Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Graeter's is Great!

Graeter's is great!  But Graeter's in a pretzel cone is pure awesomeness!   Delicious creamy ice cream filled with rich, soft chocolate chunks in a crunchy, salty pretzel cone!  My most recent favorite flavor is the Chocolate with Coconut, Almond and Chocolate.  All my favorite snack tastes - crunchy, salty, creamy, nutty and chocolate - in one amazing bite.

Not the best picture, but you get the idea.  

Graeter's stores are found in major cities in Ohio and Kentucky, but Graeter's ice cream can be found in the freezer section of many local groceries.  As for the pretzel cones, you can order them from Amazon, and I will be watching for them in our local stores.    

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Always Tender, Tenderloin

For a quick, delicious, and "nice" dinner, try one of the Hormel Always Tender Pork Tenderloins.  Available in the original unseasoned flavor, and several other pre-marinated flavors including Teriyaki (our current favorite), Lemon Garlic, and Mesquite Barbecue  So easy to make, just bake them in the oven for about 30-35 min, slice and serve.  Just as the label says, they are always tender.  We just enjoyed one last night with a baked butternut squash and Asian-style slaw.  A simple but "nice" dinner.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Kind of Tasty

Out and about and late for lunch?  Got the 4pm munchies and looking for something to hold you over until dinner?  Pick up a Kind bar!  Claudette first introduced me to the Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt .... mmmmm!  Then I picked up a box this summer at Sam's Club - Peanutbutter Chocolate and possibly my favorite flavor, Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew.  Last week at Target I tried a box of the  Coconut Almond flavor and that is running a very close second.  Around 200 calories a bar, and full of crunchy nuts, they are a delicious and satisfying snack!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sugar and Spice and Pumpkin is Nice!

This is one of my favorite fall recipes ~ Pumpkin Cake.  Easy to make and lightly spiced, topped with just a dusting of powdered sugar.  Originally a Pampered Chef muffin recipe, I prefer to make it in a Bundt pan and serve it for dessert.

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

1 pkg Yellow Cake Mix
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 can (15oz) Pumpkin
3 Eggs
1/2 c Oil

Preheat oven to 350.  Blend together all ingredients.  Pour into greased and floured Bundt pan.  Bake 45-50 min or until done.  When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.  You can top with cream cheese frosting, but we prefer it plain and simple.  

Friday, October 11, 2013

"All Shirred Up" is a Sure Thing!

The "All Shirred Up" top from Zella is my new go-to favorite.  I am wearing it as I type, with my red jeans and a white tank, ready to go cheer on the Red Devils tonight.  Last week, I topped it over a pale yellow tank and black yoga pants for an early morning flight to Florida.  A few days before that, I pulled it on over a work-out T and capri's after my (very first!) Zumba class to meet with my accountability group.  It's cozy, comfortable, and very wearable.  The sweater-knit top has sleeves nice and long sleeves with ruching at the cuffs, and a soft cowl-style collar with a loose hoody.  The back features shirring from top to bottom.  Besides the versatile gray, it is also available in white and teal.  Although it's one of those high-tech, quick-dry fabrics, it looks and feels like a light weight sweater.  Another Pearl from Zella!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Whip It, Whip it Good!

Like peanut butter but want to cut back a little on the fat and calories?  Like peanut butter but hate it when your apple slice or carrot breaks off stuck in the jar?  Then look for Jif Whips in the peanut butter section.  It's peanut butter, whipped!  Regular peanut butter, with no unpronounceable ingredients, in a soft and spreadable form.  Perfect for dipping in apple slices, carrot sticks, or topping a banana, and just as good in an old-fashioned PB&J as old fashioned peanut butter, but with just 140 calories per serving (2 Tablespoons).  Rumor has it there is also a peanut butter-chocolate flavor that I can not wait to try!

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Favorite T

Maybe this isn't too exciting... another t-shirt.  But sometimes it can be challenging to find a good stand-alone Tee sometimes.  Something that is flattering (v-neck, side shirring), holds up well to repeated washes, reasonable price, variety of colors.  This Caslon Shirred V-neck Tee from Nordstroms fits the bill.  Available in solids and stripes.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Carpe Diem!

