Sunday, July 31, 2011


I swear every cookie exchange I've ever been to, these tasty lil' devils are the rave of the party! There are many versions of this spectacular layered bar floating around but this one is the best in my opinion. The crusty outer and the gooey center makes for a killer combination. Be careful - you can seriously wolf down about 10 of these if you're not careful. An easy finger dessert for any party!


2 cups flour
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup melted butter
14 oz. pkg. light caramels, unwrapped
1/3 cup light cream
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 13x9-inch pan and set aside.
In large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, soda and salt and blend.
Add melted butter and mix until crumbly. Reserve half of crumb mixture (about 3 cups) for topping.
Press remaining crumb mixture in bottom of greased pan.
In a small bowl, combine caramels and cream.
Heat in microwave oven for 4-6 minutes on 50% power, stirring twice during cooking, until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth.
Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts over reserved crust.
Drizzle evenly with melted caramel mixture and sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown.
Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled. Cut into bars.

I hope this ends your weekend on a sweet note! xo

Friday, July 29, 2011

RETAIL THERAPY: Weekend Coupons

Starting your back-to-school shopping early? Need to get some items at the mall? Make sure to bring these coupons along with you. Every little bit helps right?!?

Click on link for printable coupons:

-Banana Republic Factory Outlet - 15% off $100+ purchase Expires 2/29/12
-Barnes & Noble - 30% off select titles Expires 8/1
-Bath & Body Works - Free Signature Collection Body Care Item with Any $10+ Purchase Expires 8/14
-Children’s Place - 20% off $40 / 25% off $50 / 30% off $60 Expires 7/31
-Coach30% off purchase Expires 8/7
-Gap Outlet - 15% off $75+ purchase – Expires 2/29/12
-JC Penney$10 off $25 – Valid 7/29 – 7/30
-JCPenney$10 off $50 – Expires 8/10
-Justice - 40% off purchase – Expires 8/3
-Kohl’s - 15% off purchase – Valid 7/29 – 7/31
-Michael’s - 50% off regular priced item – Expires 7/29
-Office Depot - $10 off $50 coupon – Expires 8/2
-Office Max - $5 off $25 – Expires 7/30
-Old Navy - Facebook Exclusive $10 off $50 coupon
-SearsFacebook Exclusive $20 off $100 – Valid 7/29 – 7/30

Happy Spending!!


I love thousands of things but I only need about thirty. Thirty staples. Yes, I know people might say I'm not adhering to "staple" in the strict bread-and-water sense of the word, but whatever you guys. Be serious.

On the top of my staples list is the Gilligan & O'Malley thong. Not the thong you put on your foot, the thong you put on your rear. And yes, I am being serious. :) My apologises if this picture of a woman's pelvic is offending you. I kind of feel weird posting it. I don't want it to seem pervy but I am passionate about you knowing about the best underwear in the world. From Target. Yep.

These thongs are the most comfortable, invisible, awesome underwear I have ever owned. Forget any of those fancy brands promising "no lines and no seams," which invariably give you elastic pooch or wedgies. This underwear is cut just right and the wide fabric hugs your sides in the perfect spot. They are smooth and soft (93% Cotton/7% Lycra Spandex) and don't pinch or dig. Say goodbye to the underwear provoked bulging fat rolls forever.

I just picked up a new supply - 5 pairs for $20. I personally love the all lace ones but the cotton are comfy too. These are available online or your local Target store. If this style isn't for you, Gilligan & O'Malley have other styles (and bras too!).

And those my friend's tickle my fancy!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


You've heard me say it once, and now you'll hear me say it again - do not, I repeat DO NOT drink your calories. Except of course when its a summertime cocktail. There's exceptions to every rule, right?!?

Although delicious, margaritas and daiquiris are often loaded with sugar and unnecessary calories that leave you bloated and hungover so before guzzle too many pounds this summer, I thought it would be fun to highlight a few of the best low calorie, low sugar, low carb drinks. Thank you for doing all the leg work for me. Whether your poison is a mojito or sangria, read on - one of these is sure to tantalize your taste buds!

White Sangria
adapted from

Combine fresh fruit and chilled wine to create a lighter version of traditional sangria, perfect for a hot summer afternoon.

1 small green pear or green apple
1 small navel orange
1 bottle cava, moscato d’Asti or other sparkling wine
1 3/4 cups apple juice
1 1/3 cups Cointreau
1 cup club soda

Slice fruit into thin bite-size pieces. Place in large pitcher. Pour in sparkling wine, apple juice and Cointreau. If possible, refrigerate an hour or two to draw out sweetness and floral aromas of fruit. Add club soda, and stir. Spoon some fruit pieces into glasses filled with ice, and pour.

Berry Dream
Created by The Cocktail Guru, Jonathan Pogash

Enjoy creamy drinks like pina coladas but are watching your calories? This drink perfectly blends coconut, berries and milk together with a fitting Acai-Blueberry vodka.

