World Vision Giveaway

October 30, 2014

How is the first of November in 2 days? Where did October go? We were talking about our Thanksgiving and Christmas plans last night already too. For some reason the last 2 months of the year go so quickly! But with the start of November in just a few days it’s time to start thinking about holiday gifts and charitable giving. I’ve partnered with World Vision for the last 4 years to do a giveaway. Since it began in 1996, the World Vision Gift Catalog has grown in popularity as a gift-giving alternative; more than 844,000 people helped someone through the Catalog in the last fiscal year alone.


When you buy a gift from World Vision you are helping someone in need. From buying hand crafted items to purchasing a goat or chickens for a family. I can’t think of a much better cause! With my niece and nephews (and soon to be one more) I always find a way to involve chairtable giving into the birthdays and holidays. They may not appreciate it now but I know they will someday soon!


This year I opted for the Hand Carved Serving Spoons. Given how much we entertain I knew these would look so great on our table. The Hand-Carved Serving Spoons: A perfect gift for holiday entertaining, each beautiful set of two hand-carved olivewood serving spoons is delivered in a gift bag of African fabric hand-sewn by local women. The serving spoons are made to benefit orphans of the Kamba tribe in Kenya. $65


I will pick a random winner next Thursday the 6th. Just tell me how you involve charitable giving into your holiday traditions. 



World Vision (2 of 2)









World Vision (1 of 2)












In the span of a few days we’ve gone from 68 degrees and sunny to a chilly 38 degrees. Welcome to fall in Minnesota. The joy of beautiful fall colors comes with temperature swings, blustery days and early sunsets. Just like that variety in temperatures I end up with a variety of wine. Doing a back and forth with red and white in the span of a few days as well.


The lovely folks at Stoneleigh Latitutde sent me some of their delicious New Zealand wines. Their chardonnay is very fruit forward with notes of peach and nectarine but with a hint of oak and a nice acidity. I am not a huge chardonnay drinker but  do tend to like the style from New Zealand. I enjoyed what might be the last really warm afternoon/evening with a glass of this while sitting on the deck.


Stoneleigh Chardonnay












Within a few days that warm afternoon we were into the 40’s and 50’s and that calls for red (anytime really calls for red,but it is so delicious on chilly days). The pinot noir had hints of dark chocolate, berries, a touch of oakiness and was so delicious with brie cheese for girls night!


Stoneleigh Pinot Noir













Every time I have a wine from New Zealand it makes me want to get on a plan and go to all of the wineries. Scott’s cousin lives there and we will take a trip there in the next few years and I can’t wait to see all of the beautiful land and taste these wines.



One pot meals are one of my favorite things. Throw everything in, cook it and you’re ready to eat. Clean up is easy and we almost always end up with leftovers too. I’ve been using my Pampered Chef Covered Baker quite a bit lately. You can use it in the microwave or oven and there are so many recipes to make in it. It comes with a mini cookbook with great ideas but you can make anything you would normally bake or microwave. It’s pretty fantastic. And it’s a lovely cranberry color that looks great on the table too.



We were having one of those evenings where you stand in front of the fridge and wonder what to make for dinner. I started grabbing and came up with this Smoked Paprika Chicken. The addition of the sundried tomatoes and sweet potatoes really did make it a one pot meal. The one important ingredient you can’t skip, is the smoked paprika. While regular paprika is delicious the smoked variety is so much better!


I go through a small jar every year, I love it in chicken dishes and it’s really good in scrambled eggs.




Sundried Tomato and Paprika Chicken (1 of 3)










Sundried Tomato and Paprika Chicken (3 of 3)










Smoked Paprika Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes and Sweet Potatoes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serves 4

Smoked Paprika Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes and Sweet Potatoes


  • 6-8 chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1 jar sundried tomatoes in olive oil
  • Salt/Pepper


  1. In a large covered baker place diced sweet potatoes on the bottom. Season with a bit of the paprika, chili powder and salt/pepper.
  2. Place chicken thighs on top of sweet potatoes and add seasoning.
  3. Pour the jar of sundried tomatoes over the chicken and potatoes and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
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Makeup Monday: Fall Finds

October 27, 2014

It’s been a few months since I’ve done a Makeup Monday post. I’ve been testing, sampling and buying a few of my favorite things. I went through a did a big purse of all my makeup, anything old or not used got tossed. That eye shadow from 2009? I don’t think I need to keep that. I was surprised by just how much I got rid of! But that meant I it was time to replace a few items. And it’s pretty fun to go makeup shopping for more than just the random lip gloss or eye shadow.


