Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Up until Thursday afternoon, I had planned to take the easy route this Halloween. But of course I changed my mind at the last minute! I had an idea, but had no way to put it on paper. Thanks to Tim, he was able to take my idea and show me how to make it actually happen. A quick trip to Michael's and I was ready to start. Lucky Chris (I say this with total sarcasm) got to help me put it all together.

In case you couldn't tell, I am a football stadium (Gillette Stadium since I'm a Pats lover) & goal post!

This definitely wasn't the most practical costume seeing as I couldn't fit through any doors and I really couldn't let go of the sides of the stadium. But it was still a really fun idea and a lot of people were so surprised because it's not something you see every day!

I hope you guys are having a fun & spooky Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday's Thoughts

The 5K I signed up for is in 28 days! I have been training for 2 weeks, but I will only be able to complete 6 weeks of the 10 week Couch to 5K program. I'm pretty sure I haven't given myself ample time to prepare and will probably have to walk some of the course. I guess we'll see how it goes on race day, but whatever happens, I know that I should/will be proud of getting out there in the first place. Thanks to everyone who has given me advice/encouragement! It's been really helpful & much appreciated!

Halloween is almost here! I think I know what I will be dressing up as (cheap & easy...the costume, not me!) so I'll have to get everything together this weekend. I also want to bring in a couple of baked treats for my co-workers, but I'm not going to go all out like last year. These cupcakes are really cute!

As you all know, I'm a huge fan of Dancing with the Stars! It's one of my favorite shows. This week Chaz was finally voted off and he definitely deserved to go! His dances were hard to watch because there was never any improvement. I think the judges were mostly being nice to him and letting him skate by until this week. He took offense to the comments, but honestly, they were all deserved. I really, really, really LOVE David Arquette. Yes, he's crazy...but I think he's really genuine & quite lovable.

I'm still anxiously waiting for my Erin Condren planner to arrive! The status went from "Pending" to "Invoice to Print" to "Printed." I hope that means they are almost done!! Their store/work area is only 26 miles from my apartment so I think shipping should be really fast once they send it out.

Chris has a birthday in 17 days. Guess who he shares it with? Only the hottest man on planet Earth. It's okay to say this because I'm pretty sure Chris has a little man-crush on him too :)

Don't forget to enter my NOVICA giveaway by tonight. I will pick a winner tomorrow morning!

Everyone that participated in the scarf swap should have sent out their partner's packages by now. If you haven't, please do so as soon as possible. I asked from the very beginning that if you signed up, you follow the timeline. Packages should have been sent out by last Friday, but I completely understand that sometimes time just gets away from us. Please just keep your partner informed of the status.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Guest Post over at Belle on Heels!

Hi ladies! Today is a big day because I'm guest posting over at Belle on Heels! Sarah and I are old bloggy friends from way back in the day so it's a huge honor that she asked me to guest post while she's off getting married!

Here's a sneak peek of my post:

I'd love for you to stop by and find out what inspires me while {unofficially} planning my wedding. Because you know, you have to be engaged in order to plan or else you just look cray-cray...

And of course I'd love for you to leave some love for Sarah and send her your best wishes as she embarks on the most wonderful journey of her life!

PS - Enter my giveaway for a $50 gift certificate to NOVICA by this Friday!

Monday, October 24, 2011

NOVICA Review & Giveaway!

Giveaway is Closed!

The winner has been contacted:

Emily said...
Wow, what a great company. I love knowing that products I buy are helping others. I'm so glad you informed us of this site! I looked at the website and they have a ton of wonderful items. I love the Talishmen(sp?) ring as well as a ton o the shawls!

This post is much delayed, but one that I am excited to share!

I was approached by a representative from NOVICA to see if I would be interested in doing a review and/or hosting a giveaway for them. NOVICA is one of the leading fair trade artisan websites, working with National Geographic to give talented artisans around the world a place to express their artistic talents and provide access to the world market. Their website has thousands of top fair trade gifts, accessories, jewelry, and home decor items, all uniquely crafted by talented artisans around the world.