2 oz. Van Gogh Açai-Blueberry Vodka
1 scoop sugar-free raspberry sorbet
1 tsp. coconut cream
3 oz. skim milk

Add to blender and blend. Pour into hurricane or tall glass. Garnish with coconut flakes and fresh seasonal berries.

Low-Carb Cosmopolitan Cocktail
By Laura Dolson, Guide: Low Carb Diets

Take a spin on the classic cosmo by making it with diet cranberry juice and fresh lime juice instead of that sugary bottled stuff!

1 jigger (1.5 oz or 3 tablespoons) Citron vodka or regular vodka
1 oz (2 tablespoons) diet cranberry juice (NOT “light” — it must say diet)
OR 2 teaspoons unsweetened cranberry juice and 2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lime juice (fresh preferred)
2 to 3 drops orange extract
2 to 4 teaspoons sugar equivalent in artificial sweetener (to taste), liquid preferred

Put the ingredients in a cocktail shaker half-full of ice. Shake well. Taste for sweetness if using unsweetened cranberry juice, which is highly variable. You may need to add sweetener. Strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with a small lime wedge or curl of lime peel.

BLUE Skinny Lemonade

Lemonade has always been a summer staple, and Crystal Light has a portion of the sugar and calories as other mixes, so stir some up and add a splash of vodka to make this childhood drink more adult-friendly.

2 oz of Van Gogh BLUE Vodka
4 oz of Crystal Light Lemonade or Pink Lemonade (dissolve packet into water bottle before mixing)
Combine ingredients and shake vigorously in shaker with ice. Strain into glass and enjoy!

Blueberry-Lime Margarita
From Eating Well, as seen in Fitness Magazine

Instead of making a margarita out of syrupy mix, take a cool approach by blending frozen blueberries and limeade for a unique refreshing drink.

2 cups ice
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup blueberry nectar
1/4 cup seltzer
2 tablespoons frozen limeade
1 tablespoon lime juice
3 ounces tequila, optional
1 lime wedge, coarse salt

Combine ice, blueberries, blueberry nectar, seltzer, limeade, lime juice and tequila, if using, in a blender and blend until smooth. Rub rim of 2 glasses with lime wedge and dip in salt. Divide the margarita between the prepared glasses and serve.

Watermelon Gin Fizz
From Eating Well, as seen in Fitness Magazine

When you think of the summer, watermelon usually comes to mind. This delicious drink combines fresh watermelon with gin, lime juice and ginger ale for a sweet and sour cocktail.

5 cups diced watermelon, divided
6 ounces gin, divided
8 tablespoons lime juice, divided
1 1/3 cups ginger ale, divided
Lime wedges, for garnish

Freeze 1 cup watermelon for garnish. Puree the remaining 4 cups watermelon. Strain; divide the juice among 4 ice-filled glasses. Top each with 1 1/2 ounces gin, 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1/3 cup ginger ale. Garnish with the frozen watermelon and lime wedges.

Strawberry-Citrus Vodka Cocktail
as seen in Fitness Magazine

Made just like a mojito, this cocktail branches out from the original combination of rum, mint, lime juice and simple syrup to take on a fruitier approach. Made with strawberries, citrus vodka, lemon juice and mint, you still have some of the same flavors but with a sweet twist.

2 strawberries
1 sprig of mint
3/4 ounce light agave nectar, such as Wholesome Sweeteners
1 3/4 ounces citrus vodka
3/4 ounce lemon juice

In a shaker, muddle together mint and strawberries, then add the remaining ingredients. Shake vigorously with ice for 20 seconds. Pour entire contents of shaker into a tall glass. (Include all of the mint and strawberry pulp.)

Bombshell X
Created by Kevin Baker at the Isla Cantina in West Hollywood, California
This unique liquor is flavored with blood orange to be both sweet and tangy. By blending it with cucumber and grapes, you’re sure to have a fun drink that’s healthy at the same time.

2 oz X-Rated Fusion Liqueur
2 slices of Peeled Cucumber
12 Red Seedless Grapes

Blend all ingredients with ice in a blender. Garnish with slices of cucumber.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Remodeling projects that PAY OFF

In my previous life, I was a Real Estate Agent. Consultant. Realtor. Whatever you want to call it. I honestly miss it. Will I ever go back? Possibly. But for now, I like to stay up to speed on the housing trends. Interest rates. The current inventory. Tips and tricks to get the most bang for your buck.

A majority of Homeowner's, due to our unfortunate current economic crisis, are choosing to stay in their homes and do small home improvement projects with any spare cash. The problem is; most homeowners don't have the slightest clue on where to spend their money wisely. Here are some remodeling projects that will increase your home's resale value, improving chances for a speedy, attractive offer when you decide (or have) to sell. Do them now and enjoy the fruits of your labor while you're still in the home. Kitchen Improvements: As the hub of the house -- and its hardest working room -- the kitchen deserves special attention. New appliances and refinished or refaced cabinets can pay off handsomely.
Fresh Paint: Few other fix-ups can give you so much improvement for so little money and effort. Use a unified color scheme of neutral shades.
Simple Landscaping: Flowerbeds, foundation plantings, paths, and borders can make a huge difference in your home's appeal. If you buy small plantings and let them grow into their role, you get a particularly high value per investment.
Spruced-Up Front Door: Adding a new front door -- or simply painting an existing door and installing new hardware -- makes a great first impression and increases your home's curb appeal.

