French Margarita {Recipe}

Saturday, February 22, 2014
Today is National Margarita Day. So why not celebrate with a delicious cocktail?

Not only do the French make great wine, they can mix up a pretty mean French margarita. And just for you, I am sharing the recipe today.


This recipe replaces the triple sec and lime juice with Grand Marnier and blood orange juice. It is a treat to taste and is absolutely refreshing.

2 oz. tequila
1 oz. Grand Marnier
3/4 oz. lime juice
2 oz. blood orange juice

1/2 oz. agave syrup

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a glass over ice. Enjoy!

Meridian Health's Red Dress Event #reddress

Friday, February 21, 2014
February is National Heart Health month, a month that the American Heart Association dedicates to helping fight heart disease and raise awareness in women with its Go Red For Women campaign.

Heart disease is the #1 killer of women, and surprisingly is more deadly than all forms of cancer.*

Unfortunately, many women are unaware of the symptoms to look for and therefore, often pass off heart disease as a more common ailment such as acid reflux or general muscle aches and pains.

Last night, as part of the Meridian Momtourage team I attended a charity event sponsored by Meridian Health to help raise awareness of heart disease in women. There were informative speeches by health care professionals and moving speeches by heart attack survivors. The general message was that we can't fix what we don't know. So, the more we know about heart disease in women, the better armed we are to manage it and prevent it.

As someone who has 2 of the risk factors for heart disease (high blood pressure and high cholesterol), I know first hand how difficult it can be to manage those risk factors. But I know how important it is for my heart health.

The event was held at Watermark in Asbury Park, a hip, upscale restaurant and nightclub that was the perfect setting for a fun and festive evening. There were heart healthy bites to eat and red cocktails created just for the event.

It was a sea of red.
Ladies dance the night away at Meridian Health's Red Dress event
Actual dresses that have been featured in the annual Red Dress fashion show were on display throughout the venue.

There were plenty of opportunities to mingle with experts. Here, Carly (far right) and I chat with Dr. Brett Sealove, a cardiologist who practices at Monmouth Cardiology Associates, which happens to be the practice that I go to. However, I see one of Dr. Sealove's colleagues. Also pictured is Cindy, a Meridian team member.

And of course, any Meridian event is not complete with a little pow-wow with my fellow bloggers. Carly and I catch up!
All photos appear courtesy of Meridian Health.

It was a fabulous night for a great cause!

For more information about Go Red For Women or to find out how you can help fight heart disease, visit Go Red For Women on Facebook.

You can find Meridian Health on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

*According to the American Heart Association

Easy Canvas Prints {Review and Giveaway}

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
How many of you have heaps of pictures on your hard drives and SD cards waiting to be printed?

Raise your hand if you haven't swapped out the pictures in your frames in about 5 years.

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Well, rest assured, you are not the only one. I am right there with you. I have a list of framed pictures that I've been meaning to change, but whenever I have a free moment to spend on pictures, I crash in front of the TV instead.

When I heard about Easy Canvas Prints' high quality prints and quick and easy ordering, I jumped on it. I was invited to order an 8x10" canvas print, and I had the perfect picture for it. I've been wanting to order a canvas print for a long time now. The timing was perfect.

Online orders is super simple. Go to to begin. Click the "START YOUR CANVAS" button.

You can order either a single canvas or a collection of canvases to create a wall collage. I ordered a single canvas print. You can upload photos from your computer, Facebook, and even Instagram!

 Then you can choose the size of the canvas that you want.

My review offer was for an 8x10" canvas print. Once you select the size print you want, you can upload your photo. Easy Canvas Prints helps you identify when a print is of good quality.

After you upload your photo, you choose the type of border you want, and that's it! Simple. Simple. Simple.

There are several option, but honestly, the standard shipping gets the print to you in about a week.

The print arrives, and it's time for the big reveal. I have to say that the pictures I took do not do the canvas print justice. It looks so much better in person than in a picture.

I chose a black and white picture for my canvas print. It really looks fabulous though hard to tell in this photo.

Trust me, you will be pleased with the print if you order from Easy Canvas Prints.

Easy Canvas Prints is giving one lucky Pieces of a Mom reader an complimentary 8x10" canvas print. The winner will receive a link via email to order a complimentary print. Winner will follow the same ordering procedure noted above. Shipping costs are pre-paid by Easy Canvas Prints.

