Weekly Wonders

Mason Pearson Brush

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This brush has been the best one I have ever used.  It is gentle on my hair.  I use it after I shower when my hair is damp and on my dry hair.  The best way to use this brush is to start at the middle of your hair and brush towards the ends of your hair.  I avoid using the brush on the roots of my hair because it always makes the hair at the top of my head greasy if I go over it too many times.  I have been using this brush for three years and it has helped tame fly aways and make my hair smooth.  It was a great purchase and I can not believe I didn’t discover it sooner!

Dooney & Bourke Saffiano Leather Wallet

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Best wallet I have ever owned!  Purchased this wallet about two years ago from T.J. Maxx and it was love at first sight. The wallet is made out of Saffiano leather and is built to last.  If something spills on the wallet it is easy to just wipe it away.  The quality of this D&B wallet is amazing and it is also built for functionality.  Love it, Love it, Love it!  This wallet will last me for years to come.

C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve

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The best lip product on the market!  My holy grail lip balm!  This salve has been a staple in my makeup bag and purse since my high school days!  I never leave the house without it and it has been a life saver at times.  The salve has helped my lips stay hydrated during the cold harsh winters in NY and now in the dry hot southern summers.  Well worth the money and I will continue to recommend and purchase this salve!  This is best lip product you will ever use and it even smells good too!

Ray Ban Erika Polarized Sunglasses

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The most expensive pair of sunglasses I have ever purchased but well worth the price.  Before I moved down south the sun wasn’t really an issue and I owned non-polarized sunglasses.  Down here I found myself squinting all the time when outside due to the strength of the sun and figured I better look into getting a decent pair of sunglasses.  After trying on numerous pairs, I finally decided on the Ray Ban Erika style.  The style and color look great on me and they were different than my typical choice of glasses.  This pair suits my style and goes well with many different outfits I wear.  Loving them and am tempted to purchase another pair.

Kate Spade Coin Purse

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First off, the color of this coin purse is my favorite!  I  had to get it as soon as my eyes saw it in the store.  I have not regretted purchasing the coin purse and I use it everyday. To be honest I use this as more of a card holder than an actual coin purse.  This helps keep my cards organized and I mainly put unimportant cards in it like gift cards etc.  Also, this helps ease the overflow of cards that go into my wallet.  Love this and the quality is fantastic to boot!

Maxie McCoy

https://maxiemccoy.com

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A while ago I discovered Maxie McCoy.com.  I forget exactly  when or how but I think it was through a guest post she wrote on someones blog ,clicked on the link, and it took me to MaxieMcCoy.com.   Any-who I subscribed to get posts by email and lately, like the past few months, they have been relevant to my life kind of like she has been on the same wavelength as me.  To be honest it was really freaky when I read her posts I got by email.  I thought that I have to include her in my Weekly Wonders because I enjoy her writing style, the topics of her posts, that she is true to herself in her writings, and I think other people should check out her writing and site.  Maxie if you ever read this: you posts brighten my day and sometimes cause me to reflect on things or life in general.  If you knew me you would know I hate being reflective and pondering because my mind moves a mile a minute and I hardly think about things until really, really, later on.  So I guess thanks for doing what you do and staying true to you!

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The best cookie around… Oatmeal Chocolate Chip

Since I am in a baking mood lately I figured I’ll introduce you all to my favorite cookie: oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  I absolutely love baking these scrumptious treats for friends, family, and co-workers especially around the holidays.  Below is the recipe I use when baking the cookies and it makes about three dozen cookies. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

8 oz. (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup of packed brown sugar

3/4 sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 eggs

1-1/2 cup of all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

3 cups Quick oats

2 cups of chocolate chips

Directions

1.Heat oven to 350 degrees

2.Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.

3.Beat in eggs until light and fluffy

4.Mix in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt on low until blended.

5.Stir in oats and chocolate chips

6.Form dough into balls and place two inches apart on cookie sheet

*To help the cookies maintain a round shape use a teaspoon (the circular one used for measuring) to scoop out the cookie dough.

 

Let me introduce Southern Crack and Slutty Brownies

Now, now get your head out of the gutter. These are not the names of whatever it was that you were thinking. These are scrumptious desserts! I have made the brownies when I lived up north after hearing about the recipe from a friend. The Southern Crack is a nickname for a Southern snack featuring saltines, chocolate, butter, and toffee/caramel. The latter was brought to me by one of my student’s families and it was delicious. I figured it is about time that I try out the recipe and bake it myself. Both of these treats are easy to make and best of all you do not need any cooking skills. They are usually a hit at potlucks or holiday gatherings. Below, I’ll share both recipes with you and how they are made.

