Friday, November 18, 2011

Relationships: Staying Close

Relationships come in many forms. There are different bonds with each relationship we have. From sisters, to spouses, all the way to friendships. All are treated differently on our own personal totem pole.

How do you keep them all close to your heart without losing yourself in pleasing everyone?

I for one used to have trouble letting go. I'd do things for everyone else and would also forget about myself. In doing so I lost what I loved most, being myself. When you become friends with someone you shouldn't conform to their likes, it's what makes you different that draws them to you.

How does one stay close if they're so far away?

One of my sisters lives in another state. Staying close is impossible when it comes to distance but through our actions we show we care. She'll send pictures of my niece and her cats, whatever is happening in her life at the moment. I reciprocate and through that a bond remains.

I have some friends who are into sports and others into spa days. I allow myself at least once or twice a month to do something fun for me. Sometimes I won't get to see spa friends, but we are all busy, beating yourself up about ruins the fun. Pick your poison and run with those friends.

I've learned by doing what I want those around me remain happier and that keeps me happy.

How do you keep your relationships close?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Holiday Tip: Creative Ways to Give Thanks

I love the holidays. This time of year is my favorite. Everyone getting together and sharing what they're most thankful for!

This year we're having Thanksgiving at my apartment. I'm hoping next year I'll get to move into a house and have a nice big dinner, but for now it'll be chilling in the living room watching the Macy's Day Parade as all the fixings are prepared!!!

This week I want to share creative ways to give thanks this holiday season!!! Better Homes and Garden nailed it this year!!

1. Thankful Centerpiece: Make decorating the table a group effort. For the centerpiece, fill a serving platter with unshelled nuts, arrange colorful fruit on top and insert artificial berry sprigs. Then ask guests to add to the arrangement by writing what they're thankful for on paper leaves and tucking them into the centerpiece.

2. Drink Tags: Print out their free leaf-shape patter onto fall-color papers, cut out, and punch a hole at the base of each leaf. Ask guests to pick a leaf and write a word or short phrase describing something they're thankful for, such as "family" or "good health". Attach leaves to the wineglass stems using lengths of gold cord or raffia.

3. Simple Notes: Express your gratitude for individual guests with a quick note of thanks. Use adorable thank you cards for those sweet words on the inside.

For more amazing ideas check out the rest of their creativness this holiday season!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Recipe: Cheesy Chicken Rice Bake

This dish is DELICIOUS! I love finding new simple recipes to grace our kitchen. I don't get near enough variety when I'm at home and we don't always want to eat out to enjoy a nice meal. Thank goodness Pinterest exists where I can find amazing recipes.

This weeks comes from Cheesy Chicken Rice Bake with black beans and corn... doesn't it look amazing?

Things you'll need:

  • 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 4 cups Cooked Brown Rice
  • ¾ cups Frozen Corn
  • 15 ounces, fluid Can Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt (or Sour Cream)
  • 4 ounces, fluid Can Green Chilis
  • ½ cups Salsa
  • 1 cup Low-fat Cheddar Cheese, Plus More For Topping
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro For Garnish

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for cilantro and mix thoroughly to combine. Make sure the yogurt and cheese are stirred in throughout the entire bowl. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Transfer to an oven-safe dish and top with extra cheese if you would like. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
To make this process easier, I always have cooked chicken on hand, and use Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice. If you have those two things, this can be throw together in a matter of minutes! It can also easily be made ahead of time and reheated.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Realtionships - Getting Married

Today is a very special occasion. My dad is getting re-married.

Love is a funny thing. It comes and go if you don't keep it fresh. If you don't have those dates every once in a while the fire burns out and you're left with nothing but a roommate. Though my mom and dad didn't work out I want nothing but happiness for both of them.

His now-wife decided that 11/11/11 was the perfect day to get wed. We'll be enjoying a quiet ceremony followed by a nice dinner just us family.

It's a great time for you to surround yourself with those you love. My husband and I had the best wedding because everyone near and dear to us showed up and celebrated with us. The happiest moments are when you're with loved ones.

