Sunday, December 29, 2013

V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N

I am loving vacation. Although I haven't gotten to as much exercise as I would have liked, I'm getting a ton done around the house and getting some serious R+R for myself, too. It's been a long 6 months at work, and I needed this break for my sanity! Tomorrow, I'm getting up early and doing yoga, then meeting EmcP for a little lunch date. I'm excited to make a yummy steak dinner for me and tt for NYE {recipe will of course be posted, I'm going to try to find a WW one} and we will finish this year together, as we get ready for what 2014 has in store for us!

Lots to look forward to in the coming months, and of course, in the coming year! January will include a full spa day at the Norwich Spa and our annual work conference, in Orlando again. We're staying for the weekend, of course, and it will be a fun time with my girls. It is still TBD, but February will hopefully bring some traveling as well. ;o) After that, everything will be a blur through the holidays! 

Fun fun fun! Def check out tonight's recipe... toasted penne might just be my new fave! 




Recipe of the day

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Antipasto, Darius Rucker, and an animal print blanket

The holidays have made such wonderful memories. I just love spending time with my family and friends, and all of the love and joy that come with this season. Unlike Thanksgiving when tt and I had to split up, for Christmas we were able to spend time with both families which was wonderful. We headed to the castle for Christmas Eve, and got to spend time with my parents, grandparents, and sister. My sister's bf Dan was traveling to his family for Christmas so we didn't get to see him, so that stunk, but we did send him a video of me opening my present from him {which I loved btw...}

{the video won't work, but you can see my excitement}


SF and I typically just exchange on xmas eve, but since we weren't sure about timing in the morning, tt and I did all of our present opening at night, and we gave my parents and grandparents our gifts as well. Santa was very good to everyone!! My favorite present to give was the princesses' gift for the king and queen. We did a 3-part gift and the lead up to it was perfect. A gift card to a very random local restaurant first, which my dad opened. A Darius Rucker CD which my mother opened. And then the big present, tix to his concert!! The restaurant is right near where the concert is, so they can grab a quick bite first. We were super excited because we are not smooth at all, and totally pulled it all off, despite the tickets being shipped to my parents house and everything. Christmas miracle!! :o)

My family does apps galore which is probably one of my favorite parts of the Christmas Eve/Christmas celebration. We just eat {and drink} all night. We made a Sparkling Christmas Punch that consisted of Vodka, Cranberry juice, Concentrates of OJ, Lemonade and Grapefruit juice, Ginger Ale and tonic. Very sweet but very yum. Apps were quite the assortment: teenie weenies, SF's "MIL" recipe for cranberry chutney {which I will get and post at some point in the very near future}, French onion soup, homemade pepperoni and spinach calzones, and tt and I brought Antipasto Skewers. These were made with Pepperocinis, Cherry Tomatoes, Roasted Red Peppers, Mozz cheese, Green and Kalamata olives, and rolls of Italian meats and cheese {pepperoni, capicola, soppressata, and provolone} - They didn't look quite as fancy as the ones on Pinterest, but were delightful. With a Friendly's Spumoni roll for dessert, we were stuffed to the brim. Christmas Jammies were a must, and we sat around chatting all night.

We spent the night, had Christmas morning with my family and did stockings, and had breakfast complete with the king's omelets and traditional cinnamon buns, and then hit the road to head to his parents' house. We had Christmas dinner with tt's parents and his dad's cousin who he hasn't seen in 10+ years. Had a nice turkey dinner complete with all the fixin's and the MIL even made beets for me since I don't do the whole turnip thing. She also made tt's famous Hazelnut Pumpkin Cheesecake pie which is like, to die for. We did presents and then stopped into his Grandmother's house to say Merry Christmas and give her her gift as well. It was great to spend so much time with family and to see smiling faces on everyone. 

On our way out, we stopped at Frisbee Circle to see the Christmas lights {Visit this link and see how absolutely incredible this neighborhood is!} and then we went home and tt let me watch Bridesmaids! He had never seen it and as much of a "chick flick" as it is, he definitely was laughing through the entire movie.

So bummed that he has to work since I am now on vacation for the rest of the year, but it gives me time to get my blog updated {yay for you!} and I will spend some serious time cleaning and organizing the house. Not today, mind you, but by the time my vaca is over. :oP

How were your holidays?! Big plans for New Years? Resolutions? My biggest resolution is to spend the next 2 weeks detoxing since I am going to Orlando in 2 weeks... eek!


Recipe of the day


{Free instructions on how to make cake ball truffles included}

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die. Keeping all the families of the fallen angels of Sandy Hook Elementary School in my thoughts and prayers today. 12/14/12


So, I have been struggling lately with the Christmas spirit. Everyone is mad at me because I'm not getting a tree, I haven't decorated and I have barely bought a gift. Actually, I haven't even bought any gifts... my sister took care of my parents for us, and my favorite little intern took care of my sister's gift for me. I just can't seem to get myself going. I couldn't even bring myself to shop for wrapping paper, which, if you know anything about me and my family, is one of my FAVORITE parts of this holiday season. {don't worry, I forced my way through it yesterday} But, usually I'm decorated, shopped, wrapped et al by the time Christmas is 2 weeks away. 

My sisterfriend has been done and wrapped for a while and if I'm going to beat her, I have to up my game this year. She's got peanuts, sparkley silver things, and all sorts of fanciness. But...... I might just win. 


I might only have one present to wrap, but darn it, it is wrapped beautifully! I pulled out my little white tree from the basement, set it all up, put my beautiful Tiffany ornament on it, and voila ~ automatic Christmas Spirit. And now, with the beautiful snow outside, cozied up inside for the day/night, I am..

Simply having a wonderful Christmastime

recipe of the day

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Baby, it's cold outside

Remember like last week when it was 60+ degrees out on that fluke New England autumn day? And then remember when it turned into winter overnight?! It is absolutely freezing out today - I don't know how any of you goons are at the football games! Nutjobs. {I say this with nothing but love for those nutjobs!} The only, and I mean ONLY good news that is coming out of this cold weather is that I'm on my way to the holiday spirit!

