Go Panthers!

Last Saturday night, I casually mentioned to Ian that I saw two lower-level tickets for sale to the Panthers game the following day. I still thought the ticket prices were outrageous, but he said "BUY THEM!" We already had a sitter lined up -- we originally planned to try to buy game tickets, then decided to watch the game at a bar instead since the 9-0 record had ticket prices running so high. Ultimately we decided that we wouldn't miss the money but the experience would be well worth it.

We had an awesome time and the Panthers defeated the Redskins! 10 & 0, baby, as we enter this coming week's game!


Holiday Gift Guide GAMEPLAN!

Thank you all so much for your awesome input on yesterday's question regarding holiday gift guides. What I heard overwhelmingly is -- I already know what to get my best girlfriend, keep the suggestions affordable yet unique, and focus on meaningful and really relevant gifts that I personally would purchase or have purchased. Done and done ... we haaaave a gameplan!

Green satin ribbon with black and white stripe wrapping paper for Christmas presents.. modern and classy.:

Here are the six categories I decided to highlight this year:
  + My Personal Wishlist/Favorites
  + Baby
  + Toddler (I'm splitting this up from baby up for a fun reason ... see below!)
  + The Man In Your Life
  + Parents and Inlaws
  + Colleagues/Coworkers: $10-$20 range

Being that there are going to be six shorter posts, I will break them up over the course of two or three weeks so that I can continue to post non-shopping topics. Like three ingredient appetizers and cute things my kid does ;)

Okay, I also have another fun idea up my sleeve. I would like to turn the mike over to you and hear from you via email ( if you have any suggestions to include in the above categories. When I write the gift guides, I will feature one suggestion from a reader. Maybe you gave a gift to your inlaws last year that was such a slam-dunk that you just have to share it! Also, don't be afraid to toot your own horn if you own an Etsy shop and would like me to feature something of yours for a category above. Please just let me know that it's okay to use your first name and what category/categories you have a suggestion for. And if you do have a blog or Etsy shop, I'd love to link to it.

Okay, signing off for now, but I'm way more excited than ever about holiday gift guides this year! I hope you are looking forward to seeing what I -- and some fellow readers -- plan to purchase this year!

gift wrap for kids:


Holiday Gift Guides: Question For You

Christmas inspiration...:

In the past, I have always loved holiday gift guides -- a peek into what people own and love, what they love to give, and what they plan to give this year. But I know that gift guides are all over blogs these days and they may just not be your cup of tea. So ... here's where I turn to you!

Do you enjoy holiday gift guides? What sort of topics would you be interested to see covered, if so (baby, toddler, girlfriends, gifts for guys, stocking stuffers, etc)?

What to you constitutes a GOOD and helpful gift guide?


Saturday Sip + Shop


Raspberry and ginger beer champagne cocktail:

Raspberry and Ginger Beer Cocktail
From Perpetually Hungry blog
Recipe HERE


Acrylic Monogram Tassel Key Chain

Monogram Tassel Keychain
From Etsy - coincidentally, I see they are right here in Charlotte!
Only $10.99 ... cute stocking stuffer. :)
Found HERE


Five On Friday!

It's time for another edition of Five on Friday and I do hope you'll join along!

Remember, all you have to do is post about five things on your mind, add our logo (found at the bottom of this post), and join the party using the linky tools below. Easy, and a great way to find new blogs and be found. :)

Starting off this Five on Friday before Thanksgiving to let you all know how thankful I am that you read my blog, share my blog with friends, link up with us weekly here, and send me personal emails. This is a hobby turned passion and I truly love interacting with each of you! I have met the nicest friends.

But first, I'll have to remind myself to do this. Sad to say, it didn't come naturally for me.:

Do you know about Groupon Coupons? If you are like me, the bulk of your holiday shopping is done online these days. Black Friday? You'll find me at home, not fighting the masses in a chain store. If you plan to do any shopping online, for the holidays or otherwise, there are so many ways to save money this year.

Groupon Coupons is free to use, and you just visit their site first and then link from there to your favorite retailers and get ready to reap the savings. For example, if you want to check out some of what is currently offered coupon-wise, you can check out the Groupon Coupons for LoftNeiman Marcus, Birchbox, and Babies R Us! May as well shop smartly this season, right?