So enjoy your day and love one another. I'll see you next week for Monday's recipe!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Love of Books: Cover Art 3

Happy Wednesday! Another rendition of my favorite posts of the week! Some really great cover art to be shared here today by some uber fabulous authors!!! I believe I'll have you RUNNING to to place your orders! So let's get started!

Here, Home, Hope by Karia Rouda - Price $11.25 (ebook is also available) - Buy

Stay by Allie Larkin - Price $10.38 (ebook is also available) - Buy

Best Kept Secret by Amy Hatvany - Price $10.20 (ebook is also available) - Buy

My Life in Loubies by Erica Negi - Price $11.07 (ebook is also available) - Buy

I ADORE THESE COVERS!!! They are breathtaking, amazing, and must buys just based on the covers alone. What one's caught your eyes?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Recipe: Zephyr Lemonade

I love an amazing cocktail and if you're not looking to go all out with a holiday Vodka Slush but want something simple and refreshing to enjoy, I've found the perfect drink! It's quick, easy, and goes with everything!

Things you'll need:

Sweet & Sour


Mix as you like!!! That's right, I will NOT give you an directions on concocting this delicious drink. It is to be devoured as you like. Every person likes theirs a little differently but trust me... it's all amazing!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Me Time: Wizarding World

I'll be here all next week:

Getting my wand power on.

Hopefully running into a few of my classmates from Hogwarts. Stopping in Weasley's Joke Shop for some great items for the party that evening and eventually apparating back to the beach house where a relaxing afternoon will play out by the pool -- with cocktails.

What are you doing next week? Something fun I hope!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Love of Books: Cover Art 2

I had so much fun with last weeks cover art showcase I decided until I ran out of fun cover art to choose from I'd keep showing off some amazing people! Their talent with words is amazing but the covers are normally what we recognize first.

The Brunette Bombshell by De-ann Black - Ebook Price $.099 - Buy

Unscripted by Natalie Aaron and Marla Schwartz - Ebook Price $4.79 - Pre-Order

Soap Dreams by Stephanie Haefner - Ebook Price $2.49 - Buy

Lovers Gamble by Jennifer Ann Coffeen - Ebook Price $2.50 - Buy

These woman are fabulous and I'm just honored to get a chance to feature them, if only for a moment! Any catch your eye?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Recipe: Skillet Chicken Pasta

Pinterest is my new best friend! If you're on there please follow me! I'll follow back so we can share some amazing recipes, decorating tips, and more! This week I bring you a very delicious Skillet Chicken Pasta!!!

Mels Kitchen Cafe has amazing recipes that are easy to follow and substitutions are allowed!

The ingredients:

*serves 4-6

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch squares
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
12 ounces ziti or penne pasta
3 cups water
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4-5 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed, drained and chopped coarse
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

The directions:

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until it is rippling and very hot. Add the chicken pieces to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a clean plate and set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, onion, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the onion is softened, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the pasta, water and broth. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is very thick and syrupy and almost completely absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. There should still be a little bit of liquid in the bottom of the skillet but the pasta should be tender.

Add the broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes. Stir lightly to incorporate them into the pasta mixture. Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the broccoli turns bright green and is almost tender, 2-3 minutes. While the broccoli is cooking, whisk the cream and cornstarch together.

Uncover the skillet and stir in the cream, Parmesan, and reserved chicken with any accumulated juices and continue to simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, topped with extra Parmesan, if desired.

My thoughts:

Since my husband and I are not a fan of tomatoes we left them out but otherwise it was DELICIOUS!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Holiday Tip: Halloween Movies

During the week of Halloween I enjoy watching ABC Family's 13 Days of Halloween. It really gets me into the spirit of the holiday!

I also adore going to the haunted houses near our house and having our regular Halloween Party! We scope out the newest Haunted Houses because they're discounted and it help gets the word out. For the Halloween Party we add something new every year!

That being said instead of playing the traditional 'party' music we switch between Halloween Movies and eerie music!!!!

Below are some of my favorite ways to spruce up the Halloween Party and give it at the extra scary edge for this time of year!