Additions and Outdoor Living Spaces: Additions that suit your home's style, scale, and traffic flow generally add value -- as do well-designed outdoor living areas such as porches and decks.
Added or Upgraded Bathrooms: Generally, adding a bath to a home that has only 1 or 1 1/2 baths will pay off at resale. Elements that prove most popular include ample storage, natural light, and ceramic tile on the floor and tub and shower surrounds.Updated Faucets and Fixtures: Add allure to baths and kitchens with good quality, stylish fixtures and faucets. These changes are relatively easy and inexpensive.
New Knobs, Pulls, and Light Fixtures: As with new faucets, these easily installed off-the-shelf items boost style and have a big impact with relatively little cost and time.
Renewed Surfaces: Worn flooring and chipped, scarred countertops turn off buyers; refinishing or replacing these surfaces with good quality upgrades provides instant appeal.

Wondering what projects DON'T pay off?

Not every remodeling project will increase your home's value. Some, in fact, can really turn off potential buyers. Value-reducers include:

~A built-in pool that takes up most of the yard.

~A super large garage.

~Strange room layouts, such as a bedroom that can only be accessed through another bedroom.

~A poorly designed addition that looks "tacked on."

~Too much white marble.

~Any upgrade that prices a house significantly above those in the neighborhood. Ask yourself; "Does this neighborhood warrant this type of upgrade?" A potential buyer isn't going to pay more if you feel you've over-done it for the neighborhood.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

If you do ONE thing this week...

SCRUB (and I mean scrub) YOUR KITCHEN SINK.

Especially the black rubber cover that sits down inside the ring. Yes it comes out. And don't forget about the metal drain stopper. I did this last week. OMG. Thoroughly repulsive.

According to a study done by the Hygiene Council which was funded by Reckitt Benckiser, the company that makes Lysol, there are 567,845 bits of bacteria per square inch in your kitchen sink drain.

Back in November I wrote a piece entitled, "Do you know what's cooking in your kitchen?" Go back and read it. I guarantee you'll make time to clean out your sink this week!

Supplies you'll need:
1) Scrub brush
2) Old toothbrush (make sure to flip back the flaps on the rubber stopper. Beware - it will be gooey.)
3) Rubber gloves
4) Clorox Bleach (or a cleaner that you feel comfortable with that is strong enough to cut the grime)

Monday, July 25, 2011


Have you signed up to receive Mobile Coupons from Target yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Thanks to OC Deal Mama I just learned about this convenient new feature. Although I'm all about saving a buck, I'm not a "coupon-cutter" so this is right up my alley.

These are Target Store coupons (that can be stacked with a manufacturer coupon on the same item for even greater savings) sent directly to your cell phone, via text message. If you would like to receive Target mobile coupons, text OFFERS to 827438 (Target), or sign up online. These are so easy to use. Simply pull the offer up on your phone at checkout, and have the cashier scan the bar code. That’s it! Request yours today!

Motivating Monday

How is something so simple, so hard??

Sunday, July 24, 2011


I found these tasty looking treats on and thought YUMMMMM! These are the perfect after dinner summer treat that are bursting with flavors of pineapple, vanilla and touch of almond. Healthy too.

~Pineapple Yogurt Popsicles~

1 Frozen bag of unsweetened pineapple tidbits {Trader Joe's}
1 cup Organic low fat Vanilla yogurt {Trader Joe's}
1 cup unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk
1/3 cup organic Agave Nectar
Popsicles molds. {She used Dixie's 5oz. Bath cups and wooden ice cream spoons as sticks or the Crate and Barrel ones I love so much will work too!}

Place all ingredients into the blender and blend together about 1-2 minuets.
Place cups on a tray. Pour mixture in to cups.
The mixture should be thick enough that the wooden stick will stand up in the cup.
Place tray in the freezer.

Makes 8 Popsicle's using the above mentioned cup size.

I hope ends your weekend on a sweet note! xo

Friday, July 22, 2011


Craving something cold and sweet? Don't forget to print off these coupons before you head out this weekend to save you money!!

~McDonald’s: BOGO Free frozen strawberry lemonade, frappe or real fruit smoothie (Exp. 7/31)

~Pinkberry: BOGO Free Frozen Yogurt (Exp. 7/24)

~Starbucks: Bring your morning receipt in after 2pm and get a cold beverage for $2 (Exp. 9/5)

~Dairy Queen: Sign up for their DQ Blizzard Fan Club and get a Blizzard treat coupon.


Amidst a dinner conversation with some girlfriends the other night, a book was recommended that was relevant to the topic we were discussing. With our whirlwind summer trip just days away and no good book on the check-list of items to pack, I hurried over to Barnes and Noble today to pick up Shauna Niequist's "Cold Tangerines." Although intrigued by the title itself, I am anxious to learn how cold tangerines ties into the subtitle; "celebrating the extraordinary nature of everyday life."

