Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Recipe: Taco Dip in the Crock Pot

Happy Tasty Tuesday!
Two weeks ago I was looking for a fun appetizer to bring to our holiday party, The Jingle, but I didn't have time to make something elaborate. Luckily I found this awesome recipe for taco dip in the crock pot because it literally took no time to make. Seriously, one of my favorite things about the crock pot is that I just put all the ingredients inside it, and it does all the work for me! I came back a couple hours later and my delicious dip was ready to go!

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 (1 1/4 ounce) package of taco seasoning
  • 4 ounces (1 can) of diced green chilies
  • 10 ounces salsa (I prefer medium or hot but if you don't like spicy go with mild salsa)
  • 1 lb. Velveeta cheese
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 bag of tortilla chips for dipping
  • Combine all ingredients (except tortilla chips, obviously) into the crock pot
  • Cook on low for 2-3 hours
  • Enjoy

Monday, December 30, 2013

Ringing in 2014

So New Years Eve is not my favorite holiday, I think it's because in 518 it's normally freezing and the last thing I feel like doing is wearing a dress in the cold. One of these years I'm going to pack up and ring in the new year in a warmer climate so I can enjoy getting dressed up without worrying about getting hypothermia. I picked out six New Year's Eve dresses that I personally love, including 3 with sleeves that will hopefully keep you northerners a little bit warm while watching the ball drop!

What are your plans for NYE?


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Thoughts... Plus a Weekend Recap

First of all I need to apologize, I've been a terrible blogger lately with spotty posts. However, I needed a little vacation from my laptop and have been taking time with friends and family this holiday season. I will be back to my regular scheduled posts tomorrow, which means I need to get my butt in gear today! Anyways, I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and weekend, here is a quick recap of mine:
  • Plenty of family time, my cousin Josh was in the 518 up until this morning so my cousins and I have basically been inseparable. All I've done in the past 7 days is play board games and eat... really productive.
  • Played "Headbandz" for the first time... have you ever played it? If you're a fan of party games I definitely recommend it, very funny.
  • Friday night I went out to celebrate Christina and Megan (two of my best girlfriends) birthdays. It was nice to get out and have a little fun with my ladies.
  • I finally got a haircut, my hair was seriously looking like something out of an Amish village so it's nice to have it trimmed and manageable again.
  • Got organized, I'm preparing for all the holiday decorations to be put away which means I needed to clean out my closet to make way for my new arrivals.
Group shot of the girls on Friday night

How was your weekend?
Are you getting back into the swing of things or have you sworn off being productive until after the New Year?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Friday Favorites

Is anyone else in a post holiday food/present coma? I feel like these past couple days flew by however, I'm exhausted from all the holiday cheer. Things are finally starting to die down a little bit despite still having plenty of friend and family get-togethers planned for this weekend!
 Here is what I'm currently loving on this post-Christmas Friday:
Just because we just celebrated Christmas with plenty of gifts doesn't mean I'm willing to take a break from shopping. There are so many awesome sales out there including this amazing Fair Isle sweater thats 50% off! Maybe a belated Christmas present to myself is in order!

The description on the box of this game is "A game for horrible people" which apparently makes me a horrible person because I laugh so hard whenever I play this game. If you and your family/friends are board game lovers I definitely recommend you add this to your list. It's basically Apples to Apples for those who have no morals.

Signs I'm getting old... one of my favorite gifts I received was a shoe rack. I needed one desperately because I have shoes all over my bedroom floor. I woke up early this morning and set it up in my room and I couldn't be more excited to get organized!

I'm a huge fan of Just Dance, we play it at almost every family get together and we just played the most recent one last night. It's a great way to get up and move around after eating that huge holiday dinner (I seriously sweat while playing this, it's quite the work out!). Plus who doesn't want to see Grandma doing the YMCA?

Now that Christmas is over I have warmer climates on my mind. I'm already looking into good self tanners that I can use before I head to Costa Rica in April. The thought of being in a bathing suit with pasty white skin is already giving me nightmares.

