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Vine Oh!, it’s oh so perfect!

I gifted my mom a Vine Oh! box for Christmas and I loved it so much, I ordered one for myself! It arrived this week, right in time for Valentine’s Day.

Being a very busy mama, I don’t spend too much time on myself. So I love how the boxes combine all of my favorite things and allow me to not feel guilty in indulging in them! It combines wine (of course), very cool accessories, sweets, and beauty finds. What can be better than that?!

I can’t wait to enjoy this Red Wine Blend tonight. I’m a big fan of wine blends, especially reds! I might also need to pop some bubbly to have in these adorable toasting flutes by Plum and Punch. I love the rose gold accents on them. Thanks Plum and Punch, I do feel pretty!

Vino Oh! pays really close attention to how the products are shipped. The wine comes neatly packaged at the bottom of the box and in a protective crate. The additional treats come in a separate box beautifully pulled together.

Here are all the goodies I received this month:

One of extras that are added are these informative product cards. They give additional info on each product such as ingredients, directions on how to best use the products, history on each company, and even discounts on future purchases!

I’m loving the gold earrings and tassel. I think great earrings can really add to a look and I’ll be wearing them tonight when the family and I go out to dinner. Can’t wait to find some time to relax without the kids and enjoy the bath salts. And the chocolates will be gone before dinner!

Don’t wait to check out Vine Oh! (and all the great companies that are included in the box) and treat yourself or give as a gift!

Travel

New Orleans Trip

Birthday Trip to NOLA with the MR!

Travel

We recently decided to take a short trip to celebrate the MR’s birthday; it’s a BIG one too!  Since neither of us has ever been New Orleans was the winner and it did not disappoint!

First of all the 3 things no one told me that are very important to know:

  • HUMIDITY: even though we went in November and the temperature averages 72 degrees the humidity is about 96%!! Be prepared for bad hair days!!  Ponytails!!
  • Bring comfy shoes: You will do A LOT of walking and will need comfy shoes.  Go ahead and bring your cute shoes for evening, but make sure you bring sneakers or walking shoes to handle the crazy sidewalks and tons of steps you will be doing.
  • Gas Lamp’s: There are real working gas lamps all over and they are absolutely beautiful.

The Hotel:

We stayed at the La Richelieu Hotel.  A very quaint French boutique hotel in the way back of the French Quarter.  The neighborhood was tucked away in the residential section, very close to Frenchman Street and the French Market.   Would definitely recommend this hotel if you are ok with being in a more quiet area.

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The Tours:

There are many tours to choose from in New Orleans to learn the area and I totally recommend taking a tour just to help get your bearings on what you want to see and do.  We started with a Haunted Tour of the French Quarter through Voo Doo Bone Lady Tours (http://www.voodooboneladytours.com/); I found them on Trip Advisor.  Our tour guide was Brain, please request him, and he was amazing.  He was so knowledgeable of the stories, history, and the area as he was born and raised right there in New Orleans.

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The above is called The Lalaurie House, which has a history so horrifying that it was almost unbelievable.  Look it up and then go to NOLA to see it…….  Every hair on my neck and arms stood every time we walked by it, which was several times a day because it is right in the middle of everything.  This was just one of the sights from the tour!

We also took a tour of the St Louis Cemetery No.1.  I would highly recommend a cemetery tour, there are many.  The tour we choose was through Tours by Steven, also found on Trip Advisor, and our guide was Chad.  Chad was great, also born and raised right there in New Orleans and his family owns a tomb in the cemetery he toured us through.  The history inside the walls was amazing, learning why the cemeteries are all above ground in New Orleans and the whole burial process was truly amazing.  You really start to understand the culture of the area through this process and ceremonies.

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The French Quarter:

The French Quarter is 14 blocks long by 12 blocks wide.  We spent a very full day visiting all the sites packed into this relatively small area.  We started with the French Market.  This is an open air, covered market packed with local artisans selling their goods. You can find absolutely anything here: Jewelry, artwork, leather goods, clothing, food, soaps, and strange alligator heads, hats, just to name a few things.  A must see location!

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The French Market sits close to the Mississippi River so next we walked along the river.  Beautiful! The best part is that this walk will lead you to Café Du Monde!  YES!  You will NEED to stop here for your fix of their beignets and café au lait (oh-lay).  This is pretty much the only thing on the menu and wow I can see why.  DELICIOUS!!  Please note that if there is a line, you wait and watch for a table to open up and just go sit.  They will clean off the table if it is dirty.  Do not wait to be seated.  If you are lucky like us you will find a table near the edge of the open patio and there will be an amazing street band entertaining everyone right there!!

