Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Heart Justin Timberlake

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Our Wedding Song

My sister sent this to me the other day and I thought I would share with all of you. This was the first dance for Hubby and me. We originally had a different song picked out and my sister played this for me and I started crying and I knew that this was the song. Hubby fell in love with it too and the rest is history.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bobbi Brown now available at Sephora

I've been a BIG fan of Bobbi Brown makeup and was so excited to hear that you can now buy it at Sephora! My eye shadows are running low...going to have to place an order soon.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Another copy cat recipe

This weekend I tried another "Almost Famous" recipe from Food Network magazine. As some of you may remember, this past winter I successfully recreated Panera's Broccoli-Cheddar soup so I thought I would try another recipe. This time I wanted to make Olive Garden's amazing bread sticks. I followed the recipe and they actually tasted almost exactly like Olive Garden's. The recipe was pretty easy to follow...but time consuming. The dough can be very sticky at one point and was annoying to knead. Thankfully the results were delicious! Here's the recipe.


For the Dough:

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour,plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter,softened
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fine salt

For the Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter,melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of dried oregano


Make the dough: Place 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a mixer; sprinkle in the yeast and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, butter, sugar, fine salt and 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water; mix with the paddle attachment until a slightly sticky dough forms, 5 minutes.

Knead the dough by hand on a floured surface until very smooth and soft, 3 minutes. Roll into a 2-foot-long log; cut into 16 1 1/2-inch-long pieces. Knead each piece slightly and shape into a 7-inch-long breadstick; arrange 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a cloth; let rise in a warm spot until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Make the topping: Brush the breadsticks with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt with the garlic powder and oregano. Brush the warm breadsticks with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with the flavored salt.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Favorite Thing #196 - Yankee Candle Harvest

Yankee Candle's Harvest is the perfect fall home scent and definitely a favorite thing for fall. The scent isn't too over powering and combines my favorite scents of the season - pumpkins, cinnamon and apples. I prefer the two wick, tumbler candles because I think the scent is stronger. I also discovered the scent Farmer's Market. I'm not sure if it is a new one but I really liked that as well. I love fall. Now the weather just needs to get cooler so it will feel like fall.

Friday, September 17, 2010

J.Crew Factory Store Online

J.Crew Factory items are now available online. You can only shop Friday - Sunday and the prices really aren't that big of a difference. There are a few items I have my eye on but I'm not sure I will pull the trigger.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thrifty Thursday - Changes to the Target Card

I've blogged before about how fabulous I think the Target Visa Card is and I have to blog again to share the latest changes to it. I got a letter in the mail last week saying that starting October 17 my REDcard will save me 5% at Target on almost anything I want, anytime I shop! Since Hubby and I do a majority of our shopping at Target this is a great deal. The old program (for every 1,000 points you get a 10% reward certificate) will stay in effect for the next six months. So for every 1,000 points remaining on my REDcard, I will receive an awards. :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

15% Cash Back from Ebates

As many of you know I'm a huge fan of Ebates and I had to let you know that they are offering 15% cash back from Banana Republic and GAP.

For those of you not familiar with Ebates it is by far the easiest way to earn FREE money by shopping online. All you have to do is go to Ebates, log in, search for the store you plan on shopping at, click the link and voila you are taken there and all you have to do is shop! Each store has a corresponding percentage of cash back. And the money just adds up. Every quarter Ebates will send you a check and all you have to do is cash it. If you haven't already signed up, I definitely recommend that you do. You get $5 just for signing up! Click here to start getting free money!

A little late to the party...

I know I'm very late on this one...three seasons late...but I'm loving True Blood. I downloaded the first season for our trip to CA and was obsessed. I watched every episode and I'm sooo hooked. I'm waiting for Hubby to get caught up so we can start season 2.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Peanut Butter Brownie Trifle

This weekend we had a bunch of people over to watch football. I wanted to make a fun dessert and found a delicious trifle recipe in Taste of Home. Its pretty time consuming to make but definitely worth it. Lots of peanut buttery goodness. Definitely a very rich dessert so you don't want to eat too much or you will feel sick like I did. Here's the recipe.

  • 1 fudge brownie mix (13-inch x 9-inch pan size)
  • 1 package (10 ounces) peanut butter chips
  • 2 packages (13 ounces each) miniature peanut butter cups
  • 4 cups cold 2% milk
  • 2 packages (5.1 ounces each) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cartons (8 ounces each) frozen whipped topping, thawed


Prepare brownie batter according to package directions; stir in
peanut butter chips. Bake in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan at
350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the
center comes out with moist crumbs (do not overbake). Cool on a wire
rack; cut into 3/4-in. pieces.