 

Slutty Brownies

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Ingredients:

1 box of brownie mix

1 package of Oreo cookies

1 roll of ready made of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Any size baking pan you choose

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.Make the brownie mix following the directions on the back of the box

3. Put the brownie mix on the side

4. Line the bottom of the baking pan with the pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough by gently pressing the cookie dough into the bottom of the pan to create an even layer.

5. Add a layer of Oreo cookies on top of the chocolate chip cookie dough (you may not need the whole Oreo cookie package you got)

6. Pour the brownie mix that you made earlier on top of the Oreo cookies and the chocolate chip cookie dough and make sure the brownie mix is even

7. Bake for 30-35 minutes

8. Use a knife to check if the brownies are done.  Remember you do not want to over cook because the chocolate chip cookie layer will get overdone or burn.

9. Enjoy!

Southern Crack

FN_Sweet-Saltines

Ingredients: 

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup of brown sugar

2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips or Nutella *Some people have used Nutella to spread on top of the saltine crackers instead of melted chocolate chips

 40 saltine crackers

cookie sheet

Directions: 

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray.  You can also line the cookie sheet with foil or wax paper

3.Place a layer of saltines onto the cookie sheet

4.Melt the sugar and butter until it boils

5. Lower the heat and let it simmer until the mixture thickens and the sugar dissolves

6.Pour the mixture over the saltine crackers and spread it evenly over the crackers

7.Bake for 8-10 minutes

8. Remove pan formt he oven and let it sit for 3-5 min

9. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips, let them melt, and then spread the over the saltines or spread the Nutella on top of the crackers

10. Let them cool and enjoy

Let’s get personal…

So, I realized that I never full introduced myself or let you get to know me so let’s get personal

50-random-facts-about-me

1. Born and raised in NY! NYC is my hometown and the best city ever!!

2. I love coffee! Can not start my morning without it! My favorite brews are Intelligentsia, Dunkin Donuts, and WaWa

3.My hair color is au natural! Never been dyed or highlighted!

4. My favorite colors are purple,blue, and hunter green!

5. Never broke a bone or had surgery.  Hope it stays that way because I dislike being in hospitals.

6. When growing up I only took the subway and buses and didn’t drive a car.

7. Living down south has meant I have driven the most I ever have in my life: no buses and trains here:(

8. My younger sister and I share a birth month and our birth dates are 12 days apart

9. My favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip

10. My favorite movies are Wedding Crashers, My Cousin Vinny, Sweet Home Alabama, Sense and Sensibility, and White Chicks

11. I enjoy a beer over wine any day

12. When I was younger my celebrity crushes were Jake Gyllenhaal and Orlando Bloom

13. Never owned a dog or cat.  If I do get a dog I would pick a beagle

14.I am dreadful at math so never ask me to compute anything or balance your checkbook. I’m lucky that I can keep my s*** together.

15.My favorite snacks are Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. If I’m in the mood for something salty then I eat Plantain Chips: They are so yummy!

16. The Walking Dead and The Big Bang Theory are my favorite shows on TV

17.I swear  I have ADHD because my thoughts and focus are constantly moving a mile a minute, from one thing to the next. This means things get half finished but it is a work in progress.

18.My favorite season is fall.  I love the crisp air and when the leaves change color.

19. I grew up listening to the music of Bruce Springsteen and have seen him in concert twice!

20. My first concert was a 2003 Bruce Springsteen concert at Giant’s Stadium! The best first concert ever! It poured during the concert and he kept on playing!

21. Handbag addict! My favorite purse designers are Kate Spade, Patricia Nash, and Dooney and Bourke! Dooney and Bourke All Weather Leather bags are my absolute favorite!  I could spend all my money on handbags: it’s a problem.

22. Book Nerd! I will devour anything with words except Sci-Fci and Fantasy. Basically I can be seen with a book in hand or my Kindle in tow since the day I began reading! If I could make a living off of writing book reviews or editing books I totally would!

23. I was a competitive swimmer for 10 years and loved it! Now I do it for fun and enjoy teaching others how to swim. Swimming is such an important skill to learn even if you never become competitive.

24. The beach is one of my favorite places to go on vacation and to relax! Swimming in the ocean is so relaxing and destressing for me!

