Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Thoughts + A Weekend Recap

This weekend was a whirlwind. 
It feels like only moments ago that it was Wednesday night, we were in the midst of a giant snow storm and I was sipping hot chocolate by the fire and now it's Sunday and I'm preparing for the upcoming work week. Major bummer. Despite this being a hectic few days with friends and family, I had so much fun and it made me extra excited for the upcoming holiday fun. 

These past few days I....
  • Ate so much turkey, pie and stuffing and I couldn't be happier.
  • Played so many games, including a fabulous family made trivia where my team won (obviously).
  • Grabbed cocktails at the local Malt Room.
  • Put up the outside Christmas decorations in the snow, ugh.
  • Did some online shopping and got some seriously awesome deals.
  • Shopped small business Saturday in my local area.
  • Watched Frozen (again).
  • Spent time with all my loved ones, yay!
  • Dressed Misa in a scarf and I still have all my fingers, success!

What did you do this Thanksgiving weekend?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving Weekend Reads

Is anyone else still suffering from a major food coma? The thing about my family is that we eat two Thanksgiving dinners on Thursday, then we typically get together again to eat leftovers on Friday and again on Saturday. So basically, for four straight days I am constantly stuffing (pun intended) food in my face. I'm not complaining though, this is my favorite time of year and I always relish in the time I can spend with family and friends. 
In addition to eating I've been doing a lot of online shopping which is a major accomplishment for me. I don't like going to the mall on Black Friday but I was able to grab some deals online and I got a bunch of stuff for my mom (shhh don't tell her!). Why deal with the crowds when you can buy presents online from the comforts of your bed while wearing Christmas pajamas?!

Anyways, here is some weekend reads/obsessions I have this week:
  • My favorite blog planner is 25% off today on Heart & Arrow Design's Etsy page. So even though I was supposed to be strictly online shopping for family, I did order this as an early gift for myself!
  • I am obsessed with Amy Poehler's new book Yes Please. My parents bought it for me for my birthday two weeks ago and I haven't been able to put it down. If you're looking for a good book for yourself or your close friends this is definitely something you should look into. Amy is so smart, and witty but most of all I found her incredibly relatable despite her major superstardom.
  • Have you seen the new trailer for Jurassic World? My 8-year old self is trembling in her boots with excitement and my 25-year old self's heart is aflutter because my new celebrity crush Chris Pratt is the lead character. It's definitely my most anticipated movie of 2015.
  • For those of you who still have the shopping bug after yesterdays big day, make sure you go out and support your local businesses on Small Business Saturday. Every year my dad and I head over to this local sweater store where they sell hand knit sweaters and get my mom something for Christmas. It's become a holiday tradition for years now, but it always feels good to support the small stores during the holiday season.
  • Still hungry? We have some great recipes newly posted on The Undeniable Report including homemade soups and gnocchi in roasted red pepper sauce. Also be sure to check out my health article on why you shouldnt skip breakfast
  • Did anyone else get pummeled with snow last Wednesday night? I styled my favorite cobalt blue coat in a post discussing how to beat the winter blues.
Are you shopping on Small Business Saturday or still recovering from a food coma?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Tommy Hilfiger + Black Friday Sales!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with too many calories to count. Many of you are probably knee deep in Black Friday sales right about now, hopefully you're not wrestling the lady next to you for those last pair of boots in your size. Personally I've never been a big Black Friday shopper and it's the one day a year I actually say 'no' to going to the mall. I'm not sure if it's post Thanksgiving fatigue or my inability to deal with large crowds but I prefer to spend the day after Thanksgiving on the couch rather than the mall. However, that hasn't stopped me from looking at all the fabulous online deals and I'll most likely be making a few purchases from the comforts of my pajamas at home. 
Speaking of shopping, have any of you checked out the new Tommy Hilfiger winter collection recently? I used to be a big fan of Tommy products when I was in high school but got away from them around college years--unimpressed with what they were putting in stores. But this year, I've become a fan again! It all started when last summer Hilfiger teamed up with my favorite adorkable actress Zooey Deschanel to create a ton of really cute preppy dresses. Then this fall he continued his winning streak by putting out a bunch of tops and sweaters that I thought were fantastic. I received this specific plaid top for my birthday last week and I loved the teal and blue plaid colors. I'm guilty of wearing a lot of grey in the wintertime, so I'm trying to make more of an effort to pull out those winter brights too. Paired with one of my favorite C Wonder cardigans this top really brightens my mood!

