Friday, March 6, 2015

Five on Friday {March 6, 2015}

 Happy Friday, Gals! This is a particularly fun Friday for me as I have the day off from work and an extended, three-day weekend, yay! There are brunches, margaritas, and lots of friend outings coming up this weekend plus this week has already been filled with a lot of great stuff this week so let's jump right in!

Birthday Month Kick-off

It's officially March, which means it's also my birthday month! I'm super excited for my birthday party coming up in a couple of weeks, which has kept M and me busy with planning and crafting up a storm! As usual, I'll be cashing in my free Rent the Runway birthday dress and taking advantage of many other birthday freebies. Let me know if I'm missing any birthday perks that I should add to my list!

Crockpot Club
I've mentioned before that my friend Emma and I started a Brunch Club, which has been going strong each month for over a year and a half! I love any excuse to get together with a big group of friends to share stories, laughs, and a delicious meal, so I was thrilled when TSN guest blogger J and his boyfriend recently launched a Crockpot Club. The concept is simple - each month, a new host has the group over to his/her home and prepares the main dish (the only rule is, it must be made in a slow cooker!). All of the other guests bring the remaining appetizers, sides, desserts, and drinks, and we have an easy, yummy, potluck meal! The inaugural outing was a huge hit, especially since the meal was followed by a raucous round of Cards Against Humanity.

T and I will be hosting the next Crockpot Club meeting so if you have any crowd-pleasing slow cooker recipes to share, please send them my way!

The Bachelor

Who else is watching this season? I couldn't get enough of the drama on "The Women Tell All" this past week, and it got me even more excited than I already was to watch the finale this coming Monday! After seeing all of the viewing parties that Chris and Chris "crashed" this week (come on, does anyone believe that those visits were actually spontaneous?!), I thought it would be fun to have my own mini Bachelor finale party, so T and I will be cooking up a classic Midwestern farm feast in honor of Farmer Chris to accompany our viewing (I may be ever so slightly more excited about this plan than he is). I'm casting my vote for Whitney as the winner, and can't wait to see how it all plays out! 

Comfort food

So I know I was just talking about the Crockpot Club, but the comfort food has not ended there. With all the yucky slushiness we've been hit with lately, I've been totally hibernating and holing up in my warm apartment. I am totally inept in the kitchen but T has been returning to his southern roots and cooking up some fantastic comfort food for dinner, like the gooey grilled cheese and warm tomato soup above (#southernboyfriendperks). I have no clue how I'm going to fit in my summer wardrobe with the cheese binging that's been happening lately, but my belly is too content to care!

Gals Day!

You may be thinking, "But B, didn't you just tell us about hanging out with M this past weekend?" Well, I'm super excited that M also took today off, so we are having a classic Gals Day together! I'm soooo excited to have a full day and night to hang out with my bestie since we don't get to see each other nearly as often as we would like (which, if we had our way, would basically be every day!). We have a few new exciting blog projects that we're working on today, so stay tuned for some TSN updates coming soon, and have a beautiful weekend!

Oh, and don't forget to enter our Rebecca Minkoff giveaway!

Cheers to AmandaJennieKarliClare, Rebecca, Katie, Natasha, Heather, Farrah, and Tif for hosting today's link-ups!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Wino Wednesday: Bota Box Pinot Grigio and Malbec Review

Hey Gals! Today I'm very excited to link-up with Amanda and Lindsay and join in on the Wino Wednesday party!
Kids and Cabernet

I'm especially excited to let you all in a big secret of mine.. some of my very favorite wine comes from a box!!

Ok, ok, so maybe it's not really a secret seeing as I've posted about it here and here BUT for any new readers, my secret is out and I'm not ashamed to say it!

I certainly love me some wine, so when I was considering which one to feature for Wino Wednesday, I knew I had to give Bota Box some love, since it seriously is my go-to these days.

And before you shake your head and think I'm crazy, let me give you a little background on Bota, and then I'll go through my very red and white from their line!