This tiny sterling silver necklace says it all... Carpe Diem!  YOLO seems to be the trendy saying lately... but Carpe Diem is a more classic and classical version, and a good reminder for me to make the most of each day.  And this tiny, hand cut, little square necklace designed by Lisa Hopkins has become my signature piece this summer as I try to make every day count.  I found this at Gretel's in West Lafayette, but Lisa also has an Etsy site for your convenience.  Etsy - Lisa Hopkins

Monday, June 24, 2013

Eatin' on Ito

It was time, actually way past time, to update our everyday dishes.  The Corelle pattern we had served us well for over 10, maybe 15 years, and possibly two moves.  Though the pieces were still in very good condition, they no longer matched our taste or style... and hadn't for quite some time.  So over the last few years I have been looking and shopping for just the right thing - and I found it in the Ito pattern by Crate & Barrel.  But I hesitated, a long time, because it wasn't sturdy, common Corelle, but actually china!  Really, china for everyday!  How frivolous!  But I checked it out carefully, over and over again, anytime I was within a mile or two of a Crate & Barrel.  It was lightweight, almost as light as Corelle, and sturdy, not a delicate fine china.  And most importantly, I loved the pattern and style.  So when C & B had their Memorial Day sale, I went for it, and I'm so happy with my decision.  It looks great in our kitchen and especially against our black kitchen table.  I added some cereal bowls in white from the Madison pattern, also at C & B, and we are set.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I found these just-right-for-lunch-for-two-size bags of salad mix from Taylor Farms at Sam's Club a couple of weeks ago.  We tried the Southwest flavor, a mix of lettuce, cabbage and cilantro, and topped it with the included bag of pumpkin seeds and tortilla strips, along with a hard boiled egg, handful of cheese and some red pepper strips from the fridge.  Tossed it all with the Creamy Cilantro Dressing packet and a quick and healthy lunch was ready in minutes.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Cuckoo for Coconut, again!

But this time it's edible!  Don't miss these tasty little bag of Trader Joe's Roasted Coconut Chips the next time your at TJ's.  These "chips" are not like a chocolate chip, but more like large shavings. Crunchy dry roasted coconut with a touch of salt and sugar.  Addictive!  It would be way too easy to devour the bag in one sitting, instead I've been saving it for a salad topper with some fresh pineapple or few orange sections and maybe some honey roasted almonds, but would be so yummy topping a hot fudge sundae.  A 2oz bag is $1.99.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Just Peachy!

Another summer salad option....  I love peaches so I couldn't resist trying the Peach Vanilla Dressing from Braswell's found on a shelf at my favorite meat market (D & R Market for the local readers).  A delicious and fresh tasting salad dressing, with only 15 calories per 2 Tablespoons.  Made from fresh peaches, and real ingredients like a poppy seeds, cider vinegar and a touch of honey, and comes in a reusable carafe.  So good over a spinach salad topped with slivered red onions, glazed pecans, and fresh blueberries!  Summer in a bowl!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Flat Out Fantastic!

For a quick and healthy meal, our latest go-to is Flatbreads using the Flatout Traditional Flatbreads.  Put the flatbread on a cookie sheet and pop it in the oven at 375 for about 4 minutes.  While that is crisping up, chop up your favorite toppings.  Use your favorite veggies, or the odds and ends lurking in the fridge.  Pull out the flatbread, cover with a handful of shredded mozzarella, the chopped up veggies, and stick it back in the oven for about 7-8 minutes.  Set the table, toss and salad, and dinner is ready.  

Today's lunch, roasted mushroom, green onion, spinach and cherry tomato flatbread.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

Easy to Pass By, but Worth a Second Look

Made a quick stop at Nordstroms last week and easily walked by this top, maybe even two or three times, but the texture and seaming caught my eye, so I added to my dressing room.  So happy I did - this cute little top, the Exposed Seam Top by Olivia Moon, is very cute and very comfortable, and a reasonable $39.  Its a bit slouchy, but not too slouchy, and a bit sheer, but not too sheer.  This model shows it over a white cami, which is ok, but it was a bit warm today so I opted to wear it with a dark  bra thought it looked very fresh with white skimmer jeans and my silver sandals for a couple of afternoon appointments.  Also available in a very pretty aqua, and a very faded red.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Flex Your Stuff!

I have been stalking this little gadget...  It was announced a couple of months ago, but has been backordered from the manufacturer and retailers for weeks!  Finally, last week while on my Target run, I stopped by the electronics department and asked about it on a whim .... it was my lucky day!  They had two in stock, still in the back room, but the sales associate was very helpful and tracked it down for me... and now I am the happy owner of a Fit Bit Flex!  The Flex is a small electronic device that fits in the bracelet to track your exercise and sleep patterns, the uploads them wirelessly to my iPhone app and FitBit website to track and monitor your progress.  The Flex also syncs it to popular fitness apps such as Lose It!, My Fitness Pal, and Spark People, and you can use it to track your weight and water, too.  The Flex comes in black or slate gray, and you can order a set of additional color bands and swap out the device to match your wardrobe.

