Saturday, February 28, 2015

Weekend Reads

Happy Saturday!
I have an early morning ahead of me, making my way to a local high school to take a Tax Department State Test, exciting right? On the plus side, a good score on this test could lead to a better job within the state. So I'm hoping this test won't take me too long and I'll finish up in time to have the afternoon to run my errands.

Weekend Links:
  • This week had a big announcement coming from the producers of American Horror Story. Not only would Lady Gaga be joining the cast for the fourth season but this upcoming season will be titled American Horror Story: Hotel, leading many to begin the speculation as to what exactly this season will entail. Glamour magazine listed 3 theories about the theme of the next season and it already has me excited for October 2015.
  • Speaking of good television, I'm sure I'm not the only one who started binge watching the new season of House of Cards that was released on Netflix yesterday. For those of you who haven't started the new season yet, but need a refresher of what happened during season 2, CNN has provided us with a Season 2 refresher in under 2 minutes.
  • I still have the rest of the Oscars sitting in my DVR but I made sure I didn't miss any moment on the red carpet. Personally, my favorites included Lupita Nyong'o and Margo Robbie but you can check out all the best and worst dressed celebrities here.
  • I wrote an article for the travel section of the Undeniable Report on my trip to Costa Rica last year. It made me nostalgic of last years memories and eager to head out to my next adventure in two short weeks!
  • Speaking of vacation, with my trip right around the corner I'm already thinking about planning my next summer trip. I loved this Everygirl article about 'How to Save When Planning Your Next Trip'. It made me more conscious about looking for deals, especially when it comes to airlines. 
  • I've been obsessed with Survivor for as long as I remember and this year in commemoration of the 30th(!!!) season, host Jeff Probst names his top 10 Survivor winners of all time. Also not all my favorites are on this list, I definitely agree with a lot of his decisions.
  • Even the ocean is sick of this cold weather. Check out these amazing photographs of the icy waters in Nantucket Massachusetts. The semi frozen waves look like slushies as they break on the shore. 
  • I refuse to participate in the discussion about whether that dress was gold/white or blue/black but I did enjoy Buzzfeed's correspondence regarding the two llamas that escaped and led authorities on a chase through the Arizona streets. 

What are you up to this weekend?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Four

We have made it through another week of winter and with each passing day we are one step closer to spring. Tonight will be a laid back night for me because tomorrow morning I have to take another state test. As much as I despise these tests taking over my weekends, the more I take the more lists I end up on which can lead to job promotions in the future, so fingers crossed I do well and it goes by quickly. 

Here is what I'm loving this week:

I've been hearing great things about this book thats currently topping the New York Times Best Seller list, so I was excited to finally start reading it this week. It tells the story of Rachel, a woman currently going through a tough time in life and spends her days riding the railways to and from her home. She becomes obsessed with a golden couple who she begins observing everyday on the train. Soon after the female goes missing, Rachel becomes an integral character in the police investigation. If you were a fan of Gone Girl, you will definitely want to check this thriller out. 

I know I'm probably in the minority here but I am still as obsessed with Survivor today as I was when it debuted in 2000. The new season started this week which casts a variety of super fans to compete in three tribes: white collar, blue collar and no collar. I still have my fingers crossed that one day I will get to compete for the million dollar prize, but in the meantime I'll enjoy watching others suffer from the comforts of my living room, haha!

I've been obsessing over Francesca's new spring arrivals and there are so many different pieces I want to order for vacation. My new favorites include this white layered tank and navy scalloped shorts, which are so light and easy, perfect for taking a stroll on the beach in. Currently if you shop online you can get 20% your entire order plus free shipping on all orders over $50 with the code COMEBACK. 

I'm not immune to the worldwide Frozen obsession and I was so excited to hear they would be releasing a new Frozen short film that will air before the new Cinderella movie in theaters this March. In this new trailer Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff work hard to plan Ana's surprise birthday party... can they just go ahead and green light a sequel already?!

What are you loving this week?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Grey Lady

We're almost through the week guys, stay strong!
Tonight I'm heading over to my Grandmas house for a visit. Unfortunately with all the snow and ice we've had these past few months it hasn't been safe for my Grandma to go out and about because she runs the risk of falling. So I decided to bring dinner to her instead, grabbing some sandwiches to go and spending the night hanging at her house. 
Taking photos outside last Sunday was such a joy because it was 38 degrees out! That may sound cold but it felt like summer outside. I decided to break out one of my old staple pieces, this Peter Pan collared sweater from J Crew. It's a very light sweater so it's not something I can wear when its very cold out but it was perfect for running errands last Sunday. I'm eager to bring out the rest of my spring wardrobe and hope this warm day was a sign of things to come. 

