Dream Big & Buy The Shoes: March 2015

March 31, 2015

Blogger Men Tell All // March & A Giveaway

With reading the title alone, you know what time it is. It's Chuck's favorite time of the month...and an awesome giveaway day! No time to waste, let's get to the fun....as an added bonus, my commentary is in italics.

Do you like to cook? If yes, what's your favorite thing to make?

I love to cook. After high school I wanted to attend culinary school and become a chef, but I thought my friends would make fun of me so I didn't do it. I think my favorite thing to cook is anything on the grill, especially steak.

Chuck is an AMAZING cook, he tries new things all the time and they come out perfect. I wish he would have followed his dream years ago. 

What is the last movie you saw in a theater?

I surprised my blogger on Saturday night with an impromptul movie date and we went to see Get Hard this past weekend with Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell. It was very funny and probably the best Will Ferrell movie since Taladega Nights...SHAKE AND BAKE!

Must see movie...it was so good!

Can you name five makeup brands?

Nope. Let's see: Younique, OPI, Cover Girl, Max Factor, & Sephora.

LOL. He did good..I was like, wait a minute, is Max Factor a brand? Sure is...ha!

What are your biggest pet peeves?

I don't like bad drivers. I don't like people that walk slowly, basically I don't like anyone that does anything slow. I don't like slow people.

What are your biggest goals in life right now?

To get through this wedding in 179 days without a hitch. Find a career that allows me to take care of my family and one that I don't dread going to every day.

I didn't even see him look up the days until the wedding... how did he know that? My heart kind of melted with that one :) Keep Chuck in your thoughts, he's having a bad time at work lately at work and is on the hunt for something better...I have faith that a great opportunity will come along.

Becoming Adorrable

These lovely bloggers and i have put together a $145 target giftcard for you to win!  gift card amount is in US dollars only.  giveaway will be open march 31 - april 7.  best of luck to you!!


March 30, 2015

Easter Printables

Have I mentioned yet how much I LOVE Easter? I adore the cute chicks and bunnies, the bursts of bright colors, and all the fun that the first holiday of Spring brings.

I've seen some bloggers make printables and other cool creations, so I decided it was time to try and come up with some of my own. 

Easter Printables

PicMonkey has so many settings, templates, and overlays available that made working on these really fun. I came up with some Easter phrases to go along with the graphics and played with the colors to make them bright and cheerful.

Some ways to use your printables:

For more fun ideas, check out my Pinterest page and be sure to follow me on Instagram , and look forward to a post this week for some sweet treats to use them in too! 

Get your Easter Printables here

Hop Hop Happy Easter My Peeps!

March 26, 2015

March Favorites

March is almost over, but I'm pushing it out to make April get here sooner....hip hip HOORAY for Easter. It's time for a recap of the month of March and a list of my favorites.

Favorite DIY: Biana from B Loved Boston shows us how to make a custom iOS blog icon for your home screen, which I did and it was SO easy. I used Pic Monkey to create it, and the whole process took less than 10 minutes. THANK YOU Biana!

Favorite Recipe: These Rainbow Marshmallow Treats from Hot Dog It's A Food Blog look absolutely amazing. The colors make me want to jump through the screen and take a bite right now.

image via Hot Dog It's A Food Blog

Favorite Post: Sarah from Venus Trapped In Mars tried a new take on a Weekend Recap, "If  I Had Instagrammed The Whole Weekend", which I loved. I may have to borrow this idea in the future because it's pretty cool.

Favorite New Buy: My Rock Cuff from Frou Frou Frill has me all kind of heart eyes. I love the color green, and this beautiful bracelet is a stunner.
P.S. Are you following me on Instagram? It's taken over as my favorite Social Media outlet.

Favorite TV: Freaks and Geeks on Netflix is a funny show with Seth Rogen and James Franco. It's only on Netflix, and didn't make it past the first season until it got cancelled, but I'm enjoying it.

Favorite Inspiration: Chelsea from The Girl Who Loved To Write puts out amazing content on the regular. Her words are beautiful and speak to me often. I loved this post about living in the here and now.

Some of my own favorite posts this month include: How To Blog When You Don't Have An Office //  Portobello Mushroom Pizzas // & I'm Not Skinny

What are some of your favorites you've been loving lately?

March 25, 2015

I Have A Dream....

I have an obsession with old game shows and wish that I could rewind time and be a guest on them all. Sometimes I watch them on You Tube in hopes of them coming back on the air so that I can try out. If I could live out my dream, I would definitely be a Professional Game Show Audition-er. 

