Summer isn't over... yet.

Fresh picked zinnia's from the garden. Because it's never too late for an extra hint of color on the window sill. Mums coming sooooon.

Hope you're enjoying your day!

My weekend with Irene.

My oh my! What a weekend. Friday night I celebrated my sister's birthday with the rest of my family. Pictures not included per the birthday girl's request. We enjoyed some homemade pasta which was deliiiicious. STILL waiting for her to send me the recipe! ;) Saturday morning the festivities began! The house was prepped and the guests arrived. Card games, cookouts in the rain and lots of alcoholic beverages were in order.

Some of the cast and crew for the night:

I tried reaaaally hard to wake up at 4am so that I could run outside and witness the winds and rain that were hurricane Irene but I failed miserably. Instead I stayed cuddled up in bed until about 10am. Oh, the pleasure of a sleepy Sunday morning. Luckily our house fared well and even our leaky basement barely had any water in it. No power outages here. Hubby and I decided to take advantage of the rain-free afternoon. We took our little pooch on a stroll through the doggy park and beyond.

So handsome.

Next up, a walk down to Main Street. Pit stop at Starbucks for two tall Cinnamon Apple Spice drinks and we were on our way. We just had to go investigate all of this flooding.

Our favorite bar!  Boo.

To finish the night off, I decided to whip up hubby and I some scrumptious cupcakes. For a little something extra, I added some cinnamon and sugar sprinkling to our cream cheese frosting. It was the perfect ending to our perfect afternoon. One I'll never forget :)

How did you celebrate Irene?

Thank you, Irene.

I'm thinking today may be most appropriate to stock up on some wine bottles before the monsoon hits this weekend. There are always my go to bottles - Barefoot, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Bogle, Sterling. Any other suggestions?

Image found here.

Hair envy.

I have a serious bout of hair envy. And you know, I'm pretty sure just about everyone has felt this way at some point in their lives. Today is my day. Let me tell you kiddies! I was perusing the blogosphere and happened up this little gem here. Not only does she have long hair but it's red to boot! And let me tell you a little something about us redheads. We tend to like each other. It's hard not to notice another redhead because we are so far and few between. And it may be judgmental, call it what you will, but it's even more exciting to stumble upon one who looks normal. Because let's face it, we've seen them all: chubby, pimply, frizzy, fire engine redheads. Start noticing. Just watch how they're portrayed in media. Needless to say, it's not flattering. So yes, I get excited to see one who's giving "us" a good name :) When I was a freshman in college, my randomly selected roommate was a redhead, of the normal variety. Imagine my delight! Her hair was much straighter than mine but it was looooong. Since then - yes, all 7 years - I have been trying desperately to grow my hair out elbow length. And truth be told, I've been failing miserably. It really hasn't grown all that much. Maybe it's time to get serious. Bye bye heat products (at least for most days of the week). Curly here I come, even if it's considered to be unprofessional. NY Times published an entire article dedicated to the great misfortune of those who have been "blessed" with curlies. Read it here. So I've been doing some research. Apparently it's all about silk pillowcases, vitamins, the right hair products and diet. Could it be that my lack of love for meats has been inhibiting my progress? No more. Bring on the hamburgers!

Image found here

Walking in style.

So much to talk about! First, let's start the morning off with a little chat about my stroll yesterday. During my visit to St. John in July, I happened upon St. Johnimals Island Pet Outfitter. Cutest little pet boutique ever! The best part? It was surprisingly affordable which I can't say about most shops I've seen in the US. If my memory serves me right, I believe I purchased my lavender colored crystal leash for only a little over $10. The brand is Fabuleash and they are beyond adorable. Their unique leashes were available in all different colors. I fell in love and I'm not even usually one to buy over the top accessories for my pooch. Of course, I couldn't pay my husband to walk our little lady using one of these so last night I took the opportunity to take her for a stroll myself. It was such a gorgeous night I couldn't pass it up. How chic we were walking the streets of Philadelphia!
 Image found here.

Cupping seasons.

