Friday Favorites 9.30.16

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Happy Friday!  Let's get right to my favorites.

United Way Silent Auction results!  As I have mentioned before, I head my company's silent auction for our United Way Campaign.  The results are in and we were able to raise just over $10,800 for the United Way!  What's even better is that we raised more than last year (which was a record), so this is an all-time high for us.  To say I am excited about this is an understatement.  I always stress, but at the last minute everything comes through and it exceeds my expectations.

The verdict is in on the Essie Gel Couture Line.  I am a believer.  While my nails didn't last the 14 days advertised, I did get a good 9 days of wear.  This is twice as long as normal, so I will definitely take it.  I love that the application process is so quick, too.  You only take 1 minute between coats, then let the final, top coat dry for a bit longer.  It really cuts down on the time it usually takes me to do my nails, which is a big positive for me.  Time to start collecting more colors!

Free Starbucks!  My friend passed along this valuable piece of information.  If you use the Cartwheel app, go to "checkout" and then swipe left, a free Starbucks beverage barcode should appear.  Now, I should say, because I don't know the specifics on how or why it appears - maybe you have to hit a certain number of points, maybe you just get one free one when you use it, I don't know for sure.  However, what I do know is that it popped up on my screen and since I have recently become a PSL lover, I have big plans to pick one up while I make a Target run this weekend.

This fall weather.  It was straight chilly the other day and I was just loving it.  It's been so nice to drive with my windows down, have the windows open at night, while snuggling under a blanket.  Just perfect!  I hope it keeps up this weekend (and beyond), because I would love, love, love to be able to wear some of my fall favorites.

I ordered the Mix and Match Mama Eats cookbook a week or two ago and it finally was delivered yesterday.  I can't wait to read it and check it out!  I swear, if I had the space I would just collect cookbooks.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Linking up with AndreaAprilKatie and Amanda.   

Fall Favorites 2016: Bucket List

For the final edition of Fall Favorites 2016, Sarah and I are sharing our fall bucket lists, or our favorite fall activities.  While I might not get everything done, it's still fun to think of all the festive fun you can have during the fall!

1.  Make applesauce.  My grandma makes the BEST homemade applesauce.  I have all the necessary tools to make the applesauce, but have never actually tried.  This year will be different!  If it's a win, I will definitely be sharing the recipe.

2.  Make two pumpkin dishes - one savory and one sweet.  I made a pumpkin dish earlier this week that I mentioned yesterday, but it was so yummy I want to make more!  I never really tried savory pumpkin until now and just loved it!  Pumpkin squares are also a fall staple for me and I will be making them, even if it is just to take to work one day.

3.  Try a pumpkin spice latte.  I always wanted to see what the hype was so this was a must to my list this year.  Verdict - I wish I had never tried it because I love it and am addicted after one!  Yum!

4.  Visit a winery.  We have some gorgeous wineries around the St. Louis area with amazing views.  One of my favorites is Chandler Hill and I would love to get out there one weekend.

5.  Go to the pumpkin patch!  I love the pumpkin patch, it's just so fun.  Even though it only takes me like 5 minutes to find a pumpkin I want, I love the whole experience of going.

6.  Carve a pumpkin.  This is one that has been on my list for years, but has never quite been crossed off.  I already have the kit, so no excuses, this is the year!

7.  Walk under the trees, crunching the leaves.  I know this sounds silly, but one of the simplest pleasures in the fall is walking on a crisp day, with the leaves crunching under your feet.

8.  Take a drive to see the changing leaves.  There are some roads close by that make for a perfect Sunday drive.  They are gorgeous any time of the year, but even more so during the fall with all the colors!    

9.  Stock up on fall candles.  I already have gone through my Autumn in the Park candle and started on my Spiced Pumpkin.  I have heard such good things about B&BW candles, I may have to check out their selection, too!

10.  Decorate for fall!  As you know, this is something I have already done, but it's probably my favorite on the list.  I love how warm and cozy my apartment feels with all the extra d├ęcor.  Just signifies the start of fall (even if a few weeks after decorating it is still in the 90's) and all things to come!

What are your favorite fall activities?

If you want to check out my other fall favorite, click on the links below!

Linking up with Annie.

What's Up Wednesday: 9.28.16

I cannot believe it is the last Wednesday in September - where has the time gone?!  I am linking up with my usual Wednesday girls - Jessi and Jenn for What's Hap-pinning Wednesday and Shay for What's Up Wednesday.

What I'm eating this week...I was looking at Shay's Meal Planning Monday post for this week and saw her Pumpkin & Sausage Ravioli Bake recipe.  I headed to the grocery store and made it Monday night.  It is SO GOOD!  I have never really had a savory pumpkin meal, so I was super excited to try it and let me tell you, it did not disappoint.  I did change a few things - no splash of half and half/cream/milk and I only used about 1/2 of Panko for a topping - and just loved how it turned out.  I didn't feel like the pumpkin taste was overwhelming at all, it just had a really good flavor and texture that paired so nicely with the sausage ravioli. 

