Workin' It--Keeping Sane During the Holidays



Today I am linking up with Shay & Erika for their Workin' It series. December's topic is "Keeping Sane During the Holidays." Anyone else really need this right now?

We all start the holiday season so ready, so excited, feeling like this year we are going to have it all under control.  


elf spinning GIF

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Friday Favorites: Wine Exchange, Hallmark Movies, Scottish Walk and MoroccanOil


This has been a Good week, but a busy week and I am flat out tired. So as I link up with ErikaNarci and Andrea for Friday Favorites, this is going to be a quick one about just some things that bring me Joy.  And it's the season of Joy isn't it? Here we go:

1) Holiday Wine Exchange:

Cookie exchanges are very popular this time of year and there are even recipe exchanges, but my friend Miss K hosts a wine exchange...yes a WINE EXCHANGE! This was the first year I was able to make it because Running Daddy and I typically attend another party on this night. There is a different theme every year and this year was Star Wars. The basic premise is that you decorate your bottle in the theme and then there is an old fashioned Yankee Swap. 


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TBB--The Blended Blog Asks Holiday

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Today I am linking up with the Blended Blog for The Blended Blog Asks -- a Good way to start a Monday. Let's jump into these Holiday Theme questions.

1) Real or Fake Tree?

Real all the way. We always buy from a church around the corner from our house and they have the Best customer service.

2) Favorite Christmas Cookie?

This is hard for me because I am gluten free, but Santa is very fond of the printed sugar cookies from Pillsbury!

3) Home on Christmas Morning or Travel?


We are always home.

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Friday Favorites: Holiday Hostess Gifts

We are about to get in full swing for holiday party season. So today as I link up with ErikaNarci and Andrea for Friday Favorites, I am going to share some of the Best ideas for hostess gifts. I try to not bring a bottle of wine as a hostess gift. I don't know about you, as a host, I have no idea who brought what wine but I can tell you who brought which hostess gift. Hostess gifts do not have to be expensive, just a lovely token of appreciation for a nice evening. So here are some Good ideas for hostess gifts to make things merry and bright.

1) Christmas ornaments

I love receiving Christmas ornaments as a gift. When I look at my tree, I can tell you who gave me every ornament on my tree.  Can't you? That's why ornaments make such a sweet gift. You can even add them to a bottle of wine to use as your calling card.

Here are some ornaments that I really like this season.



Camper               Moose Sweater         Snowflake 


2) Cocktail Napkins

I also love fun cocktail napkins and it's always fun to have a cute set to put out. Here are some paper options as well as a Lilly options to make the season bright.

Bubbles                      When you are drinking             Llamas 


Woody Wagon                               Lilly Flamingo                       Lilly Seahorse

3) Breakfast

One of my favorite hostess gifts to bring, no matter what time of year, is breakfast for the next day. Muffins or croissants for the family to enjoy are usually my go to. After a late night of partying and the dreaded cleaning up, it's a nice little treat to have waiting for the next day.

4) Hot chocolate

Who doesn't love a Good cup of fancy hot chocolate? A quality hot chocolate mix is always a Good idea and something the whole family can enjoy all season long. Choose something like salted caramel, peppermint or white chocolate for nice twist.

5) Paperwhite kits

Paperwhite are truly one of my favorite things about the holiday season. I love that you can grow flowers, basically in water, indoors that smell so beautiful. You can make a simple paperwhite bulb kit with a pretty vase, some rocks or decorate stones and the bulbs. You can also purchase these kits such as the one below. As the flowers bloom, your hostess will think of you.


So I hope I inspired you today for some really Good hostess gifts at  really Good price points. Feel free to share your Best hostess gift ideas in the comments below.

Now get ready to party!

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Show and Tell: Want, Need, Wear, Read

Show and Tell Tuesday Graphic 2017

It's been a few months since I linked up  with Andrea from MomFessionals who hosts a link up where we show and tell you something. This month the topic is Want, Need, Wear, Read. I am using this as sort of a Christmas list and gift guide.

This one is a little tough for me, because I don't really know what I want or need this holiday season. We literally just got the furniture into our basement renovation this weekend, through the window after a failed attempt to get it down the stairs, so I feel like so much is focused on finishing this level of house. Now it's time to take a break and have a little fun with this post.


