Friday, November 30, 2012

so true.

It's Friday.
Now go raise some hell!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

do you have a type a or type b personality?

My personality type is:

Mix but more of type B

You are a mix of the Personalities but you seem to be more of type B than of type A. You are more lazy than you are competitive. You procrastinate a lot and you take time doing some tasks or projects. You are informal, self-confident, relaxed and agreeable. Type B are as motivated as type A people. You are patient and you do your tasks in an efficient and calm way. You pay attention, transmit less anxiety manifestations and are less affected by stress because Type B are not competitive and they don’t have any inflexible time urgency. You are more laid back than most but you also are alert at the same time (mostly). You might find yourself relaxing and listening to music than doing your work or what's really important. But you do work, you will drive yourself to do your work but afterwords you would want to be with friends or just hanging out in your room (or whatever environment soothes you). Relationship matters that would probably come first to you would be laziness and irritation.


Are you Type A or Type B? 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

christmas gifts: men - olrids & downtown

With the holidays slowly approaching, I'm sure we're all beginning to think about what we're going to buy for that special man in our lives. After perusing the Oldrids & Downtown websites, I've come up with some great, out-of-the-box options!

6oz. flask with leather trim - Perfect for just about every man under the sun!

I own this machine and swear by it - So user friendly, appealing to the eye and easy to clean!
For the artist, actor, wordsmith or data hound in your life!
Perfect for any NASCAR, Indy or Formula 1 fan's desk!
Oldrids sells more than just gifts -- They sell furniture, clothing and so much more.
Happy shopping!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

40 travel tips from an expert traveler

From packing before your trip to arriving in your destination - This post will walk you through every step and will assist you in all things related to travel!


I'm an expert traveler.
How did I become an expert traveler?
Let me tell you:
  • I've traveled to 48 states, every one of which I've been to more than once 
  • I've been to every big city in the country and many little cities/small towns
  • I've been to 28 professional football stadiums and 23 major league baseball stadiums
  • Over the past 8 years I've spent 43 months traveling
  • 43 months = 1,290 days on the road and sleeping in hotels
  • I drove around the country all 43 months. I never once flew
  • I've driven from the east coast to the west coast and back 5 times. 10 round trips
  • Throughout my drives, I have been fully emersed in each of our great states
  • I've seen the sunrise, the sunset, the desert and the mountains... all from a car windshield
  • I've driven through flash floods, tornadoes, tropical storms, black ice and Death Valley
  • Factoring in my airplane travel, I've spent approx. 50 months, 1,500 nights, in a hotel
  • That totals to a little over 4 years of travel
  • I've been on 3 cruises - Mexican Riviera, Caribbean, Adriatic Sea
  • I've been to 15 countries, backpacking around 3 of them

The below tips will help you stay organized, calm in stressful situations, prepared, hydrated and somewhat healthy while traveling.


I can pack 1 suitcase for 4 months at a time and differing seasons.
When traveling for 1 week I bring a carry-on suitcase and a purse.
For a 2-5 night work trip I bring a small carry-on duffle bag and a purse.
When traveling for work for just 1 or 2 nights, I bring a backpack... and that's it. 


Based on many trials with varrying luggage pieces, hotel stays and flights, I have finally mastered my traveling style. Through trial and error, below is what I have learned.

Before Leaving for Your Trip

When packing jewelry, use ziplock bags and an unused make up case. Place your colorful earrings in 1 Ziplock, all of your gold earrings in another, etc. Place a necklace in each Ziplock separately. Then store all of these Ziplocks in a cloth make up case. This method will ensure that nothing gets tangled together, everything is organized and easy to locate and every piece of jewelry has a place to live in while you're out of town, ensuring that you'll lose nothing.

Tote bags are cute, but practically worthless. Unless you have one with many pockets and that is not too deep, your tote bag will become an unorganized catch all. I forego fashion for comfort and praticality when traveling, and although entirely juvenile, backpacks are the way to go! I travel with an Underarmor backpack that has many compartments, zippers and mesh pockets. I stay organized and never lose anything thanks to this backpack!

