Friday, December 31, 2010

Ringing in the New Year!

Although I enjoy spending New Year's Eve with family and friends, I love all the glitter and glam that goes along with the evening! No matter what your plans are, I hope these pictures have you sparkling in to the New Year!

Wishing each of you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Talk to you in 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Seasoned Pretzels

Those of you who know me and for those of you who don't, you are about to find out how much I love pretzels. Since I can remember pretzels have always been my favorite snack, I pretty much can't live without them. I remember when I was in high school and had no interest in cooking, may be a little baking, but still not much, thank goodness that has all changed, my Mom said that if it was up to me to make dinner we would have pretzels and green beans on our plates. And that is so true, they are both two of my favorite foods.

I'll never forget the first time Thomas brought me home a bag of "seasoned pretzels" from his parents. I couldn't wait to try them, and once I started I couldn't stop. The pint size Ziploc bag Thomas had brought me was gone in a day, ONE DAY! Yes, I am that crazy. Who isn't? Well needless to say, I always look forward to the times these special pretzels are around, though I have yet to make them for myself, I am going to try and I hope you will too and be sure to let me know if you enjoy them as much as I do!

Seasoned Pretzels


2lbs. Pretzels
¾ cup canola oil
1 pkg ranch dressing mix
½ tsp dill weed
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp garlic powder

Mix seasonings with canola oil. Divide pretzels and put in two Ziploc bags. Divide seasoning and oil and put into each bag. Coat pretzels and let stand for 24 hours, turning occasionally.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Eat Mor Chikin

I'm back with another delicious recipe from Men's Health. Thomas has been finding scrumptious recipes on their website, you want to what makes the recipes even better? Not only are they easy to make and don't require off the wall ingredients that we will use one time, but they are healthy!

Chicken Cacciatorie


2 Tbsp olive oil
8 boneless chicken thighs (or a combination of thighs and drumsticks)**
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes
10-12 green or black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 lb roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan on high. Season the thighs with salt and pepper and add them to the skillet, skin side down. Cook, turning occasionally, until they're deeply brown and crisp on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove them from the pan.

2. Lower the heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, garlic, pepper flakes, and olives. Cook until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. Pour in the wine; simmer, stirring occasionally, until the wine nearly evaporates, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the stock, tomatoes, and chicken, tucking it skin side up into the vegetables. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium heat for another 20 minutes, until the chicken is nearly falling off the bone and the sauce is reduced by half. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle on the parsley. Makes 4 servings

**We used organic boneless skinless chicken thighs.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas! I hope Santa treated you well!

This image was orginally posted on Sweets & Treats, thanks Laur for sharing!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Family Favorite!

One of my favorite things I love most about the holidays are traditions and cranberry nut bread is one of our traditions. We make this bread from Thanksgiving through Christmas. I really don't know how the tradition was started, but it's something my Mom and her sisters have always made during the holidays and I always look forward to it! Most mornings during the holidays we have a slice for breakfast (with a cold glass of skim milk), it is the perfect mix of sweet and tangy and of course we have it at Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. All my aunts use the exact same recipe and they always say my Mom's is the best and I agree.

Over Thanksgiving I was helping my Mom make the bread, Mom did you notice I didn't include salt as one of the ingredients?, and I think I figured out what her secret is, she uses a little more orange juice then the recipe calls for which gives the bread added moisture and flavor. Give the recipe a try and I hope it will become one of your family favorites too!

Cranberry Nut Bread


2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon orange peel, grated
1 egg, well beaten
1 ½ cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
½ cup nuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in orange juice, oil, orange peel and egg. Mix until well blended. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Spread evenly in loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Mom,

Happy Birthday to YOU!!!

Today, on your birthday...

And eat a piece of cake

or two cupcakes, because birthday's only come once a year!

Happy Birthday to the BEST Mom their is, I love you!!!!

See you very soon!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Treats

Here's a yummy recipe from Martha Stewart, I made these last year at Christmas and they were such a big hit with women and men alike! What I really like about these cookies are how long they stay fresh and soft, just like brownies!

Martha Stewart Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies
Makes 36 cookies


1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling dough
36 mini peanut butter cups, chilled and unwrapped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using an electric mixer, cream peanut butter and butter in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add brown sugar; beat until combined, scraping down bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until incorporated.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture in two batches.

3. Scoop off dough by the tablespoon; roll into balls. Place granulated sugar on a plate; roll balls in sugar, coating completely. Place 2 inches apart on a nonstick insulated baking sheet.

4. Bake until cookies begin to puff up slightly, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven. Press one peanut butter cup in center of each cookie. Return to oven; continue baking until cookies are golden brown and chocolate has begun to melt, about 6 minutes more. Let cool at least 10 minutes on baking sheet before transferring cookies to rack to cool completely.