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Right outside of Café Du Monde is Jackson Square, named after Andrew Jackson. A beautiful green space surrounded by more artists selling their artwork.  At the end of the green space is the beautiful St Louis Cathedral.  This cathedral was built in 1727 and has a rich history that you must visit.  In the evening you must visit the back side of the cathedral and see the shadow from the reflection of the statue of Jesus. The locals refer to it as Touchdown Jesus….

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The next must do is a stop at the Hotel Monteleone for a drink at their Carousel Bar.  It is a beautifully decorated feature that actually rotates, very slowly, around the bar.  It also overlooks Royal Street,  so it’s great place to rest after all the walking, have a drink and people watch.

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We followed this up with a walk down Bourbon Street!  This was not really my cup of tea, but you have to do it once in your lifetime!  It is bustling with people, music, and spontaneous street band parades. That part I loved, it’s the bar scene that I did not love so much.  If you want a true taste of the Jazz/Blues seen you NEED to take a walk down Frenchman St!  Frenchman St is where you will find amazing Jazz clubs/bars such as, the Spotted cat and Bambaolas.  Great places to just grab seat for hours and watch the amazing bands that rotate and play all night long.  Also, on Frenchman St was another great open air market called Palace Market.  Another place to mix with local artist and have a chance to purchase their beautiful goods!

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The Garden District:

Street Car ride! The street cars have running since 1923 and are absolutely beautiful.

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We took the street car to Washington Ave. in the Garden District.  The Garden District is 12 blocks long by 5 blocks wide.  Every block is full the most beautiful mansions you will ever see.  There are many tours to take here as well.  We used this self-guided walking tour from Frommers (Walking Tour 2 New Orleans).  One thing to keep in mind as you are touring this beautiful area is that these homes are occupied and you really need to respect that as you are looking around and taking pictures.  You will also see many celebrity homes!  Make sure you leave time to stroll down Magazine Street for all the shops and eateries!

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The Architecture:

Whether you are strolling the hustle and bustle of Bourbon St, the residential area of the French Quarter or the Garden District, you will notice the beautiful surroundings and the buildings.  As you are passing all these colorful structures you will gain the understanding of the rich history of this area.  The locals have done an amazing effort of keeping the original feel of New Orleans and all its beauty and history.

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One more thing:

A MUST see attraction is what they advertise as the 2nd best museum in the world, the WWII museum.  It is outstanding (as it was described to me)! You will learn things you never knew for sure about this war.

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Enjoy!

Beauty

Finding My New Makeup Routine

Makeup over 40

Getting older is not easy.  The aches and pains, struggle with staying in shape, and changes with my skin.  I noticed my face becoming more combination skin than it had ever been and all my fine lines becoming more defined.  I realized that my everyday makeup and skin care routine was just not working anymore.  So, I set out to try new brands and products.  After spending a ton of money on foundations (that I never had to wear before), powders, mascaras (mine old one all of a sudden started to run on my under eyes), eyebrow pencils (never had to use before), moisturizers, anti-aging creams, and finally eye creams…….. I finally found the perfect products for me.

IT Cosmetics!     

First of all it is important to mention that most of IT cosmetics contain an SPF of 50 and all contain anti-aging ingredients.

I struggle with wearing a foundation.  I hate the feeling of anything on my face and I never had to wear a foundation prior to turning 40 something…  I absolutely love their Bye Bye Foundation Full Coverage Moisturizer with SPF 50.  It is so light on my skin and a very little goes a long way, so my skin looks like my skin and not covered in heavy makeup.

it foundation

Next, I had to find a powder.  You actually do not need a powder with the Bye Bye Foundation as it dries matte, but I just like to set everything with a powder.  I found Bye Bye Pores Pressed Anti- Aging Finishing Powder.  LOVE IT!  The color is translucent so it does not layer more color on your face and just softens the look of your foundation.   I pair it with the Bye Bye Pores Blush and combined they make my skin look and feel so soft.  And my pores disappear!