See the FitBit website for more info.    FitBit

Flex™ Wireless
Activity + Sleep Wristband

  • Tracks steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes.
  • LED lights show progress against your goal.
  • Monitors your sleep and wakes you with a silent alarm.
  • Wear all day and night, even in the shower.
  • Includes tracker, small and large wristbands, charging cable and wireless sync dongle.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


This may not be a good thing... Peanut Butter Pop Tarts!
99% of the time, I eat a healthy breakfast.  Really, I do.  But once in a while things get crazy or, sometimes you just get a craving for something different, then we might buy a box of Pop Tarts.  It is going to take real willpower not to buy more than a box or two of these a year.  Creamy peanut butter topped with a sprinkle of sugar - not too sweet, kind of filling.  Haven't tried the Chocolate Peanut Butter yet... probably a good thing!

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Glittering Life!

My creative and colorful daughter started a new blog - it's as creative and colorful as she is!  Check it out - it's a Pearl!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

French, Made Easy!

One of the items on my "Things I Don't Do" list is manicures.  Pedi's yes, but not manicures.  They just don't last and I don't want to spend the time and expense to maintain them.  But recently I read about a product called Nail Glow by Dior.  It claims to create an instant French manicure effect.  According to the label, the unique formula revives the natural colors of the nail - whitens the tips while enhancing the pink color of the nail body.  Designed to be used on its own, it requires just one step to brighten and protect your nails.   I've used it a couple of times, applying two quick coats each time.  I really like it!  It leaves my nails looking "finished" with the hint of a French manicure.  It lasted a week, without any noticeable chips.  I don't think this qualifies as a manicure, so I'm keeping that on my "Don't Do" list, but I will keep using this to keep my nails glowing!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Take a Quick Trip with Me....

... over to the blog Travel Fashion Girl where I am honored to have written a guest post.  Thank you, Alex, for the opportunity!

Sweet or Salty?

Got the munchies but can't decide between Sweet or Salty?  Now you don't have to!  Swing by Walgreens and pick up a bag of the DeLish Popped Granola Chips in Sea Salt Caramel.  These light and crispy multi grain (corn, oat, brown & white rice) chips are sprinkled with sea salt caramel to make them simply irresistible.  But you don't have to resist, one serving is just 140 calories.  Yeah & Yum!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Zippity Do Da!

Spunky, colorful, organized.  That describes this  Coach Legacy Colorblock Zippy Wallet.  It's just big enough for my credit cards and ID, bills, a lip gloss and my cell phone.  The graphic colorblock pattern makes it fun.  I chose the silver/light sand/watermelon color combo for this spring, but there are several other options, all just as fun and colorful.  I loved this in Egypt - I could carry it on my wrist thru airport security checks or for a dinner out, but during the day it slipped into my Longchamp tote for shopping in the market and exploring the ancient ruins.  And in my day-to-day life, it works like a charm.  A nice wallet in my handbag, or easy to grab for quick runs to the tennis center or a nice dinner.  There are two outside pockets, one zippered, one open (handy for a boarding pass, or a drycleaning receipt), and inside there are six credit card size slots and three full length pockets (nice for separating US and foreign currency, or checks and cash).  Available at Macy's and

Friday, March 22, 2013

Packing List - Take Two

Hello everyone!  I had so many nice comments from my series on packing that I thought it would be fun to do another one based on our most recent trip.  What you see above is everything, minus bras, panties, sunglasses and toiletries, that I packed for our recent one week whirlwind trip to Egypt.  It all fit easily into a hard size carry-on suitcase and my Longchamp tote.  Below are the items by category with a few details.

The Stars of the Show:

When I start my packing list, I start with shoes.  Always.  They have to be versatile and comfortable.  You've seen all of these before.  My trusty Merrells, a pair of comfortable  Dansko walking sandals, and old Gap flip-flops with a bit of bling for evenings, pool, and icky hotel room carpet.  Note: Shown in the picture on the very top of the page, but not below, two pairs of my favorite Smart Wool socks.  

Basic Bottoms:

A pair of straight leg jeans - ended up only wearing them to travel there and back.  It was hot in Egypt, a bit hot for jeans especially during the day, and I could easily get by with my other options.  A pair of sand colored pants from Athleta - spot cleaned once in the hotel sink and easily dried overnight.  A pair of Target black leggings - comfortable, especially on the overnight train.  A longer length, light weight silky skirt from Eileen Fisher.  It was a little more that I wanted to spend, but it was perfect, and therefore, worth it.

