Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving Recap!

Chris & I had a fun time in Las Vegas for Thanksgiving! I only lost about $40 once it was all said and done so that turned out better than I thought it would. I have never been that lucky, except for the one time I hit jackpot on a $1 machine. Since our 5K was on Fremont Street, we stayed at the Golden Nugget for the night. It worked out perfectly because we were just a short walk from the starting line.

Here are some pictures from our first 5K. It went pretty much like I expected. I knew that I hadn't had enough time to train and that it was going to be hard. The first mile went by quickly, getting to the second mile was hard, and the last 1/2 mile was really hard. But I'm glad that I did it and even though my time sucked, I proved to myself that I could get through it. I would like to continue to train and have another opportunity to improve my time.

For the rest of our trip we stayed at our timeshare located behind the Flamingo on the strip (great location!). After checking in, we watched football and I took a little nap. I was shocked at Ndamakong Suh's blatant penalty during the Green Bay/Lions game. I have seen & heard of his "dirty" style of playing, and he certainly showcased that side of him during one of the biggest and most watched games of the season. I don't know how anyone could defend him (even Lions fans) especially after his insane press conference after the fact. Yikes. Chris had bet on the Miami game and since they lost by less than 7 points, he won $60 :)

We decided to have Thankgiving dinner at Wicked Spoon, a buffet located at The Cosmopolitan. Not surprisingly, everyone else had the same idea. We ended up getting in at around the 3 hour mark so we were both really hungry and I might have been getting a teensy bit cranky. Luckily, the buffet was definitely worth the wait and I would highly recommend it to anyone going to Las Vegas. I liked it because all of the food was served in individual dishes plus it was all really tasty. They also have a macaroni & cheese bar where you can add all sorts of ingredients to basic mac & cheese. Delicious!

The best thing about our hotel was that we were right on the strip. We explored all of the casinos, watched the Bellagio fountain show (one of my faves!), and were able to get everywhere we wanted to go on foot. The Flamingo has a wildlife habitat on the grounds. It's a nice break from the smoke-filled casinos.

Here are some other random pictures from our trip.

Burger from Le Burger Brasserie;
Scorpion bowl from our favorite place, the Peppermill;
Holiday decorations at our hotel;
Deep-dish pizza from Chicago Brewing Company

Yummy tacos from Tacos El Gordo;
Bellagio fountain show;
Craft beer from Tenaya Creek Brewery;
I found Donny (love him)!

On Sunday, I decided to bet on the Patriots to beat the Eagles by 4 points or more. Boy, was I nervous during the first quarter of that game. I couldn't believe we were down by 10 in less than 5 minutes. But thankfully, Tom Brady must have heard that I put a lot of money on him so he went to work and won the game for me! I ended up winning $160! I think that was a good way to end the trip!

That was my Thankgiving in a nutshell. Now it's time to get in the holiday spirit! Today is our annual holiday party at work so it's basically a free day. We are in the office until about 11:30 then we are heading over to Fleming's for free lunch and all the wine we can drink in a 3 hour time span. Sounds like fun!

I'm working my way through an overfilled Google Reader so hopefully you'll be seeing some comments from me soon. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Happy day before Thanksgiving! In keeping with tradition, I figured that today I would share a few of the many things I am thankful for. I give thanks everyday for the things in my life, but probably not often enough. It's so easy to get caught up in wanting things we do not have or not being satisfied with the things we do have.

a family that loves me
my friends that support me
Chris & his family
having a full-time job
a roof over my head
a car to drive
a bike to ride
Trader Joe's
my KitchenAid stand mixer
my blog friends
my freedom (& the heroes that protect it)
the world wide web :)
potato chips
gossip magazines
health insurance

(some are silly, some are serious, 
but i'm thankful for it all)

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. If you are able to spend it with your own family, give them an extra hug. Chris & I wish that we could be home with our own families, but since we are going home for Christmas there just isn't enough vacation time. Las Vegas will be fun though (with the exception of the 5K, which I am pretty sure will not be fun AT ALL!).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Possible Christmas Gift Ideas

This is a random post, but I've come across some deals today, and I wanted to share! I have holiday shopping on the brain so I hope this helps some of you with your own gift-giving.

Mud Pie is at Zulily! This is another daily deal website geared more towards moms so the majority of deals are for kids items. But there are a good number of women's deals as well. There are some cute items from Mud Pie at discounted prices that would make great gifts (the sale ends 11/21 at 6am).

Click here for an invitation to this daily deal website.