Top Tommy Hilfiger (similar here and here) // Cardigan C Wonder, old (grey & black versions hereJeans // Ring 1 and Ring 2 // Bow Necklace // Booties // Bag J Crew, old (Factory version here).

Have you check out Tommy Hilfiger's winter line?

Okay back to the sales, just wanted to alert all of you to some of the Black Friday/Weekend sales we will be seeing in case you got the Christmas Present Bug!
  • C Wonder: 40% off everything
  • Kate Spade: Up to 75% off + free shipping
  • J Crew: 30% off full priced items
  • J Crew Factory: 50% off entire store
  • Ann Taylor: 50% off entire store
  • Francesca's: 20% off everything
  • LL Bean: 10% off entire store, $10 gift card for every $50 purchased
  • Nordstrom: Up to 40% off on select items
  • Macy's: Various deals throughout the store, some up to 70% off
  • Express: 50% off the entire store
  • Design Darling: 20% off the entire store
  • LOFT: 50% off entire store
  • Talbots: 50% off one item until noon, 40% off entire purchase all day
  • Gap: 50% off entire store
  • Madewell: 25% off entire purchase
  • Vera Bradley: 50% off all sale styles
  • ALDO: 50% off original price on all reduced merchandise
  • Old Navy: 30% off everything
  • Shopbop: 15% off orders of $250, 20% off orders of $500, 25% off orders of $1000
  • Last Call Neiman Marcus: Up to 40-60% off everything
  • Barnes and Noble: 30% off one item
Are you planning on shopping this Black Friday?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving: Sharing My Favorite Recipes

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!
I have been looking forward to this day for quite a long time and it's one of my favorite holidays. As most of you all know, I'm quite the foodie. I really enjoy cooking and I'm constantly looking at new recipes to try. But today isn't about cooking for me, it's all about eating! I spend my Thanksgiving at my uncles house where I leave the cooking up to him. I literally fast all morning long in preparation for stuffing my face with turkey, stuffing and pies later today. Anyways, I hope your day is filled with my three favorites F's: Family, Food and Fun!

Since today is all about food, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite recipes that I have made over the years. 
  • My personal all time favorite meal is my mom's eggplant parmesan. It's a family favorite and we even eat it on Thanksgiving night as Dinner #2!
  • Looking for a great last minute side dish for Thanksgiving dinner? Try this easy and delicious acorn squash recipe that will melt in your mouth.
  • If you're trying to detox after stuffing your face with calories this weekend, this chicken pot pie recipe is healthy and yummy.
  • My two favorite genre's of food are Italian and Mexican, I could eat them every day and be fat/happy. These crock pot steak fajitas give the perfect amount of spice and flavor.
  • Is breakfast your favorite meal of the day? You might want to try this baked cinnamon french toast, which is perfect for celebrating on Christmas morning.
  • I can't end this post without a dessert recipe! These Reese's peanut butter cup bars will have you having second and third helpings of dessert.
  • Finally, with winter around the corner everyone needs something to warm the belly. My family recipe for minestra is the perfect home cooked meal.
What are your Thanksgiving traditions?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Winter Blues

So remember when September rolled around and all of you were anxious to say goodbye to summer dresses and bikini's and replace them with "sweater weather" and pumpkin spice lattes? Well I'm cursing every single one of you because this weather has me dreaming of 80 degree days sitting by the pool. Sweater weather was quickly replaced by coat weather and this week I was digging through my closet looking for something to keep me warm on my ride into work. I even had to scrape ice off my car a couple days this week, which is quite possibly one of my top 5 least favorite activities of all time. 
However, the winter blues are all bad... we have my two favorites holidays right around the corner and it gives me an excuse to pull out my favorite royal blue coat from J Crew Factory that I bought last year. Long gone are the days where we all wore dull winter colors to mirror our winter depression. Now, it's the brighter the coat the better! This year I've seen so many beautiful bright coats that I had my eye on (like this one and this one!), and they really stand out when pictured behind a winter wonderland of snow (gasp!). 

Coat J Crew Factory, old (newer versions here, here and I'm lusting over this one) 
Scarf // Leggings // Sunglasses // Kate Spade Beau Bag (newer version here)
Flats C Wonder, old // Glasses Ring // Lips Ring

Have you pulled out the winter coat yet?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

New Recipe: Hasselback Potatoes

Happy Tasty Tuesday!
So I typically fail miserably when it comes to making baked potatoes. They always come out try and lack flavor which is why I tend to gravitate towards rice over potatoes when I'm looking for a carb side dish. But when my mom emailed me a recipe for Hasselback potatoes and was determined to conquer my fear of baked potatoes. This recipe was a perfect Sunday afternoon project because they were a bit time consuming (probably took about 45min/1hour for me to put together) but they ended up coming out really tasty. I think I finally broke my baked potato curse!

