Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

This weekend was pretty quiet, so I won’t bore you with a recap. We did have a freakish storm come through on Saturday that gave us a bit of snow and lots of freezing rain. Driving to the skating rink on Saturday was real fun…let me tell ya.

I didn’t want the day to pass without wishing all of you a

Happy Halloween!

I’ll be celebrating later with spooky cupcakes and wine.

Isn't this wine glass the cutest?

I love the little ghost marshmallows

Friday, October 28, 2011

Shutterfly Holiday Card Giveaway Winners!

Thanks to everyone that entered my Shutterfly holiday card giveaway! There were a total of 47 entries. I used and the 3 winners are...

#20 - Kathie @ Like A Box of Chocolates

#37 - Leeann @ Join the Gossip

#4 - Princess Freckles @ Her Highness of Cute

Congrats, ladies! I'll be emailing you shortly.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

ITS OK Thursday!

I’m linking up for the first time with Neely from A Complete Waste of Makeup and Amber from Brunch with Amber for “ITS OK Thursday”. These posts are always so fun to read and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s OK with you this week!

For me, ITS OK

That I thoroughly enjoyed Pizza Hut for dinner last night (I’ve seen one too many “any pizza for $10” commercials). I also watched the rerun of Modern Family. That’s one Halloween episode that I think would be hard to surpass.

That lately I have a weird obsession with changing my nail polish every 3-4 days.

That I’ve been under the weather this week and drinking hot tea like it’s my job. I swear tea cures all. My mom was right.

That I pinned a ton of cute ideas for Halloween decorating and did…none. Whoops! There’s always next year.

That we’re taking photos for our Christmas cards this weekend and I still have no clue what to wear.

To have randomly remembered the song “Dead Man’s Party” from Oingo Boingo and will be rocking out to it in celebration of Halloween (It’s a great 80’s song and I realize I’m showing my age on this one). It’s also in the movie Back to School with Rodney Dangerfield. Love it!

Well, that’s about it for this week.

*Fun Oingo Boingo fact: Frontman Danny Elfman is Jenna Elfman’s brother and went from his 80’s pop band to composer for films like Batman. He also did the theme for Desperate Housewives

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A little sparkle

If my Monday shopping trip wasn’t a reminder that the holidays are right around the corner then I don’t know what is. It seems these days we can’t even get through Halloween without seeing an ornament here or a wreath there.

With that in mind, I figured it was time to add a little sparkle to my wardrobe for the season of merriment and cheer!

Burlington Coat Factory is becoming a new favorite for discount shopping. Getting a good deal is important to me these days and I was able to get both of these items for under $20!

Glitter heels

$14.99 – these are very comfortable and I love that the heel isn’t too high. I think they’d be great with an LBD or even leggings and a long cardigan or sweater.

Sparkle Ring

$4.99 – it stretches so I can wear it on any finger and makes a nice little statement piece on the cheap.

Have you scored any great deals lately?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Weekend recap

Friday, we took my mom out to dinner to celebrate her birthday. We gave her a choice and she wanted Don Pablo’s. I’m definitely her daughter because I love that place. We always offer up something fancy, but she goes for nice and easy.

OOTN for dinner with the fam!

My sockbun obsession

Saturday, we had skating and then Geof and I went out to see Paranormal Activity 3. It was really scary and got me the worst of all of them. I’d be lying if I said my mind wasn’t reeling with scary thoughts before I went to sleep that night.

Sunday, we ran some errands and then our friends Kristen and Sean came over. We headed over to Brit and Mike’s house for a delicious spaghetti dinner and some sweet treats (Kristen whipped up the best pumpkin cupcakes). After dinner, we headed out to Bates Motel. We survived the hayride, corn maze and haunted house. I didn’t even freak out when the chainsaw guy came after us (a first for me!). The whole night was a blast with good friends and good times.

Monday I took the day off and did some shopping with my mom. I’ll have to share some of my finds later in the week. I also painted my nails with the shade Cool Couture from Maybelline. It’s a great blue for fall and winter.

Cool Couture from Maybelline

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Shutterfly Holiday & Giveaway

I was thrilled that Shutterfly contacted me again this year to make my Christmas cards. When I did this for the first time last year, it was so simple and incredibly easy. They have a ton of different designs to choose from. Everything from classy to whimsical. Designing the cards could also not have been any easier. I loved that I had the ability to enhance, crop and customize the color scheme.

