Dream Big & Buy The Shoes: September 2014

September 30, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Smokies

What's better during the Lazy Sunday fall football season than a delicious and easy snack?!! Bacon Wrapped Smokies are sure to top your appetizer list after you make them just once. 





What you need:
Lil Smokies (the packaged kind from the grocery store)
Bacon
Brown Sugar
Toothpicks
Baking/Cookie Tray

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
2. Open the smokies and bacon
3. Cut the pound of bacon in half down the middle
4. Take each strip of bacon and wrap around the smokie and secure at the top with a toothpick
Tip: I usually take a handful of toothpicks and set them aside so I don't have to keep reaching in my container with bacon covered hands
5. Lay on cookie sheet and sprinkle with brown sugar
6. Bake on 325 degrees in the oven for 35 minutes

Depending on the situation I sometimes then put them in a crock-pot on warm so they can be enjoyed throughout the day.







These were a hit the very first time I made them and have been on our favorite list ever since. I make them for almost every party we host to please the crowd!

Let me know if you try them and enjoy them as much as we do.

Eat Drink & Be Mary






September 26, 2014

365 Days Until....

The Best Day Ever. In 365 days I will marry my best friend. I could not be more excited to celebrate our love with our family and best friends. Chuck and I are tying the knot on September 26, 2015 at Peek'N'Peak Resort and Spa in Clymer, NY which is about 30 minutes from where we live in Erie, PA.




I am an organizational freak by nature and a party planner extraordinaire by heart. I love hosting parties and enjoy ensuring people are having fun. So you can imagine the high I am on planning our wedding. 
We are officially one year out and having that timestamp on it is putting me under a little pressure. I'm not sure why because we already have a good amount done. 

Venue: booked
Wedding Party: asked
Photographer: chosen
Table numbers: purchased
Centerpieces: started
Colors: picked
Guest list: we made a list and checked it twice



We even already ordered some things that are part of our signature drink presentation for the reception. I am trying to do little things here and there so it gets done without having stress and pressure on us and also to budget appropriately. I hear these wedding things aren't cheap...ha!
I hope to keep everyone updated with (only) small sneak peeks here and there because we don't want our family and friends to see all the details before the big day. I will say...there are some surprises in store that Chuck and I CAN NOT wait to share. You won't be seeing those until after the big day though!

So many people say that you do all this planning for your day to just fly by. While that may be true, we intend to enjoy every moment big and small of the planning and actual day. Chuck is just as excited as I am and it's honestly the best part of all of this right now for me. 




I was never the girl to dream about my wedding day...that was until Chuck & I started dating. He is a genuine man, the best friend you could ever have, and is the person you can call for advice or help in any situation. 

 I have been blessed in the love department. I thank my lucky stars every day that Chuck will be forever mine...officially in 365 days.

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September 24, 2014

A Sweet Hello

Hi sweet readers. Today I'm talking about the power of a simple hello. That one word holds so much potential and hope when you stop and think about it.
How do you make new friends? Where do you make connections? Is it at work, during a night out at the best restaurant in town, or while traveling on vacation with your family?
Whether it be out on the town or in a meeting, the connections we make all start with hello.

Some of the very best friends I still have to this day came in to my life with one little word. They are my sweet reminders of how simple life can be. My friends are something I cherish. Chocolate is too. It all started with HELLO.

Lindt_Hello

You probably think I'm crazy comparing my friendships to chocolate, but let me explain.

1. Lindt HELLO, the hip, trendy brand in premium chocolate, is a new collection from Lindt of sinfully delicious premium chocolate inspired by classic American treats. 
My friends are also hip, trendy and enjoy the finer things in life. They are definitely sweet too!

2. The Lindt HELLO collection can be enjoyed 3 different ways: Sticks, Bars, or Mini-Stick Bags.
My friends can also be enjoyed in numerous sweet ways. Friends are there for you emotionally, spiritually, and sometimes by physically being present.

3. There are enticing flavors from the new Lindt HELLO collection: Caramel Brownie, Strawberry Cheesecake, Crunchy Nougat and Cookies & Cream.
My friends come in different varieties also...not one of them is like the other. This spices up our lives and keeps things interesting just like a sweet treat.




Lindt HELLO is the hip, trendy brand in premium chocolate, that inspires connections and conversations everywhere it goes.  You can enter the sweepstakes every day for their chance to win* sweet experiences from Lindt Chocolate.