Supermarket Sweep

Supermarket Sweep was the best part of my day. I would watch it with my mom and giggle and yell at the TV screen at people running up and down aisles throwing large turkeys in their carts.
The game started with a question round of different puzzles involving supermarket items and teams earned increments of time to add to their total to shop with at the end.

I was way too young to ever be on the show when it aired, but if I could make one wish come true it would involve me dashing up and down aisles of the grocery store hauling huge cans of coffee. The Manager's Special was always in a tough spot, but I would be smart about it and grab that item first, then get the turkeys, then the coffee. We all know those were the hot items with the big price tag that could help you claim the Supermarket Sweep Title.

supermarket sweep pictures

Shop 'Til You Drop

Basically the real life version of Mall Madness. This was usually on right before Supermarket Sweep in the daily TV lineup. My favorite part was the giddy host, Pat Finn. He was always SO excited to be there, but can we blame him? A game show in a mall, heck, I would be pretty happy too.

The games were off the wall...weird and wacky. I bet a 6 year old could come up with more creative games than the producers of this show, but that's what made it so great.
Pat's commentary was absolutely hilarious, and the way he ran around the mall in between games made my mom and I laugh hysterically. 

If we made it to the final round I would definitely make Chuck stand there as I did the running to the different stores, I mean hello...a woman knows a mall best.

shop till you drop game show

Legends of the Hidden Temple

Hello Blue Barracudas!!! I will admit The Moat freaked me out a little, but the rest of the show I was sure I could dominate. This was a kids game show for sure, so I used to dream of getting on it, because I thought I had a chance.
The questions on the Steps of Knowledge weren't that tough, and the games looked more fun than difficult.
The final around, The Temple Run, was so intense. The contestants had to make their way through the temple to find artifacts and complete a puzzle. The music made it seem like a video game and the anticipation of wondering if the team would do it made me bounce in front of the TV screen.

legends of the hidden temple show

Blue Barracudas FTW!! I think that may have been my favorite show, probably because people my age were dominating a temple run. I wish they would bring these shows back...I would have the time of my life.
One could dream....

Do you have a favorite "old school" game show?

March 24, 2015

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

It's getting to be that time of year where I crave fresh vegetables non-stop. I like to think of different ways to enjoy them and dishes to use them in.

These baked parmesan tomatoes can be enjoyed as a hearty side dish or as a snack. Either way, they are easy and delicious.

what to do with tomatoes

You will need:
2 large tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
Black pepper
1 oz. parmesan cheese
1 oz. asiago cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons Italian seasoning

tomatoe snacks

summer recipes for tomatoes

To prepare:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Slice tomatoes in half and place on a baking sheet
In a small bowl, stir garlic powder in to olive oil and brush mixture on tomatoes
Season with salt and pepper
Toss asiago and parmesan cheeses together and then distribute evenly over tomatoes
Sprinkle Italian seasoning over tomatoes to taste
Bake for 15-18 minutes until cheese is golden and tomatoes are tender
Serve warm

tomato recipes on pinterest

dream big recipesEnjoy!

What's your favorite vegetable to cook with?

  Eat Drink & Be Mary               Martinis & Bikinis

March 23, 2015


It's time for another round of Currently.... just in case you were wondering what I was up to.

Watching: Better Call Saul. Any BB fans out there? Chuck has watched all the Saul episodes, but I am way behind and am trying to catch up.

Waiting For: VEGAS! It's coming so soon and I can't even wait to see my girl Brit in concert.

Shopping: For Easter basket treats for all my littles. Easter is my FAVORITE, so I have to make it fun. This is what I have so far....

Wanting: To see the Cinderella movie. Chuck and Ethan aren't so fond of the idea...anyone up for a movie date?

Loving: New K-Cup flavors, Numi Chocolate Mint Tea & International Delight Cookie Creamer. Look at all this goodness...YUM!

Thankful For: A recent promotion at work, it couldn't have come at a better time. I'm really pleased that all my hard work has awarded me a new opportunity.

Working On: Organizing closets. It's that time of the year, spring cleaning! It's one pain in the butt of a task, but is so rewarding in the end.

Wondering: When it will be okay to put all of our deck furniture out. Snow is a possibility through April in these parts...yikes.

Wishing: For really warm temperatures. I'm craving a long walk along the lake without layers and gloves. Bring on the sunshine please.