Found in the "Religion/Spiritual" section of Barnes and Noble, "Cold Tangerines" is a shameless appeal for celebration. The chapters are her stories or "love letters" to her own quotidian life that she hopes might possibly unmask the tiny glimmers of hope and redemption masquerading as normal life if your own personal life. As the back of the books states, Shauna gives us room to breathe, to break down and break through, calling us to our best possible lives.

Although I am going to wait to start reading once I am lounging poolside without any kiddos or distractions around, I did skim through the Introduction. It was all I could do to put it down. I can already tell this book is going to speak to me in more ways than one. Amongst the busyness. The doom and gloom. The daily distractions of children. The internet. Our jobs. Everyday expectations, I am hopeful this book will remind me to slow down. To enjoy the people in my life. Stand in awe of God. Celebrate more. Be in the moment.

If you're looking for a good read this summer, I highly encourage you to read this book along with me. To give you a little taste before you rush out to buy, here is alittle snippet of the captivating Introduction that tickled my fancy this week:

"This book is a shameless appeal for celebration. I know that the world is several versions of mad right now. I know that pessimism and grimness sometimes seem like the only responsible choices. I wake up at night and think about pesticides and international politics and fundamentalism and disease and roadside bombs and the fact that one day my parents will die. I had a hard year this year, the hardest I've yet known. I worry about the world we're creating for my baby boy. I get the pessimism and the grimness.

And that's why I'm making a shameless appeal for celebration. Because I need to. I need optimism and celebration and hope in the face of violence and despair and anxiety. And because the other road is a dead end. Despair is a slow death, and a lifetime of anger is like a lifetime of hard drinking; it shows in your face and your eyes and your words even when you think it doesn't..."

Inspired already?? I am. Thanks Jodie and Marni for the recommendation!

Available at Barnes and Noble for $14.99 or Amazon has it on sale for $6.00. And if you like this book, I'm sure you'll love Shauna's most recent book, "Bittersweet; Thoughts on Change, Grace and Learning the Hard Way."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

JUST SPOTTED: 7-in-1 Moisturizer

Wrinkles. Puffy eyes. Discoloration. Dark circles. As a woman, it's inevitable that you'll be plagued with one, if not all, throughout the aging process. Having been asked multiple times about the best eye creams to tackle such problems, I'm always on the look-out for the best, inexpensive products that can help my readers. This is one I'm pretty excited to share with you. It's not necessarily new on the market, it's just one that I recently spotted that might be the answer to your imperfections and help cut your cabinet clutter in half.

Let's admit it: We’re all guilty of having too many products. It’s hard to resist trying something new and before you know it, you have product overload. Summertime is a time for lightening up, so why not take the time to simplify your routine?

Multitask the fight against aging on multiple fronts with Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Aging Daily Moisturizer. Dark circles, fine lines, puffy eyes, loss of firmness, uneven texture, uneven tone, and dryness are no match for this moisturizer which is gentle enough for daily application on all skin complexions. Olay is a trusted name in anti-aging, and this cream is the perfect complement to its over-night products that work to leave you with firmer – i.e. younger-looking – skin.

Product Features:
~Fragrance and color-free daily facial moisturizer that fights 7 signs of aging.
~For the following skin types: Dry, Normal, Combination/Oily, Sensitive.
~Helps with these face concerns: Fine Lines/Wrinkles, Dull Skin, Brown Spots, Dry/Flaky Skin, Sensitive Skin.
~You'll love Total Effects 7X Visible Anti-Aging Vitamin Complex because it: minimizes the appearance of pores, eases appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
~Packaged in convenient, easy-to-use bottle.

Dying to get your hands on this product? Buy now for $17.50 on with free shipping.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

DEAL ALERT: Stock Up Sale!

In case you were wondering what's on my to-do list before August 4th, I'll be hitting up Old Navy's incredibly fantastic STOCK UP SALE to replenish my supply of everyday basics.

I was pretty stoked to see two of my faithful must-haves on the sale list; 1) The Perfect Rib-Knit Tank (originally $8.50, on sale for $5.00) and 2) The Perfect 5" Khaki Short (Originally $19.50, on sale for $15.00). Every girl's wardrobe should have a simple pair of black, white and khaki shorts. With those three colors, you can intermix a million cute shirts and tanks to have a plethora of outfits. And why you'd ever pay lots of $$$ on a basic rib tank is stupid. They all look the same and for the price, who cares if they only last you a summer. When mine become kind of ratty looking, they become a work-out tank. Forget high-priced Lululemon. You sweat in them for God's sake.

To take advantage of these amazing prices on fabulous favorites you have until August 4th. But why wait? You need those shorts and tanks for summertime fun right?!? And don't forget about the kids. They have summer apparel for as low as $3.97. With such incredible prices, you won't care if they grass stain the crap out of the knees by summer's end.


For a foolproof 20 minute supper with less than 7 ingredients, toss packaged cheese tortellini with roast chicken, herbs, brocolli and/or cauliflower and dried tomato pesto. Top with Parmesan cheese. If your kiddos won't touch anything with veggies mixed in, this recipe is equally as good if you steam the brocolli/cauliflower as a side. Easy-peasy.