Today was a day to stay in. To cozy up in fleecy leggings, wrap yourself in a blanket, and sit on the couch and do nothing. And while I did have the opportunity to do just that for the 2nd half of my day {and I am 100% wearing my fleecy leggings, wrapped in a blanket on the couch with my laptop atop my lap and a mug of warm apple cider next to me}, I also had a lot of Sunday things to accomplish, including folding laundry, running errands, and chasing poor Cecelia around the house with a pair of reindeer antlers and my iPhone; but more importantly, my favorite Sunday thing: cooking! 



The mister has been after me to make beef stew. I'm not sure how he got it into his head, but I will tell you, I really wasn't feeling it. Whenever I think about beef stew, all I can focus on are the stories my mother has told me about when I was a kid. I think every kid has that one food item that they eat day-in and day-out. For a period of time, all I would eat was Dinty Moore beef stew. My sister at least ate Velveeta Mac+Cheese, but no, not me. Dinty Moore it had to be. So I'm thinking that thought alone is why I'm not into the whole beef stew thing. Thankfully, tt was interested in a compromise {what a good guy.. or a guy that knows what's good for him..either way} we agreed upon a pot roast, which did the trick, and the thing came out a-mazing.

Thankfully. This year, I have so much to be so truly thankful for. Everything, really. When all is said and done, I have a wonderful life. I have an amazing fiance that treats me like the princess I think I am-he is so supportive and lets me be me and I love that about him. I have the best friends and family that a girl could ask for-they lift me up, but keep me grounded. I have a career that I love and at 31 years old, I am more successful than I give myself credit for. I have a roof over my head, food on my table, and an abundance of shoes for my feet. And for all of this, I am thankful.

As we head into Thanksgiving this week, and kick start the most wonderful time of the year, what are YOU thankful for?!



Recipe of the day

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Motivation needed.... NOW

I am having a tough go of it these days.... from a motivation perspective, that is. Diet is all over the place, can't find the time/energy to exercise, and the days are only passing me by. EmcP and I have been gramma walking in the AMs, and while that is a great start- it ain't gonna get me to skinny in my stilettos. 

I found this, that I made about a year ago, and realized that I have let the last year get away from me. And it's horrifying. I had made such progress. Such focus. Such SKINNY! 


Not ok. Not not NOT ok. I need to get that motivation back- 2014 is going to be such a big year and I need to go into it looking and feeling my best ever. I'm toying with options at this point. Gym membership, Weight Watchers, a personal trainer. TT and I have established we don't do a great job of motivating each other. 

What do you do to keep yourself motivated when it gets hard?! Help!!

I stumbled across a little article on fitsugar.com that was titled: How to burn more Calories.. whaaaat?!  Here's how:
  1. Do a few extra sets: One minute of push-ups burns eight calories and one minute of crunches also burns eight calories. Complete three extra sets of each and that's 48 extra calories burned.
  2. Do five extra minutes of cardio: You'll burn an extra 56 calories on the elliptical, 52 calories on the bike, 34 calories in your cardio class, 49 calories on the treadmill, and 30 calories in the pool when you hang on for an extra five minutes.
  3. Pick up your pace: When running for 30 minutes, you can burn 216 calories moving at 5 mph (12 minutes per mile) or you can increase your speed slightly to 6 mph (10 minutes per mile) and burn 270 calories. That's quite a difference that really adds up over time.
  4. Pump up the incline: You know that you'll burn 270 calories after 30 minutes while running at a pace of 10 minutes per mile, but if you pump up the incline to five percent, you'll burn 363 calories!
  5. Crawl in the pool: Doing freestyle for 30 minutes burns 297 calories, while the breaststroke burns slightly less at 270.
  6. Get your yoga on: After a 60-minute Pilates class, you'll have burned 144 calories. Go for a more vigorous yoga class instead and you'll burn 269 calories.
*All calculations are based on a 130-pound woman.
Maybe I can try to work these into my life... but the motivation has got to sink in first.
Leave me some love in the comments and help me get the motivation back! xoxo



Recipe of the day

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pinterest saves the day, again!

Not sure about you, but I am entirely too lazy to hand-wash most of my day to day kitchen items that really should be hand-washed.... i.e. certain tupperwares, my knives, pieces of my food processor and juicer that I'm 99% positive aren't even dishwasher safe... the list goes on. Honestly, the only thing I really don't put in the dishwasher are my pots and pans, and that's strictly because they are new, and the old ones got ruined because of the dishwasher. Lame. 

Well, not just my pots and pans got ruined by that necessary evil that is the dishwashing machine. I have been ignoring the fact that my Kitchenaid knives have been becoming increasingly more and more rusted by the day. It has been grossing me out, but what grosses me out even more is the thought of buying new ones. I had it in the back of my head that perhaps I would see if I could nab a set on sale either on Black Friday or another time during the holiday shopping frenzy. 

Then, this morning, something came over me. I thought... what if there's an answer on Pinterest?? {note: it's sad that everything I look for is now on Pinterest. I used to automatically google. Now, googling comes second fiddle to looking things up on Pinterest.} In any event, the answer to my question was YES. 

As with any time I do research, I always check a few different sites to ensure I'm not jumping on the bandwagon of something horrible. As I scrolled through the pages and pages of ideas, one seemed to jump out at me the most often... soak 'em in lemon juice. 

Really?!?! Is it that easy and I have been dealing with gross, rusted knives for all this time? I had to see for myself, so I set myself up for my "science experiment" as I called it when tt got home and asked what the h-e-double hockey sticks I was doing. 