I've been sticking to a Monday-Thursday blogging schedule and it's working well for me...are you a fan of this or not?
I'm excited for another week closer to spring, fun things, and new posts. Thank you for reading, and for your support.

What's something you're currently doing?

March 19, 2015

I'm Not Skinny

It's true...I'm not thin. It's been a lot of years since I've worn a size 4 pair of jeans. I'm not sure that I'll ever get back there, but I do know that's not my goal.

The other day I was told "You're not little. You don't look like the other girls." While I won't say who said this to me, I will admit that it stung.

I'm well aware that I'm not little, but it's not something I want to hear. I look in the mirror each day and I'm pleased with what I see, because I don't look at my body type.
Would I love to lose weight? Hell yes. Would I feel more comfortable if I exercised and ate better? Oh yeah. Am I disappointed in myself for not making time to take care of myself more? Pretty much every day.

But you know what...I'm happy. I love the person I am. While the comment that was made to me hurt and almost made me cry, it didn't tear me down. I didn't shed a tear, and I reacted much better than I would have 5 years ago when I was a different woman.

I am strong. I am happy. I am a good person. I am a dreamer. I am a hard worker. I am intelligent. Nope, I'm not little, but I'm ME, and that's good enough for me. Anyone who's first thought goes to my body type and not my mind and heart doesn't matter so much.

For any of the not so little girls out there...you are beautiful. If we were all a size 2, what fun would that be? I am proud of who I am size 2, 12, or 22 and you should be too.

Link up with Lauren & I again on Thursday April 2nd and share your stories.

Thank you for your constant support and love. Let's continue to build each other up.

You Are Beautiful

March 18, 2015

DIY Sharpie Mugs // But First Coffee, Mug Swap

When Kallie from But First Coffee announced her 3rd Mug Swap I knew I wanted in and immediately signed up. I have done a few swaps at Christmas, but this was my favorite exchange so far.

DIY Sharpie Coffee Mug

The "rules" were simple and I loved that we got to know our partner before we swapped mugs so that interests and favorites could be discovered.

I was paired up with Melanie and after we chatted from the initial e-mail I knew we were practically the same person. We peeked at each other's Instagram accounts and found out we love so many of the same exact things, it was crazy!

Needless to say, it was fun to shop for Melanie's mug. I had a few in mind that I wanted to purchase, but unfortunately they went over the budget we were supposed to keep in mind...like way over, not a few dollars, which I totally would have done. I was bummed out and stuck for a little, but then had an idea.

cool coffee mugs

Why not purchase a mug for Melanie and make one? I've have been wanting to try the DIY Sharpie Mugs, so I did just that.

sharpie mug

To make the mug I followed these simple steps:
Wash to clean mug and dry thoroughly
Use Sharpie permanent markers to create design or write wording
Bake at 350 degrees in oven for 30-45 minutes
Remove and let dry for 1-2 hours before touching

*Be sure to care for the mug by hand washing.

Pinterest DIY Mug

DIY Sharpie mug

I was thrilled when I received my package from Melanie. She enclosed a sweet card and even wrapped my presents in leopard print tissue paper...score! Melanie gifted me my favorite color mug with my initial on it...I don't have any mugs like it, which is awesome. She also gave me a beautiful silver notebook journal that has my motto, "Dream Big" on it.

But First Coffee Mug Swap

I had such a fun time getting to know Melanie and participating in Kallie's third Mug Swap. I'll definitely get involved the next time, and am looking forward to my next swap hosted by Cassie & Anne.

Did you participate in the #bfcMugSwap?!  

March 17, 2015

Chicken Parmesan Soup

By now the temperatures are pretty much warming up and the sun is shining bright wherever you live, but I couldn't resist one last soup experiment before spring is in full swing.

Chicken Parmesan is my favorite dish and if I had to choose one thing to eat for the rest of my life, this would be it hands down. I came across a recipe by Lauren from Say What You Need To Say and decided to make some soup of my own.

You will need:
6 boneless chicken tenders or 2 chicken breasts
1 jar pasta sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked pasta ( I used rotini)
1/2 diced zucchini
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
salt & pepper
parmesan cheese to top

To prepare:

In a large pot combine pasta sauce, garlic and onion powders and bring to a low boil. 
Next, add the uncooked pasta, bring to a rapid boil and then add the zucchini.

In a skillet, cook the chicken. You can season with salt and pepper and prepare until thoroughly cooked. You will then dice the chicken in to small pieces about 1 inch thick.

Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, you can add your chicken. I had to add a bit of water and a dash more of the chicken broth because the sauce thickened up.