You can also make them with other favorite chocolate candies, I used a mixture of peanut butter cups and milk chocolate Hershey Kisses. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Tip from Martha: Adding marshmallows to the container will prevent the cookies from drying out.

Here are two more of my favorite treats to make during the Holidays:

Pretzel Turtles

Mint Brownies


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Girls Weekend!

Last weekend my Mom came in to town and we had so much fun together as usual! We went to lunch Friday at one of our favorite spots, the Gourmet Shoppe then spent the afternoon shopping in Columbia . We have several favorite shops we like to go to from antique stores to locally own boutiques. Shopping locally has a lot of offer not to mention you avoid the crowds of the chain retailers and they offer one of a kind gifts. Friday evening we met Thomas for dinner at Cantina76, my Mom was craving Mexican so what better place to take her! We had a very enjoyable dinner together enjoying drinks, appetizers and of course our meal. Once we got home we didn’t stay up much later because we decided it would be best to get some good sleep before our big shopping trip the next day.

Saturday morning we were up and off to Charleston ! I know many of you have heard me say before; Charleston is one of our favorite places. We were so excited; we could hardly stand the 2 hour car ride! It has been a chilly week or so here in the Southeast and last Saturday was no different, thank goodness we were planning on going in and out of shops all day long to stay warm. For as many years we have been visiting Charleston , we had never been at Christmas time. So this was a real treat for us and seeing the Charleston Place all decorated was exciting!

Train Garden

Christmas Tree

After taking in some of the Christmas sights, we started our day of shopping, but not before stopping at Starbucks for a caffeine fix. We spent most of the day going in and out of the shops that line King Street . We did take a break for lunch to refuel. We usually go to Blossoms for lunch, it’s our favorite lunch spot in Charleston , but since it was winter time and couldn’t sit outside we decided to go to Sermet’s Corner on King Street . The place was packed but we were lunch enough to get a table for two right by the front window! My lunch came with an order of sweet potato fries topped with Parmesan cheese, oh my goodness were they delicious, we couldn’t stop talking and we still can’t about how good they were!

After lunch we did some more shopping and stopped for a praline as our afternoon treat. That evening we rested up since Sunday was our last day together. Sunday we went to church and had lunch, frozen yogurt with lots of toppings to be exact, it sure was tasty! We went to a few more shops around town before it was time to leave for the airport.

Miss T and I hate when the weekends she comes to visit come to an end, we always have so much fun together! The nice part about saying goodbye this time was that we will be together again for the holidays real soon!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Surprise for Santa

Don't ask me what it is about these cookies that I love so much, but the only thing I can think of is because the cookies are salty sweet and I love salty sweet. I'm the girl that asks for a pretzel after a piece of cake!
One of my aunt's always brings this cookie along with many others to Christmas Eve and I make sure I keep my eye on them so I don't miss out! Not to mention I think the name of the cookie is very cute. I had never heard of this cookie until a year or two ago, am I that out of it? I guess its better I found out late than never.

Santa's Surprise Cookies
Yields 2 dozen cookies


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
24 Snickers miniature candy bars


Preheat oven to 300°F. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, mix together butter, peanut butter, and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and combine thoroughly. Then mix in flour mixture. Cover and chill dough 2-3 hours. To form cookie, scoop a tablespoon of chilled dough and flatten. Place a miniature Snickers in the center and form the dough into a ball around the Snickers. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-20 minutes. Cool cookies on a rack.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Scent of the Season

I picked up this candle two weeks ago and I had to refrain myself from lighting it until I started decorating for Christmas. It smells absolutely amazing and since I have an artificial tree I miss the smell of a live one, but this candle is a quick and pleasant fix!
What is your favorite scent of the season?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Two Funnies.

I hope these two jokes put on a smile on your face this Monday morning!
Two weasels are sitting on a bar stool. One start to insult the other one. He screams, "I slept with your mother!" The bar gets quiet as everyone listens to see what the other weasel will do. The first again yells, "I slept with you mother!" The other weasel says: "Go home, Dad, you're drunk."
A married couple in their early sixties were celebrating their fortieth wedding anniversary in a romantic restaurant. Suddenly, a fairy godmother appeared. She said, "For being such an exemplary married couple, I will grant you each a wish." The wife answered, "I want to travel around the world with my darling husband." The fairy waved her magic wand and poof!--two tickets for the Queen Mary 2 appeared. The husband though for a moment, and then said, "Well, this is all romantic, but an opportunity like this will never come again. I'm sorry, sweetheart, but my wish is to have a wife 30 years younger than me." The wife and the fairy were deeply disappointed, but a wish is a wish. So the fairy waved her magic wand and poof!--the husband became 92 years old. The moral of this story: Men who are ungrateful should remember fairy godmothers are female.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Go Fish!