Want


Candle Lanterns


I love led candles and they have come a long way in the last ten years. So many of them look so real. When I was coming up with ideas for the family room design elements, Running Daddy and I decided we would do a greige paint with soft blue accents. There is currently a lot of blue/grey in our house, but I don't care because it is such a Good color combination. I thought some silver accents would add some fun to the room, so I am currently looking for some very tall candle lanterns to add to the floor area around the fireplace. I would like to add some similar black lanterns to the living room fireplace area.


Here are some options I like:






***Contains affiliate links

I also want some new blankets for the family room. We are such a blanket family. While the ones we had from before the renovation are sill fine, I think a new one would Better pull the look together. Here are a few that I like and both happen to be on sale:


Chevron Plush Throw (sale alert)                                   Barefoot Dreams Heathered Throw (sale alert)
***Contains affiliate links

Need

I think I need a new robe. I pretty much only wear a robe when I get out of the shower, but mine is several years old and it might be time for a new one. I have a summer robe that is cute and still in Good condition. Here is one that I like that might be Better for the cooler months.


***Contains affiliate links
Wear

This is going to be a mix of things that I am currently wearing and then a few things that I have seen lately that I really love.  


Casual looks can be a little tricky this time of year but here are a few things that I am wearing on repeat on the weekends.



I wore this to a party a few weeks ago when I knew we were going to be outside for a bit. This faux fur vest is just the Best as it provides warms but it is also so fun. This total look is all on sale right now if you want to add it to your Santa list or wear for a holiday event!

Jeans                                       Similar Vest                          Boots 
***Contains affiliate links


I also just bought these cords in boysenberry and a similar pair by cAbi in the same color as below. I think they are going to be a Good alternative to jeans on the weekend. These are also on an amazing sale.
***Contains affiliate links

This skirt may end up on my Christmas list as it is so fantastic and I think it could even be a Good business look.


***Contains affiliate links

Read

If you are looking for a Good read, or have a friend that could really use some encouragement during this holiday season, go ahead and pre-order If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey. While the book will not be out until the end of January, you can pre-order right now, right here. I am so happy to be part of the launch team and this book is so Good. While I read it over a month ago, there are parts that are still resonating with me.

Ok, now it's your turn! Tell me in the comments what you are going to Want, Need, Wear and Read this holiday season.


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Friday Favorites: Thanksgiving Wines

Image result for Give thanks

I am sure you are all aware that Thanksgiving is next week. Who else is excited? Because of the array of spices in the traditional Thanksgiving meal, the wine pairing can be tricky. Today as I link up with ErikaNarci and Andrea for Friday Favorites, I am going to give you five Good ideas for Thanksgiving wine. I think it is safe to say, we are all thankful for wine.

1) Cava

What could be Better than greeting your guests at the door with a little bit of bubbles? Cavas are a sparkling wine from Spain that are typically at a really Good price point. One of the Best Cavas that I have had is Dibon Brut Reserve



Dibon Brut Reserve


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Sausage and Pepper Pasta


I made this pasta last weekend in preparation for our school's big cross country meet. It's so Good but mostly it is easy and a whole meal in a bowl. This is a dish that I can also pull together in about 25 minutes or less on a weeknight. What could be Better than that? I posted this photo to Instagram and there were a lot of requests for the recipe, so here you go!
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Workin' It Wednesday--Planning for the Holidays--Thanksgiving Game Plan





Today I am linking up with Shay & Erika for their Workin' It series. November's topic is "Planning for the Holidays." For this month when we say holidays...I am going to focus more on Thanksgiving but I will also add in some of my shopping tips for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So this is how I am trying to get my Thanksgiving act together.

Food


snoopy charlie brown GIF by Peanuts

We don't host Thanksgiving but since I am gluten free, I typically make the dressing and a dessert. I find that you really need to plan ahead to make sure you have the Best ingredients this time of year. I have already stocked up on chicken stock because it you wait until the week before Thanksgiving they run out and all that is left in the store is  beef stock...and well, that won't work. I also have learned to only use Pamela's gluten free cornbread mix as the base for my cornbread, sausage and chestnut dressing. I have tried others and it is just not as Good. I also now take a shortcut and buy the peeled and roasted chestnuts available at Trader Joe's. Honestly, this dressing is so Good, you would never know it was gluten free and the answer to your question is....yes you can use regular cornbread too.

