Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas Cards

2017

Tis' the season for writing and sending out stacks upon stacks of holiday greetings to family and friends around the world.  Choosing a card, determining who is making the list this year,  printing out labels, stuffing and licking envelopes and placing the stamps on straight can be pretty stressful and time consuming for some people, but for me...I Love It!  I throw on my favorite Christmas album, "These Are Special Times" by Celine Dion, grab a glass of wine and make an evening out of it.

Back in 2008, my husband had this creative idea to build a snowman out of sand and take the picture at the proper angle so it looked life-size.  "Warmest Wishes This Holiday Season"  Done...we had our Christmas card completed in August.

As the years went by and people started anticipating our card, the pressure mounted.  Thinking of creative ideas each year is not the easiest, but it sure is fun...and the finished products are true masterpieces.

Let's take a stroll down memory lane and revisit each card over the years:


2008


2009


2010

2011


2012


2013


2014 


2015


2016


Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Get Paid to Shop Online

If you ever shop online, you need to sign up for Ebates.  


It's free and you get cash back when you make purchases.  Ebates is a website that you go to, search for the store where you're going to shop online, check out the % cash back, click the link and you're taken to your store's website.  Complete your shopping and Ebates will give you a % back by check or PayPal each quarter.  It's as simple as that.

Let's look at an example.  Maybe you want to purchase this Double-Bow Ponte Fit-and-Flare Dress from Banana Republic.
http://shopstyle.it/l/rtQ8
 

Banana Republic is offering 50% off a purchase today.  You still get that deal, but instead of going directly to the Banana Republic website, go to Ebates.  Sign in to your account.  (It's free to create one.)  When you search Banana Republic in the search box, you'll see Ebates is offering 8% cash back today.  Click "Shop Now" and you'll be taken to the Banana Republic website.


Complete your shopping like you normally would and you'll get 8% cash back on your purchase.  (If your Ebates cash back balance is under $5, that money will roll over to the next pay quarter.)

Head over to Ebates and sign up for your free account.  You'll get $10 for signing up once you make your first purchase.  The saving are constantly changing and they work with over 2000 stores.  Here are some of today's cash back offers:  (Remember these are savings on top of what the stores are offering.)

1-800 CONTACTS: 5% cash back
Kohl's: 6% cash back
Banana Republic: 8% cash back
Gap: 8% cash back
Gap Factory: 8% cash back
Old Navy: 8% cash back
ProFlowers: 26% cash back
Under Armour: 6% cash back
StubHub: 7% cash back
Neiman Marcus Last Call: 10% cash back
Groupon: 6% cash back
Splendid: 6.5% cash back
Alice + Olivia: 6% cash back

Every little bit back helps.  Happy shopping!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Shopping Sunday Sales

Need to finish some holiday shopping today?  Why leave the house when you can stay warm and shop from the comfort of your couch.  While tomorrow is "Green Monday", these sales are all happening today.

These first two items are perfect for a Sunday morning.  Prepare your morning beverage with the Keurig 55 coffee maker (under $70 today) and then sip it in style wearing this Mindy Mae's Market track tee.  I know it's winter, but this tee is on sale, so grab it today.

 


Not quite sure what to get some people on your list this year?  Check out Amazon's 12 Days of Deals.  You may just get some gift ideas for that hard to buy for person.

Whether you are shopping for yourself or someone else, these retailers are all running great sales right now...

White House Black Market - 40% your entire purchase (code 85521) and free shipping
Banana Republic - 40% off your purchase and extra 10% off (code style)
Gap - 45% off your purchase (code merry) and extra 10% off (code style)
Loft - 40% off your purchase (code newnow)
Eddie Bauer - 50% off everything (code GIFT)
DSW - $10 off $49, $20 off $99, $60 off $199 (code GOGREEN) and free shipping
Express - everything 40% off
Macy's - extra 30% off (code FRIEND)
Anthropologie - 30% off all clothing and winter accessories


On Green Monday, you will save $20 for every $100 you spend at Target.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Shop This Look

I'm not one to boast about my outfits or what I have in my closet, but while following various fashion bloggers, I noticed they all post pictures of themselves and allow readers to "shop their look."  I figured it was time for me to take that next step in the blogging world.

Polaroid photo credit: my brother or my dad

For starters, you're welcome! 