Now, for my mascara problem.  The mascara I had been using since I was in my teens (literally) started to flake and run.  It looked terrible!  I guess my eyelids and lashes are more oily.  Since I had so much luck with the other IT products I had tried I decided to give the Superhero Mascara a go.  Great purchase, love it more than my previous mascara!  It does not flake or run and makes my lashes full and so pretty.

mascara

Eyebrows…..  Where do they go after 40?  All of a sudden one day they were thinner than the day before and so on and so on….. This was new territory for me, as I have never had to use an eyebrow pencil before and was worried that they would look so unnatural.  Brow Power Super Skinny by IT is perfect for a beginner like me.  It comes in many colors to match back to your hair color.  The point is soooo skinny it is so easy to control and the color is so soft you can control how dark it goes on very easily.

eye pencil

Believe me I am very aware that makeup is a very personal thing and what works for me may not work for everyone.  I am just so excited to have found a product line that has helped me feel good about myself again and wanted to share with all of you.  If you are going through what I did, don’t give up and keep trying different lines of products.  There are so many out there that specialize in all kinds of skin issues.  GOOD LUCK!

Colleen

Hosting, Lifestyle

A Tasty Chili Recipe for Those Cold Winter Days

As soon as it starts to get cold outside I go into soup and chili making mode.  Here is a super easy and tasty chili recipe my family loves. It makes approx. 10 servings and freezes great to feed the family throughout the week for those of us who scramble to make dinner Monday – Friday!  You can also make it your own by adding or removing ingredients to your liking!

Ingredients:

2 large white onions chopped (to save time and tears I buy pre-chopped onion from the produce dept)

3-4 garlic cloves minced or grated

3 lbs ground beef (I use ground turkey to make slightly healthier)

Adobo to taste (I adobo the meat before I brown it)

28oz can crushed tomatoes

4 tbs chili powder

1 7oz can diced green chilies (if you like your chili on the spicy side then add another 7oz can), want to note I use the 1 7oz can and my kids love it, it is not too spicy for them

Salt and pepper to taste

3 15oz cans red beans (I use Goya red beans, but a lot of people like to use black beans or kidney beans)

Add on Ingredients.  These are some my family likes to add, but feel free to change up to suit your taste:

Shredded cheddar cheese (I use low fat or fat free)

Sour cream (I like to use low fat)

Tortilla Chips

Hot Sauce

Black Olives

White or Brown Rice (sometimes we like to serve the Chili over rice)

Instructions:

  1. Sauté onions until translucent over medium high heat.  3-5 minutes
  2. Add the mince garlic and cook for 1 minute
  3. Adobo the ground beef before adding to pot
  4. Once the onions and garlic are done add the ground beef (or Turkey) and cook until all is browned. 6-7 minutes
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste
  6. Add the tomatoes, chili powder, and green chilies. Bring to boil
  7. Add the beans
  8. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed
  9. Let simmer for 6 hours on the stove (feel free to transfer to slow cooker at this point and cook on low for 5-6 hours)

Enjoy!!  I would love to hear what you like in your chili recipes!

Colleen

Holiday, Lifestyle

Target Finds Friday (Monday Edition): Valentine’s Day!

It’s hard to believe Valentine’s Day is only 3 1/2 weeks away! Were we not just celebrating Christmas?! Away……during my weekly visit to Target, they made sure we knew just how close Valentine’s is and that they are prepared with everything from gifts, apparel, and decor!

First Stop, The Dollar Spot (or Bullseye’s Playground)! Here you can find everything from these adorable valentine’s boxes for school to wine bags for date night. Unfortunately I did not see any of these on the website, but you must stop by on your next Target Trip.


These are great for the kids to collect their valentines from school. The options are endless too! They had these that are ready to go (only $3.00) and all kinds that your child can build and decorate themselves (around $5.00)!
Wine bags great for gifting or to bring bottles to a BYOB only $3.00
Adorable Dish Towels (sets of 2) only $3.00
Goody Bags perfect for class gifts only 2 for $1.00

Second Stop, Kids Apparel! You can find absolutely anything you need to outfit your girl from head to toe!


XO Tee, Friends Forever Tee. Be Mine Purse, Cat Tee, Kind Heart Tee, Short Tulle Skirt, and Maxi Tulle Skirt (my favorite). Click here for the whole collection. Outfit options were endless and adorable!

And Bella’s Choice!

Heart Hoody with Polar Fleece Sleeves

Next I strolled through the ladies department and here is what I found that caught my eye!

I think I need these PJ’s!
And these cute socks! Click here for to see all the socks.

