Hosting, Lifestyle

Favorite Quick Dinner Recipe

With the holidays right around the corner, I am always looking for quick recipes for week night dinners. Here is one of our favorites Rigatoni with Sausage and Escarole.

First, here is everything you will need:

1 bunch of escarole chopped up

1 onion diced

1 red pepper diced (not too small)

2-3 cloves of garlic minced

2 lbs of rigatoni (I like to always make enough for leftovers. This recipe tastes even better the next day)

2 lbs bulk sweet Italian sausage

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1 cup reserved pasta water (after pasta has cooked)

Olive oil, salt, and pepper

A nice loaf of bread to serve with!! Of course!!

Preparation steps:

1) In a large pot add rigatoni to heavily salted, boiling water. I use about a palmful of salt. Boil for about 12 minutes. Remember to reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

2) While the pasta is boiling, in a large sauté pan heat a large drizzle of olive oil and add the onions and red peppers, salt and pepper and sauté until the vegetables are soft. About 4 minutes

3) Next add the sausage to the veggies break up with a wooden spoon until browned. About 8 minutes.

4) Add garlic to the sausage and veggies. Stir for 1 minite

5) Add the escarole to the sausage and veggies an let wilt down mixing into mixture. About 5 minutes.

6) Take the sausage mixture and mix in with pasta. Add the reserved pasta water and Parmesan cheese. Mix everything together.

Serve with extra cheese on the side and a nice loaf of bread!!

Style

Pre Black Friday Old Navy Looks!

Wow! Is thanksgiving really this week?! This year is flying by way too fast!! Do you host or do you go visiting on the big day? I host and love it!

Went to Old Navy to find some casual for that day found some great deals and looks!! Everything is 50% off!!!! Black Friday came early!!!!!!!!!

First look is the black and holiday green combo. Love everything about this looks. The sweater is surprisingly super soft and the scarf is like butter.

Sweater / vest / scarf / jeans
Sweater / jeans
Scarf / sweater / jeans
Vest / sweater / jeans

This next look is amazing and the jacket will honestly take me all through winter! I am not a fan of wearing big puffy coats….

Jacket / sweater / jeans

Just found my new favorite pattern combo!! I am loving camo and buffalo plaid together. Check out! What do you think?

Top / scarf / vest / jeans
Top / jeans
Scarf / sweater / jeans

So, I came in to buy one outfit and left with 3!!! What’s your fav look?

Holiday, Holiday, Kids, Lifestyle, Shop Our Instagram, Style

Coordinated Outfits for Family Photos

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season doesn’t involve the gifts, food, and all the craziness. What I look forward to, is keeping in touch with family and friends. And one way we do this is by sharing holiday cards! I love sending pics showing how much my kiddos have grown. And I really enjoy seeing all of the other family’s in our life- how much their kids have grown, the new additions since last year, and even the family animals that make it into the photos.

We have started a regular tradition of having a professional photographer (and now friend) take our photos each Fall. I love being able to look over the photos every year and look back on the different stages the kids were in. You don’t have spend a lot of money to capture wonderful images and have the keepsake of the different places you are in each year. A friend or family member might be willing to help or even set up a tripod to capture the moments!

To capture great photos (both classic and silly), no matter who the photographer is, I think it comes down to a great location, and a coordinated look. For a location, I have found that being outside in natural light, captures the best photographs. Over the years we have picked a range of places from parks in the country to historic sights in the city. My favorites have been the locations with rustic structures and interesting backgrounds like old buildings or water sources. This year, we chose the historic Valley Forge Park in Valley Forge, PA. What a place! Beautiful fields, rustic buildings, old stone walls, a wooden bridge over a stream- so many great photo ops.

Once I think of a location, I work on coordinating outfits. I usually don’t look for exactly the same item or print for us to wear. But rather colors or prints that compliment each other and pop in the photos. This year I was focused on a color scheme and was deciding between navy and green, red and black, and white and black. My go-to store/online retailer for family outfits has been the Gap Brands year after year. I find that they have so many trendy and classic styles and colors to choose from, that I have lots of options to work with between the brands to find the perfect look.

I always look for the kid’s outfits first. I find they are the hardest to land on for style and price. So by focusing on them first, I find it much easier to pair back the grown up outfits since ours are usually more classic items (hopefully that we already own or mostly own!) After looking at all of the options online, I selected the navy and green color theme. We are a very casual family so I like our outfits to reflect that. We are always in jeans for the most part. But I love having my daughter dress up in a pretty dress (while she will still wear one) to make the photos look a little more special than our day-to-day. I found this adorable navy dress with bright colored embroidery from Gap. It has a nice pop of color but still neutral being grounded in navy. When I saw the green and navy plaid shirt from Old Navy, I envisioned that they could work really well together.