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Note: I received a complimentary 8" x 10" canvas print from Easy Canvas Prints to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

Menu Plan Monday :: 2.17.14

Monday, February 17, 2014
I managed to stay on track with last week's meal plan despite the fact that we had a few curve balls thrown at us when a snow storm barreled into town on Thursday morning. School was cancelled. The Hubs' flight from South Carolina was cancelled. He rescheduled it, and that flight was cancelled. He finally made it home late Friday night.

I scrambled at the last minute to make alternate birthday plans for Harper. But all's well that ends well. And this week, we are hoping for a smoother week with better weather.

Monday - Personal pizzas

Tuesday - Chicken tacos

Wednesday - School fundraiser at a local restaurant.

Thursday - Hubs is on dinner duty since I will be attending an event for Meridian Momtourage.

Friday - Slow cooker potato soup

Saturday - Family celebration for Harper's 1st Reconciliation and her birthday.

Sunday - Hubs homemade spaghetti sauce, meatballs, and pasta.

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.

Getting Jacked Up at the Monster Jam Truck Show #monsterjam

Saturday, February 15, 2014
Some people want candle lit dinners with their sweetheart on Valentine's Day. Others prefer a quite dinner at home with the family. And others like Claudia Krusch and her family like the excitement of the Monster Jam Truck Show for Valentine's Day!
Claudia Krusch

Today, Claudia Krusch, a friend and fellow New Jersey Digital Mom and founder of Bilingual Buddies is guest posting here at Pieces of a Mom and sharing her experiences at last night's Monster Jam Truck Show at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

I am going to let Claudia take it away from here and tell you all about her adventures at Monster Jam Truck Show.

We started in the “Party in the Pits” with Adam Anderson, the crowd favorite, who graciously spent over 20 minutes explaining how Monster Jam works and his family history in the business including how he got started.
The pit party!

He showed not only the outside features, like 66 inch tires, cars running on methanol fuel, but also how to change the tire and the inside of his car: The Grave Digger.
Adam Anderson changing a tire on his monster truck.
Followed by the opportunity to take pictures and get autographs with all drivers. All drivers were really nice, patient and answered any questions we had.
Claudia and her son with the driver of Captain America

The cars that participated in the Monster Truck challenge included The Grave Digger – the Legend, The Grave Digger, Captain America, Thrasher, Shockwave, Overkill Evolution, Madusa, and Black Stallion.

They competed in amazing categories such as Wheelies, Donuts, and Free Style.  It was very impressive to see the drivers hit the other monster trucks while doing the free style, and I don't think they had planned that!

The Legend doing donuts!

Adam Anderson left the car after his Free Style and went to the crowd to take pictures and talk to fans! The drivers worked the crowd in a way that had my son screaming and cheering, and trust me, he never does that!

The Legend won most competitions.  The highest point in my opinion was the finale where Grave Digger (2, not the Legend), hit three Monster Cars while doing free style, the final competition!  The crowd went wild!

It was truly a great experience, for children any age! I would highly recommend it!

To learn more about Claudia, follow her on Facebook and Twitter and visit the Bilingual Buddies web site.

For more details on what you can expect to see at a Monster Jam Truck Show, read all about it in my original giveaway post.

Finally! A Local Networking Event in New Jersey! #blogpointpleasantbeach

Thursday, February 13, 2014
Blogging and networking events are few and far between here in New Jersey. Because we are located so close to both New York and Philadelphia (depending on where you live), most events are held in one of these major cities.

If you are a blogger from New Jersey, you have to make the trek to either New York or Philly. I am never one to pass up a trip to either NYC or Philly, but sometimes it's pretty awesome to hop in my car for a 10-minute drive to an event.

Last Friday night, I had the opportunity to meet and mingle with local bloggers and network with local business women...all within a 7 minute drive from my house!!! You can't beat that!

Carly Walko from ThirtySomethingFashion hosted an event at Lola's, a women's apparel and accessories boutique in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. Not only did I have an opportunity to meet some fabulous women who live and work this area, but I had a chance to shop too! And I took advantage of the great deals and fabulous clothes at Lola's!!

Carly lined up some great sponsors including The Ark Pub and Eatery who provided super yummy appetizers including clams casino and Mexi skins (half of a jalapeno stuffed with mac and cheese and wrapped in bacon). Oh. My. God. The Mexi skins were off the charts delish! Daniel's Bistro's shrimp cocktail hit the spot, and Point Lobster Company warmed our insides with a to-die-for lobster bisque.