Hocus Pocus I watch for the nostalgia. Every year since I was a kid we watched it. That's yet to change!

The Strangers scares the pants off me!!! This is one that the party plays after I'm gone! I don't like to be left with nightmares and this one gives me the heebie jeebies!!

Halloween is an old time favorite. Michael Meyers has given me nightmares since I first saw him as a young girl. This is the only costume off limits for the Halloween Party.

Last but not least is a new one added to our pile of goodies. INSIDIOUS. This one freaked the crap out of me so it'll now be added to the continuation of films on Old Hallows Eve.

What are the movies that make you jump? Any plans for the upcoming Holiday!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Love of Books: Cover Art

For those of you who don't know I am the founder of #chicklitchat on Twitter. We meet every Thursday and discuss a new topic for women. It's normally pertaining to what we love to write, read and how we come about everything. This week is dabbling in the world of publishing. What route was chosen and why. What you enjoy more ebooks or paperbacks? Stop in! (7pm central).

I adore good cover art and lately the ebooks have stepped up their game with some amazing new books that have covers I'd devour!!! I wanted to share some of my favorites today! These are coming from some of my favorite girls over at #chicklitchat

Love and Lattes by Heather Thurmeier - Ebook Price $4.99 - Buy (Twitter handle: hthurmeier)

Destined to Fail by Samantha March - Ebook Price $4.99 - Buy (Twitter handle: SamanthaMarch23

The Last Page by Lacy Camey - Ebook Price $0.99 - Buy (Twitter Handle: LacyCamey)

Sleeping With Paris - Ebook Price $2.99 - Buy (Twitter handle: JulietteSobanet)

That's what I'm going to leave you with today. There were so many I just don't have enough time to showcase them all!!! Did any catch your eye? Any you're looking to add to your e-reader this very moment?!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Recipe: Vodka Slush

Holiday season is a reason for creativity. You get to bake, decorate, and make a fun holiday drink. My mother-in-law has the most delicious recipe that I look forward to making every year, and today, I'm going to share with you!

Vodka Slush

Things you'll need:

1 - 6oz cherry jello gelatin (We use red for Christmas. This jellos interchangeable! Any holiday switch out the colors!)
2 - 12oz frozen orange juice
2 - 12oz frozen lemonade
4 cups of cranberry juice
4 cups of vodka
7up or Sprite
A GIANT BOWL (that's able to fit in your freezer)
Freezer room


1. Grab your giant bowl and pour 1 - 6oz cherry jello gelatin.
2. Dissolve in 2 cups of hot water.
3. Add 6 cups of cold water.
4. Throw 2 - 12 oz frozen orange juice AND 2 - 12 oz frozen lemonade.
5. Followed by 4 cups of cranberry juice AND 4 cups of vodka.
6. Freeze for 48 hours before serving, pulling out of freezer every couple of hours to stir. It will gradually turn to slush.
7. Serve with 7-up or Sprite.

It's delicious and everyone will remember your parties based on this delicious treat! Add some spritz and sugar cookies and you'll be the newest Christmas hot spot!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Holiday Tip: Costume Complications

Never give up on costumes for Halloween. I don't know who all plans on going to a Halloween party this year, but the hubster and I throw our own party and LOVE dressing up. In fact, at our parties, costumes are required!

This year was ROUGH. We never have a whole lot of luck finding costumes. It takes us forever, and last weekend was no exception. After an hour of searching we each found what we wanted. Next year we'll shop early and order online. It'll definitely be worth it. Since we've only done this three years in a row we're still learning.

What we ended with:

Queen of Hearts and Zombie (obvs the hubsters the zombie). I found a picture of mine... it seems the Zombie one is much harder to find than I thought!

What are you dressing up as? Remember to never give up! Go for what you want. There are too many stores NOT to get what you want!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Me Time: Project Beginner Housewife

So I originally started this blog to help get control of my Muse. For those of you who don't know, I'm a writer. I write contemporary fiction and have fallen in love with all things romance, fun, and quirky.

