My Friday Favorites 07.29.16

On TV – I just discovered OWN’s new drama Greenleaf. I caught up on demand and watched live this week. The Greenleaf family runs the Calvary megachurch in Memphis. This drama is filled with scandal, deceit, cover-ups, and family secrets. In the latest episode, Grace got the evidence she needed against Uncle Mac, the verdict in the Officer Daniel Nelson case was revealed, and tragedy struck again in response. This week’s episode started with a disclaimer that it was filmed in January and it understood the topic of crimes committed by and against the police were even more relevant today.
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On the Page – Better Homes and Gardens August issue takes a look into a home that’s created great work and display spaces, new recipes for green beans, beautiful hydrangeas, and how to pack a throwback 1956 picnic. 

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On the Web – I could not stop laughing as I scrolled through Glamour’s article, 20 TV Shows to Watch on Netflix When You’re Feeling Stressed. Parks and Recreation, Gilmore Girls (returning in November!) Grey’s Anatomy… the Riggins GIFs!! Anything on HGTV – I know there have been times when I click on HGTV and go about my business in the house as if I flipped on a radio. My only addition to this list would be One Tree Hill. What would you add to this list?

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In the Garden – I’m very proud of myself this summer. I decided to cut my spending money on fresh herbs and try to grow some myself. I have the absolute opposite of a green thumb so this was a daring experiment. I picked spearmint, basil and cilantro. The basil and spearmint have taken off! I have fresh basil in my salads and fresh mint in my water everyday! The cilantro…. hasn’t done as well. I need to research that one a little more. Since I’ve had 2/3 success, I think I should try a few more so I can completely stop spending money on herbs. I found this chart from Country Living and I’m printing it and hanging it on my fridge! At first I thought there were no cilantro tips, until I took a closer look, and saw it says to look at coriander. 

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In your Coffee Mug – I love coffee. I love ice coffee. I love cinnamon. I love that Starbucks is sharing this recipe so I can make this at home and not spend $5. 

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On Instagram – So, I’m switching schools next year and teaching a grade I haven’t taught in 20 years! (yay and gulp!) I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to organize my classroom library. I first saw this pic on @teacherspayteachers (one of my favorite websites.) It inspires me and gives me so many ideas! The photo is originally from @kindercraze, so of course I had to check her page out and you should, too!

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What things are you loving this week? And how do you keep your fresh cilantro alive?!? Leave me a comment and let me know! Have a great weekend. 

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My Friday Favorites 04.01.16

FF BLUE AND GREEN DIAMONDS

On TV –  Sometimes I get so caught up with Olivia Pope that I forget about my first favorite TV Olivia: Olivia Benson from Law & Order: SVU. The last few episodes have been great including this week’s Episode 18 “Sheltered Outcasts” directed by Mariska Hargitay and guest starring Michael Rapaport. Carisi is becoming one of my favorite characters! I have a couple of questions, feel free to comment your answers and opinions below! In Episode 17 “Unholiest Alliance,” Olivia’s relationship with Ed Tucker is completely revealed. Did we, the audience, already know this? This show is sneaky for hinting around relationships and then never addressing it again (Rollins & Amaro.) Does anyone else think Tucker and Sergeant Voight from Chicago P.D. are very similar? Olivia Benson has a type…and we can just throw Stabler into that list while we are at it! Speaking of Stabler, Christopher Meloni was interviewed this week on Inside the Actor’s Studio and he is still asked about Stabler and Benson’s relationship all these years later. 

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - Season 17

On the Web – My daughter is about to turn 5 and start kindergarten in the fall. Naturally, I clicked on  5 Things I Wish I Knew Before my Child Started Kindergarten from House of Rose when I came across it online. This is a great list that had me laughing – the parties!!

5 Things I Wish I'd Known Before My Child Started Kindergarten by HouseofRoseBlog.com

On Instagram I’m loving this idea of a monogrammed letter on the front door wreath from Sugar Bee Crafts. I might have to hit Michael’s this weekend to look at letters. Add flowers on the wreath and an aqua background – this front door is perfection!

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In the Shopping Cart – Spring Blend coffee from The Fresh Market. I’ll admit the pretty aqua and yellow packaging is what really caught my eye, but now that I’ve been brewing this coffee all week, I’m hooked! A light creamy blend of caramel and butterscotch!? Yes, please!

