Friday, December 25, 2009

Wishing you and yours a...

Merry Christmas to all of you!!! Hope everyone has a fabulous break. I'm taking a few days off from the blogging world because Hubby and I in western PA to celebrate the holidays with his family. Don't worry I will be back mid week next week with lots of fun new things to share with all of you!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

So exciting!!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Our House at Christmas...

Here's a peak into what our home looks like at Christmas time. First up is the main level. We put our tree in the living/dining room. And I decorate all around in that room.

Some little touches in kitchen/family room.

And finally our basement with a special Steelers touch.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Snowy Weekend Recap

What a snowy weekend we had! Friday night was the fifith annual holiday gathering that Hubby and I organized. A lot of people showed up even though it was supposed to start snowing that night. It was a lot of fun and when we headed home the ground was a blanket of white snow.

On Saturday morning the ground was covered with at least six inches of snow. We decided to venture out to my brother-in-law's house to celebrate Scrippsmas as planned. The roads were not good and we probably should have stayed home but we made it there safely and stayed there for the next 24 hours. It was fun to be snowed in with them. When my niece woke up we headed outside. My sister-in-law made a homemade sled for her out of an Omaha Steaks cooler and Hubby's workout jump rope. My niece loved it!!!
When we ventured back home this morning our deck looked like this. I think we got between 21-24 inches. Soo pretty!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another great Etsy find!

Thanks to Fantabulously Frugal for this great Etsy find. This fabulous shirt is by Etsy seller Roselabiche. I love this shirt and definitely think I'm going to order one after the holidays. There are lots of other cute things in the shop so definitely check it out. The designer is French and resides in Paris.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Book Review - Dear John

While I was home for Thanksgiving I borrowed Dear John by Nicholas Sparks from my sister. This book was sooooo good. I read it two days! I'm a sucker for an intense love story and this book definitely fit the bill. I don't want to give anything away in the book so I will share two editorial reviews I found on Amazon.

From Publishers Weekly
Hot on the heels of True Believer and sequel At First Sight, Sparks returns with the story of ne'er-do-well-turned-army-enlistee John Tyree, 23, and well-to-do University of North Carolina special education major Savannah Lynn Curtis. John, who narrates, has been raised by a socially backward single postal-worker dad obsessed with coin collecting (he has Asperger's syndrome). John bypasses college for the overseas infantry; Savannah spends her college summers volunteering. When they meet, he's on leave, and she's working with Habitat for Humanity (he rescues her sinking purse at the beach). John has a history of one-night stands; Savannah's a virgin. He's an on-and-off drinker; she's a teetotaler. Attraction and values conflict the rest of the summer, but the deal does not close. Savannah longs for John to come home; her friend Tim longs to have a relationship with her. On the brink of John and Savannah's finally getting together, 9/11 happens, and John re-ups. Savannah's letters come less and less frequently, and before you know it, he receives the expected "Dear John" letter.

From The Washington Post
In the days following Sept. 11, 2001, hardly anyone, not even the late night comedians, knew what to say. Now, more than five years later, the roster of books and films addressing 9/11 and its consequences has grown long. There are explorations of religion and foreign policy, memoirs of life on the 21st-century battlefield, depictions of global culture, investigations, predictions and elegies. With Nicholas Sparks's contribution to the list, Dear John, we see our political climate in yet another light: candlelight, maybe. Or moonlight.

Narrator John Tyree is a wayward son of Wilmington, N.C., reformed first by the service (he seems to shed most of his rebelliousness at boot camp) and later by love. John meets Savannah Lynn Curtis while home on leave, in June of 2000. Savannah, a rising senior at UNC, is spending her summer building houses for those without. The couple share two fleeting weeks -- including an innocent scene under a half-built roof that's as big-screen-ready as they come -- before John must return to his post in Germany. For more than a year, he pines and she endures, counting the days until he will be honorably discharged.