What you'll need:

  • Your gross, rusty knives
  • Lemon juice
  • A receptacle 
  • A good scrubber sponge 

What you do:

  1. Get your station set up. I worked on the kitchen counter, right next to the sink for easy access. For my receptacle, I actually used my biggest Pyrex baking dish. Most websites suggested using a cup, but my knives had rust on the handles too so I wanted to ensure that the entire knife was submerged. I made sure I had paper towels and a clean, dry dishtowel on hand as well. 
  2. Soak your knives. They'll need to soak for probably 5-10 minutes, depending on how bad your rust is. Because I was doing all of my knives at once {6 steak knives, a bread knife, a small one, and three larger knives, as well as my kitchen scissors} I actually used almost the entire bottle of lemon juice to ensure they were all covered. If you use a smaller receptacle, you would probably be able to get away with less juice. 
  3. Scrub away. I used my Scrub Daddy sponge to start, keeping it cold so that it scrubbed well. I realized that some of the spots were a little more stubborn, so if the sponge didn't take the rest off, I used a Magic Eraser which did the trick. 
  4. Wash, rinse and dry. Once I was finished scrubbing, I washed the knives in very hot water, and dried them completely. 



What did I learn? Well, besides lemon juice apparently being a miracle worker, and Pinterest saving the day yet again, I learned that hand-washing AND making sure knives are completely dry before putting away, will help to keep away those pesky rust spots in the future. And if I get lazy and start putting them in the dishwasher again? Well at least I know how to fix the problem. ;o)



Recipe of the day

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Jamaica, holiday plans, and Vodka

Lots of exciting things happening in my little slice of the world. At work, I found out the other day that I'm on track to qualify for our annual Sales Incentive Trip ~ which, is an all expense paid trip for me and my +1 and this year's trip will be to Montego Bay, Jamaica! I am so excited, I haven't won this trip in 2 years! It is such a great accomplishment and makes me really feel great about all the hard work I have been putting in lately. 

It also makes me appreciate my team so much. We have been working extremely hard to create an environment where we can all work together, and we have truly gotten ourselves to a great place in the last few months. I have even been asked to talk with offices around the country about the importance of teamwork and communication within the office, and my colleague KS and I were asked to host a national conference call yesterday about some of our best practices, and my director commented afterwards about how great and informative the call was. She was receiving all sorts of emails thanking her for having us speak to the topics we did. Woo!

Next. Can we talk about the fact that it is already time to get prepared for the holidays?!?!! Jeezum crow, I can't even handle it. A- Mr and  I haven't even discussed our holiday travel plans. B- My holiday shopping budget needs to be kept in very close check this year, as 2014 will be a very expensive year with all of the wedding craziness.  and C- I still can't even believe that it's time, although I am super excited because I just l-o-v-e this time of year!

And last but definitely not least, today's recipe is a Vodka Sauce made from Firefly Vodka... um, yum?! Can't wait to make it for tt! If you make it before I do, let me know how it is!



Recipe of the Day




Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Leopard print nails, a fab fall outfit and another new soup

Holy Moly am I excited about my little art project from last night!! I have had zero time to go get a manicure, so I had to take matters into my own... hands. {pun intended}

I am loving the accent nail that is all over the place. I noticed a FAB mani on Pinterest that was all black nails, with a nude accent and LEOPARD PRINT! And I dug down deep into my memory and came to a realization that... "I know how to do that - and it's SO easy!!!"


So ignore the fact that I hadn't cleaned up my sad excuse for a manicure, but honestly, DIY leopard print nails are so easy to do, because you use liquid eyeliner!
  1. Choose your nail polish colors. For this example, I used China Glaze "Black Diamond" and Essie "Ladylike" with a black liquid liner. 
  2. Start off with a base coat on all of your nails {I like Sally Hansen "Hard as Wraps" Acrylic Base coat}
  3. Because darker polish takes longer to dry, I started with the darker color first, and painted the first coat of gray on all my nails, then did first coat of pink
  4. Repeat with 2nd coat on all nails
  5. To ensure that your accent nail is fully dry, I also did my top coat on the gray nails before moving onto the pattern {My FAVORITE topcoat is Cina brand that I get at Sally's Beauty Supply. Cheap cheap cheap and works like a charm, until it gets tacky, which this bottle is beginning to}
  6. Next, use black pointed tip eyeliner and draw your leopard print pattern by doing little "C" shapes next to each other. I filled in with a few dots along the edges as well. - Let dry at least 5 minutes, then use topcoat {I used "No Chip" by Sally Hansen on these, which is way shinier. I definitely need to add that to my other nails asap}
and Voila! Adorable little pattern. Note: I have also done this is the past and put little polka dots in the center of the leopard print using different colors of nail polish. Super cute. And I bet you can use the eyeliner to do dots, stripes, or anything else you'd like!! Loving it. 



And I also wanted to share my super duper fabulous fall outfit that I wore yesterday, including my new sweater from tt for my bday. Mostly because I am obsessed with the fact that I can combine color combinations that the average person a- would never even remotely think to put together and b- think know they can't pull off. #confessionsofaselfproclaimedfashionista 


From the bottom up: nude pumps {Charlotte Russe}, maroon dress pants {the Limited}, mustard cowl neck sweater {Mossimo, from Target}, black + white patterned cardi {Nordstrom Rack} ~ LOVE!

I seriously need to re-vamp my wardrobe like ASAP. So excited to have a little extra shopping money from all the royals for my birthday. I'm torn between a new bag and new clothes. Sigh... so adios until I decide.... xoxo


Recipe of the day is a Panera Swap!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Enough I say!

I wish I could make this blog a priority in my life. Actually, I wish I could make a lot of things priority {i.e. cleaning my house, working out, reading} but there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day. ENOUGH I SAY!!! It's time for me to force my way into adulthood... at 31 years of age, which I will be on Friday. 