On the Wish List – Picturing this amazing owl chair from Anthropologie somewhere in my house. My bedroom as a reading nook? Olivia’s room? Our new finished basement? Oh the possibilities! 

anthropology owl chair

On the Scoreboard –  Good luck to my alma mater, the Villnova Wildcats, as they play in the final four this weekend! V for Villanova, V for Victory.

Happy Friday! What are you loving this week? Leave me a comment and let me know. Have a great weekend!

New Year’s Resolutions – 6 Month Check-In

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I can’t believe it, but it is already July. Time for my six month check-in on my New Year’s resolutions (or maybe more appropriately called – The Months When It All Fell Apart!) Click over first to my 4 month check-in and my 2 month check-in so you are all caught up.

Are you back?  Ok – let’s see how I’m doing. I am all for being accountable – so even though these were not the best months for sticking to my resolutions – I am still writing this post.

BE HEALTHY

Weight Watchers Update: I’m still on the WW program, currently in week 27. I switched from the weight loss program to the maintain program after losing a total of 22 pounds. (Full disclosure: I did gain 1 pound one week.) I continued to meal prep every Sunday throughout the school year. Now I have more time to cook each day. I am still eating a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and chicken. But, I am eating more ice cream and drinking more wine! I’m trying to remember my portions and not to over indulge when allowing for a treat.

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Coffee Update: This one has really gone down hill for me!  At the end of the school year I was buying a second cup of coffee a few times a week. I am still brewing a pot at home each morning, but pretty regularly, I pour more than one cup. Here I am enjoying a second cup while reading Amy Poehler’s hilarious “Yes, Please.”

MyCCL_readingwithcoffee

Exercise:  Do you really even need to ask?? I’m still not exercising. Insert sad emoji face here.

Once a teacher, always a teacher, so I will grade myself.

For my first resolution of BE HEALTHY, I am giving myself a:
C

BUILD RELATIONSHIPS

Date Night Updates: My husband and I have not gone on any more date nights since my last update. We are hoping to plan a few this summer!  

Quality Family Time Updates:  We are still eating as a family at dinner time and now that Olivia and I are done school, at lunch time, too. Warmer weather always allows for more together time outside and we have been taking advantage of that to the fullest.  

“Me” Time Updates: I am sleeping in a little more now (No need to get up at 4:30am when I don’t need to go to work!) I am still getting up 45 minutes of “me” time at some point throughout the day, whether in the evenings or when Olivia goes to camp in the morning.  

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Remember the big stack of books from the 2 month check-in?  I have started three different books from my list and have not finished any of them!  BUT, since starting “the life changing magic of tidying up,” I have gotten rid of 8 bags of trash, 10 donations bags and an additional 6 bags to go to my school in the fall!!

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“My Life, Unplugged” Update:  This one is a draw for the past two months. In May, I was constantly on my laptop, finishing grades, transferring all my data off my work computer before I had to turn it in for the summer, and all of the million end of the year teacher things one needs to do. Once summer started though, I have been totally unplugged. Off the computer, off my phone, and not even that much TV (minus binge watching Orange is the New Black.)  

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For my second resolution of BUILD RELATIONSHIPS, I am giving myself a:
C+

So, not my strongest showing at a resolution check-in!

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?  How are you doing on the six month check-in? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Next follow up will be on September 1st.  Have a great day and thanks for reading.

New Year’s Resolutions – 4 Month Check-In

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Tomorrow is May 1 and time for my four month check-in on my New Year’s resolutions. Click over first to my 2 month check-in so you are all caught up!

Are you back?  Ok – let’s see how I’m doing.

BE HEALTHY

Weight Watchers Update: I’m still on the WW program, currently in week 14. Remembering the larger goal: BE HEALTHY, I have been dedicated to meal prepping every Sunday with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and chicken.  I have indulged a little every once in a while – glass of wine, piece of cake, Easter candy. But a treat every once in awhile is OK.  Planning and portion control are the key factors to success.  I have lost 18.6 pounds.

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Coffee Update: For the most part, I am still only having one cup a day. Cheat days have been St. Patrick’s Day (my extra coffee was an Irish one!) Parent Teacher Conferences (I needed a little pick me up to get through the evening,) and Spring Break week (lots of dining out so I chose decaf coffees over desserts.) I am still brewing at home everyday, but I have bought two Dunkin Donuts and 1 Starbucks (consolation prize at Target for not getting any Lilly Pulitzer.)

Exercise: I’m still not exercising. Insert sad emoji face here.

In true teacher fashion, I will grade myself.

