Friday, November 28, 2014

Dining Room Table Inspired by Sprintz

Since we've lived in our home for 2+ years and don't have any dining room furniture, my husband and I recently decided that needed to change.  We started shopping for tables online, and I found this gorgeous table on the Sprintz website (no price).  We visited the store and the salesman looked it up for me: whoops!  It was $7,000 for just the table.  At least I have good taste...

I remembered all the success I've had on the Buy Sell Trade groups and went back to the groups in search of a great table.  After a couple of communications on various options, I finally found a 100 year old solid mahogany table with 6 chairs.  The best part?  It was listed at $225.  The owner and I communicated on a time to meet, and the day I was planning to pick it up I had posted a few of my own items on the BST group.  She ended up wanting my chandelier so we got a discount of $40.  In the end, we paid $185 for a SOLID WOOD antique table.

I did find the chairs to be a bit small, so I am thinking of trading them out for the options below.  However, the piece is gorgeous, well kept, and such higher quality than the wood veneer now used in most pieces today.  Success!  I guess I'll be going back to her inquiring about the matching buffet she was debating selling...

                             Chair                                                                                               Banquette

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Affordable Thanksgiving Recipes

I make the same dishes every year for Thanksgiving, so this year I decided to mix it up a bit and add a few dishes as well as change one of my usual.  My goal was to spend less than $25 on dishes for the family, so here's what I created on my budget:

Sweet Potato Casserole - original recipe here:
4 29 oz cans of canned yams ($3.96 at Aldi)
1 cup sugar (in my pantry)
1/4 cup milk (in my pantry)
1/2 cup butter (in my fridge)
2 large eggs (in my fridge)
1 tsp vanilla extract (in my pantry)
1/4 tsp salt (in my pantry)
1 1/4 cups cornflakes cereal ($2.29 at Aldi)
1/4 cup chopped pecans (3.99 at Publix)
1 TBSP brown sugar (in my pantry)
1 TBSP butter, melted (in my pantry)
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows ($1.29 at Aldi)

Beat yams, sugar, milk, butter, eggs, vanilla & salt until smooth.  Pour mixture into a greased rectangular glass baking dish.  Mix cornflakes, pecans, brown sugar & butter in a small bowl.  Spread in diagonal rows over casserole 2 inches apart.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle the empty rows with marshmallows and put back in the oven for 10 more minutes.
Total expenditure: $11.53.  My grandmother even mentioned she normally hates sweet potato casserole but loved mine, and she is a fantastic cook!

Green Bean Casserole - original recipe here:
1/3 stick butter (in my fridge)
1/2 cup diced onions ($1.99 for 3 lbs at Aldi)
1/3 cup sliced onions ($1.29 at Aldi)
2 cups sliced green beans ($0.49 at Aldi, I used canned)
1 can cream of mushroom soup ($0.49 at Aldi)
1 can French-fried onion rings ($1.79 at Aldi)
1 TBSP salt (in my pantry)
2/3 tsp pepper (in my pantry)
2/3 tsp garlic powder (in my pantry)
1 cup grated cheddar ($1.99 at Aldi)

Melt butter in a large skillet and saute onions and mushrooms.  Add green beans, cream of mushroom soup, onion rings (leave some extra), and house seasoning to the onion mixture.  Stir well.  Pour into a greased rectangular glass baking dish and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  Pull out and top the casserole with cheese and onion rings and bake for 10 more minutes.
Total expenditure: $8.04.  I normally make the Campbell's soup recipe but this year multiple family members came up to me and said this was the best green bean casserole they've ever had so I guess I'll be continuing this one from now on!

Roasted Red Pepper Deviled Eggs - original recipe here
8 large eggs ($1.29 for a dozen at Aldi)
1/4 drained roasted red peppers (in my fridge)
3 TBSP mayonnaise (in my fridge)
1 tsp dijon mustard (in my fridge)
1/4 tsp paprika (in my pantry)
salt and pepper (in my pantry)
3 chives, cut into small stems ($1.99 at Publix)
red and yellow food coloring (in my pantry)

Boil a large pot of water on high heat.  Carefully lower eggs into water, return to a boil and reduce heat to a low simmer.  Cook for 11 minutes then remove from water and let cool for 30 minutes.  Crack eggs under cold running water, slice in half and scoop out yolks.  Place yolks, mayonnaise, dijon, paprika and peppers in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and mix in red and yellow food coloring until desired orange color is reached.  Using a small spoon (I used a grapefruit spoon), put mixture back inside of eggs.  Take a small fork (I had these on hand) and scrape lines into the ball to make it look like the lines of a pumpkin.  The original recipe says to use a pastry bag with a tip but I had trouble with that method.  Add the chives to the top as stems and sprinkle with paprika (optional - I forgot).
Total expenditure: $3.28.  These were on Pinterest as a Halloween appetizer but I thought they would work great for Thanksgiving too!

