Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Food & Drink

SHOP MY FAVES

SHOP MY FAVES
SHOP MY FAVES

STYLE

STYLE
STYLE

Best Online Reads


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

1. Three easy ways to save $100 or more a month via The Girlfriend.

2. How to politely turn down a virtual date via Bustle.

3. Five ways to stay connected during isolation via MindBodyGreen.
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How To Cook With Your Kids During a Shelter-In-Place (And Why You Need To)


Have you heard it yet? The dreaded phrase, "Mom, I'm bored." After almost three weeks of sheltering-in-place, you've likely heard it multiple times. One way to break up the boredom is to get kids in the kitchen to help cook and bake. Most children will express an interest in cooking at some point in their lives. Usually, they like to get involved in baking sweet treats like cookies and cupcakes, where they can lick the spoon as a reward for their efforts. Allowing your kids to help you cook and back will engage them in new learning experiences that will set them up for life. 
Here are just some of the wonderful benefits gained when you take the time to cook with your kids and teach them more about food:

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Weekend Dispatch


Today marks the beginning of our third week being self-quarantined. It's a surreal feeling. One moment everything feels normal, and the next moment you are painfully aware of how different life has become. Here in New Jersey, things are getting intense as our number of cases and deaths escalates. I feel like this sickness is closing in on me, and it's not a good feeling. I'm trying to remain positive and keep in mind that the safest place right now is in our homes. Since we will most likely be doing this for at least another month, and quite possibly, longer, I've decided to beef up the Weekend Dispatch posts. So, here we go. I'll be including things I've watched, ate, read, listen to, etc. as well as some suggestions and/or what's on my list for the week ahead.

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How To Keep Your Kids Occupied During Quarantine


We’re living through some pretty strange times at the moment and none of us really knows how things are going to pan out or when life will resume as usual. Chances are, your little ones have been thrown out of their routine too. In many countries across the world, schools have been closed and we’ve been placed in a lockdown situation where we need to keep our little ones indoors. This, of course, can be challenging. Kids get bored easily. They’re not going to school. They’re not attending their hobbies and extracurricular activities. They’re not seeing their friends. They can’t get out to play at the park or go for fun days out. But that doesn't mean days at home should be dull. There’s so much you can do to keep their minds occupied and their imaginations entertained. Here are a few suggestions:
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How To Plan For The Future You Want In Uncertain Times

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The world is full of uncertainty right now. As we wait it out, many countries across the world are in a state of lockdown, and it feels like there are so many unknowns. Forget wanting to thrive, we just want to know if we and our loved ones will survive this testing time. It’s easy to forget what life was like without the constant ticking of bad-news headlines and worrying new developments. Although this particular situation is something none of us have experienced in our lifetimes, it’s fair to say that life has always been about overcoming challenges.

From accidents and illness through to redundancy, divorces and bereavement, no life is completely without its testing times. In fact, it's not these crises which define us - it's our emotional resilience and our response to them and how we handle them. In fact, being confined to our houses is presenting us with a unique opportunity to re-evaluate our lives, to assess the direction we’re heading in, and to set some goals for our future. Planning for better days can be a savior in turbulent times, as it allows you to focus on the positive and take back some control. So, how can you use this time in self-quarantine to plan your next move and actually improve your life?
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What To Wear To Be Comfy In Quarantine

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I've learned a few things during this quarantine, and one of them is how to perfect my athleisure game. In two weeks, I've worn jeans twice, maybe. I've been living in black leggings, cozy joggers, and cute sweats. At one time, I would have considered this type of clothing to be glorified pajamas, but not anymore. I'm totally here for the athleisure look, especially during these times when we are safe at home but still want to be comfortable and look pulled together. Here are a few of my favorite pieces that are versatile and can be worn with jeans or pulled on over a bathing suit.
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An Emotional Roller Coaster


Life sure does look differently these days. A few months ago if you had told me our state (and much of the country) would be on lockdown in March, I would have laughed. How silly that would have sounded back then. Now, it's our reality, and there isn't anything we can do about it except adjust, cooperate, and hope our efforts pay off quickly so that we can jumpstart life again.

