Thursday, December 27, 2012

December Budget

I'm linking up with Franish with my December Budget! It appears I had an unintentional accessory theme to my purchases!

The pearl necklace and earrings as well as the studs to the right were purchased from Bridier Baubles (currently on maternity leave!!). The necklace/earrings set was $24. The studs were $16. I used a discount code to get 20% off the original price.

The gold circle earrings were purchased at the Junior League Holiday Market from Betsy Pittard Designs. I think they were $25. Sadly, I can't find the receipt. Goal for 2013: Be more mindful of these things!!

I had another purchase, which I blogged about here. It was the J Crew Perfect Shirt in mini gingham (picnic blue). It was a darling shirt, but it just looked bad on me. Button down shirts are not very flattering on my body type. I purchased it for $40 when J Crew had their 25% off plus free shipping sale. It has been returned (hmm, should check if I got my refund yet!).

Total spent: $65

Here's to a fashionable yet fiscally responsible 2013 :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

favorite things swap - what i received!

So M and C totally did a genius job in matching me with Little B. I adore my package!! I've been coveting the fresh products forever. Essie is my favorite polish brand. And the Bliss stuff I was about to order it for another friend!

Thanks for hosting, M and C!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holiday Treat Boxes!

I recently blogged over at The Chirping Moms about planning our holiday treat boxes. It took us around 6.5 hours to get everything baked, cooled and packaged. We prepared 13 boxes total.

Here are notes on each of the recipes!

Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies - We doubled the recipe, which yielded 5 1/2 dozen mini brownies (baked in mini cupcake tins). We added 1 bag of mini chocolate chips. We substituted the mint chocolate chips for Andes Creme de Menthe pieces. We baked for 14-16 minutes.

Mini Gingerbread Whoopie Pies - Instead of spooning out the batter, my sister used a piping bag to pipe out the cakes. They turned out so cute! We also omitted the crystallized ginger.

S'mores Bark - We added crushed graham crackers to the top to add texture and visual interest. My sister used a culinary blow torch to "roast" the marshmallows instead of broiling. We also let it harden in the freezer for 30 minutes instead of an hour in the refrigerator.

Pecan Pie Bars - We used pecan halves instead of chopped pecans. I layered them on top of the filling instead of mixing in.

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods - We used pretzel twists instead of rods. My sister liked the chocolate to salty ratio better on these! The pretzel rods get a little dry while the twists are perfect size bites!

I made a few general notes that I hope you find helpful!
  • Next time, we will order and prep our packing material in advanced! We raided our Dollar Tree today, purchasing cellophane bags, tags etc. Then I wrote out labels for each item. Our boxes were not the most aesthetically pleasing!
  • I highly recommend you put on some fun music. I suppose the normal people would put on Christmas music. Us? The Mandy Moore Pandora station. We even had a sing-a-long to "Never Had a Dream Come True" by S Club 7.
  • While we did get everything done in one day, I highly recommend you spread this out over two. Your legs and sanity will thank you!
And now! For the good stuff. The pictures!

I delivered boxes to some of our friends today. It was wonderful to bring a little cheer and a hello!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Party - In Real Life

Last Friday, we attended J's work holiday party. A week or so ago, I blogged about my potential outfit. Here's how it worked, in real life!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Favorite Things

I participated in the Favorite Things swap, hosted by the lovely ladies at Blair's Headband and Christina Izlar. My swap partner, Little B, has received her box, so I wanted to share what I sent! And as an aside, after reading Little B's blog, I can see the ladies did a perfect job matching us.

California Olive Ranch - J started ordering olive oil from California Olive Ranch a couple of years ago. It is delicious! We've used a variety of their products. This particular olive oil is best as is and not exposed to heat. We use it for salad dressing, pesto, hummus, and for bread dipping.

Peterbrooke Chocolate - This is my favorite chocolate! It is made right here in Jacksonville. They are best known for all their hand dipped chocolate treats and the pictured chocolate covered popcorn. I included the popcorn and an assortment of chocolate covered treats.