Tops - Color and Comfort:

Top photo shows the three long sleeve blouses - a lightweight denim shirt, a longer coral teacup print top from Gap, and a thin white long sleeve top from Nordstrom.  I actually wore the denim shirt the least, thought I would throw it on over a T-shirt in the evening, but most evenings weren't that cool.  The tea cup top is a bit longer and also served as my swim suit cover-up.  Finally, the white blouse was perfect for walking around the pyramids - great sun and wind protection.  It also dressed up with the skirt and jewelry for a nicer dinner.

The middle photo shows my Tees, an aqua shadow stripe from Banana Republic, a basic white scoop neck, a dragon fly print from Old Navy, and a blue Mossimo (Target) Tee with a dove - just doing what I can to promote peace in the Middle East!

The bottom picture are my two odd ball tops - a short purple T-shirt dress, another Mossimo from Target find,  and a basic white tank for layering (my favorite Target tanks!).  Across the top are my two scarves.  The blue/purple scarf was a last minute Target find.  I walked by it and realized it matched all the colors of the clothes I was taking so I snatched it up.  The pink scarf is actually a fluorescent coral on cream from Forever 21 in a geometric print, but that doesn't show up well in pictures.  The scarves were essential.  They were a sarong over my swim suit for beach time bocce ball, a bedouin-stype head wrap to keep the sand out of my hair and mouth while 4-wheeling in the dessert, a drape over the back of the train headrests, a head scarf while visiting the mosques, and of course, a colorful fashion accessory.

Oops, no separate picture of the aqua top laying on the khaki pants in the top "team" picture.  It's a C9 by Champion quarter zip top from Target - wore it there and back on the plane.  I love the aqua color and it looked real cute with the multi-color scarf.

Finishing Touches:

The top picture is my sleep/lounge wear.  Knowing I would be traveling with a bunch of guys, my husband, two sons, and a friend of my son, I needed my sleep/lounge wear to be double duty - comfortable to sleep in, modest enough to run to the bathroom in a shared suite.  I chose a Nike blue basic T-shirt and a pair of gray Merona leggings.  Great combination.

And finally, a few pieces of jewelry - shorter silver Target necklace for a nice dinner, a longer gold charm necklace with a tiger charm and aqua, coral and white beads - good match for all my tops - from Forever 21, a pair of "Egyptian style" dangling gold earrings, also from Forever 21, silver dangles (Target) and a pair of crystal studs (Claire's).  Nice, but not expensive in case something got lost or stolen.  

And to close, a few Action Shots of the my workhorse wardrobe:

Khaki pants, Coral tea-cup print blouse, coral & cream scarf, Ray-Bans, Merrells - getting ready for some desert 4-wheelin'

Black leggings, short purple dress, multi-color scarf, Dansko sandals - with my husband at the Nile

Khaki pants, white tank, white blouse, coral scarf, Ray-Bans, Merrells - with my younger son at the Pyramids

Friday, March 15, 2013

My Best Boots

I just love my Blondo Liberata black suede boots! I wear them all the time! I know the style is to tuck your skinny jeans into high boots, but as much as I've tried to like it on me, I don't. I prefer the long, unbroken look of leaving my jeans untucked while still having the style of a boot and weather proofness of a boot. My boots are made of waterproof black suede and have a 2 1/2 inch rubber wedge heel. A belt wraps the ankle and a texturized fabric panel just under the buckle. An inside zipper makes for easy on and off. I've tested the waterpoofness of the suede a few times and they still look like new. I ordered mine from Zappos, and saw that Nordstroms carries a similar style by Blondo called Corino.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Best Tasting "Vitamins"

I'm not sure these would be classified as a health food, although a serving does contain 100mg of flavanol antioxidants and that's a good thing, right?  But they are good, very good.  Little pieces of rich dark chocolate full of real fruit juice pieces.   From Brookside, they come in  Dark Chocolate Goji with Raspberry, (mmm!) Dark Chocolate Acai with Blueberry, and Dark Chocolate Pomegranate (can't wait to try this one!).  I found them at Target, and the manager at CVS told me they would be carrying them very soon, she even showed me the spot on the shelf where I can find them.  Delicious on their own, or mix a few with some roasted almonds, dried cherries and peanuts for a delicious trail mix.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bored with Bagels / Tired of Toast Option #4