Per their website, Bota Box produces premium California wine in 3-liter box and 500ml Tetra Pak, both made from environmentally-friendly packaging. Bota Box 3L is packaged in 100% recyclable, unbleached, post-consumer fiber printed with soy-based inks. Using state of the art FlexTap™ technology, our wine is kept fresh for up to six weeks after opening, allowing consumers to enjoy a glass of our award-winning wine without worrying about waste or spoilage. 
Come on, you know you'd tap that!
So the way I see it, what's not to love? As I mentioned above, I'm a huge fan of a glass of wine (or two!) but most nights, I simply love nothing more than enjoying a glass of wine with dinner.  And since GG feels that same exact way, except with beer, it really doesn't make much sense for me to open a whole bottle of wine, just for myself! I love that Bota basically means wine on demand, and really does keep fresh thanks to the vacuum sealed bag it's stored in, along with the sealed "tap" that dispenses the wine.

Also, you really can't beat the price! At my local Wegmans, a box costs $18.99, and is the equivalent of 4 bottles of wine.

Bota Box comes in 10 varietals of wine, but my very favorites are their Pinot Grigio and their Malbec.
I'm pretty awful at trying to describe wine and the different tasting notes, so I've included the official flavor profile from Bota, along with my very non-technical thoughts on them... the extent of my wine tasting knowledge is usually if it tastes good to me, I like it!

2012 Bota Box Pinot Grigio

Per their website: Bota Box Pinot Grigio offers lively aromas of white peach, nectarine, light floral and hints of lime. This delightful medium bodied wine has flavors of ripe peach and nectarine with a clean finish.
My take on it: To me, this gal is just a sure thing! I'm a big fan of pinot grigio, and this definitely gives me exactly what I'm hoping for in a glass of white wine. It's not sweet, and on the dryer side, while still being a bit fruity and light.  Very easy to drink, and very refreshing.
Now that's a happy fridge!
2012 Bota Box Malbec

Per their website: Bota Box Malbec is a plush, medium bodied wine with aromas of blueberry and blackberry. Jammy, luscious flavors of blackberry jam and blueberry syrup follow, leading into earthy tannins on the finish.
My take on it: This is another no-brainer for me. When I'm looking for a smooth, fruity glass of red, this is my gal.  I find that it goes great with meat and cheese, and a great dinner wine.  Also I find that I actually prefer it after it's been open for a day, and it definitely remains fresh up until the end.
It's been a long day and momma needs a glass of wine!
In addition to these 2 varietals, Bota Box also offers Chardonnay, Moscato, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Old Vine Zinfandel, and a red blend called RedVolution.  Since I love the Pinot Grigio and the Malbec so much, I haven't branched out to their other varities, though B and I have made it our mission to eventually try the whole family!
Loading up for a recent party!
So are you a wine purist and stick to bottles only, or like me and think outside the box by embracing the box?!

**Note, this was in no way a sponsored post, just one gals love affair with some boxed wine**

p.s. - Don't forget to enter our Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAC giveaway!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Weekending + 2 GIVEAWAYS!

(WARNING: lots of yummy food pictures ahead.)


I started my weekend by meeting T after work on Friday for some low-key drinks and appetizers at a new restaurant I've been wanting to try. After a couple of happy hour glasses of wine, we moved onto the restaurant's yummy cocktail list and I was quite pleased with the extensive, potent offerings. We both had early Saturday mornings so we retired to my apartment for some lounging, but I'm glad we got to squeeze in a quick bite out in the city to jump-start the weekend!


My Saturday started with a five hour dance rehearsal, but I knew there was a bright light at the end of this physically exhausting day - T and I were visiting M, Grill Guy, and Little M at their house for dinner! If you've been following our blog for a while, you know the kinds of crazy shenanigans that M and I tend to get into when we're together, but we did our best to go a little easy on T since this was his first time at their house. Also, it gave M and GG an excuse to finally bust out their gorgeous wedding china...I could get used to this kind of fancy treatment, haha!

Their home-cooked meal was delicious...some tender ribeyes with butternut squash and a fresh, yummy salad on the side.