Always check-in on your airlines website 24 hours in advance and from the comfort of your home, especially when carry on your luggage and simply checking 1 bag/each. Make sure to print out your boarding pass or send it to your e-mail - TSA agents can scan your phone if you pull up your ticket barcode in your e-mail at security. 

Have an account with every airline and every hotel chain to ensure that you are acquiring miles and points for every trip. These eventually add up to free flights and free hotel stays. And shoot, after a year of not flying sometimes the airline or hotel chain will mail you a letter telling you that your points will expire if you don't use them -- often times they offer you free magazines. This is great for when you only have 1,200 point on an airline... You get free InStyle for a year!

Pack an empty water bottle - re-usable or plastic. You will get this through security with no issues. Fill it up at a water fountain in the airport. Hydration is important when flying.

Always travel with your cell phone charger in your carry-on or purse. Never pack it in your checked luggage. You never know when you'll have a delay or flight cancellation and the last thing that you need in a stressful moment is for your phone to die.

Many airlines have an app - use it. US Airways does not.

Booking Hotel Stays

Pick a hotel chain and remain loyal to it. With every night stayed at a hotel you acquire points. With each stay, these points accumulate and you will eventually earn a free nights stay to that particular hotel chain. I'm a Marriott girl, but I also earn points with every other hotel chain out there (Hilton, Starwood,  Choice Hotels) because those random stays will add up to a free night. This goes for airlines also!

Book your hotel stay through or, even when overseas. You will not gain points by doing so, but you will get up to a 50% discount on hotel/resort rooms. We do this all the time - even when we went to Cabo and Italy!

If you book your hotel stay through or you will not earn points for your stay. You must decide if the price difference is worth losing out on the points. Generally it is.

What to Wear When Flying

We all can't look like Lauren Conrad when traveling, nor do we all sit 1st class and have private jets - therefore, looking cute while still being comfortable is a priority to me. I stick to yoga pants, comfortable cargo pants, leggings, flowy tops, sweaters and maxi dresses. Basically, I pick my outfit based on what would be comfortable to lounge/sleep in should my flight get delayed/cancelled and I'm stuck in an airport for several extra hours/overnight. It happens all too often. Be prepared... Layering is key!

Throw on a simple necklace and earrings, but keep jewelry to a minimum. No one wants to hear your bangle bracelets clink together while on a flight.

Scarves are a cute accessory and provide warmth in a cold airplane.

If you have long hair, wear it down, in a high bun or a low ponytail. If you put your hair in a bun/ponytail in the middle of the back your head, you will be so uncomfortable once you're in your airplane seat. Trust me. Those headrests hit at a weird spot.

You must remove your shoes at 98% of airports. Wear easy shoes to get in and out of.

If flying in sandles, bring a pair of socks in your carry-on or purse -- Those planes can get cold!

At the Airport

You can bring food through airport security. Pack snacks or a meal for yourself from home. My favorite airplane snack is peanut butter filled pretzels and the above salad is a great meal to travel with!

Every airport has a "bag drop off" counter for those who check-in at home and pay online for their checked luggage. You do not have to wait in the long check-in lines if you've checked in at home and are just dropping off your checked luggage. There is a separate line at most airports and is clearly marked for those who have checked in at home and are only dropping bags off.

As of August 23rd, 2012 you can bring a larger sized bottle/container through security as long as the liquid inside equals 3oz or 100ml or less. Example: My Neutrogena face lotion is in a 5oz bottle. As long as that bottle is approx. halfway empty I will be able to get it through security.

Make sure to always put your laptop in it's own security bin. You cannot put your shoes or anything else in with it. Laptops must go through security in their own bin. iPads and tablets, however; can remain in your carry on... They do not need to be taken out because there is no hard drive.

Obama has not given TSA agents a raise in 3 years. Be patient with them. They are just doing their job. (if anyone has information to the contrary, please bring it to my attention)

On the Plane

When traveling with an infant, it's a thoughtful idea to put together a bag filled with goodies and a sweet message for everyone on your flight. If you do this, you're guaranteed to make friends with everyone. Who could possibly compain or be upset when sucking on a Jolly Rancher from the babies in 20E and 20F?!

