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Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Favorites: Thanksgiving Edition

Happy Friday all! Whoo it's been a week. I spent all day Wednesday traveling to and from Chicago (6 am flight, returning at 10:30 that night...long day!), so I feel like my week has been a little off. But I'm taking a day off/work-from-home day, so excited to cuddle up on the couch and watch movies with my little fur-buddies all day while sending the occasional work email. It's supposed to warm up to 50 on Sunday, so I'm excited for a little break in this crazy cold weather. 
Today I thought I would share some Thanksgiving favorites, especially since Thanksgiving is next week. Who thinks that is crazy. I can't believe we are almost through the month of November and Thanksgiving is around the corner. Also, if you are looking for helpful tips to host Thanksgiving, check out my post from earlier this week.
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I love creating festive centerpieces for my table, and it's especially fun when you have guests coming over. I think this is a perfect centerpiece for Thanksgiving. It's compact, so you still have room for all of the side dishes, and isn't too tall to block conversations from across the table.
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My favorite side dish is this Cranberry, Sausage & Apple Stuffing. It's a little more crumbly than typical stuffing because of the cranberries and apple, but it's very flavorful and a big hit in our family.

My favorite Thanksgiving dessert is the Pioneer Woman's Pecan Pie with Whiskey Maple Sauce. I'm not a huge fan of pie (I know right, who doesn't love pie), but I do love pecan pie. And this whiskey maple sauce, I could just eat it with a spoon. It's amazing!

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This is my new favorite Fall cocktail, and it's perfect for entertaining. It has all of the great flavors of Fall, and is great because you can make a big batch and then not have to worry about playing bartender all day.

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Outfits for Thanksgiving are very important because our family always likes to take Family pictures. I love this one because it looks cozy, but still a little dressy with the faux fur vest. I have been wanting a faux fur vest and have been looking for one that won't break the bank. Any recommendations?

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

And for more Friday fun, check out the Five on Friday linkup hosted by ChristinaDarciApril and Natasha.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Favorite Things Link-Up: My Santa Wish List

Greetings from the Arctic tundra! Where the high today is 21...ugh! But good news is it's day 1 of the My Favorite Things link-up, and today I'm sharing my Christmas Wish List. I've always been very good at making Christmas lists (just ask my Mother...ha!), and feel it's really in the best interest of the gift-giver. It leaves them with a lot less stress because they know exactly what to buy (and where to buy it if you are like me and include hyperlinks). Or at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it! So let's get on with the list!

My Santa Wish List

1. Plum Hunter Boots - I have a pair of red Hunters, which I love and get tons of compliments on. I've been wanting to get another pair, and I think this purple pair would compliment my wardrobe. A pair of cozy hunter socks would go well also to keep my tootsies warm.

2. Rose Gold Monogram Necklace - This is one of my favorites on my list. I've been wanting to get a monogrammed necklace (JHM....you know to help Santa :) ) and was debating between silver and gold, and what would go best with my wardrobe. But then I came across this rose gold version, which is perfect because I don't have anything rose gold, and I think it would go with either my silver or gold jewelry that I already own.

3. Kate Spade Like a Book Traveler's Mug - I'm always looking for cute coffee mugs to take to work, and I love the unique design of this one. Fill it with a Starbuck's gift card and it's the perfect stocking stuffer.

4. Swarovski 2014 Snowflake Ornament - I have been wanting to start an ornament collection, and I came across this collection and fell in love. I might actually purchase this year's ornament for myself so I can enjoy it during the holiday season. And yes I'm known to purchase at least one gift for myself during the holiday season.

5. Beagle Porcelain Dish - I love anything with a beagle on it, so this cute little dish is a must! They have a few other breeds as well, you know if beagles aren't your thing (and why not?!?)

6. 2015 Kate Spade Gold Dot Agenda - It's that time again, time for me to pick out a new planner. And I'm totally loving the gold dots on this one.

7. Michael Kors Watch - You can never go wrong with a Michael Kors watch, and this one is fabulous with the hot pink watch face.

8. Eyelash Sweater - I am loving the pink and gray stripes, and the best part...it's fuzzy. And on sale!

9. Puppy Sweater - I shared this sweater on Friday for my Keep Warm list, but love it so much I had to add it to my Christmas Wish List as well.

10. Tory Burch Robinson Tote - I have been eyeing this handbag for a while now, and hoping it someday goes on sale. Maybe Santa will get lucky and score it on sale for Black Friday.

11. Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook 10.1 - First of all, I'm loving this larger size, which just launched. Second, this gift is more than half-way on it's way to my door-step. I have $200 in B&N gift cards set aside, and only need to raise another $120 and then this will be mine. So Santa, B&N gift cards would be a welcome gift this year.

12. Moc Slippers - My current slippers (which Rick calls my purple sheep) have had a good run, and it's time for a new pair. Loving this pretty pink color.

So that's it...for now. What's on your wish list this year?

Linking up with:

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Holiday Linkup: Tips for Hosting Thanksgiving

I'm so excited it's round 2 of the Holiday Linkup, and this rounds theme is Thanksgiving. (**Note the official link-up is actually tomorrow, but I have another link-up post planned for tomorrow.) We have hosted Thanksgiving the last two years, and I have learned so much I thought it would be fun to share some tips I've learned.

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Planning is key, so here is my timeline for planning your meal:

-- Few weeks ahead of time - talk to your guests about what they might bring. Ask them what they would be interested in bringing, or feel free to assign. I usually ask people to bring the dinner rolls or pie or dessert. I try to find something easy for them to bring that they don't have to worry about warming up.

-- Week before - plan your menu and make your store list. This is also a good time to start cleaning out the fridge so you have room for the turkey and all of your ingredients.

-- Weekend before - go shopping. I like to go shopping the weekend before so I can get my turkey a few days in advance so it can start thawing. If you get a frozen turkey, place it on a sheet pan and place on the bottom shelf of your fridge. It's likely to leak once it starts thawing, so the sheet pan is key to contain the turkey juice. Keeping it on the bottom ensures it won't drip all over your other food (learn from my mistakes :) )

-- Monday before - a few days in advance I like to create my centerpiece, set my table and pull out my serving dishes.

-- Tuesday before - if you are making pies or desserts, this is the perfect time to make them.

-- Day before - I always mix up my side dishes the day before, but I don't bake them. I place them in my casserole dishes, wrap with foil, and place in the fridge. I will then bake them an hour before serving time. The only side dish I make the day of is the stuffing so I can use the turkey juices. Also the day before check on your turkey to make sure it's thawing. If it's still pretty frozen, it might be best to take it out the night before to start thawing in your sink (see more details below).

-- Day of: I usually pull out my turkey about 3 or 4 hours before I place in the oven to finish thawing. I place it in my kitchen sink, fill the sink full of water and place a kitchen towel over it. Then about an hour before planning to place in the oven, I start prepping it. I always use the guide on my turkey bag box on the oven temp and to determine how long to cook my turkey. I would plan on having the cooking complete about an 1 - 1.5 hours before dinner time. This will give your turkey time to rest, and will make your oven free for heating up your sides.

Some other tips I have learned include:

-- Use serving trays and tall cans/jars to make extra shelves in your fridge to help store all of your sides.

-- Make a list of all of your dishes and list in order of the time they need to be pulled out, or placed in the oven to heat up. The last thing you want to do is forget about something, which I did the first year.

-- Don't forget to take the bag of giblets out of the turkey before prepping it and placing in the oven. I actually did forget to do this once...oops!!

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-- Whip up a few appetizers while your turkey is cooking so they are ready to go once your guests arrive. If your timing is off, and dinner prep is running behind, these help so your guests don't go hungry. One of my favorite appetizers is this veggie turkey Rick and I worked on together before our guests arrived last year.

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-- Last year I made these cute turkeys to dress up my dinner table. They were super easy and a great conversation starter. I just took some pine cones and hot glued some feathers I picked up at Michaels to look like tail feathers.

Looking for some menu inspiration:

-- Last year's Thanksgiving recap with recipes and a great recipe for using up left-over turkey

-- My Thanksgiving Remix post with a fun twist to mix up your Thanksgiving meal.

Linking up with:

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Favorites: Stay Warm Edition

Happy Friday! How we are almost to the middle of November I will never know. It seems like just yesterday Starbucks announced the PSL's were available, and now I'm seeing Red Cups all over Instagram. 

Since Winter finally arrived here in Ohio (this morning it was 19 degrees people...burr!), and most of the rest of the US it seems, I thought I would share some things I love to help keep you warm this weekend.

Stay Warm

1. I love comfy PJ's and lounge ware to keep me warm while cuddling up on the couch. These cute flannel macaron PJs from Target are extra comfy and will keep you warm (I have a Llama pair just like them and love them!). I also love these micro performance fleece pants from Old Navy which are currently on sale for $9.

2. Comfy sweaters are also at the top of my list for staying warm. I just love this aztec sweater from Hazel and Olive, and I can't get enough of this puppy sweater from Nordstrom.