This is a throwback to the 80s when I was looking cool in my oversized bear sweatshirt, tucked in purple polo, straight leg black jeans and plaid Tretorn shoes.  I had the layering and pushed up sleeves thing down from a young age.

Five days a week, 180 days a year, I wore a uniform to school (which I loved) so as you can see, I took picking out my outfits and photographing them very seriously.  I'm not sure where we were going this day, but I was definitely exuding confidence.  


Shop my look below:

I'll be purchasing a new pair of Tretorn kicks this year...I absolutely love them!  

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Grab Your Purple Pants

It's official...Pantone announced Ultra Violet as the color for 2018.  


I wish I had a picture of my pink and purple Huffy 10-speed from back in the 80s.  I used to cruise through my neighborhood for hours, with the wind in my wild hair, looking stylish with my ride.  I was ahead of the times pedaling the streets with my purple bike.

With that said...I don't know about you, but other than a cardigan sweater and some plaid pjs, I don't have much from the purple family in my wardrobe or home design.  Maybe it's time I break out of my shell and incorporate a bit of this deep hue into my lifestyle.

I thought I would dedicate this post to all things purple and share a few of my "Color of the Year" finds.  Click on each item to learn more about it.

First, let's look at a few fashion pieces.  If you're a little hesitant to jump on the purple bus, start with adding just a pop of color to your outfit.  A little goes a long way.



The same goes for home decor.  There's no need to rush out and buy new furniture or start repainting rooms to match Pantone 18-3838TCX.  Grab a few statement pieces to style and you'll be all set.


I'm excited to see what designers come out with over the next few months incorporating this color palette.  Until then, dust off your Prince cassettes and listen to a little Purple Rain in memory of the man who loved the color so much he wrote a song about it.

"In a world where you can be anything, be kind." - Unknown

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide


While I'm out and about shopping for people on my gift list, I always end up compiling a list of items I want for myself.  I've shared 10 of this seasons must-haves with you below. 



1.  Let's start with this comfy Long Haired Faux Fur Throw.  When you're not wrapped up on the couch with a cup of coffee and this little bit of heaven, throw it over the chair and it looks like you styled it.  It's a win win. 

Here are a few other options: Oversize Throw, Faux Fur Throw







2.   You won't be cold with this adorable Pom Pom Beanie.  With so many color options, you're bound to find one that matches your outfit.  This one pictured is currently on sale.

Another option is Love Your Melon.  They donate 50% of their profit of sales to fight pediatric cancer.






3.  Travel in style with this Lug Quilted Overnight Bag.  This bag is lightweight and has more pockets and compartments than you'll need.  It's perfect for that quick trip or extended vacation stay.  Pick yours up now while it's on clearance price.








4.  Get your glam on with this Mally Evercolor Shadow Stick Extra 6-piece Collection.  You can wear a single color or get adventurous and layer them.  They're also available in single packs. 







5.  I don't know about you, but I love burning candles this time of year.  The only way to get that fresh pine tree smell in my entire home is to light a Thymes Frasir Fir candle.  Your guests will think you just cut down your Christmas tree.  They sell out fast on the Thymes website, but I found a few on Amazon.






6.  Every girl should have a little bling in their ears.  These 1/4" Sparkle Studs make a perfect gift for your girlfriends, child's teacher or just for yourself (or that man in your life still rockin' the diamond stud). Pick them up today for less than $20.  They come in silver, gold and smokey.





7.  This must-have Crossbody Bag is perfect for the on the go girl.  With a removable strap, this particular handbag is also a clutch and comes in blush or black.






8.  Where are all my pet lovers?  This adorable Mini Makeup Bag by Marc Tetro comes in various designs.  If you love your Boston, Cat, Westie or Pug, this bag is for you.








9.  Keep your hands warm this season with these Rib Knit Cashmere Gloves.  They come in multiple colors and are 100% cashmere.  Treat yourself today.









10.  Why have one when you can have 8...This Philosophy 8-piece Glazed Body Souffle Set is all you need to start your day.  If you read one of my first posts on this blog, you know I love Philosophy products.  Your skin will stay soft and hydrated all day and the subtle scents will linger until you wash it off.



There you have it...10 items I believe should be on every girls holiday wish list.  Did I miss anything?  What items are you asking for this season?

Share your wish list in the comments below.


