Friday, March 27, 2015

Five on Friday: {March 27, 2015}

Hey Gals! Happy last weekend of March (umm.. how did that happen?!). Sorry for being pretty MIA this week with posting and commenting - thank goodness I have such an amazing co-blogger who was able to pick up my slack (thanks B!!). The entire M household was hit with a plague of sickness early this week and I've been struggling all week to come out of the post-sickness funk, between catching up with work, recovering and attempting to not let my house go to complete shambles! But it's Friday, I'm feeling much better, and I was able to center myself by organizing my entire nail polish collection (wait, it's not normal to find peace by seeing all of your nail polishes lined up and organized by color and collection?!).

Yes I have a problem, and no, I do not wish to seek help for it
So I'm back and ready to welcome the weekend with arms wide open! To kick things off, here are my five favorites of the week:


Favorite Spring Polish

Deborah Lippman - Lilac Wine
And speaking of nail polish, I obviously had to paint my nails after organizing all of my polishes! I wanted something bright and springy so I went with this gorgeous pastel purple that I got in my Christmas stocking but had yet to try out.  It's from Deborah Lippmann and called Lilac Wine - I mean the name alone pretty much had me, but I love it even more after seeing it on.  Definitely the perfect color for Spring!


Bento Lunch Inspiration

Little M has turned into quite the picky eater, as most toddlers do, and it's been a constant battle to get him to consistently eat the meals we serve him. One minute he's obsessed with meatballs, the next, he won't touch them with a 10 foot poll!

Gotta love the detailed reports from school in which your child completely refuses all the food you packed!
 So I've been searching for ideas and recipes to ensure he's getting all of the proper nutrition and decided to start getting a little more creative with his meals. I've seen a lot of parents swear by Bento box meals, which is basically a little assortment of different foods that are presented in a visually appealing way in order to encourage little ones to eat. I know - the lengths we'll go to, to get our kids to eat, but if it works, I'll take it! So I've ordered some sandwich cutters, muffin cups, and adorable picks and hopefully this will be a success with Little M.  Any other parents out there try Bento meals or have any tips or tricks to share?!


RHoNYC is Coming Back
I am so, so excited for the return of the Real Housewives of NYC! Not only is Bethenny coming back, but Bravo recently released the trailer and it looks a-mah-zing! So much drama, plus Countess LuAnn telling the other girls to "just be cool"... obsessed!


Almond Butter

On top of Little M being a picky eater, he unfortunately had some food allergies, one of which being a peanut allergy. I've been experimenting with different alternatives and recently tried out almond butter.. and OMG is this stuff good! Specifically Justin's Maple Almond Butter. It is so delicious and it's taking me everything to not eat it with a spoon right out of the jar! I definitely recommend it if you having peanut issues or are looking for a good peanut butter alternative!


Lilly Pulitzer x Target Collection

Who else is excited for the Lilly Pulitzer collaboration with Target?! Refinery 29 just released pictures of every single item from the line and they are all super adorable! I'm hoping my local Target is chock full of these goodies when the collaboration goes live on April 19th, but at the very least, I will definitely be stalking it online.

Hope everyone has a fab weekend!

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



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Party Planner: I'm Feeling 32


I'm never one to shy away from a theme party, but when it came to planning my recent birthday celebration, I was a little at a loss as to what would be an appropriate theme to ring in 32. I finally found some inspiration from an unexpected source...pop sensation Taylor Swift! Her song "22" pays tribute to the "happy, free, confused, lonely, miserable, and magical" times that surround that age...and being a decade removed from it, it kind of made me feel a little old! Check out the music video:


Luckily, I stumbled upon a hilarious parody video all about "feeling 32" which includes situations that are much more familiar to me, such as eating huge blocks of cheese for dinner (washed down by a bottle of wine), scrolling through constant baby photos in my Facebook newsfeed, and the curse of having both acne AND wrinkles at the same time. Just to be clear, I don't think that being 32 is actually old, but let's just say...this song definitely hits close to home for me, in the funniest possible way:



Suddenly, a theme was born! I included both music videos on my invitation and enlisted M's help in designing some paper products for the party.