I started this to help jump start my next novel and also learn to cook a few things. So far it's working out beautifully. I've enjoyed meeting all you new wonderful people and I'm visiting some fantastic blogs I never would have found before!

You really are making this worth while. So today I leave you with just a thanks. Thank you for stopping in, for following, and for caring enough to comment. You're very appreciated here and I hope you stick around.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Recipe: Spicy Chicken Bites

As you know, being a Beginner Housewife the key is simplicity. If you get to darn creative you lose focus and you lose the fun (at least for me). So last week when I was pinning over on Pinterest (SERIOUSLY follow me... it's fun!) I fell across buffalo chicken bites. They weren't exactly what I wanted but the idea triggered a simple approach and I took it.

I present to you, my delicious (but not attractive) chicken bites.

Things you'll need:

Spices (I use red pepper and various others. This is the part where your creative soul takes over)!
Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations Seamless Dough Sheet (this makes it so easy)!
Shredded Cheese
A pan
A cookie sheet
An oven
A cutting board


Homemade potato chips


1. Spice up your chicken. Normally while cooking (in a pan) over a stove I add them. I love to be creative and try some new combinations, but the choice is yours on how spicy or sweet you want your chicken!
2. Heat up the oven to the directions of the pillsbury dough.
3. While cooking the chicken you can also chop up your potato and throw them into the frying pan OR stove to bake so you have the salty side item.
4. When the chicken is complete you'll want to lay out the pillsbury dough and cut it into triangles.
5. Add in the middle of the dough the chicken and cheese, cover the combination tightly and place on the cookie sheet. Repeat until complete.
6. Cook for the alloted time (as listed on the pillsbury package), and voila, dinner is served!

It's up to you on if you'd like to add the potato chips or veggies. The hubster and I love to mix it up. But for now, they're you are! Enjoy!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Relationships - Anniversaries should be special

I'm one that believes that you should celebrate the day you two met or wed. I don't care if it's something small or extravagant, just a little something to show your love.

My husband and I celebrated our four year anniversary last week and he was a total sweetheart. We both decided that our five year we'd do something fun... a true vacation to celebrate the five years we made it together! Which meant, naturally, this year wasn't as important.

That didn't stop him from being the perfect gentleman and showing that life still has those unexpected surprises!

He bought me diamond earrings, replacing the one's that fell down the drain at a doctor's office one week a month ago. As if that wasn't enough he also bought me a bouquet of flowers. For those who know my husband, he's not a romantic so these gestures shows he cares and listen.

What did we eat for dinner? $5 pizza from Little Caesars. So inexpensive and yet we enjoyed each other's company, inside our house, and it was better than any dinner date we could have had.

For me it's all about time. I just want time with my husband, the gifts are special, but the time is what really matters. So on your anniversary you should take time to just be with one another, after all, in the end, that's what really matters.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Love of Books: Shoe Addicts Anonymous

Do you have a love of books?

Yes, this blog is for all the things I adore, from food, creative home decor, all the way to books. I tend to share all the things that I come across and enjoy (or suck at it). I try everything... or at least sit there and think about trying it.

Book of choice: Shoe Addicts Anonymous by Beth Harbison
Reason: Shoes (duh)
Lesson: Friendships can be found in unexpected places.

The Blurb:

Helene Zaharis's politician husband keeps her on a tight leash and cancels her credit cards as a way of controlling her. Lorna Rafferty is up to her eyeballs in debt and can't stop her addiction to Ebay. Sandra Vanderslice, battling agoraphobia, pays her shoe bills by working as a phone sex operator. And Jocelyn Bowen is a nanny for the family from hell (who barely knows a sole from a heel but who will do anything to get out of the house).

On Tuesday nights, these women meet to trade shoes, and, in the process, form friendships that will help them each triumph over their problems--from secret pasts to blackmail, bankruptcy, and dating.  Funny, emotional, and powerful, Shoe Addicts Anonymous is the perfect read for any woman who has ever struggled to find the perfect fit

My thoughts:

Four girls all with big life issues looking for someone to confide in. One of them is smart enough to start a group for ladies interested in size seven shoes. With her shoe addiction she's looking to swap adorably expensive Manolo Blaniks with someone else's to avoid the extra charge on her credit card.