  • Baked potatoes (one for each dinner guest)
  • 1 package of Gruyere cheese, found in the cheese section. I bought a 4oz package and had some left over.
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup low fat sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 4 slices of Prosciutto thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper
This is what the potatoes will look like when you stuff the cheese inside the slits.

Pre-oven photo. 
The sour cream mixture is poured on top of the potatoes and they are topped with the  breadcrumb/cheese/prosciutto mixture. Ready to go in the oven!

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Microwave baked potatoes for 12-14 minutes (be sure to stab them a few times with a fork before hand so they don't explode in the microwave), and set aside to cool for a bit.
  • Place potatoes on a cutting board and make horizontal slices about 1/2 the way through each potato, each slice should be about 1/4 an inch between each other. 
  • Place cut potatoes in a baking dish (I use disposable aluminum tins). Slice the Gruyere cheese into thin pieces and stuff these pieces into the slits into the potatoes. The cheese will probably try and slide out from the pressure but just keep pressing them down, they'll stick eventually. 
  • In a bowl, combine sour cream, milk and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Once the mixture has become a liquid, pour evenly over the potatoes. 
  • Shred prosciutto into tiny bits with a knife and place into a bowl. Add parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs and combine. Take the breadcrumb/cheese/prosciutto mixture and sprinkle it over the top of the potatoes.
  • Bake in the oven for 90 minutes or until potatoes are cooked throughout. 
  • Enjoy!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gift Guide #1: BFF

It's the most wonderful time of the year! The holiday bustle has already started even though Thanksgiving hasn't even happened yet. Personally, I like to get a jump start on my holiday shopping in November because December is always super hectic with holiday activities and parties. Starting this week I'll be doing gift guide highlighting different gift ideas for the different people in your life. Being the shopper than I am, I really enjoy buying gifts for others... mainly because it gives me an excuse to head to the mall! 
Today I'll be focusing on gifts to get your BFF, because she deserves to be spoiled after putting up with you for all these years! I always thought friends we're the easiest to shop for because you most likely have similar interests. Each year my friends do a secret Santa and even though we haven't picked names just yet, I'm already brainstorming ideas for each of my friends!

  1. Pamper your friends with a little R&R kit filled with slippers, a sleep mask, pajamas and nail polish. Perfect for a girls night in!
  2. For the girl who loves glamour, fancy bangles and a shiny jewelry tray to display them is the perfect holly jolly present!
  3. Your BFF is awesome, so giving her a book set filled with new releases like Lena Dunham and Amy Poellers and Sophia Amoruso's new books will leave her laughing and feeling inspired!
  4. Baby it's cold outside, so keep your BFF warm with hats, gloves, and scarves. Don't forget the fun travel mug, phone case and cute tote for when she's out running errands in the cold! 

What are you getting your BFF?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Thoughts + A Weekend Recap

Happy Sunday!
This weekend flew by, but I'm not as depressed as I normally would be knowing that we only have a 3-day work week ahead of us following by an entire day of eating (calories don't count on holidays, right?)! It was actually a really warm day today in upstate New York with weather in the 50's so we're going to do some grilling tonight, woohoo!

Weekend Recap:
  • I'm still sick, ugh. Mainly I think I just overexerted myself in Disney, prolonging my cold and making me feel gross. Plus, I may be experiencing a little post-Florida depression that isn't helping me recover as fast as I'd hope. Alas, I spent my Friday night in bed watching bad TV because I couldn't keep my eyes open long enough to do anything fun... boring!
  • Saturday I went to the outlets to do some shopping! I don't normally go out on Black Friday so I was hoping to scoop up some last minute deals before all the crazy people get out shopping. Luckily in addition to picking up some stuff for myself I was able to buy birthday gifts for two of my girlfriends, as well as getting a jumpstart on Christmas for my dad, aunts and uncles, success!
  • Today was filled with the typical blogger duties, finishing up some last minute posts for this week and taking photos of a few outfits I want to show you guys. Also, I sent over another article for the Undeniable Report that should be out later this week, yay!
  • While at the outlets yesterday I picked up some peppermint hot cocoa from Harry and David, so I'm looking forward to making that tonight and enjoying the Walking Dead.
What did you do this weekend?
Anyone else looking forward to the 3 day work week?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Outfit Recap

Taking pictures this week was no fun at all, it's below freezing at 6:30am when I take my photos and without a coat it was not pleasant. I'm not sure what I'll do when the real cold hits and we have snow on the ground #bloggerproblems! This weather did however give me an excuse to bring out the heavy sweaters and warm blazers! 