Friday, December 1, 2017

Film...Polaroid...Digital

Looking through family photo albums always brings back great memories of my childhood and rekindles nostalgic feelings.  Growing up, my mom always had a camera in her hand.  From yearly milestones to family gatherings, she always captured a snapshot of our lives.  Waiting impatiently for 35mm film to be sent out, developed, and returned was a common event in our house.  My mom would spend hours dating the pictures and strategically placing them into photo albums...129 to be exact.



My love of taking pictures started at a young age.  When I received a Polaroid camera, I went snap happy...keeping in mind that film was expensive and I only got 10 pictures per pack.  No one in my family was off limits.

Fast forward to the age of digital photography where we can take unlimited photos until we get the "perfect" one.  We can change filters, remove finkles (those are my forehead wrinkles) and edit endlessly until we have a masterpiece.

With all that said, blogging has re-sparked my interest in photography and has ignited some creative juices.  I've had a DSLR for years and have always used the automatic setting.  Until now, switching the dial to "M" and learning about ISO, aperture and shutter speed had been too scary for me.

I've started my research and am taking steps to becoming a more imaginative photographer.  Dusting off my tripod and purchasing a wireless remote control for my camera are two forward steps I've already taken in this mission.

I apologize to my two photogenic cats, as they will be my muses while I begin this journey.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Cyber Monday

A lot of the Black Friday weekend sales are continuing for Cyber Monday.  Do yourself a favor and pick up this off the shoulder fuzzy sweater...
http://shopstyle.it/l/oX2u

Here are the stores to check out today:

White House Black Market - 40% off total purchase and free shipping (code 47171)
Banana Republic - 50% off everything and free shipping (BRSHIP)
GAP - 50% off everything and free shipping (CYBER) + extra 10% off everything (TREAT)
Old Navy - 50% off everything
JCrew - 40% off + extra 10% off purchase until noon and free shipping (SHOPFAST)
Loft - 50% off everything and free shipping (CLICK)
Ann Taylor - 50% off everything and free shipping (BESTMONDAY)
Macy's - Extra 20% off (15% select depts) w/ code CYBER
Nordstrom - Extra 20% select sale items
QVC - Select Sale Items, Free shipping and 5+ Easy Pays on Beauty and Electronics
Amazon - Cyber Monday Deals Week
DSW - 25% off everything (HOLIDAY2017)
Express - 50% off everything and free shipping
American Eagle - 40% off and free shipping
Banana Republic Factory - 60% off everything and free shipping (CYBERSALE) + extra 10% off with GAP Inc. credit card (BRCARD)
Gap Factory - 60% off everything + extra 15% off and free shipping (CYBERGF)
JCrew Factory - 60% off everything and extra 50% off clearance (CYBER)

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Shopping Deals and Steals

Since I'm not a huge fan of fighting the crowds, I only ventured out to three stores yesterday.  I did manage to score this beautiful, festive skirt at White House Black Market for 40% off and this comfy sweater at the Loft for 50% off.

   
                                                               Jacquard Skirt                         Boatneck Sweater

Many stores are still running their Black Friday deals today.  Here are the current sales:

White House Black Market - 40% off total purchase (online code 65045)
Banana Republic - 50% off regular priced items + additional 10% off for cardmembers
GAP - 50% off total purchase (online code BLKFRIDAY) + 10% off w/code JUST4YOU
Old Navy - Cyber Weekend Sale 40% off everything, no exclusions online
JCrew - 40% off select items (code THANKU)
Loft - 50% off everything (online code FRIYAY)
Ann Taylor - 50% off everything (online code GOPINK)
Macy's - Extra 20% off (15% select depts) w/ code HURRY
Nordstrom - Extra 20% select sale items
QVC - Select Sale Items, Free shipping and 5+ Easy Pays on Beauty and Electronics
Kohl's - Extra 20% off w/code BUYNOW20
Amazon - Cyber Monday Deals Week
Ulta - Online only offers
DSW - 20% off everything w/code BLACKFRI20
Banana Republic Factory - 60% off entire store + additional 10% off for cardmembers (online code BRCARD)
GAP Factory - Everything 60% and free shipping over $50 w/code BFSHIP
Express - Up to 50% off everything
American Eagle - 40% off and free shipping





Sunday, November 19, 2017

Fresh, Crusty, Homemade Bread

The Food Network is one of my favorite channels available through my over-priced cable company.  While I don't make half the dishes I see prepared on there, I'm intrigued by the various gadgets used to prepare the meals...especially a dutch oven/cast iron pot, which is just a pot with a lid that can go in the oven or be used on the stove. 

