Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Wishes

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends. Does anyone else find Thanksgiving to be a good day for introspection?

I have many wishes for all of you today - that you feel love if you're spending this holiday alone, that you feel camaraderie if you're spending this day with others, that you're keenly aware and grateful for your blessings large and small today and every day, and most of all that you each experience a moment of serene stillness in your soul today that allows you to take a deep breath and realize you are enough.

Your strengths, your weaknesses, your talents and your deficiencies...they all balance out and add up to enough.*

When you embrace the concept of enough, you don't have to cling so hard to your strengths, be ashamed of your weaknesses, feel guilty about your abundant talents, or inadequate in the face of your deficiencies. There's a feeling of wholeness that's comforting and invigorating all at the same time.

Out of everything, that's what I wish most for you today. To know you are enough. And to know that enough is better than perfect any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

E-card of the week, because it's Thursday and that's what happens here on Thursday. To my fellow freaks who don't like their food touching:

Happy Thanksgiving. Peace, love, and turkey.
 photo purple_zpse5f7f916.png *As long as you're not an evil criminal who hurts others, of course. Serial killers, this is not meant for you.

Linking up with Kristin and Joey for Stuff & Things

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gift Ideas for the Hostess with the Mostess

1. Beautiful Volcano Flowers from The Bouqs - $50. Send some beauty. They last a long time, and if you spent a long weekend with someone or had a great time at a holiday event, show your host some sugar. That is an affiliate link. I sort of feel like flowers are a good thing to send after you leave or before you arrive. It's hard to shove flowers into someone's hands when they're busy greeting and doing.
2. Chocolate Covered Sea Salt Caramels from Whole Foods - 6.99 - 8.99. Perfect hostess gift. If you do the old one for you, one for me method of gift giving, you will eat them all. Trust. Kelly introduced me to these in Boston and I've been hunting them down ever since. You can only get them in certain parts of the country, which is some bullshit. Come on, Whole Foods. Spread the love.

3. Wine. It's the universal sign for I wanted to bring you something, I figured this was okay.

4. You knew a coffee mug was going to be on this list. Try the host's initial, first or last.
5. Downton Abbey Estate Blend Tea ($11.99). Don't we all want to have a cup of tea with the Dowager Countess?

6. For the hosts with a sense of humor: Cards Against Humanity ($25) or if they already have that, one of the expansion packs ($10).
7. Some assorted beauty products and sample sizes in a cute makeup bag. If assembling those types of things isn't your bag, keep some pre-made sets on hand. This one is $14.99 at World Market.

8. A bottle of nail polish and a pair of fancy dancer dish gloves. Let's spread the love and all do our part to make a necessary chore glamorous. I buy mine at HomeGoods for about $4 each.
9. Mini Bonsai Garden Kit ($9.99) if they're into things like that.

10. A sincere thanks for having me note with a $5 gift card to the host's favorite coffee place.

What do you like to bring to your hostess with the mostess?

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 Linking up with Shanna for Random Wednesday

Linking up with Liz for Fitness Blondie's Blog Hop:
The Hump Day Blog Hop

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Oh look! More spinach...Spinach & Artichoke Dip

If you couldn't tell from the recipes for spinach muffins and spinach casserole I've shared recently (in addition of course to spinach dip) as well as my proliferation for adding spinach to my breakfast burritos and egg muffins, I am an enormous fan of spinach. Spinach is an excellent source of fiber, protein, Vitamins A, C, E, K, thiamin, B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. 

As we head into the ho ho holiday party season, we naturally look for some solid dishes to bring along to parties or to serve ourselves at home. I'm not one to reinvent the wheel when it comes to dips. The saying oldies but goodies exists for a reason. 

Hot spinach & artichoke dip is one of my favorite fall/winter apps. It's creamy, dreamy, and most of all easy. I serve it with Ritz crackers and raw red peppers, but it's good with tortilla chips too! You don't need to craft a photo-finish Pinterest masterpiece every time you want to make an app, and this dip is proof of that. 