Sweater J Crew (similar) // Jeans // Flats // Necklace

Sweater Banana Republic (similar) // Top // Jeans // Loafers Sperry (tan version here)

Blazer Ann Taylor (similar) // Blouse J Crew Factory, old (similar here) // Jeans // 
Flats Ralph Lauren (similar)

Sweater American Eagle (old) // Leggings // Booties ALDO (similar)

What did you wear this week?

Friday, November 21, 2014


I am so happy today is Friday. After returning home from Florida last Monday things have been crazy hectic. I've been trying to play catch up with all my blogs as well as finding time to write posts here, respond to all my emails, and get articles finished for The Undeniable Report. On top of that work has been busy as well. I go away for 3 days and suddenly I have so many voicemails to catch up on, ugh. So long story short I can't wait to snuggle up on the couch tonight and do absolutely nothing. On a more positive note, I'll be heading to the outlets tomorrow morning to do a little early Christmas shopping. I don't like to go out on Black Friday so this will be my time to grab all those deals!

Here is some weekend reading for you guys:
  • I'm so excited to see Wild, the movie based on the novel by Cheryl Strayed that I just finished a few weeks ago. Reese Witherspoon will be taking on the role of Cheryl and judging by this trailer, the movie will be a great tribute to the book.
  • Stop by the Undeniable Report to read Michaela's article on How to Stay Healthy Over the Holidays, it will definitely come in handy over the next few weeks.
  • One year ago I made a 25 Before 25 List, be sure to check out how I did... lets just say if this was a test I would give myself a 75% (which is passing, right?!).
  • With Black Friday only a week away I'm already starting to make a list of possibly online purchases. I'm hoping to possibly score a deal on this striped silk top and this Buffalo plaid tote.
  • I found this recipe for cheddar jalapeƱo cornbread that looks fantastic, think I'm going to try it next time I make jambalaya.
What are you up to this weekend?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Happiest Place on Earth

Well I'm back from the happiest place on earth. Leaving Florida was very difficult, especially because I returned to below freezing temperatures in Albany (ugh!). I had so much fun with my friends and the trip was a complete success. We were so spoiled going in November because the weather was beautiful and there were no lines! No joke, we waited 30 minutes for the new Escape from Gringotts ride at Harry Potter World and 30 minutes for the Seven Dwarves Mine Train in Magic Kingdom and those were the only two occasions we waited longer than 20 minutes to board anything. I could never go back to Disney during the summer or during school breaks after this because the off season is the way to go! 
We visited four different parks while we were there: Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot. It was a very exhausting trip because we were on our feet for hours on end but there were so many instance where I forgot about my aching feet because I was having so much fun frolicking through the parks. Disney definitely brings out the child in me, and we rode so many rides and saw many awesome shows. Since I went there for my birthday weekend, Disney gave me a Happy Birthday pin to wear around, and throughout the day park employees would wish me a happy birthday. I even got a free dessert when we ate dinner in Japan. Disney really made me feel like a Disney princess with all the nice gestures. 
It was so amazing to make lifelong memories with my girlfriends. Now I'm already looking forward to our next girls trip (maybe somewhere a little more relaxing!). 

Warning! Picture heavy post below:

Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure
The new Diagon Alley addition to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was AMAZING! If you're a fan of the books or the movies you will love this place, there is so much to see and do. 

We got to ride the Hogwarts Express into Hogsmead and make our way to Hogwarts.

The castle is huge and the ride inside is so much fun. It makes you feel like you're riding on a broom through all the important places in the book.

The Gringotts dragon breathes fire.


Hollywood Studios:
I was obsessed with all the holiday decorations at Disney World. It was surreal to be in shorts and tank tops while listening to Christmas carols.

My favorite ride on the trip was Toy Story Mania, it's combines an interactive video game with a moving ride, so much fun!

Second favorite ride was the Tower of Terror, the perfect amount of thrill for me. 

We went to the Osborne Festival of Lights in Hollywood Studios which is two full streets of houses COVERED in Christmas lights. They even have fake snow falling from the sky, it's absolutely breathtaking.

Magic Kingdom:

Magic Kingdom Selfie with Walt and Mickey

The fireworks were spectacular


I got the most amazing gelato in Epcot's Italy... I could eat it everyday.

Our last dinner was at Epcot's Japan. We had a table that overlooked the water and enjoyed a delicious dinner.