Don't be afraid of turbulence. Planes don't just fall out of the sky. You can equate turbulence to potholes in the sky... It's the wind changing directions. I know it gives most people, including myself, sweaty palms and a racing heart, but you will be fine.

Order tomato juice on the plane. It's a filling and healthier option (although the sodium level is high). That or ginger ale, which will ease your stomach pains through turbulence.

Travel with an inflat able, washable travel pillow. This is what I use.

Have each airline's phone number saved in your phone. If you have a delay or cancellation, instead of waiting in the long line of disgruntled passengers at the gate counter, you can comfortably sit on a chair chatting with an airline agent on your phone. They can help you just as easily as an in-person agent and they aren't overwhelmed by the chaos occuring in the terminal. Be nice to them and they'll go above and beyond to help you out!

Hotel Tips

When booking hotels using Marriott's website, they have standard rates and often offer room packages and marriott rewards rates as well. There are times when it's worth it to just book a standard room rate and times when it's worth booking a room package or marriott rewards rates. Make sure to do your research -- We have acquired many gift cards thanks to the room packages rates! (Hilton and other hotel chains offer this also)

Choice Hotels will earn you a free hotel the quickest. They are not high end by any means, but they are a place to rest your head and they do offer free breakfast, many accept pets and are often located in ideal locations, such as on the beach or in a city. If you luck out and have an Ascend Collection hotel in your destination city, I recommend staying there.

Many hotels offer free breakfast - take advantage of this!

Hotels, such as Marriott's Residence Inn and Hilton's Hampton Inn, offer their weekday guests (Monday-Thursday) a managers reception in the evening hours. This reception often includes free wine, beer and appetizers. Some also offer a free light dinner - hamburgers, salad, meatballs, sandwiches, chips, baked potatoes, etc.

Always run the hotel air conditioner and/or fan. By doing so your hotel room will get cold. Pack your pj's accordingly - sleep and lounge in sweatpants, even in the peak of the summer months. This cold room will help keep germs and mold at bay. Cranking up your hotel room heater is a recipe for sickness.

Bring a mini can of Lysol with you. This is what I have. Spray the door handles, toilet handle, faucets, telephone and remote control immediately upon check-in.

Do not drink out of the coffee mugs or glasses in your hotel room! Think about it -- Have you ever seen fresh mugs and glasses on the maids cart? I never have. They might get wiped out in the bathroom sink, but they do not run them through a dishwasher. Do not drink out of anything that isn't wrapped and sealed in plastic.

Every hotel has a lost and found box. Go to the front desk and politely ask if you can look through their lost cell phone chargers. If one matches your phone, they will let you keep it. It's always nice to have an extra cell phone charger around the house!

Once You're in Your Destination

Take Emergen-C everyday.

Purchase a case of water bottles from a local grocery store. This will only cost you $4 and will ensure that you're staying hydrated.

Call your hotel to see if they have mini refrigerators in room. If so, while at the store, pick up some protein bars, fresh fruit, nuts, v8, yogurt and other healthy snacks to off-set the rich dinners and high caloric cocktails you'll soon be consuming.

It's not easy for anyone to workout in a hotel gym. Keep your goals small and attainable -- no one likes to feel like a failure while on vacation. Try your best to hop on the treadmill for a minimum of 20 minutes daily... Hey, it's better than doing nothing!

I want to stress the importance of Tips 32 and 33 -- If you don't spray your remote control with Lysol, bring a ziplock bag with you to put the remote in. You can push the buttons through the bag.
Story: Someone recently told me about how they used to work with professional skateboarders. These guys would swipe the remote up their butts and pee in the coffee pot. 

Wash your hands more than usual. Catching colds and coming home with a bug is not fun!