8 oz light cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayo
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 14 oz can or jar of artichokes, drained and chopped
1.5 cups finely shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese - I don't love it so I stick to close to a quarter
a pinch of kosher salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced, or 2 tsp + of garlic powder (to taste)

Mix everything together and put it in a tiny crockpot on low for about 2 hours. Mix every once in a while. Reduce heat to warm or turn off entirely until you need to warm it up. 

You know what would be awesome to mix this? A kitchenaid. I'm on the lookout for a great deal online this weekend. If you see one please let me know!

Popeye. Spinach. Me.
What love may join together
Wait, that is marriage. 
What's one of your go-to appetizers for the fall and winter months?

On a national note...I've written about Ferguson before. I can't do it justice here today but I did share some feelings on Instagram because I don't want to be radio silent about things that matter while I'm sharing recipes all la di dah. My thoughts are with the community there and with all of us for peace. 
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Linking up for
Martinis & Bikinis

Monday, November 24, 2014

TWTW - the one before Thanksgiving

1. Friday night Friendsgiving at Bridget Foy's. I've been friends with these guys since high school, and some of us have been friends longer than that. Their partners have rounded out our circle nicely. We've seen good, bad, and ugly together, supported each other through a lot of bad shit, and shared a zillion laughs over the past 20 some years. A lot of my best memories involve these people. I'm grateful for them.
2. I had fish tacos and a side of mac & cheese. Alagash, cheesecake, and coffee rounded out the meal. They show their desserts on these little viewfinders there. It was pretty cool.
3. Saturday morning I split up the book ends and took Gus to get his nails clipped early. That was an experience that's best summed up by the phrase shit show.
4. Speaking of dogs, I got this mat for the basement that has their photo on it from Personal Creations. Now they can walk all over themselves.
5. Weekly food prep and freezer cooking...ham and cheese egg muffins for breakfasts, a mix of wild and brown rice/steamed broccoli/chicken for lunches, Hungarian mushroom soup for dinner on Saturday, breakfast burritos to freeze, and cheesy chicken and wild rice casserole (no cream of soups) to freeze for my girl Marla at Luck Fupus along with veggie beef barley soup and power breakfast muffins. The morning wore me out.
6. Like all weird dog owners, I was taking selfies with Mae. She's not good at them. She provides eleventy billion outtakes.
7. Saturday night errands followed by Designer Bag Bingo.
8. Coffee talk with Brie from A Breezy Life Sunday morning. We were talking nonstop for nearly two hours. It was great!
9. A blissful wander around Marshalls. I needed a new suitcase for our upcoming trip. I did not need anything else.
10. Sunday dinner: korean beef over brown rice with a side of steamed veg.

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On Mondays I'm doing a picture linkup called Picture Practice with Kelli at Just Beachy. If you'd like to participate, here are the prompts through December. Share on your blog, or if you don't blog on Twitter or Instagram every Monday with the hashtag #PicturePractice. This is my photo for the prompt thankful. I'm thankful for these fools and the comforts of home. Here's MFD with hat hair in case you've ever wondered what that looks like. And me with no makeup/shower, but you know what that looks like.
Short week! Let us give thanks.

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Linking up with Kelli for

Linking up with B Loved Boston for Weekending.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Five: Best Organizing Resources

I was born with the organizing gene. I like to look at nicely organized stuff. I also like to search for the best organizers out there. Every space has different challenges and therefore, different solutions. Part of the fun for me is in figuring out how to organize a space. I call on my own experiences, but also on those of others. Here's where I go for inspiration:

1. Real Simple - Every month, without fail, they have something related to storage or organizing that makes me go hmm. I subscribe to the magazine but you can also check it out online, they have a whole tab devoted to organizing.

2. I Heart Organizing blog - I like her writing, approach, and her photos. And of course her free printables.

3. An organize search on Pinterest - I like to gloss over these pics. Some of them are insane, and the systems are so elaborate that there's no way in hell anyone is sustaining that level of organization, but it's fun to look anyway. And something I see might inspire me.

