Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New Recipe: Pork Chops in a Mushroom Merlot Sauce

Happy Tasty Tuesday!
I'm back on my cooking game after last weeks hiatus and I have some great recipes lined up for all of you over the course of the next few weeks. As previously mentioned, it's been a rainy couple days in the 518 so I've gotten back into the kitchen to make some comfort food. This pork chop recipe is super easy to make and it's a one pot dinner you can make on your stove-top (less dishes makes me happy!).
  • 4 pork chops from your butcher
  • 1 cup merlot (red)
  • 8 oz of fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp parley
  • On a paper plate, mix flour, garlic powder and pepper.
  • Take pork chops and dredge in seasoned flour mixture until all sides are coated.
  • In a large skillet, melt 3 tbsp butter.
  • Add pork chops and sear until brown on both sides (about 3-4 minutes), remove chops and set aside. Note: pork will not be completely cooked just yet, don't panic!
  • Add another 1 tbsp butter to the empty pan and sauté mushrooms and minced garlic on medium heat until browned.
  • Place pork chops back in pan with mushrooms and add 1 cup merlot.
  • Bring merlot to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Add heavy cream and stir until completely combined for about 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with parsley and enjoy! I served this chops with potatoes and apple sauce, delish!


Monday, June 29, 2015

Spots and Seersucker

It's been a few days since I last did a blog post, my apologies. The summertime is just so hectic and I'm still struggling to nail down a schedule for blogging when I could be out eating my body weight in ice cream, haha. So lets catch up on what's been going on since last Thursday's post. First of all, we got exciting news on Friday that the Supreme Court ruled gay marriage legal in all 50 states! Reading all the beautiful stories of couples that have been together for years and are finally getting the chance to marry the one they love has been so amazing. This is a huge step for America and I am proud to live in a country where love wins!
On a more depressing note, this weather this weekend was GROSS! It was cold, rainy and damp which meant I lost a whole weekend of sun. It's amazing how much my tan can fade if I don't have the weekends to maintain it. Luckily, I have begun the countdown and I have less than 2 weeks until I head down to Cape May, New Jersey for some quality family and beach time, yay! I haven't taken a day off from work since last March when I went to Saint Maarten, so I'm looking forward to a break from the office.
This past Saturday was my youngest cousin Davin's 11th birthday so we all gathered together to celebrate. Normally in the summer we always BBQ outside, but since it rained we were all hanging out inside instead and enjoyed some comfort food instead of burgers and hot dogs. I'm hoping Mother Nature will get all this rain out of it's system by next weekend so we can be outside all 4th of July weekend long!

Top J Crew Factory, old (love this version) // Francesca's Skirt
Necklace J Crew Factory, old (similar) // Chloe + Isabel Bracelet
Kate Spade clutch, old

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday Thoughts

Happy Sunday!
I hope your weekend weather was a little nicer than what we had in NY!
I'll be back to my normally scheduled blogging tomorrow, so until then enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Heads Up Cover Up

Are you sick of me talking about how much I love to be by the water yet? This photo basically sums up my weekend activities in the summer time, except normally my butt it firmly planted in a float and I have a magazine in my lap. But, when I'm on my way to the pool, it's not usual for my to throw on a cover-up before I make my travels. Cover-ups are my pool and beach savior because I don't care if they get wet and their lightweight and easy to throw on over your swim suit. 
Lately, I've seen so many cute cover up options in the stores that won't break the bank so I thought I would share with you some of my favorites. Some are even so fashionable that they're perfect for getting post beach drinks at your local beach bar. My advice, if you're looking for a cheap but fun cover-up I would head to Francesca's where they have plenty of $30 and under options. If you're looking for something a little more heavy-weight that you won't mind spending a little extra money on, I would head to ASOS because they have a huge selection of caftans and tunics. 

Check out my favorite cover-up options below:


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Blue & White Stripes, Shocking Right?