The quality of the cards was also impressive and well above my expectations. I have no complaints about the shipping either. The cards arrived quickly after my order was placed and were packed safely so there weren’t any bends or tears.

I’m excited for the opportunity to use Shutterfly again for all of my needs!

My 2010 design! It was a huge hit and I loved this card.

Not only do I get to send beautiful Shutterfly cards this Christmas, but my readers get the opportunity as well. I have 3 codes for 25 Free Cards of your choice. That’s right, there will be three winners!

All you need to do to enter is leave a comment below. If you want, let me know which design you like best (from below) so you can have a say in the design I pick this year!

Extra entries:
Follow my blog or let me know you’re already a follower +1
Follow me on Twitter or let me know you’re already one of my Tweeps +1
Tweet about this giveaway +1
Blog about this giveaway +1

The giveaway will close on 10/27/11 and the winner will be announced 10/28/11.

In addition to holiday cards, Shutterfly also offers:
Greeting cards

Photo gifts

The dots are cute and I like the simple design

Initials and monograms are one of my favorite things

This looks so classic and I like the pretty bow

The layout on this one is nice and you can put in many images from throughout the year

Are you a blogger? Want a chance at 25 free cards this holiday season? Register here: (that means if you're a blogger and you're one of the giveaway winners, you'll get a total of 50 cards!)

FTC: I was contacted by Shutterfly for this promotion and giveaway. In return, Shutterfly is offering me 50 free Christmas Cards.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekend recap

It has been forever since I’ve written a weekend recap and it feels good to be getting things back to normal around here. I had a pretty fall-tastic weekend with great friends and here’s what we did.

Friday, Geof and I went with some friends to Pennhurst Asylum for some haunts. This was the first time we’ve been there for the Halloween attractions and once we got there, I realized how creepy the place is on it’s own without being all decked out for Halloween. It was an actual mental asylum that operated 75+ years. They had 4 attractions; the Asylum, Tunnel of Terror, Ghost Hunt and Dungeon of Lost Souls. Every one of them was very scary, but the tunnel spooked me the most.

Saturday, I went ice skating and brought my friend Kristen along. It was her first time skating and she did a great job. After skating, Kristen’s husband Sean came down along with our other friends Colleen and Donald for a triple date night. We went to Linvilla Orchards, took a “Harvest Moon” hayride, went to see the animals, Pumpkinland and finally checked out the Farmers Market. We made the visit complete with some of their delicious apple cider donuts! After Linvilla, we went out for pizza and beer at Pinocchio’s.

Date night at Linvilla!

The girls at Linvilla

Sweet little Deer that I got to feed

Colleen and I...the sunset was breathtaking Saturday night

Sunday was spent relaxing after cramming so much in on Friday and Saturday. It was a very lazy day of everything from watching football to Father of the Bride.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nail files

I don’t know what’s gotten into me, but this year nail polish has become a big obsession of mine. I’ve actually started to enjoy doing my own nails. Before I used to always go to the salon and nowadays it’s more of a treat (that I appreciate much more than I did before).

I wanted to share some of my new favorite polishes from drugstore to department store brands that I’ve been loving as of late:

Essie's Lady Like is the perfect fall pink because it's more mauve. It has a also has a beautiful creme finish.

Jesse's Girl Stiletto is neutral taupe shade that leans a little grey. From swatches I've seen online, it also looks similar to Particuliere from Chanel at a much cheaper price.

Wet 'N Wild Purple Potion is a deep, dark purple with purple micro glitter. It's extremely cheap and how fun is this little tombstone bottle for Halloween?

Deborah Lippmann Naked is a beautiful, neutral nude shade that works for any occasion. This is such a classic that can be worn year round.

What polishes are you loving lately?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Cheesy Enchilada Casserole

Pinterest has been my latest obsession and with that comes a load of recipes I’ve pinned to make at some point. I finally started last night by making something that has been making my mouth water just from looking at the photo and it’s the Cheesy Enchilada Casserole. This dish was voted the #1 Casserole for the year at Taste Of Home. I figured that it had to be a home run (and it was).

Here’s the recipe, originally found here and pinned on my boards on Pinterest here.