Although last night I had all but the best of intentions to whip up another delicious home cooked meal, it didn't happen. Blame it on the combination of an impending cold and the lack of necessary ingredients at the store I shopped at for food essentials. My skillet chicken tetrazzini recipe will just have to wait. I'm thinking a perfect night for dining in may end up being Thursday.  Friday, I took off from work for a weekend visit to see close friends in DC. Knowing it's a short week makes these next few days that much more tolerable. Oh, and we're having a few special visitors over tonight, family from hubs side, which should make this evening quite enjoyable. I already have some yummy cucumber sandwiches and spinach dip planned as pre-dinner snacks. Mmmm.

Last night, I did manage to slip into bed early with a book and a hot cup of tea. I'm currently loving the flavor of Cinnamon Apple Spice. Why is it that I'm always two steps ahead? I, like everyone else it seems, am already daydreaming about the cool, crisp weather of Fall and August isn't even over yet. I can't wait for the scarves and sweaters to come out and play. Now that I think of it, I'm definitely going to be in the market for some new outerwear this year. I should probably start saving my pennies now. Maybe something with a hood. Oh, the possibilities!

J.Crew jacket available here.

The weekend review.

What a great weekend! Friday evening we arrived late in the Poconos, but not too late to enjoy some wine and pizza with my parents. Although overcast, it was still warm enough on Saturday to grab our clubs and hit the golf course. Please be advised that I in no way, shape or form, consider myself to be a golfer. I gave it a valiant effort, however, and the combination of being with my family outdoors and a few beers here and there made for quite the enjoyable day. Afterwards we stopped by the market to pick up some more wine and some special ingredients for our meal-to-be. We headed on down to the lake just in time for the sprinkles to start dropping from the sky so on home we headed. Card games were in order in which I must mention that my mom and I threw down against our opponents (dad and hubs). Let it be said that the score was very lopsided, in our favor of course :) Hubby and I decided to save our recipe for Sunday and mmm, am I glad we did! The Poconos can be great when it's hot and sunny or crisp and chilly, for outdoor activities, but when it's dark and down pouring there's not much to do. Occasionally, on rare days, I welcome the rain. To wake up, all wrapped up in blankets, after sleeping in late on a Sunday morning... does it get any better? Once everyone was awake, hubs and I whipped up our thank you meal.  Between our warm and delicious food and the Lifetime movies, it was a seriously snuggly Sunday. Our meal turned out so well that I'm already trying to figure out what to cook next. I highly recommend this cookbook for anyone who's not already a pro in the kitchen. It's simple and straight forward, which is just about all I can muster these days. So, to highlight the delectable meal we partook in consuming, let me share:

Chicken with Pesto-Mushroom Cream Sauce

4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
10 oz. white mushrooms, sliced thin
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup basil pesto
2 tsp. lemon juice

  1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook chicken until golden brown, about 3 min. per side. Transfer to plate and tent with foil.
  2. Add remaining oil to skillet and cook mushrooms until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 sec. Add cream, broth and chicken to skillet, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. 
  3. Transfer chicken to serving platter and tent with foil. Return to skillet to high heat and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in pesto and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken. 
The recipe suggested we serve rice and a green salad so we did just that. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures because (of course) I left my camera at home, but trust me, just typing this has my taste buds craving more. In fact, I think I might need to pick out another recipe tonight and make a quick stop at the store! 

Image found here.

A shot of madness.

Oh, did I forget to mention my other love in life? Say hello to the Mad Men for me! And by the way, I have no shame. Casting call contest is in progress. 

Vote daily here!
Cig anyone?

Ps. I'm really only a smoker in my dreams. But that's a discussion for another day.

Hello me.

Remember in college, trying to decipher just who you were? Ok, well no. Probably not because I'm pretty sure I was one of the only lucky few. But like I said earlier, I tend to spend a lot of time with my thoughts so this wasn't so uncommon for me. I specifically remember reading a biography (the one and only time I read a biography, by the way) about none other than the gorgeous, always classy Audrey Hepburn and thinking, wow. That's who she was. I mean, think about it. Just for a second. How do you sum up someones entire character in just a few pages? This was her life. This is who she was. (Insert x,y and z characteristics). It's like painting a person in black and white. And so it made me wonder. If someone wrote a book about me, who would I be? What characteristics would they attribute to me. What's my story.