Cut peanut butter cups in half; set aside 1/3 cup for garnish. In a
large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes. Let stand
for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Add peanut butter and vanilla; mix
well. Fold in 1-1/2 cartons whipped topping.

Place a third of the brownies in a 5-qt. glass bowl; top with a third
of the remaining peanut butter cups. Spoon a third of the pudding
mixture over the top. Repeat layers twice. Cover with remaining
whipped topping; garnish with reserved peanut butter cups.
Refrigerate until chilled. Yield: 20 servings (1 cup each).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wine Country Weekend Recap - Day 4

The last full day of our vacation we got up early and headed to San Francisco. We fell in love with the city when we visited there on our honeymoon several years ago. After checking into the hotel we decided to hit up another Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives place, Dottie's True Blue Cafe. We were both starving and couldn't wait to have a big breakfast. Dottie's is a popular place and the line was literally down the street. Both of us were too hungry to wait so we passed on Dottie's and headed to Union Square to find some food and shop. After a good meal and some window shopping we decided to head towards the water and enjoy the great weather. The weather was so weird. It was cold in some places and super hot in others. Thankfully I wore layers.

After lots of walking around town and a little shopping (post to come on my purchases) we headed back to the hotel to relax before dinner. We were both super excited for dinner. We ate at Firenze by Night. This cute Italian restaurant that we ate at when we were on our honeymoon. This place hands down has the best gnocchi I've ever had (sorry Noni). I ate it last time we were here and I was definitely going to get it again. Here's a picture of us during our first visit.

And here we are almost four years later...same table and everything.

This was such a great vacation. It was so great to just getaway and relax. Thanks Hubby!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wine Country Weekend Recap - Day 3

Our last day in wine country was focused more on relaxation. We spent the morning eating breakfast by the pool and relaxing at the spa. I got a facial which was so relaxing and very overdue. We took advantage of the natural mineral springs but taking part in the "bathing ritual." Here's what it involved:

Exfoliating Shower - Use the supplied rosemary eucalyptus shower gel to exfoliate and cleanse your skin.
Warm Bath (Tepiderium) - Ease into the 96-98 degree warm mineral bath.
Hot Bath (Caldarium) - Relax in the 102 degree hot mineral bath with jets.
Re-hydrating Drink - Enjoy a tall glass of water, which is vital for re-hydration.
Cool Shower - Cool your body with a brief shower.
Herbal Steam - Rest in the herbal steam room.
Sauna - Enjoy a few moments in the dry heat of the sauna.
Re-hydrating Drink - Enjoy a tall glass of water, which is vital for re-hydration.
Cool Shower - Cool your body with a brief shower.
Rest - Recline in the serenity of the relaxation lounge as your body renews and restores.

After spending the morning at the spa we headed to lunch at The Fig Cafe. We had another fabulous meal. I had a delicious, juicy cheddar burger and since they were still serving brunch, Hubby had corned beef hash which he loved. We then headed to our private tasting at Ledson Winery. I was really looking forward to this tasting because the vineyard looked absolutely stunning and they have a large number of wines. The tasting was absolutely AWFUL! The guy that was presenting the wines too us left at least four times during the tasting, he was disheveled and distracted then entire time, didn't bring the cheese plate we ordered till halfway through and barely talked about the wines. The tasting took less than thirty minutes and was very uncomfortable. I was so disappointed because I was really looking forward to it. When we told someone about how disappointed we were she said "unfortunately this isn't the first time we've gotten this complaint." Why if people have complained before is he still doing tastings?! I notified the hotel's concierge of our experience and he called the winery immediately. We should be getting a refund on our credit card for the tasting. I hope we do. The one positive of this winery was the wines themselves were excellent. I ended up buying a bottle of the 2007 Sonoma Valley 'Ancient Vine' Zinfandel. Hubby doesn't like many red wines but he loved this one so it will be saved for a special occasion for us to share together. I don't have any photos from this visit because I was so disappointed I was in the mood to take pictures. We did end up getting a refund for our private tasting and I received a phone call the other day from the general manager apologizing for my experience.