Here's another delicious Men's Health recipe that Thomas found, which I mentioned in this post. We made this for dinner on Sunday night and it turned out to be so tasty!

Blackened Catfish with Mango Salsa


2 snapper, catfish, or tilapia fillets, 4–5 oz each (we used catfish)
1 mango (skin and seed removed), cut into cubes
1 ripe avocado (skin and pit removed), cut into cubes
Juice of one lime
1 Tbsp blackening spices
1/4 c minced onion
1/2 c chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil


1. Combine the mango, avocado, lime juice, onion, and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Preheat a large sauté or grill pan over high heat and add enough oil to coat it.

3. Rub the fish with enough of the blackening spice to thoroughly cover each side. When the oil is hot (almost smoking), carefully add the fillets to the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until a nice, dark crust has developed. The fish is done when it flakes easily with light pressure from your finger.

4. Top each fillet with the mango salsa.

Serve with brown rice and black beans, we added corn too and it was delicious! This recipe was so refreshing and light and even though it might seem like a summer recipe, I think it is a great recipe for year around. You know how I feel about mango's (love) so that might have something to do with it.


On another note, Miss T and I have one of our most favorite visitors coming in to town today for the weekend. We couldn't sleep last night we are so excited!

I hope y'all have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Favorites: Music & Movies Edition

I think it's safe to say we all have favorite Christmas music and movies? As you can see my list is quite outdated but so what? I'm not afraid to admit that N*Sync Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays puts a huge smile on my face!
Mariah Carey- All I want for Christmas is You
N*Sync-Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays
Michael Buble- Let it Snow Christmas CD
Tran-Siberian Orchestra
Taylor Swift-Sounds of the Season

*I listen to Pandora R&B/Pop Christmas Music station almost every day at work and they play such a variety of Christmas music and I love almost every song they play. Give the station a try, I bet it will make your work day or any day for that matter that much better!

Home Alone
Christmas with the Kranks
Santa Clause 1 & 2
The Polar Express

I absolutely can't get enough of Home Alone (the first one). One of my favorite lines: "Buzz's girlfriend? Woof!" The Polar Express is an amazing movie for children and adults alike. Did you know the movie is based off the children's book? It was one of my favorite books as a child and it would make a special gift for your own children or of course someone elses.

What are some of your favorite Christmas music and movies?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Weekend Recap

Let me just start by saying, aren't weekends fabulous? I think they are so fabulous, I wish they lasted all week long.

1.) Friday night Thomas and I saw Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert. One word to describe: A-MAZ-ING! Seriously, everything about it was just awesome not to mention the concert was 3 and half hours long, talk about getting your monies worth! If they are coming to a city near you, go check them out, I promise you will enjoy every minute!

2.) Saturday morning I went to our local Junior League Holiday Market. It was my first year attending and it was neat, but nothing to rave about. Although I did find one vendor from Georgia that I absolutely loved. You will just have to wait to find out more about her, I can’t give away all my secrets (at least not yet)!

3.) Saturday afternoon we went to one of our favorite lunch spots, DiPrato’s and had the most amazing pimento cheese and pita chips. YUM!

4.) How about we just don’t talk about the rest of Saturday? My Gamecocks lost in the SEC Championship game to Auburn . Auburn-walked-all-over-us, YIKES! Despite the lousy game and terrible outcome for the Gamecocks we did have fun watching the game with a few couples one in which we hadn’t seen in a long time and it was nice to catch up!

5.) I wrapped all the Christmas gifts we bought for the child we adopted from a local children’s home. Thomas’ work makes the arrangements with the children’s home and then all the employees adopt an individual child to buy gifts for. I had an absolute blast shopping with Thomas for our 8 year old boy, Daniel and today is the BIG day; he gets to open all his presents this afternoon!

6.) I decorated my house for Christmas and of course put up the Christmas tree! Thomas and I decorated the tree after dinner Sunday night. Side note, I have another delicious recipe to share with y’all from Men’s Health. Who would have ever thought they would have such delicious healthy recipes that are easy to make? Not I!

7.) After all the decorating was done, I love nothing more then sitting on my couch with just the lights from the Christmas Tree and the candles in the window. I love this time of year!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This Recipe Will Make You Lick Your Chops!

This recipe is unbelievably delicious! Thomas has been finding some great recipes on Men's Health and this recipe is one of them. We made these pork chops last night for dinner and I am still thinking about them today, what does that tell ya? With the pork chops we steamed fresh asparagus and seasoned it with salt and pepper. As for the chops, you must try this recipe, I know it will become one of your favorites if you do! It is easy to make and the flavors mixed with the apples and chops is absolutely delightful. Oh and if you are skeptical about the grainy mustard on top the chops, don't be, it makes the dish!