The fact that this situation unraveled so quickly is daunting. Two weeks ago everything seemed fine. I was going to the gym everyday. The girls were going to school everyday. We were more vigilant about hand washing and touching unnecessary objects as well as our faces, but other than that, everything seemed as it always was.
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Best Online Reads


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

1. How to load a dishwasher properly via The Huffington Post.

2. What it's like being a healthcare worker fighting coronavirus via Marie Claire.

3. The five do's and don'ts of working remotely via Inc.
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We Can Beat This & 10 Things To Do In Quarantine


This is a crazy time in the history of the world. A global health crisis not only poses a threat to our physical wellbeing, but also to our mental and financial wellbeing as well. As much as I support social distancing (I've been doing it since Friday afternoon), it's difficult to see some of my favorite small businesses suffering in order to support these efforts. But I know our collective efforts will pay off in the end by limiting exposure and therefore, stopping COVID-19.

In the meantime, it's overwhelming to take in the abundance of information that's coming from all directions and try to maintain some semblance of sanity and control. While it's been hard for me to limit my time on social media each day as I am constantly checking Facebook for updates and Instagram to see how everyone is doing, I know also that I need to take a break from the constant news stream.

As hard as it is to be quarantined, it's also the only way we will end the spread of COVID-19. Rather than live in denial, embrace your limitations and use this time as a chance to accomplish things you never seem to have the downtime to do.
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The Books I Read In January


This post is wayyyyy late, I know. It's been a minute since I've had a chance to sit down and devote time to writing this long post. It's an in depth one since January was a very productive month for reading. It was a combination of kicking off the year with a new reading goal and being overly eager to smash it and having a list of really good books to read. 📚 From the moment the clock struck 12 am on January 1, 2020, I hit the books. Literally, I took a single sip of prosecco and moved on to reading! By the middle of the month, I had 4 books read and was on a roll!

Here are the books I read in January:
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7 Ways To Save Money On Kitchen Appliances

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Our house was built in 1996. Up until a few years ago, most of our appliances were the original ones that were in the house when it was built and when we moved into the home in 2006. Within the past few years, the appliances have slowly stopped working, primarily due to their advanced age. Kitchen appliances are essential to modern living. Over the years, we've gotten adept at buying new appliances. And because we've often had to do so often, we've gotten really good at finding the best sales and knowing where to splurge and where to save. Whether you’re outfitting your first home or shopping for replacements, here are a few ways in which you can save money on appliances.
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How to Know The Right Gift to Buy For Her

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No matter how well you know your significant other, buying gifts for her can be a little harder than you expect. This can happen for a couple of reasons. For one, you already believe that she has everything she needs, and two, it may be that you don’t want to buy her something solely for the sake of buying it.

Both of these pose a problem, though, and it creates quite a conundrum. If you don’t buy her something, you come across like you don’t care, but purchase something useless, and you risk the same thing. So, it’s essential to have a solid plan and even a backup plan, whether the gift is big, small, something meaningful, or something fun.
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5 Things To Consider When Looking For A Lawyer

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Lawyers aren't just for getting you out of trouble or a bind. You might consult one when you are buying a new piece of property. Or you might call a lawyer if you've been injured in an accident. If you're looking for a lawyer but you're unsure where to begin when it comes to finding the right person for the job, I'm sharing a few tips thanks to advice from a friend's husband (who is a lawyer).

Whether you're need a lawyer on a one-off basis or you need to hire someone long-term, be sure the person you find is suitable for the job at hand. While the search for an attorney may seem difficult and overwhelming at first, there are lots of questions you can ask yourself to ensure you're getting it right. From setting yourself a budget to working out what type of lawyer you need, the more you're thinking about it the better. With that in mind, here are 5 things to consider when looking for a lawyer:
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How To Broach Sensitive Topics With Children

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There comes a time in your life as a parent where you will have to broach sensitive topics with your children. Since my daughters are 14 and 17, I seem to be doing a lot of this lately since they are at the ages where they are hyperaware of what is going on around them and in the world. Whether it's the issue of loss or explaining the hardships of life that may have presented themselves too soon, or helping them overcome issues such as bullying at school, all this can take a toll on your child, and so providing a place of safety and comfort for them to learn about these issues and slowly digest them is necessary.

