Finding The Right Address Sign

Have you ever seen one of those mailboxes on the side of the road that made you stop and check it out?  When I lived in Virginia, and even a couple times since moving to California, I would come across all sorts of neat and unique mailboxes and address plaques. I would gather all sorts of inspiration from them and, at one point, I even gathered my own materials to add a little style to my own mailbox and house numbers. We moved before I could actually put them up, of course, but the dream is still alive. One day, I WILL have one of those adorable address signs!

One of the coolest, and definitely most efficient, accessories  you can add onto an address plaque is a solar light! These awesome lights are powered by the sun during the day and illuminate your address numbers or sign at night. This is great for when people are trying to find your house in the dark. The fact that you use no electricity is also great because you get constant light at night outside of your door, without jacking up your electric bill and unnecessarily spending money.

With the new year only days away, I think that checking out some house address plaques is definitely going on my “To Do” list. We’ve moved to a new home and what better way to make it our own than to put up something pretty that I’ve been wanting to do anyway!

Christmas 2011

Well, Christmas this year was definitely different than any Christmas I’ve had before!  Aside from the hustle and bustle that already comes with this hectic holiday season, I can honestly say that this year was the best year I’ve had in quite some time, probably ever. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy all those Christmas dinners where the family awkwardly gathered around {this was usually the one time a year we’d see most of the family}, but this is the first Christmas I’ve had where it was genuinly about family and friends,  not just about the fact that it was Christmas and we were being “forced” to be around each other. I enjoyed the company I was around and we definitely grew closer over the holidays.

One of the most exciting aspects for me was the cooking. I teamed up with my roommate {I’m still working on his sur-name for the blog LOL} and we created quite a feast for the family. The table setting was beautiful and I was pleasantly surprised with how much positive energy was flowing through the house!

First up on the dinner menu was, of course, the prime rib roast. Let’s start with just the BUYING process:

I stupidly decided to put off grocery shopping until Christmas eve. I will NEVER make that mistake again, I promise you that, as the only grocery store for miles was PACKED!! The upside, though, is that I went there to get an unbelievably expensive cut of meat, prime rib roast, and walked out with an entire cart load, including the roast, for under $200!  The meat itself was supposed to be $128, but it was ringing up at $40. The manager came over and tried keying in some different numbers. It didn’t work, so he looked at me and said,

“You know what? Merry Christmas, ma’am!” and I got the roast for $40!!!

After dealing with the thousands of morons who were out shopping on Christmas eve, getting a roast for 31% of its original price TOTALLY made it worth it!

After Little Man woke up and opened his gifts, there weren’t many to open, we started on dinner. It was supposed to be done around 3, but we ended up finishing everything around 5 or 6. WORTH THE WAIT!

About a half hour before dinner was done, everyone retreated to their separate corners of the house and got dressed up. I, the “all-natural” girl who never wears make-up or dresses up, let my roommate do my hair and make-up. I felt so silly at first, I never wear make-up, but after the reactions I got from the family, I really started walking around with my head high, posing whenever the occasion called for it {and even when it didn’t LOL}. I snuck off to the bathroom so I could take a picture without looking like TOO much of a dork {although I’m sure that made me look like an even bigger one!!!!}:

The food was DELICIOUS and it was awesome having someone else take the reigns for a day. I’m always the one who cooks and bakes, so it was awesome to be sous-chef for a day and just do all the little tasks my roommate needed to make HIS job easier. The simple, yet unbelievably tasty, dinner menu include:

  • Prime Rib Roast {slow cooked to perfection over hickory chips on the grill}
  • Creamy Mashed Potatoes
  • Hickory Smoked Carrots {we ran out of oven space and ended up just wrapping them up and throwing them on the grill}
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Rolls
  • & a Variety of Red Wines {I wish I could tell you which they were, but I’m totally not a sommelier LOL}

All-in-all, I have to say, this was one of the best Christmas experiences I’ve ever had. It came at a great time, too, because the sudden move we endured recently really drained Daddy and I. I’m extremely lucky that I got the Christmas shopping done BEFORE we moved, because I really wouldn’t have had the energy to get it done during all the chaos recently.

I hope everyone had a great holiday season and I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings {aside from the obvious “End of the World” scenario everyone keeps talking about}.

The Hobbit Is Finally Coming Out… Next Year!!

If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan like myself, then you’ve probably set aside at least one day {okay probably more} where you watched all of the movies, back-to-back, refusing to even stop for a bathroom break until you have to get up and change DVDs.

Okay, don’t everyone stand up at once!

Anyhow…

From the moment The Return of the King released in December 2003, Lord of the Rings fans of all types have been anxiously awaiting the 4th installment – The Hobbit. Yes, the book is in pretty much every library, but who reads these days?!  {That’s one of my biggest pet-peeves, by the way – when people complain that they want to know what happens next in a story and don’t take the time to go read the book!}

While The Hobbit won’t be out until this time next year, you can still check out the trailer thanks to FirstShowing.net! CLICK HERE

 Soooooooo – what do you think??

