Pink Friday! [GIVEAWAY]

Thank you to those of you who participated in the last giveaway. We were able to help a few more items be crossed off the bucket lists of some amazing cancer survivors. If you didn’t participate, you can read about it here and how this whole thing got started.

I’m excited to announce the next giveaway which includes a TON of amazing items from some really wonderful people who donated them for THIS good cause.

1. Noonday Collection Scarf (purple scarf, different than what’s pictured) // 2. This is Your Year journal by MiGoals // Make-up Bags by Love W Boutique // 4. Monogrammed Wooden Wedding Guest Book (made to order!) by For Love Polka Dots  // 5. Say Yes to New Adventures 2015 Planner by Nude and Loitering Tees // 6. Love Never Fails print (black & gold) by Lovely Little Paper Company // 7. Winnie the Pooh quote print in gray by WisePrints // Holiday Cocktail Tea Towel by Emily McDowell // 9. Harbor Style Scarf (Burnt Orange) by My 2 Shay from Our Corner // 10. Take the Bull by the Horns journal by Evelyn Henson // 11. Proverbs quote print with blue background by Wise Prints // 12. Roosevelt quote print in purple by Wise Prints // 13. Greeting Cards set by Sugar and Type // 14. Dish towel set by Carolyn Leona // 15. Hope necklace by Island Cowgirl // 16. Make Today Ridiculously Awesome journal by LH Calligraphy // 17. Pig Apron by Carolyn Leona // 18. Two sets of earrings by The Painted Pearl // 19. Two Pink Ribbon Rings by Lori’s Wire // 20. Work Hard Be Kind mug by Sara Moore // 21. Trio of Owls by 518 French Girl // 22. Love Never Fails print by Southern Weddings // 23. Love Never Fails Print by Stationary Boutique  24. Love Compass pillow by Fiber and Water // 25. Today I Choose Joy pillow by Simply Said Stitches

Chances for winning in this giveaway are exponentially better than last time when there were only 3 items. I am so grateful to be able to continue raising money for such an amazing and fun cause. It’s been so wonderful to speak to each of these ladies as their item is presented to them. So, here are the deets:

Starting on 11/28 (which I’m declaring Pink Friday because I don’t shop on Black Friday – or Thanksgiving!) you can enter by donating $10 or more dollars to the Go Fund Me that has been set up and you will be entered to win one of these items. If you donate $10, you will be entered once. If you donate $25 you will be entered 3 times. If you donate $50, you’ll be entered 7 times. Remember, all of the money goes to putting smiles on the faces of people who are fighting unimaginable battles. Once you enter, come back and leave a comment letting me know that you donated and SHARE the blog post on either Twitter or Facebook (the icons are at the bottom!). I’ll keep track of the entries along the way.

The drawing will be held on 12/16 – in time to get your items to you before the Christmas holiday. I will video it and upload it for all to see and also include a recap of the winners in a separate post. Got it?

Good. Let’s raise some serious money for these ladies and make their holidays even more special. Oh, and say thank you to these AMAZING people who donated all of these items!!

Giveaway details: 

1. Donate $10/1 entry, $25/3 entries, $50/7 entries

2. Comment on blog letting me know you donated (follow the blog for updates on new posts!)

3. Share blog post with icons at bottom on either (or both) Facebook/Twitter

4. Drawing will happen on 12/16

So, what are you waiting for? Get entered today! I’d love to hear in the comments which items you’re most excited about – I am pretty much in love with all of these items and know I’d be excited to win any of them!

*number of entries depends on amount of $ donated. chances of winning depends on number of entries. all items will be shipped by 12/20. must be in U.S. to participate. right reserved to cancel giveaway or change end date at any time. winners will be selected randomly and all decisions are final. 

Grateful times grateful!

Happy Thanksgiving! Such a wonderful day with my incredible husband and in-laws. Grateful to have two amazing families, our health, our pups, and an amazing meal!

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Looking forward to seeing my Virginia family tomorrow and celebrating my cousin’s wedding on Saturday! The Thanksgiving tour continues…

Weekend Wrap Up [Andi’s Dedication]

This past week was a doozy! I accepted an assignment to review 7 live music venues in 7 nights, which meant after working all day, working out and making a quick dinner, I had to get ready and go back out in the cold to all of these venues and listen to music that I wasn’t super pumped about. That being said, I actually enjoyed MOST of the venues and artists. My favorites were definitely open mic night at The Evening Muse and Visulite Theatre. I also enjoyed all the extra time with my husband and am super grateful that he was willing to tag along with me to all of these shows.

