Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve

Happy New Years Eve!
I'm still in shock that another year has come and gone. I guess it's true what my grandma always says to me, "the days are long but the months fly by." 
Tonight I'm heading up to Syracuse after work with friends to ring in the new year and I'm still not 100% sure what I'm going to wear. I always laugh when I see these beautiful New Year's Eve dresses advertised that are festive and sparkly... and short. Truth be told, living in upstate New York my entire life, one thing NYE won't be is warm, in fact it's typically below freezing. Unless I plan a trip to the south where it's warm and beautiful, theres a 99.9% chance that I won't be wearing one of those shiny little dresses when the ball drops, it's just too unrealistic (and chilly). 
So most likely when I get home from work today I'll be destroying my closet looking for something semi-sparkly for this festive occasion, and eventually I'll give up and open the champagne instead! Maybe next year I'll plan a vacation someplace warm for NYE so I can join in on the sparkly dress fun...hmmm....

Whether you're staying in to watch the ball drop or going out on the town, I'm wishing you all a safe and fun night tonight, see you in 2015!

(ignore the dog hair, no matter how much I lint roll Misa is EVERYWHERE)

Scarf J Crew Factory, sold out (similar here and here) // Jeans
Vest Banana Republic, sold out (similar here) // Shirt // Bag C Wonder, sold out
Lips Ring // Sunnies // Bow Ring // Bracelet C Wonder, sold out
Flats Ralph Lauren (similar)

What are your New Years Eve plans?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Recipe: Crock Pot Roast with Mushroom Gravy

Happy Tasty Tuesday!
After a week of eating nothing but sweets and cookies, I'm looking forward to getting back on track with my eating habits. I told myself that I would enjoy the two weeks of Christmas and New Years Eve and not worry about the number of calories I would be enjoying, but after the end of this week I'm ditching the holiday treats for healthier options. St. Maarten is less than 3 months away and I want to be bathing suit ready by then. Anyways, I have a yummy recipe to share with you all. Typically Sundays are my "big meal" day where I will end up making something hearty like a ham dinner or turkey with all the fixings. Two weeks ago I decided to try a pot roast with a mushroom gravy in the crock-pot and it came out super tasty. 
  • 2-3lb eye of the round roast
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 large baked potatoes, cut into strips (see above picture)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 8oz sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 packet of beef flavored boost (I used one packet of Knorr Concentrated Beef Stock)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • In the crock-pot, place roast, sliced onions, sliced potatoes and about 1 1/2 cup of water.
  • Cook roast on low for 8-10 hours (4-6 on high).
  • About 30 minutes before roast is finished you will start the gravy. In a separate pan combine butter and sliced mushrooms and cook for about 3 minutes over medium heat. 
  • Stir in red wine and flavor boost packet for about 3-5 minutes until completely combined. 
  • Add flour and season to taste with salt and pepper, stirring until gravy thickens a bit. 
  • Keep gravy on low heat until ready to serve dinner.
  • Take roast out of crock pot and slice, spoon gravy over roast. Serve with potatoes and onions from the crock pot and a vegetable.
  • Enjoy!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Beanie Baby

Let me start out by saying that by the time you're reading this I'm probably on my 5th hissy fit at work. Even though this is another short week because of New Years Day, I am NOT happy to be back in the office after this long holiday weekend. I've decided that I'm going to start playing the lotto once a week because I just don't think this whole "having a job" thing is really something I want to do everyday. It's also probably a sign that I need to get more serious about looking for a new job because although I do really love the people I work with, it's time for a change. Either way, I have to suffer through 3 days of work before I get another day off to ring in 2015. 
Currently all my Christmas presents are still nestled under the tree, so I've been relying on my closet for style until I finally decide to put all my new presents away. By the end of this weekend all the holiday hustle and bustle started to die down and I went back to comfort for running errands and getting ready for the work week. I picked up this flannel button up a few weeks ago when I was in Madewell in NYC. It's super soft and warm, which is perfect for those days when I don't want to wear a big coat while shopping in the mall (why must they always jack up the heat in the mall?). Also, I've been looking for a navy beanie for sometime now but couldn't find one anywhere, just grey, creams and blacks. However, while Christmas shopping for my dad in JC Penney's a few weeks ago I found this one in the men's section!! The inside is fur lined and even though it's a mans hat it fits me perfectly, plus I only paid about $10 for it (score!). It goes to show you can find good products anywhere, even in the men's section!
So please send your positive thoughts my way and pray I make it through work today without falling asleep at my desk of having a complete meltdown, haha! Also if you haven't already, you can read my Christmas week recap here.