Sweater J Crew, old // Jeans
Bag Michael Kors, old // Ooh la la bangle

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Greener Pastures

So my thoughts are, maybe if I start dressing in green Mother Nature will take the hint and start sprouting green leaves and grass around me instead of dumping more snow on the ground. I mean, look at these photos! I have a shoveled path for taking photos but I'm surrounded by over a foot of snow at all angles. Winter wonderlands are great and all but I'm ready for some new scenery. 
Last night I grabbed drinks with friends at the Confectionery in Troy. Typically I don't go out for drinks on a week night but I'm trying to keep busy so my weeks go by a bit faster. It's basically an intimate wine bar perfect for a chilly night. They have a variety of different wines by the glass or bottle as well as a small menu of cheeses and small appetizers. The Confectionary is dimly lit with a roaring fire always lit, and it was a fun night out on a Tuesday night. 

Button Down Polo, old (similar) // Cardigan Polo, old (similar) // Jeans

Sunglasses, Wantables old (similar) // Clutch Kate Spade, old
Flats Michael Kors (other colors available here) // Necklace C Wonder, old

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New Recipe: Pizza Pasta

Happy Tasty Tuesday!
I recently got two new skillets so I've been experimenting with a lot of dishes that start on the stove top and end in the oven, so stay tuned because there will be a lot of upcoming 'one pot' recipes in Monster Misa's future. This specific recipe took about 15 minutes to prepare which was perfect for a post-work dinner idea. It also made plenty of leftovers so you definitely get plenty of bang for your buck.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 package of hot Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup mini pepperonis (you can get these at Walmart or at your local grocery store)
  • 1 16oz can of marinara sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1.2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 box (8-10 oz) rotini pasta
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella 
  • ground pepper to taste
  • Preheat oven to low broil. Heat olive oil in an oven proof skillet over medium high heat on burner. 
  • Remove sausage from casing and break into pieces with your hands, add it to olive oil skillet and brown for about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup mini pepperonis for about 2 minutes.
  • Add marinara, oregano, basil, garlic powder, 1 1/2 cup water, and box of pasta to sausage mixture. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low until pasta is cooked through (about 12 minutes). Season with a bit of pepper.
  • Remove from heat and top with mozzarella cheese and remaining pepperonis. Put in oven and bake for about 3-4 minutes or until cheese melts to a golden brown color.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Macaroni Madness

As mentioned previously, this past Saturday I spent my afternoon at the Mac N' Cheese Bowl with friends. The event was set in the gym of my alma mater, Siena College. Over 30 different businesses set up booths where you could sample their version of the cheesy goodness. All the proceeds went to the Regional Food Bank of Albany so I figured the 10lbs I gained from eating all these carbs was worth it. The samples come in little cups and I was unaware of how full I would get trying these tiny samples. I wanted to sample as many creations as possible because afterwards you can vote for your favorites. 
I was so impressed with the creativity of some of these macaroni dishes. These businesses went above and beyond to create a unique dish with amazing flavor. From cherry pepper chicken macaroni and cheese, to chipotle macaroni and cheese poppers, this Mac n' Cheese bowl definitely delivered! It definitely got me thinking about experimenting with different recipes in an attempt to recreate some of these recipes. Apparently I have a pretty good knack for picking out good macaroni and cheese because my three favorites ended up being the 'Peoples Top 3". If you're interested you can check out the pictures of the top three winners here.
Despite the freezing cold I was glad I left my winter coat at home in favor of my new favorite vest because it was HOT in that gym. With so many people sampling along with 30 different businesses cooking up their food, it ended up feeling as if we we're in a restaurant kitchen. Not to mention I was so stuffed from the pasta that all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball on the floor of the gym and take a nap!

The Times Union took our picture and put it on their website!

Taco macaroni and cheese--- AMAZING!

Vest // Jeans // Shirt
Boots // Bag J Crew, old (similar factory style here)
Glasses Ring // Bangle Kate Spade, old (similar)
Watch // Necklace, gift (similar)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Thoughts + A Weekend Recap

Happy Sunday!
This was a busy weekend for me with a lot going on but it was spent with friends so it was a success!