IMG_7182This was our millionth try for a picture and my husband was hating the flash. Fun fact: only one of us loves having our picture taken! On Saturday, I had to do my long training run, which wasn’t actually  all that long this week. I did 6.08 miles  and felt pretty good while doing it. Didn’t hurt that the weather was INCREDIBLE on Saturday.

IMG_7377After the run, we went to a local bar to watch the Hokies (I’m embarrassed to say that) and the Harvard/Yale game (Hooray, Harvard!). Saturday ended with our 6th show of the week and my mom was in town so she got to go with us. Mom came in to celebrate my niece’s baptism on Sunday. So glad we were able to be part of such a special day in Andi’s life and loved spending time with the family.

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I made some whoopie pies for dessert after the dedication. My sister-in-law served us a delicious lunch and we all got to watch my nephew Damon show off for his whole big family. Now, back to those whoopie pies. 5 ingredients and absolutely delicious!

IMG_7203Since it’s almost Thanksgiving, I’ve been baking a ton and trying out lots of Pinterest recipes. Today, I made three kinds of sweet potato pies. I love the bite-size pies because you can try all three kinds and still have less calories than you would with a normal slice of pie! I also made chocolate chip Nutella cookies and apple butter cookies with my Paw Paw’s apple butter. Excited to spend this week with both of our families and of course, our sweet pups!

IMG_7353Happy almost Thanksgiving! Hope you are enjoying taste-testing all of your creations – or at least getting ready to share in some special time with family and a big meal, too!

Guyday Friday [Perfect Pancakes]

Creating pancakes for breakfast seemed hard for the longest time…. and then I actually tried. And they weren’t half bad. And they’re actually quite easy (which I can say now that I’ve been making them for years, but trust me, they’re not that hard!).

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To make the easiest pancakes you’ll ever make, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour (or 1 cup white flour, 1/2 cup wheat flour)
  • tablespoons sugar
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4-1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 TBS coconut oil (can use 2 TBS vegetable oil if coconut oil isn’t in your pantry!)
  • Griddle (I love this one that we got for our wedding!) or hot non-stick skillet with 1 TBS melted butter

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Directions:

  • Mix the dry ingredients first
  • Pour in 1 1/4 cup milk (you may need more but hold off for now), mix in with dry ingredients
  • Add the eggs, vanilla and oil, use whisk to mix  (it shouldn’t be totally smooth)
  • IF you want to add in fruit (or chocolate chips, now is the time – add and mix well

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  • Griddle should be heated to 350 degrees, or skillet on med-high heat
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  • Use 1/4 cup measuring cup to drop pancakes on skillet/griddle

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  • Once you see bubbles start appearing on side that’s facing up, you can flip to the other side
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  • It should take about 2 minutes on each side but depends on how big/thick your pancakes are
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  • Serve immediately. If you have extras, put them in tupperware or a sandwich bag and refrigerate them.

PS – we’ve been drinking almond milk for a while now and recently discovered this disclaimer on the back of the carton:

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“SILK ALMOND MILK WILL STAY FRESH 7-10 DAYS IN REFRIGERATOR AFTER OPENING”

…even though the expiration date is in December? Gross. Now we write the date in permanent marker on the cap once we open the carton. So, yeah.

Anyway, give the pancakes a shot. The first one is always the trickiest. And your whole first batch might be a fail, but you’ll get the hang of it. And you’ll love them. Also? It only takes about 15 minutes to make a batch of these babies!

BWA [Book Worms Anonymous]

I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that I am more than just a self-proclaimed book worm. I actually had a teacher tell my mom once that I read too much. I still disagree that reading TOO MUCH is even possible. I do try to balance my reading between easy, girly reads from Elin Hilderbrand and Jodi Picoult with books that are actually good for personal development.