  1. I need to be better about cleaning my house. I drive tt cRaZy when I don't clean my room, or I leave clutter around everywhere, mainly in the form of shoes. He is quite the neat freak and I am quite the... opposite. And I  know I need to be better. Especially if I'm going to be a wife... I don't want to be a bad housewife!..
  2. Workout goes into full affect tomorrow because as many times as I say I'm going to start working out, I then promptly change my mind. I have decided that I eat a healthy enough diet for the most part, and really the only way I am going to lose weight is going to be to get regular workout into my life. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, so day #1 is tomorrow. I found a few beginner running workouts, that I plan to alternate with my Bridealicious Bootcamp in the mornings {which STINKS because I hate waking up, especially when it is cold out... but I know that when I get home from work I'm entirely too tired, and much more apt to skip}
  3. Reading. I was doing great, and putting my Kindle to good use. Then I got a book that I really couldn't get into, Water for Elephants. I know that I should have liked it, I've heard it's supposed to be amazing. But it's not quite the easy read that the Twilight or Hunger Games or 50 Shades series are. To get myself back in the zone, I'm going to re-read either HG or Twilight and then will be on the hunt for new book ideas. Any suggestions, please leave in the comments for me! 
To sum up the last few weeks... My parents came to see the kitchen and my sister joined us for the tasting event at our wedding venue {holy hannah}. Tailgated at the UCONN homecoming game with LG + AH. Finally got to meet my new nephew Will, and spend some time with his mama and big sister too. Got to be a part of my other BFF's dress shopping adventure and help her pick out her wedding gown!!! So incredibly beautiful. Had our 6th annual CFS Wine Tasting Event that was a huge success. Celebrated baby Jack's 1st birthday yesterday. and I have just been working a ton. Wedding plans are going well, but nothing much to report. Hoping that a new workout regimen will pump some serious energy into my day to day life!

And...that's all. xoxo

Recipe of the day


Monday, October 7, 2013

How To | Daytime smokey eye + makeup routine

I started my whole "how to" section, and then promptly forgot about it. I remembered it today, and decided to update. But what to share?! What do you do so well that people would want to read about it? And then it hit me... makeup! A) I love doing makeup and B) they tell me I do a pretty ok job. So I thought I could share my daily makeup routine, a few beauty tips and secrets, and how I do my daytime smokey eye. So, here goes: 

I am loving the Urban Decay's Naked 2 palette... amazing neutrals and tons of choices, depending on my mood.


All the colors blend beautifully together, and there are countless combinations for a beautiful smokey eye. I choose Snakebite, Suspect and Pistol if I'm feeling edgy or YDK if I'm feeling a little more girly and romantic. Foxy is a great Sunday look, and Busted always finds its way into the mix no matter what my mood. My daily daytime look for work is:

Eyes:

  1. Cover entire lid with YDK and sweep along lower lash line
  2. Blend Busted into outer corner of crease and outer corner of lower lash line
  3. Dot Verve with your ring finger into inner corner of eye for highlight
  4. Urban Decay Whiskey eyeliner on top water line
  5. Urban Decay Zero eyeliner along your top lash line ~ blend and slightly wing out with flat eyeliner brush using a charcoal shadow (I have a Smashbox Quad that has a great color for this- it's actually called Matte Navy but looks very grey. I find that the Blackout in this set is a bit too dark for day)

Lips:

  1. Line with Jordana liner in Tawny
  2. Gloss with Flower Shine on lip gloss in Hibis-Kiss

This look goes into night very easily. Simply blend a little more Busted into your crease and under lower lashes, and follow with Blackout in the very corner of your eye. Freshen up your liner and add Zero to lower lash line, and if you want to add a darker lip, feel free. I typically don't because I hate darker colors on my thin lips. 

That all being said, it was recently brought to my attention that I was doing my makeup 100% in the wrong order!!! Um, thanks Pinterest!! I hated the way I would get shimmer from my eyes all over my cheeks, but there was no easy way to fix it once my makeup was done. Never did it occur to me that maybe, just maybe, I could switch it up a bit... I now am dedicated!

Daily routine:

  1. Primer {face + eyes}
  2. Brows {fill + shape}
  3. Eyes {shadow, liner + mascara}
  4. Face {concealer + foundation}
  5. Cheeks {bronzer + blush}
  6. Set {powder, brow gel}
  7. Highlight {brow, cheekbones, and cupids bow}
  8. Lip color
Products used on a daily basis include: BareMinerals Prime Time Foundation primer and Eyelid primer; BM brow kit in Medium Blonde; Urban Decay Naked 2 palette; UD 24 hour glide on eyeliner; CoverGirl Lash Blast Fusion mascara; BM warmth and blush; BM Mineral Veil translucent powder; Benefit High Beam highlighter; Flower Shine on lip gloss

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday funday

Sometimes, you need a day where you just get things done. Today was a day like that... kind of. The craziness of our kitchen "reno" left other areas of the house a little disastrous. And I have quickly been coming to the realization {that tt has had for quite some time already} that I am a pack rat. Actually, I'd categorize myself as a borderline hoarder. Eek. 

I told him that by the end of this weekend I would go through all the random drawers, cabinets, and shelves that held the plethora of paperwork that I refuse to throw out. You just never know do know when you'll need your utility bills from four years ago. I love my paper. Even though literally everything I could possibly need to access is available to me, I have a hard time with being paperless. I heard the words "the times are a-changing" escaping my loving fiance's lips as I placed everything into a large garbage bag. I have a stack of things to shred at the office. And it is a bittersweet feeling. 

Next up- finding a better way to organize the items that I did keep. As a homeowner, puppy mother, and bride to be, there are still a few paperwork-items that I do need to have accessible to me. I'm loving this idea from A Bowl Full of Lemons


How absolutely adorable are these binders?! I got a few boxes which will do for now - at least it gets the clutter out of my living room cabinets, and keeps tt quiet for the time being. 

Next up... 
Sunday Dinner {leftovers from the week.... 2 Weight Watchers recipes}

And for dessert....

I have a few good ones on tap for this week, too... so stay tuned! As I know you always do xoxo









Thursday, September 26, 2013

In honor of last night's performance...

I give to you, my fave Buble song... 


Didn't they always say we were the lucky ones.
I guess that we were once, babe, we were once,
but luck will leave you cursed, it is a faithless friend,
and in the end, when life has got you down,
you've got someone here that you can wrap your arms around.

So hold on to me tight,
hold on to me tonight.
We are stronger here together,
than we could ever be alone.
So hold on to me,
don't you ever let me go.

There's a thousand ways for things to fall apart,
but it's no ones fault, no it's not my fault.
Maybe all the plans we made might not work out,
but I have no doubt, even though it's hard to see.
I've got faith in us, and I believe in you and me.

So hold on to me tight.
Hold on, I promise it will be alright.
Cuz it's you and me together,
and baby all we've got is time.
So hold on to me,
hold on to me tonight.