How was your week?
What are you loving on this post-Christmas Friday?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Wishing a very Merry Christmas to all my blog readers and friends! 
May your day be merry and bright!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

New Recipe: Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Bars

Merry Christmas Eve Everyone!
I hope you all have a wonderful next couple days with family and friends! May Santa leave lots of presents under your tree because I can vouch for each and everyone of you that you all belong on the nice list this year. Also Happy Tasty Tuesday, I want to share with you a recipe for Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Bars that is absolutely delicious and super easy to make.
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup regular sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 package of mini peanut butter cups chopped into even smaller pieces
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a large mixing bowl combine butter, peanut butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs, salt, baking soda and vanilla extract to mixture and mix again.
  • Slowly add flour until completely combined
  • Add chocolate chips and peanut butter cups until evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  • Spread into a 9x13 inch pan and bake for 20-25 minutes (do NOT overbake).
  • Let cool and eat until your belly hurts!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Eat, Drink and Be Merry: A Weekend Recap

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend! 
Heres a quick recap of mine:
  • Had a fun blog meet up with the ladies from QuaintrelleTalkandtalka and Preppy Pink Crocodile at The Confectionary in Troy! It was so fun to meet up with other bloggers in the area and form new friendships! Can't wait for our next get together!
  • Wrapped so many Christmas presents. Like a million. I don't want to see another roll of wrapping paper for a long long time. 
  • Celebrated The Jingle with my best girlfriends! It was so nice to be reunited with everyone, eat plenty of food, play games and exchange cookies! I honestly don't know what I would do without those girls! Thanks again Dana for hosting!
  • Had a cousins day out with all of my cousins. My cousin Josh is home from Chicago so this was the first time we were all together since July. We spent the whole day together playing games and taking photos for our awkward family photo! We are going to surprise all our parents with the finished product on Christmas Eve. I apologize in advance if anyone thinks this photo is offensive, it was done all in good fun. 

Our cousins version of the Nativity Scene, with our very own Santa-Jesus in the manger. 

Our annual Jingle photo by the Christmas tree!

The countdown has begun, what do you have planned for the next couple of days?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Thoughts....

These next couple of days my posts will be small because I will be taking a little bit of a break to spend time with family and friends! Today I will be spending the entire day with all of my cousins, it's the first time we will all be together since July. So I'm leaving you with a Sunday Thought....

How was your weekend?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Gift Countdown: $25 & Under!

It's finally here, my last gift post of 2013! Stocking stuffers are always the last thing I buy so most of the items on this list would make great stocking stuffers but theres also a couple of other great items that are affordable and would look great under the tree!
  1. Socks: I've said it before, I don't own any white socks. I also rarely buy socks for myself typically relying on my yearly stocking filled with fun patterns! I love the J Crew Factory socks because you can get sets for as low as $2!
  2. Statement Jewelry: I love fun costume jewelry! I like to pick out a fun outfit and then buy matching jewelry to accessorize with.
  3. Desk Accessories: I'm sure I'm not alone in my obsession with fun desk accessories. Plus we all love anything monogrammed so a fun pencil and pen holder would dress up any desk!
  4. Pajama Bottoms: I'm a firm believer that you can never have enough pairs of pajamas. 
  5. Candles: Bath and Body Works has had so many great holiday scents, hot buttered rum is a personal favorite of mine.
  6. Prints: There are so many great print sets on ETSY that are under $25. My personal favorites are from History in High Heels Preppy Print Shop because you can print them from home and get your own frame!
  7. Essie Nail Polish: Um do I need to explain my reasoning on why these make great gifts? Didn't think so.
  8. Coffee Mugs: I'm obsessed with the Kate Spade Swoozie line because it's super affordable and they have the cutest accessories. I dare you to go find something on that website that you don't immediately want to own. 
How many of you are headed to those crowded malls today?!


Friday, December 20, 2013

Currently Loving...

TGIF Everyone!
I am officially on Christmas break and I couldn't be more excited, the perks of working at a school are definitely awesome. I am looking forward to spending the next two weeks catching up with family and friends and doing some celebrating!

Here are the things I'm loving this week:
The Jingle
Tonight is our annual holiday party we call The Jingle! All my friends will be home for Christmas and we will be reunited again! I am so excited for our Secret Santa and cookie exchange. Above is pictures from our previous themes (Christmas pajamas and ugly sweaters). This year we are doing a Christmas character theme... I've got my reindeer antlers ready!

Holiday Treats
I dont know about the rest of your but my house is filled with a variety of Christmas treats from candy to cookies. My waist line isn't very happy but the rest of me is, I can't stop snacking! Guess I'll start fresh in the new year!

The malls have been so hot lately that I couldn't bear to walk around in a winter coat. I'm loving this Lilly vest because it would keep me warm without causing me to become overheated!

Family Game Show
Each Christmas Eve my cousin and I host a family game show for my extended family. They are split up into 3 teams and asked questions about a variety of different topics including pop culture, history, name that tune, and Christmas trivia. We already have the topics for this years game show but still have to come up with some questions! Lucky for our family we will be giving away prizes this year to the winning team! We always have so many laughs!