Taken from their website:

We want to give artists and artisans around the world a global platform to express their true artistic talents and to spur their creativity. And, we want to provide you with access to unique, hard-to-find items at great values that only the Internet infrastructure can allow. At the deepest essence of our philosophy, we want to create a bridge between you and the many talented artisans across the globe. We want you to know about who you're buying from. We want you to feel that attachment to the product and to the hands that created it. 
In the spirit of the Internet, let us bring you together. 

NOVICA. The World is Your Market.

I thought this was a really interesting company doing something wonderful for many talented artists that are in areas where there is little opportunity for them to have a chance to be successful. I think it's a great company that I'm happy to support.

I was given the opportunity to purchase something from their website. There are so many unique items that I had a tough time narrowing it down. I was able to decide on a beautiful scarf, made by the women from the Waqxaqi Kan Women's Group (read the whole story about this group here):

"Our husbands had died and we had to find a way to feed our children and give them an education. So we decided to form a group to look for opportunities based on our skills as weavers."

Isn't that amazing that by purchasing a scarf, I am helping these courageous women provide a better life for themselves and their children?

I received my scarf and it is absolutely beautiful! I know that every time I wear it I will think of how it was handmade with love and care and not in some factory by a machine. And I will also think of how this purchase helped a woman be able to provide for her family.

While I chose a scarf, there are certainly many more options of items on the website, ranging from men's cufflinks and scarves to women's belts, wraps, and handbags and unique home decor.

Some of my favorites:

NOVICA has been incredibly generous, and would like to offer a $50 gift certificate to one of my readers! I would highly encourage each of you to check out the website, learn a little bit more about what they are doing to help those less fortunate, and I'm sure you'll find something to love!

If you'd like an opportunity to win the $50 gift certificate, please leave a comment on this post letting me know what you'd choose if you are to win. NOVICA has many ideas under $50 (check that out here). I'll select a winner this Friday, October 28. Good luck!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Camcorder Question

I apologize in advance for the boring nature of this post...

We already know that I am the least technically savvy person out there. But lately I have had the urge to video tape my outings and activities - whether it be to share here on my blog or just to have so I can share with my family & friends. My life is not that exciting, but there are definitely times where I want to shoot a little video or capture a memory in another form besides a photograph.

This leads me to a question - do any of you have the Flip UltraHD device? I saw these going around last year (my parents and brothers all got one for Christmas) and I've wanted one ever since. I've read mixed reviews on the device so I thought I'd ask you guys for a recommendation. Please keep in mind that I have no desire to be "fancy" with what I'm doing and I don't need a $1,000+ camera/recorder to be happy.

I like that the Flip is reasonably priced (the 4GB is currently only $47.99 at Best Buy), has a one hour recording time (which is definitely plenty for what I want to do with it or I could get the 8GB which records 2 hours), and that it's easy to upload and edit videos using the FlipShare software.

But then I get confused by reviews that say negative things like 1) the battery doesn't last; 2) Flip's being labeled as 3rd Generation when they're really 2nd G (which has a battery bug); 3) horrible video quality; 4) no ability to pause in a video; 5) the company has stopped making this product (why would they do that if it were a good and successful product???); etc., etc., etc....

Please let me know if you have any experiences with the Flip products and if you would recommend them! Why or why not??! Or would you recommend another brand besides Flip, like the Sony Bloggie Touch or something else that I may not even be aware of? Any & all advice/comments will be appreciated :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Updates {Thursday's Thoughts}

It feels like forever since I've updated my blog (yesterday's pictures don't really count)! I'll try to fill you in quickly...
  • I'm hoping that since I haven't heard otherwise, that everyone received the email about the fall scarf swap and have successfully contacted your partner. Please try to send out your partner's scarf by this Friday (which I just realized is tomorrow)!
  • I have a review and giveaway coming up soon...details to come next week!
  • I've signed up for my first 5K! I'm using a Couch to 5K app on my iPhone to train. This is perfect because I needed to find a way to stay motivated while losing some extra weight. The 5K gives me an end goal and makes me want to stay on my diet & exercise routine. I've been alternating training for the 5K with my bike riding and I feel great so far! I can really see a difference in my energy level.
Yes, we will be in Las Vegas for Thanksgiving!