Set of 3 Aluminum Water Bottles - $17.99

Set of 3 Photo Albums - $13.99

Lounge Pants & Boxer Set - $21.99

I'm really excited about this one. This weekend, Old Navy is having two 5 Hour Doorbuster Sales

Saturday, 11/19, from 12pm-5pm, all adult outerwear will be 75% off! 

Sunday, 11/20, from 12pm-5pm, all adult sweaters will be 75% off! 

This is a great deal and perfect time to stock up on some winter clothes or gifts for your family and friends! I love to give my girlfriends a nice sweater and add a cute scarf. This is a great way to keep it budget-friendly. Keep in mind that this sale excludes clearance items and is IN STORE only.

Click here to see more information on this deal. Also, visit Old Navy's Facebook page to print a $5 off $25 purchase.

Updated to Add

Mamapedia is a daily deal website for moms, but even if you are not a mom, there are usually some good deals that you will enjoy. I have purchased a Pro Flowers deal for Mother's Day and a voucher for a monogramming website as well. Currently, there is a $40 voucher to for only $20 (offer expires 11/23). This website sells a bunch of top brands like OPI, Burt's Bees, CoverGirl, and Sally Beauty products that would make good stocking stuffers or additions to gifts for your girlfriends.

Click here for an invitation to purchase this deal from via Mamapedia!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! We are taking it easy and getting in our last minute training sessions before the 5K on Thanksgiving! I'm so ready for a break from work so Las Vegas can't come soon enough.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November Giveaway Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway! I wish that all of you could win, but there is always next time. I have another Williams-Sonoma themed item to give away in December so stay tuned!

The winner of the pie crust cutters is:

Bronco Mom!

Congratulations to one of my long-time readers & friend! I hope you enjoy using these cutters to make something delicious for your Thanksgiving table!

Monday, November 14, 2011


I'm tired after a busy birthday weekend for Chris! I will do a weekend recap and post pictures soon!

Lately, I've been loving:

Starbucks Cappuccino 
with Hazelnut Syrup

Ice Cream Bars

C9 by Champion Running Pants
(currently $24 in store)

Chick-fil-A's Grand Opening
less than 2 miles from my apartment!!

This hilarious Thanksgiving video I created using
me, Chris, my Mom, Dad, and little "brother" Hiro!

Makes me laugh every time!
(not sure why it won't center???!)

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

What's making you happy lately?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday's Thoughts & Late Weekend Recap

Weekend Recap

Here's a quick {and very late} weekend recap for you! I found this really cute sweater at Forever 21 and I am in love with it! It's only $12.50! I chose the black/tan stripe combo, but there were at least 2 or 3 other color options available. I can't find the sweater on the website so maybe it's only in stores. I think I'll have to head back and get a couple more in different colors.

(that thing on my jeans is actually a sticker or something on the mirror of the fitting room)

Since Saturday was our only sunny day, we drove to Pasadena to do a bike ride around the Rose Bowl and some window shopping. Unfortunately, there was a UCLA game at the Bowl so we weren't able to do the ride we wanted to do. We still got in about 15 miles so it wasn't all bad.

After our ride we were freezing(!!) so we had to get some warm drinks from Starbucks! My first red cup of the season. Although I have to admit, I want to enjoy Thanksgiving before even thinking about Christmas and the holidays. We also bought some yummy cupcakes from a place called Dots. They were so delicious!

On Sunday we watched football ALL DAY. I'm not even kidding. None of my teams won except for Miami! I am extremely nervous about New England's remaining games this season, the way they are playing has me really worried for the Jets game this weekend.

On to Thursday's Thoughts

My Erin Condren planner arrived last week. I am very happy with it so far. It's obvious that a lot of time and effort went into making a functional & beautiful planner. I love that it is so aesthetically pleasing while still having the functionality you need and expect out of a planner. I was surprised with how large and heavy it is, but I've all but gotten used to the added bulk. I was disappointed that the monthly tabs are so easily damaged, but have found a solution for that problem. I'm still uncertain if I would order this again at full price ($50 + shipping), but ask me again in a few months. We will see how relevant it remains in my life. However, if you find a deal like I did on Zulilly ($25 for $50 worth of EC product), then I definitely recommend purchasing this planner!

My Thanksgiving 5K is now only 2 weeks away! I am scared! I have been having constant knee pain since my second week of training, and it has gotten a little bit worse after each session. I'm not sure what to do! After each session I've been icing my knees and stretching like crazy. It seems like my first and last running intervals are the hardest to get through.  Do any of you have knee ailments from running and what was your solution?

I reached 1,000 miles on my bike last weekend! Only 400 more to go until I pay for my bike in gas savings!