In doing so she meets three fabulous women who all band together and form a real bond. It really is a story of love, laughter, and a few cocktails.

After reading this it truly had me valuing not only my friendship but my shoe collection. I'm one who adores flats, tennis shoes, and quirky handmade vans. I love my friends and any chance I get to listen to them confide in me their secrets I feel honored.

This is one of those feel good books you're sure to want all your friends to read!

I give it four cupcakes!

SOOOOOOO... what's your favorite pair of shoes? Do you adore girl time? Are you a big reader?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Recipe: Mini Taco Pizzas

My husband and I love simple! The easier and faster the recipe the more successful it'll be in our house.

I present to you, Mini Taco Pizzas!!!

This is such a great recipe for easy nights in and the kids can join in for the fun as well!

Things you'll need:

Refried Beans
Taco Seasoning
Shredded Cheese
Some style of breading (we use anywhere from bagels, flatbreads, to sandwich rounds).
Chips (optional)
A cookie sheet
An oven


1. Brown the ground beef. Add the taco seasoning as instructed.
2. Heat up the refried beans.
3. Use the beans as the sauce, placing it over the breading of choice (if you can use a toaster to toughen up the bread, do, but it's not necessary).
4. Add hamburger to the pizza, followed by the shredded cheese of your choice.
5. Turn oven on to broil.
6. WATCH your pizza, you're just looking for the cheese to melt. Normally takes about 2 minutes.
7. Pull out of oven and added the fixings (lettuce, sauces, chips)!
Such an easy and delicious recipe that I've yet to screw up... unless you count burning the chips while having the oven on broil... I didn't watch carefully enough!

Friday, October 7, 2011

City Tip: Embrace Your City

I love Houston. There is so much to do, so much to see! Every weekend brings something new!

Once a month my husband and I love to try something new. Break out of our shell and try a new place, a different style of food! It's kind of amazing what you'll find.

Newest sport love: Roller Derby. These girls are fierce, independent, and fabulous! For $15 we get several hours of top notch entertainment!

Newest food love: The Shack (formally known as The Love Shack). This place has the most delicious burgers. What a donut for a bun? How about a grilled cheese sandwich? They break burger molds. They also put brisket and bacon on french fries. Hello heaven. (No that isn't a strange guy in the photo -- it's the owner)!

Newest adventure: Discovery Green. This place is filled with fun! From delicious breakfasts, great farmers market, live music, and water fun for children it's an all day chill fest! Bring a blanket and prepare to enjoy everything from hula-hooping excersizes to fun projects for the kids!

What have you discovered in your city?

Monday: Recipe - Mini Taco Pizzas!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Me Time: Reasons to love Etsy

I bring you Me Tip: Reasons to love Etsy! I'm one that loves to save money but also wants something unique and memorable to chat about. Well, there is this little known website ETSY that rocks my world.

With all these beautifully handmade pieces it's hard not to go crazy with all the great stuff! I'm one, that when it's time to splurge, still splurge on a dime. Very rarely do I go over the wall to extravagant. I wear these pieces when I'm feeling daring, unique, and want to make a statement!

I figured every once in awhile I'll show you some of the most recent and favorite pieces of mine!!! I'll provide the cost and the link if you choose the purchase them!!!

This honeycomb pendant is AMAZING! Price: $35

Gumball Charm Necklace is darling! Price: $10

Such a cute headband! I own a few! Price: $26

It's hard not to fall in love! So, any to your liking? Do you love Etsy? What other sites do you use?

Friday: City Tip - Embracing Your City

Monday, October 3, 2011

Recipe: Hot Apple Cider in Apples!

One of my favorite scents is the smell of apples and cinnamon. You could achieve this by baking a pie or buying a candle but my favorite way is by making hot apple cider.