  • Speaking of riding my bike, I reached 900 miles earlier this month, and am less than 30 miles away from 1,000! I am so happy that it has finally cooled down here and I have been able to ride my bike more! The only downside is that it has started getting dark on my evening commute and I really need to get the proper gear so that I can be sure that I'm visible to car drivers.
  • My work is having another Halloween party this year, and I'm stumped as to what I will dress up as. Last year's costume was so perfect, and I'm struggling to come up with an equally impressive idea for this year. Does anyone have any ideas for me?
  • I finally caved to the blog pressure and ordered my Erin Condren planner (thanks to a deal on Zulily!) and I'm so excited for it to get here.

And now you are caught up on what's been happening in my life since I returned last week.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wedding & Vacation Pictures

Finally! Here are the pictures from Jenny's wedding and my trip home to Georgia. This is definitely photo overload, but I don't care. It's my blog and I can post as many pictures as I like, right?! :)


The first few days of our trip was filled with wedding activities - bridesmaid luncheon, rehearsal dinner, shopping for shoes to wear with my bridesmaid dress, getting a manicure, etc. etc. etc. The first set of pictures are from the wedding activities.

my sweet "nephew" is growing so fast!

my best friend (Hunter's mom) and I at the rehearsal dinner!

the bride's niece and I became best friends 
because of our love for sparkles!

my mom and I before the wedding (she did my hair!)

Chris and I before the wedding

the wedding ceremony

husband & wife!!

first dance with the little girls cute!

The wedding consumed the first 3 days of our trip, but then it was all about family! Unfortunately my dad had a business trip that had him out of town so that is why he isn't pictured below...

Of course we had to take Chris to Jim 'n Nick's and as usual, it was DELICIOUS!

We took a scenic drive through the mountains,
and I was happy to see my old college town doing well!

We made a stop at the pumpkin farm.

And went apple pickin' in an orchard in Elijay!

Eating dinner with my brother (#2 of 3) and his family.

Chris had to have a drink at the #2 rated beer bar in the world!

Their food was delicious. I will dream about this
turkey cobb sandwich forever.

Rainy day in Decatur!

Our pumpkin display outside of the house.

Last family dinner at Mellow Mushroom! Yummy!

Chris had to see some home footage of me when I was little.
You would not believe my southern accent, y'all :)

I was pretty funny as a child...

I really am sorry that there are so many pictures here! But I didn't feel like splitting this up into two posts. If you made it through, thank you and I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my vacation.

Friday, October 14, 2011

New [Cheap] Shoes!

While I was home, I had to do some last minute shopping for a pair of heels to wear with my bridesmaid dress. I looked at over 5 different shoe stores, but couldn't find anything! The dress was called "truffle" but it was more of a greeny-gold color. Regular gold seemed too light and bronze was too dark. I felt like Goldilocks! Anyway, I eventually found a pair that worked (thank Heavens!) at Payless! The best part was that it was Buy One Get One 1/2 Off so I was able to snag two pairs of shoes for about $30. Since I will likely not wear the bridesmaid shoes again, I really don't feel bad about paying $4.50 for them :)

But, the whole point of this story was to share the second pair of shoes with you...the ones I will wear!

Aren't these so cute? As you all know, I'm a bargain shopper and while I like the animal print trend, I don't want to spend a lot of money on those kinds of pieces. So these are perfect! The wedge is a great height and they are super easy to walk in. The print will add a nice pop to an otherwise simple outfit, and I love the rounded-toe look with a pair of skinny denim. And at less than $30, you really can't go wrong!