By now I'm sure we've all read about those trouble at J Crew, and while I agree that a lot of their products are too expensive for the trendy pieces they are putting out, their recent troubles have allowed me to scoop up a few items on the clearance rack at a fraction of their original price. J Crew really needs to get back to the basics and start going back to their original classic look for affordable prices (nobody needs a $400 bedazzled skirt) and I think this top I picked up last week is a great start.
Classic striped tunics never go out of style and I can already think of a million ways to dress this top up or down. Today I'm showing it off with a pair of basic navy shorts, but just last week I wore it to work with a linen skirt and I already have plans to pack it in my suitcase when I head to Cape May in a few weeks! The shirt is currently on the clearance rack, so this would be a great time to stock up.

Striped Bangle, Kate Spade (another cute option here)
Necklace, Ann Taylor old // Sandals Vince Camuto, old
Sunglasses Kate Spade Outlet (similar option here)
Bag Michael Kors (similar option here)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Theater Tuesday: Kinky Boots

So I don't have a new recipe for you this week, sigh. Lately, I've been trading my fancy Sunday dinners for hamburgers and hot dog's on the grill. Summer is so much more laid back, and my dinner suggestions definitely have been reflecting that. However, I can promise you new recipes are on their way. Over the next few days I'm going to be making a sausage and tortellini dish as well as pork chops in a mushroom wine sauce, so this little blog will be back on it's recipe game soon.
Instead of giving you a recipe today, I've decided to do a recap of Kinky Boots, which I saw at Proctors Theater on Friday night as one of their traveling Broadway shows. Kinky Boots won Best Musical at the Tonys in 2013, so automatically I knew I was in for a good show. Inspired by a true story, Kinky boots tells the story of Charlie Price, who inherits his father's shoe factory 'Price and Son' after his dad unexpectedly passes. Unfortunately, the business is about to go out of business so Charlie turns to his new friend Lola, a drag queen cabaret star who gives him the idea of making fabulous high heel boots that even men can wear. This crazy idea, seems impossible but it became Charlie's last hope to save the factory. 
Kinky Boots was such a feel good movie. I laughed out loud at so many hilarious moments and Lola definitely steals the show with her outrageous costumes and show stopping voice. This is probably one of the more wild shows I've seen (besides Book of Mormon which will forever be the craziest show I've ever seen) but I couldn't recommend it more. With all the recent news stories about Caitlyn Jenner and the fight for equality, this show really has the theme of acceptance of who you are and acceptance of others. The final song "Just Be" encourages everyone to be who they want to be and is sung with nothing but uplifting love. If you ever get a chance to see Kinky Boots on Broadway (or at one of the several traveling Broadway shows across the country), make sure you get tickets because you will be dancing in your aisle.

What is your favorite Broadway show?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer With Lilly

Yesterday marked the first official day of summer and the first day of summer always corresponded with National Wear Your Lilly Day. Well, seeing how yesterday I never got out of my pajamas (whoops) I decided to show off my Lilly Pulitzer a day late. I picked up this tote a few years ago during the big Lilly end of summer sale for a fraction of the original cost and I've been using it ever since. Big tote bags are always my go-to summer bag because I normally have a bathing suit and change of clothes with me at all times.
Now let me take a minute to discuss this amazing light weight dress (which is currently on clearance at Gap). My mom and I ended up buying matching dresses because we loved it so much. This is a different length for me, normally I'm either in a full maxi dress or a slightly above the knee dress, but this dress hits below the knee reminding me of a midi skirt. I see this as a perfect vacation dress because its super comfortable and can be accessorized so many different ways. You can never go wrong with a classic navy dress and this one is a quality piece that won't break the bank (bonus: it's lined!).