Here are the outfit details for the kids (affiliate links):

My Son- Navy and Green Plaid Shirt / Slim Jeans (similar style) / Navy Hi-Top Sneakers (similar style)

My daughter- Navy Dress with Embroidery / Navy Cable Knit Tights / Silver Boots

Once I have the kids all taken care of, then it’s easier to decide on the outfits for the grownups. Since I grounded the looks in navy, I knew both my husband and I would wear navy tops or sweaters. Keeping the casual look, we both paired them with jeans. Then to keep overall look of being more casual with our outdoor setting, we picked tan/light brown shoes so they wouldn’t stand out too much.

Here are the outfit details for the grown ups (affiliate links):

Mom’s Outfit: Open Front Duster Cardigan (similar style) / Grey Peplum Tank (similar ss style) / Dark Indigo Jeggings / Tan Booties (similar style)

Dad’s Outfit: Marled Navy Crewneck Sweater / Straight Jeans (similar style) / Light Brown Loafers

I usually do a quick lay down as a double check that all the items will go together like this:

Once I feel good about the options then I just let the rest go and trust our photographer! When the kids were little, I stressed so much about getting the perfect shot, if they would smile, and if we would all look good in the same photo! But now over the years I’ve learned to just enjoy the moment! Like so many other moments and stages, you can’t control it all. And if you try to (at least for me), the fun is all gone. Documenting these family moments isn’t just about a good looking holiday card, but also about enjoying having fun and being silly all together. The amazing photos are just the extra bonus!

I hope you enjoy capturing the photos with your family- whatever that looks like to you. Just enjoy being together!

Here is the final product! And of course our other favorite family member had to join in the pic:)

xo,

Liz

Shop Our Instagram, Style

November Loft Finds!

If you have not been to Loft lately, you need to!! They have really stepped up their game this season! From the beautful sweaters to the amazing outerwear to the super soft loungewear, they have it all.

Check out my favorite items from the current collection right here! I love all the textures you will find right now all over the store. For reference I am wearing a small on everything, which is my normal size in loft tops.

Diamond Texture Sweater
Skinny jeans
You can see the stitch better here as well as the pretty pointelle stitch on the raglan sleeve
Pointelle Sweater
Skinny jeans
Closer look at the stitch detail and all
the colors marled into the sweater
Plush Cardigan (wearing a small but would size up to a medium)
Skinny jeans
This leopard scarf is gorgeous! It is large enough to be worn as I am here or opened up and worn as a shawl or wrap.
Black lounge top
Lounge pants

This is the outfit I will be dreaming of changing into everyday! Especially after I get home from work! It is unbelievably soft, I wish you could feel this fabrication through your screen!

Here is a closer look at the waistband pockets.
Sherpa Crewneck Top

This time of year you can never have too many of these sherpa tops!

This Teddy Coat!!
Here is a closer look at the texture. Also come in 2 other colors!

This is just a handful of the amazing items to be found right now at Loft!! It all makes perfect gifts for the holidays too!!

Travel

The Deserts of Disney & Universal (I had no idea!!)

When in Disney I was going to write a blog about what I wore on vacation or what I packed, but what we ate seemed so much more interesting! Also, it’s a PSA!!

Have you been or are going to Disney/Universal in the near future? Well, if you are you need to pay special attention to the deserts!! Listen, taking my kids when they were 3 & 5 was wonderful, to see their little faces light up the first time they met a character or saw the castle was something I will never forget. However, I was so consumed with watching after them I completely missed so much!!!

Taking them now that they are 11 & 13 was a completely different experience. We all were able to really enjoy the parks, rides, entertainment, food and the DESERTS!! I had no idea!!!

The desert eating started in EPCOT. We were entering the World Showcase and thee is was….the most amazing donut cart we had ever seen (for the moment)! So many to choose from but Bella choose the the vanilla donut with chocolate icing and mini m&m’s. It was so gooey and so good!!

Next we went over to Universal and our first night there we came across this shop called Voo Doo Donuts. Ummmm……..when you walk into this store you are greeted with a carousel of all the amazing donuts to choose from. We choose a vanilla one with marshmallow topping and captain crunch cereal and another vanilla donut with caramel, chocolate, and nuts. Totally worth the extra calories!!

Voo Doo Donuts
Check out their other locations here! If you are near one, you NEED to try them!

On our 2nd day in Universal as we were leaving the park we came across these Lard Lad Donuts! This donut was bigger than my daughters (and my) face!! Again this did not disappoint and fed the 4 of us for 2 days.

Lard Lad Donuts
As good as it looks for sure!!