25. One of my bucket list goals is to visit all states on the East Coast. Only four left go! Woo Hoo:)

26. My family has been vacationing at the same campground in Montauk, NY for the past 17 years! We loved every second of it and it is my favorite home. There have been so many firsts that have happened there!

27. Birkenstocks and Chacos are the bomb! I could wear those shoes all day everyday!  The gizahs are my favorite style Birks.

28.I grew up without a microwave and TV dinners. Some people find that weird but it is the norm for my family!

29. I hate cooked spinach 😦 The texture weirds me out!

30. Always trying new baking recipes.  My best is oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin bread

31. Hardly wear earrings or jewelry

32. I make a mean guacamole and bread bowls

33. I have numerous stories about taking public transit in NYC whether its funny or interesting something always happened to me! I swear I can write a book with all of the stories!

34. Every time my family does something or goes on a trip there is a story good, bad, funny, or sad that will accompany it.  My family has a knack for getting into interesting situations.

35. My favorite foods are Italian Stew, a good slice of NY pizza (Denino’s is the best ever!), and Pumpkin Ravioli

36. My singing voice is horrendous and I’m the least musically inclined person I know

37. You will never see me on the dance floor at parties

38. Still have not figured this whole blogging thing out and started it after multiple failed attempts and because it was on my bucket list

39. I enjoy writing and have kept a journal since elementary school

40. I hate that people assume I like the color pink or girly things just because I am a woman

41. My favorite lipstick is Bobbi Brown’s Blue Raspberry

42.  I am directionally challenged and even have trouble following the GPS

43.  My memory is fantastic and better than most people’s I know.  Sometimes my memory is too good because I wish there were some events I could forget.

44. Instead of memorizing street or highway names for directions I use landmarks, houses, stores, landscape etc. to remember routes.  So never ask me for directions because they would sound something like this: Turn left by the large tree with green leaves, and go straight until you pass the red brick house, then make a left : you get the picture

45. I am a control freak but the most indecisive person when it come to making decisions about things.  It’s totally ironic

46. Big goodbyes are the hardest thing for me to do so I’d rather just up and leave without saying a word.  Sometimes instead of goodbye I say see you soon

47. Helping people is one of my greatest passions and I love volunteering

48. Never watch the news.  Every time I used to watch it there were hardly any uplifting stories or it was just pointless segments so I stopped all together

49. I have volunteered at the NYC marathon for three years and loved it! One of the funnest things I have done!

50. I’m not perfect and a work in progress .. duh! I have a habit of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, putting my foot in my mouth, providing comic relief, or just rambling if I get passionate about a topic.  Also, I make mistakes which is ok because everyone does.

Picture source:http://kakabeautyblog.com/2013/09/08/50-random-facts-about-me/

Oh Etsy, how I love you!

Since the holidays are coming up I thought I’d share one of my favorite sites to purchase gifts from… drumroll please… Etsy.com! There are so many neat, unique, and crafty items on Etsy and you are guaranteed to find a gift for most people on your shopping list.  The best thing about this site is you are supporting people who actually make the products instead of buying a generic gift from a popular store.  People have enjoyed, appreciated, and loved the presents from Etsy and I have heard good feedback from friends and family who have used the site or received and Etsy gift.  Also, the prices are fantastic and I usually have no problem finding shops with prices that fit my budget.  Below are some of my favorite Etsy shops and their links!  ** This post IS NOT sponsored by Etsy.com or any of the Etsy shops featured in this post!  Etsy is a site I use and the shops are ones I frequent and recommend to family and friends! I only recommend things I have tried, loved, and want to share!  All photos are credited to the shops: Tanneicasey, junebirds, MagicMarkingsArt, CartoCreative, and Theresa Rose. I DO NOT claim ownership of the photos***

Favorite Etsy shops

TanneiCasey

Link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/tanneicasey

Tannei Casey is the owner of the shop and creates beautiful tote bags, makeup pouches, coin purses etc. of various sizes.  She  hand makes all of the products which are superb and lasting quality!  I have purchased two of her regular tote bags for work and they are still going strong!  Also, I have purchased her makeup cases for friends and they loved them.  Her work is of an amazing quality, affordablly priced, with various fabrics, and also customizable.