Additionally, sometimes it can be that the topic is extremely sensitive and requires careful thought and protection. For instance, the boy scout abuse lawsuits of recent times have made us all aware just how anyone can be a victim. This can be a tough job for any parent, but of course love, respect and the safety of our child makes this approach less of a difficulty for us and instead a must, and a task for which we must find the right approach. Since our daughters have been raised in the Catholic religion, they've had many questions about the sexual abuse in the Catholic Church that we've had to address both honestly and delicately.

We've gone about our discussions with the following things in mind:
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Ways To Spoil Yourself On A Budget

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There is no shame in spoiling yourself every once in a while. Especially when you have kids, you need to find time to focus on you. Forget about everything else and relax and unwind, even if it is only for a few hours. You deserve it. After all it is your life too and without a little ‘me time,’ who are you? Pampering and treating yourself doesn't need to cost a fortune. Here are some ideas when you are on a budget:

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How To Make Your Home More Appealing To Potential Buyers

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Selling your home can be nerve-wracking and exciting all at the same time. There’s a lot to think about and do as you prepare to put your home on the market. The faster it sells, the quicker you can move on and into your new home.

If you want the process to be quick and painless, take time to make your property more appealing to potential buyers. Focus on updates and features that will draw potential buyers in and spark their interest in wanting to buy your home. Work with your realtor to take care of any finishing touches before it’s time to show it off.
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Weekend Dispatch


Is it just me or is this month flying by? I know it's a short one, but February seems to be whizzing by. Last week was a whirlwind. We celebrated Harper's 14th birthday, and while I was out running errands to pick up a few things for her birthday, I ran into my boss when I wrote for Meridian Momtourage. What a fantastic surprise it was! I hadn't seen her in forever. It was so serendipitous. We ran into each other at a Starbucks that neither of us ever goes to. We ended up chatting for two hours. It was so great to catch up with her and was a wonderful reminder to enjoy a spontaneous run-in rather than let it stress me out thinking about what I had planned to do in the time I was enjoying our chat. Anyway, I miss seeing her regularly, and since we live so close, we have committed ourselves to getting together regularly.

Other than that, here's what else I've been up to:

I've been listening to the podcast The Daily  from The New York Times practically since its inception two years ago. When I recently did a Google search to find out more about the team behind The Daily, I found that The New York Times has a spinoff TV show on hulu called The Weekly. In the same vein as The Daily, The Weekly is a narrative documentary series that examines a hot topic for 30 minutes each week. Topics range from Johnson & Johnson's baby powder and whether it contains asbestos to Rudy Giuliani's rise to popularity and fall from grace.


When you are in the mood for a short podcast (under 10 minutes) that seems like a quick chat with a friend on a pop culture topic, The Hottest Take podcast is your go-to. It's like an op-ed in podcast form. With topics such as children on airplanes to breakfast to the tradition of bridesmaids, The Hottest Take touches on movies, food, TV, the internet, and life in general. We all have opinions, and chances are one of the host shares yours. Listen here.


Do you journal? The topic of journaling came up in a private Facebook group that I belong to. I've always expressed myself more effectively using the written word than the spoken one, but those written words have always been for others. When you journal, those words are for you. Many people in the group use journaling as a means of self-care and as a release. Others use it as a way to preserve memories. Whatever your intention is, journaling can be very therapeutic. I've recently started journaling and bought this journal as a guide. It includes prompts for times when I want to journal but am at a loss for something to write about and included a guided format to keep you on track.


Each week I've been trying a new recipe. Some weeks it's been a dessert. Other weeks it's been a breakfast item. And others it's been a vegetarian recipe. This weekend I'm going to try this olive oil cake. I recently met a friend at her house for tea, and she served a variation of this cake (she made an orange olive oil cake), and it was delicious. Very light and airy and pairs exceptionally well with tea.

So, tell me. What do you have planned this weekend?
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5 Fab Finds Under $50

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Spring is coming. I promise! Be ready for it with a few items that are either on trend for spring or will help you make a seamless transition from winter to spring. This week I'm sharing 5 fab finds under $50 to help you prepare for spring's arrival.
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Best Online Reads


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

1. Six things about the bloody Mary that you should know via Liquor.com.

2. How to plan a trip around someone else's wedding via Condé Nast Traveler.

3. Forty facts about "The Bachelor" you may not have known via Marie Claire.
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5 Fab Finds Under $50

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This week's fab finds has a little bit of everything from workout to night out. That cute bag up there? Yeah, you're going to want to buy that before it sells out!
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Small Ways To Make Motherhood Easier


The hardest job in the world is that of parenting. It’s grueling, exciting, tedious, exciting, and tiring - all rolled into one. You don’t get breaks, you work around the clock, and you attend the needs of small and very demanding little humans. Yep, motherhood in a nutshell.

