Friday, November 29, 2013

SparkleLouder and WIN with Hpntotiq Cocktails on New Year's Eve!

Hello Black Friday fans! What's better than finding something cheap out there today? Winning something, FREE!

Have you entered Hpnotiq's SparkleLouder contest? The December 8 deadline is quickly approaching! Don't miss your chance to win some fabulous prizes, especially when entering is so easy.

All you have to do is upload a photo (a selfie, a pic of you and a friend, a shot of you in a sparkly outfit) and use Hpnotiq's SparkleLouder app to make your photo shine bright like a diamond. Share your photo on the internets using the hashtag #SparkleLouder. Hurry! The Hpnotiq SparkleLouder Contest runs until December 8. Entering is easy, don't delay!

Every time you upload a photo you have more chances to win Hpnotiq's SparkleLouder ContestWhat are we winning? Tell them Vanna!
  • 1 of 20 EFFY Diamond & Blue Topaz Rings prizes (there are four Effy Ring winners each week). 
  • The Grand Prize: a once in a lifetime trip to New York City for you and three girlfriends to see the ball drop in Times Square on New Year's Eve. 
Imagine that - you, three of your BFFs, Ryan Seacrest, and eleventy billion of your closest friends screaming 2014 to life in NYC all thanks to Hpnotiq.

In the event you AREN'T a grand prize winner, what are you going to do? It's never too early to start planning. 

Since my husband is a mummer, we do our big celebration on New Year's Day. My typical new year's eve is a nice big dinner, some drinks, and bed soon after the clock strikes midnight.

Are you planning a cocktail party? A dinner for two? A night out with friends? Whatever you're doing, add a Hpnotiq Sparkle Louder cocktail like the dazzler, sparkle-tini, or spritz of glitz to your evening. Since I love champagne, my choice is of course the Hpnotiq Sparkle Louder Dazzler, which is 2 ounces of Hpnotiq Harmonie combined with 2 ounces of champagne. For more fabulous Hpnotiq drink recipes to kick off your New Year's in style, click here.

What Hpnotiq cocktail will you be trying on New Year's Eve?

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Currently...

Anticipating...the five day weekend ahead. Serenity now, mofos.
Practicing...not thinking so much and just being.
Listening to... 
When I Was Your Man - BRUNO MARS by Bruno Mars on Grooveshark

Wearing...a big sweater to hide my pre-holiday weight, dirty hair and a big grin because this is a short week. BOOM.
Wanting...to dole out roundhouse kicks to the face to everyone involved in the Steubenville High School rape case. I can't even articulate my feelings about what happened to this girl. The complicity of  a community in making the victim seem like the criminal makes me sick to my stomach and also full of rage. The rape culture must stop. Do your part by not blaming victims. No matter what, they never asked for it.

Watching...Sons of Anarchy, almost to season five. Juice! What are you doing? Clay! Just die. I freaking hate Clay.

Needing...to purge some closets. I feel material items weighing down my soul. 

Smelling...Clinique Happy Heart perfume.

Drinking...coffee. I love it way too much lately. In my defense, I also have water.
Reading...The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

Feeling...like hibernating. Tis the season!

Loving...the sky on fire sunsets I've been seeing.

Hating...when people insist that others should adopt a dog instead of buying a puppy. Adoption is not for everyone. We bought a puppy once and adopted twice and there are so many instances in which I see how adoption would NOT work for the majority of families. So cool off, judgy assholes. Live and let live. Adopting dogs does not make you superior. And when I'm ready to buy another puppy, seriously, come at me bro. 

Planning...my winter to dos/goals.  

Missing...Beverly Hills, 90210. Always. Can't we just pick it up where it left off? I know some of you would volunteer to write episodes.
Enjoying...cozying up in my ubiquitous cardigans. 

Wishing...people kept a gratitude journal of things they were thankful for 365 days a year, and not just 30 days in November. I truly believe your life gets exponentially better when you are grateful for all things, big and small. Start every day with a grateful heart. You won't ever regret it.
Thankful...for a space on the Internet to store my mental inventory, and to you for reading it. 

Haikuesday:
Hark! Five day weekend.
Sleep, read, eat, relax, recline.
Wear elastic pants. 

Today is one of the only instances in which Tuesday does not suck, because it means I'm poised on the precipice of a five day weekend.