Lindt Chocolate is also partnering with Ashley Tisdale to co-produce episodes featured on the "It Started with HELLO" Youtube page now through October 9th.  It is a fun, new romantic comedy digital series capturing couples as they make their first connections, and is inspired by the cheeky personalities of the new Lindt HELLO products.



Lindt_Chocolate


To enter the sweepstakes, visit the Lindt HELLO Sweet Connections Sweepstakes Landing Page and enter your email address. Entries can be made daily for additional chances to win the below prizes.

Week 3: Girls Just Want to Have Fun (9/24 – 9/30)
• Enjoy a shopping spree with the girls + yummy Lindt HELLO Chocolate!

Week 4: Sweet Staycation (10/1 – 10/7)
• Lindt HELLO treats you to a pampered night in – movies, books + chocolate!

Week 5: Besties Reunion (10/8 – 10/14)
• Reconnect with your bestie at the spa for a day + Lindt HELLO chocolate to sweeten the deal.




* No purchase necessary. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. & D.C., 18 years or older (19 in AL or NE and 21 in MS).  Void where prohibited. See Rules at  for weekly sweepstakes entry periods, prize descriptions, odds and other details. Ends Noon on 10/14/14. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: Lindt & Spr√ľngli (USA) Inc., One Fine Chocolate Place, Stratham, NH  03885.

Many thanks to Lindt HELLO for sponsoring today's story and giving my readers a chance to win really sweet prizes!

I hope your day is as sweet as the first hello you share with a new friend.

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Fall Bucket List Update// Pumpkin Mum Planter

I'm a day late linking up with Jackie from Our Nashville Life and sharing my Fall Bucket List, but better late than never.
I already created my list, but thought I could update you on my progress and share a recent project I crossed off and accomplished already.

Fall Bucket List Update:

Already complete:
All Girls Fantasy Football League
Pumpkin Spice Latte's (DUH)
Pinterest Fall Decorations

I made a pumpkin mum planter on Sunday that was so easy and I LOVE it! I think I am going to make another one for our front door. It cost me $10...$6 for the pumpkin and $4 for the mum.


I started by simply cutting the top off the pumpkin. It was easy to cut without a guide or measuring the pot the mum was in. I continously kept checking every time I made the opening larger and checking to see if the mum would fit inside. After 5 minutes...ta-da! Insert mum in to pumpkin and there you have a Pumpkin Mum Planter. 

pumpkin_mum_planter


It is one of my favorite decorations as of now and I can't wait to make another one! If you try it, please share your pictures with me so I can see. I would love to see what you come up with.

Our Nashville Life

So tell me, what are you most looking forward to this fall?



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September 23, 2014

Tuesday Pretties// Zoya Nails & Brittany Fuson Beauties

Welcome to Tuesday Pretties hosted by Niki from Glossy Blonde. I am so excited Niki asked me to be a guest co-host again and have some fun things to share with you today!

I go through phases with my nails. I like to try new things, such as the Nex Gen manicure I told you about last month. Then, I want to do my own nails every Sunday night from the comfort of my home.
One thing is for sure...I like trying new things. I tried a new nail polish that I am in love with. Zoya nail polish is inexpensive, goes on smooth and lasts about 2 weeks. 
My Essie polish, while I love the colors, has not been lasting long at all lately. I simply don't have the time to paint my nails every few days. I was going through my massive supply of polish recently and found a bottle of Zoya that I have never used, so I tried it  and loved the results.



A little info about Zoya polish:
-It goes on thick, but smooth and easy
-Takes more drying time than what I'm used to
-$9 a bottle most places

Zoya's fall line has some amazing color and I can't wait to purchase a few. Sansa and Tiegen are stunning and are perfect fall colors. I always use the Revlon Colorstay GelShine Top Coat to help make my nails shiny and keep the color on longer. I swear by it. 



I also wanted to share the most darling planner I received in my mailbox last week! I absolutely adore Brittany Fuson's work. I ordered her bridesmaid cards to ask my best friends to stand by me on my wedding day and also have some of her prints.

The Brittany Fuson 2015 planner is available for order.

Necklace: Frou Frou & Frill found here


Each month has a fun, colorful design and the pages are adorned with fashionable females. Talk about girl power!! 

I already marked off the most important date of 2015 ...more information to come about that later this week on the blog.

What's your favorite brand of nail polish?
Do you have a favorite planner?



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Welcome to Tuesday Pretties with Glossy Blonde!
Tuesday Pretties is a weekly link up where you can link up your Tuesday blog post containing pretty fashion, beauty, DIY, home design... really anything pretty!!