Why you need patience to have money - Keep Calm and Save Money:

Last night we had our monthly supper club at my girlfriend Marla's house, and she had our plates stacked with all of these fall goodies! Honey butter, homemade bread, and Chex mix. She is too creative and sweet.

Just wanted to share with you the Pumpkin Crisp recipe that is one of my very favorites this time of year! It is from Southern Living magazine, and I blogged about it HERE. It's a great combination for any of you who like the pumpkin part of pumpkin pie and the nuts from pecan pie. And it has lots of butter in it, so you know it's good.

We started a new holiday-themed weekly music class this week and I can't WAIT to share more on it! Camille had a great time, was a total ham as usual, and was all over the place and enjoying instruments. I have so enjoyed seeing her turn into a music and instrument lover over the last few months that we've been attending music class weekly.

TGIF y'all, HAPPY THANKSGIVING, and hope you will join in on Five on Friday this week! Cheers to the weekend!


Thanksgiving Plans


Thanksgiving is nearly upon us ... one of my favorite holidays, especially when I'm wearing stretchy pants. And this year that is not even debatable given my current belly situation. (Speaking of, I am currently testing out a few new pairs of maternity leggings and will report back on my findings!)

A few years ago I started being the one to make the cranberry sauce. There's no major secret to it -- I just follow the instructions on the back of the Ocean Spray bag, and then I add in a little juice from an orange and a few shakes of cinnamon. No need to mess up a good thing, right? 

One recipe that I've mentioned a few times here on the blog is Paula Deen's green bean casserole. It is different from that goopy version you may wrinkle your nose at. It still does have a can of cream of mushroom in it, but it's much more fresh tasting than what Great Aunt Sally puts on the table in that old brown 1970s baking dish. I just thaw frozen whole green beans -- Trader Joe's and Aldi have my favorite inexpensive bags of these -- and it is just such a yummy, decadent, and easy version of this classic recipe. PS, this is Ian's "must have" Thanksgiving side dish!

Green Bean Casserole from

Now when it comes to pies, I'm a pecan pie girl all the way. I don't turn up my nose at a nice pumpkin pie, but if given the choice, I'm going with pecan. And if you really know me, you know that if both are offered, I'll have a slice of each on my dessert plate.

We will be celebrating this year with my in-laws and I'm really looking forward to a beautiful time together. They just adore Camille (and part of the family lives in Ohio, so when they are around, they really eat her up!) and it's also awesome for me to kick back and relax for a change!

pretty fall tablescape:

What are your plans for the holiday? And, more importantly, what's the one Thanksgiving side dish that is your must-have?


Week 20 (!!!) Pregnancy Journal: BEBE DEUX

This pregnancy has been awesome. And different. Awesome and way different.

I could claim the usual Baby #2 cliches ("No time to nap!" - "Too busy chasing a toddler around to remember I'm pregnant!"), and yes, they are true -- but other than that, I think what is so different about this pregnancy is that I am feeling a sense of calm about it. 

Nothing is ever certain, and I still hope and pray for a healthy pregnancy daily, but the calmness that I feel is moreso knowing this: we can do this. We can get ready for a baby, I am familiar with the hospital, I can deliver a baby, we can help a baby to survive and, hopefully, thrive. We can do diapers, we can do fevers, we can do middle-of-the-night wakeups, we have TOYS and baby gear out the wazoo. The scariness of being first-time parents is real, and although I know our lives will be crazy for a while with two very small little ones, I'm so ready to meet this little lovebug and experience life as a family of four. :)

I haven't kept a pregnancy journal or taken weekly photos (until today) this go-round, but something about hitting week 20 today made me feel a little sentimental about recording what's going on at this point with Baby Two, who Ian has nicknamed "The Newest" (Camille is "The Smallest").

How Far Along? 20 weeks, halfway there.

Size of Baby: A small cantaloupe (6.5 inches).

Gender: We don't know, and we plan to keep it that way! I have days where I just feel so strongly that it's a boy, and I have other days where the similar symptoms to my first pregnancy makes me think it could be a little girl. Ian thinks we are having another girl, a lot of my friends are thinking boy. I did add in a poll on the right sidebar so you can tell me what you think ... pink or blue!