No posts for me until Friday. I'm wishing you the very best Thanksgiving with your framily. Wear the stretchy pants.
Keep up with me on Instagram and Facebook this weekend. Toodleoo mofos!

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Monday, November 25, 2013

TWTW - pre-Thanksgiving version

After some hausfrauing, MFD and I went for a late dinner. It was gooo-ood, Clark.
Wedding dress shopping with my sister-in-law to be. It was a lovely family affair morning! Aubrey, her mom and sister, me, my mom, and step-mom.
1 - Cozy with Mae at home.
2 - We still have leaves. I am not amused.
3 - MFD has hidden his talent for precisely folding towels for over 11 years. WTF!
4 - Enchiladas using leftover turkey based off of this recipe on High Heels & Grills.
5 - What I thought was a fail (letting the cheese on top cook too long) turned out to be a huge plus - it was like a cheesy crunchy taco shell outer layer, and MFD and I actually both loved it. HA.  Sometimes kitchen fuck ups can work out in your favor.
Kit Kat D and I were opposites in pink and black. I took Melissa, Alex, Jenn, Kit Kat, and Debbie to Brother's for their first time. And then made them stand facing the sun in negative degrees and whipping wind as I snapped a totally awful photo. Sorry fraands.

Peters and I went shopping. I've had the urge to change my decor up a bit. I've been rotating stuff throughout the house but I needed fresh blood. The pieces that are now next to the door used to be on top of the entertainment center. I replaced them with large lanterns and may place two smaller pieces to each side of the center vase if I see something that strikes my fancy. I also updated the tray on the ottoman.
Also on the Sunday agenda:
-Visiting my uncle in the hospital - they're not sure what's going on with him, so if you could send some general good thoughts his way, I'd appreciate it.
-LOST reruns.
-A trip to Target with MFD to check out fake Christmas trees (I want to move to one), pick up some necessities and a new winter door mat.
-Packing for the week.
-Sons of Anarchy.

All of those things 
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Get out there and kick some ass today.
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Friday, November 22, 2013

HO HO HO Mofos. Holiday Gift Ideas.

Confession: I suck at gift giving. I always want people to tell me exactly what they want, so I make sure they get it. If they don't, I am sadly much more comfortable gifting someone with things I have and love than going out on a limb or buying them something that will just sit there and collect dust.

This list of holiday ideas are gifts I can personally recommend because you will find them in my house and on my person. I will always choose a gift made by an entrepreneur over a shelf item, and this list is a little of both. Everyone is gaga for Black Friday - don't forget Small Business Saturday! Patronize entrepreneurs!

1. Infinity scarves from Four Barefoot Children, an Etsy shop with handmade items made by my friend Courtney, who I've known since junior high. I have the mustard chevron infinity scarf. Soft, warm, super comfortable, and priced right, these would be a great gift for a coworker, teacher, yourself...

2. Something soothing for the dry skin club: Vitamin E Body Butter by The Body Shop (you should buy the 50% off Groupon that gets you $20 for $10 and the entire site is buy 3 get 3 or buy 2 get 2 RIGHT NOW) paired with a pair of exfoliating gloves and Boots No. 7 Luxurious Foaming Shower Oil. The key to not getting dry skin is exfoliation, so don't skip the gloves!
3. Jewelry by Debbie Rae Designs - as you can see, I have a lot of her bracelets. She also makes necklaces and earrings and can do custom pieces. Your outfit is simply not complete without a Debbie Rae Designs piece.
4. Hand-knit scarves to sink into and hand-quilted table toppers are available from my aunt Lori. Her scarves are gorgeous, the one she's modelling is the fourth she's made for me, and the table topper is my Christmas topper. I have a fall topper too and people are always asking me where to get one. This is where! Shoot her an email.
5. I am cuckoo for monogrammed items, especially glasses and mugs. My friend Suzi is one of the owners of My Fab Glass - give someone the gift of a special glass or mug this holiday season. Hell, give yourself one. One for me, two for you, etc.
6. Do you have a coffee lover in your life? They must have the Aerolatte mik frother (AKA fuffer). You will not be sorry, they will love you. Pair it with a monogrammed mug like the above.
7. Do you know someone with a sick sense of humor? Gift them with Cards Against Humanity. It is awful, horrifying, shocking and hilarious. It will give a whole new meaning to a dysfunctional Christmas.
8. I freaking love Yankee Candles and I want them buring in my home at all times, so I like to give them too. They keep running their buy 1 get 1 free sale. Take advantage.
9. Other beauty items: Pre de Provence sage soap. I adore it. MAC Lip Glass set.