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I selected these books to finish by the end of the year. I’m currently smack-dab in the middle of The Confidence Code and I’m loving it. I know what I’m doing with my job and yet, sometimes I feel like people don’t hear me. I am one of the youngest people in my group but I have a ton of experience and two degrees to back up my knowledge. Being more confident can only help me be assertive and sure in my role. I plan to finish the other five books: The In-Between, Loving What Is, #GIRLBOSS, DARE and Yes Please, by year-end as well, and save one special one for the whole month of December.

IntentionalThis little book is going to be my friend in December. It’s 30 days of an Intentional Marriage, with steps to do every day for 30 days. I don’t LOVE the title of “serving your husband” but I do agree with doing things to build up your husband and am grateful for the opportunity to spend 30 days with my husband. His work assignment now has him home for December and January (which is kind of like learning to live together all over again!), and that means we have lots of time together that we’ve been missing since he started this role back in February. I’m excited to see how this little experiment goes since he doesn’t know I’m reading the book. It has a task for each day such as “tell your husband 5 great things he does” or “Do something for your husband without him asking first.” I’m up for the challenge.

Any books you’re planning on finishing before the end of the year? I am ALWAYS looking for recommendations of good books!

Fatsgiving

With Thanksgiving coming up next week, I figured it’s only appropriate to talk about favorite foods for Thanksgiving dinner. My personal favorite is anything sweet potato, and preferably with marshmallows. I also have become a huge fan of fried turkeys. My in-laws started doing this a few years back, and last year my husband and I (really only him) fried our own.

I used to have a love for corn pudding and now I have a hard time thinking about it. I try to watch what I eat most of the time (with the exception of my cravings for wings and chocolate) and I work out to combat those calories. Thanksgiving is rough, not just with butter and sugar filled foods, but that overwhelming desire to sleep after gobbling up a plate of turkey. Did you know on average, people gain 7 lbs. over the holidays? Doesn’t that number just sound crazy? I can tell when I gain a single pound, and seven sounds like a devastating number.

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Don’t worry, I’m not going to be passing up Thanksgiving dinner, but I am going to try to make healthy decisions leading up to it – and especially the day of, starting with my Shakeology for breakfast! No need to let it all go for one meal. And maybe I’ll only have two slices of pie… (PS – that pie above was baked with love by my chef of a husband!)

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And since this will be my first year not running an organized 5 or 8k in honor of turkey day, I think I might have to do my own. I’m getting towards the middle of my half marathon training at this point, and should be able to do 7.5 by Thanksgiving day. So, at my weight and pace, I’ll burn around 800 calories and carve out room for that pie.

What are your favorite foods to feast on at Thanksgiving (always looking for new recipes!!)? My father-in-law said he wants a sweet potato pie, so I’m going to try those out this week and see if I can make one that’s delicious enough to share!

Weekend Wrap Up

On Friday, we said goodbye to our latest foster dog, Daisy. She was adopted and went to a home with a whole acre for her to play on. Even after she ate 50 pieces of Halloween candy, destroyed my bathroom trash and trash can, and tinkled on the carpet, I still managed to fall a little bit in love with her and tears flowed as she went with her furever family. I’m so glad we were able to help her and keep her until the right family came along!

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We traveled to the triangle area to spend time with my in-laws over the weekend and to watch the Hokies play Duke. I was prepared for a brutally cold game, but instead was met with a sunny day with crisp air. I’ll take it!

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We cheered loudly for our Hokies, not actually expecting the “W”, but somehow, by some miracle, we pulled it off by 1 point. These are the faces of four happy Virginia Tech fans!

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Also, Wallace Wade stadium has it going on with its food choices: barbecue sandwiches, Greek Gyros, burritos, fajitas and nachos, turkey barbecue, pizza, hot dogs, Italian sausage, steak & cheese sandwiches…. I mean,  have you ever? There were so many options! The downfall was that they only took cash at most and who carries cash these days?

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While Monday wasn’t part of the weekend, I thought I’d do a little plug for protecting your skin. I had an appointment with my dermatologist on Monday and came out breathing a sigh of relief as I do each year. I am terrified that I am going to end up with melanoma after my teenage years that were spent in tanning beds and many more years spent worshipping the sun on beaches. I now cover up with at least SPF 30 but more often than not, I use SPF 50. Your skin is your biggest organ and Chelsea will tell you, it’s not worth it. I am so glad to hear her latest results that there is no evidence of disease – but take it from her, not me…. the cutting, chemo and constant doctors visits? Not worth having bronze skin.