Get-away weekends and vacations are necessary for the psychy, for a healthy marriage and for a productive employee and a dedicated parent. The above tips will help you stay organized, calm in stressful situations, prepared, hydrated and as healthy as possible while traveling.

Whether it's for work or pleasure, have fun on your next trip!

* If you have discovered any great travel tips of your own, please include them in a comment below. I love to learn how to be more efficient and how to get more bang for my buck! 
* If you are a mother and have any recommendations about flying with children, please comment below. I clearly don't have any experience with that subject and feel that that is the only main topic that I wasn't able to cover.

Monday, November 19, 2012

weekend roundup - girl time & panther's game

 This weekend was a relaxing, yet fun one!

I kicked off Saturday with a morning walk at the lake with Maran and our pups.
The girls had so much fun walking the trail, playing in leaves and running around the beach together.

 Sunday morning rolled around and we made breakfast for our next door neighbors.
French toast in our pj's with 2 little girls and a baby boy. 
Doesn't get much better than that!

After breakfast we cleaned up and headed to the Panther's (vs. Bucs) game.
A friend gave us her dads season tickets, so our seats were phenomenal - row 12 - and free!
Oddly enough, we went to the Panthers vs. Bucs game last fall... in Tampa! Read here.

We had such a great time and really thought our lowsey team might pull off a win.
But alas, they lost in overtime. Go figure...
All in all -- great weekend!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

home decor: crosbys

A couple of summers back Bryan and I spent some time in Greece.
While there I became enamored with olive wood.
I bought a pair of gorgeous olive wood earrings and an olive wood piece to display in my house.

Best believe I was taken aback when I realized that Crosbys sells beautiful olive wood trays at the most affordable of prices.

Can't you just envision the below olive wood long server filled with bread?
Or maybe I'd use it as a catch all for my keys.
I love decor that's unique, versitle and a conversation piece all at the same time!
And then there's the below olive wood platter with handle.
Pretty sure I'd use this for cheese and crackers nightly!

Crosbys sources internationally, so if you don't see the item you're looking for on their website just contact them and they'll do their best to source it for you!

* This is a sponsored post. I had the freedom to write what I wanted, all words are my own and my honest opinion.

Friday, November 16, 2012

my go-to pasta salad recipe

This easy pasta salad recipe is, hands down, a favorite in my household!


Betty Crockers Suddenly Pasta Salad in Classic

Pour Suddenly Salad mix into oil.

Stir together.

Cook pasta on stove top and drain.

Combine all ingredients in large bowl.

To ensure all ingredients blend and settle, refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Consider adding:
Pepper Jack Cheese
Bell Peppers
Banana Peppers
Black Olives


Monday, November 12, 2012

a moment of truth

four seasons

The tree in front of my house has turned the most vibrant shade of orange.
I'm still stunned to be living in a state that experiences all four seasons!

Friday, November 9, 2012

the perfect gift... bullets poker

I don't know about the men in your life, but my husband loves poker night with the guys!
He has an old, shabby table that he sets up and I'm thinking about getting him a new one.
Shhhh... Don't tell 'em!

Bullets Poker is my one stop shopping website for everything poker!
From tables to chips to accessories... You can find it all here.

Bryan's always had a table top and I think that's what he prefers.
I love this poker table top with its wood track and black edging.
If he pushed my seasonal tablescape aside (ahem!), it would fit perfectly on our dining room table.

And because I love blackjack, I think I'd throw in this automatic card shuffler for myself.
I mean, I'd feel like such a pro!

So tell me... Are you or your significant other a lover of all things gambling?
If so, what's your favorite to play - poker or blackjack?

Happy Friday!

* This is a sponsored post. I had the freedom to write what I wanted, all words are my own and my honest opinion.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"g" stands for...

I've mentioned my family room ladder before.
And although I just love it, there was always something missing, I just couldn't pinpoint what.
Enter the large "G"
Not only is it the perfect compliment to my decor, but its added height balances this wall.

If you're wondering, the "G" clearly stands for Gangsta 'cause that's what we are ;)

* Letter "G" sold at Steinmart. Available in a variety of colors