Requirements

1. Follow your host and co-host! Niki @ Glossy Blonde Emelia @ Dream Big & Buy the Shoes
2. Link up your pretties! (Be sure to link up to an actual post, not your blog's main page.)
3. Grab a button or link back! This helps others find the linkup, and the more linking up, the more new blog friends we can make!
4. Visit a few of the entries! It's a great chance for you to get to know other bloggers!
5. Spread the word via social media if you'd like! The more the merrier! Be sure to tag me (@nikmariec) and use the hashtag #TuesdayPretties!
Glossy Blonde
Interested in co-hosting? Shoot me an email at niki@glossyblonde.com for more info!

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September 22, 2014

Weekend Recap & J. Crew Giveaway


Happy Monday everyone! I hope everyone had a good weekend. Since I don't have anything else at the moment to share because I've got some other posts planned for the week...you get to hear about my weekend.

On Friday I got out of work in time to meet Chuck and Ethan at the local music store, World of Music for Open House. Ethan got to test out some instruments and we learned about music lessons he may take. For now, Ethan will be playing in the school orchestra and if he continues to earn good grades in school we will allow him to get lessons also. He is playing the violin which he chose on his own and he is SO excited to get started. I mean, look at this smile....


Saturday after work Chuck & I went to grab a bite to eat at a cool hot dog place in town. It's called Lucky Louie's and Chuck has never been there. I have been once or twice, but tried something different this time. After looking at the menu for about 10 minutes.....


I went for the Philly Steak Dog which was really good and got the Happy Ending too. I have had the happy ending before (HA!) and couldn't pass it up again. Chuck got a Philly Steak Dog & the Neener Weiner. Lucky Louie's also has six packs and invididual beers and a nice little patio.


Saturday night we watched #OnTheRun Tour on HBO and it was AMAZING. I wanted to buy tickets when the went on sale. I remember being in the car on the way to the airport to leave for the Bahamas and getting online to buy them. The only tickets left when the page refreshed began at $300 a piece. I couldn't justify spending that on Jay and Beyonce...even though they are HOV and Queen B. I was so excited to learn that HBO was going to air the tour.


Not only was the editing amazing, but watching the love between the two of them was incredible. So sweet! My favorite part of the show was when Jay Z screamed "Dream Big!" ...Chuck yelled from the couch "and BUY THE SHOES!" haha.

I worked on a few things yesterday that you'll see on the blog this week. YAY for projects!

Now it's giveaway time hosted by Rebekah from Living Lavender. Some bloggers & I have teamed up to give one lucky winner $100 from J. Crew!! They have so many beautiful pieces for fall. Enter via the widget below and Good Luck!
PicMonkey Collage


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September 19, 2014

If I Created #iOS8

OHEMGEEEEE guys...it's #iPhone day!! You know what that means...plenty of tweets saying "I'm tweeting from my new #iPhone" and Facebook posts bitching about waiting in line at all the wireless carriers only to find out they're sold out. 
I used to work in wireless sales. I don't miss days like this at all. Unncecessary balloons and telling customers we are sold out of phones for people like myself who are upgrading when really there are 3 on hold in the stock room for customers switching from AT&T's crappy service.

Not only is the hype of the new phone hilarious, so is the 2 plus hour update that my phone did a few nights ago. I love how Apple is constantly fooling us. "Preparing your phone for update" with a timeline that states "approximately 27 minutes remaining." I literally checked my phone 7 times before that update was finally done. What did I get?! A phone that lags when I open apps, and a Health app?! oh wow...as if I already didn't know I need to hit the gym. Thanks guys.

Now...if I created #iOS 8.




1. Let's give Siri some more options. Not only is that a silly name, but so is her voice. So is the male Siri...shall we call him, Sir?! 
Does anyone talk to her or him anymore? I sure as hell don't. Put Britney Spears' voice on it and make her Work B!tch! I would utilize Siri ...let's call her Brit all day errrrydayyyy.

2. I don't even know how to use the reminders. Apparently it's super helpful. Well, you know what would really be helpful? When I'm hungry at work and I got a late lunch and I don't want to stop at the store after work to buy something for dinner. How about instead of reminding me to call Domino's Pizza ten minutes before I leave work YOU actually call for me and do all the work? That would be nice. I've already done enough work for the day...you handle dinner Mr. $600 iPhone.

3. A keyboard that simply works. Who needs Swype texting? Go get an Android and quit complaining that you didn't have it on the iPhone for 4 years. At least there's no more "ducking" on my text messages.