Flannel Button Down // Tee Michael Kors, old (similar) // Jeans 
Flats Gap, old (similar) // Bag Talbots, (similar style here) // Necklace
Beanie JC Penney's (similar) // Rings C Wonder, old

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Week Recap

It's Sunday and my post-Christmas funk is already setting in. I spent these past few weeks preparing for the Christmas holiday and in a blink of the eye the holiday is over. These past few days have been so much fun. I really wish every day was like Christmas because despite the chaos, the time I get to spend with friends and family will always be priceless. Now every year I tell myself, "take lots of pictures documenting these memories" and then I end up being so wrapped up in the holiday cheer that I find myself putting my phone away and embracing the holidays without worrying about taking pictures. I'm glad I just live in the moment during the holidays, however I really don't have any pictures to share with any of you, whoops. 

Here is a quick recap of the past few days:
  • Tuesday night we had our annual "Cousin's Dinner". It's become a tradition over the years that at least twice a year, once during the summer and once during the holidays all of my cousins ranging in age from 10 to 30 get together with my Aunt Marge and get dinner somewhere. It's our chance to catch up since nowadays it's not uncommon that we're all in separate places. This year we went to dinner and then decided to go to a local bar to play trivia. Trivia is big in our family, we tend to make our own and we're very competitive so we didn't think twice to bring my younger cousins out to the bars to play some games. Now they weren't drinking of course, but we did name our team "Who brings kids to a bar?". Let me just say, Team WBKTAB dominated trivia! We won every round and took home numerous prizes and made so many memories in return that I think Christmas trivia will be our new tradition!
  • Christmas Eve afternoon was hectic as always. My cousins and I went to my uncles after lunch to help set up for the big dinner, play some games and tape our second Family Feud video. Did I mention we got a callback from Family Feud?! They asked us to submit another application video so they could get to know us better, fingers crossed!
  • Christmas Eve night was filled with good food, good drinks and good company. We had a huge family dinner followed by presents and games. I'm always at my uncle's till wee hours in the morning because we always lose track of time.
Patiently waiting for my dad to come home from work, yes I'm still a child on Christmas Day.
  • Christmas Day my dad always has to work till 11:00am (sigh). So my mom and I do our best to putter around the house, get breakfast ready and stare at the clock until my dad comes home and we can eat and open up presents. Post-presents, we start making our rounds. We drop in to multiple houses including my grandmas and several aunts and uncles, eating at every stop along the way! Again it was another late night staying up playing games but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.
  • The day after Christmas is one of my best friends birthday so it was another day full of celebrations. We went out to the bars, which were packed and had a few (or more) drinks.
My Saturday view: Harry Potter and Misa
  • Saturday was my first day where I didn't have to leave the house so I took complete advantage of that by staying in my PJs all day and watching the Harry Potter Marathon on ABC family. It was exactly what I needed after these past few days.

Tell me about your Christmas!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Favorites from 2014