10. Other accessories: striped or argyle socks and awesome gloves in a dashing color.

What gifts do you like to give - and get? Have you done any holiday shopping yet?

Happy happy birthday weekend to my lovely long-time friend Gwen. Have a fabulous birthday tomorrow. Love you! Visit Gwen's blog/facebook/twitter/instagram and show her some birthday love!
Happy weekend!
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Linking up with

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday Thoughts...your weekly dose of random shit


via
1. Before we begin the Christmas music season, let me be the first to hate on that horrifying Christmas Shoes song for the following reasons: a) no one wants to hear wrist slitting music at the holidays b) Jesus does not care about what type of shoes you wear when you die c) read a and b one hundred more times and never play that song ever.

2. Not even the hotness that is Ian Somerhalder can make me continue to watch The Vampire Diaries. I'm out. I've had enough of that wishy washy whiny bitchass Elena, EMO Jeremy, poor dead delusional Bonnie, and sensitive vampire man Stefan. Send Caroline and Damon to The Originals and let's call it a day.

3. If you've read here for a while, you'll know that I abhor UGGs. I have an even better reason to now that it's come out that they are shaving the SKIN off of sheep along with the wool. I am fucking dying over this in a bad way. It is awful. Check it out.

4. Does the world at large know that the correct way to say it is should have/could have and not should of/could of?

5. Why can't I be better at flossing? By the time I'm ready to go to sleep I am literally dropping into bed. I'm gross.

6. Have you guys heard of the Sandman Slim series? I'm reading the third one. They're easy reads but entertaining. Check them out. Also check out Another Clean Slate's most recent book round up. I added The Girl You Left Behind and The Silent Wife to my to read list.
7. I've purchased seven Christmas gifts. HO HO effing HO, mofos! And bags from the Dollar Store because there is zero reason to spend more than $1 on a bag. Overall, I don't buy for a ton of people, so this put a big dent in my list. I am okay with shopping in advance, I try to do it throughout the year to spread out expenses, but no Christmas decor or music in my house until after Thanksgiving.
8. This past weekend was my first time brining a turkey. That shit was amazing and I will never roast a turkey without brining it again. Do you brine?

9. Another Bieber sex story in the news. His team is working really, really  hard to try to convince the world he's into girls. Bieber, gay is okay. Being a douche is not. Sorry, we can't help you there.
10. Ecard of the week EVEN THOUGH the period is outside of the quotation mark, incorrect use of it's/its, an inexplicable capitalization (why can't ecard makers all be grammar wizards? WHY?), etc,:

BOOM goes the dynamite.

What else, let's see...oh yes. I carried a watermelon.
Happy Thursday, y'all.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Thanksgiving Tradition

Hello friends! Today Jenniemarie, who blogs at Another Housewife, is guest posting for me as part of a Thanksgiving Traditions blog swap dreamed up by Jana at Jana Says. You can find my post on Thanksgiving Traditions here. I'll be back tomorrow with Thursday Thoughts. 
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Hello! My name is Jenniemarie, creator of Another Housewife. On any given day you will find stories about my adventures as a housewife. My ultimate goal is to create a legacy one memory at a time. Today I will be sharing with you our Thanksgiving tradition.
Every Thanksgiving my dad, a single father of five, would cook this enormous feast. While every other family I later learned had turkey, we ate ham. I suspect it may be more lack of skill rather than the taste of ham trumping that of a bird. No one said a word because a.) the ham was delicious and b.) we didn’t know any different.

It was the only time of year we all sat around our fancy dinner table normally used as a command center the other 364 days of the year. You know the kind of table with everything you could imagine five motherless kids could possibly place on (backpacks, school projects, books, laundry, sporting equipment, arts and crafts projects, etc.)

My dad would place dinner on the table, with the ham at carving distance from him. Then he would pray. My dad, the alcoholic who never went to church, prayed over our family. We then went around the table and said what we are thankful for, always ending with my dad. He would pour out his heart with thanksgiving for us kids. He made sure we knew he was proud of us and despite our situation, we were truly loved.

Throughout the years because of the death of my dad the logistics of Thanksgiving have changed. Where we meet and what we eat have had some interesting twist and turns. No matter the circumstance, one thing remains the same, we always go around the room and verbally express what we are thankful for.