Since I was under budget at $22.85 I also offered to make my mom the little food place cards you see in the photos above.  I got the paper at Hobby Lobby ($1.16 for 4 sheets) and already had some purple ribbon on hand.  I printed out the tags using Lucida Handwriting in Word, 1"x2", then cut them out using a paper cutter.  I didn't like the black on orange for the names so I used a gold paint pen I already had to write over the font (works better than trying to hand-write as mine isn't very good).  Using $0.97 clothespins I stood them up around the food.

So overall, Thanksgiving was a success.  I highly recommend assembling all ingredients the nite before to ease prep time and cooking the next morning.  I measured out everything on Wednesday so it was ready to go and sitting in the fridge or out on the counter Thursday morning.  You can also cook both casseroles at the same time since they're about the same cook time and same temp in the oven, simplifying everything if you don't have two ovens!

As a last note, I had to include the adorable setup my mom had for the Thanksgiving table centerpieces.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Wardrobe Remix Monday - Outfits for Thanksgiving

I'm going to "remix" WRM this week and make it a little different than usual.  Normally I would post an item and show you all the ways to wear it.  For this week, I'm going to post some Thanksgiving outfit ideas instead.  As usual, nothing over $50 but the first four outfits will all share the same boots!
Clockwise from top left:
Vest $36.99 // Top $42.50 // Earrings $3 // Watch $24.80 // Scarf $24.47
Shirt $34 // Leggings $3.80 // Sweater $11.22 // Socks $36 // Scarf $14.99
Boots $48.50
Tee $31.16 // Leggings $3.80 // Satchel $27.90 // Sunglasses $45.50 // Earrings $32 // Scarf $48
Dress $20 // Scarf $19.99 // Coat $49.80 // Tights $5.80

Clockwise from top left:
Vest $34.99 // Jeans $29.99 // Sweater $26.18 // Shoes $49.99
Sweater $27.90 // Skirt $12.80 // Booties $32.90
Tank $7.99 // Jeans $36.99 // Vest $25.42 // Booties $34.90 // Bag $39.99
Sweater $34.50 // Pants $29.97 // Vest $42.42 // Watch $24.80 // Boots $42.99 // Earrings $18.70 // Crossbody $37.80

Friday, November 21, 2014

Gone Girl and the Like Book Reviews

Anyone read Gone Girl?  Of course you have!  If you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend it. Ben Affleck does a superb job and the little known actress who plays Amy is a little too good at the crazy.

If you loved the book the way I did, and were craving for the story to keep on, here's a few other titles that I enjoyed:

A dark thriller about a woman who's lost her memory, her journey to
getting it back, and the frightening secrets she discovers along the way.
Available here for $8.93
The story of a mother's grief over her daughter's suicide and her
determination to find out the truth.  With twists at every turn and
intricately developed characters, this book will keep you turning pages.
Available here for $12.30

Think "Sleeping with the Enemy" in modern day.  A woman's husband becomes
a true jekkyl/hyde and she flees, restarting her life.  Until, 4 years later, she gets
a chilling phone call.
Available here for $7.99

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fifty Shades of Red

I read recently in a magazine article that when the weather is colder and it's influencing a bad mood, the color red can actually help improve moods!  Here's some inexpensive items to add some red pop into your wardrobe, jewelry box, makeup kit and home decor collection!  Any of these could also be gifted to lift the spirits of someone you know.  Only one item over $50!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Leather Skinny Jeans/Pants/Leggings on Wardrobe Remix Monday

 I put leather jeans/pants/leggings on today's WRM title for a reason - these come in so many variables!  I have seen leather paneled skinny jeans, leather stretchy leggings, and then regular leather pants.  Personally, my fave is the leather leggings since I prefer a bit of a stretch but definitely try out all 3 to figure out what's best for your body type!  Below are 8 ways to wear any of the above, and here's three options in the variables I mentioned, all for under $25: pants, leggings, jeans.  Happy Monday and Happy Shopping y'all!
Clockwise from top left:
Sunglasses $5.80 // Sweater $37.46 // Scarf $41.69 // Earrings $4.90 // Bracelet $3.90 // Booties $34.90 // Clutch $32.00
Sweater $31.22 // Sunglasses $5.80 // Shirt $37.50 // Booties $33.99
Pants $24.80
Sweater $27.80 // Necklace $5.90 // Bangles $4.80 // Polish $9.50 // Pumps $42.98
Blouse $34.99 // Sunglasses $5.80 // Jacket $34.80 // Scarf  $8.80 // Bangles $6.80 // Booties $40.99

