June 29, 2012

FF–The Racerback


I don’t know if it is all of the U.S. Olympic Swimming trials that I have been watching this week, or what, but I am currently loving the shape of racerback tank tops.

The shape of a racerback was originally crafted for competitive swimwear to provide flexibility and movement of the arms during swimming, but has adapted into tanks, camis and workout wear.

***please excuse the hair in these pictures, this photo shoot happened post workout…eek!



Sequin Racerback $19.99 (on sale) – Marshalls


Reasons why I love them:

  • It shows off shoulders and shoulder blades beautifully (assuming you like those assets).  If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
  • The front looks like a normal tank top, but the back has more visual interest and gives off a sexy yet athletic vibe (I love that combo).
  • You don’t have to worry about straps falling down!
  • They are just as inexpensive as other tank tops. 


Racerback styles aren’t for everybody (just like halter tops aren’t for me), however if you find one you love from the front, but don’t like the back, don’t fret, just put a cardigan on and you’re all set! (didn’t really mean to rhyme right there, but it’s kind of fun!)



Lace Racerback $12.99 – Marshalls



Tribal Racerback  $9.99 – Ross



Black Ribbed Racerback $4 – Walmart


Have a great weekend!

June 28, 2012

That’s Life


Have you ever found yourself looking all over your house for your birth certificate that you know you have, you just don’t know where it is?  And of course it’s not in the same spot as your marriage license that you also need to get some sort of documentation renewed.  Not to mention needing to find your lifetime warranty on the couch that just had grape juice spilled on it.

Well, if this is you, consider it your lucky day.  That used to be me until I simplified my life and put every important document in one easy to find place.  I pride myself on being an organized person, but I found myself repeatedly getting frustrated when I couldn’t find things in my “filing system”.  Then, it hit me, what if there’s a fire (God forbid) and I lose all of my important papers because they were in 18 different spots?

Then it clicked.  A binder.  It was that simple.



In my opinion, the plainer the better.  I don’t want anything on the cover that would be inviting to thieves in case of a break in.




I bought a 2 inch ringed binder, a package of sheet protectors (love those) and some dividers and I got to work. (There are plenty of these out on the market like this one shown below, but they are overpriced – $30 - and not as personalized as if you do it yourself)



A DIY version could save you tons of money rather than buying a premade binder.


In my life binder I have it divided into 5 sections.  It always stays in the same place and can be grabbed quickly in case of an emergency (fire, sinkhole, evacuation):





  • birth certificate
  • marriage license
  • divorce decree/annulment papers
  • passports
  • Social Security Card
  • Savings bonds
  • house title/deed
  • professional certificates





  • Monthly bills for the last 6 months
  • retirement statements
  • bank statement information
  • credit card information
  • pay stubs
  • budget planning



  • Homeowners/Health Insurance Policies
  • Car purchasing information/maintenance records
  • Personal Warranty documentation (phones, eyeglasses, couches, appliances, etc.)
  • memberships (AAA, Costco, fitness center)





  • any and all tax information from the previous year
  • property tax information



  • All of the extra stuff that you don’t think you’ll need, but you just might.




Now, I know this does not take a rocket scientist to figure out, but I felt like one after putting it in order.  It was such a relief to know that if it wasn’t in “the binder” then I didn’t have it! 

This is also great if you have kids.  Start one for each of your children now and it will be easy to pass on to them when they head out on their own.


Good luck and happy (life) organizing!


June 27, 2012

Child’s Play


Today’s post is a tribute to my childhood.  In fact, a tribute to my first experiences in the kitchen as a teeny weeny.  Did anyone else grow up eating these?




Well, I did.  We always had them in our cupboards for a quick treat if anybody unexpectedly stopped by.  I felt like a chef extraordinaire when I got to make them for my mom, even though you only have to add milk; not exactly brain surgery. However, it didn’t matter, because I loved the way they tasted fresh out of the oven with a little bit of butter.

Since then, I haven’t made these muffins much and have really started to like scones more than muffins.  So, when I came across this little gem in a magazine a few months ago I wanted to scream.  It was perfect!




This recipe combined two of my faves:  blueberry muffin mix and scones.  Not to mention it took me back to when I was a kid and it was as easy as child’s play. 

Here’s how:


Blueberry Scones with Orange Cream Cheese

Taken directly from marthawhite.com

Print this recipe!


2 (7 oz.) packages Martha White® Blueberry Flavored Made With Whole Grains Muffin Mix*

1/4 cup butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 cup sour cream

Orange Cream Cheese

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

1 teaspoon orange juice


1. HEAT oven to 400ยบ F. Coat large cookie sheet with no-stick spray. Place muffin mix in large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender until texture of small peas (a food processor can be used instead of cutting in butter, just pulse until small peas of butter form – biggest shortcut ever). Stir in sour cream until combined and mixture forms large clumps.