4. Since the camera is constantly updated why is it not so advanced that I don't have to even edit my pictures? Do you know long it takes to find the perfect app to make the perfect edit? This is instagram people..serious picture business!!!!!! Let's lighten, soften, crop and brighten automatically. Thank you very much.

5. Last but not least. I would not lie to you. If my update was going to take 17 minutes or 1 hour and 33 minutes I would tell you. There's nothing worse than the feeling of being trapped inside your own home all cozy on the couch with nothing to do. And no iPhone. 

Let's hear it. 
What would you do if you created #iOS 8? Are you getting the new iPhone today?



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September 18, 2014

My Angel

Today is the anniversary of my mom's death. 14 years ago she was taken from us and I will forever remember it like the events just happened yesterday.

I was a senior in a new high school. My mom had stage 3 breast cancer that had eventually spread all through her body and affected her brain also. The last few months of her life progressively got worse. She was on so many medications that she couldn't remember our names, things that happened a few minutes ago and it was very hard for all of us. My mom stayed at home while dealing with all of these ailments and we had assistance from the Visiting Nurses Association (Hospice) so that she could be in comfort.

The morning she passed I overheard my grandmother telling my grandfather that she was going to die. Very soon. My grandmother worked in a nursing home facility and sadly, saw people die every day. The things that took place that morning indicated my mom's body was shutting down and she was not going to be with us much longer. I got dressed for school and told my grandmother I wasn't staying home. I told her I heard what happened and I refused to be there to see it. After some consideration and explanation from my wise grandmother I stayed at home that morning. My uncle (my mom's only brother) was working third shift and we had called him to ask him to come over when he was done with work. My mom was pronounced dead five minutes after he got there. I couldn't stand by her side and tell her goodbye. I just sat and looked at her. She was smiling. I swear she was always smiling...even through all the cancer, the chemotherapy, the surgeries, the pain. I don't know how the hell she did it.

My mom experienced so many things during her life that I wish she would have never had to endure. Yet, through it all she stayed positive. I like to think I get my resilience from her. I thank her for that every day.


No one ever thinks that they will lose their mom. I wouldn't wish the pain I feel missing her on anyone. She was an absolutely amazing person. 

In honor of my mom I made a little list of things I would do if she were here today.

1. I would take more pictures with her. I know that technology has changed and every 2 seconds pictures are being snapped making it easier these days to have those moments. I constantly look at old pictures to remember her, but wish I had more.

2. I would thank her for simply being my mom. I never realized how hard it was to take on the role of a parent until Ethan moved in with us. Being a parent is exhausting, but so worthwhile. I already knew she sacrificed alot, but it means even more being an adult.

3. I would ask her why I had some of the most awful hairstyles (HA).

4. I would fight less with her. My mom & I were alot alike. Stubborn at times. Persistent. It led to bickering and I look back wishing I would have been nicer.

5. I would repay her a million times back for all she did. I know life isn't about the monetary things but my mom always made sure we were taken care of. She liked to spoil us and would always put us first. I always had expensive homecoming dresses I didn't need, too many shoes, and made trips to the tanning and nail salon whenever I wanted. I would love to pamper and spoil her if she were here today.

6. I would love to sit and talk with her. About nothing and everything all at the same time. I lost my mom when I was 18 years old. There's so many times that things happen throughout my day that I want to talk to someone about it. I don't want to talk to anyone but her. So I do. I do it out loud at home, and I cry. I would do anything to be able to hear her voice and her sense of reason.

Cherish every moment you have with EVERY loved one. Life is so precious. Let go of the silly stuff. Don't hold a grudge. Smile more. Love often. 


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September 17, 2014

Organizing the Child Chaos

I know all my readers are not moms, but this type of thing could probably fit a variety of people's lifestyles. I'm talking about organizing the chaos of a home. Our home includes a child and it seems as they get older things get crazier.

I don't mean that we are legitimately out of our minds...sometimes we are, but there is SO much that goes on in a day that it's difficult to sometimes stay organized.
Overall I am a very clean, organized and OCD type person. Not everyone is like me, and that's fine, but it's about finding a way to all be on the same page.

For example, a typical evening in our house includes doing homework with Ethan and reviewing papers he brings home. He has played soccer and been a part of the school bowling league for a few years now. This year several new activities have begun for our little guy and I'm already feeling a bit anxious about it all. 

He has joined the Safety Patrol which is done on school hours (yay), has bowling league on Friday's after school, is joining the orchestra and learning to play the violin, and now wants to play indoor soccer late this fall in to winter. While I am extremely proud of all the new things he wants to try and learn, I am nervous about keeping on track. 

