chicken enchiladas (my own recipe) with a mixed greens side salad

FRIDAY - I'll be in NYC all day for a conference.

SATURDAY - Take out

SUNDAY - Pulled Buffalo chicken sliders

What's on your plate this week? For more meal planning inspiration, be sure to visit I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

To view all of my menu planning post, click here.


Girl Scouts: A Daisy Becomes A Brownie

Sunday, October 13, 2013
After 2 years of being a Girl Scout Daisy, Harper bridged to a Brownie yesterday.

She had been looking forward to becoming a Brownie all summer, and although the festivities were moved indoors due to the weather, the event was still a memorable one.

Hard to believe that just 2 short years ago she became a Daisy.

And now she's a Brownie and ready to take on new Girl Scout adventures and responsibilities!


Tips for Using Target's Cartwheel App

Saturday, October 12, 2013
I'm sure you've heard the joke. You can't walk into Target and come out without spending at least $100. I've done it. Multiple times. I'm sure you have too.

There is just something so inviting about Target that makes it IMPOSSIBLE not to browse the entire store and find something you just have to have in every. single. department.

Wouldn't it be nice to do some of that shopping free of guilt? To save a few bucks while you shop for your favorite items?

Target's Cartwheel is a social deals app that offers you the opportunity to save a few bucks on the items you buy (and actually use) every day!

I downloaded the app a few weeks ago on a whim. The other night when I couldn't sleep, I actually opened it to take a look.  Holy cow! I had no idea what I was missing. Target's Cartwheel app can save you money whether you are a regular shopper or an occasional one.

1. Create an account
Once you download the app, you'll be prompted to login. You can create a new login or you can login using Facebook.

I logged in using my Facebook credentials and immediately I was able to see what other Facebook friends who are Cartwheel users are purchasing. I'm nosy that way, so I loved this particular feature. You also get to see how much your friends have saved by using the Cartwheel app. I was shocked by how much some of my friends have saved.

I was excited to dive in!

2. Browse available offers
Offers work the same way an electronic coupon works. It easy and straightforward to browse the categories and add offers to your cart.
You can browse by "collections". The collections are break downs of popular offers, seasonal items, frequently purchased items and more. Currently, some collections include "Cough, Cold, & Flu", "Tailgating Season", and "Halloween Headquarters".

Rather than scroll through the categories, "collections" offers you a central place to find some of the most popular items and offers at your fingertips.

Or you can browse by category. Currently, there are 21 categories. The number is likely to change on a seasonal basis. For example, one of the current categories is "back to college".

There are sub-categories under the main categories to help you navigate and narrow down the specific items you may need.

Note: Many of the offers are on Target's own up & up brand.

3. Add offers to your "cart"
Once you select your category, you can scroll through the available offers. By simply clicking on it, you can add the offer to your cart or remove it once you've taken advantage of the offer. You are able to add 12 offers to your cart when you first begin using Cartwheel. As you redeem offers, you will have the chance to unlock more slots for offers.

To save big, you can double dip by adding offers that are featured in the weekly circular.

Once you've added your offers to your cart, it's time to shop! And remember you can add offers while you shop also. Just check Cartwheel to see if the item you want is offered and add it to your cartwheel.

4. Redeem your offers.
When you have finished shopping, you open Cartwheel and choose "my Cartwheel" from the menu. You will see a barcode at the top of the screen. Simply show this barcode to the Target team member who will scan it and your savings will be deducted from your balance owed.

Watch your savings add up!


{Wordful Wednesday} A Weekend in New England

Wednesday, October 9, 2013
This past weekend we traveled to Maine for my niece's wedding. As you can expect, it was picturesque to say the least. The changing leaves were in their full glory. The leaves set against the main coastline was a spectacle for the eyes.

We've been to Maine one other time...back in 2005 we visited Kennebunkport, and it was in August. Although it was beautiful in the summer, you can't beat a trip to Maine in October.

All in, the entire trip was a delight for the senses.

Not only were the leaves beautiful, but they filled the air with the scent of autumn. I kept taking big, deep breaths throughout the weekend. We just don't get that here at the Jersey shore.

I loved how these red leaves wrapped themselves around the trees. The red was so vibrant.

No, this isn't a scene from a storybook. This is the Ogunquit Library. This building just begs you to come inside and curl up with a good book.

My niece got married in York, Maine. It couldn't have been more spectacular and serene. It was perfect for a wedding.

Sitting in these Adirondack chairs sipping a glass of wine...yep, this is the place for me.

We were able to spend only the weekend in Maine. We are already planning a return trip to do some exploring!

Have you ever been to Maine? If so, where did you visit?