The reason I'm ranting on about this is because I've noticed that there's repetition to the yet unwritten words swirling around my head for possible soon-to-be blog posts. A theme, if you will. I haven't quite pin pointed whether I'm a fan of this fact. There are a few things I think about though. Often. To name a few: Books. Flowers. Starbucks. Babies. Cooking (even though this is more of an aspiration than a reality). Oh yeah, and maybe super preppy, feminine clothing which I don't bother blogging about since I have absolutely no right to claim any notion of style. Yep, that's me. Just what did I do all afternoon? I read New York Times articles online and when I stumbled upon a book review, I hopped on over to the B&N website to purchase 3 new reads. Who knew they sold books for $1.99? I'm in heaven. So, while I wait for my new bedtime stories to arrive, I ask of you... just who are you?

Shopping cart:
1. The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson - Thank you NY Times review.
2. Baggage Claim by Tanya Michna - $1.99!
3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Because everyone but me seems to be reading this series. 

Change of scenery.

When I was younger, and the economy was booming (oh yeah, remember way back when?), my parents decided to invest in a second home up in the Poconos. Nothing over the top. A cute, cozy cabin conveniently located within walking distance of a lake, Club house and pool. Oh yeah, and the only bar around. It's about an hour and a half away from our full time residence but when you arrive, it feels like you've ventured far and wide. The closest mall is about 45 minutes away so instead of shopping or going to the movies, the focus becomes kayaking, boating, hiking, tennis, or golf, amongst other things. It's a welcome staycation. Incredibly enough, hubs and I haven't visited there in over a year. OVER A YEAR. How does that even happen?! So, tomorrow evening we're off to the Poconos for a weekend with my parents, cooking book in hand. We decided that whipping up a homemade meal for my parents would be a kind gesture to thank them for our amazing trip to St. John. I'm thinking this is the perfect opportunity to try a new recipe. Any suggestions?

Image found here.

Is it Fall yet?

My blog posts have been a bit neglectful lately and for that I apologize. I've been all too consumed with relaying the thoughts floating around in my head. As a result, my tale telling has fallen by the wayside. And believe me, this is in no way an indication that we (meaning hubs and I) have been sitting around twiddling our thumbs. Our social calendar has been overflowing these pasts few weeks and I've been l.o.v.i.n.g. it.

Moving forward: Yesterday during my lunch break, I met with my sister at Starbucks to wander the grandiose King of Prussia mall. I seriously get giddy with excitement at the prospect of seasons changing. Seeing all of the warm, comfy clothing and festive decorations springing up everywhere brings about visions of pumpkin patches, brightly colored mums, and warm apple cider. Speaking of which, I tried Starbuck's caramel apple spice for the very first time and oh my! I've really been missing out. This will definitely be my drink of choice while I wait for the pumpkin spice latte to emerge from hibernation.

Does it seem too early to start the planning of a Halloween party? My sister and I also had this agenda in mind for our lunch date, although admittedly we were both too sleepy to focus on ideas. Ironically enough, I had stayed at her apartment Saturday night and a rather large, winged mouse decided to make its presence known right around 1am. Needless to say, we were up for a few more hours. This, right after her listing off every Halloween character - ghosts, zombies, witches, pumpkins, scarecrows, spiders, black cats, and BATS. It was the most comical timing ever. I think it must definitely be a sign that we should throw a masked charade!

Words of wisdom.