This weekend...
  • Friday afternoon I got lunch with my mom at my new favorite restaurant Saati, followed by a trip to the mall where I did a little shopping for St. Maarten. I was on the hunt for a green dress for a green dress to wear on St. Patricks Day, and as usual Francesca's delivered.
  • Friday night I went and saw 50 Shades of Grey with Meg and Nicole. We we're dying to see what all the hype was about and honestly, we we're not that impressed. The guests in the movie theater were laughing through most of the movie, some of those scenes are just beyond weird. I do think they did the book justice, I'm just not 100% convinced the book translated well on film. Either way, I can say I saw it...
  • Saturday afternoon I went to the Mac N' Cheese Bowl and ate my body weight in carbs--- more on that in tomorrows post.
  • Post Bowl I went back to the mall with my friend Carla who was in town visiting for the weekend. She is going to St. Maartin with me and she wanted to browse the Albany store options for clothes. I ended up buying a pair of navy sandals at DSW that were super comfortable and perfect for wandering around town in. 
  • Today is going to be 37 degrees(!!!) which is practically a heat wave for the 518, so I'm hoping to get outside to take some blog pictures. I am not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow.
What did you do this weekend?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Weekend Reads

Happy Saturday!
Today I am heading over to the Macaroni & Cheese Bowl with a group of friends, so I'll be sporting my best elastic waist pants for sampling a variety of cheesy goodness! If you're relaxing on the couch this weekend, be sure to check out some of my favorite weekend links:
  • In honor of my trip to the Mac & Cheese Bowl, be sure to check out my crock pot macaroni and cheese recipes I've posted on Monster Misa. 
  • Excited for the Oscars this weekend? Be sure to make your predictions early and fill out this 2015 Oscar Ballot so you can follow along with the show. Personally, I'm rooting for American Sniper to take home the golden statue.
  • I tried on this faux leather trim white mini at the mall yesterday and fell in love. However, it wasn't on sale in store so I wasn't about to make the plunge. Luckily for me it is on sale online so I will be picking this up just in time for my vacation.
  • Last night during 50 Shades I saw the trailer for the new Amy Schumer movie Trainwreck. I don't think I laughed that hard at a movie trailer in long time and now I can't wait to plan a girls night to see the movie when it comes out in a few months. 
  • Are you following 'Hot Dudes Reading' on Instagram? I discovered it last week and thought it was a hilarious concept. Basically people are secretly taking pictures of handsome men in public places like the subway reading books and posting them on this site. It's become a guilty pleasure of mine.
  • Us New Yorkers have experienced a hell of a winter these past few months and the people responsible for running the Ithaca website recently suggested that visitors looking to check out their city should visit Key West instead and come back to Ithaca when it's warmer. The website read: "Due to this ridiculously stupid winter, Ithaca invited you to visit The Keys this week. Please come back when things thaw out. Really, it's for the birds here now. PS: Send us a postcard!" 
  • Since I'll be celebrating St. Patricks Day in St. Maarten this year I decided to pick up this green dress from Francesca's yesterday so I can show my Irish pride in a warmer climate.
  • Love the recipes posted on the Undeniable Report? Be sure to like us on Facebook for up to date deliciousness, including this amazing eggplant parmesan recipe written by our writer Julia!

What are you up to this weekend?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Black & Blue

Phew. T.G.I.F.
We made it through another week. Luckily today was my Friday off because I don't think I would have made it another day in the office. 
I have a fun weekend ahead that actually started last night when I went for Mexican and margaritas with a group of girlfriends. Despite the freezing temperatures, nothing warms me up more than some tequila, haha. Tonight I'm finally going to see 50 Shades of Grey so I can see what all the hype is about. I don't expect it to be the next great American film, but at least now I can contribute to all the media frenzy that has been going on. Can it really be that wild of a film?! If you've seen it, please share your thoughts in the comments so I can prepare myself!
Saturday afternoon I'm going to our local Mac & Cheese Bowl with friends. Basically a bunch of local restaurants get together every year to participate in this contest judging the best macaroni and cheese. You didn't have to tell me twice, I basically ran to buy my ticket and have been looking forward to this for months. It's being held at my alma mater Siena College and I'll be sampling 30 different versions of cheesy goodness, you may need to roll me out of there when I'm done. After the bowl we plan on getting drinks... that is, if we can fit anything else in our stomachs after consuming that much mac and cheese. 
Back to the outfit at hand. I bought this turtleneck sweater in Banana Republic back when I was in high school, so it's over 7 years old but is still one of my wardrobe staples. Sometimes I pat myself on the back for making smart shopping choices so many years ago, even young Alex picked a few good ones! Since it's been so cold this week, I welcomes a warm turtleneck to keep me warm when walking to my office from the parking lot. It's going to be another brutal one today in the Northeast so I hope you're all staying bundled!