Lastly, a friend had recommended we eat at the Chocolate Emporium at the City Walk in Universal. So we did! Dinner was good, but it was all about the milkshakes. I have never seen anything like this before ever in my life!! These milkshakes are served in a super mason jar and each flavor has an amazing treat on top. Bella had the chocolate brownie milkshake, which had a chocolate chocolate chip brownie on top with the straw going right through it! Sandro had a double chocolate milkshakes with whipped cream, chocolate chunks and strawberries on top!!

That’s all I remember from this amazing trip to Disney and Universal!! If you have gone with your babies, it is totally worth going again once they are old enough for you all as a family to enjoy everything these parks have to offer!! Especially the deserts!!

Please leave a comment if have tried any of these places or if you know of any other amazing deserts there to try!!

Holiday, Lifestyle

Party Season Is Fast Approaching!

Yes it is!! Can’t believe it is November! I just love this time of year! All the festive happenings like songs, holiday shows, perfect time of year for glitzy outfits, and gatherings. I love to bring a special gift for all the hostesses I will be visiting and I like to stock up on those gifts just in case I need one quick! Here are a few of my favorite items to give!

The gift of Warmth!

Buffalo Plaid here
Plaid here
2 solid colors here
Nordic prints here
Sounthwest prints here

I love giving cozy blankets. Everyone loves them and can always use one more! This blanket I found by accident at, of all places, Dicks Sporting Goods. It comes in a TON of colors and patterns. One side is a beautiful velvety soft plush and the other is a super soft Sherpa fleece. The best part is that it is only $25 each or BUY 1 GET 1 FREE!!!!! Can’t you believe it?! Pick up 2 for the perfect just in case gift!

The gift of Light!

Pictured Above
The Whole Selection here

In this world of switch on candles (I have them in every room of my house), it is nice to actually light a beautiful candle and experience the flicker of the flame. If you have ever walked into an Anthropologie store then you have experienced the beautiful scent that envelopes you as you stroll through. It is this candle I love to give as gifts. It is always packaged beautifully and the scent is light, pretty, and not overwhelming. They range in price from $12- $98. I like to give the smaller sized candles for a pretty little hostess gift!

The gift of Moisturized Skin!

Josie Maran Body Butter

The winter can be really tough on your skin. I know mine gets really dry throughout the season. The only moisturizer I feel comfortable giving as a gift, because I know how amazing it is, is Josie Maran’s Body Butter. I use it everywhere including my face as my day cream. It light, non greasy, and absorbs right into your skin. I have been using it for years and don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. It makes a perfect personal gift for anyone.

The gift of a Special Message!

Actually, I Can
Get After It
See The Good

I love a great mug with a great message! It is the perfect way to start your day with your cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate! I found these lovely mugs for $4.99!! They are perfect on their own or paired with a great bag of coffee!

What are some of your gifting ideas that you like to give or have received? We would love to hear!

(Commission links)

Style

Top 5 Amazon Finds For October!

To close out the month of October I am bringing you my top 5 Amazon finds! I find that my Amazon finds are usually full of hits and some misses, but this month I only have hits!!! Below are the items you need to know about!!

#1 – Cowl Neck Sweater

Cowl neck sweater

This is my absolute favorite Amazon buy yet! I actually purchased this at the end of last season but it is back in stock and you needed to know about it. It is an oversized fit but fitted in the arms (which I ❤️), super soft and cozy (not itchy at all) and has the largest cowl neck I have ever seen! I usually wear a size small, this item is one size fits all. Comes is 11 colors!

Cowl Neck Sweater

#2 – Zip Up Sherpa Fleece

Sherpa Fleece

This may be one of the softest Sherpa fleece I own. I love the asymmetrical zipper, the cute cozy pockets, and the slightly roomy fit. I am wearing a size small. Also, comes in 11 colors & prints (yes there’s leopard!)

Sherpa Fleece

#3 – Knit Joggers

Knit Joggers

I reach for these joggers every weekend. I love the fit, the fabrication, the waistband (fits like a mid rise), the pockets, and the cuff at ankle. The waistband is a substantial 3 inches and has a tie. The cuff at ankle is also substantial and allows you to wear full length or pull up to wear more cropped. I am wearing a size small.

Knit Joggers

#4 – High Low Sweater

Sweater
Joggers

This sweater is VERY light weight. Almost more like a knit top. It is also very roomy to layer over a tank. Looks great off shoulder and not. I love the high low length which is perfect to wear with leggings. For only $17.99 it’s a bargain!! I am wearing a size small.

Sweater

#5 – “Making Magic Happen”

T- Shirt

My family is head down to Disney World next week and we are SUPER excited!! This t-shirt is going to be perfect for this trip! This is more of a fitted tee, so if you want it to be roomy you need to size up one size. The sleeve detail is really cute!! I am wearing a size small.

What are your favorite amazing finds? We would love to give them a try and if we like them they may end up in our next Monthly Amazon Finds!!