Cynics will argue that we should be thankful for our blessing more than once a year. I wholeheartedly agree. I make every effort to raise our kids with a grateful, servants heart all year-long. However, I say to you, "Shame on you for criticizing what may be the only time of year families are brought together to give thanks?"

If it wasn’t for our Thanksgiving tradition, I may have never heard my daddy pray. I may have never heard him, soberly, share his blessings. More importantly I may not have learned how blessed we were despite our situation. 

Looking back, the significance of our traditions as a child has had huge impact on the person I have become today. It saddens me that Thanksgiving is becoming a stepping stone to the "give-me" month December has morphed into. Don’t even get me started on Christmas. The demise of the Spirit is being marred by the greedy, self centeredness of our entitled culture but I digress.

In our home Thanksgiving is a celebration of a years worth of blessings. It is a day when believers and non-believers come together in fellowship, enjoy a feast and continue a tradition of giving thanks in order to create a legacy for the next generation. That my friends is worth being celebrated, even if only once a year!

What are your Thanksgiving traditions?

Do you have turkey or ham?
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Thanksgiving Timeline


There are 470,892 Thanksgiving recipes out there, so instead of sharing the recipes I used when we hosted Friendsgiving this weekend, I thought I'd share my timeline in painstaking detail because that's what really amps people up. Thanksgiving is a meal where the main course takes up your oven for a lot of the day and there are 702 side dishes you also need to put into the oven. And it has to be on the table simultaneously, so it all comes down to timing. If you want any of the recipes, please leave me a comment or shoot me an email at lifeaccordingtosteph@gmail.com and I'll get them to you. My menu for eight adults and one child:

Appetizers: 
Raw yellow peppers with onion dip
Devilled eggs a la Debbie
Cheese and crackers
Butternut squash soup a la Angie

Main: 
Turkey
Mashed potatoes
Stuffing - in the bird and out of the bird
Spinach casserole
Sweet potato casserole
Corn
Green beans
Rolls & butter
Cranberry sauce (jelly)
gravy - with pan drippings
gravy - with pan drippings and giblets

Dessert: 
Peanut Butter and chocolate buckeyes a la Jenny
Apple and pumpkin pie a la Amanda

Dinner was scheduled for Saturday at 6:00. Sorry if this bugs your eyes out, but here's my play by play:

Friday:
2-3 p.m.: Grocery shopping: me at two stores and MFD at two stores.
3:30 - 4: Chop herbs for brine, prepare brine for the turkey, put turkey in the brine breast-side down and into the fridge. Name your turkey. Our turkey's name is Bernard.

4:15: Slice foccacia bread into bite sized pieces for stuffing. Allow to sit out for the rest of the night on a jelly roll pan.
4:30 - 6:00: Chop celery and onions for the stuffing, sage/rosemary/thyme for the stuffing, peppers for the app, onions for the spinach casserole, herbs for herbed butter. Store in separate tupperware containers. Remove a stick of butter from the fridge. Snap ends off of beans, store in a ziploc bag.
6:05: Become consumed with fear that my 15.23 pound turkey will not be enough, and put a 7 pound bone-in turkey breast in the oven. Baste every half hour.
7:00: Thaw and squeeze water from two packs of frozen chopped spinach. Store in tupperware.
8:20: Remove turkey breast, let rest for 20 minutes then remove to platter.
8:30: Make giblet gravy with the pan drippings (MFD).
8:45: MFD carves turkey breast. I cut up lemons, limes, oranges for drinks.
9:00 Make herbed butter with the herbs designated for it and the butter that's been softening for a few hours.
10:00:  Turn the turkey over onto its back in the brine, put the cubed bread into a gallon-sized ziploc.