M and me, cracking ourselves up before the party
We love the big impact that simple crafts can make, so M fashioned some adorable paper straw flags - one side said "I'm feeling 32" while the other featured two thirty-something icons from the parody song...sketches of a cat and a glass of wine:


Checking out the straws with our friend Jeff and fellow blogger Allison

 

We also carried out the theme through the goody bags, which contained "sensible" items that all 32-year-olds should have on hand - a pack of Kleenex, individual packets of Tylenol, and single-use packs of floss! We bundled the items up in a black gift bag and affixed a custom sticker to the front that was also designed by M - this time, the cat and glass of wine were joined by two other things that 32-year-olds love...a carton of take-out Chinese food, and a big pair of comfy sweats!


I'm so thankful to my BFF/co-blogger for all that she did to make my party so much fun...I may be feeling 32, but I'll always feel 22 (or let's face it, 16!) when the two of us are hanging out!


And just to cap things off, here are a few party pics:

Mmmm a 16 Handles gift card in a take-out container filled with sprinkles...yes, please!





 What's your favorite way to celebrate your birthday?

Linking up with Morgan, Anni, Thoughts for Thursday, and Joey.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Weekending

It's never easy to face Monday after an incredible weekend, and this was definitely one of the best! I was showered with all kinds of birthday love and got to spend time with so many of my favorite people...32 is off to an amazing start! Here's a quick snapshot of some weekend highlights:


FRIDAY
* Ate some yummy comfort food before heading to Coldstone for a birthday ice cream lunch
* Snow made its unwelcome return to NYC on the first day of spring, and coated my patio
* Took some snaps with T before enjoying a special birthday dinner at a restaurant I've been wanting to try
* Surprise cupcakes from my parents were delivered right to my door for a perfect birthday dessert!

SATURDAY
* Primped at the newest NYC Drybar (right around the corner from my apartment!)
* Crafted party supplies with M (full party review coming later this week)
* Got fancy with M to head to my big birthday party!

SUNDAY
* Relaxed at home
* Took a leisurely walk around the neighborhood
* Capped off the night with some live music at a local concert headlined by my good friend J

Thanks for all of the blogger birthday love - I hope your week is off to a fabulous start!

Linking up with Meg, Molly, Carylee, Erin, Ashley, Biana and Bella!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Five on Friday {March 20, 2015}: It's B's Birthday!


Yay, my birthday is finally here! I'm keeping today's post short so that I can focus on all of the celebrating, but of course, I have to share my five (birthday-related!) favorites!

 
Ice cream lunch

Because nothing says 32 like celebrating your birthday with some ice cream! T is meeting me at the office to take me out to a birthday lunch, and obviously we have decided that we will be having ice cream for lunch because that is a totally normal and acceptable thing for adults to do. The rest of the day's plans are a surprise for me, so I'm excited to see how it turns out!

Paaaaarty

Tomorrow night is my big birthday night out on the town with friends, and I couldn't be more excited to see everyone! As usual, the party has a theme, and I'll be revealing it in a full party post next week (or you can follow us on Instagram for a sneak peek tomorrow night). M is coming into the city for the party and has also created some fantastic printables for the gift bags and straws!

Extraterrestrial Abduction Day

Apparently I share my birthday with Extraterrestrial Abduction Day (who knew?!) so here's hoping I manage to stay on Earth while turning 32!

Birthday treats

I have been mapping out all of the birthday freebies I need to take advantage of (because as we know, everything functions best with a list and a spreadsheet) - I will definitely be stopping by Starbucks and Dunkin for free coffees today, plus I've already picked up my Sephora goodies. I'm hoping to pop into 16 Handles and/or Pinkberry for some free birthday yogurt, though that may be tough to plan around the birthday ice cream lunch :)

First day of spring

Oh yeah, in addition to being my birthday, today is also the first day of spring! NYC still hasn't quite gotten this memo considering it's actually SNOWING today, but the weather tomorrow is supposed to be much warmer and sunnier so hopefully things will continue to move in that direction. I hope you all have beautiful weekends filled with some spring sunshine!


All photos courtesy of Idalia Photography.