I ask of you, why is it that the older generations don't share their words of wisdom more with their younger counterparts? I'm sure behind those spectacles they're all brimming with interesting tales and great advice. Do tell us about the soirees you used to attend or the handsome, mysterious man who you had the never-forgotten rendezvous with that one Summer's eve. For some odd reason, parents and grandparents alike seem to be so secretive about their pasts. Why the hush hush? Doesn't everyone enjoy a good story now and then? I would like to state, for the record, that my own parents have been mildly open about some aspects to life. Over the years,  I've been subconsciously stashing away a few little keys here and there. Too many stories to list (I'm really just that tired) but lucky for you, I have muscled up the energy to compile a few...
  1. When children enter the family photo, women tend to focus all of their attention on the little ones. And realistically, it's probably because they require all of the attention. This, however, negatively effects your now neglected husband. He's just as important to the family dynamic as that cooing, cute baby of yours. Don't forget it!
  2. When your children are finally old enough that you can take your eyes off of them for more than a few minutes at a time, you'll probably start noticing that hot hubby of yours again. And in all likelihood, he'll probably now be devoting all of  his time and energy into that now-booming career. Call it just plain bad timing. A weekend away, sans children, is just what the doctor ordered.
  3. Just because you're married, doesn't mean you have an excuse to let yourself go. That hot and heavy attraction is still a BIG deal. Make sure it happens. Regularly.
  4. Some men lose their sex drives. Yes, you heard me correctly. Forget all of the jokes about women not wanting it.  Whoever these supposed couples are, they have always remained nameless so I'm left to ponder at the cause(s). Let's hope this ones just a myth!
  5. There's apparently more abuse out there in the world than you realize at the moment. Someone older than my mom confided in her once that people generally start opening up about traumatizing experiences only at a later age. And apparently (and more importantly, unfortunately), my mom also found this to be true. 
  6. Onto a more positive note - Flirty forties. Socializing with your other married friends at this age becomes quite titillating. I can only assume that it goes something like this: so and so's wife becomes attracted to so and so's husband etc. etc. For the most part, it sounds like it all stays very heatedly PG.
  7. There are swingers. Oh yes. They are amongst us. And usually not the couples you expect. Again, no names provided. Although damn. Because I'd really looove to know if I know any.
So, that's all folks (for now)! 

And just because this is way too cute. Please see below. My parents. When a love seat isn't enough. What to do? Well push them together, of course. Seriously. How cute is that?
What advice/life stories/words of wisdom have you stashed away for a rainy day?


I'm not 50. I'm the ripe old age of 26. But I am in love with my sample size Clarins Super Restorative Serum, which was apparently created (or at least marketed) towards those in the double digit age range starting with a 5.  And when I say in love, I'm actually referring to a slightly less obvious benefit. Sure, this serum makes my skin feel soft and smooth, as did those who came before. The REAL benefit, however, was discovered purely by accident. I noticed one evening, after a typical long and tedious day, that my makeup - specifically my bronzer and blush - were still intact! The fact that I actually noticed it truly goes to show that it was. I've tried multiple moisturizers, cheap makeup, expensive makeup.. you name it, I've probably tried it and NOTHING, I mean nothing, has kept my makeup in place for an entire day. Until now. This has promptly become my pseudo moisturizer of choice for my morning routine. And it never fails. Flawless, day in and day out.  Now my only dilemma is the fact that my trial size sample is quickly diminishing and I don't know if I'll be able to chalk up the $132 price tag (ouch) for the full size version. Whatever is a girl to do?


Yesterday was eye opening in various ways. This life of mine. And no, not just in the sense that I deleted two thirds of my DVR listings. I want so badly to be able to share but it'll have to wait. Hopefully I'll be able to divulge in the details soon. Be patient. All in good time my friends.

Image found here.

A waste of life.

So plush are the cushions on my sofa tempting such sinful wastes of time. Last night I reached an all time new low. I sat, for an ENTIRE evening, staring at the tv screen (as if my monitor at work isn't enough) watching special after finale after special of the Bachelorette. Not that this isn't a fabulous show, mind you. The facts remain however: Dishes went unwashed. Flowers went unwatered. Laundry went unlaundered. I accomplished absolutely nothing but the pitiful sitting and staring.  And by the time all of this wasting of time wrapped up, it was past my usual bedtime and so I crawled right under the covers for a night of slumber. And this is when I decided that an abrupt change needs to be made.

DVR. It has become one of the worst evils in my household. Seeing shows linger in that list makes me feel like there are too many to-do's. So I watch them all, every.single.week. No show goes unwatched. And so, as a solution, I've made a commitment to delete all but my few very favorite shows. Goodbye Kardashians, Jersey Shore, Extreme Couponing, Ice Loves Coco etc. etc. etc. The list goes on. Even writing this now, I'm realizing just how pathetic my DVR display has become. 
Tonight I've managed to avoid TV all together. I've also managed to clean my entire house, do two loads of laundry, water all of my plants, enjoy a meal with hubs and give myself a little pampering. Oh the improvements already!