Apple-Topped Chops


2 tsp olive oil
1 small garlic clove, crushed
2 thin-cut boneless pork chops
1 small red apple, such as Gala or Red Delicious, cored and diced*
2 tsp balsamic or red-wine vinegar*
1 tbsp bourbon
1 tbsp grainy mustard*
salt and pepper

*We used a Gala Apple, balsamic vinegar and Inglehoffer stone ground mustard


Combine the oil and garlic in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place the pork chops in the center of the skillet. Toss the apple with the vinegar and bourbon, and then add the mixture to the skillet between the pork and the edges of the pan. Cook for 6 minutes, turning the pork once and the apple pieces a few times. When ready to serve, top the pork with mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


P.S.- This mustard is the BOMB!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advent Calendar

Today's your last day to go pick up an Advent calendar. Yes, I am a twenty something year old girl that buys an Advent calendar for herself. So I am not ready to let go of my childhood traditions, so what? Laugh all you want, but who doesn't like an excuse to eat a piece of chocolate everyday while counting down to Christmas!

What are some of your childhood traditions you still hold on to? Can you believe it's December already?? EEEK!!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

While most of you ladies are fighting long lines to score fabulous black friday deals at your local mall or retail stores, I am spending today in a small town in Pennsylvania with my Mom, Dad, and my Mom's parents, and aunt and cousins visiting our favorite chocolate factory and store, enjoying lunch at our favorite spot, and of course shopping in our favorite little shops throughout the town. This is a tradition we have had for many years, I think since I was born actually! We didn't always go on Black Friday, but since school schedules have changed, I live in a different State far away, etc. this is the best time for us to go and I love it more and more each year.

I am excited to go back to one store in particular where my Mom and I found the most FABULOUS Christmas decorations for my house last year. I can't remember the name, but I remember exactly where it is and it will be one of my first stops after lunch, I can't wait!

I wish you all a safe, deal-scoring, money saving, Black Friday, but please remember there is nothing is this world worth getting up at 4am or earlier to stand in line for! My philosophy is if it isn't there later that day or the day after, or the next week for that matter, it wasn't worth it anyways! The holidays are about celebrating the birth of baby Jesus and celebrating with family and close friends, which in my opinion has nothing to do with materialistic things! Don't get me wrong I love Christmas shopping and taking part in the festivities, but we all, myself included, need to keep the holidays in perspective.

I will share the details of my Black Friday with y'all next week! Have a great weekend! Goo Cocks!!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Day!


We are hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my parents house this year and my Mom and I are busy preparing for the big meal! I can't wait to see my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins and spend the evening with each other, laughing until our stomachs ache! Oh and Thanksgiving morning isn't complete without catching a glimpse of the Thanksgiving parade.

I wish each and everyone of you and your family and friends a very joyful and happy Thanksgiving! Safe travels where the day may take you.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sausage Casserole

Do you have recipes you make, but don't eat? That's how I am with breakfast casseroles. I like eggs, sausage, bread, milk, etc. but I don't like all these ingredients together in a casserole or sandwich form, it grosses me out. Not to ruin an absolutely fabulous recipe or so everyone says and I believe it, because there are never any leftovers!

I know many of you are probably enjoying some time off around the holidays with family and friends and entertaining more then usual. This breakfast casserole recipe is not only easy peasy, but it is something you can do the night before and pop in the oven the next morning, so you have more time for dishes that require last minute attention.

Sausage Casserole


6 slices of cubed bread
1 lb. cooked and crumbled sausage
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
8 eggs
2 cups of milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard


In a bowl slightly beat 8 eggs, add eggs to 2 cups of milk, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp dry mustard. Poor egg mixture over ingredients in dish and cover. Refrigerate overnight. Remove cover and bake at 150 degrees for 35 minutes.


Friday, November 19, 2010

A Celebration & An Event to Kick Off to the Holiday Season

Wednesday was Thomas' birthday, I won't disclose his OLD age, but I will say he falls in the age bracket that is closer to 30 than to 20. Yes, I am laughing, but only because I can since I'm not in the same age bracket, yet. For everyone else, don't worry about getting old, I just like giving Thomas a hard time about becoming an "old man!"

Anyways, back to the birthday celebration! We went to dinner for his birthday, his choice of course, and he a good choice he made, The Oyster Bar! Oyster Bar is one of our favorite places, and November is a perfect month for oysters since the month ends in "r." What I love about the Oyster Bar is its laid back atmosphere (a long wooden rectangular high top bar with bar stools lines the restaurant and there is a trough in the middle where the guys shuck your oysters) and the exceptionally friendly staff who sucks your oysters for you. What could be better than enjoying oysters while watching someone else do the work? With our oysters we also ordered a pound of craw fish and Thomas ordered a cup of seafood gumbo and a side order of red potatoes, which I ended up help eating, oh well. And of course we couldn't stop there, we ordered another peck of oysters before calling it quits. The Oyster Bar's homemade cocktail sauce called "Mother Shucker's" is to die for and it's warm when they serve it to you, it's heavenly. The oysters were delicious and we had a great time together!