~Chicken Tortellini Toss~
Serves: 4
Start to finish: 20 minutes

2 - 9 oz. pkgs. refrigerated cheese tortellini
4 cups broccoli and/or cauliflower florets
1 - 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs
1/2 of a 10-ounce jar dried tomato pesto (1/2 cup)
1 9-oz. pkg. frozen roasted or grilled chicken breast strips, thawed
Shaved Parmesan (optional)

On the stovetop, cook tortellini according to package directions.
Add the broccoli the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain and return to pot.
Stir in undrained tomatoes, tomato pesto, and chicken.
Cook, stirring occasionally, just until heated through.
Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


A few years back I received a gift set that included a floral designed tape measure, pair of scissors and a screwdriver. To be honest, I was stoked about the scissors. For some reason growing up my mom's scissors were always dull. It would drive me crazy. And to make my blood boil even more, she didn't just have one pair. She had five...

Back to the gift set. If I was a betting girl I would have thought the screwdriver and tape measure would have gotten tossed into my husband's tool kit. Although I don't think anything floral would have lasted long. Instead I decided to throw them in my miscellaneous drawer for those times I didn't want to go into the dark, cold garage to rummage through that foreign box of tools. And boy am I glad I did. I had no idea that the screwdriver of all things would become one of my most used items around the house.

For those of you with children, you know that you're constantly changing out batteries in toys, noise machines, etc. Side note: Why aren't batteries on baby registeries?? I don't know how many times, I've tried to force a Flathead to work on a screw that called for a Phillips and vice versa. Hence why I am in LOVE with the 4-in-1 screwdriver. This interchangable screwdriver is so convenient and the bits are super easy to switch out. The handle acts as a storage for the other bits which are spring loaded when not in use.

I reach for this screwdriver at least once a week and for that, I think every girl could benefit from having this handy-dandy HAVE TO HAVE tool in an easily accessible drawer in your home.

You can order this particular screwdriver here for $3.99. Or just ask your helpful (yeah right)Home Depot employee to help you find one.

Monday, July 18, 2011

If you do ONE thing this week...


Unfortunately the refrigerator takes a lot of abuse. We stuff it full. We forget about leftovers. We leave spills until they've crystalized. Then we complain when there's even the slightest unpleasant odor that could make one heck of a "science experiment."

Cleaning out your freezer and fridge means more than just a tidier-looking kitchen. Food kept too long or at improper temperatures can become contaminated with bacteria, which can cause illness. Most people, it turns out, don't understand the dangers of improper food storage. The American Dietetic Association found that only 40% of consumers knew that eating food that has been stored in refrigerators warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit can increase the risk of food-borne illness.

Indeed, food poisoning and other food-borne illnesses are very common. Last year, there were an estimated 76 million cases of food-borne illness in the United States, according to the CDC. And about 5,000 people died.

So before you become one of the million cases, I'm challenging you to carve out 15 minutes in your WEEK (that's only 15 out of 10,080 minutes!) and clean your refrigerator.

Let's get motivated and tackle the mess together:

1) Remove all the food to start.

2) Remove shelves and drawers and wipe down with warm soapy water or vinegar.

3) Wipe down the interior walls.

4) While letting the shelves dry, wipe off any jars or containers of food that may need it, like a sticky jelly jar or a crusty salad dressing lid.

5) Now replace food. As you work, check expiration dates and discard food past those dates. Food manufacturers are looking out for your safety when they stamp that food with a sell by or use by date. They aren’t there for show. It amazes me when people say “it smells okay, so its fine.” Yes, but do you really think bacteria grow instantly? It might not smell yet because the population of bacteria that’s setting up camp may not be large enough to exude a smell. By the time something actually does smell, it means the amount of bacteria has become large enough for you to sense. Let’s take a look at storage limits for food groups so you can start chucking things in the trash;

Meats - Raw meat is safe in the fridge for about 1-2 days, and then you need to cook it or stick it in the freezer. Chicken breasts and whole cuts of meat can stay in the freezer for up to 1 year. Ground beef, chicken and turkey can stay frozen for up to 2 months. Deli meats in the fridge that are opened are only good for about 5 days, but unopened can last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Eggs – Eggs will last 3-5 weeks in the fridge, although their yolks will be noticeably different (more runny) after about 2 weeks.

Condiments – Condiments can last about a year in the fridge, these always have an expiration date so be sure to double check your sauces, dressings and that ketchup bottle that’s been sitting there for a while.

Cheeses – Soft cheeses like brie tend to spoil faster than the hard cheeses like cheddar and swiss. Soft cheeses will last 1-2 weeks where cheddar can probably make it about 4 weeks. It’s important to note that you cannot just cut the mold off of cheese and eat the rest! Mold has fingers, which means that mold seen on the outside means that it’s also inside the cheese. So if you see mold throw it out!