There's so many dreams that we have given up.
Take a look at all we've got,
and with this kind of love,
and what we've got here is enough.

So hold on to me tight.
Hold on, I promise it will be alright.
Cuz we are stronger here together,
than we could ever be alone.
Just hold on to me,
don't you ever let me go.
Hold on to me, it's gonna be alright.
Hold on to me tonight.

They always say, we were the lucky ones.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

DIY-ing, new recipes, and Johnny Depp

We are head first into our staycation kitchen "remodel" and somehow haven't killed each other yet!! We worked hard all day yesterday and this morning, and now it's Sunday breaktime: tt is off watching football for the afternoon and I am here, watching my other love Johnny Depp don black eyeliner and drink all the rum while searching for treasure. 

Biggest problem of the moment: I'm incredibly bored and all I want to do is cook! Unfortunately, that's not an option because of the current state of our kitchen: cabinet doors are removed/cabinets empty for refacing; a plastic sheet and crazy dust cover the counters and floors; the entire dining area has been cleared out, and re-filled with the doors and drawers all set up on our little painting stations. It's quite the sight. 

We are using a kit made by Rustoleum called Cabinet Transformations and it has been relatively user friendly so far, and the kit provides almost everything needed to complete this project. Literally, it gives you step by step instructions on how to do it. You have the bond coat tinted at Home Depot when you buy it {thankfully I noticed the little note on top saying to do this before we left the store...} and off you go. 

The cabinets were white to start {although, that is not the original color} and we chose to go to a dark black-brown color, similar to the furniture in our living room. So far, with the progress we've made, I'm loving the color choice! Which is a good thing, because as excited as I was to start, I was a little nervous that I wouldn't like the way the color fits into my kitchen color-scheme. I'll definitely post before and after photos when the job's complete, although I don't have original befores because I completely forgot to take them before the cabinet doors were taken off. Oops. But it already is looking completely different than before. Let's hope this doesn't make me desperate for a new countertop and/or a new kitchen table! {tt said maybe to re-doing the countertop because there is a kit for that too; but I got a big fat HELL NO to a new table. Perhaps because I won't let him get a new couch. Pish Posh. Although I suppose I do get my way 99% of the time, I guess I'll give him this one.}

So, as I was saying, all I want to do is cook. Because I'm sitting here with nothing to do, and no kitchen to experiment in, and no way to even make myself a snack, I'm on Pinterest. {Note: my sister also reminded me of the fact that the holidays are quickly approaching. This year I'm going to have to do Christmas on a budget, so since I'm in DIY mode, I figured I'd check out some ideas. I used Secret Board #3 to start pinning secret Christmas presie ideas for my friends and family. Muahahaha {although, less evil than that} I'm getting such great ideas!

Also in my Pinterest adventures this afternoon, I've been making my mouth water by looking at recipes that I've been pinning over the last few weeks. I have this problem that I almost undoubtedly "pin now, read later" and then forget about all of the things I have pinned! So I am taking this bit of free time to take it upon myself to go through them and note a few of the great ones. That being said, when I have use of my totally awesome new kitchen back, the following kitchen creations will be happening:
  • Creamy Cauliflower Sauce {just found this beauty, and can't wait to try it out on whole wheat pasta, my usual spaghetti squash, OR zucchini pasta when my new julienne peeler arrives since I'm too cheap to pay for a spiralizer}
  • Caprese Lasagna Rollups {which my sister showed me the recipe for a little while back and I have been dying to make them.. not overly diet friendly, but I don't even care because they look so good}
  • Beet sliders {featured on Diners Drive-ins and Dives!! Both tt and I thought these sounded aMAZING and I was able to track down the recipe}
  • Chai Pumpkin Spice Thumbprint Cookies{Um, do these NOT look like the most perfect fall cookie?! I will try my hand at baking in order to get these in my belly}
  • Fall TABs{I have found so many yummy looking fall beverages! I can't pick just one to debut here, so I'm giving y'all the opportunity to peruse my board on Pinterest... Happy Drinking!} 
And on that note, it's time to get things picked up a bit before tt gets home and it's back to DIY-ing for me!



Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday things

Sunday, lazy Sunday. If only! I have so much to do today that I am 100% procrastinating at. Although I got some laundry done, finished the STD's {save the dates for all you non-wedding oriented and somewhat confused folks}, spent an hour on the phone helping my boss figure something out, and picked up all my shoes from the living room, since tt has been bugging me for a week about them. Next up, getting myself and tt ready for the week ahead: Chili will be a'cooking, veggies will be a'chopping, salads will be a'ssembling and eggs will be a'hard-boiling. Such an exciting life I lead.

I'm pretty excited for this week, though. A lot is on tap! Dinner/drinks with my long lost friend Julianne tomorrow night; getting my hair did on Wednesday; and dinner/drinks with another long lost friend Audrey on Thursday; and  hopefully planning a date night with tt for Friday night! Woot. I am just so pretty and popular I can't even take it. {vom}

tt is off watching the football, and I really should have this stuff done when he gets home, so that is my cue to get off this laptop and get to the kitchen. My Cheater Chili is always a hit, so here's a quick link back to it... But definitely check out the ROTD- it's a great sneaky way to feel like you're eating something super carbalicious!

xoxo



Recipe of the day


Friday, September 6, 2013

Just loving fall fashion

I am not a fashion blogger, I am a wanna-be food blogger. BUT the fashionista locked inside of me cannot get enough of the leggings I just bought. {note: these were not purchased by accident} 

I fully intend on living in leggings for the foreseeable future. Having made that decision, I came to realize I didn't have these staples overwhelming my drawers. I do have two pairs but one is a cropped style and they're somewhat baggy; the other is a weird gray color that has faded where my fat thighs rub together. Gross... sorry for that mental image. This all being said, I decided that I needed to fix this missing piece to my fall wardrobe puzzle. 