Then the Twin Towers fall. Rather than returning to his love, John reenlists. In January 2003, his unit is sent into Turkey, then transferred to Kuwait. In March, he takes part in the invasion of Iraq. While John's days play out in the desert (when asked about his time there, all he mentions is the sand), Savannah must face her own unlucky destiny. Finally, with the death of John's father, whose somewhat unbelievable tale provides the main subplot of the book, the two are reunited and left to sort things out amid their tears and ours.

It isn't hard to picture John Tyree. We can simply imagine his predecessors, men in uniform staring pensively from earlier wartime romances. Apart from the occasional detail -- e-mail, cellphone, Outback Steakhouse -- Dear John could take place in any modern American era. For Sparks, weighty matters of the day remain set pieces, furniture upon which to hang timeless tales of chaste longing and harsh fate. Only in a novel such as this could we find our political buzzwords -- peacekeeping, IEDs, hurricane relief -- interspersed with these sentiments: "And when her lips met mine, I knew that I could live to be a hundred and visit every country in the world, but nothing would ever compare to that single moment when I first kissed the girl of my dreams and knew that my love would last forever."

This book has been made into a movie which will be in theaters in February. The movie stars Channing Tatum (soo cute) and Amanda Seyfried (she's from my hometown and also starred in Mama Mia). I'm so excited for this movie to come out! Check out the trailer (I love the song they use in the background).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Favorite Thing #185 - Serta Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Christmas came early for me and Hubby with Favorite Thing #185. My FIL got us this Serta 4 inch memory foam mattress topper from and we absolutely LOVE it!!! I've slept sooo well since we put this on our bed. It contours to your body and you just sink in. The price is great too (that's why I love I definitely recommend this for your bed. We had to get new sheets (deep pocket ones - another gift from FIL) so that it fits the new topper.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another great Etsy find

Thanks to I am Style-ish for featuring this super cute knit hat from Etsy seller MaxMelody. This Etsy boutique has some really cute hats and scarfs for sale. Definitely go check them out.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A great new fish recipe...

As I mentioned in my weekend recap, I made a new fish dish. It was with red snapper and the recipe was from Ina Garten. It was soooo good. I can't wait to make it again.

4 (8-ounce) fish fillets such as red snapper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces creme fraiche
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons drained capers

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. (You can also use an ovenproof baking dish.) Place the fish fillets skin side down on the sheet pan. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Combine the creme fraiche, 2 mustards, shallots, capers, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Spoon the sauce evenly over the fish fillets, making sure the fish is completely covered. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until it's barely done. (The fish will flake easily at the thickest part when it's done.) Be sure not to overcook it! Serve hot or at room temperature with the sauce from the pan spooned over the top.

With the fish, I made Dill Potatos. This is what she paired it with on the show when she made the fish. The potatoes were super easy and I will definitely make them again with other dishes.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 pounds fingerling potatoes, rinsed but not peeled
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot. Add the whole potatoes, salt, and pepper, and toss well. Cover the pot tightly and cook over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender when tested with a small knife. From time to time, shake the pot without removing the lid to prevent the bottom potatoes from burning. Turn off the heat and allow the potatoes to steam for another 5 minutes. Don't overcook. Toss with the dill, and serve hot.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Great Pumpkin Pie Recipe

My sister made a great pumpkin pie recipe for Thanksgiving and I had to share it with you. It's from Paula Deen and it is soooo yummy (and very easy). I've already made two of these since Thanksgiving.

• 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
• 2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
• 1 cup half-and-half
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, optional
• 1 piece pre-made pie dough
• Whipped cream, for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place 1 piece of pre-made pie dough down into a (9-inch) pie pan and press down along the bottom and all sides. Pinch and crimp the edges together to make a pretty pattern. Put the pie shell back into the freezer for 1 hour to firm up. Fit a piece of aluminum foil to cover the inside of the shell completely. Fill the shell up to the edges with pie weights or dried beans (about 2 pounds) and place it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and pie weights and bake for another 10 minutes or until the crust is dried out and beginning to color.

For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, if using, and beat until incorporated.

