Thursday, February 28, 2013

February Birchbox

I'll admit I was a little sad when I saw that my Birchbox was delayed thanks to more winter weather.  But once it finally came, was well worth the wait! Hooray!

February's Box - Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
I loved the quality and color of the Color Club polish I got in September, and this was no different.  Red nail polish is not one I usually learn towards, but two quick coats did a great job and I really liked the "red" without being too "orangey".  

My absolute favorite product for February was the TIGI Rockaholic Fun Times Flexible Hairspray.  A loose curl for an afternoon with friends was no trouble, and I even had some body and curl left the next morning.  For $20, this is one I will seriously consider purchasing in the future.

I could take or leave the Vasanti Face Wash to be honest.  It was nice, but at $34, I know there are products I like more for less money.  It was refreshing, and paired with my knock-off Clairisonic, was a nice change.

Chocolate is always an added bonus, so you know I chowed down on the Ghiradelli just a few minutes after opening the box.  Caramel is yummy, but I really love their dark chocolate and mint squares (these ones). If an edible surprise comes with each box, that is an added bonus for me! So far I've tried a Luna Bar, fortune cookie, and Ghiradelli too! Yum!

Synposis of February:

BUY IT NOW:  Rockaholic Fun Times Flexible Hairspray
Take It or Leave it: Vasanti BrightenUp! 
Treat Yourself: Color Club (Mamba)
Nom Nom Gone: Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate & Caramel Squares

Want to check it out for yourself? Use my referral link -  

When you use this link, I'll earn 50 birchbox points when you sign up, and for every 100 points I earn, I'll do a small giveaway!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Driving to Work - Brandywine Valley

On Monday, I had to make several trips up and down Route 1 - I came to work, drove back down past Longwood for a meeting, drove back to work, and then drove home again.  While making my 4 trips up and down the same 7 mile stretch I realized how lucky I am to have such a great drive everyday.  I know lots of people that spent their commute on I-95, or stuck on 202 or the Blue Route.  So - as taken from my car window, at some traffic lights, and a quick U-turn, here is my daily commute and a little bit about some of my favorite Brandywine Valley attractions! 

In the summer, fall, and spring - I love this hill coming out of Chadds Ford.  There is a great line of sight and the trees are beautiful.  During the winter, this hill is the worst part of my drive as I have to come down it in the mornings when there is ice and snow, and then come back up it (often behind trucks and idiot drivers) in the evening.  I guess each drive has good points and bad points, and this hill connects the town of Chadds Ford with Kennett Square, and is a necessary evil in the Brandywine Valley.

I cannot say enough amazing things about Longwood Gardens.   This is one of the only attractions that I havev been visiting long before I moved to the area - and whether it is the Orchid show in the spring, Lights at Longwood in the winter/holiday season, or the Bruno show with solar lights during the Summer of 2012 - this organization knows how to amaze all types of people, age groups, and continue to provide amazing services and beauty.  Yes, this is my favorite attraction and my season pass is one of the most used items in my wallet!

 Hank's Place....
Hank's is cute and tiny, Zagat rated, and cash only.  Their "catch phrase" is - Where Hungry People Eat, And Friendly People Meet! (Love It) The winter is not the best time to take a photo of Hank's, but you can check out their outside decorations here. For us, this is a nice weather restaurant almost exclusively because you often need to wait outside and I am not that tough in January! Breakfast foods can't be beat, I've never finished a whole portion, and their daily specials are yummy!

Next up - Chadds Ford Winery.  I don't love their wine to be honest, I'm a bit of a wine snob.  But, they do great events and are part of the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail that gets quite a bit of action on the weekends and during the summer. I haven't been lucky enough to attend a wedding here, but I've seen the tents set-up and have heard really great things from some that were lucky enough to attend.

This Herr's truck made me smile when it pulled up alongside me - Herr's manufactures chips in Toughkenamon (a little further down Route 1) and is my favorite chip! Yum!The assortment of flavors and the price can't be beat - only to be topped by the Christmas Display that the Herr's family puts on each year (check it out here). A family owned and operated business since 1946 gives this company a special place in my heart and you can read more about Jim, James, and Ed. Oh - and they even offer tours! I can't get enough of their Honey BBQ Chips, and around the holidays they make CHOCOLATE COVERED POTATO CHIPS - oh my gosh, buy me a treadmill they are so good. Kay, done talking about potato chips now.  Love, addicted to Herr's.

Please feel free to ask questions - I love living in this area, and when we move (someday), I know these things will continue to bring me back to Route 1 on a regular basis!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Valentines Day - A Week Late

I do my best to have a snack and a card for most holidays for my staff.  Depending on the time of year, there are usually between 25 and 30 employees which makes most of these projects very quick.  Christmas is the biggest event and since we have a holiday party, they only receive small items from me.  Valentines, St Patricks Day, Easter, 4th of July, etc all involve candy or a sweet treat on the actual holiday.