Food writing is one of my favorite genres. Cooking for Mr. Latte is written by Amanda Hesser, who wrote for the Food section of the NY Times. This book has recipes, food descriptions and romance. 

Oh Ina. When I first started cooking, I devoured so many of Ina's cookbooks! I've cooked quite a few things from "Back to Basics". I made sure to include the page numbers of my favorite recipes.

I've enjoyed sharing some of my favorite things!

**I did not receive any compensation for any of my mentions. These are simply my favorite things!**

What NOT to Wear: Personal Edition

For the past several months, I've been seeing an inordinate number of outfits similar to this one:


The button down gingham shirt layers under the crew neck sweater was quintessential J Crew prep. The girls sporting this style looked so put together and adorable. I thought, I just have to replicate this!

So I ordered this shirt from J Crew.

I was so excited upon receiving! That is, until I tried the outfit on. Can we can frumpy and lumpy? I have thick arms, broad chest and a soft tummy. Combine these 3 attributes with a fitted button down shirt and sweater? It was just a bad look. I'm too vain to share the atrocity with you.

Even though I KNOW that most button down shirts look bad on me. Even though I know that I look better is less structured fabrics and more forgiving cuts. Heck, I even think it looks frumpy on people that have my same trouble areas! But, I STILL ordered this shirt. I STILL wanted to recreate a look that is not meant for my body type. 

Why? I'll admit it. I succumbed to (self-inflicted) peer pressure. Against my better judgement, I wanted to emulate this look because darn it, it is preppy. But it was so wrong.

So here's to 2013 and working on only wearing items that flatter rather than trying to be something I,m not!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Favorite Christmas movies that aren't really Christmas movies

I featured my favorite "Made for TV" Christmas movies last week. In continuing with the Christmas movie theme, I wanted to share a few of my favorite Christmas movies. The kicker is that these aren't so overtly holiday-ish, but they do take place over the holidays.

**Note - Yes I love "Love Actually". But goodness, doesn't everyone? Same goes with "The Holiday". **

Guest blogger: The Chirping Moms

I am so excited to be sharing ideas for Holiday Treat boxes over at The Chirping Moms. Check it out!

Gwynnie Bee - Second Box Review

I received my second Gwynnie Bee box last week. Again, everything was packaged beautifully, with each piece wrapped in tissue and sealed with a sticker. I knew this box would have the two tunics I was most interested in trying as well as a faux wrap dress from Lands End.

Here are my thoughts after trying everything on!

Simply Be Bird Tunic - I wanted to like this one so much! However, It just did not work for me. It fit in some places and was huge in others. Perhaps that is just the style and not the piece itself. Regardless, it was a bust.
From Blogger Pictures

Next up is the dress from Lands End. This was one just wrong all over. The fabric felt like a sweatshirt to me. The bust was too big. I could only dream about being able to fill that out :) I felt this was just flat out matronly on me. I don't think sizing down would have made me like it.

From Blogger Pictures

Last up, a tunic from Simply Be. This print was very out of my comfort zone. But I really liked it! I ended up wearing it out that night for dinner with J and meeting up with our friends afterwards. I told J was a bit self-conscious of the print. So when I got two compliments on it while out, he knew I was tickled by it!

From Blogger Pictures

After this box, I decided to cancel my subscription to Gwynnie Bee. I do love the concept of renting clothes. The Gwynnie Bee website is easy to navigate. The shipping and returning process is very easy. However, I still struggled to find clothes (1) in my size that (2) was my style. Luckily, I'm still able to log in and I'm checking weekly to see if the inventory has improved (for me). I'm definitely open to subscribing again if I find more items I'm interested in.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gift Giving Tips

I love gift guides. Whether it be in a magazine or blog, it's fun to learn about new products and ideas. However, you may find yourself still stumped over what to get your friend or family member, especially when they seemingly have everything! Here are some tips I've used. I'm not promising it will help with every single person on your list, but it's a start!


If your friend or family member is on Facebook, check out their "Likes". This is a great way to find out their favorite restaurants or retail stores. A gift certificate to a place you know they like is a winner, always. You can take it a step further and see if your loved one commented on a product picture and indicated interest.