Saturday: 
8:00 a.m.: Turn turkey over so it's breast side down in brine again.
9:00: Prepare spinach casserole and bake.
9:15: Receive email mentioning butter, realize butter was left out of the casserole, haul ass into the kitchen and frantically add it.
9:30: Prepare sweet potato casserole.
9:40: Remove spinach casserole and allow to cool on counter, put sweet potato casserole into oven.
9:45: Saute onions and celery for out of the bird stuffing, assemble.
10:00: Remove turkey from brine, dry thoroughly with towels, put on a platter and refrigerate.
10:15: Remove sweet potato casserole from oven and allow to cool on counter, put stuffing into oven.
10:15: Realize I will need more bread for in the bird stuffing. Toast backup bag of pre-cubed bread in the oven for 20 minutes. Thank the universe audibly that you always overbuy and do not have to rush to the store. 
10:20: Realize I need more herbs, onions, and celery for in the bird stuffing. Chop then saute.
10:45: Remove stuffing from oven and allow to cool on counter.
11:00: Remove turkey from fridge and set on counter. Dry it again.
11:15: Put stuffing, spinach casserole, and sweet potato casserole in the fridge.
11:45: Prepare turkey with veggie oil, herbed butter, and stuffing.
12 noon: The bird goes in the oven. Baste at 45 minutes and every half hour after that, rotate pan hourly.
12:15 p.m.: Make onion dip and refrigerate.
12:20: Wipe down the kitchen, run the dishwasher, do the kitchen floor. Put towels used to dry out turkey and clean into the wash.
1:15: Consider painting nails but realize you need to wear oven mitts as gloves for the next five hours.
2:00: Set the table.
2:30: Set the drinks up, make extra pitcher of iced tea, put a stick of butter out in a glass dish, fill up salt & pepper shakers
3:15: Turkey smells done and according to the thermometer, it is done. Tent that bird with foil.
3:30: Peel and cut potatoes, store in pot of cold salted water on stove top. Open three cans of corn and put in a bowl, cover with saran and refrigerate.
3:45: Move bird to large platter. Make gravy with pan drippings.
4:00: MFD carves turkey (and eats it surreptitiously like a wild jackal), arranges it in a weird presentation, and covers tightly with foil.
4:10: Turn oven to 200 and put spinach casserole, stuffing, and sweet potato casserole in the oven, covered.
4:30: Raise heat to 350.
5:00: Boil water for potatoes. Start to get really hot after standing in front of oven for eleven hundred days.
5:15: Steam green beans for 6 minutes, put gravy in gravy boats, open cranberry sauce and refrigerate. I am now moving like a well-oiled machine. 
5:25: Put apps and cold drinks out, fill ice bucket, light candles.
5:30: Saute green beans in three batches.
5:30: Finish off mashed potatoes (MFD). I heat up giblet gravy from Friday night.
5:35: Pull sweet potatoes out of the oven, put turkey and mashed potatoes in (covered), reduce heat to 275.
5:45: Put rolls in basket and cover with a towel.
5:50: Remove everything from the oven, put marshmallows on top of the sweet potato casserole and broil. Put remaining food on the table. Keep a close eye on sweet potatoes. Microwave corn, green beans, and gravy. Go go Gadget arms.
5:58: Make sure everyone has drinks and all dishes have spoons. Ladle soup into bowls. Bark out orders. 
6:00: Grab cranberry sauce in a last chance power drive.
6:04: Sit down to eat. Boom. The meal is eaten in less time than it takes to peel the potatoes, which I only ever do on Thanksgiving. We eat them with skins the rest of the year. 

Haikuesday:
Gather round, my friends. 
(If you fit with all the food)
Can tables collapse?
My advice:
1. Buy what you can. For me that's rolls and cranberry sauce. If you make rolls, make them ahead and freeze them.
2. Do not concoct a pie in the sky menu that you're not going to be able to execute. Keep it simple. Let people fill the holes in your menu. Write down or know a schedule in your head.
3. Do whatever you can before hand - chopping veggies is a big one. Setting out dishes you'll be using is too.
4. Ensure your turkey has ample time to thaw if you buy frozen. And dry that bird like it's the only thing keeping the world from catching on fire.
5. Make dishes ahead and reheat.
6. Have another pair of hands or two for the last 40 minutes and make someone else carve the turkey. MFD took care of the potatoes and Debbie helped with dishes and putting food out.
7. Wash and clean as you go, and get rid of as many dishes as you can before anyone arrives.
8. Have an empty dishwasher ready to be filled. You do not want to face clean up with a loaded and full or loaded and clean dishwasher.
9. Purchase Dollar Store tupperware so people can take leftovers home and not steal your precious tupperware.
10. Have fun - it's not supposed to be so stressful that YOU don't enjoy the day.

We didn't need the turkey breast except for leftovers - I like to have enough to send people home with food. We all want Thanksgiving leftovers, don't we?

Are you hosting Thanksgiving? Going somewhere and making a dish? Give me the scoop.

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Linking up with Blissfully Miller and Let's Get Bananas for

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