It's hard to believe that another year has come and gone. Sometimes I sit back and think about things I did last January or February and it doesn't feel like that long ago, I guess it really shows that time flies when you're having fun. This whole year has been quite the whirlwind so I've been thankful for my little blog because it allows me to look back on my year and see all that has happened. I really do enjoy blogging as a hobby, Monster Misa has been a awesome creative outlet for me and it's grown so much in the past 1.5 years I've been blogging. It's also become my own personal diary (that is read by all of you) that captures all my adventures and memories and I will forever cherish this little journal of mine. Slowly throughout the year I've noticed that I have been opening up a bit more, talking a little more about myself instead of just posting about fashion and I'm really happy about how much this blog has grown. 
So today while sitting on the couch watching the Harry Potter marathon on ABC Family in my pajamas, I'm looking back on my 2014 year of blogging and sharing with you some of my favorite posts I've written.  As always, thank you so much for following me on this journey! It's been a fun ride and I can't wait to see what 2015 has in store.
  • I still laugh when I think about that time I accidentally went to an Advanced Hot Yoga Class. Now that the new year is right around the corner I've been looking to take a new exercise class to get back in shape for Saint Maarten but I think I'm going to pass on hot yoga....
  • My post on The Best Colors for your Skin Tone was extra helpful this year when I was looking for Christmas gifts for friends and family.
  • Every Christmas morning I make a Baked Cinnamon French Toast for after we open up presents. I don't make big breakfasts very often but when I do, this is always my go-to recipe. 
  • Now that Christmas is over, it's time to focus our attention on Spring Break trips. My Spring Break Essentials here and here will get you ready for your next big trip. 
  • Speaking of trips, I loved going back and reading my recap of my vacation in Costa Rica. It was my first time out of the country and I had a ball. After that trip I made a promise to myself that I would try and go to 1-2 new locations every year, and to always have a trip to look forward to.
  • As a blogger I'm constantly learning and I still haven't mastered everything there is to know. Last May I wrote a post about the blogging advice I wish I knew when I first started. If anything, it's so important to be yourself and write about what makes you happy!
  • Looking back on my Cape May NJ outfits makes me want to ditch my sweaters in favor of sundresses and bathing suits!
  • I got so much use out of my Field Jacket this fall. It's a great fall essential that can be styled so many different ways. 
  • These Tips for Feeling Put Together will have you ready to ring in the new year feeling confident!
  • Looking back on my trip to Disney World makes me want to book another trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. I had so much fun with my girlfriends and I'm already looking forward to planning another trip with them.
  • My two most worn pieces this winter has been my blanket scarf and faux fur vest.
  • When it comes to yummy desserts, my grandma's pumpkin pie recipe will always be one of my favorites. Not only is it tasty, but it has a family history that will always make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
What were your favorite parts of 2014?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas!
Thank you for all your support regarding this tiny little blog of mine, it means so much to me. I'll be spending today with all the people I love, and I hope you're doing the same. 
May the rest of your holidays be merry and bright.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas Eve

I have been looking forward to this day for quite sometime. Truth be told, I prefer Christmas Eve over Christmas Day. It's the one day this Christmas season that my whole family is together in one place celebrating. We have a huge dinner, open presents and play plenty of games. Each year my cousins and I organize some type of trivia game for our family to compete in. This is a special time because we're all competing and laughing with one another. Then after all the adults head home for bed, all of my cousins and I stay up way too late playing games into the wee hours. It's not unlikely that we will all be together when the clock strikes midnight on Christmas day. 

Anyways, I hope you all are celebrating today with family and friends as well. It seems like we wait all year for these brief 48 hours of time together so make sure you soak it all in and really enjoy yourself. 

What are your plans for Christmas Eve?

Top J Crew Factory, old (similar) // Pants // Flats Gap, old (similar)
Bow Necklace // Cheers Bangle, C Wonder, old // Michela Ring
Bow Ring // Kate Spade Clutch, old // Macy's Necklace, old (similar)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Eve Outfit Ideas

I can't believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve, I feel like this whole holiday season really flew by! Doesn't it seem like yesterday we were just celebrating Thanksgiving and now a month later we are back at it again. This whole month was a whirlwind of shopping, baking, wrapping and budgeting (I refuse to look at my bank account until January 1st), and now we will all be gathering with family to do the most important thing: celebrating! 
I'm still not 100% sure on what I will be wearing tomorrow, per usual I'm waiting till the last minute to pull something together from my closet. Most likely it will look like a bomb went off in my bedroom by the time I'm done because if Thanksgiving is any indication, I will probably change  my mind on what to wear a hundred times before I settle on something. If you're like me and looking for some holiday inspiration, you came to the right place because I put together two outfit idea's for your Christmas Eve party. 

Outfit Idea #1: Classic Plaid
I always associate plaid with Christmas time and while most of your family will be sporting the traditional red and green, I thought it would be fun to change it up and go with navy. This tartan skirt is the perfect amount of "festive" and although it's shorter, you can keep your legs warm with a fun pair of tights.  Going along with the classic theme I stuck to traditional pearl jewelry.

Outfit Idea #2: Sparkle
For those of you looking for a little more sparkle for your holiday outfit, try going with a sequined skirt that will shine more than your Christmas tree! I found this gorgeous sequined midi skirt at Brina Box for only $30! Personally I love the combination of black and gold for any holiday occasion.