PS - If there are still any of you that didn't receive an email about the fall scarf swap, please go ahead and let me know. I believe that all of the email addresses were accurate so it may just be a matter of checking your spam folder.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall Scarf Swap Update

* Updated to Add: I copied all email addresses directly from the comments left on the original post. For some reason, several of you have let me know that you didn't receive an email, even though the email addresses you are giving me are the exact same as the one I sent to in the first place. Maybe there is a glitch in the system and it is taking some of you longer to receive the email than others because I have not received any "can not deliver to email" messages. PLEASE CHECK YOUR SPAM FOLDER! If you still haven't received an email by tomorrow morning with your swap partner's information, then go ahead and let me know at that time. Thanks.

If you signed up for the swap, and did not receive an email from me today, please let me know immediately.

Also, if there is a mistake with your email address or your blog link in the partner's list that I sent out, please just inform your partner directly. You can also look back at the original post and scroll through the comments to find your partner's information.

The important details to remember:

The spending limit is a minimum of $15 (you are free to spend more than this on your partner), not including shipping.

Please try to have your packages sent out by Friday, October 21

Thanks again, ladies! Have fun!

PS - My vacation was awesome! I'll be back soon to post a recap with pictures, but here is one of the beautiful bride (aka my best friend) to tide you over!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sign Up for the Fall Scarf Swap!

Fall Scarf Swap

Thanks to a handful of interested readers, I have decided to go ahead and host a Fall Scarf Swap! 

Here are the details:
  • If you left a comment on my previous post about wanting to participate in this swap, please leave a new comment on THIS post so I know that you are for sure participating.
  • By signing up for this swap, you are committing to send your partner a scarf in the time period specified! The last thing I want is someone to not receive a package. That's just bad karma, folks. So please only sign up if you are serious about following through - to sign up, leave a comment on this post with your e-mail address. If you don't have a blog, you can still participate!
  • The spending limit is a minimum of $15 (you are free to spend more than this on your partner), not including shipping. Since scarves are pretty lightweight and can be bundled up in a lined envelope/small package, shipping should not be that expensive. USPS has great prices on priority shipping so I recommend checking them out.
  • Once you've been assigned a partner (I will pair you up randomly) it is your responsibility to communicate with them and find out anything you will need to know - address, favorite colors, etc. - in order to send your package.
  • The deadline to sign up will be next Monday, October 10. (I will send out an email with everyone's partner information on or before Wednesday, October 12.)
  • Please try to have your packages sent out by Friday, October 21
  • At some point I will post a link-up on my blog so that you can share your new scarf with everyone (probably sometime after October 26 so everyone has time to receive their packages).
  • I'm really computer illiterate so this button is very basic, but please feel free to share on your own blog about this swap. I'm pretty sure you can just click the image below and it will take you to my photobucket page. You can then copy the HTML code for the image and paste it into your own post/blog to share with your readers.

(PS - if this isn't working please let me know since I'm not sure
if this is the correct process or not....)

Thanks to all of you that expressed an interest in this swap, I think it will be a lot of fun!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuesdays at the Table (8)

It's been a couple of weeks since I participated in the recipe link up over at Cole's blog, All the Small Stuff. I haven't really been cooking very much so that's why I haven't had anything to share! But I did bake a wonderful pumpkin bread last week that everyone was raving about so I figured it's definitely worth sharing!


Fall is my favorite season and there is just something so cozy about the smell of pumpkin bread baking in the oven. I found this recipe for Pumpkin Cranberry Bread and it had such great reviews that I knew I had to make it.

Prep time was so fast - it was ready to go in the oven in about 10 minutes, maybe less. I used mini loaf pans (5"x3") and baked them for about 50 minutes at 350°. The bread comes out super moist and the spiciness from the pumpkin pie spice is really delicious. Then there is the tartness & sweetness from the cranberries which puts this bread over the top!

Here is the recipe:


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 can (15 ounces) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice or water
1 cup sweetened dried, fresh or frozen cranberries

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. 

COMBINE flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil and juice in large mixer bowl; beat until just blended. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in cranberries. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans.

BAKE for 60 to 65 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 

Recipe makes two loaves.

PREPARE as above. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. 

PREPARE as above. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. 

I took this to work and it was gone so fast that I wasn't able to snap a picture, but I promise it's worth making!