PS – New super awesome giveaways coming soon for all those who donate to the Bucket List project! The more you donate, the more chances you have to win! Stay tuned!

Guyday Friday

I’ve decided to dedicate all future Friday posts to guys – and cooking for guys. This came after a good guy friend told me he didn’t know how to make scrambled eggs, so he always hard boils his eggs. I wanted to give him some easy recipes that will also be delicious and can provide more than one meal for him. However, before we jump into meal #1, I am DYING to tell you about the next giveaway to raise more funds for the Pretty in Pink Wishes fundraiser and to help those ladies cross more items off their bucket lists.

Some super amazing folks have committed to donating FABULOUS items in order to help raise more money. I won’t tell you what exactly we have so far but I will tell you that we have items from Evelyn Henson, Fiber & Water, Jen Yamzon, Lori Wells, LH Calligraphy and Carolyn Leona (and hopefully more to come!). Go ahead and start donating, anyone who donates $10 or more from today through the end of the giveaway (I’m thinking 12/15 so you can have your items by Christmas??) will be entered! Come back here and comment that you donated!

I decided on Zuppa Toscana for this week’s recipe since the polar vortex has hit us and the weather is below freezing. A bowl of this will warm you right up! I got the recipe originally from my mother-in-law (who is also one of the best cooks I know!) and I’ve doctored it a little to make it my own.

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Shopping list:

1 lb. Italian Sausage (I like hot, choose mild if your tastebuds aren’t in the mood for spicy)
(2) 32.5 oz cartons of chicken broth (or vegetable. Also, I get the lower sodium, organic kind)
1 TBS. pepper flakes
8 oz. of heavy cream (buy the small carton)
9 medium potatoes
1 red onion
4 slices of bacon (optional – I don’t use it personally but if you’re a bacon lover, go for it!)
1 tsp. Garlic (buy the minced garlic in a jar)
1 bunch of kale
1 handful of spinach

Directions: (1 hour prep/cook time)

In a large skillet, brown the sausage and red pepper flakes (should take about 10-15 minutes)

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While the meat is cooking, chop the onion and potatoes.

If using bacon, set aside the sausage and cook the bacon in the same skillet until crisp (about 10 minutes). Drain the grease (leaving a couple tablespoons).

Whether you used just the sausage or the bacon, add in the diced red onion and garlic to your meat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.IMG_6839

In a large pot, mix the broth, peeled and chopped potatoes and bring to a boil. Boil for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Mix in the meat, cook on medium for 5 more minutes.

Stir in the heavy cream and cook through (about 5 more minutes).

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Mix in the spinach and kale and let cook for 2 more minutes before serving. Serve immediately.

This should make dinner/lunch for at least a few days and keep you warm and full at the same time. Plus, it’s easily reheated so you can take it to work with you (I LOVE one-container lunches!). It’s super easy and super delicious. Can’t wait to hear what you think!

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Hoping everyone has an AMAZING weekend that’s full of so much joy, oh, and that you stay warm! We’ll be bundled up and rooting on our Hokies (sad face for this season!). At least we’ll have good company at the game!

 

 

Wednesday Wish List

Can you believe Christmas is right around the corner? 43 days away, to be exact! While I’m not sharing a “Christmas” list, I am going to share some things that I’m loving right now. Since we’re still in our first year in our new house, we’re still figuring out some things we want/need and where they’ll go once we have them. One thing we can definitely agree on is a firepit.
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I am smitten with this dormat from Lulu and Georgia that says “You & Me,” and is the song we danced to at our wedding. I would love to put it out on our screened in porch. Isn’t it darling?

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While we’re on the topic of Lulu and Georgia, I LOVE this book shelf. It’s so different from traditional book shelves and would look great separating our dining room and living room.

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I have also been swooning over bar carts but haven’t made a purchase yet. Society Social has a great one, but is definitely high-end.

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This vintage-chic one that I found on Etsy is also quite charming:

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Target also has a couple, one which is very simple but I do love that price!