Toast autumn's arrival with hot apple cider, the quintessential fall evening drink. With this easy-to-make crock-pot recipe, you will be ready in no time to serve a few mugs to your friends at a festive gathering, or just grab a mug for yourself and settle down before the warm hearth.

Things you'll need:

1 gallon apple juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 piece of cheese cloth
cooking twine
3-4 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks broken into small pieces
1 whole nutmeg
Orange peel
Small crock pot


1. Place cloves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and orange peel in the cheese cloth. Draw the corners of the cheese cloth together and tie the twine around to create a small spice sack.

2. Pour apple juice into a crock pot and stir in the lemon juice with a wooden spoon. For tangier cider, you may opt to add a little more lemon juice.

3. Plug in the crock pot and set the heat on a low or medium setting. If you do not have time for the cider to heat slowly, use a high setting and stir more often.

4. Allow apple juice to heat for approx 20-30 minutes or until warm.

5. Put the spice sack directly in the apple juice. Stir the cider occasionally, moving the spices around the crock pot if necessary.

6. Remove spice sack and discard once cider is heated to preferred temperature.

7. Pour the piping hot cider in your mug (or apple if you're daring)!

8. For a cute touch add a cinnamon stick as a stirrer!

Author note: If you want something even easier, go to a nearby store and look for 'mulling spices' read the directions (normally just requires apple cider juice) and you'll have cider with a lot less ingredients!

Wednesday: Reasons to love Etsy!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Traveling: For the Holidays

If you're one to travel during the holidays much like my husband and I do every other year for family, you'll want to have a little fun.

I've decided to share the recipe for a safe and happy travel! Whether you're traveling by car or plane, mishaps can always happen. It's what you do with them to make them fun. Here are some tips on ensuring your entire holiday is a success.

1. Embrace the complicated.

My husband and I have had issues where we were stranded in a unknown city or ran out below freezing window washer fluid. Rather than panicking we laughed our way through it.

In the new city we embraced the opportunity to learn something about the town. Visiting their information center we learned they were all about their wood carvings, which were beautiful! It allowed us time to have our flat tired changed & bond a little before heading off for the rest of our journey. Think of it as an adventure.

With the window washer fluid, we drove down the freeway with a bottle of fluid throwing it aimlessly on the car before the windshield froze over again. Not a pleasant experience but we laughed during it -- and learned a lesson!

2. Be Unique.

My husband and are quirky but on a road trip we plan surprises. On mile marker 622 I'll have a special mug of hot apple cider waiting for him. Half way through the road trip he'll stop by a local supermarket and we'll pick up a tiara for me and a comedy CD to listen to on the next phase of the trip. The more surprises that come the less it feels like travel and the more it feels like adventure.

3. Play those games.

You played Eye Spy or the Alphabet game when you were a kid, what's stopping you now? It's a lot more fun when you're both actively seeking for the next letter of the alphabet, or searching for the fifty states on licenes plates. Traveling isn't meant to be all stress. Make it fun!

4. Waiting Time is Fun Time.

When waiting to board the plane check out the little shops. They are there for you. You don't need to buy everything in sight but it's fun to pretend you can afford that expensive piece of jewelery or just get comfy in your seat and people watch.

My husband and I decide if someone is traveling for business or pleasure. In choosing one we must, from there, set up a story for why that person is going and what kind of experience they'll have.

Most of all just have a little fun! If you're not having fun you'll find yourself subjected to longer flights, terrible layovers, flat tires, and the baby that won't stop screaming next to you.

How do you travel? Have any tips for me?

Monday: Hot Apple Cider in Apples!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Decorative Tip: Dressing up your front entrance for the seasons

I know not everyone owns a house, but first impressions are key when you first walk into someones home. Whether it be a house or an apartment. I love dressing up the front so when someone walks in they can see my personality!

If you have a great entrance with a table, coat hanger, and more you have any more to work with! If you're like me, and have just island from the kitchen in your tiny apartment, that's okay too. Each home can have a decorative spin and it doesn't have to be costly!

Here's a few tips on how to make your home a little more festive. Since Halloween is here I'll go with simple knick knacks to add a little flare!