Clockwise from top left:
Blouse $46 // Blazer $20.98 // Clutch $22 // Bracelet $12.80 // Pumps $22.80
Sweater $29.99 // Vest $42.42 // Satchel $27.90 // Booties $37.80
Pants $24.80
Cardigan $31.22 // Scarf $29.99 // Tee $39.50 // Watch $44.25 // Clutch $49 // Pumps $17.30
Shirt $18 // Crossbody $24.90 // Booties $34.90

Friday, November 14, 2014

Thanksgiving Tablescape Inspiration & DIY

This year I did not offer to host Thanksgiving because of the new baby, but I didn't want to leave y'all hanging on how to create a gorgeous tablescape if you are taking on the monster of hosting!  Below are some gorgeous ideas I've seen on Pinterest, as well as ones I did myself.  Each one also has listings of where to get affordable look-a-likes to create.
Original photo found here
Clockwise from top left:
Cylinder Vase $12.49 on 50% off day // Tablecloth $13.96 // Napkins $9.18 // Gords and Flowers $1 at Dollar Tree // Metal Pumpkin $9 // Candlestick, Candles, Pumpkins and Bud Vase $1 each at Dollar Tree

Left photo found here
Right photo clockwise from top left:
Pumpkins from Farmer's Market - could use real or faux to paint // Pinecones $1.99 // Runner $3.49 // Votives $26.95 for 12 // Chargers $1 (also have gold rimmed plates for $1, not pictured) // Paint $3.76 // Berries $1 (remove leaves and separate into pieces, spreading out for look like photo)

Original photo here
Clockwise from top left:
Pillow $18 with code FALL10 // Goblet $15.95 // Highball Glass $15.95 // Tablecloth $40.48 & Napkins $2.68 with code FALL10 // Candles $23.97 // Candle $1 // Candleholders $18.50 // Charger $15.99 // Pumpkins from Farmers Market // Place Card Frame $1 each // Mini Pumpkins from Farmers Market // Paint $3.76

And now my version from a couple year's before - we had two tables (one outside and one in) to accomodate all of our guests:
My Tablescape:
Top and Shorts from Forever21, similar top here and shorts here for less than $20 each.
Tablecloth $16.97 // Hurricanes from Walmart $10-25 // Popcorn kernels and candles inside // Plates (borrowed) but similar here for $4.32 each // Napkins  Walmart (old) but similar here for $2.99 each  // Napkin Rings (borrowed) but similar here for $18.49 for 4

My Tablescape:
Basket (old) but similar here for $11.99 // Pinecones $1.99 // Pitcher $7.99 //  Hay from Hobby Lobby (in store) // Gords from Farmers Market // Mason Jars with lace wrapped around and hot glued

My Tablescape:
Tablecloth $11.99 (I used two) // Plates (see above) // Napkins (old) but similar here for $4.99 // Napkin Rings (old) but similar here for $2.52 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ooh La La Lashes - Part 2

A while back I did a tutorial on how to apply individual lash clusters for some va va voom on your lashes.  I generally keep these up, but lately had been wondering if my lower lashes could use a boost.  After doing some research, I found the perfect solution - Ardell Invididual Flare MINIs.  I didn't see them at my local Sally's but did find them on the link above.  This past week I got a chance to try them out.

Along with my upper lashes, I applied 8 lower lashes to each eye.  The results were better than I could have imagined - a super improvement on my pitiful lower lash line!  

Monday, November 10, 2014

Gold Sequin Mini Skirt on Wardrobe Remix Monday

I bought my skirt a few years back from Victoria's Secret and lately have felt like it doesn't get enough wear considering how cute it is!  I decided to map out all the ways I could wear it with items I already have in my closet and then share my ideas with you!  As usual, nothing over $50, except the skirt - but I also found this one for under $50!

Clockwise from top left:
Sweater $15.99 // Shirt $11.48 // Trench $37.90 // Polish $8.99 // Pumps $22.80 // Travel Mug $19.95
Earrings $3.80 // Blouse $24.95 // Tights $5.80 // Purse $16.99 // Pumps $22.90
Skirt $83
Bodysuit $11.99 // Belt $17.50 // Purse $24.90 // Earrings $32 // Pumps $22.96 // Cuff $8.80 // Flutes (set of 4) $39.99
Tee $10.90 // Necklace $19.90 // Vest (also featured on WRM here) $51.67 with code REDCROSS // Bracelet $7.90 // Booties $34.80 // Clutch $20.99

Clockwise from top left:
Clutch $31.21 // Blouse $13.80 (I have this exact one in my closet!) // Polish $7.20 // Belt $17.50 // Pumps $42.39 with code ONEDAY112054092 Shirt $44.50 // Sunglasses $5.80 // Sweatshirt $19.90 // Flats $31.20 // Watch $24.80Skirt $83
Bag $49.95 // Sweater $22.50 // Necklace $30 // Sunglasses $16.99 // Blazer $29.99 // Booties $32.80 // Tights $5.80

Friday, November 7, 2014

Hosting Graciously On a Time Crunch - Fondue!

