Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Favorites: Christmas Edition

It's less than I week until Christmas and I can't believe it! The temperature here in Florida is in the 70's today, so I can't say it really feels like Christmas, but I guess I can't complain either. Here are some of my favorites of the holiday season including a few last minute gift ideas and a holiday parody video. 

It's perfect for the girl on the go, or the girl who's just addicted to her phone. I just got one for myself this past week in the cute gold and white glittery design below. It will be convenient when I'm visiting my boyfriend and don't bring my charger, or when I'm at the mall, roaming and searching for coupons and discounts, which always seems to drain my battery. It's the perfect size too, so even if you're planning a night out and only have a clutch and not enough time to charge your phone, no fear, the charge stick is here. They're great gifts for your girlfriends too!

Favorite Beauty Gift: Urban Decay Naked3
Besides the Stila Liquid Lipstick that I raved about on my Christmas wish list, I also love love love my Urban Decay Naked3 eye shadow palette. My brother gave it to me last year for Christmas and I use is basically every day. I almost always wear neutral eyeshadows, so this palette was perfect for me. I love all the versatile shades and the little shimmer for each shade.

Favorite Jewelry Gift: Bourbon & Boweties Bangles
Of course these are still my obsession. I can't get enough of them and they're unique and gorgeous bangles that you can gift to your girlfriends, mother-in-law, coworker or anyone in between! There are tons of different colored and sized stones, so there's sure to be something for everyone left on your list.

Favorite Fitness Gift: Nike Element Half-Zip
I'm obsessed with this shirt. Even though it's not nearly as cold here as it is up north, I still love this shirt for windy days or morning runs in the winter. The material is extremely soft and comfortable and I love the little thumb holes on the sleeves. It's a little pricy, but I've found them on sale when I get them.

Favorite Reader's Gift: Gillian Flynn & Liane Moriarty Books
I read Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl" last year and loved it! It was such a page turner and once I finished it I read Flynn's other two books right after - "Sharp Objects" and "Dark Places," which were also amazing. I just recently read Liane Moriarty's "The Husband's Secret," which was very different and also addicting to read, so I'm on to Moriarty's next book, "Big Little Lies," which I'm about halfway through with (I plan to finish it by Christmas). These are great books for any reader, and I suggest seeing Gone Girl the movie too, after you read the book first of course!

Favorite Christmas Song Parody: Text Me Merry Christmas
This is basically just spot on...

Favorite Christmas Treat: Gingerbread Tree Cookies
I have the day off from work on Sunday, so I really want to do some holiday baking, including these adorable gingerbread tree cookies! I love having an excuse to bake, but I just haven't had the time this holiday season yet. Stay tuned for a recipe post on Monday!

What's your new favorite book? Do you have go-to gifts for your friends?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Penne Rosa with Shrimp

Let's be honest - I love carbs, so I enjoy making a good pasta dish every once in a while. I love this penne rosa with shrimp recipe because 1) I love shrimp 2) I love pasta and 3) It's super easy to make and doesn't take too much time.

One of the best things about cooking your own meals is you can leave out things you don't like, substitute ingredients, or add in more that the original recipe didn't call for. That being said, I added in the broccoli to give the dish even more substance and nutrients and left out mushrooms because my boyfriend isn't a big fan, but I'm thinking that artichoke hearts or asparagus would be a good substitute as well.

I try to make clean eating/healthier replacements when possible, so I use whole wheat or whole grain pasta instead of regular or white, but again, it's easy to substitute if you prefer the latter. As far as the sauce goes, I just grabbed a jar of pre made vodka sauce this time, but you can opt for a healthier option by combining 1/2 cup marinara sauce (homemade or jar) and 1/3 plain greek yogurt.