Personally, I have used Facebook to see what charitable organization my loved ones are supporting. For birthdays, I've made donations in their names.


More people are joining Pinterest and creating boards for every topic imagineable. Does your loved one have a "Wish List" board? Or maybe a "Fashion Inspiration" or "Food" board? All of those will have obvious or not so obvious clues as to what to get.

Some people like to save their favorite quotes on Pinterest. Why not find a print with that quote on it and have it framed? That would be a personal and thoughtful present!


Always check if your loved one has a wish list on Amazon! Other than obvious indications on what they want, you may draw inspiration from their list. Perhaps they have listed a lot of cookbooks. You could find a cookbook that has recently come out that mirrors their tastes.


What better place to find out what someone likes than to go to the places where it is all about them! Seriously. I'm not being snarky, promise! Take my own blog. If someone were to look through old posts, they'd see that I like TJ Maxx, Lilly Pulitzer, baking, etc etc.

Give them an upgrade or accessorize what they already have 

For some of us, we received many of our household items when we got married. If they have been married more than a few years, they may have some items that need updating. Think plush new towels, a new immersion blender, etc.

Or you can accessorize what they already have! Have they recently received a Kitchen Aid? They are numerous attachments and bowls you could give.

The saying is "It's the thought that counts." By doing a little research, you can show that you put thought and love into your gift!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

WTWW: Holiday Party edition

This topic for "What to Wear Where?", hosted by Amy, could not have come at a better time. J's work holiday party is in two weeks. He works in financial technology, so the crowd is a little more conservative as far as dress is concerned. The party will be held at a local hotel. They never indicate attire, but I'm going off last year's events with a conservative cocktail look.

Holiday Party

Holiday Party by natylite78 featuring a clutch purse

The dress is from Nordstrom. The earrings are from Anthropologie, purchased in store. I tried to find them online, but no luck. The clutch is from Target

The shoes. I went to Twitter and asked what shoes I should wear. The majority stated nude shoes. For me though, nude=tan. Thus the kitten heel Jessica Simpson shoes above. I am not good in high heels. I'm a complainer too, so for the sake of J, I'm going with a lower heel.

Yes. I'm going with bare legs. This is Florida, after all!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cheestastic Holiday Movies - Netflix and Hulu+ Edition

We cancelled cable a few months ago. We still get the major networks, thanks to our HD antenna. We also subscribe to Netflix streaming and Hulu+. It has really been great! I don't feel like I'm missing too much. However, this is the time of year that I LOVE to watch cheesy Christmas movies. Not just cheesy, but cheesy MADE FOR TV movies. ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas? Love. Hallmark Channel? YES. Lifetime? Bring it.

But alas, no cable. However, Netflix and Hulu+ have a great selection of holiday "Made for TV" movies! Here are some of my favorites.

"Desperately Seeking Santa" is an ABC Family movie. A career driven girl falls for handsome EMT student, set to the backdrop of a South Boston shopping mall. I know. CHEESE! But darnit, it is cute. Nick Zano is easy on the eyes too. Available on Netflix streaming.

"Christmas Angel" originally aired on Lifetime. Set in Chicago (nice city scenes but when you spot the mountains, you surely know it isn't really in Chicago!), a young woman starts working for her neighbor as a Secret Santa. There is love and a cute dog so really...all the makings of a sweet holiday movie. I did get teary. Available on Hulu+.

"12 Dates of Christmas" is another ABC Family movie. A woman has to keep reliving the same date. Biggest reason I like it is because Zach Morris Mark-Paul Gosselaar is in it. Available on Netflix streaming and Hulu+ (web only).

This modern version of the classic O. Henry tale originally aired on the Hallmark Channel. I think Marla Sokoloff is darling in pretty much all her roles. It's a likeable movie with a good message. Available on Netflix streaming.

NPR Sunday Edition had a story about "The High and the Low in Holiday Movies". It's a fun listen/read found here.

There are many more Christmas movies available on both platforms, so I plan to watch all that I can!