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The other is gold bamboo which is unique, plus it has places for your wine glasses:

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We still want bikes so we can ride around our adorable neighborhood, but with winter quickly approaching (Friday’s “low” is 25 degrees! Brrr!), I doubt we’ll be riding bikes ANYWHERE in the near future. I’m not much of a jewelry person but occasionally I will find items that I love (mostly staples). I sent my husband this Kate Spade watch recently. I have a watch that I wear almost every day to work, but I think this one could be more of an every day and night kind of watch!

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I also love this simple gold bar necklace. I saw a similar one in Monkee’s when shopping with my BFF Amy. This one is less than half the price (I know, I know, you get what you pay for!), but it’s just as cute!

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I rarely splurge on high-ticket items for myself, so this baby will have to wait but I am definitely in need of a David Yurman Pearl ring. I have looked at this for years and just can’t ever seem to suck it up and buy it. Maybe for a push present when we have a baby (don’t get excited moms, Baby E and Baby L are still a long ways off!).

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These vegan Tieks are amazing. I have said over and over again that my Tieks were the best shoe purchase I’ve ever made. I love my gold ones, and after two years, they are finally starting to show wear. I would definitely by the same ones again, but if I were going to switch it up, these would be a close second.

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I’ve been eyeing GiGi clutches for a while now and this eggplant color is all the rage this season. Plus? I love anything monogrammed!

1gigiclutchMost of these things are just nice-to haves. I always have such a hard time coming up with lists of things I actually want for birthdays and Christmas. What are some things you’re loving lately? Would love to hear what’s on your wish-list this year!

Weekend Wrap Up

It’s Tuesday but it feels like Wednesday. Boy is this week flying by! My husband’s best friend, Charles, visited over the weekend. We ate A LOT of food, starting with Queen City Q for barbecue on Friday. Since we had just been there the week before, I opted for wings this time. Wings are my weakness. Actually, anything with buffalo sauce is my weakness. I could live off of bland foods dipped in buffalo sauce.

IMG_6659Our friends Enrique and Urmie who recently moved to Charlotte, joined us for dinner and the Hornets game. We were in row A and I can’t say enough how much I love not having people sitting in front of me (now only if I could also not have them behind me!). We spied Michael Jordan from our seats.

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Even after having him here in Charlotte for several years now, it’s still pretty awesome to see him live at the games. The game was a thriller, with the Hornets winning in double overtime, with a last minute 3-point shot by Lance Stephenson.

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On Saturday, I had to get in my run to stay on track with my training for Key West. I decided to take it outdoors since the weather was next to perfect.  I have no idea what happened on mile 3, but other than that, I had a pretty good pace.

IMG_6352I had some pretty awesome scenery on my run, too. Fall is amazing for running. I am dreading winter long runs with bare trees and grey skies. But hey, at least it’s not snowing yet!

IMG_6707Saturday evening, we introduced Charles to NoDa Brewing and Birdsong. Being the wonderful groomsman and friend that he is, he remembered that he had Birdsong’s Jalapeño Pale Ale before our wedding and that we served Olde Mecklenburg Copper at our wedding.

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We love Charlotte’s craft beer scene, although I will say that we were disappointed this weekend to hear of NoDa’s new location that will be on North Tryon, and no longer in walking distance for us. We had dinner at Basil, which is one of our favorite Thai restaurants. The guys decided to watch the Alabama/LSU game on Saturday evening and I was apparently exhausted from the day, so I went to bed at 8:45. We constantly have the debate over whether or not I get TOO much sleep. I still say that’s not possible.

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Charles headed out after a very filling breakfast at Zada Janes. It was delicious but holy cow, those portions are GIGANTIC! I picked up our foster dog Daisy on Monday and brought her back to our house for the week. She’s a small lab/beagle mix at 45 lbs. She is the cuddliest, sweetest pup who just wants to be loved. I don’t think she was given a lot of positive attention in her last home. She has already met her forever family and will be going to live with them on Friday. I can’t say enough good things about Lucky Labs Rescue here in Charlotte. They are amazing to work with and we’ve loved both of our fosters from there. I highly recommend checking out the labs they have available if you’re in the market for a furever friend, or filling out an application if you don’t see one that works. They are great about working to find out what kind of dog you want and finding matches. Yay for Daisy and her forever home. Fostering is also a great way to check out dogs and see how they fit in your home. So happy for you, sweet girl!