Stir all ingredients and cook on low for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and top with parmesan cheese.


Martinis & BikinisEat Drink & Be Mary

March 12, 2015

I Have A Problem

So...I have a problem. It's called shopping, and I don't know if I can ever quit. Hear me out...

I love pretty things. I love decorating. I love our home. I love accessories. I love giving gifts...for every occasion. All of these things cause me to shop.
I make excuses as to why this is okay and they often go like this "It was on sale", "I haven't bought anything in a while" , "We need this", "It's Aunt Mary's sister's friends' birthday".  
I know I'm not a hoarder, and I'm not in debt from my shopping...but it definitely is a problem.

My problem reared it's head again when I was in TJ Maxx buying a gift a few days ago and I couldn't resist stopping at the jewelry counter. There it was, the Kate Spade watch I had my eyes on for MONTHS. It was less than half the price and it was staring at me. I stood there and looked at it for a few minutes and then walked away.
I had to tell myself over and over in my head that I didn't need it. I wouldn't wear it every day. I don't need to spend the money. Yes, all of those things are true, but why was it so hard for me to walk away?

Was I born to shop? Is it a female thing? How do I stop?
I know I don't buy things in excess or stretch myself beyond my means, but it needs to be more controlled.

I want to create experiences and great memories with my family and friends rather than having a new necklace. I am in the midst of planning a wedding, deciding on a honeymoon spot, and saving for another Disney cruise for family vacation in 2016. All of these things mean more to me than a new watch. 

There's nothing I love more than creating these smiles. My absolute favorite moments in life have been experiences with my family, trips to new places, and making our dreams turn in to a reality.
I need some sort of reminder to keep myself in check, and I'm not sure yet what that will be.

Maybe it's a budget for gift buying? Limiting myself to one accessory a month (or none at all)? All I do know at this moment is that I am focused on getting serious about my money so that more awesome moments like these can happen.

How do you control your budget?

March 11, 2015

How To Blog When You Don't Have An Office

You've seen the pictures of the bloggers with home offices. Inspirational quotes in pretty frames adorn the walls, bright colored rugs with fun patterns line the floors, and polka dotted staplers and tape dispensers are perfectly put in place on the desk.

What happens when you don't have a home office? How do you blog?

home office inspiration

I don't have a home office, but I still manage to produce blog content on the regular. Here's how I do it.

1. Create a space that works for you
Our bedroom is pretty big, so that's where I have made my "office". I was attending graduate school online and used to have a desk in the room, but have since taken it out because I am no longer doing that and wanted something different. 
We purchased this chaise lounge from Amazon last year and absolutely love it. It's so comfortable and we get a ton of use out of it. It converts in to a few different angles that I adjust depending on my mood. 

2.  It doesn't have to be picture perfect, but you can make it pretty
I wanted to make the space welcoming, comfortable and pretty. The pillows are from Zulily and were inexpensive...and a nice bonus they were also in our black and white bedroom color scheme. The  blanket is super soft and comes in handy during the chilly winter months, or when I want to take a nap when I'm done writing. 
I have a few prints- one of our engagement photos and one "love story" framed and hung above the lounge on one wall and on the other wall a fab mirror from Marshall's lightens up the space. 
I also have my motto hanging on the mirror as an awesome little reminder...Dream Big. 

dream big quotes

3. Make sure you can be productive 
The bedroom is a quiet place which helps me stay on track. I frequently also use my Studio Beats (in golddddd) to zone in and listen to music while I blog. I always have my planner handy and try to schedule as many posts ahead of time as I can. 
My cell phone has notes of posts in it too...whenever I get ideas I type them on my phone in the Notes app. I get ideas when I'm driving, when I wake up, when I'm at work and the closest thing at all times is my cell phone, and without it I would be lost blogging. 
The chaise lounge provides a comfortable and effective space that lets me get right to work when I'm in my sanctuary spot of the bedroom. 

home blogging spaces

I used to be jealous of big bright home offices, but at the end of the day I'm thankful for my blogging space and all that it allows me to do. I have created a space that has allowed me to open my mind and create, write, and dream. 

Where do you blog or create?

