Dream Big & Buy The Shoes: December 2014

December 30, 2014

Blogger Men Tell All//December Edition

We're back for another round of Blogger Men Tell All. I don't know who's more excited, Chuck, or myself...he lives for this stuff.

Here we go, as a bonus you get my commentary in italics....

What is one thing you really want for Christmas this year?
I just want Ethan to have a good Christmas and to spend time with my friends and family.
(Success!)


Does your family generally do Christmas Eve or Christmas Day celebrations?
Christmas Day. All day. 
(That's insightful)




What is your favorite part about the holidays?
The food. Time to relax and recharge and get ready for the New Year.
(Chuck is getting old, please forgive him for a better answer)

What's your New Year's Resolution?
To get down to fighting weight for the wedding.
( I didn't buy him a UFC Membership this year for Christmas, sooooo....)

Where will you be at the start of 2015?
Sugar Bowl! (he wishes)
I'm planning on having friends over to watch My Ohio State Buckeyes in the playoffs.
(As for me, WE ARE! not Buckeye fans in this side of the house)

Becoming Adorrable

Check out Becca's blog today to see a familiar face. Also, don't forget to get your downloadable coupon thanks to Mezzetta here.

December 29, 2014

It's All Over

Can you believe that Christmas is over? It still blows my mind how fast all this comes and goes. It seems like five minutes ago I was putting out all the decorations.

I won't overwhelm you with a full blown recap of our events, but it was an amazing holiday and I feel extrememly blesssed to have the opportunity to celebrate and spend time with loved ones each year. 

I am so thankful that you all have deal with my absence lately. I am working on getting back in the groove of a blogging schedule...and while I do that...go win some Lululemon!!







lulu  

December 23, 2014

Holiday Card Swap 2014

I love a good card. Whether it be from Hallmark, handmade, or one with a .99 pricetag. There is something special about them. Maybe it's because of the digital age we live in, or maybe because it's a bit personal. Either way, I'm a huge fan of cards.
I send them to friends just because, sometimes I buy multiple for one person's special occasion-since there's so many good ones out there and it's hard to pick just one, and I really LOVE receiving them.

When I saw that the lovely ladies from The Sequin Notebook hosted a Holiday Card Swap I didn't hesitate to sign up. Not only is it fun to send holiday cards, but it's nice to get to know someone new.

What a great idea! The day I received the e-mail notifiying me that Emily was my swap partner I was excited to get to work. I checked out her blog, since I had not heard of it yet, and found out we love many of the same things.
I told Emily that I was not a very crafty person, but would love to make her card fun.

I checked out Pinterest for some ideas and saved some cool things, but it still wasn't exactly what I was looking for. A few weeks later I got an idea and tried to make it work.
I scoured some of my favorite magazines and found pictures of things that would be great gifts for Emily under a pop up paper tree I placed on the card. I happened to find small "button" looking images in Cosmopolitan and cut those out in circles to hang as ornaments on the tree.
I found a few cute phrases and sayings that I wanted to incorporate, but ran out of room on the front of the card so I placed them on the back.

I had a few extra of our family Christmas card and found a cute one I couldn't resist at Hallmark as well, so I sent all 3 to Emily. I told you...I really love cards!

I was so stoked to receive the following cards from both my swap buddy, Emily, and The Sequin Notebook host gals, B & M.

Cute Dancing Snowmen from Emily in Florida!

Fun Fabulousness from the Gals in New York City!


And here is our 2014 family Christmas card....one of which I sent to Emily in the Holiday Card Swap!


I had so much fun with this holiday "project" and encourage anyone interested next season to sign up.

Happy Holidays!


December 22, 2014

The Season of Giving

Well...it's Monday. I had a great weekend, but not enough time to tell you about it. Seriously though...wish I could, but I currently am trying to nap, wrap and make dinner while I write this post. Oh, and bake...forgot about that one.

I am a lover of Christmas...the lights, the fun, the parties, the giving...but I am WHOOPED. I think I was creating lists in my sleep because I woke up this morning already exhausted before my work day even began.
You can imagine what state I'm in 9 hours later.

Since it's the season of giving, I have a few things for you, my awesome readers.

1. A downloadable coupon from Mezzetta Foods and a chance to win some awesome prizes:
You can find that here

2. If you're a last minute baker (two hands raised over here), I have a quick and easy solution for you:
Life saver of the holiday season is here

3. Who doesn't love a little spoiling this season? Enter the giveaway below to win $150 from Old Navy!!





Hopefully by next spring I can update you on all the holiday fun, recipes, decorating and fun gifts I have been working on. 
Come back tomorrow to see an awesome holiday card swap I participated in.

Thank you for your continued support. I big pink emoji heart love you all!

A big thank you to Mezzetta and Nestle Toll House for also supporting the holiday fun and this post.