Produce – You should shop for produce every week. Make sure you don’t over-buy your fruits and veggies (even if they’re on sale!) because this will lead to spoilage and food waste. Buy just enough for the week. Remember, the grocery store isn’t going anywhere; you can always stop in to pick up some more romaine lettuce for dinner.

6) And lastly - place an open box of baking soda in the back of the fridge and freezer to eliminate odors. Label the baking soda box with a Sharpie 3 weeks out from the current date. That way you know when to replace it. And CLEAN YOUR REFRIGERATOR AGAIN!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


How sweet is this...I'M BACK!!! Long story short, my husband went out of town and I didn't have the expertise to fix it. Nor did I want to pay for someone to come out so I took a much needed, healthy break from the computer for the week. Try it - it's heavenly.

Moving on to the good stuff - Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. Need I say more??? I found these brownies on How Sweet It Is and couldn't resist. One recommendation before making them; the white chocolate frosting is insanely sweet - almost too sweet - but by the next day, the white chocolate flavor seemed to blossom and the sweetness had diminished just a tad. Because of this, I highly recommend making the frosting a day or two in advance and sticking it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake the brownies; it will need to come to room temperature and will likely need a good stir before you’ll be able to frost.

Whatever you do though, don’t wait another millisecond to make these. You’ll be kicking yourself when they show up at your next party and someone else will be doing all the beaming.

~Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting~


For the brownies:
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz red food coloring (this is one small bottle or a scant 2 tbsp)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract, divided
1/2 cup (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

For the white chocolate buttercream frosting:

1/2 cup (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 oz good-quality white chocolate (not chips), melted
1 – 2 tbsp heavy cream


To make the brownies:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8″x8″ baking pan.

In a small bowl, slowly stir together the cocoa powder, food coloring, and 1 tsp vanilla into a thick paste until not lumps of cocoa remain. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then stir in the remaining 1 tsp of vanilla. With the mixer off, add in the cocoa mixture, then turn the mixer to medium and beat the two mixtures together until they are one uniform color. Slowly add in the flour and salt and mix on medium-low speed, just until combined. Do not overmix.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir up the batter with a rubber spatula once or twice just to ensure all of the flour has incorporated from the sides of the bowl and there isn’t anything stuck on the bottom of the bowl. You’ll want one uniformly colored (red) batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the brownies. Allow brownies to completely cool in the pan on a baking rack, about 45-60 minutes. Frost brownies in the pan, cut into 12 bars, and serve, or remove the entire batch from the pan to a cutting board, cut into 12 bars, frost, and serve.

To make the frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until soft and fluffy then beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time; allow the sugar to mix in before adding the next 1/2 cup. Once all of the sugar has been added, beat on medium speed for 30 seconds and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the melted white chocolate and beat on medium speed until incorporated. With the mixer on low, add in heavy cream 1 tbsp at a time and beat at medium speed until the frosting has reached your desired consistency.

I hope this ends your weekend on a sweet note! xo

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Foods to avoid to ban BELLY FAT

Although the names can be funny - pot belly, jelly belly, love handles, spare tire - excess belly fat is no laughing matter. In all seriousness, having excess abdominal fat is a risk factor for developing chronic illness such as heart disease and diabetes. To decrease these negative health risks, avoiding specific foods that produce belly fat is recommended.

In the great quest for proper nutrition, it can be difficult to sort out all the garbage from the good stuff. Well, let me rephrase that: It can be difficult if you allow it to be. Honestly, the perfect diet to ban belly fat is simple. Eat fresh, whole, healthy foods with as few ingredients as possible. Translation? A whole, fresh apple contains one major ingredient: apple. On the other hand, apple-cinnamon instant oatmeal contains sugar, preservatives, additives, and a whole laundry list of chemically altered substances in addition to the tiny bit of apple flavoring and oats you may get. Now, which sounds better to you?

Even so, I’d rather you go for the oatmeal than that apple turnover pastry taunting you from the deli case. If you are ever going to get that stomach you crave, there are a few foods that you absolutely must ban - and I mean ban - from your diet. Forever! They are:

Ice Cream: Dairy fat represents a big factor in belly fat increase. Ice cream and milk shakes have some of the largest fat totals of any foods, for example, there is approximately 493 calories in a 16-oz vanilla shake, according to the USDA Nutrient Database. That's nearly one-quarter of the calories allowed daily in a 2,000-calorie diet. Other fatty dairy foods to avoid include whipped cream, sour cream, and whole milk, yogurts and cheeses.

White, bleached, enriched, or otherwise altered flour-based products: There is a reason diabetics are not supposed to eat white bread. White flour has absolutely zero, zilch, nadda, and zip in the way of nutritional value. Got that? Nothing. However, it is converted by the body to sugar when it hits the blood stream, which means that you are just about as well off eating a cupcake as you are to eat a sandwich on white bread. It is nutritionally bankrupt and makes you fat, period. In that same bucket are biscuits, muffins, pies, pastries, donuts and baked goodies such as cakes and cookies. Most contain several kinds of fat, including unhealthy saturated and trans fats, that slow your metabolism, cause your blood sugar to rise and make it difficult to burn off calories.