March 10, 2015

Chocolate Ginger Whip Cocktail

There's no denying I'm a huge fan of Pinnacle Vodka...there's so many flavors that you can create so many different cocktails with.
If you don't believe me you can see my other drink recipes including Pinnacle Vodka  here here. and right here too.

pinnacle whipped drinks

You will need:
Pinnacle Chocolate Whipped Vodka
Ginger Ale

To make:
Prepare 1 glass full of ice
Add 1 part Pinnacle Chocolate Whipped Vodka and add Ginger Ale
Mix and Enjoy!

pinnacle chocolate whipped

Don't you love a simple and delicious drink? ME TOO! You can't beat inexpensive and easy....but so tasty at the same time. Add your favorite glass, an inspirational cocktail napkin and a cute polka dot straw and you've got yourself a winner.

What are your favorite chocolate inspired drinks?

Martinis & Bikinis
Hopelessly Ever After

March 9, 2015

Best Beauty Finds

When it comes to beauty products, I love trying new things. I've spent more money that I would like to admit attempting to find what works best for me.

I would love to share some recent beauty products and how I like to find new things with you on a regular basis, so let's get down to it.

estee lauder double wear

First, I spend time on lots of blogs and watch several YouTube videos. I hear about things I want to try and look them up, usually on Sephora or Nordstrom.

Next, I read tons of reviews about the products and even chat with the store representatives regarding questions I may have. The chat option at Nordstrom is fast, helpful, and has never let me down. It's super efficient for an online beauty shopper like myself, since I live over an hour from their closest store.

As I grow older I find the importance of buying good quality products and not minding a higher price tag. The items I spend the most money on are usually those for my skin, that being my cleansing products, foundation and powder.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Foundation

Let's be real. I have problematic skin. It's somewhat oily, it's temperamental and I have some redness due to scarring. I have used at least 30 different foundations, and this has by far been the best for me. I start by applying some with my foundation brush and then continue to blend it in with my Beauty Blender.
I love that I only need a small drop for full all day coverage. The foundation is very lightweight and creamy, but doesn't feel caked on. I work all day under bright lights and this holds up very well and I don't feel like I need to reapply at night if we're going somewhere. It covers everything, and I mean it...no other foundation has given me the confidence with my skin and look like Estee Lauder has.

Price: $37
My overall thoughts: Amazing. I LOVE it and would definitely purchase again and again.

MAC "Prep + Prime" Fix + Finishing Mist

I've tried SO many  moisturizers, but can't seem to find one that works perfect. In the meantime, this MAC mist is great. It's not quite a moisturizer, but seems to do more for me than any other primer I've used.
A few quick sprays and my skin is dewy and prepped for foundation. My products go on smoothly and my skin feels great after everything is applied.
I haven't tried it as a finishing spray yet, but have read that it is an excellent tool for that and also for refreshing your face throughout the day with a spritz.

Price: $22
My overall thoughts: Great product, but next time I would like to try the MAC Studio Moisture Fix to see if I like it better.

I have some newer beauty buys that I will continue to review and share with you, because us ladies should all be aware of the great products out there.

What's your favorite beauty product? Do you like reading these review types of posts?

March 6, 2015

Vegas Vacation Fashion

You may or may not have heard...but next month I am headed to LAS VEGAS with Chuck and a few of our best friends. Some people stress about packing, but for me it's half the fun choosing outfits and accessories for when I hit the town.

Let's Pack for Vegas...B**ch

Swimsuit top

Accessorize bangle bracelet

Smith & Cult Birdie Num Num

Expected temperatures in Vegas mid-April range in the 80 degree area...I can't wait for some fun in the sun. Today I'm excited to share some of my Vegas Vacation Fashion.

First and foremost, I'll need some shades to hit the strip to take on the sunshine, and the potential hangover. These Ray-Bans are my favorite color, I love the green.

A cute hat to protect my hair and skin from the hot desert sun....check! I have really come to love hats of all kinds in the past few years and enjoy adding new ones to my collection.

Smith & Cult nail polish is my absolute favorite as of late. This blue hue is perfection and the names are too cool...Birdie Num Num screams spring, bring it on!

Bangles...you can never have enough. Layer them, stack them up, put 'em on each wrist. The colors in this stack are amazing and a must have for spicing up an outfit.

The Triangl bikini's are really popular this year, and Chuck loves this design. I'm not so sure if I'll be in bikini body mode by next month, but this will be a definite purchase for our honeymoon.

Last but not least, the Turning Up Is My Cardio from Victoria's Secret is EVERYTHING. Does this say Las Vegas or what?!?  Their witty tops get me every single time, and this one is perfect for hanging by the pool or sightseeing and sipping drinks on the Strip.

I can't wait to escape this snow and have some fun in Las Vegas and see my girl Britney Spears! 

Have you been to Vegas, and what would you add to your suitcase for your trip?