After dinner we had to have dessert to continue the celebration of course. Every year I've always made Thomas' a birthday cake, but this year I decided that wouldn't be a good idea since I knew we wouldn't be able to eat it all before it went to waste. So Cupcake to the rescue! During lunch on Wednesday I picked up two cupcakes, Red Velvet (one of Thomas' favorites) and Strawberry Cheesecake (one of the flavors of the day). We started with the Strawberry Cheesecake with the intentions of only eating one, but that didn't exactly work! So we ate the Red Velvet cupcake too and they both were excellent.

I don't have any pictures from the night because I couldn't think while trying to overcome my hunger pains, so you are just going to have to picture in your head the best oysters you've ever had and multiply it by 100 and then picture you favorite cupcake and imagine that's what we were enjoying, but better!

Fast forward with me now to last night. Every year part of Columbia's downtown known as the Vista, kicks off the holiday season with an event called, Vista Lights! Vista Lights is one of my favorite events in Columbia to celebrate the holidays. The city closes off several blocks of the main street that runs through the Vista so adults and children can walk freely in the street. Vista Light's is almost like a open house to kick off the holiday season with over 60 galleries, shops, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues open their doors for the evening to showcase holiday treasures. There are fire pits to roast marshmallows in the street, a bridal fashion show, lighting of the Christmas tree, lots of shops to see, and of course good food and drinks.

I am happy it was chilly this year because we been when it's been very, very windy and cold which was miserable and then we have also been when the weather has been so mild it was almost warm and that certainly doesn't make it feel like the holidays are near. So I would say this year was picture perfect! We sampled Blue Marlin's famous shrimp and grits which are unbelievably amazing, I had a glass of barbie wine while Thomas had a beer or two, watched the lighting of the Christmas tree, and we of course went in and out of all the galleries and shops while enjoying the entertainment in the street. We had an absolute blast and I'm sad it's over. Already looking forward to next year!

(Sorry for the poor picture quality, I forgot my camera!)

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Last home football game for the season, let's go cocks!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Shop Til You Drop! & A Big WIN!

'Tis the season! Last weekend Thomas' Mom and I went to Charlotte to shop! Honestly, I can't think of better way to spend a day. We had so much fun and literally shopped til we dropped! We hit all of our favorite stores and made some great purchases, all for ourselves of course. Even though we had Thomas' birthday coming up and of course Christmas, we didn't let the stress of the Holiday season tear us down. In our minds, it was just another fun day shopping!

About mid afternoon we took a break to refuel our bodies with some delicious Italian food. Our sandwiches hit the spot and not too much later we were back on our feet shopping. After a full day of shopping we listened to Christmas music on our drive home. We both agreed that we don't think about decorating for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but that it wasn't too early to listen to Christmas music because there is just isn't enough time to enjoy Christmas music!

Later that night, while resting our feet from our fabulous shopping day, we watched the Carolina Gamecocks BEAT the Florida Gators for the SEC Championship!!!! The first time in USC history might I add! Gooo Cocks!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Steals & Deals

1) I am huge fan of Groupon even though we have only had it in Columbia for a couple of months. How Groupon works is you sign up, select cities you are interested in receiving deals from, and you’ll get e-mails daily with the “daily Groupon” for that city. Some days they even have side deals which usually last longer then one day. If you have an iPhone there is an app for Groupon. The Groupon app makes it very easy to search deals in other cities and take advantage of the savings! Groupon has coupons for everything from restaurants, things to do around the city, salon and spa services, entertainment events, and the list goes on! Sign up here! Trust me in no time flat you will be hooked just like moi.

2) Have you heard of Ebates? If you shop online, you MUST sign up for Ebates! How does Ebates work? You sign up and log in to your Ebates account, you search for the store you are going to purchase something through and you connect to that website through the Ebates website. Once you make your purchase you will be credited a certain amount to your Ebates account. For example, purchases made at Ann Taylor through your Ebates account result in 6% back. Another neat retailer on Ebates is Groupon, so not only will you be getting a great discount through Groupon, but you’ll get a 6% rebate on your purchase from Ebates! I don’t think it gets much better then that! The “rebate” or percentage of cash back can be used in addition to the website discount codes and most of the time Ebates will tell if there are any active discount codes at that particular store. You can receive your rebate money through Paypal or paper check every few months. Sign up here!!!