December 18, 2014

Gift Guide// For The Office Friends

If you're like me, you may have that one co-worker who's a great friend you want to treat with something nice around the holidays. It can be tough to buy an appropriate gift for a fellow employee so today I present the Gift Guide for your Office Friends.



Gift Guide: For Your Office Friends



Forever 21 socks
forever21.com


Forever 21 canvas purse
forever21.com



NARS Cosmetics lip liner
narscosmetics.com


Essie blue nail polish
6pm.com





From cute socks, to a witty bag you could always use, and a coffee mug...because work equals coffee...there's something for everyone here.

I would be happy just to receive the socks if you're shopping for me ....hint hint.

And why not get something for yourself...this one is free.






December 17, 2014

Happy Birthday Ethan

Eleven years ago today, Ethan Marshall Lawrence was born. I wasn't there, but I thank the stars above every day that his mommy and daddy brought him in to this world.
Ethan is not my child, but I love him more than I ever thought possible and feel blessed to be able to watch him grow every day.



I started dating Chuck when Ethan was four years old. We were instantly best buddies but as years went on we had some bumps in the road. It's not easy having some other woman around that's not your mom...I've been there. 
There were times I didn't know if I could do it or if things would get better. Turns out time really does work wonders.
Ethan and I have a great relationship. I love that he feels comfortable enough to tell me things. I love that he wants me around and is excited for me to marry his daddy. 

Ethan has tons of energy, loves to show off, and keeps us on our toes. Although our world can be crazy most days, I wouldn't change it for anything, ever. This sweet little boy is growing in to a compassionate young man and I couldn't be more proud.

So...Happy Birthday to the happy little boy who has changed my world. Someday you will know all that you have done for me. You've given me patience, taught me selflessness, shown me love, and given me another reason to work hard every day. I can't wait to officially be your stepmom and continue to watch you take over the world.

I love you Ethan. Have the best birthday ever!






December 16, 2014

Girlie Gift Guide // Principessa Bambolina

It's time for another Gift Guide, and this one is for the sweet little girl in your life. 
Principessa Boutique located in Washington, Pa at the Shops at Quail Acres is a little girl's dream shop. The boutique carries clothing, dancewear and accessories adorned in lace, beauty and love. One step in the shop and you see how much time, attention to detail and hard work is put in to everything.
Hard work and dedication isn't something new to the three Italian sisters who operate the children's boutique. Natalie (Giovanelli) Welsh, Jill (Giovanelli) Stiehler, and Bernadette (Giovanelli) Santucci also run a successful dance studio "Dance With Me By Sisters 3".  
If Candy Land were real life, I truly think it would look something like Principessa. The shop's name, which means Princess in Italian, speaks for itself. Beautiful skirts, one of a kind shoes, sparkly dance wear, onesies for your little man adorned with bow ties, and magical accessories called "Fairy Doors" fill the room with fun. 

girlie gifts


Some of the best gems located inside the beautiful boutique are called Principessa Bambolina's. Bambolina means "baby doll" in Italian. Not only are the dolls exclusively hand-made piece by piece, but they are also 100 percent customizable and unique. 
The dolls are crafted by Sheryl Giovanelli, the girls' mother and aunt Christine Omiatek by mailing parts back and forth between their homes in Richeyville and Ligonier, Pennsylvania. Omiatek starts by making the body and clothing for the dolls and Giovanelli stuffs them, adds detail and embroiders the face and hair. 

Principessa Boutique


The Bambolina's have a special purpose for the little girls to who's homes they reach and to the charities they support as well. A portion of the proceeds from the dolls benefit two local charities. The money donated is split between Autism Speaks and the Young Women's Breast Cancer Foundation. 
Omiatek is a breast cancer survivor and autism is a cause close to the whole family. 

A beautiful Bambolina  for your special little girlie that serves a greater cause makes the perfect gift any time of the year for a price of $85. 
The dolls can be dressed up to match the little dancer and her latest recital costume, your birthday girl and her glam party outfit, a fun day out in the city for a special event, and much much more. 

Principessa Washington, Pa

To order a Bambolina for the special little girl in your life you can contact one of the sisters through their Facebook page or e-mail. You can also check out their picture perfect creations on Instagram.

Principessa Bambolina

I wouldn't mind having one of these for myself, I would prefer a Britney Spears replica circa the "Toxic" video.

Which Bambolina would you choose for your little girl?

December 15, 2014

Weekend Recap// Ethan's 11th Birthday Party

Ethan turns another year older this week and I can't believer how much he has grown up in the past year. I'll save the tears for Wednesday on his actual birthday though...