Sunnies // Layered Bracelets // Earrings // Heels

What are you wearing on Christmas Eve?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Gift Guide #5: The Entertainer

This will be my last gift guide for the season since theres only 4 days until Christmas, ahhh! I hope most of you have all your shopping done by now, but for the few of you who like to wait until the last moment or are looking for a last minute gift to give to your hostess this Christmas, this is the post for you. We all have that one friend or family member that loves to throw a good party (and we love that friend because it saves us from having to take on that role!). They are well prepared to make sure that their guests have a great time whether it be the perfect cocktails, delicious food, great music or fun entertainment. Well here are few gift ideas that will only contribute to their next big bash!

What would you buy the entertainer in your life?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Thoughts + A Weekend Recap

This is it.
The last weekend before Christmas. 
Needless to say it was filled with last minute preparations. 
Not going to lie, the closer we get the more excited I become, I'm starting to feel more like a 5 year old instead of a 25 year old, but I guess thats allowed during the holidays...

This weekend:
  • Friday night I got dinner and cocktails with a group of friends. It's basically our last night out together before all the Christmas craziness kicks in. I have a few friends that go out of town for the holidays and others who come into town, so we wanted one night to reunite before we all get busy with family events
  • Saturday I wrapped. and wrapped. and wrapped. until my back was sore and my knees ached. I honestly felt like an old lady by the time I was done, because I (stupidly) wrapped all the presents on my hardwood floor. It gave me plenty of room to work but wasn't the most comfortable of positions... I think next year I need a little pillow under my butt while I work. On the plus side... I'm 85% done with all my wrapping! 
  • Saturday night I got dinner with my parents and then marathoned a few Christmas movies, not very exciting but it was exactly what I needed.
  • Today I'll be getting a head start on my blog posts this week since one my family gets into town I won't have much time for anything else. I'm also making a ham for Sunday night dinner, one of my favorites!
What did you do this weekend?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Weekend Links

This weekend is all about checking off those last minute tasks before the holidays (i.e. wrapping the mounds of presents that are currently building up around me). In addition my family starts to get into town so I'm really looking forward the next couple of days. For those of you doing some relaxing before all the chaos begins, here are a few links for you!
  • The Undeniable Report team has been amazing lately and have been putting out some really interesting articles. Take some time to check out The Foodie Gift Guide and Tips for Hosting the Perfect Holiday Party from my girl Julia!
  • Game of Thrones fans, have you seen this short teaser for the new season?! Arya Stark is one of my all time favorite characters, she basically kicks ass all the time despite being younger than most of the other characters. I'm patiently counting down the days until the April 6th premiere. Valar Morghulis.
  • I'm currently coveting the new Back Me Up Mobile Chargers.  They would make the perfect stocking stuffer for the friend whose phone is always running low on battery. 
  • This time of year there is a major focus on baking and cooking for friends and family, which is why I've been really enjoying the food section of Buzzfeed. I've recently been obsessed with their list of 18 Instagram Accounts you should follow if you love food... it definitely made me hungry!
  • When I was in NYC last weekend I stumbled into J Crew and fell in love with this buffalo plaid quilted vest. I'm having serious regret not buying it when I had the chance because it's now sold out online. I'm hoping I will still have time to scoop it up in stores before it vanishes there as well.
  • My skin has been so dry lately with all this cold weather and I've been searching everywhere for the perfect facial moisturizer that won't make me break out. Luckily I discovered Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer in Lord and Taylor last week, it has made such a difference in the way my skin looks and I definitely recommend it!
What are you up to this weekend?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Snow Leopard

I finally made it through the longest week ever! Now its crunch time, with only one weekend separating me from Christmas I have a lot of final touches to complete. I'll be spending this weekend finishing up my wrapping, doing a bit of baking and visiting with family! My cousin Josh gets into town this weekend from Chicago and I haven't seen him since Labor Day so I'm really looking forward to being reunited. 
The temperatures are starting to drop again in the 518 so I decided to bring out one of my favorite cashmere open faced cardigans. It's so nice and warm! I know cashmere can be expensive at times but the Charter Club cashmere line from Macy's has a really great selection at a reasonable price. Plus around this time they always have huge sales, plus you can use a coupon on top of the sale... score! They definitely make a great last minute gift for friends and family. 
On a separate note: I'm thinking about buying a pair of LL Bean Boots. I think they would be perfect for my trek into work on those extra slushy days because I've been wearing my rain boots into the office but they aren't keeping my feet very warm. They just might be my post-holiday gift to myself so I can stop taking blog photos in inappropriate shoes! 