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Friday Favorites: Dress Shirts from Mill No. 8, Good Lasagna, Better Bedding, Red Cups and Joy


What a week where went from Halloween to the early start of the holiday season. Today I am here to link up with ErikaNarci and Andrea for Friday Favorites. Here's what I am finding Joy in this week.

1) Custom Dress Shirts by Mill No. 8





Earlier in the week I reviewed a new menswear company called Mill No. 8 that provides custom made men's dress shirts. Mill No. 8 offers 100% Egyptian cotton dress shirts with hand selected mother of pearl buttons, completely customized to your style and measurements. Their website provides step by step instructions for measuring to ensure the perfect fit and then you can choose your collar, cut and cuffs and your shirt will arrive in 2-3 weeks. 



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Mill No. 8 Review: Better Fitting Custom Menswear




When you think of custom made menswear do you think of James Bond, the hottest movie star or a member of a European royal family? What if I told you there is a way for your leading man to have the Best fitting clothing for less than $100? Thanks to Mill No. 8, a new custom menswear company, your guy can have the Best fitting dress shirts and pants at an affordable price.

Mill No. 8 offers 100% Egyptian cotton dress shirts with hand selected mother of pearl buttons, completely customized to your style and measurements. The ethically sourced garments include raw materials and inputs from seven countries making this truly a product of international style. 

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What's Up Wednesday: October 2017




It's the last Wednesday in October time to link up with MelShaeffer, and Shay to share What's Up Wednesday!


What We're Eating This Week


Monday- Grilled chicken made with T'Lish Dressing, with roasted carrots and acorn squash.

Tuesday-Pomegranate balsamic glazed salmon, jasmine rice and steamed green beans.

Wednesday-Grilled shrimp tacos, salad.

Thursday-We might be getting together with friends, if we do I will bring some sausage to grill.

Friday-Pizza night!


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Friday Favorites: Family Wedding, Historical Locations, Cute Pajamas and Help in Puerto Rico




Friday is here! Back today to link up with ErikaNarci and Andrea for Friday Favorites. Here's what I am finding Joy in this week.

1) Wedding weekend with all my people:

This weekend my nephew got married in New York and we got to be with my entire side of the family. Hockey Guy was a gift bearer and loved every minute of it. My parents were with all of the grandchildren and even their great grandchild...they had such Joy.


My niece and my dad

The venue was just spectacular, from the moment you drove up to the view outside. It overlooked the Long Island Sound and it was such a beautiful night for the happy couple.

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Ladies Who Link October: Flavors of Fall


It's that time again to link up with Mom's Coffee dateCoast to CoastMommy In A Nutshell and Pink Lady and for October we are talking the Flavors of Fall--Home Decor and Recipes.


Image result for fall black lab

Home Decor

I am not going to lie to you...my house isn't really looking like fall right now. With my travel schedule and the fact that until late last week we still had the AC running almost all of the time, I have not really had the time or motivation to decorate for the fall season.

By late next week, the outside of the house will be ready to go with our annual Spooky Walk that Running Daddy and Hockey Guy set up every year with our neighbors. They do such a Good job on this and it is bring us Joy that our house is a neighborhood destination for so many families.

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Popped and Paired Fall Snack and Cocktail Pairings Featuring SkinnyPop

Original  (4.4 oz. Bag)
SkinnyPop has been one of my go to snacks for the last several years. It is a treat I reach for when I need a work snack, a travel snack or I know when I am going to be in a place, like a track meet, for several hours where there may not be gluten free options. It's light, yummy, non-GMO and gluten free...what could be Better than that? 

SkinnyPop created several fall cocktail recipes and then paired them with their flavored popcorn for their Popped and Paired series. What I love about this concept is that this is the Best easy entertaining tip. In addition, because SkinnyPop is so light on the calories, you can easily spurge on cocktails and balance things out with your snack without feeling guilty.