Tote Lilly Pulitzer (new prints available here)
Kate Spade Bangles, old // Ray-Bans
Tommy Hilfiger Sandals // Belt Akira, old

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Thoughts + Father's Day

Happy Sunday and Happy Father's Day to all the Dads (and other father figures) out there!
The weather here isn't really cooperating for a fun Father's Day, it's been raining on and off and it's quite muggy but I was able to cook my dad up some pancakes and bacon this morning on his special day. I appreciate him being quite patient with me because despite my success in the kitchen, pancakes definitely are not my forte. First of all, I am impressed with anyone who can get perfectly round pancakes because the ones I made were every shape except round, and second I am even more impressed with people who can successfully flip a pancake without it going everywhere. I am so uncoordinated and made such a mess making these this morning. Whoops.
Anyways, special thanks to my dad who has always supported me in everything I do and taught me not to worry or sweat the small stuff because everything works out in the end. Also thanks for passing down your love of ice cream to me, even though my hips aren't as grateful, ha!

What are you doing for the important men in your life today?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Favorites: Kinky Boots

The weekend is finally upon us, phew!
Tonight I'm going to our local Proctors Theater to see Kinky Boots! We're very lucky here in Albany because so many of the traveling Broadway shows make their way to our area every year. I always try an take advantage whenever they make their appearance because it's like seeing a Broadway show, only we're only 10 minutes away from home. These actors are Broadway trained and go across the country allowing us the opportunity to see these shows up close. 
Over the course of several years I've had the opportunity to see Wicked, Mama Mia, The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Book of Mormon at Proctors traveling Broadway program and I'm especially excited to add Kinky Boots to this list. I've been wanting to see this show for quite some time, it was the winner of six Tony awards including Best Musical, so I don't doubt this show is going to be one for the books. 
Next up on my wish list is Aladdin (which I want to see in NYC) and Cinderella (coming to Proctors next year!)

Have you seen Kinky Boots?
What's your favorite Broadway show?

Thursday, June 18, 2015


Guys, we've made it over halfway through the work week. Only two more days and we're in weekend mode. I'm not sure about the rest of you but this week has been dragging for me. Normally my work week flies by because I'm busy trying to do a million things at once. I really like the fast pace because there are plenty of days when I'm so busy I don't have time to look at the clock and when I do I'm shocked that most of the day is already over with. However, I've had no such luck this week. I haven't had a huge work load and I've been thinking a lot about how I'll be in Cape May in 3 short weeks so my motivation has been at an all time low.
On the plus side, last night I went and saw Jurassic World with friends. You all need to go see it ASAP. The first Jurassic Park is one of my favorite movies of all time, it's a classic and one of those movies that I watch whenever it's on TV. The fourth installment did not disappoint, first of all Chris Pratt is super dreamy but the movie was an action pack ride that had my heart racing up until the very end. There are so many twists and turns and the special effects are really stunning. It's definitely the best movie I've seen in a long time.
Now onto the outfit, which I purchased and wore for the first time when I was in St. Maarten in March. It's obviously not something you would wear in the workplace but it's a fun option when you're going out on the town with friends. I just loved the bright teals and blues in the top and it matched perfectly with the white mini with a leather trim (which is currently only $14 online!). 

skirt // Top, Lord & Taylor (similar here)
Sandals, Chinese Laundry, old // Bag Michael Kors
Bangles, Target // Sunnies

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

What to Pack in a Beach Bag

I have not been shy about my feelings about spending time near the pool and beach during the warmer months. It's terrible, but I put off all my important errands and chores until fall because it's just too hard to be inside on a beautiful weekend day (or weekday for that matter...). Personally, I keep a packed "pool bag" handy at all time for a last minute trip to plop myself down in a float and my pool tote becomes my second bag in the summer, I always have it close by.
Since I officially have less than a month before I ship off to Cape May for a week with my family, I'm already thinking about what I'm going to carry with me to the ocean. So today I'm giving you some ideas on what I like to have handy when I'm relaxing near the water.
  1. Comfy towel -- Oversized towels are a must, you want something that will be soft on your skin and keep you dry after a dip.
  2. Cover-up -- During my trips to the ocean I trade my shorts and tank tops for easy light weight cover-ups that I don't mind if they get wet. Lately I've been especially loving the kimono trend for when you're hanging out by the pool.
  3. A good book or trashy magazine-- I get so much reading done when on vacation. I like to switch between reading the latest celebrity gossip and all the book recommendations I hear from you guys!
  4. Sun Protection (beauty edition) -- Ocean sun is no joke, being by the water really increases the suns power so it's important to protect yourself with a good sunscreen and end the day with after sun lotion. I swear by Banana Boats: Aloe After Sun Lotion, it has been a lifesaver of mine and don't leave home without it.
  5. Sun Protection (fashion edition) -- A funky hat and cute pair of sunglasses are a must when you're trying to protect your face from those rays. Go for a cheap pair that you won't mind losing if you decide to brave the ocean waves.
  6. Music - A good playlist only makes sitting by the water that much better and luckily there are so many lightweight travel radio options that are perfect for dropping in the sand.