For Valentines Day, I opted to do something easy since I procrastinated until the night before and had to make snacks and cards for the whole 30 of them! Easy snacks were Valentines Muddy  Buddy Chex and Pretzel bites.  About 2 hours worth of shopping, "baking", cooling, and assembly and we were ready to go!

I didn't really use a recipe for the Muddy Buddy Mix, but had seen a few people throw popcorn and M&Ms into theirs so I did the same thing - plus red cookie sugar and a little melted red chocolate on top.  Muddy Buddies are a sweet version of Chex Mix and usually involve melted chocolate, peanut butter, and a TON of powdered sugar.  This actually holds pretty well, and my staff is still eating some of their bags several days later and it still seems good.  They did love the addition of the popcorn, so that will be a keeper and really stretches the batch since popcorn takes up lots of space but is cheap!

The pretzel bites are a steal from my mother-in-law and are one of my favorite quick treats! A bag of dollar store square pretzels will fill about 2 large jelly roll pans, two bags of colored chocolate melts to match your holiday, and a bag of M&Ms! These don't really involve a recipe, but the basics are - line the tray with a full layer of pretzels, put a chocolate melt on top of each pretzel.  Toss the tray in the oven at 250/300 for about 5 minutes.  Pull the tray out, and while the chocolate is still soft - press an M&M into each piece of chocolate.  Let them cool for 15 - 20 mins, dump off the tray and put into bags!

My staff loves the quick treats and to be honest - for $40 - $50 for the whole staff, it's a really cheap morale booster! Plus, hubs and dad love getting any leftovers (as do I). Do you do anything special for your staff?

Oh yeah - here is a picture of my Valentines Breakfast Date! (I'll share a little more info about our favorite breakfast spot in Friday's post - Hank's!)

I am not quite that pale, it's awful lighting and I didn't have make-up on! (Sorry, just needed that disclaimer before someone thought I was a vampire or something). And yeah, we def wore red and pink to breakfast (so cheesy, I love it)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Resolutions in Motion - Final Week of Round 2

How have 6 weeks passed already during Resolutions in Motion?! I guess time flies when you're having fun (or in my case, trying to work less?)

Working less 10 - 12 hour days --- I would say that this is definitely a work in progress, but I at least made some major steps forward in the last few weeks.  While there are still going to be 10 and 12 hour days (hello, hospitality industry), I am much more aware of how many hours I am working.  I've also learned that if I work 12 hours today and can come in a few hours late the next day it makes me feel so much better. 

Reasonable Goals at Home --- Using my time at home to not only be productive but also just relax has been a huge development for me.  After being on the run almost 100% during the day it is sometimes hard to come home and just "be".  The house has been relatively clean, and while my new pants aren't hemmed, I got to sit and eat dinner last night at the dinning room table (huge development in my life as opposed to inhailing dinner at the counter).

Unplugged Time --- I'm going to give this one a big ol' F.  Unfortunately, I haven't started any new books in the last few weeks and while Kevin and I are on a spending freeze during house hunting, that leaves me with very little money to spend on new books.  Anyone want to drop a few in the mail for me??

I won't post about my crazy work schedule all the time, but I will continue to maintain my hours log on my desk at work to make sure that I'm not falling back into the same old patterns as before.  Learning to appreciate my personal life even when it sucks is a grown-up skill I need to continue to work on. 

I mean, when I get to spend time with smiling faces like these - who wouldn't want to have a little fun during their personal life, right?!
New Years Eve 2011/2012

Monday, February 18, 2013

"No Mess Cornbread"

I try my best to at least develop a rough "meal plan" for each week based on what we have in the pantry/fridge and what is on sale.  This has a two-fold purpose, similar to why most people meal plan.  First, it saves me a ton of money at the store because I'm not buying completely miscellaneous items.  Second, it forces me to cook even when I am the only one home - it is entirely too easy to just eat cereal for dinner and let Kevin each lunch meat and cheese everyday.

Last week I sent the roommate to the grocery store (with a list), and this "No Mess Cornbread" was one of the items that he brought home with him.  I had only written cornbread and hadn't specified Jiffy, so I guess that was my own fault.  But rather than return it (too much effort), I simply made it as the package instructed.  (These are iPhone late night photos, sorry for the quality or lack thereof)

I did forget to take a picture of the finished cornbread, but I took it out at 15 mins and put shredded cheddar on top and then baked for another 5 mins. After letting it cook for 5 - 10 mins, it fell apart, was very dry, and made a mess all over the dining room table.