2. PRESS together with floured hands. Place on lightly floured surface. Press together and knead 3 to 4 times until smooth ball forms. Pat out into a 6-inch circle. Cut into 8 wedges with large knife or pizza cutter. Place on prepared pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes on pan. Gently remove to cooling rack.








3. STIR together cream cheese, sugar, orange peel and orange juice in medium bowl until well blended. Serve with scones.




*any brand or flavor muffin mix will work in this instance - I had to use the Betty Crocker version since they were out of Martha White.





June 26, 2012

Shhhhhhhhhh! Quiet Please!


So, I know most of us out there love to get a good deal, buy something on sale, or find any way to save a few bucks here and there.  Well, my tip for this Tuesday is a money saving idea that I have come to love and it involves this place:

The Public Library

A little over a year ago I decided that I wanted to read some more Suze Orman books after reading one that my friend Lynn gave me entitled, The Young, Fabulous and Broke (which I highly recommend, no matter your age).  I was reading reviews online, not knowing the best one to buy and not wanting to waste money on a book that I ultimately might not like. 

In my mind I was thinking, “I just wish you could rent these to try them out.”  Then, after a bit of a self laugh and a “duh” moment, it hit me like a ton of bricks…you can, at the public library!





I remember going there as a kid and loved looking through the rows and rows of fun books, but had never thought of going as an adult.  I went for the first time one day after school and in about 5 minutes I had my very own library card free of charge.

I am able to check out books for 3 weeks at a time and renew them three additional times as well as DVDs which are checked out for a week at a time with the same renewal process (at my hometown library, others might differ).  The renewals can be done online and the rentals can be returned to any of the 14 locations.

The best part? There is no limit to the number of items checked out at one time.  Score!




Why I love the library and how it can save you money:

Travel Books:  Before traveling to Europe I checked out many up to date travel books referencing the cities to which we were traveling.

Workout DVDs:  I love to check out many different work out DVDs to try out at home and then buy the ones that I liked the best.

Magazines:  I absolutely love magazines, but hate paying close to $5 each time I want to buy one.  Although you can’t check out the latest issue of your favorite magazine, if you don’t mind being a month behind, this is your best bet!

Cookbooks:  The library has all of my favorite Food Network stars and their cookbooks to take home and try out your favorite recipes.

Movies:  Although Redbox is quite a good deal when checking out movies, the library is a close second.  It is hard to get the best new releases, but I have found many popular movies on the shelves that Mike and I have enjoyed…again, for free.

Fiction and Nonfiction/Bestsellers:  They have them all!




Did you know all of these benefits at the library are ABOSLUTELY FREE?

  • Wifi
  • Computer and reading camps for kids and teens
  • Story time for kids and families
  • Computer classes for adults
  • Book Clubs
  • Art Exhibits
  • Money Tip$ Classes
  • Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare Accounts to keep their members up to date
  • eReader Downloads
  • Parenting Classes and seminars


There are so many more programs that I am not even aware of that go on daily at public libraries around the country.  So, go ahead, explore and enjoy this amazing resource at the tip of your fingers!

June 25, 2012

Menu Monday


This weekend we got to act like tourists!  When in Rome, right?  Our friend Jenny treated us to a VIP day at both Universal Parks including fast pass access…meaning we didn’t even have to wait in any lines!  It was awesome.

Here’s the recap:




We started out in Islands of Adventure for the first half of our day and then planned on heading to Universal Studios to end our evening listening to the tunes of Josh Turner who was playing for their Summer Concert Series.

The whole time we were holding our breath hoping for no rain.



After a quick jaunt at Poseidon's Adventure, we headed straight to Hogwarts to enjoy the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I was a first timer and couldn’t wait to see it!




The attention to detail is amazing and I felt like I was on the movie set.  They gray sky helped to make it seem even more real.







The gang:  Jeremy, Jenny, Mike, Me, Jamie, Lynn and Tuller



We snacked on chocolate frogs and frozen Butter Beer – which was sugary cream soda drink that was delish.  I think my body was in sugar overload for a bit, but after a few waters, it was back to normal!




Then it was time to hit the rides for a few hours before drying off.






After riding all of the water rides multiple times, we headed to change clothes and refuel at Jimmy Buffet’s Maragritaville for dinner and drinks (margaritas of course).






Post dinner entertainment included a few more rides at Universal Studios while waiting for the concert to start.




Some people weren’t loving the after dinner roller coasters…




Then it was time for some tunes!  The rain held off and the concert was great.  Josh Turner sang all of his hits and even a few off of his new album.  I downloaded Time is Love as soon as the concert was over – such a fun song.

It was a great ending to a great day!  Thanks Jenny!





As far as this week is concerned, with Tropical Storm Debby still making her way across the state (it is STILL raining), we don’t have any plans set in stone…but hopefully the sun will be out this weekend so we can head to the beach!  Fingers crossed!!!