3) Are you a Starbucks fanatic? If so, you are going to love this deal! All you need to do to sign up is text 12DAYS to 29943 to receive a daily offer from Starbucks now through December 1st! See you at Starbucks!

What are some of your favorite deals? Please do share!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Royal Wedding.

Let me start by saying, who knew the Royal Family was so good at keeping secrets? I was shocked to hear that Prince William and Kate Middleton were engaged back in October! At first I thought there was something fishy, like Prince William didn’t ask Kate’s Father until after he proposed and that was the reason they were waiting to announce it to the media. Thankfully, that was not the case. Why the wait, I’m not sure, may be so they could spend some time celebrating in private with family and friends? Whatever the case maybe, the news is out and there’s going to be a Royal Wedding within the next year, SQUEEE!

A few tidbits regarding the details of their engagement:

Engaged last month while on a safari in Kenya

Kate ditches her nickname for a more formal Catherine

Prince Charles jokes “they’ve been practicing long enough”

Prince William proposed using the engagement ring of his mother, Princess Diana, an 18-carat sapphire and diamond ring

The wedding will take place either next Spring or Summer before the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Year (2012)

Once married they will be known as the Prince and Princess of Wales

To learn more about their engagement and upcoming wedding, click here. To watch Prince William and Kate's first interview together as an engaged couple, click here. And if you are still interested in learning more there is a Dateline Special on William & Kate tomorrow night (Wednesday) at 8/7 Central.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Edict: An announcement of a law.

Lucky Magazine is celebrating their 10th anniversary in December and in their December issue they had an article entitled "After a decade at Lucky, these are the 100 edicts the editors, live by." I didn't include all 1o0 edicts in this post, rather just the ones that I thought were most interesting. I hope you enjoy reading and learn something new!
Beachy waves are always sexy.
Your hair will be shinier if you final rinse is with cold water.
blow-dry side to side rather than (or in addition to) upside down for volume.
The biggest mistake people make in the shower is not getting their hair wet enough--without a ton of water, shampoo neither gets in or out of hair well, leaving it duller than dull.
Braids are sexy, cute, and the only acceptable form of pigtail.
Makeup & Beauty
Beauty products make the best presents: they seem incredibly personal, but there not.
An ultra-pale pedicure makes your feet look tanner. Same with silver.
A bit of face oil patted on over makeup really revives your whole look.
The most powerful anti aging weapon currently available besides injections and plastic surgery--retinol.
Any two shades of lipstick, mixed, are almost always super flattering.
Your favorite highly pigmented lipstick also makes a great sheer cheek stain: Blot on with your fingers, blot again with a tissue.
Self-tanner makes you look instantly thinner and well-rested.
Melted candle wax makes a very fine cuticle cream.
Sunscreen doubters should consider the amazing linelessness of their body parts that never see the sun.
No beauty product can do for you what eight hours of sleep can. AMEN!
Pale nail polish lasts much longer.
If you use face powder, apply it sparingly to your T-zone only.
If you're out of scrub (face or body), remember that ancient implement, the washcloth.
Always apply powder with a brush. Even compact powder.
Thong underwear is not a necessity under most clothing.
If your bra is riding up, it's too big (in number, not letter) so swap your 34B for 32B.
Don't by underwear that needs to be hand washed-inevitably you'll end up putting it in the washing machine and it'll get trashed.
Hanky Panky underwear is the only brand that also works when you're pregnant.
Your bra straps can show; your underwear straps never should.
New Clothes
Shop for boots in August before they all sell out.
Always have at least one black tie dress in your closet in case of last-minute celebrating.
Go to Zara on Tuesday when the new shipment comes in.
Don't shop for clothes when you're tan, thin, or in the Bahamas because everything looks good when you're tan, thin, and in the Bahamas.
Every season buy a white cotton Miu Miu top. You'll never regret the splurge.
Looking for a dress when you actually need one will rarely lead to a successful find.
Buy clothes that you'll wear on a Tuesday afternoon, not a Saturday night--few people lead Saturday-night lives.
Don't wear new shoes to a wedding or your first day of work.
Black Tights
Black opaque tights make everyone's legs look good.
Black tights can look great through open-toe shoes (as long as the tights aren't sheer). Nude tights can never look great. Full stop.
The only brands to eve buy blacker-than-opaque tights from: Tabio, Commando, and Wolford.
Roll. Never Fold.
Check out the weather report--it gets cold in Cuba and hot in Alaska.
Put a change of clothes and a few toiletries in your hand luggage--so your toothbrush (along with the rest of your luggage) doesn't go to Albany when you go to Austria.
Never get on an airplane without a cashmere blanket or huge scarf.
Bring an extra bag: the kind that rolls up really small--in case you really go shopping on your trip.
Pack socks and good snacks in your carry on.
Pouch everything: all your electronics go in one, toiletries go in another, and so on.
Avoid being featured on Hoarders by living the "one in, one out" mantra: if you buy something new, take something else out and sell it on eBay or donate it.
Color code.
Try on your entire wardrobe every six months with an honest friend or mirror nearby.
Pack two bags: one for Goodwill and one for the maybes. Give aways the first, and revisit the second in six months. It eases you into the breakup.
Salespeople & Shopping
Most useless advice from a salesperson "you can wear it with jeans."
Things that look crappy on a hanger could look gorgeous once you put them on.
If something is expensive, leave it behind for 24 hours. If you're still obsessed with it the next day, buy it.
Biggest turnoff from a salesperson "This is our bestselling ______!"
If you're feeling lost, trail the chicest woman in the store and check out what she checks out.
In-store lighting is not to be trusted. Stand by a window.
Black will always be the new black. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.
Mixing navy and black or pink and red can look very chic.
You can put almost any prints together as long as they have something in common (color, shape, style).
The one remaining style rule to never break: no more than three colors to one outfit.
Crazy colors can be basics: We've had to resole our coral patent ballet flats a zillion times while barely wearing out black ones.
Tailoring & Fit
It's good to have a pair of jeans hemmed for flats and another pair hemmed for heels.
Fitted jackets and coats always make you feel skinny, even with you're pregnant.
If you have curves and want to wear voluminous clothes, get to know your belts. It's the only way you won't look like a dump truck.
Your waist isn't where you think it is. It's about three inches higher. The most flattering spot for a waisted dress to hit is just under the rib cage.
The stitching at the top of the jeans will never stretch, so size up if it leaves a red mark.
Find a good tailor and be very nice to him. He could be your greatest asset.
Cigarette pants with flats will always make you look feminine.
An off the shoulder top should still skim your shoulder.
Shoes & Bags & Little Leather Things
If shoes are only marginally comfortable when you try them on in the store you can be sure they'll be excruciating on the street.
Always have two pairs of boots in your closet that aren't scuffed up tall black ones and flat brown ones.
If you invest in a Chanel bag, you will carry it for the rest of your life.
By age 30, every woman should own three pairs of comfortable flats, three pairs of walkable heels, and two pairs of total sexpot stilettos.
Know how to use your local shoe repair--they can also clean your bags, punch holes in your belts, and dye stuff.
The best and most comfortable flats are usually the cheapest.
In life you will need four bags- a big slouchy weekend one, two-good-looking but practical work ones, and a sleek evening one. Minimum.
Resole your favorite shoes as often as it takes. You will miss them when they die.
A long-sleeved gown can be completely sexy. The same is not true of a long skirt and long-sleeve top, which can look completely polygamist.
A leather jacket looks great with a party dress.
Pairing a boyish piece with a girly one will make you look like you know how to dress.
When all else fails, a skinny cardigan can pull any look together.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