I was excited to catch up with some old blogging friends and meet some new ones.

Above from left: Me, Margaret, and Carly

It was a small but intimate group, which gave us a chance to connect and enjoy quality conversation. I met some new friends and made some business connections and caught up with some bloggers that I have known for years.

I ran into Laura, an acquaintance and friend of friends who is a Rodan & Fields consultant. Laura provided a raffle prize, and she and I got to chatting about my rosacea and sensitive skin. Laura gave me a great recommendation for a R & F skincare system. I'll be checking it out this week and researching the ingredients, before & after pictures, and testimonials.

From l. to r., me, Laura L., Margaret, Carly, Laura B.

And of course, a little shopping happened too!

I stepped out of my style comfort zone and bought this fabulous faux leather and sequin skirt. Isn't it fab? And Carly gave me some great ideas for styling it. Once the temperatures get into normal ranges, I'll break it out of the closet! I really couldn't pass it up. It was 75% off of $49...$12.25, people. That's just plain CRAZY!!

I also bought this top. I loved the print and the colors. Although I can wear this top now, I am super excited to pair it with white jeans in warmer temps. The top was also 75% off. The original price of the top was $68. I paid $30 for both items!!!! Crazy good deals!!

Many thanks to Carly, Lola's, and all the sponsors for a fun night of mingling over food, wine, and fabulous clothes.

And a special note of thanks to The Good Home Co. for the providing goodies to take home. The lavender dryer sheets are AMAZING!

If you are local to the Point Pleasant area, be sure to check out all of the above sponsors.

Dessert Kebabs {Tuesday's Tasty Treat}

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
I attended a gift auction two weeks ago with some girlfriends, and I volunteered to bring a dessert for our table. I wanted to bring something that encompassed a variety of desserts such as fruit and a sweet treat such as cake or cookies. But I didn't want to bring several items as I knew we had limited space on the table.

I finally decided on dessert kebabs. They are a combination of healthy and indulgent. And boy, were they a big hit!

Dessert kebabs are super simple to make and you can use a variety of different and tasty items, as long as you can easily glide them on to a skewer.

For this particular occasion, I used blueberries, strawberries, pound cake, brownies, and mini marshmallows.

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I got a bit ambitious and used a small cookie cutter to shape some of the pieces of pound cake into hearts. For the kebab in the center, I drizzled some melted chocolate to add touch of sweetness.

How To Assemble Dessert Kebabs

1. Use metal or wooden skewers.

2. Choose your fruit (preferably a fruit that isn't too juicy (or it will saturate your cake, brownies, etc.) or one that doesn't oxidize quickly (apples, pears, bananas). I like to use berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries) and grapes.

3. Choose your cake. I like varieties of pound cake (original, chocolate, lemon, or marble) and brownies. They are sturdy and pair well with berries. Slice the pound cake into cubes.

4. Assemble the skewers any way you wish. I like to follow a pattern, but that's the OCD side of me. This is a fun dessert, so no pressure to make them perfect.

5. If drizzling with chocolate, heat chocolate pieces or morsels in a double boiler. I like to add a dash of heavy cream to give the chocolate a sheen. With a spoon, drizzle the chocolate on to the kebabs.

* For a fun twist, add a few marshmallows.

Menu Plan Monday :: 2.10.2014

Monday, February 10, 2014
Last week's menu plan was a bust. I think I made two of the meals that I planned. I made a few changes because no one wanted what I had planned, and we resorted to take-out only once during that week. So, at least I won there.

This week, I plan to stay on track. I consulted with the family for their input, so there's a little something to please everyone here.

Monday - Chicken stir-fry.

Tuesday - Cheese fondue

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

Thursday - Dinner out. It's Harper's choice since it's her 8th birthday!!

Friday - Valentine's Day meal is TBD.

Saturday - Jalapeno popper pizza

Sunday - Hubs is in charge.

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.

The Satchel ~ Must Have Bag of the Season #fashionfriday

Friday, February 7, 2014
Maybe it's the shape. Or maybe it's the abundance of space inside. Whatever it is, I'm in love with spring's "it" bag, the satchel. The satchel is a structured bag that offers plenty of space and a streamlined design.