French fries and potato chips: Yes, I know, they say that everything’s fine in moderation. Wrong! Not only are these snacks made of nothing but starch and usually have chemical preservatives, but they are also marinated in trans fat oil. Stay away! The low nutritional value of french fries does not warrant eating them often as a large serving of them has more than 500 calories. Most of the calories in fries come from 29g of fat. However, a better alternative is a baked potato with the skin, which has 0g of fat and only 118 calories.

High fructose corn syrup: You knew it was coming, right? This little substance that has become so popular wreaks havoc on your abs, not to mention the rest of the body. It is not processed in the body the same way as table sugar, but rather has to go through the liver first. Manufacturers are beginning to call it “corn sugar” as well, so be very careful to read labels. Hint: no sodas! Wondering where else high fructose corn syrup is found? In almost anything from candies, pies, cakes, jellies, canned fruits, salad dressings and even so-called health foods such as yogurt and fruit juice. Read your labels!

Frozen "Diet" meals: You know, the ones that have the word “lean” in the name? They are nothing but one big chemically altered smorgasbord of terrible. Besides, a fresh grilled chicken breast with scallions tastes 10 times better anyway!

Casseroles: Casseroles are another dangerous food to eat when trying to lose belly fat because of the fact it’s so easy to sneak a large amount of calories into them. Depending on the ingredients that go in (cheese, butter, creamy sauces, etc), you could take in over 600 calories per cup. Try and stick to grilled meat with vegetables while aiming for belly fat loss. It’s a far healthier decision since you can see exactly what you’re getting.

Clear these foods off of your plate, stick with foods whose ingredients you can readily and easily identify, keep it simple, and you’ll enjoy showing off those abs in no time!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Eight years ago when I registered for my wedding I had no clue what I was doing; what I would need; what I would actually use. Little did I know that the 10-piece glass bowl set from Crate and Barrel would be my all-time favorite gift and must have in my kitchen. I am secretly obsessed with this bowl set hence why this is a HAVE TO HAVE in my book.

I love this set because...'s the most complete set of bowls ever. I have a size for EVERY need/use. I am never left without the right bowl.

...the clear bowls match any dinnerware or linens that I may be using.

...they are very versatile. Pretty enough to display if you're having a dinner party but basic enough for your everyday.

...the large bowls are awesome for mixing and serving and smaller bowls are great for sauces - ketchup, soy sauce or spices.

...they look pretty on the counter filled with fruit.

...I use them everyday.

...they are dishwasher safe and clean well.

...they nest for easy storage and don't take up a lot of space.

...they are the best investment in my kitchen.

...even after eight years they have yet to chip. They are extremely sturdy. is only $29.95!!!!!

If you're in need of a wedding gift, bridal shower gift or just need some functional bowls in your own kitchen, I highly HIGHLY recommend this bowl set.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

SAVE BIG: Summer Travel

Everyone loves alittle time away for some R&R but with this tough economy, it's hard to justify shelling out hard earned cash for a vacay. But if you're itching to get away and want to make it feasible to do within your budget, try these 9 smart strategies for a less costly summer vacation.

Lift off from a smaller airport: You can reap significant savings if you’re willing to put up with a bit of inconvenience. Often you can snag a better deal on airline tickets if you bypass the majors and fly out of a regional airport instead. For example, at press time, Real Simple magazine found that it was $50 cheaper to fly to New York City from the Akron-Canton Airport than from the Cleveland hub. Use the search feature on the easy-to-navigate to compare airfares near you. But bear in mind: Given the high, and rising, prices at the pump, the cost of driving to a more remote airport could wipe out some of your savings. Go to, run by AAA, to estimate your outlay on gasoline.

Check bags for $0: Baggage fees have become a massive profit center for airlines: In 2010 the industry raked in more than $2.5 billion in these charges. But two airlines still let you check bags for free: JetBlue Airways allows one bag per passenger; Southwest Airlines permits two. Fly on them whenever possible and you’ll save $50 or more round-trip per passenger. If those airlines don’t suit your plans, sign up for a credit card with travel perks: Delta Airlines waives one baggage fee per flight for customers who use its American Express SkyMiles credit card, and Continental Airlines allows two free checked bags per traveler when the flight is booked on its Chase Presidential Plus card.
Find hidden hotel freebies: Room prices are down from their peak - averaging $99 a night as of this past February, compared with a high of $109 a night in 2008, according to the data firm STR. But à la carte fees, for everything from Internet access (about $10 to $15 daily) to parking (about $20 a night or more), can cause sticker shock when it’s time to pay the bill. Go to to search for hotels that provide guests with complimentary breakfast, parking, or credits toward spa treatments or rounds of golf. And check out, which lists hotel chains, such as Homewood Suites by Hilton and Hyatt Place, that offer Wi-Fi on the house.