Cheesy Enchilada Casserole


1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
1 large onion, chopped or season with Onion powder or minced onion
2 1/2 cups salsa
1 can (15 ounces) black beans or red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup reduced-fat Italian salad dressing
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium taco seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
4-6 flour tortillas (8 inches)
1 small can of drained corn, or about 1 1/4 cups of frozen corn (optional)
3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 cups (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
1 cup shredded lettuce (I didn’t use lettuce)
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro (I added 1/4 cup of fresh chopped cilantro to the meat mixture instead and added some extra on top for garnishment/added flavor)

1. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
2. Stir in the salsa, beans, corn, dressing, sour cream, taco seasoning and cumin.
3. Spoon a generous layer of meat mixture on bottom of 2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
4. Place a flour or corn tortilla on top of meat mixture. Layer with half of the meat mixture, and cheese. Repeat as many layers as you like.
5. The last & final layer should be a healthy dose of grated cheese.
6. Cover with foil that has been sprayed with Pam or other and bake at 400° for 25 minutes, or until hot & bubbly.
7. Let stand for 5 minutes before topping with tomato and cilantro (and lettuce if you decide to use it).

Yield: 8 servings

I also whipped up some cornbread and that went really well with it. This was a huge hit and something I will make again and again. There were also plenty of leftovers.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Chicago Trip – Day 3

This was our last day before we had to fly back to Philly, so we wanted to make it count. We got up bright and early, had breakfast at the hotel and walked over to Millennium Park to see The Bean! It was even bigger and more impressive that I could have imagined. It was also a beautiful day in the city, so you could see all of the buildings and clouds reflecting off of it. We took a ton of pics and then walked around the park for a bit.

The Bean!

Bean shenanigans

Geof and I at The Bean

Millennium Park and the "Face" Fountains

From the park, we caught a cab down to Hot Doug’s in the Chicago suburbs. This is a place I’ve heard many good things about and I loved the name, so we had to go. I knew it had to be good as soon as the cab pulled up because there was a line down the block. The food was worth the wait and it was the best dog I’ve ever eaten.

Hot Doug's

We headed back downtown to Navy Pier. I was freezing (and a little cranky) by this point. Geof was my hero because he got me a hoodie right away from one of the souvenir shops to solve all of my problems (except for the fact that I didn’t bring sneakers or a coat…I’m an idiot). When they call Chicago “The Windy City”, they weren’t joking and I’ll know better next time. The pier was having an Octoberfest event that we checked out and then we just walked down the pier to take in the sights on a gorgeous afternoon. We settled on Margaritaville for some drinks and then started back for our hotel.

Us at Navy Pier

Navy Pier

We got ready and headed went to Lou Malnati’s for dinner so I could have my first taste of a Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. It was everything I expected and more. From dinner, we walked down by Millennium Park and checked out a local pub for some drinks to end the night. I was so glad Amy & Chad were able to meet us and we had an awesome weekend together.

Lou Malnati's

Chicago is a beautiful city with really nice people. I couldn’t believe how friendly everyone was for it being a major metropolitan area. I think I’ve become a little jaded by the Northeast and expect others to behave the same. It was a pleasant surprise and I look forward to visiting again someday!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Chicago trip - Day 2

Friday, we got up bright and early and headed out for some shopping browsing on Michigan Ave. There were many beautiful things, but at almost 10% sales tax and with us trying to save money, I didn’t go crazy. I did get some makeup goodies, but that’s about it. We also took a walk down by Lake Shore Drive because the waves on Lake Michigan were roaring. I even saw a story about it on the local news that morning that some bikers and joggers were wiped out by the waves crashing up over the roads and onto the streets. It was quite a sight to be seen and it looked more like an ocean than a lake.


Huge waves down by Lake Shore Drive

We then visited the Hershey store to warm up with a hot chocolate and then headed to Saks. The incredibly sweet salesgirl starting trying a new blush on me and that turned into her applying mascara, liner…the works. She made me look nice though and I certainly appreciated it since I was on vacation.

Me outside the Hershey store!

For lunch, we went to Su Casa because we were craving Mexican. It’s really the only place we went the entire time that wasn’t on our list and were pleasantly surprised by the good service and inexpensive prices, especially for a restaurant in the heart of downtown. My margarita was downright delicious!

Us at Su Casa

From lunch we headed to Barney’s and then to the Hermes store. I’ve been wanting to try a sample of their Ambre Narguile perfume for a very long time and the girl in the store was more than willing to give me one and offer me another scent of my choosing (I got the Iris Ukiyoe). Both smell fantastic and the Ambre Narguile is a perfect scent for fall, though I’d never pay for my own bottle of this (I believe it’s $195 a bottle!).