For my first resolution of BE HEALTHY, I am giving myself a:
B-

BUILD RELATIONSHIPS

Date Night Updates: My husband and I have had two more date nights since March 1 for a total of 5 so far this year. 

Quality Family Time Updates: As a family we have been excellent about sitting down together at dinner (meal prep helps that.) My husband has been working a lot these past two months, giving my daughter and I a lot of time just the two of us. She helps me around the house with cooking, tidying up and decorating. She loves crossing things off the list when we are shopping and using my cell phone calculator to add up how much money we are spending. We also took our first family outing to a movie – Cinderella.  

“Me” Time Updates: I am still getting up 45 minutes earlier everyday and spending time just on myself in the mornings.  This “me” time has made my days more productive and less stressful.  Click here to read more about my Morning Routine.  

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Remember the big stack of books from the 2 month check-in?  Well, I can cross these two off the list.

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“My Life, Unplugged” Update:  At the two month check-in, I put this one on the lose column.  Now I think I am doing better.  No more phone at the table to Weight Watcher point out my meals, I do that all during meal prep time. I have not been bringing my iPad to bed.  I’m being more present in the moment of things, not worrying about snapping a picture of it or posting it online, but rather truly experiencing whatever I am doing while it is happening.  

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For my second resolution of BUILD RELATIONSHIPS, I am giving myself a:
A-

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?  How are you doing on the four month check-in? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Next follow up will be on July 1st.  Have a great day and thanks for reading.

The 500th Comment Contest Winner

It has been quite awhile since my friend Courtney won The 500th Comment Contest, so long in fact, that I actually already have the winner for the 600th Comment Contest! (Insert a bunch of embarrassed emojis here!) I have owed Courtney her prize forever and I finally gave it to her this past week, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

My Color-Coded Life_comment contest winner2

I included a nip of whiskey, Baileys, my Irish Coffee recipe and a few Thin Mints is a shamrock bag. I hope Courtney and her husband are able to enjoy a nice Irish Coffee! Read here for all my Favorite Irish Coffee Recipes including my own: The Best Irish Coffee Recipes.

Congrats to Courtney for making the 500th comment on my blog and winning The 500th Comment Contest. Thank you for being a faithful reader, Facebook “liker” and all around encourager for me to keep blogging.

Wondering what other prizes I have given away?  Check out the following:

The 100th Comment Contest 

The 200th Comment Contest 

The 300th Comment Contest 

The 400th Comment Contest 

Next up, congratulations to Cassie for making the 600th Comment. Prize to come, in a much more timely manner!

Thanks to everyone for reading.  Want to win a fun prize? Well you have to start making comments on my blog! Here is to the next 100 comments.

The Best Irish Coffee Recipes

St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, partly because I enjoy a good cup of Irish Coffee! Here are a list of my favorite Irish Coffee Recipes.

The Original Irish Coffee

original irish coffee

picture from Liquor.com


Bailey’s Irish Coffee

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picture from She Knows

Buena Vista Irish Coffee

Buena Vista Irish Coffee

picture from Pop Sugar

Irish Coffee Sundae

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picture from HGTV

I had to include this, even though it is not coffee, but look at these Irish Coffee Cupcakes!

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picture from The Cake Blog

Click here for my Irish Coffee Recipe

From our family to yours, wishing you a pot of gold at the end of your rainbow this St. Patrick’s Day!

Mullin

New Year’s Resolutions – 2 month check-in

NY Resolutions

Today is March 1 and a great time to check in on my New Year’s resolutions. In all honesty, I’m not one who usually makes resolutions.  When I started thinking about it at the end of last year, I began writing A LOT of things down. When I looked at my crazy list, I laughed and thought, well this could be a recipe for disaster! No need to set myself up to fail. I started to look for trends to see if maybe I could identify bigger categories to focus on.

Here is what I came up with:

BE HEALTHY – this came from

  • 1 cup of coffee a day that I brew – no spending $$$
  • back on Weight Watchers – lose weight
  • start an exercise routine

BUILD RELATIONSHIPS – this came from

  • more family time
  • more “me” time
  • unplug more

How am I doing?