Since the private tasting took half the time we were told it would we decided to hit up a few more wineries. Next stop was Landmark. They have some amazing reds. I ended up buying the 2008 Steel Plow Syrah. So good! Then we headed to Chateau St. Jean. This is such a beautiful vineyard. Really like their whites. I picked up a bottle of their Fume Blanc and Pinot Blanc. Very refreshing wines. Here are some pictures from our day.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wine Country Weekend Recap - Day 2

Day 2 of our Sonoma adventure started with a fabulous breakfast at Fremont Diner. Seriously this place should be a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. It's a very, very old diner that only has about five tables, a bar and outdoor seating. They make fresh biscuits on site and when you walk in they are right by where you order. I couldn't help but have one right away. It was soo good it just melts in your mouth. I ordered french toast and bacon...perfect amount of food and sooo yummy. Hubby got The Kitchen Sink...yes it is called the Kitchen Sink. This artery clogging breakfast included a biscuit, sausage gravy, fried chicken, ham and a fried egg.
After breakfast, we hopped on a shuttle to take us to Taste of Sonoma. This was such a fun event. It's was at McMurray Ranch about an hour outside of Sonoma.

There were three large tents full of wineries pouring many of their favorite wines. In each of the tents there were local chefs that paired food to go with these wines. There was so much food and wine that Hubby and I probably only got through half of it. Some of the favorite wines I tasted included Gloria Ferrer's Va de Vi (sparkling), Cline's Viogner (unfortunately only available at the winery), de Lonmier's Sauvignon Blanc, Dane Cellars' Zinfandel and Deerfield's Pinot Noir. Also at the event was a Top Chef style competition which was fun to watch. I would definitely recommend this to anyone going to Sonoma.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wine Country Weekend Recap - Day 1

We arrived Friday morning, got our rental car and headed to Sonoma. The weather was gorgeous!!! Along the drive we spotted In and Out Burger and had to stop. Sooo good!!!

After the quick "snack", we got back on the road and finally got to Sonoma. The first stop on our trip was Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives visit #1 - Schellville Grill. This is a super cute, small restaurant just on your way to all the wineries. Hubby and I each got a sandwich that Guy Fieri featured on the episode. Hubby got the Buckaroo sandwich. He said it was as delicious as it was messy and especially loved the smoky chipotle sauce and sour cream spread.

I got the Hot Matty's Smoked Tri-Tip Sandy without the mushrooms and onions. It was sooo good. The meat was so tender and the homemade barbecue sauce was perfect for the sandwich.

Guy Fieri was right...this place is so good and if you are in the Sonoma area, you should definitely check it out! After lunch we headed to our hotel, the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa. The hotel is nice but definitely needs updated. It is very rustic but the rooms are very small. It is a historic landmark they can't change the layout. The inside of the rooms are very nice. The staff was very sweet and concierge super helpful. After enjoying the complimentary wine tasting (these were offered everyday) from Kenwood Vineyards, we headed to DDD's visit #2 - Cafe Citti. A super cute and tiny Italian place with authentic northern Italian cuisine.

It was so hard to decide what to order because everything on the menu sounded so good. Hubby decided to get their famous homemade ravioli in their Citti sauce and I got fusilli pasta in the Citti sauce. The sauce was AMAZING. Soooo good. Hands down the best tomato basil cream sauce we've ever tasted. Hubby said that the ravioli reminded him of his grandmothers so it was definitely a winner.

Also, I got the homemade creamy Italian dressing on my salad. It was so light and refreshing with a little bit of a kick. Definitely another place we recommend!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Heading to Sonoma!

Hubby and I are headed to Sonoma for the weekend. It's been a really tough week and I'm really looking forward to relaxing and spending quality time with Hubby. We already have some of our trip planned. On Saturday, we will be attending Taste of Sonoma where over 150 wineries will be pouring wine and 50 local chefs will be whipping up food. Sunday is going to be a more local key day. We are going to lounge around the pool in the morning and then head to a few wineries. We have a private tasting at Ledson winery. This place looks amazing.

The other thing Hubby and I are looking forward to is a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives tour. We already have a few places picked out and I will definitely blog about them all when we get back. The last part of our trip is San Francisco for the night. We stopped there three years ago on the first leg of our honeymoon. We plan on relaxing and visiting a cute Italian place we had dinner our first night. Can't wait for this relaxing Labor Day. I hope you all have a safe and fun weekend. Stay tuned for lots of posts when I get back!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I feel so blessed...

Thank you to everyone that reached out to me yesterday and today when they heard about the situation at Discovery. I'm so grateful for all the concern and prayers. I'm just thankful that all of my friends and colleagues are safe and sound. I feel so blessed to work with people that truly care and support each other. A situation like this really makes you think, your life can change at any moment.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Love love love this dress from Ann Taylor LOFT. I bought it when they had the Friends and Family sale a few weeks ago. It's a versatile dress that I can wear most of the year. Dress is currently on sale for $59.99.


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