This Saturday we went to Dave & Buster's to celebrate our little guy. The first time we visited a Dave & Buster's in Buffalo, New York a few of our friends spoiled Ethan and he had the time of his life. He kept asking to go back, but we don't have one close to home in Erie.
After our cruise in May when we got back to Orlando there was a Dave & Buster's close to our hotel and we went again for some food and games. Ethan was in heaven again.
His wish was to have his 11th birthday party at Dave & Buster's so Chuck made it happen.

We took 2 cars full of family & friends to the D&B in Westlake, Ohio and luckily there was no snow so it was a little over an hour roadtrip. Some of Ethan's neighborhood friends, his cousin, his little brother, his mom, uncle, and one set of grandparents were able to make it. The kids (and us adults) had such a good time.

The pictures are the best part of a good Weekend Recap, so I'll let them do the talking.

Cake...duh.

Party Favors for Ethan's friends...all things Pokemon, and some Pringles!


Ethan M&M's!!! 

Ethan & his friends

A gamer's heaven!!

Mario Kart for the win.

Ethan M&M's were a hit...especially with his little brother! Adults need party favors too...theirs included some Starbucks coffee too.

CAKE!! Icing, craziness, and more...gotta love our birthday boy!

Blue Beats...daddy makes all wishes come true!

The party wore us out, but the smile on Ethan's face the entire time made it all worth it. I love this dude so much and love sharing in all these fun times with him.

Hope everyone had an awesome weekend. 
What were you up to?


Bella And The City

December 12, 2014

Easy Baking With Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough Sheets

Let's face it. The month of December seems to come quicker every year.
Throw in hosting Thanksgiving dinner right before the month of madness begins, a December birthday, holiday parties, school Christmas concerts and oh yeah....shopping and the next thing you know it's Christmas Day.

Where is the time for baking holiday cookies? I have found it for you. No more long list of ingredients to worry about. No more running to the store for the last minute item you forgot about. No more huuuuge mess to clean up. What is this amazing baking idea?...enter Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough Sheets. Seriously, such a genius idea.

Ethan loves baking with me and we always have so much fun together, but to be honest, he usually leaves me during the most important parts when I need a helper. Not this time around though. We purchased the Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough Sheets in Gingerbread and got to work.

Simply open the package from Nestle, take out the two prepared cookie dough sheets, and start cutting out your cookies. Bake for 11-12 minutes at 350 degrees then let the cookies cool. You can start decorating about 7-10 minutes later and have cut your typical baking time IN HALF!

Christmas Cookie Recipes


Imagine all the happy recipients when you give them even MORE cookies this holiday because of all your free time. Ethan loved that everything was ready so quick and that he got to decorate his gingerbread men right away.

Pinterest Christmas Cookie Recipes

We decorated our gingerbread men with plenty of icing and sprinkles, and even one with a bow tie. Ethan's favorite part is the decorating, and he gets pretty festive and creative. He wrote "YOLO" on one because he said, "Gingerbread men really only do live once." He has a point. 

I love the fact that we could get some Christmas wrapping done and bake in the same evening. Usually our baking is an all day affair during the holiday season, but the Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough really saves the day.

You can visit the Nestle Toll House website for more inspiration and wonderful recipes to please every recipient on your holiday baking list this year. The Nestle Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough Sheets come in various flavors such as Gingerbread, Sugar Cookie and Pumpkin so there is plenty of options for every sweet tooth in your house.

Enjoy and Happy (Easy) Baking!

What is your favorite Christmas cookie recipe?




Many thanks to Nestle for sponsoring today's post and encouraging Ethan and I to bake some awesome holiday cookies for our loved ones this Christmas!


December 11, 2014

My 2014 Holiday Wish List

As I get older I honestly don't hear myself saying "I really want this for Christmas"...it becomes way more fun to give presents than it is to receive them.
With that being said, it doesn't mean there isn't a Wish List on my phone just in case someone wants some ideas for me.

Isn't it funny how your list changes as years go on too? I remember when I got my first apartment and asked for a good vaccuum for Christmas. Who can afford a new bag when you're out dropping money on all these household items?!

I have had my eyes on a few things lately that made it on my Wish List. So if you're in need of some ideas for me, today is your lucky day. Let me know if you need my address ;)


2014 Holiday Wish List


NIKE white t shirt
finishline.com


Forever 21 boho vest
forever21.com


NIKE cotton legging
$47 - nelly.com



Throw pillow
francescas.com


Victorinox Swiss Army utility knive
cooking.com




I always love a good Nike workout tee and could use some new gym pants. I have wanted the Tory Burch perfume for a while now, but can't justify spending my own  money on it.

I love the knife stand with the iPad holder on the front for when I'm busy in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes and that pillow NEEDS to be in my life. It was meant for me.

I've also really loved the fur vest trend for the past few years, but again don't need to spend money on one. If Santa brings me one I wouldn't be mad.

#Blogmas14



What's on your Wish List this year? I hope Santa makes all your dreams come true.