4. Friends - I am always interested in how others organize their lives, and I ask them about it. I learned this travel test tube trick from my friend Mimi. 

5. Unclutterer -  A place for everything, and everything in its place is our gospel. Hello, that's my mantra. I don't like the set up of the site but I do like the information so I access it on Facebook and Twitter.

As you know, this month's Choose Your Own Adventure Goal Setting Challenge theme is Organize. How are you making out? I'm halfway through my goals and I feel pretty confident that I can turn this mother out this weekend. Speaking of this weekend, 
happy happy birthday to my long-time friend Gwen of Confessions of a Gila Monster on Sunday.

Please share your favorite organizing resource in the comments so I can check it out!

Have a great weekend.

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You may also like Top 10 Tips for Decluttering and My Top Five Organizing Tips.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Everything She Wants - Under $30

Dear friends: Sorry I felt the need to use a very crappy video still for the opening graphic of this post. That 80s hair, you guys. It forced my hand. I love Wham, and that I will not apologize for...this song is decidedly not Christmas-y but the title is good for a list of generic gift ideas, no? Have a listen to the song and peruse the list over a cup of coffee.

Everything She Wants by Wham! on Grooveshark

While I think it's too early for Christmas decor and am puzzled by the eleventy billion Christmas trees in my Instagram feed right now (staunch after Thanksgiving lady here), I like to get the commercialism out of the way so I can enjoy the sights, sounds, and company of framily during the season.

I like to decorate, visit, and bake in December. I do not like to shop for specific items in December, or even go in big stores at all. I do all of my shopping online so I can earn cash back through Ebates. If you haven't signed up for Ebates, you're missing out! Here are some ideas under $30 for the ladies in your life. Some you can see by the photo I already use/own. I always think what brings me joy/is useful/makes life better, and then I tend to gift that around.

Kate Spade NY Reusable Shopping Bag from Nordstrom - $16 and close enough to Treat Yo'Self. It comes in black & white polka dot too.

Earth Therapeutics Soft and Smooth Shut Eye Sleep Mask - $9. Package it with some lavender essential oil and a pair of cozy socks and send your gift recipient off to dream land.

Dirty Dancing DVD - Yes, everyone should own it on DVD in case the apocalypse happens and all streaming systems go down. It's $4.99 on Amazon. Stuff it in everyone's stocking. Be my baby. Nobody puts baby in a corner. Etc.

Not Your Mother's Hair Basket - varies, $5.99 each, catch a buy one get one 50% off at Ulta! I love the Clean Freak Dry ShampooBeach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray, and Smooth Moves Frizz Control Hair Cream. Pack it with some awesome pony tail holders and fire away. Hair needs gifts too.

Yes, Please by Amy Poehler - $18.20 hardcover. I haven't read it but I'm picking it up at the library tonight and I can't imagine it will miss the mark. Amy rules.

For the FNL Fan - $27. Tim Riggins approved.

Muji Acrylic Three Drawer Case - $24.75. Or the two drawer. Or the five drawer. Or any of them. They're sleek and they hold makeup and other small lady things well. I freaking love my Mujis.

Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler - $18.92 hardcover. This book spoke to my soul.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Body Butter - regular $20, always on sale. The only thing that gets my skin through the gross scaly winter.

Pug Cosmetics Bag - $15. For my pug peeps. Come on, it's funny.

Echo All Over Touch Gloves - $28. I own them in light chartreuse but love all the colors. They're warm too.

Who doesn't love a coffee mug? This one is one I personally own from OnDisplayGraphics on Etsy. She's got a lot of cool mugs. Pop a bag of coffee or a box of K-Cups in the bag and you're good to go.

What are some gifts you're giving aside from peace, love, and your presence this year?