I’m psyched!

 

Finding Interior Design Ideas Online

Now that we’re in our own place and I’m finally getting things settled down and back to “normal”, I’m really starting to realize my lack of interior design capabilities.  I’ve always admired those people who could look at a room and instantly visualize what would look best and how to achieve those looks.

No matter how hard I try, my brain just doesn’t seem to process those little features that completely bring a room together. Honestly, I think this theory works on my wardrobe, as well!

Whenever I need some help with interior design ideas, I always turn to the internet. Somehow, looking at pictures where other people have so beautifully designed a room gives me inspiration. While I may not have the furniture or pictures they have in their rooms, seeing how they’ve assembled the different elements of the room definitely gives me ideas on how to assemble my own things.

Have you ever had issue with putting together a room in your home? Right now, I’m just concentrating on my bedroom and can’t seem to figure out what I want to do! During the move, we had to give up a lot of furniture and unfortunately, I used a lot of the furniture we gave up. That’s why I’ve been focusing on doing the best I can with what I have.

Any advice for the novice interior designer?

Christmas In T Minus 6 Days

Am I the only one completely blown away by the fact that Christmas is less than a week away?!

I feel totally unprepared…

Yes, I got a bunch of  my shopping done on Black Friday, but nothing is wrapped, my Christmas tree isn’t up {it was, but we had to take it down to move}, and pretty much all of my Christmas decorations are still packed away.

We watched Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer last night to help get us in the mood for the holidays. It was Little Man’s first time really sitting down and paying attention to the movie. Every time we’ve tried to watch it before, he gets distracted and wants to go do something else within the first 20-minutes! This time, we all gathered around and everyone in the house got together to watch it. I definitely think that helped him keep his attention.

Ready or not, Christmas is in 6-days.  Little Man has been making comments about Santa Clause’s arrival and what he hopes to receive. We didn’t get him a lot of presents this year, but we got him stuff that he specifically wanted. Since he’s never really gotten a PILE of presents under the tree, I’m sure the fact that there are only a few won’t bother him. I guess I always look to my own childhood and feel guilty that I can’t give Little Man the obnoxiously tall pile of presents my little brothers and I used to get. In reality, we never played with all those toys for very long. I’m sure we would have appreciated them more if we had only received a few instead of dozens. At least that’s what I’m telling myself so I don’t feel bad about not being able to afford more gifts. ;)

If you celebrate Christmas, where do you stand on getting prepared? Are your gifts wrapped or have you not even begun to shop? I could really use some motivation to help me get through the next few days!!

 

Show Everyone How Much Santa Rocks This Year With Just Jen Custom T-Shirts

Themed shirts were always a dreaded family tradition growing up. There’s nothing a child dreads more than those tacky Christmas shirts that everyone in the family is forced to wear and, somehow, got more and more embarrassing every year!

If only my Mom had a store like Just Jen to get our shirts from!  Just Jen is a hip custom t-shirt company featuring rhinestone t-shirts, clothing, and gifts. Whether it’s Christmas, a family member’s birthday, or your best friend’s wedding, Just Jen has just what you need. Their high quality shirts are adorned with custom rhinestones that are securely attached. I’ve washed mine quite a few times now and it still looks good as new!

To help ring in the holiday season, Just Jen sent me their Santa Rocks t-shirt. I was really surprised by  how many options you get as far as what type of shirt you want the rhinestones to be placed on. Being that it gets a little chilly here at night, I decided to go with the fitted long-sleeve in black. The dark background really made the design pop and I’ve been rocking the shirt a couple times a week since Christmas is so close.

Given the high quality and personalization of all the shirts offered by Just Jen, I have to say that their prices are reasonable, as well.  Each shirt is made to order and they are high quality – don’t expect the rhinestones to fall off easily like most! Most of the designs come e The Embarrassment Out Of Holiday Themed Shirts With Just Jenwith the option of over 10 shirt styles ranging from tank tops to baggy long-sleeves. Many can even be placed on the back of a pair of underwear or on some comfortable sweat pants.

This year, don’t embarrass your kids – get them some holiday shirts that they’ll actually WANT to wear!  For all your personalized rhinestone gifts, check out Just Jen!

 

 

 

Please note that I did not receive any type of monetary compensation for this review. I was provided a free sample to ensure an accurate and honest review, but all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

 

Sorry For My Absence…

I didn’t announce it on my blog because it was kind of a sudden decision, but my family and I have moved :)   While I can’t tell you where, I can say that we’re NOT in that damn desert anymore!

Because of all the chaos that surrounded our move, I had to distance myself from my blog for almost 2-weeks so I could concentrate on packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking again. With my holiday gift guide in full swing, it really couldn’t have come at a worse time, I know, but it’s one of those things that HAD to happen.