I have only had one cup of coffee a day, each morning at 5am on weekdays and between 6 – 7am on weekends.  I brew it myself (I set the coffeepot up the night before to automatically brew a half hour before I get up.)  Proof of this is that I still have my coffee shop gift cards I got for Christmas! When I am tempted to pour the second cup, I drink hot water and lemon instead.

 hot water and lemon

I started back on Weight Watcher on Martin Luther King, Day.  It’s too hard the first few weeks of January when holiday leftovers, sweets and other tempting and delicious things are still in the house.   I did the Weight Watchers program once before and was successful in taking off the weight I wanted and kept it off for four years. This time around, I am still counting “Points,” but trying to make healthy choices about what I am eating.  This means not buying processed food (which isn’t healthy, but keeps you in your point range.)  I keep thinking about my larger goal: BE HEALTHY, not the subcategory of lose weight.  The result is more fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and in five weeks I have lost 8.8 pounds.

I have yet to start exercising.  I finally had to admit to myself that reading Fitness and Feta does not count as working out.  This has always been the biggest weakness in my life.  I just don’t like exercising and I never can seem to find the time to fit it in.  I do not like gyms and have never figured out a successful “at home” work-out routine.  I loved yoga when I was pregnant, but have always been intimidated to try it post-baby.

In true teacher fashion, I will grade myself.
For my first resolution of BE HEALTHY, I am giving myself a:
B

Next up is BUILD RELATIONSHIPS.

It’s very easy to get into the routine of your day and forget about your loved ones around you. I think it is even easier to forget about yourself.  So far this year my husband and I have gotten a babysitter three times, not because one of us is working, but so we can do something just together.  In the almost four years since our daughter was born (minus our anniversary every year) this was unheard of!  We are also working on “quality” family time.  At home, I am making a bigger effort to do more things with Olivia.  It’s easy to slip into the habit of doing things around the house while she’s playing and keeping herself busy.  These moments do not have to be monumental activities and projects (remember – I am not trying to set myself up for failure!)  Reading a story together, a small craft project, having her help me cook in the kitchen, doing a puzzle, are all small things that add up to great quality time together.

The relationship I have with myself is almost always on the bottom of a long color-coded, category organized to-do list (if it makes the list at all.)  To work on this I have set my alarm 45 minutes earlier everyday.  This gives me time for just me every morning (while I’m enjoying the one cup of coffee I get.)  I read, look at magazines, or sometimes work on this blog. I have a stack of books I want to read (some re-read) this year. It has really made me feel better about starting my day.  At first, I tried to combine it with my “unplugged” resolution, but realized that some of my magazine subscriptions are on my ipad, I like working on blog posts – basically life has technology and it’s hard to work around it!

books to read

That brings us to the last on the list – “My Life, Unplugged.”  This one is probably also in the “lose” column, with only exercise falling below it.  The ways I am trying to remain unplugged are ensuring I have a good work / home life balance.  I do not check work email until I arrive at work each day (unless it is snowing and we may get off!)  I also do not check it all weekend.  My Weight Watcher tracker is on my phone which has caused me to have my phone at the dinner table.  I am trying to “point” out everything before hand so I’m not tempting to be looking things up while preparing or eating our meals.

For my second resolution of BUILD RELATIONSHIPS, I am giving myself a:
B

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?  How are you doing on the two month check-in?  Do we have any of the same resolutions?  Leave me a comment and let me know.  I’ll do another follow up on May 1st.  Have a great day and thanks for reading.

15 Reasons I Know It’s Fall

15 Reasons I know it’s Fall:

15. No more iced caramel coffees, bring on the hot pumpkin spice lattes.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

14. Blankets come out of the linen closet and are placed on the end of the beds.

13. School supply aisles become school supply sections. Notebooks for brand new to-do lists and schedules. Highlighters! Post-its! Sharpies!

12. Cardigan sweaters are worn in the hours of 7am-9am and 6pm until bedtime.

11. Goodbye beach and coconut scented candles and lotions… Hello sweet cinnamon pumpkin scents.

Bath and Body Works Fall Scents

10. Time to pack up the American flag and beach home decor and take out the apples, autumn leaves, and pumpkin decorations.

9. Beautiful blank calendars to color-code with our new school year schedules. Events like Pool and Water Park are replaced with Fall Festival and Apple Picking.

8. Kiss away clear lip gloss for autumn brown and maroon lipsticks.

7. I sip my last gin and tonic and clean out the crockpot for hot butter rum apple cider.

Hot Butter Rum Cider

6. Jeans that are never worn in summer are pulled out as the pool bag, towels, and bathing suits are sadly packed away.

5. My daughter starts the daily question: “What are you going to be for Halloween?”

4. My sister sends around the Annual Thanksgiving Recipe Google doc.

3. We return to magical places like Shondaland, Chicago, and Berkley (for just 13 more episodes *sniff*.) Time to fill the DVR again!