We know, you love your kids, you don’t need to clarify this! It is more than okay to want a break from your children while still loving the bones of them! You are a very tired, very overworked superhero, and everyone knows that mothers have it very hard. It’s for this reason that you need to do everything possible to make life easy for yourself. With our four tips below, you can make life far easier than it has been in a while and change the way you think about how you live, too!
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What To Wear On Valentine's Day

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I'm not big into celebrating Valentine's Day, but I do love the idea of wearing something festive that isn't over the top, covered in hearts. This year, I'll be wearing this cute top, but in my search to find something fun to wear, I also found a few other red and pink items that are cute without going overboard.
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Best Online Reads


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

1. How to clean out your closet via Wit & Whimsy.

2. Five things you need to clean every single day via Health.

3. I think this concept is totally hilarious and clever AF via Bustle.
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Weekend Dispatch


Last week was rough after Sunday's news about Kobe Bryant's untimely death. I tend to do two things when I am upset: clean and exercise. So, on Monday morning, I went to the gym for my usual workout but hopped on the treadmill and ran for a whopping seven miles. I never run that far, but I was so jacked up and emotional that I just released it in the form of a good, solid run. I felt great afterwards and am going to try to make it a regular thing. Unfortunately, I expended all my emotional energy during my run that I had none left for cleaning. So, there's that. This week I am trying to finish up a book I am reading, and I'm trying to knock You off my viewing list, but this season has been difficult for me to get in to (anyone else?), and it's taking me a while to watch.

Here's what else I am up to this week:

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The 3 Best Rated Nutritional Diets for 2020

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There are always new "diets" coming out promising all sorts of positive health effects, but which ones actually work and have proven results? In an ocean of fad diets, it’s important to understand which diets are actually worth pursuing, what benefits you can actually achieve by following them, and which are the most effective at helping you achieve your objectives (healthier eating, lose weight, etc.).

While I am not a big fan of the word "diet" because I think it conjures up people depriving themselves of the foods they love. I am using the word here for lack of a better term. I'm using the word diet to refer to a way of eating that works for your lifestyle and your moral values. 

Here are the top 3 diets in 2020 as rated by a panel of health experts in the USA.
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Why Does It Seem Like Everyone Is Dying?


Last night as we stood in the kitchen, Emma turned to me and asked, "Why is everyone dying?". I wasn't expecting that question, and I fumbled for the right words to answer it. I find that death comes in waves. It's like the "bad things happen in threes" thing. You experience a series of deaths over a certain period of time, and then none at all for a while.

Last week a kindergarten teacher from the girls' former elementary school lost her long and courageous battle with cancer. Later that same day, a friend of theirs father passed away. And then, of course, on Sunday Kobe Bryant and his daughter along with 7 friends perished in a tragic helicopter accident. Because of Bryant's notoriety, his death is at the forefront of the media, and no matter what you do, it's difficult to escape it. It's a constant reminder of how short life is.
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This Is Why Your House Won't Sell

Eventually, the time will come when you put your home on the market, hoping that some lucky buyer will place a winning bid and move in shortly thereafter. Every year, millions of homeowners do just that believing that they’ll be able to sell their property quickly and find a new home elsewhere.

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A significant percentage of those sellers, however, find that they’re not able to sell their homes anything like as fast as they want. Three months roll by, then six months, and their property is still on the market. After a year, they throw their hands up in the air and wonder whether it is worth selling their home at all!