Sweater Banana Republic, old (similar) // Jeans
Sunglasses // Earmuffs, Michael Kors (similar styles here)
Boots // Bag

What are you up to this weekend?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

My Spring Break Essentials

Most likely during the next few weeks you're going to see a lot of posts related to traveling someplace warm for two reasons: 1. It has been miserable in upstate NY this week, with temperatures below freezing every day this week and 2. In 22 days I will be in St. Maarten, far away from the cold and soaking up as much sun as possible, but whose counting? I am so ready to pack away the sweaters in favor of warmer weather attire and despite the fact that New York Fashion Week has been debuting their fall pieces for 2015, I spend most of my free time checking out all the new spring and summer arrivals. 
Todays post is separated into two sections: outfits you can wear while exploring during the day and night hours and pieces strictly for gazing out at the ocean, enjoying a margarita. I'm currently stocking up on some of these pieces for my trip, including that striped skirt and any bit of warm weather inspiration is welcomed, so be sure to share your essentials in the comments below. 

What are your spring break essentials?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hats Off To You

Happy Hump Day!
This has been such a strange week in the office, not only do we have a short week but multiple people in our office are out so it's been very quiet. At first I liked the quiet because it kept me focused and less tempted to participate in office conversations but now I'm realizing that the silence is making the week drag by. I think a little conversation, in moderation definitely adds life to an office and prevents me from drowning in spreadsheets. 
This outfit features two of my most commonly worn pieces this winter: my cream cable knit sweater and my blanket scarf. Both have been super versatile and I've been able to mix and match these pieces (vests with the cable knit and different patterned tops with the scarf). It also doesn't hurt that both of these pieces are super warm. In addition, I've been alternating between this hat and my earmuffs because otherwise I may turn into an icicle. The snow does make for a pretty background though...

Sweater J Crew, old (similar) // Jeans
Sunnies Wantables (similar) // Scarf
Booties old, (similar) // Bag Michael Kors (available on eBay)
Gloves // Hat

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

New Recipe: Crock Pot Sausage & Peppers

Happy Tasty Tuesday!
I've been experimenting with a lot of hearty warm meals lately. It's been so cold out so I like having a warm meal to come home to after working all day. This sausage and pepper recipe was easy to throw together and had so much flavor. I ended up serving them on torpedo rolls but you could easily eat it over pasta as well.

  • 1 pkg of hot or sweet sausage (I prefer hot)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 16oz jar of tomato sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp dry Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 package of torpedo rolls (optional)
  • Remove sausage from casing and break into pieces. Slice up peppers and onions.
  • Place all ingredients in crock pot and stir till completely combined.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
  • Serve on torpedo rolls and enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Brrrrrr(ing) on Spring

Today is a good Monday. 
It's not often that I relate Mondays with happy thoughts but since it's Presidents Day and the state is closed I get to stay in my pajamas and hide under the covers instead of braving the freezing temperatures outside. Currently the Northeast is facing a major cold spell, and I'm not talking 30 degrees. The high today is going to be 9 degrees but with the windchill it will most likely be in the negatives. Let that sink in. I got this coat for Christmas back when I was in high school (sometimes it pays off to be a hoarder) and I've had it on all weekend long. It's very warm and definitely helped add a pop of color to my weekend wear. Also during these freezing temperatures I've been rotating wearing a hat or earmuffs because it's just too cold to go without. 
Tonight I'm making a one pot taco dish, recipe to come assuming it comes out good. Then I'm gonna snuggle up and watch the finale of the Celebrity Apprentice. I'm not sure if any of you are watching it but it has been the most ridiculous season. It's come down to Geraldo Rivera (who is out of his mind) and Leeza Gibbons. Their final task involves making a new commercial advertising Universal Orlando theme parks and it has me itching to book a flight to Florida where I can ride the rides and soak up some sun. 
Coat Abercrombie, old (similar) // Sweatshirt J Crew Factory, old
Bag Coach, old (similar) // Earmuffs Michael Kors (similar styles here)
Boots Nine West (similar) // Leggings
Gloves // Sunglasses, Coach (similar style here)