I happened to be on the NY&Co website and realized that for Labor Day, all their pants were.. wait for it.. BOGO. Um, what?! I was able to resist the urge to buy every pair ::Phew:: but I did peruse the casual section and came across these leggings. They are technically yoga pants, so they have a wider waist band the way that yoga pants typically do- but they don't fold over. I am loving the way that they fit. I just got them delivered today- two pairs of black and both a light and a dark grey {4 pairs for only $50 bucks... can't beat that deal- wish they had more colors!} They don't cut me off at the waist the way that most leggings do. Hell, most pants do that. I wish I could wear them every minute of every day.



That is all. Just thought I would share. They're not BOGO anymore, but still a great value at $25ea. Just think about how absolutely F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S. they will look with my new boots. Now, I just need some new sweaters... Follow my Fashionista board on Pinterest. 



Auf Wiedersehen, meinen lieben... sei ganz lieb umarmt. xo



Recipe of the day

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Accidental boots, wedding plans, and real life

Things to discuss:
  1. I just bought a pair of boots without meaning to
  2. The fact that my wedding is only a year away
  3. Detox and real life diet/exercise plan
Ok. I know I have been a major blogging let down these days. I also know that I can't use this wedding thing as an excuse forever. I can say that we have been planning our little butts off, and have so much done so far that it's not even funny. Which lets me have some time tonight to grace you with my web presence, and I am excited to share this fab new picture of me and the hubby-bubby from this weekend at the track with the sister friend for her magic birthday! {if you just ignore my elephant arm}


  1. I am so happy about this, even though I 100% didn't mean to buy them. I was browsing on www.shoedazzle.com and looking at boots. {YAY- I love love LOVE Fall.} And honestly, I had added them into my shopping bag, because that's what I always do. I browse online, add a bunch of stuff to my virtual bag, and then delete them all and move on. Somehow, I clicked on place order. There was nowhere to add in my credit card information {because of course, it's already on file} and there was no confirmation page. I was immediately routed to a page that said: Thank you for shopping with us, your order should arrive in 4-5 business days. oopsies. When they come in I will make my decision on if I keep them or not. I'm sure if Mr. T has anything to say about this, they will be going back to where they came from. 
  2. So, this past weekend was Labor Day, as everyone knows. And while we all loved the long weekend and all it stands for, it has a new meaning to us here in the 2bTx2 household. Next year, the wedding will fall on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend! I can't even believe we are inside a year! We're talking 362 days, people! Eek! As I said above, we have been planning our little butts off. Well, I have anyway... I haven't been able to stop. Apparel is done: I said YES to the dress, picked/ordered tt's suit, ordered the MOH dress, picked the shoes, I even got tt's socks already. Chose our wedding bands {I think}, and booked our honeymoon. I'm almost decided on centerpieces, found flowers that I like on Pinterest... really, what else is left?! Zoinks. 
  3. So, in it being a holiday weekend and everything, I am finding myself feeling a bit over indulgent, and large. Realizing also that I have one year til' the big day, I decided that it really is time to kick it in high gear. I talk a big game about being healthy, and exercising, and losing weight and all, but I'm really ready to hunker down. I am starting the year kick-off with a 2-day detox {which I am almost done with Day 1 and am so happy to be halfway done} and then am going to rely on the internet for great recipes and my friends, family and loved ones to motivate me to keep going. I want to be the skinniest I have been as an adult on my wedding day ~ which I totally think is doable, but it will take some real effort, obviously. I'm hoping for 20-30 pounds. In a year, that should be a totally attainable goal. Can I do it? I stay tuned to find out.... 
Side note: a new exercise goal/challenge I am giving myself is to do this every single day, twice a day, on top of my regular work-out routine that I am getting into: 30 jumping jacks | 20 scrunches | 10 squats | 5 pushups






Recipe of the Day



Friday, August 23, 2013

As promised...

Amazing recipes!

{in a mason jar!}

Pesto Crusted Halibut

The others are coming soon... still haven't tried them :) xo

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday things

So, I have successfully been a waste of life so far today. It's 3:00 pm and I'm still in my sweatpants {note: this is somewhat appropriate given the conversations of last night. The age-old question was posed over a plethora of TABs... which is actually better: sweatpants, or no pants?}

It has been a great extended weekend. Although my Red Sox pretty much laid down to the Yankees on Friday night at Fenway, me and tt still enjoyed our night away. The plethora of TABs really began upon arrival in Beantown. If you know me, you know I don't truly love beer, but can't say no to Boston Beer Works Blueberry. I actually went in a different direction this time {gasp!} and had Watermelon instead. And that was quite the delight to start my evening off right. La la la. It was packed by the time we got there, since of course we didn't leave the house when we initially anticipated, since of course I didn't leave work when I initially anticipated. Why I bother with half-days I will never know- I have such a hard time leaving! In any event, we ended up having plenty of time to walk around at Fenway and peruse. I really wanted to find a Boston Strong t-shirt but was unsuccessful. I let myself take an evening off from the Weight Loss Challenge, because really you can't go to Fenway Park and not enjoy a hot dog. And beer{s}.

The fun continued yesterday, even after our return to the lovely state of Connecticut. I missed our company party since we were away, but we were able to meet up with all my peeps afterwards at my friend Erin's house. We stayed a little too late, which leads me to my current state of sweatpants and couch-dom. tt went golfing, and so I'm biding time before I have to leave to pick up Cecelia from the "spa" and have been spending my day perusing the internet for honeymoon ideas {we actually might have made a decision!! eek!} and recipes for this week to get me back on track. I have found, as always, if I can cook, I can try to stay within the diet walls. If we go out, all bets are off. 

I have found a few really exciting new ones for this week that I am eager to try out. Red Pepper Pesto Halibut; Lemon Chicken with an herb salad; and crock-pot Buffalo Chicken lettuce wraps since I am working out of our other office on Wednesday and need something easy. And I found a new stackable salad that I can make in my mason jars for lunch that includes a Coriander-Yogurt dressing. Umm...YUM! It will be a nice detour from the usual tuna salad that can get ever so boring week in and week out. 