Here’s our menu plan for the week:

M: Veggie and Sausage Quiche w/ Sweet Potato Fries

T: Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches w/ Creamed Corn

W: Shepherd’s Pie w/ Roasted Carrots

Th: Cobb Salad

F: Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie

Sa: Taco Roll Ups w/ Black Beans and Yellow Rice

Su: Beef Stew Baked Potatoes


Have a great (and dry) week!

June 24, 2012

Rainy Day Delivery


Rain, rain and more rain.  That has pretty much been our day so far. 

This is the radar that I woke up to this morning:




Thank goodness we didn’t have anything big planned and that our day at Universal Studios went on without a hitch yesterday (recap coming tomorrow) with only a few drops of rain.  Whew!

I did have a food delivery scheduled for today and wanted to share the recipe with all of you lovely readers.  My house still smells delicious and I’m debating on whether or not to fix it for us for dinner.

Many people have been asking me for some low-carb recipe ideas and my client, was recently one of them.  She/we decided on a yummy low-carb taco bake that ended up smelling and looking delish.  Here’s the lowdown:





Low-Carb Taco Bake

Print this recipe!

1 – 1 1/2 lb lean ground beef or turkey

1 small Vidalia onion, chopped

1/2 C salsa

1 pkg. taco seasoning

1/2 C water

1 small can whole kernel corn (drained)

1 can black beans (drained)

1/4 C reduced fat cream cheese

1/2 C reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese


Brown meat in a large nonstick skillet with onion until cooked through.  Add salsa and taco seasoning with 1/2 C water.  Add corn, beans and cream cheese.  Heat over low until cream cheese it melted*.

Transfer into a baking dish and top with shredded cheese bake covered for 20-30 minutes on 350 degrees.

*once heated through the dish can be eaten, no baking necessary if you are in a hurry.  The baking just helps the cheese melt and the flavors meld a little bit better.


-Can serve over lettuce and other veggies for a taco salad effect topped with sour cream and guacamole. 

-If not concerned with carbs, serve with soft tacos or add to a baked potato as the filling and add your favorite toppings.




After delivering the meal, Mike and I headed for a midday snack at Menchie’s for a frozen yogurt fix. I love that the cups are one size and you pay by the weight once you’re finished piling on the toppings.  It’s completely self serve and so fun to make your very own creation!  It was a much needed pick me up from the rain and tasted divine.





My combination included:  Vanilla, chocolate and strawberry yogurt topped with almonds, walnuts, crushed thin mints, Reese's cups (just a few) and sugar free non fat chocolate fudge.  So good – I love the crunch from the almonds and walnuts!


Now we are back at home and trying to dry off.  I have given up control of the remote and Mike is in his glory flipping between Euro Cup soccer and Nascar…I think some recipe creating in the kitchen is on my agenda for the rest of the afternoon.

Have a good one!

June 22, 2012

FF - Dress for Less


As women, and sometimes men, we always want something new to wear to an event; wedding, shower, party, etc.  We don’t want to wear the same dress to everything and love to have an excuse to go shopping for something fun, fresh and new.

Mike didn’t understand this phenomenon at all when we first met.  He probably still doesn’t, but has gotten used to it by now.  The only problem with buying a new dress or outfit for every upcoming event is dresses can be expensive.  Period.

Our compromise of sorts has become that of a monetary limit while dress shopping.  I don’t think we have verbalized this amount, but in my mind, I challenge myself to spend no more than $25 on a dress for whatever event I am shopping, and with the intent to find a dress that can either be worn to work, or can be used as a  multi-seasonal selection by adding tights and boots.

That inexpensive price tag of $25 may sound crazy and unattainable at first, but the solution to all of my problems was simple:  Ross and Marshalls.  They have great selections, great prices and make for a happy, low cost shopping experience.  And the hubby is happy with the price tag (as am I).   Score.

Here are some of my favorites:



Dress by Forever   Ross $16.99



I wore this dress recently to Kristana and Tony’s wedding and can’t wait to pair it with tights and boots in the fall!




Dress by Epilogue   Marshalls $16.99



I wore this to Jill and Ryan’s wedding and added a chunky belt.  Have also worn this dress to Orlando Magic games and plan to wear to Florida Gator games and parties.




Dress by Emma & Michelle   Ross $18.99



Wore to Jill’s Bridal shower and have since paired with different belts and worn to work many times with boots and flats.




Dress by Spense   Ross $19.99



I fell in love with this LBD (Little Black Dress) and wore it for the first time at Jill’s Bachelorette Party and then to my cousin’s wedding.  Simple, elegant and inexpensive!



Daily Outfits21

Dress by BeBop  Marshalls $5.00 (clearance)



This dress was by far my best deal and is perfect for summer!


Have a great weekend!