Oh, plus we also had an Oreo cake for dessert, because why not?

At the end of the night, M and I decided to do a little cocktail experimenting for an upcoming Easter martini - yes, we lit a Peep on fire (I guess we didn't go too easy on T after all!).  Below is a little teaser of the flaming peep, and if you follow us on Instagram you can see another sneak peek of this fiery creation. Stay tuned for the full cocktail recipe, coming soon!


After a crazy busy week, T and I were happy to have a day with absolutely nothing on the calendar. We were fairly productive earlier in the day, crossing some tasks and errands off our list, and then we settled in for another snowy night with a home-cooked meal and some movies. After a delish meal at my favorite cheese restaurant recently, we were itching to recreate their insanely good Caesar salad so we cooked up our own version and added some blackened chicken. It was a big hit!


What better way to start than week than with two giveaways?! We're teaming up with some other lovely bloggers to bring you this Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAC in Watermelon - how perfect is this pretty color for the spring?

Also, we are still running our Pearlties giveaway through Wednesday morning, so don't miss out on your chance to win one of 3 sets of these six elegant hair ties, each set valued at $90! You can also purchase any Pearltie for 50% off by using the discount code SEQUIN50.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Five on Friday: {February 27, 2014}

Happy Friday Gals! It has been a WEEK for this gal, so I will be counting down the hours until the work day is done and I can put on my sweatpants, enjoy some pizza and wine and catchup on lots of trashy reality tv! To kick things off, as usual we're sharing our 5 favorites of the week - I hope everyone is having a fab Friday with even more fab plans for the weekend ahead!!

Commuting Gal
 Ok, this first one certainly isn't a favorite, but just my new way of life. My company decided to consolidate some of it's offices, which means I'm now commuting 40 miles north of my house to the majestic Jersey City, NJ... So it's been a bit of an adjustment having to now triple (yes triple!) my commuting time, along with now taking public transportation.  BUT.. I am trying to stay positive and look for the small upsides of this change, like being able to now have the time to read again, along with lots of time to read all of my favorite blogs! So I will be promptly checking all of your book recommendations and downloading lots and lots of books to my iphone - recommendations definitely welcome!! 

Rent the Runway Unlimited

RTR has done it again, and this time, they've truly outdone themselves! I raved about my love of RTR Unlimited back when I first signed up, and we are also long time fans of their dress rentals, so imagine my excitement when I got the email notifying me that they've basically combined the two into the best of both worlds! Unlimited subscribers are now able to select dresses in addition to accessories for a monthly fee! You can read all about the specifics here, but I couldn't be more excited about this and have already added about 15 gorgeous dresses to my queue!

 Sale Picks of the Week

And for those moments when a rental just won't do, I've been lusting over way to many shopping deals this week!

I'm loving this duvet cover from West Elm - it's so bright and cheerful, and a steal at $34.99

This necklace from Kate Spade - still a little steep in price, but so, so gorgeous!

I have been obsessing over these boots ever since seeing them on Kristen and Pamela, so once I realized they were at 50%, I was basically powerless and had to order them.. they arrived this week and I love, love, love them!
 Favorite Song of the Week

Shut Up and Dance with Me - Walk the Moon
How fun is this song?! It kind of reminds me of an 80's pop/dance song, and I've basically had it on constant repeat all week long. 

 Gals in Manals
While my Friday night plans may not be very exciting (though I am VERY excited for them), Saturday is a whole other story because the Gals are going to be reunited!! The name of the town I live in is Manalapan, so we affectionately like to call it the Gals in Manals whenever B comes over (which explains my title for this one). She's going to be in Jersey during the day, so I am so, so excited that she'll be coming over at night, along with T, for some dinner, drinks and lots and lots of gal'ing. Hopefully GG and T realize what they're in for, though truth be told, those two are total gals at heart, and I know they'll be cackling along with us (after a glass of wine or two!).

And lastly, as a little bonus item, don't forget to enter our Pearlties giveaway!
You gotta be in it to win it!! 

What are you all up to this weekend?!

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