I'll classify this not a total failure, but I assure you that Jiffy cornbread muffins with cheddar cheese will remain our chili staple around this house.  Aunt Jemima can stick to pancake mix (although I'm a Bisquick girl anyway). If you really don't want to get a spoon messy and are too lazy to wash a bowl and a muffin tin, then this might be a good fit for you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Resolutions in Motion - Valentines Week!

Well Happy Tuesday Ladies & Gents! Time for a Resolutions in Motion Update -

Last week is a bit of a blur, as tonight (Monday night) is the end of my 8th day of an 11 day stretch with no days off.  I am terribly cranky when I work so many days in a row, and I am absolutely falling into that trap.  

However - I am going to give myself an A Plus for last week's Resolutions! I was productive around the house & made some definitive decisions regarding my personal life. I even had fun over the weekend - regardless of the fact that I was Manager on Duty!  I guess that's what prioritizing will do to you, right?  One of my very best friends was home from Texas for the weekend, AND it was her dad's 60th birthday! So, I worked a 9 hour day Saturday - and then left and enjoyed the party! And Sunday, I worked a short day (I know, miracle - right?!) and hung out with friends in the afternoon. I can proudly say this was the most relaxing/enjoyment I've had during a work weekend in a very long time.  Making memories with these friends is definitely something that needs to continue - and making myself a priority is awesome too! 

I wish I could say we've made some progress on the house front - which is part of my organizational/spend more time at home goal - but no one wants to sell us a house. That is being slightly dramatic, but seriously people - Sell me your house in Chester County, mkay?! I have a fun post coming up later this week with my 4 "must haves" that is sort of serious, sort of cheeky since really all my must haves are very reasonable and that list is a little more fun. 

Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Getting to Know Me

Thanks to joining some blog hops, and I hope hopefully thanks to the fact that I am blogging more often - I am up to 21 GFC readers! Hey Peeps! I decided since most of you are new to the blog that I would do a cheesy "getting to know you" post ala the ABC's (A to Z Challenge) that you have likely seen floating around the blog-o-sphere. So, here goes nothing! 

A-Age: 27 (If you ask my brother in law, that’s middle-aged, Ha!)

B-Bed Size:  Queen

C-Chore You Hate: Dishes! I will clean a bathroom, the floor, do laundry, and cook for days.  Just please don’t make me wash the dishes. 

 D-Dogs: I’ve only ever had one, his name is Enzo and he is a rockstar! Enzo lives at home with my parents my dad and they’re bachelor men together.

E-Essential Start to Your Day: Coffee and Light & Fit

F-Favorite Color: Usually Green – I take after my Mom that way. It used to be purple, but what 5 – 10 year old girl’s favorite color isn’t purple, right?!

G-Gold or Silver: White Gold

H-Height: 5’5” says PennDot

I-Instruments You Play: Nada.  Unless you count the recorder, because doesn’t everyone learn how to play one of those in elementary school? 

J-Job Title: General Manager (aka sales, maintenance, front desk, breakfast, etc)

K-Kids:  One adorable god daughter 

 L-Live: With Kev, about 40 minutes from Phillay! 

M-Married: Since September 5th, 2009

N-Nicknames: Tuttie (thanks to the parentals for that one)

O-Overnight Hospital Stays: Miraculously, none! 

P-Pet Peeves: Terrible drivers.  Not so much the slow old lady driving in the left lane, but the people who are disrespectful, do not follow general driving courtesies. Arg. 

Q-Quote: “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m Possible!” – Audrey Hepburn

R-Righty or Lefty: Right as Rain

S-Siblings: Little Brother – that’s my Army guy! 

T-Time You Wake Up: Weekdays – between 5:45 and 6.  Weekends - never
U-University You Attended: Indiana University of Pennsylvania.  Also known as IUP, or if you are my dad and spend too much time “Googling” – I Usually Party. 

V-Vegetables You Dislike:  Not a huge fan of lima beans.  Just about anything else is fair game (see previous posts re: CSA and strange vegetables they send home with us)
CSA Share - Summer 2011?
  W-What Makes You Run Late? Other than my dad, my unruly hair.
X-X-rays You Have Had: between 8 and 10 is my best guess, I think there were several the summer I tanked my ankle pole vaulting, a few on my knee before surgery, and some other ankles and wrists thrown in there? Oh, and my back in junior high. Maybe closer to 10?

Y-Yummy Food: I love stews and long slow meat dishes like Beef Bourguignon or Beef Stew! Yummy winter comfort foods!

