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Back in October, I had the opportunity to take an interesting class at Society of Grown-Ups about creating spending plans that aligned to our values and priorities. The class gave me some great tools to help with planning for our finances, but it also did something else: challenged me to actually think about my values and priorities. On our road-trip down to New York this past weekend for Thanksgiving I was tired and opted to close my laptop, ignore my inbox and to-do-list, and crack open a new book instead – Emily Ley’s Grace, Not Perfection. Digging into this fresh read brought me back to that Society of Grown-Ups class in the early-fall, discussing a lot of the same topics. Between the start of the holidays, a busy period at my day-job, the busiest time of year for my blog projects, and oh yea, an impending baby on the way in just 6-weeks, this topic felt so timely and important during a hectic period of life. It gave me a little spark of inspiration to take a moment to reflect on just that: gratitude for what matters most to me.img_6134_b read more

Can I brag for just one second? I finished my Christmas shopping early on Black Friday with a few last online purchases, all from the comfort of my bed. With the baby due in just 6 weeks I was determined to get all of my shopping done early to reduce holiday stress! I also wanted have things wrapped up (literally) in case baby girl makes an early arrival.  So while I wait for my UPS guy to stack up boxes on the front steps, I thought I’d share the love and help out my readers with their gift-giving-lists!  I’ve rounded up 50 fun gift ideas, all under $50 (and many under $25!) for just about everyone. Check out my ideas below for travel-lovers, techies, co-workers, hostesses, and all the guys and gals on your list. gifts-under-50-for-the-traveler read more

The team at Martha Stewart Living sent me a little care package this month with a challenge! The December issue features some amazing pasta dishes with just 5 ingredients, making them perfect weeknight meals (which is so crucial during this busy time of year!). Armed with a box of Barilla® Rigatoni, their new issue for inspiration, and a cute new serving bowl from the Martha Stewart Whim Collection, I was challenged to create my own 5-ingredient pasta dish. Loving the fall flavors of a brown butter sauce and sweet seasonal squash, I narrowed down my five ingredients to butter, Parmesan cheese, sage, walnuts and butternut squash (plus some salt and pepper!). The result was a hearty autumn meal with a balance of sweet and nutty flavors (and it’s so easy too!). Full recipe below:img_5958 read more

We’re at the one-week countdown to Thanksgiving, and I’ve been busy brainstorming some of the dishes I’m bringing to our turkey-day celebration. I’ve already shared my all-time favorite entertaining pieces, and a round up of my must-have kitchen tools for any type of cooking — but especially at the holidays — to help you prep for your own Thanksgiving dinners, and thought it would be a fun idea to round up some of my favorite recipes from past years for inspiration. Below are a few of my favorite appetizers and side dishes for the big day, as well as some holiday cocktail ideas (family time = cocktail time) and two fun ideas for how to use up those Thanksgiving leftovers! thanksgiving-appetizers read more

One of my favorite nerdy cooking challenges I like to give myself each year is thinking of new ways to use leftovers after the big Turkey-Day feast! Sometimes it feels like those leftovers can last for weeks, and you’re eating turkey sandwiches until you never want to see another turkey again until next Thanksgiving. I made a few of the Thanksgiving classics and experimented with a new idea for leftovers this year: layering them into a Thanksgiving leftover inspired pot-pie! Everything in this recipe can be pulled from your holiday leftovers. Start with some pie dough leftover from your holiday baking, toss in chopped up turkey and keep it juicy with some leftover gravy drizzled on top, and layer it with leftover mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce before baking with another layer of pie crust on top. The result is a slice of Thanksgiving that has just about every key leftover packed into each bite! My husband jokingly suggested that I should call this Pilgrim Pie, a rustic little nod to Thanksgiving’s roots, and I think it fits the dish perfectly! Earmark this one for your turkey-day leftovers next weekend, full recipe below:
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With a blink of an eye it seems as though the holiday season is upon is! Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and once we finish our turkey, December always speeds right by Christmas and New Years are popping up on the calendar. This holiday season is a little bit different for us, since I’m inching through my third-trimester, we’ll be doing a bit less traveling to see friends and family out of state, and instead having some visitors stay with us! I’m sad about missing a few traditions that my family does in NY, but I’m actually really excited for mix things up and have family stay with us for the first time ever. Making everyone feel at home and special — since it’s a new tradition we’re starting this year — is top of mind for me right now. I thought it was the perfect time to share a few of my tips for how to prepare for house guests and make everyone feel welcome!img_5787 read more

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and in the past few years, Friendsgiving has been moving up the list too! At Friendsgiving you get all of the perks of a Thanksgiving feast (more stuffing please!) without any crazy family drama, and usually a few more holiday cocktails. We attended a Friendsgiving brunch this weekend and it was a blast, I ate enough that I started to resemble a Thanksgiving turkey! In preparation for lots more holiday events, Friendsgiving included, Target Grocery sent me a big box of Thanksgiving essentials, and challenged me to step up my holiday table game using only products from Target. Inspired by a local and seasonal treat — cranberries —  I set out to share a handful of ideas to bring cranberry flavors to your holiday table with all of my favorite Target products. From cocktails to appetizers to desserts, I’ve got a cranberry spin on just about every Thanksgiving angle! 
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Thanksgiving is only 10 days away, which is totally boggling my mind! Over the weekend I started to write down a quick list of recipe ideas, items I need to stock up on from the grocery store, and a handful of my favorite entertaining pieces I plan to pack up and take with me when we head to my family’s house! My siblings and parents give me a hard time because I arrive for the holidays as though I needed to bring my entire kitchen with me – but I’m loyal to my favorite cooking tools, and have some go-to entertaining pieces that always make prep and serving easier. I ‘ve done a post before on my cooking essentials, and thought it would be fun this year to share my all-time favorite entertaining pieces to expand my list!entertaining
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I have been living on IZZE drinks as the base for fun cocktail concoctions since I found out I was pregnant. Gosh I miss wine and fancy cocktails, but these sparkling drinks have done the trick while I’m riding out my last two months of mocktail-life! I mixed up an autumn inspired drink that can easily made with or without alcohol, and is a perfect pairing for friendsgiving fetes and fall dinner parties. I started with one of my favorite IZZE flavors, sparkling clementine, and mixed in a homemade simple syrup packed with seasonal spices like cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and anise. Top it off with soda water (and pop in some vodka if you’re drinking!) for a crowd-pleasing drink. Recipe below!
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It feels like the holidays are so far away, but Thanksgiving is only two weeks away, and Christmas is creeping up right behind that! I’m feeling a bit of that holiday spirit today as I flipped open the holiday issue of Family Circle and saw an entertaining piece I worked on with them sharing some easy tips for hosting during the holiday season. Check out the new issue to catch all of the tips and start getting ready for your own holiday hosting plans! img_5954