Pour the filling into the warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is set. Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into slices and top each piece with a generous amount of whipped cream.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Weekend Recap

Hubby and I had a great weekend. Friday night our friends Shannon and David came over and we decorated our Christmas tree and I made red snapper (stay tuned for tomorrow's post with this great recipe. Saturday morning I got up at 6:30 to shop for toys for needy children with my old company. We bought a truck load of toys for children in Alexandria, VA. Saturday night we celebrated my friend Gayle's birthday. And Sunday was a lazy day. I woke up with a horrible migrane so I spent most of the morning in bed. In the afternoon, I got a bunch of things done around the house and got ready for my first day at my new job. I put up the rest of my ebay items (check them out here). Here are some pictures from the weekend.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thirfty Thursday - Master Coupon Clipper

Check out this GMA segment on a woman who bought $200 worth of groceries for one penny! There are some helpful coupons tips. One of the tips, I'm gonna try next time I go to the store - try and use multiply manufacturers coupons for the same item.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Closet Clean Out

Since I've been home these past couple of days I've been doing a massive cleanout. Click here to check out my ebay listings. There's some great things up there and couple of them are new w/ tags. Also check out my friends listings as well. I will be posting more later in the week. Also don't forget to look at the dress I'm selling through my blog.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dress for Sale

On my first day of no work I've done major cleanout/organizing. I have lots of stuff that I'm gonna be posting on ebay but I wanted to give my readers first dibs at this perfect holiday dress. It's a Nicole Miller dress that's never been worn. It's a deep purple color with sweetheart neckline and bubble skirt. See the pics below. It retails for $290 but I'm selling it for $125 (or best offer). Please email me ( if you are interested in it.

Product Review -

I needed a foundation that would match my light winter skin. I had a coupon for Almay's Smart Shade, Smart Balance foundation so I thought I would check it out. I picked up the light medium color and tried it. The foundation comes out in a white beaded liquid form and then it's supposed to turn into your skin tone and blend naturally. I was really skeptical because I thought for sure I had a foundation line around my chin but I couldn't see it (and my friend confirmed I didn't have a line). I really like the coverage it gave me, it was light but covered my imperfections. I still had to use cover up on some of the areas that are harder to cover up. It's affordable, I can usually find a coupon for it, and it works - I'm sold!

According to the Almay website. Here's how the foundation's matching works -
One: the shade sensing microbeads start out white and instantly adjust to match your natural skin tone.
Two: the skin balancing microspheres keep your oily areas shine-free and dry skin softly hydrated.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Favorite Thing #184 - Bronze Booster™ Glow-Boosting Pressed Bronzer

Thanks to my friends Robin and Shannon for introducing me to my winter bronzer. It's by Physicans Formula and it's the Bronze Booster™ Glow-Boosting Pressed Bronzer (that's a mouthful). It's the perfect shade for my skin in the winter months (no more tanning bed for me). It gives me great all over color and I don't look orange. I use the light to medium tone. It doesn't last as long as I would like but it's affordable enough that I can have two (one at home and one in my purse).

Still love and wear Favorite Thing #84 - J.Crew Scroll bracelet. I wore this bracelet a lot this summer with all the weddings we had.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Today I will be celebrating with my family at my parents house. Hubby and I rotate holidays with our families so I really treasure each time I come home. Today I am thankful for my wonderful husband, our families, God for blessing me with such an amazing life and I'm especially blessed this year to be celebrating with my grandparents (I'm very lucky that I still have all four to spend time with). What are you thankful for?

This weekend we have a lot of things planned - Black Friday shopping with my dad, taking my grandmothers to play slots at the casino in Bethlehem, hanging out with my cousin and her husband, enjoying my favorite local foods, and spending time with my family.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hanky Panky Boutique!

Rue La La is having a Hanky Panky boutique tomorrow starting a 7pm EST. I'm hoping to get there to order some for myself and as gifts! Other boutiques tomorrow include Tommy Bahama, Junior Drake and Jura-Capresso. Don't forget Rue La La is giving $10 to each new person that signs up!

Rue La La is a By-Invitation-Only Sample Sale site. Click Here to sign up using my personal invitation link. This link will grant you immediate access to the site after you sign up. (FYI - If you just sign up the regular way you will just be put on the waiting list.)


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