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 Linking up with Shanna for Random Wednesday

Linking up with Liz for Fitness Blondie's Blog Hop:
The Hump Day Blog Hop

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Spinach Casserole

This recipe is a super simple side. I adore it and love it all the time but definitely on Thanksgiving.

The original recipe calls for two cups of cheese, two cans of cream of celery soup, and a half cup of melted butter. I have a tropical vacation coming up in less than a month and my ass doesn't need to be any fatter, so I made a lighter version. I'll present both.

Regular Version
2 cans cream of celery soup
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup onion
3 cups croutons
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 boxes of frozen chopped spinach, thawed, water squeezed out
2 eggs, beaten

Light version
Cream of soup substitute (one of the directions on the right is one can, so two of that, you can google this to come up with your own if you don't like this mix)
1/2 cup onion
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup shredded cheese (your choice, I used cheddar)
2.5 cups of croutons
2 boxes of frozen chopped spinach, thawed, water squeezed out
1 egg, beaten

If you are using cream of soup substitute, follow directions. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit before adding to other ingredients. 

Mix everything together, put it in a greased 13x9 casserole dish, and cook in a pre-heated 375 oven for 40 minutes. You can halve this and make it in an 8x8 as well. 
Light version
Thanksgiving food talk...
What is your favorite dish?
"All" is a reply.
What's one of your favorite sides that withstand lightening up well?
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Linking up for
Martinis & Bikinis

Monday, November 17, 2014

TWTW - wedding style

1. Early dismissal on Thursday for Aubrey & Stephen's rehearsal dinner featuring great people, good food, fine wine, love, excitement, and freaking snow. On November 13. How about no?
2. Not invited to the wedding, they got me up early on Friday in protest.

3. The lovely ladies of Sensational Scissors hooked us up with hair and makeup and kept us to our schedule. By 1:30 we were off in a limo towards Normandy Farm courtesy of Aubrey's mom.
4.  What a lovely venue, really. My old friend Susan from a former job works there and hooked MFD and I up with a lovely room. The entire staff was gracious and accommodating and the grounds were beautiful, but the true star of any wedding is always the gorgeous bride, and Aubrey was indeed that.
5. And then they were wed. MFD performed the ceremony and he was great. I love love love this photo. I can't wait to see the professional shots, our BFF Evan of Evan Leslie Images was awesome capturing the day. 
6. When you're in a wedding and you're me, you end up with 487 photos of yourself with others including your husband, grandparents, parents, siblings, aunt, DJ (our friend the awesome DJ Bill McCay), and walking into reception partner(hi Jared and Donna with the photobomb) and very few photos of the wedding details themselves, which were fabulous and all done by Aubrey. Pinterest would cry seeing her creations, everything was attended to and everything came out amazing. She put a lot of thought and creativity into this day and it showed.
7. Other miscellaneous shenanigans. It was a really fun, late night that culminated in my little brother picking my hair pins out of my hair in the parking lot at 3 a.m. 
8. I won't lie, Saturday was not pretty. Hashtag old lady status. After a morning of social things that I was not well equipped for, my Dad & Carol deposited me at home, where I napped most of the afternoon. Being social for so long takes it out of me, I'm not used to being nice for so many hours. My introvert tendencies called for a long period of recharging in silence. MFD got home around 5. We watched Dallas Buyers Club and some episodes of The Wire, laid around with the dogs and ordered Lee's Hoagies and that's all she wrote.
9. Not much in the way of food prep this weekend. Egg muffins with ham and cheese for breakfast, soup out of the freezer for lunches, bananas and veggies for snacks. 

10. Sunday consisted of 408720983 loads of laundry, dog lounging, magazine reading, putting stuff away from the weekend, and fresh sheets. I love a Sunday in which you can shower and put a fresh pair of pajamas on.
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This wedding was a wonderful celebration of two people I love, with so many other people I love. You can't ask for much more than that.

Tomorrow: spinach casserole.
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Linking up with Kelli for

Linking up with B Loved Boston for Weekending.
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