This is another delicious recipe from Thomas' Mom! I couldn't have been more excited to use my crock pot for the first time this season last week and I of course had to share this recipe with you as it is one of my favorite meals during the fall and winter months. Not to mention, it is scary how easy this recipe is!

Recipe for Beef Stroganoff


2lbs. Beef Tips

1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 Can Cream of Celery Soup

1 Package Dry Onion Soup Mix
1 (8oz.) Package of Extra Wide Egg Noodles

Place beef tips in slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and add to beef tips. Cook overnight (I do mine during the day while I'm at work) on low heat.
Serve over extra wide egg noodles, cooked according to package directions.


**Sorry there is not a picture of the finished product, I completely forgot in the midst of my hunger pains!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Scent of the Season

I think this is the perfect Fall candle. It's scent is not too sweet and not too spicey, it's just right! Whenever I have this candle burning, I get so many compliments. Not to mention it will fill your entire house with it's delightful scent!

What's your favorite Fall candle?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Trick or Treat!
Miss T in her Halloween costume!

Don't I make a cute mouse?

Lots of Candy!

Almost three weeks ago, I received a HUGE package in the mail from my parents! It was filled with all the candy you see above! I'm known to have a sweet tooth and my Mom sure knows my favorites! All the candy is from Bomboy's, a candy store in Havre de Grace, Maryland. They are known for their homemade chocolate caramels and chocolate top cookies. The two boxes that are wrapped in the photograph above have chocolate caramels in one and nonpareils in the other. Needless to say I was in heaven with it all! And three weeks later all that's left is a couple chocolate caramels. Oops! Wait, isn't that what Halloween is all about?

Wishing you all a very Happy Halloween filled with lots of sweet treats!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What a hoot!