XL Tote bag

Tannei Casey

Regular Tote Bag

Tannei Casey 2

Inside the bag

Tannei Casey inside bag

 

Junebirds

Link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/junebirds

Suzy Baldwin is the owner of Junebirds.  She makes key fobs and a variety of customized cellphone cases.  She is a pleasure to work with when creating a design and is very communicative.  The prices are reasonable and there are a multitude of designs and case styles for you to chose from. I recommend the tough case because you get a durable case and pretty design on the cover.  Looking for a customizable phone case check out junebirds!

Cellphone Case Design

Junebirds cellphone case

Cellphone Case Styles

Junebirds case 2Junebirds case 1

Key Fob

Key fob

MagicMarkings Art by Cathie Carlson

Link:https://www.etsy.com/people/MagicMarkingsArt

Cathie Carlson owns and creates the products for this shop! I love, love, love this shop! So much thought and care goes into Cathie’s art and designs!  Before I moved to FL I got one of the custom house portraits tile.  All you do is email Cathie a picture of your house and she will draw and paint it on the tile.  She also does ring holders, ornaments etc.  This will be a great gift to get for a family member or friend.  Check out the site today!

House tile

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Tile

Ornament

Magic Markings

Ring holder

Ring holder

CartoCreative

Link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CartoCreative?ref=l2-shopheader-name

I love browsing through this shop! There are tons of map art prints at reasonable prices!  There are so many I would like to buy and they are customizable.  I ordered one to hang in my room!  They are beautifully designed and a cool conversation piece and artwork to display in your room,office, or home!

Maps

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Theresa Rose Designs

Link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheresaRose

Theresa makes gorgeous jewelry at reasonable prices.  I have gotten pieces for friends and family.  My favorite items are the birthstone and hand stamped initial necklaces. So many things to choose from and if I could I would buy more jewelry pieces from her shop!

Birthstone Necklace

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Hand Stamped Initial Necklace

 

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Earrings

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Hope this list of shops helps you with your holiday shopping!  These are products and stores that I love and purchased from in the past.  Even if the shops above do not tickle your fancy check out Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/?ref=lgo and you will find something for everyone on your list!

** This post IS NOT sponsored by Etsy.com or any of the Etsy shops listed above! Etsy is a site I use, love,  and the shops above are ones I frequently look for gifts on! I only recommend things I have tried, loved, and want to share!  All photos are credited to the shops: Tanneicasey, junebirds, MagicMarkingsArt, CartoCreative, and Theresa Rose.  I DO NOT claim ownership of the photos**

~Amanda

Early Christmas bugs me…

Every year Christmas comes earlier and earlier in the retail industry.   When I go shopping this time of year Christmas music is playing and decorations are hung all before Thanksgiving.  This is insane and it every year I have noticed this happening earlier and earlier.  One store had Christmas ornaments on display after Halloween.  The next holiday is Thanksgiving, thank you very much, not Christmas.  Now that the stores have broken out the holiday music before Thanksgiving all I want to do is avoid shopping and stores.  My mind is thinking about Thanksgiving not Christmas and all I want to do is get through the Thanksgiving holiday: Okay Thanks!

Major kudos to Nordstrom for keeping the actually meaning and excitement of the holidays by posting signs like this in various stores! It is nice to see a store that will not be filled with holiday music or decor before the Thanksgiving holiday!  Now if more stores can take the hint from Nordstrom and do the same!  Thank you  Nordstrom!

nordies

 

 

Music Mood

Have been updating iTunes and my iPod recently and thought I’d share my latest playlist with you all. It has been fun jamming to this on the ride to work! Enjoy!

1. House of Gold: twenty one pilots
2. Unbelievers: Vampire Weekend
3. New Americana: Halsey
4. Holiday: Vampire Weekend
5. Molecules: Atlas Genius
6. Shots: Imagine Dragons
7. Clint Eastwood: Gorillaz
8. Go Big or Go Home: American Authors
9. Tear in My Heart: twenty one pilots
10. House Party: Sam Hunt
11. John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16 Keith Urban
12. Run: Vampire Weekend
13. Stressed Out: twenty one pilots
14. Horchata: Vampire Weekend
15. I Wanna Get Better: Bleachers
16. Glory Days: Bruce Springsteen
17. Down on the Corner: Creedence Clearwater Revival
18. My Sweet Summer: Dirty Heads
19. Biscuits: Kacey Musgraves
20. Anything Goes: Florida Georgia Line
21. Blowin’ Smoke: Kacey Musgraves

THere is a little bit of everything here and its what I’m digging at the moment!

~Amanda