There are many types of dutch ovens out there at various prices:
Le Creuset
Lodge
Food Network
Amazon always has great deals

I've always wanted to make my own bread, but have been skeptical due to having to follow the recipe and knead the dough properly and then having patience while the dough rises.  I decided to search Pinterest for an easy dutch oven bread recipe that does not require any kneading.

The following recipe is from Jo Cooks, a blog I found through Pinterest.  Let me just say that I won't be buying fancy expensive bread at the grocery store anymore.  This was so easy and delicious.

No Knead Dutch Oven Crusty Bread
This is a picture of my masterpiece.

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1 1/2 cups water at room temperature

Instructions:
1.  Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. 
2.  Pour the water into the bowl and mix until well incorporated.
3.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave on the counter for 12-18 hours.
4.  Pre-heat the oven to 450 F degrees.  Place the dutch oven/cast iron pot in the oven while the oven 
     is preheating
5.  Remove the pot from the oven and remove the lid.  Sprinkle some flour on the bottom of the pot.
6.  Flour your hands really well and sprinkle some flour on the dough. 
7.  Gently remove the dough from the bowl and shape into a ball.  
8.  Place the dough ball in the pot, cover it with the lid and place it back in the oven.
9.  Cook 30 minutes with the lid on, remove the lid and cook an additional 15-20 minutes.
10.  Remove cooked bread from the pot and let it cool.

If you try this or any other easy bread recipe, please share your thoughts/recipe in the comments.

Have a great week,
:)


Friday, November 17, 2017

Holiday Party...Maybe

I was thinking about what I would wear to a casual Christmas party, in the event that my hubby and I get invited to one this year.  A white wool coat, light pink clutch and glitter pump, paired with dark skinny jeans, are exactly what I had in mind.  Click on each picture for more details.
These exact items are pretty pricey, so check out these links for similar versions: White Coat, Pink Clutch, Glitter Pump, Pointy Toe Pump

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hair Goals

As I mentioned in my first blog post, I recently set some new goals for myself.  Let's break down my first goal:  Grow some long, beautiful locks like I had in my younger years.

My wedding 6 years ago was the longest my hair has been in a long time and I am ready to go there again...and beyond.  I pretty much had every hairstyle know to a child growing up in the 80's.  As I've gotten older, color and highlights have contributed to dry and damaged locks.

Step one to reach this goal is to get my hair healthy again using a good shampoo and conditioner.  I recently read about Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo and Moisture Conditioner and thought I would give it a try. One word...Fabulous.  I've only been using them a little over two weeks and can definitely see and feel a difference.  They're a little pricey, but well worth it.

Step two is to learn how to properly use dry shampoo.  I consulted my hair stylist on this one and got a brief tutorial...Shake...Spray...Rub.  I love Philosophy products, so I purchased Philosophy Pure Grace Dry Shampoo, which smells wonderful.

Step three is to stop using a flat iron on my hair every day and incorporate a round brush into my drying routine.  There was quite the learning curve when I started this on a daily basis, as I didn't know how to get my arms to maneuver properly.  I'm working on this and making progress.

Finally, I need to have some patience and let nature take its course. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I'm a Blogger?

Hello there, blogging world!  This is my first public attempt at blogging and I'm still wondering if anyone will really care enough to read this, but I've decided to jump in feet first (pencil style, of course) and have fun with it.


I'm Meg, a wine and pizza lover, living life to the fullest in Pennsylvania with my amazing hubby and two adorable 3 year old twin fur-babies, Lil Buddy and Doodle.  I was born in Charlotte, NC and moved to Lancaster, PA when I was around one.  In my mind, this makes me a true southern belle.  After graduating from West Chester University in the 90's, I decided to stay in the area and find a low paying teaching job.

While I love fashion, I wouldn't say I'm the most fashionable.  Since I turned 40, I've been reevaluating my clothing and hair style.  I'll document the journey on here, unless I forget the password and don't blog anymore after today.

I love bike riding at the beach, the smell of fall candles, trying new recipes that usually don't turn out as planned, pretending to be crafty, Utz chips with light dill dip and spending time with my family and friends.

My family members are my best friends and my best friends are family.

Wow...my first post.  I'm proud of myself.  Have a wonderful day and thanks for stopping by.  I appreciate it.

:)
Meg