There are smart phones, google calendars and all sorts of technology but when it comes to being 10 I think we need a visual system. I have found a few ideas on Pinterest that look interesting and may work. 
Ethan now has a desk in his room that is going to be dedicated to his homework so I'm wondering if that's the easiest place to house the organization system. 
While I'm on the topic...does anyone have any recommendations on any desk chairs? I want something decent that will hold up and be comfortable. I also don't want to spend $150 on one. Thanks for any advice you can offer in that area!

For personal organization I use this planner to keep on top of things. I like to use my phone for some things but this planner really helps lay it all out so I can see what I have to do each day. It also is very helpful when it comes to things for the blog.

My new goal for the next few weeks is to find a way that works best for all three of us to keep up with our little guy's schedule. 

While we work out the details...do you have any helpful ideas, pins, or things that have worked to organize the chaos in your home?




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September 16, 2014

Fall Decor & a Starbs Giveaway!!

Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope your week is off to a great start. I had a great relaxing weekend and am refreshed and ready for a new week.

My weekend included some work, some fun with friends watching the Penn State football game (WAY TO GO STATE!), some relaxing, some shopping, and a couples massage (work perks!).

Fall is in FULL swing at our house. I decorated last weekend and have been new things to add here and there. I don't know about the Target stores in your area but ours is MAJORLY behind on the fall decor and it has me fired up. I have seen people's posts about great finds lately, and our store has none of it.

I scooped up some new fall scents from Bath and Body Works today that are simply AMAZING! The Pumpkin Pecan Waffle is by far my favorite. We got 4 total and with the 20% off coupon combined with the 2 for $22 promotion it came out to only $8.80 per candle...Score!

I think next weekend I may work on our outdoor decor including attempting to make these.


I totally want to make this tree also. I mean, not make tree, but...you get what I'm saying, right?!


Knocking things out left and right on my Fall Bucket List this season...I can't wait to look back on all we did this year.

Today, my beautiful friend Niki has me featured on her blog for a guest post. You can check it out here.

I am also doing a giveaway for a Starbucks gift card...because...coffee!!! Enter below through the Rafflecopter widget and GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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September 11, 2014

Currently I'm....

Currently drinking: Water. Nice ice cold H2O.

Currently wearing: oversized boyfriend sweats (best ever) and my Britney tee (DUH!)



Currently refusing to: check social media. I have a list of things to accomplish in the next hour before I attempt to go to bed. Instagram is dangerous ya'll....no joke.

Currently losing sleep over: Life. I've worked overtime every day but today in the past 6 days and I'm simply exhausted. 

Currently looking forward to: My paycheck from all this damn overtime. You know what I'm sayin!

Currently loving: Ethan's enthusiasm for new activities. Last week he joined the Safety Patrol and this week he is signing up to take violin lessons for the school orchestra. I love our smart, friendly, soccer playing, bowling league member who wants to always do more. 

Currently not understanding: all the hype over the new iPhone. I mean, we already have filters to make selfies look better. I'll keep my small cute little gold iPhone.

Currently waiting for: these beauties to arrive in the mail. This week I discovered there is an app for the Apple Store (because why not) and while I was reading about the iPhone I found these great gold Beats. I didn't need them but my awesome fiance went ahead and spoiled me.


image via


Currently thankful for: cooler temperatures and the sense of fall in the air. I am loving wearing some leggings, sweaters and cute flats and booties. FALLLLLL!!!

Currently advising: you to get some free samples and coupons courtesy of U by Kotex here 

Currently laughing at: the new app Hipmoji. I meannnnn....a Starbucks cup and a hashtag emoji...get outta here...LOVE IT!
image via


Currently smiling at: the fact that when Chuck and I order wings it works out just perfect. He likes the drumsticks and I like the wings. We are a match made in take out heaven.

Currently thinking: YOU should start your day with a SMILE...it's bound to be a good one!!






Happy Friday my awesome readers...have a great weekend!!

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The Grits Blog - Little Friday Linkup
participating in the Little Friday LinkUp


More About ME//Blogmopolitan Quiz


The Blogmopolitan Quiz is here again. I missed the actual dates they were released by Erin from Two Thirds Hazel since I wasn't even a real person blogger then. I have had fun catching up on the quizzes and can't even wait for the next one!





Now...for a little bit more about little ole me.



That was fun...
even Brit thinks so.


Now ... answer one question in the comments so I can learn something about you ;)


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