I’m getting settled into my new place and have made it through about 1/4 of the emails I accumulated while I was disconnected. I’m hoping to be up and blogging full swing again tomorrow, but it’s definitely going to take a few days for me to get caught up and back up to speed. I’ll be posting some more awesome gift ideas {including one for those Star Wars fanatics on your list} and emailing winners of recently ended giveaways over the next few days, also!! :D

Well, I’m back to it! I’ve got tons of work to do and just wanted to take a moment to explain why there’s such a big gap in between my last post and the ones that are to come.

THANKS EVERYONE!!

Give The Gift Of Custom Framing

Have you ever come across a picture and instantly known that it belonged up on the wall, perhaps over the mantel or bed? When you find a picture you absolutely MUST display, a custom frame is the way to go!

When you have a photograph or painting that you really want to showcase, a custom frame is the best way to go! Not only can they be completely customized to perfectly suit your artwork, but they can be fitted with any type of backing you want;  from clips for the wall or a fold-out stand for a counter top.

Picture frames come in whatever shape, style, and color{s} that you can think up. Whether it’s a simple frame to fit a special shaped picture, or a big elaborate frame to match the picture inside, there is no end to the possibilities with custom framing. NYC to CA, there’s a style for everyone.

The holidays are right around the corner and who wouldn’t love the gift of picture frames?!  They’re unique, personalizable, and something the recipient will surely be happy to receive. If you’ve got a photographer on your gift buying list this year, or maybe just a friend who would value a photograph of their family in a custom frame, picture frames {NYC} are an excellent gift idea!

 

 

 

I am participating in a blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog for custom framing nyc and was compensated. However, the views and opinions are my own.

Rachel VS Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off

As a Mom who cooks every meal from scratch for her family, it’s no surprise that I LOVE the Food Network! There is no better channel to watch when you’re looking for meal ideas and tips on how to spruce up your dinner recipes.

Some of my favorite shows on Food Network are the ones where the seasoned chefs compete against each other for the honor of “best chef”. When you get chefs who have been professionally cooking on television for many years, they’re always whipping out some of the most unique and unusual recipes and concoctions. That being said, I’m super excited that Food Network’s Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri will square off against each other in an upcoming Food Network competition!

RACHAEL RAY AND GUY FIERI COACH EIGHT MULTI-TALENTED CELEBRITIES ON RACHAEL VS. GUY CELEBRITY COOK-OFF

Starting January 1 at 9pm ET/PT, Rachel and Guy will coach 8 competitors through a tough competition where only one will gain the culinary bragging rights and a $50,000 donation to their favorite charity. The competition will span over 6-episodes and feature some eclectic contestants in fun and competitive tests of their culinary skills.

If you’re a food fan, make sure you mark your calendar for the upcoming Celebrity Cook-Off! Rachel Ray and Guy Fieri are two of my favorite chefs and they both make cooking extremely fun and easy. I’m anxious to see what crazy food ideas they come up with! Remember – January 1 at 9 sharp!

Super Simple Silky Chocolate Icing

After making cupcakes that had a surprise filling in them last night, Daddy’s first response was, “What, no chocolate icing?”  Now, he’s someone who doesn’t really like chocolate, so for him to ask for me to make some chocolate icing was quite a shock. I guess it was because the cupcakes I made resembled those you buy in the individually wrapped packages in grocery and convenience stores, they looked naked without a chocolate icing glazed over the top.

For more than 20-minutes, I scrolled through dozens of recipes trying to find one that I not only had the ingredients for, but also sounded delicious. I don’t like THICK frosting recipes and I can’t stand when they use a ridiculous amount of sugar {which is exactly why I didn’t just throw some sugar, cocoa powder, and milk together}. Alas, no luck.

That’s when I kind of threw a few ideas together and came up with this one. It’s more on the GLAZE side, but when it cools, it kind of hardens {pliable, not like a rock LOL}. It was very quick to make and only had 4-ingredients so you’re very likely to have everything you need already to make it!

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 Tablespoons of butter
  • 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 cup chocolate chips {semi-sweet}
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract {you can get away with just one teaspoon, but my hubby really likes vanilla}

First, melt the butter in a small sauce pan on medium heat.

Then, stir in the corn syrup.

Now, it’s time for the chocolate chips! Chocolate burns quickly so make sure you whisk the heck out of it! If you stop stirring, it’ll burn, so don’t stop stirring! :P

After the chocolate chips have melted, remove the mixture from heat, continue whisking, and add the vanilla extract. If you do this step while it’s still on the heat, the vanilla will evaporate.

Last, but certainly not least, drizzle the chocolate over the cupcakes. To make as little mess as possible, I put a dollop of it in the middle of the cupcake and then moved a spoon around in a circular motion to spread the icing out to the sides.

This is such a yummy recipe to have on hand and since there are only 4 ingredients, you don’t spend a lot of time mixing and transferring. It would work great on brownies! Once it’s cooled, it’s quite thick, but not abundantly sugary. This satiny icing is almost like a thick glaze, but can be used on bread, brownies, cupcakes, and full-sized cakes.

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