3. In the winter you will always find me lounging around in furry slippers and thick socks. I'm in need of a new pair of moc slippers and just love this pink pair. I'm also loving these striped socks from Gap.

4. Sippin on hot coffee, hot tea and hot chocolate is my key to staying warm all winter long. And drinking it in a cute mug is a bonus. I love my travel mugs, like this one from Kate Spade, for work and cute ceramic mugs, with my one of my favorite phrases, for home.

5. I found the softest blanket at Pier 1 the other day and totally need to go back and get it. I love to curl up on the couch with my love and our puppies and just pile on the blankets to keep warm.

What are some things you love to keep you warm?

And for more Friday fun, check out the Five on Friday linkup hosted by ChristinaDarciApril and Natasha.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Honeymoon Recap: Charleston Part 1

So we are coming up on our 5 month anniversary, and I figured it was time to finish our honeymoon recaps. Today I wanted to share one of my favorite parts of the trip...our time in Charleston, SC. I have a million pictures to share, so I'm planning on breaking this up into 3 parts. Today I wanted to share some of my favorite pictures of historic Charleston.

We spent 3 days in Charleston, and stayed in the historic downtown area. Our hotel (which I'll share more about in the next post), was in the heart of it all, which was great because we could basically walk to everything. I think we walked about 22 miles during our 3 day stay, which made up for all of those delicious meals we ate (which I'll also share in my next post).

Some of my favorite parts include...

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I loved Rainbow Row. The houses were just so colorful and the flower boxes were beautiful. I decided if I was going to live here, I definitely wanted to live in a brightly colored house.

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Or possibly live in this brick house, which was another favorite of mine.

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I could have taken pictures of the flower boxes all day long. I actually purchased some cute coasters from the Farmers Market that were pictures of Charleston flower boxes. It's funny because the vendor that sold them to us had just moved to Charleston a few years ago from Columbus...small world!

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Our hotel was on King Street, which is where all of the shopping takes placed. We didn't actually do much shopping, but it was fun to walk up and down King Street and do a little window shopping.

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Another favorite part of Charleston was the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning. I fell in love, and so wished we could take home a bunch of veggies and flowers. They had these amazing bouquets in large cans with brightly colored labels. And the most amazing hydrangeas and sunflowers.

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They also had a juice stand called The Juice Joint, that served fresh juices. I enjoyed the Strawberry Fields juice which I believe had strawberries, apples and pears in it. So good!

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We enjoyed a little time at the Battery, but it was getting ready to storm, so our time there was pretty short.

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We really enjoyed looking at all of the cannons and thinking about all of the history in this city.

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I seemed to be constantly snapping pictures of different homes and telling Rick I wanted him to buy me something similar someday. You can barely see it, but this home has a blue porch ceiling which is a tradition that is supposed to give good luck and protect against evil spirits. Definitely something I would love to have as part of my home someday...in addition to this beautiful garden.

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Charleston is known as the Holy City for its many churches. This one is St Michaels Episcopal Church and it's steeple was one of my favorites.

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Washington Square wasn't far from our hotel, and was a nice quiet little garden, with not much traffic. It had a George Washington Statue commemorating George Washington returing to Charleston. The statue states that in 1881, 100 years after General Cornwallis' surrendered to General Washignton at Yorktown, the city of Charleston renamed it's first public park Washington Square in honor of George Washington.

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There is also a memorial to the Washington Light Infantry. This memorial is made of Carolina gray granite and is a miniture version of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. The memorial is about 42 feet high and is inscribed with the names of important millitary battles.

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The entrances to Washington Square had this amazing iron work which is something that many historic cities such as Charleston and Savannah have which I love.

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Rick and I spent probably an hour trying to get a good shot of the Pineapple Fountain at night. We found a great place to set my camera so it would capture a clear shot, but the minute we were ready to shoot, someone would walk up to the fountain and start playing in it, or just stand there and stare at it. But we finally got a picture sans silly people in the way.

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We also captured a good shot of these fishing boats which were just south of the Pineapple Fountain.

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I'm also pretty proud of my Arthur Ravenel Bridge night picture. Rick and I enjoyed snapping pictures and trying out different settings on my camera. After all of the craziness of the wedding planning, we realized we really missed just exploring and taking pretty pictures and both vowed we would try harder to enjoy this a little more often now that the wedding is over. We've had some success so far keeping that promise, so I call that a win.

Next up is what we ate and where we stayed.

Our other Honeymoon Recaps can be found here:
Virginia Beach
Colonial Williamsburg

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