Here are a few of my recent Fall makeup finds

Fall Make Up Finds













I love my Urban Decay Naked 3 palette and wanted something with a few more colors for fall. Enter the Ammo palette. These are their 10 best selling shades and I can see why. Today I am wearing sin and oil slick, a great combination for an everyday look.  And sticking with my love of Urban Decay, the Pervasion mascara. LOVE this. I got a sample in my Ipsy box a few months ago and ended up buying the full size. As someone with very light lashes a coat of this and then topped off with L’Oreal Voluminious makes my lashes really pop. You can actually see them!



Since my nails are almost always painted I’ve been loving CND Vinylux Weekly Polish. I have 8 or 9 different colors and all you need is the color and the top coat. It really does last! I can’t get the full 7 days but usually at least 5. And I am hard on my nails. Between cleaning, workouts and cooking my nails tend to chip really easily. The CND line has quite a few colors from Cake Pop to Black Pool. I’ve found them the cheapest on Amazon (less than $7).



And because you can never have too much lip gloss, the bareMinerals lipSpectacular is an Ulta exclusive and comes with 6 great colors.


  • Mini Marvelous Moxie Buttercream Lipgloss in Forbidden Nude (buffed pink)
  • Mini Marvelous Moxie in Must-Have Pink (antique pink)
  • Mini Marvelous Moxie in Juicy Mango (coral pink)
  • Mini Marvelous Moxie in Flirty Mauve (toasted mauve)
  • Mini Marvelous Moxie in Sassy Sorbet (strawberry crème)
  • Mini Marvelous Moxie in Moody Berry (blackberry currant)



With subscriptions to Birchbox, Ipsy, Julep and Fab Fit Fun I’ve been trying quite a few products. There are months where the boxes are fantastic and then there are the months where I can’t find a single good item. That’s the risk in these type of boxes. I am happy when there is at least 1 thing in each box that I love.



Tea Time Thursday

October 24, 2014

I’ve written quite a bit about tea, I love it. I have at least 2-3 cups a day! As part of my morning routine, with my breakfast at work (usually post workout) and something to relax me at night. Traditional Medicinals offered to send me a little fall care package filled with delicious tea.   […]

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Wine Wednesday Mount Hermon Red

October 22, 2014

With chilly days (temps in the 50’s) being a regular occasion now I have switched over to reds. One of the first bottles I grabbed was from our Swirl Wine Club membership and it was a wine from Isreal. A Kosher wine too. This was actually the first winery that I ever even tried out […]

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Food Should Taste Good Girls Night and Cheesy Corn Dip

October 21, 2014

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Food Should Taste Good. I received product and compensation for hosting an event and developing a recipe.    Yesterday I mentioned our girls night in my Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad and Food Should Taste Good was generous enough to send delicious chips, goody bags, and recipe ideas for […]

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Meatless Monday: Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

October 20, 2014

Saturday night I had a few dear friends over for dinner, wine, a fire and a chance to catch up. It was low key but a night I think a lot of us needed. There were no hopping clubs or shots just a chance to enjoy delicious food and curl up with a few glasses […]

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Fitness Friday: Filling the Gym Bag

October 17, 2014

Disclosure: The items in this post were samples that I have received. If I am featuring it, I have tried it and loved it! I will never feature an item that I don’t actively use.     During the week I am usually getting ready at the gym or yoga at least 3 times. I’ve […]

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Thursday Thoughts: On Struggling

October 16, 2014

This blog has always been my creative outlet and I try very hard to stay positive and keep it upbeat, but 2014 has been a pretty challenging year. I will come right out and say there have been a few days/week that have been downright horrible. There won’t be lists of all the reasons and […]

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