Menu Plan Monday ~ 10.7.2013

Monday, October 7, 2013
We have just returned from a long weekend in Maine. Since I hadn't put together a meal plan last week due to our travels, I am gung ho to get back into it this week.

MONDAY - Take out. So much for being gung ho. Between work and picking up the cat from the boarding facility and taking Harper to see the orthopedic surgeon, I didn't have time to go grocery shopping today. So, take out it is.

TUESDAY - Warm goat cheese salad

WEDNESDAY - Baked chicken cutlets (my own recipe) with pasta and marinara sauce (from a local Italian deli).

THURSDAY - Tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons

FRIDAY - Dinner out

SATURDAY - Roasted chicken with potatoes and carrots

SUNDAY - Spicy veggie chili

Can't decide what's for dinner? Make it easy on yourself! Visit I'm An Organizing Junkie's Meal Plan Monday to see what everyone else is eating.

To view my Meal Plan Monday posts, click here.

Shop For A Cause: Support Breast Cancer Research with these Fabulous Finds

Thursday, October 3, 2013
In today's tough economy, it's sometimes difficult to squeeze charitable donations in to an already tight budget. Donations are often easier to justify when you are getting something back for your donations.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month offers us a chance to indulge ourselves (which we may not normally do) while giving to worthy causes.

Here are a few of my favorite donation-worthy items that will help a woman suffering from breast cancer and won't break the bank (ok, there is one item that will break the bank).

Wear Your Support
Jennifer Aniston models the "Key to the Cure" shirt designed by Emilio Pucci exclusively for Saks Fifth Avenue. The shirt is available at Saks throughout the month of October and Saks will donate 100% of the sales of the shirt to the Entertainment Industry Foundation for Key to the Cure campaign. In addition, Saks will be donating 2% of its vendor sales from October 1 to December 31 to the campaign. Get shopping!

To purchase the tee, click here for $35.

Smell Your Support
Fill the air with the sweet floral scent of this lovely candle. The clear glass jar is adorned with a light pink ribbon.

Passion by Nest Fragrances candle retails for $28. 10% of retail price from each candle sold will be donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Supporting is Sexy!
Save this hot little number for the bedroom! This bra and panties combo from Cosabella makes supporting totally sexy! 20% of proceeds go to Bra Ha Ha. Bra and panties from the "Never Say Never" collection. Bra, $58. Panties, $40. To purchase, visit

It's Time to Find a Cure!
You'll never miss or be late for an appointment again with this sporty and trendy watch from Avon.  Each over-sized quartz watch features gunmetal plating and a black silicone strap. The striking black face has a magenta ribbon and magenta hands.100% of net profits go to Avon Breast Cancer Crusade.

Purchase the watch at for $20.

Wrap Up Your Support
The 2013 Ford Warriors in Pink scarf is GORG! And you can wear it several ways. Scarf, sarong, shawl, and more! I love it, and the colors are beautiful. This scarf will match everything. It's a steal at $34! Take a look at the many ways you can where it and order it here.

Ford will donate 100% of the proceeds of the scarf to a choice of charities including: Susan G. Komen, Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, The Pink Fund, or Young Survival Coalition.
Photo source:

Spoil Yourself with Support
If you are feeling extremely generous and in the mood to drop some serious cash, why not splurge for a good cause? This A. MAY. ZING bag from Ralph Lauren is made of soft pink Napa leather. I am dying over this bag. Dying, people.

50% of the purchase price of this bag goes to the Pink Pony Fund of the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation during the month of October.

The Pink Pony Soft Ricky bag retails for $2,500 at It's worth it, right? I think so.


Wordless Wednesday: In The Woods in Rehoboth Beach

Wednesday, October 2, 2013
At the end of August, my daughters and I spent a week in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware with my sisters and their children.

One of the fondest memories I have of this vacation is the morning walks I would take with my sisters. In years past, it was usually my sister Brenda and I who would wake early and walk. But this year, my sisters April and Holly joined us.

Not only were these walks a chance to catch up with each other, but they were also a chance to explore the "off the beaten path" Rehoboth Beach.

Who would have guessed that just a few short blocks from the beach was this serene wooded area?

Over the hills and through the woods...

Rays of sunshine...

A quiet lake...

And we've come full circle. Back to the beach...

Don't you just love happening upon the unexpected?

I'm Featured in Fabulous After 40's "What I Wore"

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Each week Fabulous After 40 showcases their readers and fashion bloggers over 40 in a weekly feature called "What I Wore". I was invited to be featured last week, and I gladly accepted.

I would love if you'd stop over there to check out my picture. I'm wearing an Old Navy color block dress that I picked up for a steal!! Don't miss it!