Parenthood Final Season

2. Words like Eagles, Giants and Jets are suddenly all over my Facebook newsfeed. On the positive side, my Pinterest homepage is full of snacks, dips, and chili recipes.

And the last reason I know it is fall…

1. People start talking about Christmas and anxiety sets in!

Happy Fall everyone!

My Friday Favorites 01.31.14

My Friday Favorites_aqua

Better late than never, right?  I know it’s Sunday, but here are my favorites from last week anyway!

On TV –

  • I needed to be two days late – just to help me catch up on my DVR.  I am still not up-to-date on all my shows, but I did watch the season finale of Carrie Diaries and caught up on two weeks worth of Nashville.  But my pick this week is…. Parenthood.  Julia going home to her parents at the end = tearjerker.  Zeke and Camille are not selling that house!

Joel and Julia tell the Kids _ Parenthood

 On Demand – 

  • My husband and I started watching Chicago Fire and now we are hooked.  Once we saw Chicago PD was starting and that was a spin-off of both Fire and one of our favs, Law & Order SVU, we knew we had to get on the bandwagon.  Dick Wolf – you got us again!

Chicago Fire Season 1 Cast

On the Computer 

Whiskey Sours Forever from A Beautiful Mess

On the Page –

7 Creative Low-Cost Upgrades from This Old House magazine

On the Sales Rack –

  • Vera Bradley sale – aprons, desk organizers, napkins, paper plates, notecards – and more!

Vera Bradley napkins Vera Bradley Plates

In the kitchen –

  • Cinnamon Coffee from Better Homes and Gardens – I haver been ordering Dunkin Donuts Brown Sugar Cinnamon lattes lately so when I stumbled upon this recipe I decided to try it at home.  I swapped sugar for brown sugar and used regular milk.  

Cinnamon Coffee from Better Homes and Gardens

On my Pinterest Boards – 

  • I love this print originally from Flowers in May.  I am going to order this to hang in Olivia’s play kitchen once the basement remodeling project is done.

Today I Feel Like Baking Print from Flowers in May

Do you have any favorite things from this past week? Leave me a comment and tell me what things have caught your eye.  Decorating? Reading?  A good sale? Let me know what you are loving right now.  As always, thanks for reading.

My Friday Favorites 08/31/12

The Back to School, Here Comes Fall addition!

Happy Labor Day Weekend – enjoy the extra day off from work!

On TV-

  • AWKWARD. –  “Pick Me , Choose Me Love Me” — Ok so it’s a rip off from a very famous line in Grey’s Anatomy when Meredith pleaded to Derrick after she found out he was married — but all imitation is flattery right? Jenna’s gone from “That Girl” to “It Girl” after her blog goes public and everyone reads it.  Now she must make the biggest decision of her life…Jake? Matty? Or her Mom?

** For more TV news, including AWKWARD. episode recaps, check out  My Color TV – a tab at the top of this page.**

On the computer –

  • Peanut Butter and Peppers: Drink Your Pie! – although I am not ready to say goodbye to summer – yummy fall foods and flavors are some things to look forward to.  Trying this drink recipe is a must — both the coffee and non-coffee version!

On the page –

  • GLAMOUR has some good articles about nail polish this month. First, 7 Nail Polish Colors that Work for Summer and Into Fall.   When I got a pedicure last week the first thing I thought of when choosing a color was – it’s still summer, but I will have this into September.  Next, I first saw this picture in Glamour’s Fashion Issue, co-edited by Victoria Beckham.  I traced it back to the original blog it appeared on: The Daily Nail.  What a great back to school manicure!

On the sales rack –

  • Raymour & Flanigan’s Labor Day Sale! great prices on furniture for every room!  We bought a new couch and chair that are being delivered this morning.  I’m very excited! Love this living room below.

For your home or dorm room –

  • The Container Store – Expert Tips & Ideas – Set Up a Study Zone – just in time for school to start, here are tips on how to set up a place with everything you need to hit the books.

In concert –

  • MADONNA – I saw Madonna’s MDNA tour this week.  I have seen her several times live and it is always an outlandish piece of work.  Sets, lights, costumes, sound and dancing!  Maybe I’m getting older – but the thing that amazed me most, was at the age of 54 she is still moving and dancing at top speed, the whole time, and in step with her 20-something year old dancers.  Say what you will about her, if you are a fan or not, but that is pretty impressive.

On my twitter feed –

Leave me a comment and tell me some of your favorite things from this week!

Thanks for reading and have a long great weekend!