From shopping we headed back to The Allerton to collect our bags and cabbed it over to our new hotel right in the heart of the theatre district. We got settled in, took a nap and then I finally got to go to Sprinkles to try my first cupcake from them. It was worth the wait and absolutely delish! We headed back to the hotel to await the arrival of our good friends Amy & Chad. We caught up for a bit and then headed out to dinner at Chicago Pizza Oven Grinder & Co. I really wanted to go to this place because I saw it on the Travel channel as being #1 of the Top 10 Cheesiest Eats in the county for their Pizza Pot Pie. It was really good and a hit with Geof too. I wouldn’t say it’s the best thing I’ve ever had, but it was definitely worth the visit. From dinner, we headed to Miller’s Pub because it was close to our hotel. It was an interesting place and we saw a guy in a suit that looked like he’d been there since happy hour fall flat on the floor off of his bar stool. Yikes.


Us with Chad & Amy at Chicago Pizza Oven Grinder & Co.

Pizza Pot Pie

I just have one more Chicago post and then it will be back to business as usual!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chicago trip – Day 1

We just got back from Chicago on Sunday and what a whirlwind weekend it was. We were able to visit because Geof received an invite to attend a movie premiere as part of his blog/contest being held. It was pretty last minute and the producers flew us out, put us up for one night at The Allerton and invited us to the premiere of Fancypants where we got to walk the red carpet. It felt pretty cool to have a bunch of shutterbugs flashing cameras in our faces and asking us questions. We also got to sit in between the stars of the film and it felt like something straight out of Hollywood. Geof also had to get up and speak briefly in front of the crowd of 400+ people and he did awesome.

OOTN for the premiere!

Geof and I on the red carpet

The rest of the trip was for relaxation. After the movie, we went back to our hotel, got changed and hopped in a cab bound for Kuma’s Corner. This is a place Geof has raved about for the past few years and has never been able to take me to because he’s only been there when he travels to Chicago for work. Let me just tell you that this place had the BEST Mac ‘n Cheese I have ever had. They also had an awesome beer selection and the most unique burgers I’ve ever seen, all named after heavy metal bands. I got the Pantera Burger complete with Roasted Poblano Pepper, Bacon, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, house made Ranchero Sauce and Tortilla Strips. This place is out in the suburbs of Chicago and definitely a hidden gem. They had a funny joke up on the chalkboard that said “Why did the hipster burn his mouth on pizza?”…”He ate it before it was cool”. That one really had me laughing. I can see why it’s rated #52 out of #3,076 restaurants on TripAdvisor.

Food at Kuma's Corner

After Kuma’s, we went back to our hotel that was right in the heart of the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Ave. We took a late night stroll and stumbled upon The Drake hotel completely by accident. This was on my “must see” list while we were there because one of my favorite movies of all time, My Best Friend’s Wedding was filmed there. The hotel was as beautiful and opulent as I expected and we walked in like we owned the place which afforded me the opportunity to snap some pics like the ridiculous tourist that I am.

Outside The Drake

Beautiful ballroom inside The Drake. I can't imagine how gorgeous a wedding would be in this room.

Geof on Michigan Ave.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I’m baaaaack!

That’s right everyone. My unofficial blog hiatus is over and I’m glad to be blogging again. Leaving wasn’t planned and there were many times I wanted to come back, but just didn’t have it in me. Between work and life, I lost my mojo. The creative juices weren’t flowing and I didn’t want to just blog for the sake of blogging. For those that are reading this, I sincerely thank you for not deserting me and I hope you’ll continue to stay along for the ride.

Here are some of the highlights and interesting tidbits of the last 2 ½ months!

Chad & Amy (our friends from BCE 1 & BCE 2) came out to visit us and we took them down to the Jersey Shore. Our other friends Tracy and Stephanie came later on in the weekend the whole gang got to sightsee in Philadelphia. We did everything from Reading Terminal Market to the “Rocky Steps” at the Art Museum.

Survived my first and hopefully last Earthquake

Spent as much time as possible at the pool

Read…a lot. I’ve definitely discovered a new hobby (this book was also really good btw).

Made it through Hurricane Irene

Chester Count Restaurant Festival

Lots of dinner and movie dates!

That’s about it. We also just get back from Chicago over the weekend and I cannot wait to share all of our adventures from while we were there!