That being said, I'm skipping a recipe post today, but will def get the above recipes posted this week once I can give my own little wisdom. Also, I plan to start getting better about photographing my recipes, so any guidance on this would be helpful. I know that there are tons of tricks and lighting things that I need to learn, but I am thinking that overall, having good photos would this little blog even more enjoyable for you, my foodie readers! xx






Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Weight Loss Challenge{s}

The girls at work and I have started a weight loss challenge! I am so excited about it, although I am starting at way too high of a number. The best way to go is down, and I get by with a little help from my friends. The basis of the challenge, is to lose the largest % of weight by the end of the year. That gives us five months to rock it.Seeing as we are all in sales, and we are all extremely competitive and motivated by money, that seemed the best option for prizes. SO each month, there will be a small prize of $20 to the winner. THEN at the end of the challenge, after that last week, the overall winner will become the champion, and get a $150 prize for new clothes for their hot bod! So exciting. 

This challenge comes with challenges, however. The summertime is the hardest time to lose weight, I feel. All I want to do is sit on my deck, eat yummies from the grill and drink TABs in the beautiful weather. WRONG. I also have reviewed my calendar, and face an evening at Fenway Park this coming weekend, along with a variety of other fun days that include eating and/or drinking, and will wreak havoc on my dieting strategy. Once we get through the summer, it's on to the holidays. Eek!! At least this will motivate us all not to get as tubby as Thomasina the Turkey at Thanksgiving, nor find ourselves too jolly during the most wonderful time of the year. No sugarplums will be dancing anywhere in my world this holiday season! 

That all being said, I am psyched. Good luck, chicks. Let the odds be ever in your favor. {or something}





Recipe of the day



Thursday, August 1, 2013

Friendship musings

WARNING: I am feeling particularly sappy this evening, so don't read any further if you're feeling easily nauseated.

Friendship is a wonderful thing. Really, having a friend is one of the best things. And I am so very lucky for the friendships that I have in my life and consider myself lucky to call these women my friends. Near or far, new or old, we have found a way to maintain such close bonds that I would not trade for anything. 

The last few years have proven very fruitful for me, especially when it comes to maturity, wisdom, and life lessons. In five years, I have found myself married, divorced, dating, and now engaged again. The ups and downs that I have seen, have really shown me a lot about myself, no doubt. But also about the people that I have chosen to keep in my life. I have always felt strongly about having the right people around me, and I have worked very hard to get myself to a point where I can honestly say that I do. Through that, I have learned a few important lessons about people and friendships and time. 

The first thing I have learned, is that in many cases, someone is meant to be in your life for a period of time. For a chapter in your book, shall we say. I have had people come and go out of my life, especially over the past few years. As an adult, you need to put it all into perspective. Many times, you need something from someone, or vice versa. Or this person fills a hole, a void, that needs to be filled at that moment. There's nothing wrong with this, especially not at that time, but this is not a lasting friendship. Sure, you may get along well and laugh and have fun, and find them as someone you can confide in at the time. But then one day you wake up and you have moved on. And that's ok. I think making yourself ok with it is the hardest part. 

The second, simply put, is:


Who cares how many friends you have?!! It is really just about who matters. And who you matter to. I tend to have very high expectations of people. The way I look at it, is I have high expectations of myself, especially when it comes to how I treat people I care about. I hold myself to a very high standard, and I truly expect the same in return. I have walked away from many friendships because I did not feel that efforts were being reciprocated. It's sad, and it's hard, and it is never an easy decision to make {ok sometimes it is}.. And this definitely sounds cruel reading it back. But wouldn't the world be a happier place if everyone surrounded themselves with good, real people? And said "to heck" with the ones who aren't?

That's not to say there haven't been ups and downs with the friends I do have. No one's perfect, not even me. But knowing that we have the foundations that make the ups so up, and the downs worth getting back up from is what matters. I find it refreshing to know that no one in my life is not supposed to be there. Everyone has their purpose, their special place in my life. Some I don't get to talk to nearly enough. Some I don't get to see nearly enough. Some have been around for ever, some have entered my life more recently. Each relationship is different. Each relationship has grown in its on way, changed and developed through out the course of time.

These people are just so special and really can make me see my own worth more than anyone else can, and I am truly blessed to have such amazing women in my life that I am lucky enough to call my friends. This is a time when it makes me sad that I will not be having a bridal party to stand by my side. I can't thank my girlfriends for all that they do in my life and ask for the honor of having them as bridesmaids, standing with me as I say "I do". Hopefully, they all know who would be up there, and they know what they mean to me.

Love you, bitches. © That is all.




Recipe of the day

Sunday, July 28, 2013

How-To | Cook Quinoa

For my first how-to tutorial, I have chosen to school you in how to make quinoa. First we will start with the common question:


What exactly is quinoa?!

Pronounced kee-wah, this little grain-like seed with a squiggle in the middle is becoming increasingly more present in the healthy eating world. Reason being, it is relatively low in calories, extremely high in protein, and it's a complex carb!!  Which is great, because we are all trying our hardest to incorporate complex carbs into as much of our diets as possible, right?! It has all the essential amino acids your body needs, and has a slew of other vitamins and minerals. It's also gluten free, which is very important to those folks with wheat allergies. Really, it's sounding like a super food if you ask me. 

Now, why am I choosing to do this as my first "How-to" ? I really don't know. I haven't quite mastered it... in the umpteen times I have attempted, I probably get it right two out of three times. I guess that's not too bad... so I will share with you my process for making it. Of course if there is anything you can add, if there is anything you do that I don't do that works like a charm, please leave a comment for me. I love learning! 

How to | Cook Quinoa
You will need:
Quinoa - 1 part
Cooking Liquid - 2 parts
Salt
Olive Oil - a drizzle for toasting purposes
Strainer - you'll need a fine-mesh one, not one with big holes in it
Pot with cover

What you do:
  1. Rinse your quinoa well by putting it into the strainer and running it under water. This is a very important step because the outer part of the seed is very bitter. If you have time, soaking it is even better than rinsing, but as long as you do it thoroughly, rinsing will do the trick. 
  2. Drizzle a little olive oil in your pot, and put your quinoa in there. Toast it over high heat for about a minute until the liquid burns off. 
  3. Add your cooking liquid {remember, 2x the amount of quinoa you are using!} and bring it to a boil. 
  4. Once it is boiling, turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. During this time, leave the cover on the pot and don't touch it!!! This is similar to cooking a pilaf or couscous. 
  5. When 15 minutes is up, remove from heat, but do not uncover. Let it sit for another 5 mins. 
  6. Next, you can fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork, like you would do with couscous. 