What are your beach bag must haves?


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

New Recipe: Grilled Garlic Potatoes

Happy Tasty Tuesday!
Keeping up with my summer side-dish series, today I'm giving you a great grilled potato recipe. I originally put this concoction together last week when I was making my favorite Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs and needed something to serve with them. The grill gave the potatoes a crispy outer layer like a french fry and had so much flavor.

  • 2 cans of whole potatoes (similar to these- you can get them in the canned food aisle)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • handful of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Slice potatoes into quarters.
  • In a tin or grill friendly pan, coat the bottom with olive oil and add potatoes.
  • Season with garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper.
  • Top with a handful of shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Grill on medium high heat for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes start to crisp up.
  • Enjoy!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Maxi Monday

Remember last Friday when I was raving about Tommy Hilfigers summer line at Macy's? Well I went there this past weekend and scooped up this navy maxi on the clearance rack. I had my eye on it for awhile now but I wasn't about to drop $100 for a maxi dress, sometimes you have to go with your head and not with your heart. Luckily, I waited patiently for it to make its way to the clearance rack. I was able to grab the dress at 60% off with a coupon, and it was way worth the wait. The dress is so comfortable and I love the lace panel detail that goes down the front of it. 
Today is a chillier day in the 518 with temperatures only reaching the high 60's so this was the perfect dress to wear to work because it will keep my legs warm while they crank up the AC in the office (why do they always do this on cold days?!). I swear my office can't make up their mind when it comes to appropriate office temperatures. One day I'm completely comfortable in a sleeveless dress and other days I'm completely wrapped up in a blanket like a Russian grandmother!

Sunglasses Kate Spade (similar style here)
Bag Kate Spade, old (similar option here)
Necklace J Crew Factory (similar option here)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Thoughts + A Weekend Recap

Sunday already?
These summer days are flying by.

This weekend was filled with rest and relaxation:
  • Dinner and drinks with my friend Marissa on Friday.
  • Post dinner we had a terrible storm and I lost power, ugh! Poor Misa was quite scared and we snuggled up in the dark.
  • Pool side Saturday and Sunday made me a very happy lady!
  • Tonight is the GoT final and I'll be hosting. Very excited to see how it ends, the TV show has officially caught up to the books so I'm just as clueless as the rest of the fans.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday Favorites: Tommy Hilfiger Summer Collection

These past few days have been hot ones in the 518 so I've been choosing a lot of lightweight dresses and shorts to keep me cool during this 80 degree weather. Finding pieces that will keep me cool but are still work appropriate can be tough but luckily the Tommy Hilfiger summer collection has come to my rescue. They have so many amazing pieces that transition well from day to night. Plus, when you shop the collection at Macy's they're always having great sales (and the option to use a coupon on top of it!). 
Of course they have plenty of striped options that I immediately gravitated towards, whoops. But, one of my favorite parts of their new collection is the introduction of the color orange. I don't own a lot of orange but it's one of those colors that look great with a tan and these pieces definitely inspired me to add more orange to my wardrobe. So if you get a moment, be sure to stop into your local Macy's to see the new Tommy collection, you will find plenty of great pieces for summer.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Summer Must-Haves at eShakti