It's worthy of carrying all those oddly shaped items and those that are too large to fit into any other type of bag. It's polished and practical, fun and functional.

Put your favorite tote away in your closet for a while and grab a satchel instead.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Spring Satchels

Spring Satchels by sheila-coleman-hill featuring satchel handbags

Clockwise from top left:

I couldn't resist this Joy Mangano satchel when I saw it on HSN. I love the color, and it is so roomy inside, which is an absolute must for me. I carry so much around with me, and I love a big bag. This satchel is big without being enormous and boxy.

A closer look...

Friday is the most fashionable day of the week. This week I am loving Jo-Lynne's suggestions for staying chic on snow days. Not only does she offer up fashionable choices, but they look oh so comfy too! Don't miss checking her post our as well as other fabulous Fashion Friday participants.


Get Your Teens and Tween Organized

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
I learned the hard way, but you don't have to. For 5 tips to getting your teens and tweens to get organized and stay focused, be sure to check out my post on Meridian Momtourage. It's a lot easier than you think when you follow these 5 steps.

You can see the post in its entirety here:


Saluting My Sister on World Cancer Day 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Today is World Cancer Day.

World Cancer Day is an opportunity to raise your voice to improve general knowledge around cancer and to dispel common misconceptions and rumors about the disease.

World Cancer Day is a chance to "Debunk the myths" that surround cancer. Four of the most common myths are:
  • We don't need to talk about cancer
  • Cancer ... There are no signs or symptoms
  • There is nothing I can do about cancer
  • I don't have the right to cancer care

Most of us have been touched by cancer in some way or another. You may be a survivor or you may know someone who is. You may have lost a loved one to cancer.

Both my mother and my mother-in-law were breast cancer survivors. In October 2012, my sister was diagnosed with uterine cancer. My sister.

Cancer can seem so far away sometimes until it happens to you. I can still recall getting the phone call from my sister. The crackling in her voice as she struggled to tell me. The feeling of helplessness that overcame me.

My sister is one of the lucky ones. She underwent treatment and survived. She kicked cancer's butt. But it wasn't an easy battle for her. She was scared. No, she was terrified. She often felt isolated and lonely.

I know she hid a lot of those feelings from me and my other sisters.

But what I saw was bravery. From the moment she found out that she had cancer, I saw nothing but a warrior in my sister. She chose to be a fighter.

Today she is cancer free and proud to be a survivor. She knows how lucky she is and we know how lucky we are to have her. Today, I celebrate her.

My sister with my children, my nieces, and my great-nephew during our annual family vacation in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

If you know someone battling cancer, think of them today and reach out to them in the coming days or weeks. Turn around their day by showing them how much you care. It will make all the difference for someone who often feels little hope.


Menu Plan Monday :: 2.3.2014

Monday, February 3, 2014
We woke up to another snow day today. It's coming down like crazy, and I have the urge to cook and bake all day. Since I'll be sharing a fun dessert tomorrow, I'll be baking for that, but otherwise, this snow day will be spent working. :-(

Here's what's on the menu this week. I'm carrying over one from last week. I didn't make the meatball tortellini soup. We ordered Chinese instead.

Monday - Meatball tortellini soup (I'm going to try it in the slow cooker this time).

Tuesday - Breaded chicken cutlets served with sauteed spinach and roasted potatoes. (my own recipe)

Wednesday - Spaghetti with tomatoes, garlic, and olives. I pinned this recipe over the weekend and cannot wait to try it.

Thursday - Chicken tortilla soup.

Friday - Hubs is in charge as I have a fashion blogging event at a local boutique.

Saturday - My niece and a friend are coming for dinner (menu TBD).

Sunday - Spicy vegetarian chili.

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.

Win a $25 Starbucks Gift Card {Giveaway}

Saturday, February 1, 2014
I'm kicking off February with a fan appreciation giveaway here at Pieces of a Mom. Without you, the loyal readers, there would be no blog.

As a way to say "Thanks for sticking around!", I am giving away a $25 gift certificate to Starbucks!!

Woohoo!! This is a giveaway that I would enter ten times over.

On any given day, you can find me at Starbucks jonesing for a pick-me-up. My drinks of choice are, 1) a trente unsweetened iced green tea, 2) solo grande skim white mocha with light whip, or 3) a grande Valencia orange refresher.

I love me some Starbucks! Read here just how much I puffy heart Starbucks. And I am passing some love on to you!

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