Here's a shout out to my sister for tipping me off to Option #4 ~  Biscoff Spread.  If you are like me, you may have been tempted in the past to take a flight somewhere, anywhere, just to get a little package of the crispy, spicy Biscoff cookies.  Now, it's easy to find a package of Biscoff cookies at your neighborhood Walgreens, so there's no reason to pad your frequent flyer miles on meaningless flights just to get a cookie.  But what if you want to enjoy the unique and delicious flavor of Biscoff all day long?  What if you want to perk up your morning with the cinnamony flavor of Biscoff?  What if you are bored with bagels and tired of toast?  A cookie just won't do it, but Biscoff spread will.  Somehow, the magicians in Belgium have taken Biscoff cookies and made them into a creamy spread.  Yes, the spread is actually made from the original Biscoff cookies, but it has the smooth and creamy consistency of peanut butter.  Yummy at breakfast, or for dipping pretzels!  You can find it by the peanut butter at Meijer or Marsh.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bored with Bagels / Tired of Toast Option #3

Still bored?  Still tired?  Maybe this will help....  Indulgence Cream Cheese Spread in the White Chocolate flavor.  It's new from Kraft / Philadelphia Cream Cheese and it's delicious.  I spread a thin coat of this rich and creamy spread over my brown sugar swirl bagel and it seemed like I was eating dessert for breakfast!  It also comes in several other flavors; both milk and dark chocolate, cinnamon and dulce de leche.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Bored with Bagels / Tired of Toast? Option #2

Still bored with bagels and tired of your toast?  You may want to try option #2.  Land O Lakes Cinnamon Sugar Butter Spread.  A blend of butter and canola oil, it spreads very easily.  And cinnamon and sugar?  What's not to like?  Delicious on bagels or toast, of course, and can't wait to try it on cooked carrots or squash.  But last night we had it with some warm pretzel rolls.... All I can say is: Mmmm!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bored with Bagels / Tired of Toast? Option #1

Bored with Bagels, Tired of Toast?  Never again!  We recently tried a couple of new spreads and I can't wait to tell you about them.  I do love a slice of toasted Great Harvest wheat bread topped with a swish of whipped butter, with or without some raspberry jam, but lately I was feeling in a rut.  So I took a few moments in the dairy aisle a couple of weeks ago to check out some new options.  The first one is Twisted Butter Blueberry, Honey and Lemon Zest.  It's a flavor-infused premium butter for spreading and cooking.  You can see the pieces of real blueberry in the butter, and the lemon adds the perfect bit of tartness.  Twisted Butter comes is also available in a Cinnamon, Honey and Brown Sugar flavor and several savory options.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Reduce your Reduction Time

Looking for a way to quickly add some flavor to weeknight meals?  Enjoy the flavor of a reduction of balsamic vinegar but crunched for time?  Then you will love the Bertolli Italian Glaze with Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.   Chefs often reduce balsamic vinegar with sugar to make a rich, flavorful sauce.  Bertolli has done the work for you, making it a great option for adding intense flavor to quick meals.  The sauce has a rich, remarkably sweet, but slightly tangy taste.  We drizzled a little over grilled chicken last night.  Can't wait to try it over some oven roasted green beans or carrots.  Look carefully at your grocery ~ I found this with the vinegars at our Super Target.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


In Charleston over spring break I first saw these cute Rewined Candles at a local market.  Recently I have seen them in the wine shop at the Biltmore Estate, the latest issue of Better Homes and Garden, and in a Christmas catalog (Sorry, can't remember which one!)  The soy candles are hand made in the Charleston area from repurposed wine bottles and come in all your favorite wine varietals... Cabernet, Pinot Noir,  Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc... and more.  I've tried two and love the fresh, crisp scent of the Riesling.  You can order them on-line Rewined Candles or keep your eyes open for them in wine and gift shops.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I'm in Love!

I have been waiting to share this with you, but didn't want to spoil a Christmas surprise for someone....  This is the C9 by Champion Women's 1/4 Zip Jacket.  You've seen it before in my packing posts.  Can I just say that I love, love, love this top.  I wear it for travel, I wear it to workout,  I wear it for a quick lunch after tennis with friends,  I wear it to fix dinner and watch a movie.  It has been washed over and over and still looks like new.  Target calls it a jacket, but that's a bit of a stretch, it's really a long sleeve top.  Looks very cute over a basic white or colorful tank.  But it's far from basic with cute seams, gathers, and fabric insets.  I've had the gray one for months, and recently picked up another for myself in my favorite blue, "Strato Blue Heat" and a one of the pretty pinks for my mom for Christmas.