Relaxed Resort

It's been a little over a year since I was first introduced to eShakti, an online store dedicated to making the most beautiful dresses for every shape and size. They offer customizable dresses for women size 0 through 36 and they pride themselves on quality items that won't break the bank. If you remember, I raved about my eShakti dress I received last year in a post discussing my obsession with the ability to pick details in every part of the process, including length and the ability to add pockets, to create the perfect dress. These dresses are really well made, and I was especially impressed with the fact that my dress came lined, something you don't see in affordable dresses very often. Since receiving my eShakti dress I've worn it on multiple occasions and always get great compliments on it, this dress literally fits me perfectly!

Custom Pants

Well, eShakti is at it again, this time adding new lines including a Contemporary and Bohemian section, along with a variety of new custom jumpsuits, pants and shorts. I might finally get my wish of owning a black jumpsuit that actually fits my short frame! As much as I originally fell in love with eShakti's line of dresses, I am even more obsessed with their other summer options including a resort wear! By now you all know my love of being my the water so finding great maxi dresses and tunics at eShakti is a dream come true.

Pattern Play

eShakti has something for everyone this summer no matter your style. I always tend to gravitate towards fun patterns in the summer so this Gingham Cotton Dress and Striped Blouse immediately caught my eye. Bonus: with wedding season upon us, they have a variety of Bridesmaid and special event dresses available cheaper than you'll ever find in any wedding shop! I promise you that you won't be disappointed in what eShakti has to offer.

Are you ready for the best part of all? eShakti is giving all Monster Misa readers a $35 coupon that is valid until June 21, 2015 with the code: MONSTERS35! 

Happy Shopping!

Special thanks to eShakti for sponsoring this post. I was compensated for this post, however all opinions expressed in this post were my own.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

White Wednesday

Happy Hump Day!
Now that I finally have a tan I've been using every excuse to put on an all white outfit. It's such a clean summery look, although, I'm a pretty messy person and I'll probably spill something on myself by the end of the day, whoops. So it was probably a good thing I took this photo early before I end up getting dirt or food on myself. Current this dress is on sale at The Gap, but I would suggest you check your local store first because even though its currently $42 online, I ended up buying mine for $20 on the clearance rack. It's somewhat frustrating how there are different prices in stores than there are online, which is why I always price check before I make a purchase. 
Also if I recommend one piece of jewelry to you for this summer, it will be this layered bold beaded strand from Baublebar. I first bought it in cerulean and became so obsessed with it that I ordered it in mint as well. It's tough though because it's quite a popular necklace, so it sells out quick so you have to grab it when you find it. Next I'm thinking about buying it in the periwinkle. Baublebar is great because for every $10 you spend, you earn $1 so you basically always get a discount no matter when you shop, and by now you guys know I love a deal!

Bag Michael Kors (similar here and here) // Belt Akira, old
Sandals Steve Madden, old // Bracelets Kate Spade, old

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

New Recipe: Macaroni Salad

Happy Tasty Tuesday!
Guys, my recipe experimentation has been at an all time low lately. It's been so nice out so I've been doing a lot of grilling hot dogs and hamburgers which means I don't have any fun meals to share with you all. So instead I'm going to try and re-focus my summer recipes to side dishes. This time of year everyone is going to summer BBQ's and parties and its always good to show up with a dish, this macaroni salad will make your guests very happy!
  • 1 box of elbow macaroni (16oz)
  • 1 small onion, diced as small as possible
  • 3-4 large stalks of celery, diced as small as possible
  • 2 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cans solid white albacore tuna, drained
  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • In a pot boil water and cook macaroni for 12 minutes.
  • Drain water and rinse macaroni under cold water until it is no longer warm (this is important because you don't want to mix mayo with warm pasta...it gets yucky)
  • While pasta is cooling, chop onion and celery and set aside.
  • Once pasta is cold, add onion, celery, tuna, celery salt and black pepper, mix completely.
  • Add mayo and stir to combine.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.
  • Enjoy!