First I love to check my local stores. Hobby Lobby, Michael's, Pier 1 Imports and Kirkland's are my go to places!

Simple ways to liven up your space for under $10

Holiday Candles - ($1-5): Buy mixed matched colors, different sizes, set up your own design with various shades of orange and different designs.

Ornaments & Tree - ($1-10): Hobby Lobby is known for carrying mini-trees all year long. Grab yourself one (paint black or green if necessary), buy little pumpkin, ghost, and bat ornaments to complete the theme.

Fun knick-knacks - ($1-10): Hobby Lobby (everything 50% off) has these adorable sparkly pumpkins (various colors), and holiday bears with witch hats, and graveyard scenes on their shirts. It's a festive and fun look to your home.

Table cloth - ($5-10): With either holiday table cloth or fabric that's own sale, this is a simple and very quick way to show your holiday spirit.

Halloween cards - ($1-10): Walmart has a fabulous $1 section where you can pick up several holiday cards. For a cheaper route they're also colored card stock to buy in bulk where you can decorate your own cards for a Halloween look on a budget.

For outside decor ranging from fall to christmas there is tons of variety!!!! Think wreaths, color, and pumpkins!!

Question: What would you do to add a little Halloween life in your home?

Friday: Travel Tips, For the Holidays (and all year round!)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Relationships - Keeping the spice in your marriage

Nights in are golden.

I know we aren't ones to spend a lot of money these days, and my hubby and I enjoy each others company, it doesn't always mean it needs to be a night out.

The way we keep our spice in tact is through a night in. It's the most intimate setting because it's your space.

The week before we plan our menu. On date nights we try something fresh and new. We'll pick up some fun ingredients and the evening of the date we cook together. It allows us time to connect again, laugh, and make something together.

We pick out a new movie and spend time cuddling with one another. The connection bringing us both closer together.

Dessert. This is where I love to make something that allows the whole house to smell delicious. Homemade cookies, the smell of warm apple pie. It's really up to you on what you make but the sweeter the house smells, the sweeter the evening.

Now for those of you who have children I suggest picking a few items from the store: fresh fruit, champage, whipped cream, chocolate, popcorn and some popcorn seasonings. While the children are tucked in for the night pop up a bowl of fresh popcorn and lay the spread out on your coffee table. Lay a blanket down with some fluffy pillows and pop in a favorite movie of yours. It allows you time to chat with one another while the movie plays in the background. It gives you the connection you both need, without technology sitting in front of you.

Question: How do you keep the spice in your life?

Wednesday: Decorating your front entrances according to the season!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Holiday Tip - Dressing up your pumpkin

With Halloween around the corner it's always great to start thinking of ideas early!

How are you going to play it this year?

Chic and stylish?
Scary and Gory?
Fun and festive?

When you're able to decide what theme you'd like around the house it makes it so much easier! You'll want to decide if you want real or fake pumpkins. I love real, but sometimes neighborhood teens have a tendency to play the pumpkin throwing game and that gets messy! Regardless of the pumpkin you choose the same rules still apply!

Chic and stylish:

1. Ribbon love. Grab those remnants of holiday ribbon and add double sided tape, and voila - a cute centerpiece!
2. Spray Paint or Craft Paint. Polka-dots, stripes, swirly designs. Get funky, these cute little pumpkins are easy as painting on a coat of your favorite color and dressing it up in style!
3. Tag Line Cutie. Leave cute little trick or treat quotes on scrapbook paper, use some halloweenish ribbon and leave these little gems all around the house! They're the cutest little addition for the holiday!
4. Crepe Paper Votives. These are one of my favorites! Crepe paper, glue, and baby food jars and you'll have the cutest pumpkins and ghosts in town! Check out the instructions!

Scary and Gory:

1. Pattern love. The online world is a fabulous one, find the perfect SCARY pattern to carve OR paint on your pumpkin!
2. Throw them up. So this one I always enjoy seeing, I personally wouldn't want to deal with the clean-up, but when you're going with gross this one's the real deal!
3. The more the merrier. If you're going for a wicked look I suggest several lit up pumpkins. The neighbors will think you've gone crazy, but you've just nailed the perfect look.
4. Angling for the best outcome. I find that placing the pumpkin in different positions often gives the pumpkin a new edge, character. Utilize all the space.