Is anyone else going to any holiday parties this weekend?
How many of you are officially on Christmas break?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gift Countdown: $25-50

We are getting down to the wire here, one week from today all the presents will be unwrapped and we will all be suffering from the post-holiday blues. But, in the meantime I am working my way down the price line to bring you my picks for the perfect gifts in the $25-50 range. 
  1. Stone Cuff- Banana Republic has had some beautiful jewelry lately, I especially love their incorporation of turqoise stones in their baubles. This statement bracelet will definitely be a conversation piece!
  2. Lilly Make-Up Bag- For the girl who loves to travel this make-up bag will fit great in your luggage and it's a fun traditional pattern.
  3. Forget Me Knot Earrings- My ears are super sensitive so I cant wear very many earrings but it doesnt stop me from looking for others. I love these hot pink ones!
  4. Cheers Bangle- With NYE coming up who could resist this fun bracelet from C Wonder!
  5. Slippers- I have been guilty of running to my car in my slippers which is fine in most cases but not when there is snow on the ground. These slippers have a rubber bottom which wont get wet on quick runs to the mailbox/car in the snow!
  6. Calf Hair Belt- I've been obsessed with calf hair leopard lately. This is definitely a great staple to add to the wardrobe and a great way to subtly add leopard into your wardrobe.
  7. Jeweled Striped Top- I love a good long sleeved shirt, I wear them under so many things. This top is a fun twist on the traditional long sleeved top with a small jeweled brooch detail that makes it just a tiny bit dressier!
  8. Monogrammed Coasters- This gift would be great for friends who love to decorate their apartments and for friends who love to entertain!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Gift Countdown: $50-100

Day two of my Christmas Countdown features gifts ranging from $50-100. Luckily for all of us so many stores have been having awesome sales so you can grab a bunch of gifts that are normally over $100 for a discount price. 
  1. Blinged Out Blouse- This top is so versatile it can be worn on its own or under a sweater for a layering look. Plus the extra sparkle on the collar would be perfect for holiday parties!
  2. Cashmere Gloves- It's been freezing here in the 518 so these gloves would come in handy, plus they work on touch screen phones!
  3. Plaid Blazer- When I was visiting the Woodbury Outlets last month I scooped up a plaid blazer from The Loft and I love it because I can dress it up for work or dress it down with a pair of jeans. I found a similar blazer from J Crew Factory that I would recommend to all of you!
  4. Peter Pan Collared Dress- I've had my eye on this beauty for awhile. I love the structure of the dress, very flattering on the body.
  5. The Statement Clutch- Whether its leopard calf hair or a witty quote, stand out from the crowd with a fun clutch this holiday season.
  6. The Cailean Lilly Top- You can probably tell I've had warmer climates on my mind lately. I love the print in this tee, it has me dreaming of beaches and tiny umbrellas in my drinks!
How many of you are guilty of the "one for you, one for me" Christmas shopping mentality?

All That Glitters Gia // Plaid Blazer // Leopard Calf Hair Clutch

** Also be sure to check out my guest post on Preppy on the West Coast **

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Recipe: Snowball Cookies

Happy Tasty Tuesday Everybody!
In going with the Christmas theme the next two Tasty Tuesdays will be cookie recipes! I spent my weekend baking away and my kitchen smells fabulous. My waist line is not very happy with me but thats okay because this is the time of year I'm allowed to take a break from watching what I eat and treat myself, right? These snowball cookies literally took 10 minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to bake so it's a great quick and easy cookie recipe for you non-bakers out there too!

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 cup sifted confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup almonds
  • Extra confectioners sugar (prob about 1 cup for rolling)
Cookies prior to sugar rolling
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Combine butter, sugar and vanilla until mixed together thoroughly.
  3. Add flour, salt and almonds to mixture.
  4. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, place on ungreased cookie sheet
  5. Bake until set but NOT browned. (about 10 minutes)
  6. While still warm, roll in confectioners sugar.
  7. Let cook and roll them in confections sugar again.
  8. Eat until your stomach hurts. 
I'm doing the link up with Becky from A Girl and Her Sparkles today to share my recipe with more people! 
Thanks Becky!
A Girl and Her Sparkles

Monday, December 16, 2013

Gift Countdown: $100-150

Can you believe we only have one week left until Christmas? I am so happy I finished up my holiday shopping last weekend but it hasn't stopped me from looking at all the great holiday gifts online. This week I will be doing a Christmas Countdown where I pick a variety of gifts from a specific price range. I'll be starting the week with gifts from $100-150 (see photo above) and ending the week with gifts under $25! Hopefully all of you will be able to get some last minute ideas!