Cruise from a port closer to home: Until a few years ago, many vacationers had to fly to Miami or Orlando to hop on a cruise. No longer: Several companies, including Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International, now set sail from ports located near large population centers around the country, such as New York City; Seattle; Galveston, Texas; Charleston, South Carolina; and Baltimore. And if you live near one of those locations, that can save you a bundle. Case in point: As of mid-April, taking a Carnival Cruise Lines trip directly from Charleston to the Bahamas cost $569 less than flying from Charleston to Miami, staying one night in a hotel, and departing the next day. The only drawback? It takes longer for the ship to reach the destination, so you spend more time on the boat.
Get the cheapest possible set of wheels: Prices for loaner vehicles fluctuate constantly, but not many travelers take the time to recheck rates after booking, even though there’s no fee to cancel or change a reservation with any major car-rental company. To make this task easier, book with, a site that continues to check prices (on both domestic and foreign reservations) until your pickup date. If it finds a lower rate, you are automatically re-booked for free, and the new confirmation details are sent to your in-box. For a recent week-long car rental in Los Angeles that originally cost $227, AutoSlash re-booked the reservation twice, reducing the price by $19. It also offered a free upgrade from a compact to a mid-size car.

Use Bing's Price Predictor: Who hasn’t read about a major fare sale the day after putting down a nonrefundable deposit on a reservation? (Ouch.) helps you decide when to pull the trigger. After you put in your desired flight itinerary, the site tells you whether to buy your ticket now or to wait, based on historical fare data and price trends. (The site claims to have about a 75% accuracy rate, which independent experts don’t dispute.) You can use Bing’s “rate indicator” to shop for hotel rooms, too. It tells you whether a current price is a “deal,” an “average rate,” or “not a deal.”

Follow Twitter sales: Twitter has become the place for travel companies to announce sales that seem too good to be true—but aren’t. Followers get first dibs on fare cuts before they go viral on the Web. The specials are often for last-minute getaways. A recent one advertised tickets on Spirit Airlines (@SpiritAirlines) from Washington, D.C., to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for just $54 each way. JetBlue Airways (@JetBlueCheeps) also offers noteworthy deals. The boutique-hotel specialist Quikbook (@Quikbook) is another good source, informing followers of discounts of up to 40% at independent hotels in major U.S. cities, such as the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles and Chicago’s Peninsula Hotel.
Look for overseas discount carriers: Flights by low-cost foreign airlines (such as EasyJet, based in the United Kingdom) don’t show up on or But you can still take advantage of their rock-bottom prices: Book a ticket to a hub like Paris or Rome on a major carrier, then use or to reserve seats on a low-fare airline if you’re headed to a smaller city, like Copenhagen or Nice. These tickets can be ridiculously cheap, sometimes less than $20 one way, according to Pauline Frommer, the creator of the Pauline Frommer Guides travel books.

Don't get dinged by credit card fees: Many banks add a 3% foreign-transaction surcharge to the total cost of your purchase when you use a credit card abroad. But you can find ways around this charge by signing up for a credit card that waives the fee. Capital One does not assess the fee on any of its cards, and American Express has dropped the fee on its Platinum card. Citi has followed suit on its Thank You Premier and Prestige lines, and Chase waives it on cards issued with British Airways, Hyatt, Continental Airlines, and United Airlines, among others. You might also avoid ATM charges by calling your bank before you travel and asking if it has any financial partners at your destination.

Happy Travels!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Did you know??

With tomorrow being a holiday, I don't foresee too many people on the computer so I wanted to wish you all an early happy 4th of July. And to please be safe on the roads. The 4th of July has repeatedly ranked as the deadliest holiday of the year - even deadlier than New Year's Day. According to Fox Business News, nearly 51% of all deadly traffic crashes on July 4th are related to alcohol. For your safety and those around you, please do not drink and drive.

And because I love statistics almost as much as I love fireworks, here are some fun facts and stats on America's Independence Day celebrations to leave you with:

-America will drink more soda on this day, than on New Years and Christmas combined.

-This 4th of July, an estimated 150 million hot dogs will be consumed. That's roughly 1 dog for every two people in the U.S!

-There are one in four chances that the hot dogs and pork sausages you are eating on Independence day will come from the State of Iowa. Indeed, in March 2010, Iowa was home to about 18.9 millions of hogs and pigs.

-And what about those juicy steaks and chargrilled burgers? Chances are very high your beef is coming from Texas, the Lone Star State. In 2008, Texas produced 6.5 billion pounds of cattle, about 1/6 of the total main production in the United States.

-Are baked beans on your table? Chances are one in three that your baked beans were produced in North Dakota. Indeed, this state produced about 34% of the nations production of dry edible beans in 2009.

-Potato salad is one the most appreciated foods served for the Nation's birthday. Chances are very high the potatoes you are eating come from Idaho or Washington State. Indeed, half of the Nation's productions comes from these States in 2010.

-If fireworks are in your Independence day plans consider that 209 million dollars is the value of fireworks that were imported from China in 2009. A quite pricey way to celebrate, but after all, what is a Fourth of July without fireworks?

-Ironically, the majority of the nation's flags and patriotic paraphernalia is produced in China. Nearly $349 million dollars are used each year to import in the flags, banners, decorations, and emblems.