When I first came across this idea in the October 2009 issue of Southern Living I knew I wouldn't be able to resist making this fun treat! They were fun yet easy to make and were a big hit!

Easy Owl-Ween Treats!


M & M's
Candy Corn
Chocolate Sprinkles
Chocolate for Candy Coating
12-x 1/4- inch Dowel


Secure cookies and candy to your MoonPie with melted chocolate candy coating. Then insert a 12-x 1/4-inch dowel, into marshmellow center and secure with more chocolate. Let candy coating harden overnight.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween Inspired Cocktails

Looking for some Halloween party ideas? Well look no further! I was recently paging through the Pottery Barn catalog that came in the mail and noticed they had some neat ideas for a Halloween party and thought I would share two of their cocktail recipes with y'all.

To be honest, I don't like dressing up for Halloween. If you twist my arm I will certainly do it, but it is not something I plan or look forward to myself. I enjoy Halloween for two reasons: 1) seeing little kids all dressed up and 2) all the candy. Who doesn't enjoy celebrating a holiday that is full of candy and more candy???

Whether you are like me or are the complete opposite and go all out on Halloween, I thought the cocktail recipes below were easy yet creative for any Halloween celebration!


Serves 1. To make a batch for a party, multiply recipe by the number of guests.

*Give this classic a Halloween makeover with a pair of onion "eyeballs."


1 tablespoon dry vermouth
3 ounces gin
2 cocktail onion "eyeballs" for garnish


Chill martini glasses in the freezer or fill with ice and water
Pour the vermouth in a cocktail shaker or glass, swirl around to coat the sides of the shaker then pour it out.
Fill the cocktail shaker or mixing glass with two thirds full of ice cubes. Pour in the gin. Shake or stir in glass for 15-30 seconds.
Strain the drink in to the chilled glass.

**For the "eyeballs" pierce two cocktail onions with a paring knife and place one large black whole peppercorn in the slit of each. Spear the onions with a cocktail pick, place in glass and serve.

Serves 1. To make a batch for a party, multiply recipe by the number of guests.


1 1/2 ounces premium tequila
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce Cointreau or other orange liqueur
1 teaspoon simple syrup
drop of red food coloring
sliced lime, for garnish


Fill a cocktail shaker with crushed ice and ingredients above.
Shake well to blend.
Pour over ice into salted and chilled over sized Margarita glass.
Add lime to garnish: place one drop of red food coloring at the top of the lime and let it drip down like blood.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

What an Experience! (Alt. Title: Redneck Weekend!)

Remember my post from Friday and how I was excited not to do anything over the weekend? Well that sure didn't happen, but I rather of had the weekend we did then stay at home!

Squee! Thomas and I were given tickets to the NASCAR Dollar General 300 Race in Charlotte on Friday night. This is something I have had on my bucket list for a while now, at least since I began living in the South. My Mom's response when I told her what we were doing Friday night was, "I didn't think that would be something you would be interested in." Well she's right. I'm really not at all interested in the sport of racing, but I am interested in experiencing the NASCAR environment. I just couldn't imagine what the track looks and feels like with cars going 170+ mph around and around.
Welcome race fans!

They race two weekends a year in Charlotte; May and October. Let's be honest here, we were treated like royalty. The tickets we were given were for the Speedway Club with reserved parking & seating and we were given a dress code to follow. Yes you read it correctly, a dress code! Our tickets were like going to an NFL Football game with box seats.

Let's gooo #33!

I think the start was my favorite part, but I will say the entire race was entertaining! I could never imagine watching 200+laps on TV but it's completely different being there. Oh and there were a couple of wrecks which made it even more exciting and I can say that because no one was hurt! Both of us had an absolute blast and would definitely go back!

Now fast forward to Sunday with me because honestly any Gamecock fan wants to forget Saturday. Sunday evening we went to the State Fair. I look forward to this day every year and Thomas does too. Last year we did a much better job of "eating our way through the fair", literally, but we didn't do too shabby this year either.

We started with fried mushrooms. Probably the best fried mushrooms ever.

Next Friske french fries, so tasty with lots of salt and vinegar I forgot to take a picture.

Main Course: Slice of Pizza for me.

Italian Sausage for Thomas.

Dessert: Fried Oreos. Absolutely postively the most delicious. Don't judge.


After finishing our main course we walked around the entire fair and saw the sights and saw some sights, literally!

Can you imagine eating a cheeseburger with two Krispy Kreme doughnuts as the buns???

I challenged Thomas, but he didn't give in!

Here are pictures of a few of the animals:

No petting allowed, that's a Katie rule not a fair rule because I am a big time germ-a-phobe!

18lb. rabbit??


I think this guy likes getting his picture taken!

We had so much fun at the fair, I already can't wait for next year!