Charter Club Cashmere Cardigan, old (brown leopard version here)
Necklace, gift // ALDO booties, old (similar)

What are you up to this weekend?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Merry & Bright

Today is our office Christmas party!
I've been looking forward to this day all week, mainly because I need a couple hours away from my desk, haha! This is my first Christmas party at my job since I started at this place last January. I've been hearing stories about this "amazing party" for weeks and now I finally get to experience it for myself. Rumor has it, it involves a lot of eating (state workers love to eat) and plenty of games and gifts. The party starts first thing in the morning with a breakfast, followed by a luncheon, gift exchange, games with prizes and finally desserts! Long story short, they may have to roll me to my car in the afternoon! I'm bringing my banana nut bread recipe for the morning breakfast, so fingers crossed everyone enjoys it!
As for my outfit, I decided to go with a traditional red theme. This blazer is perfect for any holiday party because it's festive but still super comfortable. It can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Plus I'm finally wearing my new Madewell jeans that I picked up in the city. I can't recommend their jeans enough because they fit like a glove! 

Misa HATES when I take pictures... she doesn't understand the process and always likes to be the center of attention. 

J Crew Blazer, old (here are a few other options) // Painters Tee //
Cheers Bangle & Colorblock Bangle C Wonder, old // Plaid Bangle, gift

Do you have any holiday parties in your office?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gift Guide #4: Mom (and other special ladies in your life)

You have officially one more week to finish your shopping, hopefully that sentence doesn't make you panic too much. Personally my mom is my favorite person to shop for. I got my love of fashion and shopping from her, so it's always fun to go out and splurge on something fun for my mom. Typically I start making a list for my mom in early November, just keeping an eye on things she mentions she likes during out shopping outings. However, not all moms are as easy to shop for as mine, so here are a few holiday gift ideas for all the moms, grandmas and aunts in your life!

What did you buy your mom for Christmas?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New Recipe: Creamy Crock Pot Chicken

Happy Tasty Tuesday!
Typically on Sundays I like to make a "hearty meal" which generally involves me bringing out the crock pot. It allows me to put a bunch of tasty ingredients in the pot and cook all day long, which makes the house smell fantastic! The crock-pot has also helped me get over my fear of raw chicken. Normally whenever I have to use chicken in a recipe I buy a rotisserie chicken at the market and shred it. But now, whenever the crock-pot calls for chicken I've been buying the raw "chicken strips" at the market and just cutting open the packaging and tossing them into the crock-pot! I don't even have to touch the chicken! This chicken recipe was given to me by a family friend and it came out fantastic, so much flavor!
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, halved (as mentioned before I just bought chicken strips so I didn't have to cut it up, saves you so much time!)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 package of dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
  • 1 soup can of condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 8 ounce package of chive & onion cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • **you can also add about 1 cup of frozen peas, which I want to do next time I make it**
  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat and add salad dressing mix, mushroom soup, chicken broth and cream cheese until the mixture is hot and smooth.
  • Place the chicken breasts at the bottom of the crock pot and pour the sauce over the chicken. **Add peas if you choose to**
  • Cook on low for 6 hours
  • Enjoy! I served the chicken with rice and a steamed vegetable medley.
What are your go-to winter recipes?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Blue Christmas

Please send positive thoughts my way. This is the last full week of work before Christmas and my motivation is at an all time low, and by low I mean nonexistent. Sometimes I think adults should get the same Christmas vacation as children for the holidays because lets be real, I'm too excited to get any work done anyways. As a kid I can remember counting down the days until the holiday break, patiently waiting to have a whole week off to do nothing but play with toys... if only we could rewind time! On the plus side we do have our work holiday party this week which will lead to plenty of work avoidance. 
In other news, the snow has finally stopped in the 518. Last week we got hit with a couple major storms which made for a few tricky rides home from work. My car actually got stuck when trying to pull into my driveway and I ended up blocking the road. Of course with my luck the plow was coming down my street at the same time and he couldn't get by because my poor car way sideways in the street. For "legal purposes" the man driving the plow wasn't allowed to help me move my car so we basically stood in the middle of the street together staring awkwardly at each other until my neighbors graciously came outside and helped me push my car out of the road, phew. Let's just hope this is the last storm we get for a while because that was a little too stressful for my taste!

Michela Geometric Ring // Kate Spade Flower Bangle, old
J Crew Factory Flats (other colors available here) // Kate Spade Clutch (sparkly red version here)

Have you gotten a lot of snow in your neck of the woods?