Fortunately, identifying the reasons a house won’t sell is surprisingly easy. Usually, it comes down to one of a small number of issues that you can fix. Take a look at the following reasons why your house won’t sell and what you can do about it.
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Tips To Create A Home You Love Coming Back To

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Is there anything better than coming home after a long day of work, travel, or running errands? There's something about stepping over the threshold to the familiarity of you own home that is so comforting. When it comes to your home, you want it to reflect your personality and all the things you love. Here are a few tips for creating a home you love coming back to.
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Weekend Dispatch


This weekend was a long one due to the MLK holiday, and I'd be lying if I said this morning's wake up call was anything but easy. My alarm went off at 6:07 AM (I have a thing about setting alarms at even times like 6:00, 6:05, 6:10, etc.), and I was not feeling it. But I've made it a goal to not hit the snooze button this year. What does the snooze button buy you anyway? A few more minutes and a lot of crankiness. I'm finding I feel better when I force myself directly out of bed when my alarm goes off. No trolling social media apps or email. It's up and at 'em! It's not always easy, but it's those first 5 minutes after wakeup that are the hardest. So, I'm choosing to get it over with quickly and get my day started. Besides, I spent ample time lounging in bed with my cats while reading on Saturday (see pic above).
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What We're Reading


I always thought that most of my reading happened during the summer months when I have a more relaxed schedule and spend weekends at the beach or by the pool. But this winter has proven me wrong. This month alone I've read five books and am already 12% of the way to my goal of 40 books this year. Maybe it's that I've gotten more in tune with what I like to read or maybe it's that my tastes in books is not as singular as it used to be (chick lit). Either way, I've been plowing through the books and genuinely enjoying them all. I just finished The Tattooist of Auschwitz, and if you haven't read it, it is a must. Definitely one of the best books I've read in a long time.

Here are the books we are currently reading:
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Best Online Reads


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

1. Ten dishes you're better off cooking at home, according to chefs via Insider.

2. The best dressed celebs of 2019 via Business Insider.

3. How to set boundaries with co-workers so you can be more productive via Well+Good.
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5 Fab Finds Under $50: Workout Edition

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New year. New you, right? Maybe that new you starts with prioritizing your health, mainly starting (or getting back to) an exercise routine. Just the thought of adding exercise into your life can be daunting, let alone the thought of buying the right clothes, sneakers, and gear. This week, I've hand selected five fab finds under $50 to help you kick off your fitness routine and start slaying those goals.


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Best Online Reads


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

1. Eight TSA rules you should know via The Discoverer.

2. The reason it's so hard to get out of bed on winter mornings via Fitbit.

3. Eight questions to ask your dermatologist via Real Simple.
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Ways To Save On Home Improvements

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So you want to invest in some home improvements, but you’re a little wary of just how big the budget might end being? It’s a justifiable concern, home improvements often cost more than you might expect and those costs can add up quick. For that reason, here we’re going to look at ways you can keep your costs down.
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January is the Perfect Time to Throw a Party

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Host a party? What? You're partied out from the holidays? The holiday season might be over, but the loooong winter isn’t even close to being done. There are still several months of cold and possibly snow left before the first spring flowers appear and, after having so much to look forward to before, these long nights can feel even longer.

This is why January is the perfect time to throw a party. Sure, the holiday season is over but that’s no reason to subject yourself to social Siberia. A bit of snow and cold temps shouldn’t stand in the way of some good times and neither should your tightened purse strings. There are plenty of fun family party ideas that are cheap to host and fun to attend.
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The Books I Read in December


Surprisingly, as busy as December was, it was also a productive month for reading. It helped that I had a Goodreads reading goal of 30 books to reach and the books that I chose were page turners, and I could hardly put them down. In the interest of full disclosure, one of the books I read was started in mid-November and finished on December 1st, so technically, it wasn't read in December. But I am including it here since it was the only book I read in November.

Here are the books I read in December:
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3 Essential Tips for Buying a Luxury Watch

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A watch is so much more than merely a tool for telling the time. Your choice of watch is a statement that communicates your sense of style and personality. A luxury watch is an accessory that will get you noticed and is sure to attract attention. As a push present after I gave birth to Emma, my husband bought me a Tag Heuer watch, and it's one of my favorite pieces of jewelry after almost 18 years.

Purchasing a luxury watch can feel daunting, especially if this is the first time you've ever shopped for one. Due to the amount of money involved in buying a designer watch, and how frequently it is worn, you will need to shop carefully to choose the perfect watch for your needs.
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Best Online Reads


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

1. Ten ways to reduce food waste via The Chalkboard.

2. How to keep your hair static-free this winter via Makeup.com.

3. Hacks that will make your life easier via Refinery29.
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