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

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Nordstrom Triple Points Alert!!!

Hey Gals! I wanted to share a very important PSA to all of my fellow Nordie Gals and remind you that Nordstrom is currently offering triple points on all purchases made with your Nordstrom card, from now through March 22nd.  What’s so great about that, you ask?!  Each point counts towards earning a Nordstrom Note, which is basically free cash for future purchases!
I’m planning to stock up on some of my favorites, such as these leggings, and this tunic. 
Also, I may need to add in a fun purchase or two, such as these sunnies and this gorgeous statement piece.

After Amanda posted on this tote, which is an amazing deal on its own, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it so I’ll probably be scooping up one too!
In addition to getting one step closer to racking up those amazing Nordstrom Notes, they also have a bunch of great gift with beauty purchase deals.  And the great thing is that you don’t need to be a card holder in order to get the freebies!  Some of my favorites are:

Receive a full-size nail polish in Dream a Little Dream of Me with any $35 Deborah Lippmann Purchase

http://www.shopstyle.com/action/loadRetailerProductPage?id=217252922&pid=uid8400-27177780-4

Deluxe sample of Hydra-Pure Oil-Free Moisture with any $125 Dr. Dennis Gross Purchase

Deluxe samples of the fabulous soy line from Fresh along with a cosmetic bag with any $100 Fresh purchase

POWERMUD deluxe sample with any $69 GLAMGLOW purchase

Starry-Eyed Baked Eyeshadow Trio, Mascara and Mesh Bag with any $50 LORAC purchase

It’s basically the perfect excuse to freshen up your Spring beauty look and I know I’ll be powerless to resist a couple of these.  Happy Shopping!


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Easy Weeknight Salad {with homemade dressing}

Happy St. Patrick's Day Gals! Today I'm sharing one of my very favorite salad recipes that I make at least once a week, along with the homemade dressing that has replaced every single bottled version in my fridge! I love how easy this is to throw together, and it's easily adapted based on whatever veggies and greens we have in the fridge. The one constant that never changes is the dressing I use. After playing around with the ingredients a couple years back, I finally mastered the most perfect balsamic vinaigrette recipe and I now refuse to even entertain any bottled version - especially since this one is so easy to whip up!


Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1 tbsp of olive oil
1.5 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Juice from half a lemon
Hefty squeeze of balsamic glaze
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the above ingredients and whisk together until everything is combined. The above makes enough for 2-3 salads, so feel free to half or store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

As for the salad, as I mentioned above, I tend to vary the ingredients based on whatever we have on hand, but below is my favorite combination - feel free to adapt based on your tastes. I almost feel silly posting, since it is just a hodge podge from my fridge, but I figured it's always good to get a little inspiration from what others put together (after all, that's what keeps Pinterest in business!).


Easy Weeknight Salad (Serves 2):
1 bag of baby spinach
Handful of cherry tomatoes
1 bell pepper, diced
Crumbled goat cheese
Crispy onions
Handful of dried cranberries
Handful of crushed peanuts 
2 grilled chicken breasts, sliced
Drizzle of homemade balsamic vinaigrette, to taste

Combine all ingredients and toss to incorporate the dressing. A couple of notes to take this baby to the next level:

For the goat cheese, I use a log, and then run my fork across it over the salad. It's the easiest way to get a very fine crumble and avoid any huge chunks of goat cheese! Plus this way you don't overdue it with the cheese.

Next, to crush up the peanuts, very unglamourously add the peanuts to a ziplock bag, seal, and proceed to crush with whatever is handy - in this case, the back of a screwdriver.

Lastly, I'll also share my secret for delicious and juicy grilled chicken - brown in a VERY hot pan on both sides (about 2-3 minutes), then cook in an over at 400 degrees, for 10 minutes. It seriously cooks the chicken perfectly and completely through, without losing any flavor, plus it's pretty healthy since the only oil I use is a quick spritz of non-stick cooking spray.
And that's really it - a delicious and balanced meal that comes together in about 20 minutes!

Linking up today with EmilyJennifer JuniperKaryn,  KristenEmilyMandyMaryJessicaMandySusanLisaNatasha, Meg, and Molly!


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