Fun and Festive:

1. Decortive. Utilize every day house items to spruce up the pieces out on your front porch, dining room table, etc. Shovels, rakes, silver - black - white or orange bowls to liven up the halloween spirit.
2. Team Spirit. Often times you'll see sports initials and mascots on pumpkins and that's the way people celebrate! If your little one loves princess or a wizard, find a pattern and use it as a way to make Halloween less scary in your household.
3. Pumpkin Decorating. Buy paints and let the kids go wild with their own versions of pumpkins. With pinks, blues, greens galore, everyone is sure to have a good time and want to show of their finished pieces.
4. Every color pumpkin. I love nothing more than visiting the pumpkin patch and picking out the odd colored ones, from green to white they add just a little more flare to your decorative feel.

Question: What theme are you thinking about this year?

Monday: Keeping the spice in your marriage!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Party Tip: Party Pantry Checklist

I had the pleasure this weekend of meeting the fabulous Tara Wilson. She attended the Metro Cooking Show here in Houston. It was an absolute blast. The Houston Blogging Chicks and I had the pleasure of an intimate setting where she taught us her speciality! Here we all are! Tara's in the cute dress right up front!

She is a fabulous event planner. If you're looking for party tips on a budget she's your gal! She loves taking inexpensive items and turning them into something fabulous.

I'll share tips that I learned from her, from time to time.

Today's tip - Tara's Party Pantry Checklist...
"When you stock your party pantry with these items, you'll be ready to entertain whenever the moment strikes!"

1. Mixed Nuts
2. Decorative Cookies
3. Gourmet pastas and pasta sauces
4. Forzen hors d'oeurves
5. Assorted crackers
6. Variety of cheese
    Hard: Machego
    Semi-Hard: Blue
    Soft: Chevre
7. Wine
8. Champagne or Prosecco
9. Bourbon
10. Gin
11. Gin
12. Mixers
      Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite
      Cranberry Juice
      Orange Juice
      Soda Water
      Tonic Water
13. Garnishes
      Colored Sugars
      Pickled onions
      Stuffed olives
14. Cocktail Napkins

Now I have to say after going through this list I panicked. Until I realized that I'm not at the stage where entertaining is appropriate. After all, my first attempt with pancakes was clearly a disaster. However, I've put her checklist in my pantry for inspiration. I do hope to end up where uninvited guests do arrive and I'm able to provide a delicious pasta meal!

Question: Do you own anything on the list? Are you one to have many uninvited guests?

Friday: Holiday Tip - How to dress up your pumpkins!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Recipe: Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Subject: Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
Recipe: Found on Stumbleupon
How I fared: Horribly

Yes. This round definitely earned an F. Following directions was easy, to start with, but putting it into action was terrible. Not only was I frustrated but there were several uses of inappropriate language.

It sort of went like this:

Hubs: I'll start the bacon and eggs.
Me: *nods* *furrows brow* *pours batter* Dammit!
Hubs: What happened?
Me: Look... *we both stare at half the batter in the pan the other half out*

By the fourth try I was able to keep the batter in the pan, add cinnamon mix (with a plastic spoon) - bag instructions they offered blew this beginner out of the water.

Thoughts: Maybe next time I'll just add the cinnamon to the batter... it'd probably taste the same.

So, I'm sure you're all interested in a photo.

Here is what it was supposed to look like...

Here is what mine looks like. Clearly the swirl is not my area of expertise... and yes, this was with the spoon (it was difficult regardless). You also don't see much cinnamon on the finished product (the other side was awful), but you can see it is indeed a pancake.

Looks - Like a pancake (though my kitchen was atrocious)
Taste - Delicious

Question: Have you had any beginner mishaps?

Wednesday: Tara Wilson's Party Pantry Checklist - Leaving you ready to entertain at a moment's notice!