How do you stay warm in below freezing temps?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Thoughts + A Weekend Recap

This weekend...
  • I got dinner and drinks with Megan & Stephen to celebrate the end of the work week. I'm convinced there is no better cure for the work blues than a margarita and good Mexican food. 
  • Saturday I had a meeting with my bank to get my car loan switched over to a lower rate #adultproblems. I'm feeling quite proud of myself getting all my finances in order, car loans are a whole new experience for me but I'm finally feeling comfortable with all my decisions.
  • Post bank I had my bedroom painted which takes only about an hour... the real challenge lies with taking everything out of the bedroom and going through it all. It is the most exhausting process but I guess it means I started my spring cleaning early because I ended up filling 4 garbage bags worth of stuff, mainly papers and notebooks from school that I was holding on to for more years than necessary. The best part, I can actually see under my bed!!  Everything is so clean and organized now, it feels pretty good. 
  • Today I took blog pictures outside (brrr...), ran some errands, finished cleaning up my bedroom and watched Divergent on HBO. 
  • I'll be making a new chicken dish for dinner tonight and I plan on curling up on the coach and watching the SNL anniversary special and the Walking Dead.
What did you do this weekend?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Weekend Links + Presidents Day Sales

Happy Valentines Day friends!
I hope your day is filled with happiness and love, whether it be with a significant other or with friends and family. I'll be spending my day eating as many peanut butter cups as possible and getting my car loan sorted out, romantic right? Here are some of my favorite links this week, some with a Valentines Day twist, plus a list of all the amazing sales this weekend!
  • Still need a last minute Valentines Day gift? Check out the Undeniable Report where I wrote a recipe for conversation heart cheesecakes, they can be personalized for your special someone.
  • A few weeks ago I discussed by obsession with the Serial Podcast, and there has been breaking news this past week. Adnan Syed, the teenager convicted of killing Hai Min Lee has been granted an appeal and might even be granted a new trial... stay tuned (cue Serial theme song)!
  • If you're a fan of the Walking Dead you'll probably enjoy this weekly podcast on Post Show Recaps breaking down each weeks episode, you can listen to it on your podcast app when you're at work, driving in your car, or at the gym. 
Presidents Day Sales Update:
  • Kate Spade Saturday- 25% off, plus free shipping. I think I'm finally going to order this ring.
  • Kate Spade Outlet - 50% off entire purchase, plus as additional 20% off clearance items
  • ASOS- 20% off your regular priced purchase, and an additional 10% off sale items
  • Ann Taylor- 30% full priced items and an additional 50% off sale styles
  • Loft - 50% off everything
  • Talbots- 40% off one regular priced item
  • Talbots Outlet - 50% off all regular priced items, 70% off sales items
  • J Crew Factory- 40-50% off everything, with an additional 10% off your online purchase when you use the code LOTSTOLOVE
  • Francesca's - 20% items tagged with a heart
  • BaubleBar- 30% off your entire purchase
  • Gap- Buy 1 item get 30% off, buy 3+ items get 40% off, buy 5+ items get 50% off (buy more save more!)
  • Kohls - Take up to 30% off your entire purchase (and earn Kohls Cash!)
  • Lord & Taylor - 20% off almost everything
  • Express - 40% off your entire purchase
  • Madewell- 30% off all sale styles
  • Banana Republic- 40% off your entire purchase

What are your Valentines Day plans?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Emerald City

It's a warm 7 degrees today in the 518 but on the plus side another week is completed  and we are making some progress on the month of February! 
It's been another chilly week in the 518 so I decided to pull out this warm wrap sweater from Ralph Lauren that I picked up in the Manchester Outlets two years ago during my girls trip to Stratton. I love the emerald green jewel tone that they incorporated in the sweater, a fun pop of color. I finally decided to bring out the leopard flats for this outfit too, but I only wore them for this picture and inside because it's too cold otherwise!

Sweater Ralph Lauren, old (similar style here) // Jeans 
Flats Ralph Lauren, old (similar) // Ring Michela, old (similar)
Necklace Macys, old (similar) // Bag Kate Spade (similar styles here)

What are you up to this weekend?