1 box whole wheat or whole grain penne
4 cups of fresh spinach
1 head or case of pre-cut broccoli
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled
1 jar vodka sauce (or see healthier replacement above)
1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 or 2 pinches red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste


- Cook penne pasta as directed on box. Once cooked, drain and add into a large serving bowl
- Steam broccoli for about 5 minutes or until you reach your desired softness, adding to the serving bowl once completed
- In large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil over medium heat
- Once heated, add minced garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 2 minutes, moving around constantly to ensure you don't burn the garlic
- Turn heat up a little bit and add in peeled shrimp with the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 2-4 minutes, or until the shrimp is pink and cooked all the way through. Salt and pepper to your preference
- Remove shrimp from skillet and place in a large serving bowl. Take skillet off of heat, add in the spinach and cover, letting it wilt for about 2-4 minutes
- Add the spinach to the serving bowl along with the vodka sauce
- Stir thoroughly until incorporated throughout, serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My 2014 Christmas Wish List

It's always fun to put together a wish list for Christmas. I never have any expectations that I'll actually get anything from this list, but it's always fun to share the things that have recently caught my eye. 

In colors Beso & Patina - $22.00
I have two Stila Liquid Lipsticks already in Amore & Fiore and I love it! I recommend it for anyone who loves a good, matte lip stain. It stays in place and the colors are amazing. If you like a little shine, you can always add a little gloss or balm on top of the stain too!

If you have yet to discover Red Dress Boutique, brace yourself. I love basically every product that they have and they're always getting new items in. It's hard to stay away once you give in! The prices are pretty affordable and the shipping is usually free!
Mistletoe & Kisses Romper - $42.00

Garmin Forerunner 220 - $249.99 
I love working out with a heart rate monitor and watch so that I can really monitor what my body is doing. I used to always work out in the gym, but it's a lot more convenient to just run or bike outside, so I can also track calories based on my heart rate too. I have polar watch and HRM currently, but I love the look of this one and the built in GPS. I usually use my phone to track, but this one connects to your phone as well to keep better tracking. And I really like the way that this one is interactive with the run with just a glance at the wrist.

Michael Kors Bold Faced Watches
Continuing with watches...colored faces on watches have definitely been a huge trend of 2014, but the majority of them were bright colors, like pinks, green and aquas. I'm loving these darker colors for winter and it seems like they would match more with my wardrobe.
Michael Kors Parker Rose Gold - $275.00
Michael Kors Skylar Gold-Tone - $275.00

Tory Burch Handbag
I'm one of those people that rarely switches handbags. I always have a big tote with all of my essentials, so I feel like if I switch bags, I leave something behind! That being said, I feel like this would be a great, neutral everyday bag for me with lots of space for all of my things. It comes in different colors as well, but black will stay the cleanest and match with the most.
York Buckle Tote - $295.00

What's on your Christmas wish list this year? 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Celebrating Thanksgiving 2014

So it's a little belated, but Happy Thanksgiving! 

I had a wonderful time at my house, and of course, at more than I should have. I had to work for a few hours that morning, but nothing too painful. Then, back at my house we had about 15 people over for Thanksgiving, including my family, relatives and part of my boyfriend's family. 

I'm always the one responsible for setting the table and making the mashed potatoes, so as promised in my "Friday Favorites - Thanksgiving Edition" post, I tried out and easy, yet sophisticated napkin fold for the table. Obviously it took a little longer to set up, but it definitely added a little something extra to the table. 

After drinking, talking and lots of eating, but the end of the night, I was thinking...

In addition to all the fun on Thanksgiving, my boyfriend Jordan and I got a new puppy recently. Jordan and I are in a long distance relationship, so he's taking care of him for most of the time. He's an American Bulldog and we got him when he was 7 weeks old. 

There was much debate about what we should name him, mostly from our indecisiveness. We went from Gus to Tucker to Duke, but finally settled on Louis (pronounced Louie). Jordan and I already have a nickname for him, Peepa, because he loves to pee on his paws when we take him outside haha. 

He was with us for Thanksgiving and melted the hearts of every guest. Jordan also has another three year old pit bull mix, Beau. Beau was jealous at first, but they seem to have grown to love each other already. It's weird to think that Louis is going to get as big as Beau soon too!

How was your Thanksgiving?