  1. Lilly Tunic: I definitely want to invest in one of these before I leave for the beaches of Costa Rica in April. For your friends and family members who do a little winter vacationing to warmer climates this would make a great gift under the tree.
  2. The Gigi Clutch- They come in a variety of colors and can be monogrammed. Enough said.
  3. A Warm Sweater: I love this Ana sweater with the star print! It would look so cute paired with a blazer and gold sparkly jewelry.
  4. J Crew Pink Loafers: Just because it's winter and it's freezing doesn't mean you shouldn't add a little pink into your wardrobe. Plus they are super comfy!
  5. Talbots Plaid Flats: I fell in love with these when I received the Talbots catalog in the mail.
  6. Statement Necklace: This is the time of year to splurge on something fun. This beautiful Kate Spade necklace will definitely turn heads at your holiday party.
  7. Lilly Popover: Similar to the Pink Loafers, just because it's winter doesn't mean you don't need fun prints in your wardrobe. This popover screams "Is it summer yet?!"
Are you finished with your Christmas shopping yet?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Weekend Recap and Sunday Thought

We are currently in the midst of a big snow storm right now which is a great excuse to just stay inside, make hot cocoa, sit by the fire and watch Christmas movies. I hope you all are having a fabulous weekend and are staying warm.
 Heres a quick recap of my accomplishments this weekend:
- Major Christmas shopping completed!!  I feel so happy that I don't have to go back to the mall because it is a zoo out there!
- Holiday cookies are being made today (recipes to come!)
-Wrapping gifts... might as well start now!
- Looking for appetizer options..... The Jingle is next Friday so I need to come up with an appetizer to bring within the next couple days... suggestions welcome!

Also here is a picture of Misa as a puppy playing in one of our first snow falls.

Are any of you buried under a pile of snow?
How many of you are done with your Christmas shopping?! (Only 9 days away!)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Saturday Holiday Pin-spiration

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend, we are supposed to be getting a big storm tonight so I will be busy all day today finishing up my holiday shopping. Christmas is only a week and a half away and I've been busy pinning away some last minute holiday ideas. 

Check out what I found!
This is one ornament I would definitely like to receieve. You buy a plain glass ornament and fill it with hot cocoa mix, marshmallows and peppermint. A fun gift for the chocolate lovers in your life!

We normally make french toast on Christmas morning but I love the idea of making a cinnamon bun tree!

 Our holiday party the Jingle is next Friday and I'm still looking for an appetizer to bring. How fun is this present?! It's definitely a great twist from the traditional cheese platter!

 A simple way to create a centerpiece... use empty tissue boxes! I have been going through so many tissue boxes with my cold this week, now I have a fun project to do with the empty containers!

My cousins and I are planning an elaborate awkward cousin photo for our parents... can't spoil anything yet but it will definitely be comparable to this photo!

What do you have planned for this weekend?
Are any of the rest of you getting a big snow storm tonight?

Don't forget to follow me on Pinterest!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Currently Loving...

TGIF Ladies!
Can you believe there is less than 2 weeks until Christmas.... it's definitely crunch time! I will be spending my weekend finishing up my Christmas shopping (finally) and hopefully baking some cookies in preparation for all the holiday parties the following weekend. Most of all I am looking forward to sitting by the tree and soaking up all the Christmas spirit going around. Hope you all have a fabulous weekend no matter what you end up doing! 

Here is what I am currently loving this week:

I'm a little obsessed with this Rashida Jones' article that she wrote for the January issue of Glamour magazine. She highlights how the women in pop culture have used their bodies to sell music. I know that's nothing new but her take on it was very insightful and it ended up making me thing about my own life and how important it is respect my body and support other females in my life.

Last weekend in NYC I spotted these amazing cashmere gloves in C Wonder. I debated about buying them and ended up buying a sweater instead... now I have major regret. Hoping they show up in my stocking on Christmas morning. 

Christmas Packages
Our house has been like Santa's workshop lately. Much to Misa's dismay the UPS guy has showed up every day this week to drop of some sort of packages. This year I did a lot of online shopping for my mom so those packages have been trickling in. In addition my uncle ships all of my cousins Christmas gifts to my house (so Santa Alex can wrap them). It's been fun coming home to boxes and wondering whats inside.