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Friday Favorites: Best Sweatshirt, Moscow Mule Gummies, Hearth and Hand Preview, NJ Housewives and Pumpkin Spice Lattes


Friday is here! Back today to link up with ErikaNarci and Andrea for Friday Favorites. Here's what I am finding Joy in this week.

1) JoyLab Turtleneck Layering Sweatshirt

JoyLab is the new athleisure line from Target and it's amazing. I was in Minneapolis this week and checked out the new line because while it was crazy hot and humid at home...the Twin Cities felt just like fall. This is the Best sweatshirt for pairing with your leggings for hanging out in a hotel room but could also go with jeans. The fabric is light and super soft and the turtleneck has the perfect amount of slouch. Runs true to size, I took a small.


***Contains affiliate links
***Although I work for Target in Government Affairs, all opinions are my own
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Workin' It Wednesday: Making Your House Cozy





Today I am linking up with Shay & Erika for their Workin' It series. October's topic is "Making Your House Cozy." I am going to do my Best here, because it is currently in the 70's and 80's ...and it shouldn't be this time of year. So as I write this post I will pretend that the air is crisp and that it doesn't feel like you are standing inside someone's mouth currently outside. Seriously, it is so gross out.


 fall autumn charlie brown snoopy leaves GIF


Bedding

Flannel Sheets

We love flannel sheets in our house. I think it is the New Englander in me, but as soon as it is semi cool out I try to get our flannel sheets on the beds. 

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Friday Favorites: Leopard Shoes, Feeling Better When You Are Sick, Good Low Cal Ice Cream


This week actually flew by. Back today to link up with ErikaNarci, and Andrea for Friday Favorites. Here's what I am finding Joy in this week.

1) When the urgent lines are short:

I woke up crazy early Saturday morning with my head pounding and totally stuffed up. I have been fighting this for over a week and knew it was time for me to get some Better meds. When Hockey Guy woke up, I told him he should eat a quick breakfast and get dressed because he needed to go to urgent care with me before they got too busy. Running Daddy was going to be at the track meet all day, so I needed my urgent care companion. I mentioned that we needed to get there early before the sprained ankles from soccer and fall ball got there!

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The Blended Blog Asks: Fall Theme


Today I am linking up with the Blended Blog for The Blended Blog Asks -- a Good way to start a Monday. Let's jump into these Fall Theme questions.

1) Favorite Fall Sweet Treat?

Gluten free pumpkin roll from this amazing gluten free bakery near my house. It's the Best.

2) Red, Yellow, or Green Apples?

Red--McIntosh to be exact. They taste like fall.

3) Favorite Fall Sport to Play?


I don't really play any sports, but I watch a lot of youth hockey which has already started.

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Friday Favorites: Best Glasses from Warby Parker, Pumpkin Bread and Pancakes, Good Sandwich, Best Sheath Dress and Good Chef/Better Person


Friday is here! Back today to link up with ErikaNarci, and Andrea for Friday Favorites. Here's what I am finding Joy in this week.

1) Grilled brie, turkey and dried cherries:

I mentioned earlier this week I am working on some Good easy dinners to help with the nights there is a lot of homework. Tuesday night we had grilled sandwiches to order with organic tomato soup (thank you Trader Joe's). I decided I wanted something a little different, so I made a grilled turkey and brie on gluten free bread and then added some dried cherries, they were actually cherry infused Craisins. It was so Good. I will be adding this to my easy dinner and lunch rotation all fall.

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What's Up Wednesday September 2017


Why hello end of September. Where did you come from? Since this is the last Wednesday of the month I am linking up with MelShaeffer, and Shay to share What's Up Wednesday!


What We're Eating This Week

Monday-Shrimp tacos
Tuesday-Grilled cheese to order, tomato soup
Wednesday-Pork tenderloin with Tatefully Simple Slow Cooker Sauce
Thursday-Chicken pesto pasta
Friday-Pizza night

or Plan B---There is a lot of homework in our house lately, so I am also trying really hard to keep some really easy and healthy options on hand in case homework takes priority over dinner. A couple of nights last week we had grilled cheese sandwiches on really Good, crusty bread (including gluten free for me) with some pre-made organic tomato soup. Even a soup and sandwich can be made the Good Better Best way!

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