My BFF came to visit today and the original plan was to go to dinner downtown and then hit the bars. That plan came to a halt when we realized since they were driving they wouldn't even arrive in Nashville until after 7 PM.  The other girls agreed to a girls nite in, and with only an hour and a half until I had to leave to pick everyone up, I had to figure out dinner very quickly!

One of the other girls who was coming over is pregnant, and she'd been wanting to go to Melting Pot. I decided on my solution: bringing the melting pot to our house!  I LOVE fondue and it had been a while since we'd made it so I knew it was the perfect idea.

Since I was trying to hurry, I headed to the grocery to pick up ingredients I didn't have: cheddar cheese block, appetizer tray, french bread, strawberries, and angel food cake for dipping and ready to cook chicken breast (about $35).  After a trip to the liquor store to pick up my favorite wine for $13.99 I was ready to go!

Before I left the house to pick everyone up, I assembled the cheese and chocolate fondue mix, and put the appetizers out on a tray.  I sliced up the bread into 4 sections and stuck them inside a bread basket with a cloth wrapped around.  Then I put out the strawberries, angel food cake and marshmallows on a platter for easy access.  Adding the fondue dipping sticks and mini serving bowls I was ready to go and out the door in 20 minutes!

When we got home I just heated up the cheese and chocolate and put the chicken in the oven.  Voila! Dinner is served!

Recipes for the above:

Cheese Fondue: 
1 block mild cheddar cheese
1 can Campbell's cheese soup

Slice block into smaller pieces to ease melting process.  Add both the pieces of cheddar and the cheese soup to a pan over med-high heat, stirring often.  Heat until all is cheese is melted.  Add salt and pepper and serve in fondue pot with sliced french bread for dipping.

Chocolate Fondue:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup half and half or cream (depending on how rich you want your fondue)
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cocoa powder

Bring a double boiler or pan of water to boil on the stove.  Add all ingredients into the top pot and stir often until all are mixed and melted, making sure not to burn.  Once all ingredients are melted and sugar is no longer granulated pour mix into fondue pot.  Serve with fruit, angel food cake, marshmallows or anything else you'd like to dip.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies on What's for Dinner Wednesday

Just kidding - I wish, but my waistline wouldn't agree with me.  However, I do like to make chocolate chip cookies after having a healthy meal each evening.  Having tried several brands, Pillsbury, Tollhouse, Publix brand and more, I have found the absolute best one is the Kroger Cookie Brand!  The best part is the giant tubes of cookies are only $2.29 when they're on sale and make at least 50 cookies (making each cookie only about 5 cents).  Yum Yum!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Poncho Sweater on Wardrobe Remix Monday

One of my favorite Fall/Winter items (besides comfy leggings of course) is a poncho.  I love that you can throw it on to warm up and it's so easily layered which makes mixing and matching easy.  Below are 8 ways to wear a simple cream poncho that I have in my closet (also love this onethis one or this one for a patterned look). Only one item over $50!  Happy Monday and Happy Shopping y'all!
Clockwise from top left:
Shirt $45 // Watch $24.80 // Leggings $3.80 // Sunglasses $5.80 // Bag $22.90 // Socks $5.80 // Boots $47.40
Crossbody $22.80 // Leggings $3.80 // Button Down $34.10 // Boots $28.10
Poncho $27.10
Jeans $29.99 // Shirt $21.86 // Bag $24.90 // Boots $45.50
Jeans $19.90 // Button Down $25.99 // Boots $38.80 // Scarf $12.90

Clockwise from top left:
Jeans $15.90 // Ring $34 // Necklace $15.80 // Booties $79.20
Snood $30.38 // Shirt $21.86 // Bracelet $6.90 // Watch $23.80 // Bag $9.95 // Boots $39.90 // Leggings $3.80
Necklace $14.80 // Sweater $27.90 // Sunglasses $5.80 // Wellies $135 (check eBay for better deals) // Jeans $24.99 // Bag $48
Jeans $29.99 // Sunglasses $16.99 // Watch $17.80 // Bag $29.80 // Booties $39.90