Looking for gifts for your Galentines!! Click here for all the super fun gifts!

Finally my last stop was the home decor department!! I think these items will be used all year round! Not just for Valentines!!

I definitely need all of these pillows! How cute would they be in a girls room! Pink Fur, Ivory Sherpa, Flip Sequins, and Grey Fur.
These throws were possibly the softest throws I have ever felt! Pink throw and Ivory Heart Throw.

I just loved these mug sets! Especially the Weirdo & Weirdest set! Click these for the Love You set and Crazy in Love Set

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!!

Colleen

Home Decor, Lifestyle

New Year, New Foyer: Decorating An Empty Space

New year, new space…… yes! Since we moved into our current house 7 1/2 years ago we been renovating little by little. To complete the bottom floor we just needed to design our foyer. I always had an idea of what I wanted to do with the space but needed that one piece of inspiration.

Well, I found that inspiration in of all places, Target! Of course!! This bench started everything!Mobile Image (2)

That was all I needed and the whole vision was in place (in my head anyway). When I get started on a space I always start with shopping my own house. I look for pieces that I can use to decorate a space from the other rooms of my house and the attic and basement for items I am not using currently and already have.

I found the pillows, candles, small bowl, throw blanket and farm market can from all over my house. Note that I always buy my throw pillow covers (click here to see current sale pillow covers) at Pottery Barn in the sale section. I buy the covers and put them over my existing pillows. This is a great way to update any room by adding color or pattern.

Another great way to add color or character to the foyer is to paint the inside of your front door. I painted mine the same color as the outside, but you can paint what ever color you like.

Here are the before pics of this space:

pre foyer

And here are the after pics:

after 2 foyer

It is not over decorated or cluttered, that’s not my style.  I like clean but warm spaces.  I especially love this rug. Whether you add just a mat in front of your door or a larger rug, it is definitely needed for people to wipe their feet on.

Rug  – I love the tone it sets for this space.  It is a 5×7 rug, but you an do a mat just at the front door too.

Welcome sign – This sign was made by a local business Barn Picks & Stuff.  I absolutely love them and there products. Everything is hand made or reclaimed and refurbished.  They are a Facebook business, click on the “Welcome Sign” and see what they offer.  Many of the items are one of a kind!  Here is a closer look at it:

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Light Fixture – I always use Pottery Barn for my light fixtures in all the renovations we have done.  Great quality and design.  Here are some of the other fixtures we have use throughout the house:  Large Rustic Glass Pendant (kitchen), Rustic Glass Sconce (bathroom) Armonk 6 Arm Chandelier (dining room)

Bench – This is what started the whole design of the space!  This bench is only available in store but there is a link for the site if you click on bench.

Table – This table adds a different material as it is made of metal.  Love how it fits the space. Here is closer look at the table & bench:

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I still need to decide what to put above the bench and would love to hear your thoughts!!! Let me now what you think!

I am so excited this is finally done and I love it!

Happy decorating!!

Fitness, Lifestyle, Style

Target Finds Friday: New Year, New Him

At the start of every year I always try to be more consistent with an exercise routine. You know, the whole New Year, new you thing. Well in 2018 I focused on getting fit during the Summer and Fall once I joined a kickboxing gym. (Side note, I love it and I’ll tell you more about why in another post.) So when New Years just passed, I wasn’t stressed about starting up a routine, but more about continuing my current one.

What was exciting this New Year’s, was my husband was ready to focus on getting fit. He joined a gym with a friend, which I think is great for accountability. He hasn’t had a fitness routine in a long time and wanted to get some new clothes. Thankfully, retailers know how many of us are focused on fitness after the New Year and many have great deals on clothes, equipment, accessories etc. 


My go to for many things is Target. So I was thrilled to see they are having a deal of activewear​ starting at $10! 


Now my husband is kind of picky when it comes to clothes he will wear while working out. He wants them to feel soft and have high performance to keep moisture away etc. But he doesn’t want them to feel too synthetic or scratchy. Well he is raving about the C9 line. Soft fabric. Holds up well during a workout. Nice fit without being too snug or boxy. And the prices were great! Here are some of his favorites that I would definitely recommend you pick up for any guy in your life looking to reboot their workout wardrobe. 

Men’s Tech T-Shirt
Men’s Running Pants
Men’s Long Sleeve Tech T-Shirt
Men’s Soft Touch Jogger Pant


Happy sweating!