Notes:
  • You can use any color of quinoa you like- just make sure it is not out of a box kit or anything
  • You will always need 2x the amount of liquid - i.e. 1 cup quinoa + 2 cups liquid. Keep in mind that 1 cup of uncooked quinoa will yield appx 3 cups cooked. 
  • Salted water works well for your cooking liquid. Personally, I think if you have never made {or tasted} quinoa I would recommend cooking it in water the first time, so that you know ultimately what you are working with. There isn't much flavor, but you can doctor it up with salt and pepper and a little butter if need be. 
  • Other than plain water, you can use chicken or veggie stock, or flavor your water with garlic or herbs. {My next try is going to be throwing mint and basil right into the water}
  • There are all sorts of recipes out there- you can eat it as a simple side during dinner, or make it the main focus of the meal. The possibilities are endless, and because it's very mild in taste to begin with, you can use it with many different flavors. 





Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday things | a flood, bridesmaids dresses, and something blue

Alternate title: Central air washed away my dreams of getting skinny (in stilettos)
thanks tt.

A flood
Last Saturday, all I wanted to do was sleep in. In my life, all I wanted, was to be able to keep my eyes closed until 9:30, but alas, 8:30 I hear a bellowing coming from downstairs. "Coleen?" "Coleen!! You need to come down here. We have a problem. There's a lot of water." 

Um....what.

So I jump out of bed, and run to the basement. And there was water everywhere. Oh, crumb. The AC was working, so this posed a lot of confusion for me. But clearly with the 95-100 degree temps we had had for over a week, something was up. Long story short, eventually we got it fixed, but it took calling two places, and then ultimately two visits. Thank God I can work from home relatively easily and at short notice. 

Biggest issue with this is that all of our junk in the basement had to be hauled out of the storage side and into the finished side!! It has taken over my workout area and I haven't been able to do my Bridealicious Bootcamp for a week!! Thankfully we should be good to go now and can move it all back over this weekend, so I can get back on track starting Monday morning at 5:30 :o)

Bridesmaids Dresses
It's a busy year of weddings next year... I haven't been in a wedding in 5 years - and now I have three including my own coming up in 2014!! 

Went bridesmaids dress shopping with LG and her MOH last night, which was so much fun. We found a few that she liked a lot, but no decisions have been made yet. It's going to be so pretty with all eight bridesmaids {yup, you read that right- eight} in black dresses offset with pink flowers. 

Can't wait to start thinking about plans for my dipsy's, too. She has already showed me a picture of high-heeled cupcakes that we need to find for her bridal shower {me and CMC's love for shoes runs through our blood}. This wedding is going to be a gorgeous fall backdrop in Lake George {ooh, fancy fancy} with very rich and elegant shades of purples and greens. I can't wait to see this place, too- it's quite exclusive. 

And last but not least, hooray! I have finalized my colors!!! I am so super duper excited to announce that my wedding colors on 8/31/14 will be Tiffany blue, gray and coral. My plan is to have my sister/MOH in a gray dress, which she has already picked out, and Tiffany blue shoes. And have all the suits charcoal gray with Tiffany blue ties. I'll put the flower girls in Tiffany blue dresses, and then have bright coral flowers to stand out. SOOO cute!! Now I just need to find my wedding gown.. because I already have my shoes and everything, which leads me to my third and final Saturday thing:


Something Blue
Drum roll please. On my wedding day, I will be walking down the aisle in my "Something Blue" ~ Hangisi by Manolo Blahnik. I have zero words for how absolutely stunning they are... I mean, what words are needed when THAT {see above} was the look on my face the moment I laid eyes on them. The satin has a sheen to it like nothing else. The sparkle of the crystal embellishment on the toe is indescribable. They even smell lavish in all their hand-made Italian leather, bougie wonder. 

I think that's the perfect note to end on. Ciao ciao ~ Baci e abbracci ~!!






Recipe of the day



Monday, July 15, 2013

Day #1...

Today is the day that I get serious {again} // the day that I start the battle all over again. I don't ever want to have to look in the mirror and feel the way that I do now again. Ok ok I said this a year ago. But this time I'm serious. Food went well today- I ate a ton, all healthy. Avoided the cookies that Clifford ever-so-nicely left on the table behind me all day. And I'm excited for dinner since I get to cook. 

I'm looking forward to this time around - I also got Bridealicious Bootcamp which I am psyched about!!

I promise, next post will be interesting :o)




Recipe of the day

Monday, July 8, 2013

Let's be honest.

Our fifth annual trip to ME was a huge success. I think we are getting old, though. Somehow we didn't drink as much as we should have, but ate entirely too much. The girls roadtrip was clearly one of the highlights as it always is for me, Amy + Jen. We had some good and bad weather, relaxed at the cottage, spent some QT at The Pearl rubbing elbows with our bff Michelle {and of course Richie}, Jen and I ended up on a boat, we of course had our surf + turf dinner and unfortunately missed out on jello shots at the TOP. But most importantly, we finally made it to Primo

{Note: If you ever find yourself in Rockland Maine, I highly recommend getting yourself there, and I am hoping it becomes a new part of our annual tradition because it is one of the most amazing meals I have ever had. Here is the dinner menu that we had the luxury of enjoying. Between the eight of us we covered a decent amount of the menu. I had the rabbit, and I'm pretty sure it was hands-down the best meal on the menu, although every morsel of food that I put in my mouth was heavenly. Yea.. get there if you're ever up that way. Chef didn't win the James Beard award, nor was Primo named "one of the most important restaurants in the country" for nothin'}

So, I will fill in the rest of the deets later in the week, but obv the food comes first. 

Now, starts detox #2. Thank you to the 4th of July yet again for reminding me to jump start my health kick! 




Recipe of the day