That's all for today. We have a busy weekend planned to celebrate C's birthday! Oh, and in other really exciting news, Chick-fil-A finally opened today! I'm going to try to go tonight if it isn't too packed...

Have a great weekend and don't forget to enter my November Giveaway here!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

November Giveaway!

I've noticed a few new followers here and I just wanted to say hi to my new readers and thank you for taking the time to follow Sweet Tea Diaries! I hope that you'll leave me a comment and let me know that you are reading! If you have a blog, leave me a link and I'll be sure to stop by!

Only 15 days until Thanksgiving so it's only appropriate that I do a holiday-themed giveaway!

This month, I thought I'd share one of my favorite Williams-Sonoma products - pie crust cutters! These are a great way to spruce up a holiday pie at your Thanksgiving table this year. I always use store-bought pie dough and these cutters are perfect for using up the extra scraps of dough and making a cute design out of it.

I'd love for everyone to enter this giveaway so simply leave a comment and let me know something that you are thankful for this season. I'll announce a winner on November 15, which leaves plenty of time to make use of these for your Thanksgiving celebration! Good luck & thank you for reading!

PS - Happy Birthday to my brother, Todd! I love you very much & hope you are having a wonderful day! See you soon!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Online Deal @ Paper Coterie!

One of my favorite coupon bloggers, Hip2Save, posted about a deal on Paper Coterie for $30 off any purchase through November 13 (not including shipping)! I've only read positive reviews for this company so I decided to check it out. Awhile ago, I thought of this great idea to make a recipe book for Chris' mom for Christmas. We exchange recipes fairly often so I thought a compilation of my favorite baking recipes would be a perfect gift for her. I was delighted to see that Paper Coterie offers custom-made recipe books for only $17.

It was really easy to personalize the book with my own pictures and text. I was able to add 15 recipes to the book, a personalized message, a table of contents page, and 4 full pages of color pictures. Once I added it to my cart, used the promo code, and selected the shipping method, I only paid $6.95 out of pocket! 

Here is an example of one page out of the recipe book:

Paper Coterie has so many other options to purchase, most under $30, so you could be getting a free product(s) if you take advantage of this deal by November 13. With the holidays coming up, I am trying to save money/get deals on everything so I wanted to share this awesome deal with my readers. Hopefully this will help some of you out, too!

Click here for all of the details & the promo code.

Disclaimer: I was not asked by Paper Coterie to write this post, nor was I compensated in any way. 
I wanted to share a positive experience I had with my blog readers.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Scarf Swap Link Up!

I hope by now that everyone has sent & received a scarf for the Fall Scarf Swap I hosted.

(If you haven't received a scarf from your partner, please let me know! I want to be sure that everyone fully participated. If there were any bloggers that signed up and did not participate, I want to be sure that they are not included in any future swaps.)

I hope that you will link up with me today and share the scarf you received from your partner.

If you have already posted about the swap on your blog, feel free to link that post here today!

I was partnered with Keri over at From Jersey Roots to Cowboy Boots, and let me tell you, she completely spoiled me! She sent me three (YES, THREE!) beautiful scarves and I can't wait to wear each one! I love all of the designs so much! Keri also included a Starbucks gift card that I will be using to get my favorite fall lattes.

Thank you so much, Keri!

Now it's your turn to share!

Link up below!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Today feels like a Monday

Since yesterday was the Halloween party at work, it really didn't feel like a Monday. We goofed off for a majority of the morning, had lunch catered, and were hyped up on sugar all day. The best part of the day was winning the costume contest! I now have consecutive wins under my belt!

I submitted my costume photo to the official NE Patriots Facebook page and I'm hoping that by some miracle, Tom Brady sees it and decides he wants to meet me since I'm such a dedicated fan! I mean really, I wore this the day after the Pats lost to the Steelers so that's saying something about my loyalty :)

Chris & I had a nice weekend! I had a coupon for a free steak dinner from Outback so we went on a date Friday after work. I forgot how yummy the Bloomin' Onion is.

Since I've started running recently, I quickly discovered that my worn out running shoes weren't going to cut it for long. I had been looking into shoes on Zappos, but wasn't really committed to shopping online. We happened to go into REI just to look around after dinner, and I found a great brand and style of running shoes (this link is for Zappo's and the price is much higher) that were on clearance (only $63 for my pair). I was so excited and took it as a sign from above! Chris gifted them to me! I've done a couple of runs in them and I can tell a big difference in comfort already.

This is for all SCARF SWAP participants: I will have a link up on my blog this Friday. Please consider participating and sharing your new scarf with all of us! If you have already written a post about your scarf, feel free to link us to that post. I'd love to be able to visit all of you and I'm sure that others would too!