Zoo Animal Favorite? This is 100% inappropriate, so I apologize in advance.  New favorite is the Rhinos because Kevin and I saw them “having fun” the last time we went to the zoo with friends.  It makes for great jokes now, and is a zoo memory we won’t soon forget! 
From the Pgh Zoo/Aquarium

  Did this spark any other exciting or interesting questions for you? Did you learn anything new about me? 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Resolutions in Motion - Grade: C

I can't lie and say that this week was quite as successful as last week, but it was better than most of 2011 and that is good enough for now. 

Thursday was an epic failure both with working long hours and working from home. We had a server issue that caused intermittent Internet access until 3pm leaving me with almost 100 emails to respond to, contracts to create, and an inbox over the limit so I had to delete before sending or receiving. I was stressed, stayed at work until 8:30pm (12 hour day) and also went home and sent emails and contracts until K got home at 11:30. Crap.
(Proof reading this on Tuesday morning, I realized the entire paragraph above is a total cop out and a server emergency was a completely valid reason for some things to wait until Friday). Lesson learned, excuses are excuses no matter the reason. This week, no excuses.

Monday was a success, even though I ended the day with a migraine. Old me would have stayed at work and "toughed it out". Smarter me realized that I had already been at work for 8 hours and was not going to get much done with a migraine, no matter how late I stayed. So home I came. And I had tea and Kraft mac&cheese and parked it on the couch. I did a quick 15 minute workout and was disappointed I couldn't tough out the whole 30 mins, but it was better than nothing!

I'm glad I can see the growth in myself, and fingers are crossed that continues for the remainder of the week. I am scheduled through the weekend and won't be off until Thursday of next week. These 11 day stretches are the hardest to remain positive and I know that I'll be counting on Resolutions in Motion to help me stay in the right place mentally. Here we go!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Baby Bananza

This is a little stream of consciousness, so please forgive the word vomit but I needed to put this out there somewhere and stop running around in my own head. 

I know that most people get married and have babies, and for lots of the world that is the natural progression for things.  Lots of people also have babies and then get married.  Or get married and never have babies.  Or have babies and.... nevermind, you get it. 

I was having a great time playing with "T" who is 11 months old, at last nights Super Bowl party.  He was cute and in a good mood, and smiley all over the place.  His mom and dad wanted a chance to have a beer, and what else was I going to do during the 30 minute "intermission" (aka power outage). We played with cat toys, and remotes, and coasters! Such Excitement! After some baby entertaining, I went back to watching the game and "T"'s mom said -
And there were two answers that quickly popped into my head.  The one I verbalized was 
"We are really hoping to move into a new home in a few months and would like to be settled in our new home before adding to the insanity".  
Which I thought was honest - we are hoping to move and seriously, pregnant moving sounds awful. Also, it is not as though we got married at 38 here people, I am Twenty-freaking-Seven.

The second answer was the honest one - the one I didn't say out loud for fear of sounding like a crazy woman - the one that brought tears to my eyes.. 
"I have yet to go one day without missing Mom so much it hurts, that I cry every day, and hell f&#king no, I am not ready to even consider being a Mom without my own Mommy here beside me. 

I am so happy that I have my god daughter to play with, and a new niece on the way in VA. I love to play with kids, and absolutely would love to have one or two or three of my own some day.  But pretty please, can it just be okay for me to love on everyone else's kids and still be just fine with giving them back at the end of the night?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Happies & Crappies

I've tried the paragraph thing but I hate to tell all of you, I am a list girl.  I have a Type A personality, am overly organized, & make agendas for cleaning the house.  So, this week's happies somehow outweigh the crappies and I am beyond excited for that! 

The Vintage Modern Wife: Happies and Crappies Link Up

  • I got to send the first "test letter" to our soldier.  Really I got to write him a silly letter about nothing important and now I wait until he Facebooks me that he received it.  Fingers crossed it takes less than 3 weeks because then my next job will be packing a box full of fun - and that is the part I look forward to! Baking, Dollar store shopping, and writing a cute note that he probably never reads. Oh, and toilet paper - because the shit the US Army provides is not so awesome. 
  • Hubby is spending time with the boys on Saturday and I get to have a spa day! I have a gift certificate for Tuscany Sun & Spa and am so excited to spend some time just for me. Except none of my friends want to join me, is that a problem? 
  • Tonight after a shitty & long day at work, I found Wilbur buds in the pantry.  That could counteract any bad day. 

  • I am convinced the people from *insert stupid bank name here* are enjoying losing money on the house we are interested in buying.  It's only been 55 days since we made our offer, no big deal. 
  • I lost my Kindle charger. In my house, this is a serious problem. 

Hope everyone has a great weekend! Any picks for the Super Bowl?  I'll admit that while I understand football, I am a collegiate (not professional) fan.  So on Sunday, I'll stick to beer and snacks and probably chose the purple team because I might as well be 7 years old.