Survivor Blood vs. Water Finale
I'm a bit of a nerd but I've been obsessed with Survivor since I was in 5th grade. This season has been so good with family competing against eachother for 1 million dollars. I am looking forward to seeing who comes out on top this weekend when the finale airs. Also I recently applied for Survivor: Blood vs. Water 2 with my cousin Josh as a part of my 25 Before 25 list so I've been taking close notes!

I've wanted to add a faux fur vest to my wardrobe for sometime now but I wanted a longer one that has lighter colored tones. Enter this beautiful vest from Banana Republic, that has the pattern of a snow leopard. This vest has officially been added to my Christmas list because it would be perfect for those cold upstate winter days we've been having lately.

What do you have planned for this weekend?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Holiday Outfit

Here's the deal guys, with the holidays coming up I'm sure many of you will be attending a lot of parties. I always love reading posts about the perfect holiday dress, however in upstate New York it's normally freezing on Christmas so I can't get away with wearing a fun sleeveless dress without worrying about turning blue from hypothermia. My family holiday parties can be pretty laid back, dressed up enough that you look festive and cute, but casual enough that I can jump into a game of Just Dance on the Wii with my cousins. So today I came up with a fun holiday outfit to wear that is just dressy enough. My theme was red and gold if you couldn't tell and found a variety of fun accessories that showed my holiday cheer. Recently, I've been obsessed with layering different gold bangles and bracelets that thats why there is jewelry overload in this post!

Whats your typical holiday outfit look like?
Any of the rest of your northerners jealous of the warm weather down south?


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Let's Get Away

Apparently Kate Spade is sick of all the holiday cheer and is ready to fast forward to warm weather and beaches because their new nautical line has me thinking "Pina Coladas" instead of "Eggnog." I'm not complaining, I am one of those people who believes that once the holidays are over it's time to fast forward to summer. Since I will be headed to tropical climates in April, I definitely want to grab some of these adorable nautical items before my trip, especially that "Get Out of Town" Gia clutch! When I was in NYC I saw a lot of the jewelry in person and they have some beautiful pieces. You should also know that the Beau Bag now comes in more colors and sizes (hello Mini Beau at a cheaper price!). 

Once the holidays are over do you like to fast forward through January, February and March?
Which pieces are your favorite?
Is it too soon for a nautical fashion line?

Polka Dot Bangle // Navy Scalloped Ring // Anchors Away Bracelet

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New Recipe: Goulash

The finished product
Happy Tasty Tuesday!
Today I will sharing with you a fabulous goulash recipe, served over elbow macaroni. "Goulash" is a meal of meat and noodles. It reminds me of sloppy joe's but with macaroni instead of bread. It's super easy to make and is quite tasty even if it's not the most picture perfect meal I've ever made.
 Hope you enjoy!

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 medium white onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • A pinch of ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 rounded tablespoons of sour cream
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • Sprinkle of fresh parsley

  1. Cook pasta in a large pot. While macaroni is cooking heat skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add ground beef and chopped onions. Cook until ground beef is brown.
  3. Add garlic and other seasonings
  4. Mix in tomatoes and heat through.
  5. Stir in sour cream.
  6. Drain pasta and toss with oil and parsley
  7. Scoop goulash on top of pasta and serve.
  8. ENJOY!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Weekend Recap

I had such a great time in NYC this weekend. The day always flies by and before I know it, I'm back on a bus headed for the 518 exhausted. This was the first year in awhile my mom and I didn't go to see a Broadway show, instead we just wandered around the city and had lunch at our favorite restaurant, Clyde Fraziers. I did manage to score some fabulous items at C Wonder and do some Christmas shopping for my family. Plus we visited the Christmas tree! On Sunday I was so tired and woke up sick so I took it pretty easy. We did decorate our Christmas tree though, so our house is officially in the holiday spirit!

Owned by former New York Knick Clyde Frazier!
 I've met Clyde a couple times and he is super nice, plus last year his restaurant ran a contest and I won a signed basketball!

There are photos of Clyde all over the restaurant

Heaven on Earth

The tree!

My mom and I attempting to take selfies in front of the tree. Fail. 

Bryant Park ice skating rink... I just watched because I'm not coordinated enough to ice skate.

Have you ever been to NYC?
What are your favorite things to do there?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Thought of the Day... Plus Treat Yourself

I'm feeling a little under the weather today so I wont be doing a long post. Just wanted to share with all of you the sale that C Wonder is having, all accessories are 40% off! I was able to head to the store yesterday while in NYC and scoop up some awesome deals, looking back I may make a couple extra purchases today. 
Happy Shopping!

What did you do this weekend?
Is anyone else ready to fast forward to Christmas so we can eat, drink and be merry?!