Weight Gain: Last time around with Camille, I had major anxiety that I wasn't gaining enough weight. With each doctor that I rotated around to, I would ask them if they thought the baby was healthy. I weighed myself each week and clocked in each pound gained like a shiny gold star. This time around, we have a child lock on the bathroom cabinet where the scale is kept, and I'm usually too busy and/or lazy to take it out and weigh myself. This morning was only the third time I've checked my weight while being pregnant and I am currently up 6-7 lbs.

Maternity Clothes: I am just reusing my maternity clothes from before. I purchased one cute dress on Zulily which will likely be a Christmas dress worn over tights -- it needs a quick hemming job, but I want to wait until closer to Christmas so that it doesn't end up too short if my belly grows faster than I expect. Other than that, I likely won't buy any new maternity clothes unless they are at a consignment shop for a steal!

Nursery: I think the plan is still to use Camille's room as the nursery. If we have a little boy, it will be repainted at some point after baby is here. The crib and changing table will both be staying in there. But with all of this said, sometimes in the middle of the night I wake up and think about keeping her in her current room and using our office as the baby's room. Can't decide, and it's making me a little nutty.

Movement: I started feeling movement right at the beginning of this month. I was laying in bed the Sunday night after Halloween, and Ian and I were battling and I was all stressed, and then BAM. Baby moved for me. Hallelujah you sweet little thing, you just made time slow down for me and you brought me back to reality. All is good, all is fine, all is wonderful.

Symptoms: Growing belly, finally have some energy back!

Sleep: Sleeping really well and loving my Snoogle pregnancy pillow as much this time around as I did being pregnant with Camille. It was pricey at the get-go, but so worth it.

Cravings: I'm not really having cravings this time around again. With Camille I did have certain desires for sweets (sweet tea always sounded amazing) and that's been the same this time, too. We STILL have Halloween candy in our home and that big orange bowl gets pillaged each night after dinner. Oh, and spicy always sounds great! Pizza? Pass the red pepper flakes!

What I Miss: Not having back pain, although I will say that I finally saw a massage therapist twice who REALLY helped. This was not a fancy spa massage -- quite the opposite, really. More therapeutic. But it worked.

Best Moment This Week: Just having Ian touch my belly and ask about the baby. That's the best. Never gets old. :) And on Sunday night he drew me a warm bubble bath as a surprise. Good job, boo.

Looking Forward To: Figuring out the nursery, deciding on a girl and a boy name, and experiencing the holidays again while pregnant! Oh, and meeting this sweet baby and hopefully having Ian be the one to tell me if we have a new son or daughter!

(Here's a photo of me at 20 weeks with Camille. I'm quite bigger this time around!)


Crescent Roll-Up Sandwiches (EASY Lunch Recipe!)

My photographs = meh. 
Taste = yummy!

At the end of last week, Ian was in New Jersey for training and I was a) putting off a trip to the grocery store, and b) in the mood for a more creative lunch for Camille and myself.

I had a can of crescent rolls in the fridge as well as a pack of Italian cheese blend and a few slices of some turkey. Being pregnant, I am steering away from deli meat these days, but this baked recipe allows me to partake in it. Heck yeah. I used this recipe from High Heels & Grills as a base but omitted the sauce on top. I personally think the sauce sounds AMAZING but I was really looking for ease here and something that would go together quickly!

I started off by laying out the crescent rolls and smoothing together the seams to give me one large sheet.

Next, pile on the cheese. Don't be shy, now.

I then placed three slices of the deli turkey on the long bottom of the pastry sheet. Next time I'll probably use more meat and the same amount of cheese. More cheese went on top of the meat -- just a sprinkle to help it all stick!

Then, it all just gets rolled up -- long side rolled upwards. 

Then just take a very sharp knife and cut them into pinwheels. Place in a baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. I baked the dish according to the directions on the crescent roll package. They didn't look pretty going in, but they fluffed up when baking!

Just bake until golden brown and then lift out of the pan with a metal spatula. These were a fun lunch and would be awesome for tailgating, too.

Plus, think of all of the other combos that would be tasty ... roast beef and cheddar (maybe some horseradish mayo on the side for dipping?), mozzarella cheese and pepperoni, provolone and sauteed mushrooms. My mouth is watering!
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