What I'm reminiscing be honest, nothing really.

What I'm loving...I recently had my first PSL and I am hooked.  I don't normally like coffee, but this has enough yummy flavor to offset it enough for my taste!  Not to mention the whipped cream.  I don't want to go overboard - I know it isn't the best for you (especially because I NEED the whipped cream), not to mention the cost definitely adds up, but I have a feeling it is going to be a weekend treat for me!

What I've been up to...finishing up my work's United Way auction.  It was definitely a success, but not without a few hiccups.  Let's just say I am glad it is over.  I also have been enjoying some quality family time, with a few days over Labor Day at my parentsmy mom visiting a few weekends ago and then a family wedding this past weekend.  Not to mention a Chicago trip on the tail end of Labor Day, which honestly seems like it was so long ago!

What I'm dreading...again, nothing really!

What I'm working on...I am trying to be a little more organized with meals and blog posts, so getting those planned ahead of time, as well as sticking to my actual plans is a work in progress.  I am always working on giving myself a little leeway on things.  It's ok if I don't get everything done on my to-do list and instead take a bit more time to relax and enjoy a book.  Sometimes that is just necessary!

What I'm excited about...fall, fall and more fall!  The weather has finally cooled down here and I am loving it!  The other night I had the door open, my favorite fall candle going, while snuggled under my faux fur watching TV.  It was lovely.

What I'm watching...sounds like this is popular with pretty much everyone, but the premiere of This is Us totally got me and I cannot wait to see where they take the show.  Designated Survivor seemed pretty good, too and I have a few others on my DVR that need to be watched.  My usual shows are thrown in there, too, RHONJ, RHOC, Teen Mom OG - I have let a few shows really build up (Kardashian's, Sister Wives), so I have been trying to catch up!  Have to make room for all the news shows, not to mention the upcoming Hallmark fall movies and then soon after that - Christmas movies!

What I'm listening to...same answer as usual - nothing really, although my radio is pretty much always turned on country.

What I'm wearing...I wore this dress to my cousin's wedding this past weekend.  I know it's a very popular one amongst the blogging world and I totally get it now.  I also broke in my Lucky booties and hope to be wearing them a lot more, now that things have cooled down.  I wore both my textured skirts to work this week (1 / 2), and am excited to have those back in my rotation.

What I'm doing this weekend...right now, my plans are a bit up in the air, but I don't mind.  Hopefully on deck will be a movie and some time spent outside.

What I'm looking forward to next month...lots of family birthdays (both my mom and my brother), another family wedding, and hopefully enjoying all that is fall!

Bonus Question: What is your favorite fall recipe...well this question is perfect, since I just did a post on my favorite fall recipes as part of the fall favorites series Sarah and I are doing!  You can see that post by clicking here.

Dinner at Busch Stadium

As I mentioned in my Friday Favorites last week, in conjunction with a work conference, I was able to go have dinner on the track at Busch Stadium.  Not only that, they offered tours and we were able to "pitch" in the bullpen.  SO neat!

When we originally heard about the event, we thought it would be a game.  Then we realized that the Cardinals weren't playing at home that night.  It was pretty much a guessing game until the week before the conference.  I got super excited when I heard we were having dinner "on the field" aka the track behind home plate that goes around the actual field.  

The buses arrived at that stadium, then we were escorted down to the area where the green seat ticket holders go.  It was a really big area with lots of tables and chairs and a buffet.  Through that area, you can get out in the stands and onto the field.  Once we got onto the field, we saw tables on the track, and a bar in the visiting dugout.  If that wasn't neat enough, tours were offered throughout the stadium.  We saw the clubhouse (just the doors), the room when they do interviews, the radio room and a few other things.  There were actually a few other events being held at the stadium, so we were unable to go see all the trophies.  Still, a really nice tour, with a very knowledgeable guide.  The food was delicious and the bartenders were serving up strong drinks.  After dinner, almost everyone made a trip to the bullpen to do some "pitching."  I quote pitching, because let's be honest, my throws did not even make it to the catchers.  And I saw catcher(s) plural, because I was aiming for one, while the ball actually went towards the other.  Oops!  However, it was really fun to see coworkers give it a try.  Some were really good while others were...a little more like me.  It was neat to see the city lights as the sky got darker and just to be level with the baseball field.

The experience was very cool, and probably a once in a lifetime thing.  When am I ever going to get a chance to do that again?!

Linking up with Whitney.

Weekend Recap

This weekend was definitely a good one!  I headed back home for my cousin's wedding.  I had been looking forward to this wedding, not only because it was a family wedding (my favorite), but also because it was being held out at my aunt's farm.  I love the idea of a barn/farm wedding and I was so excited to see how it would all turn out.  It was even more amazing than I had imagined!

I left St. Louis early Saturday morning to go to my parents.  My brother's family was already in town, so I was anxious to get in and see them all, especially Jack.  When I got in, Jackson had just gone down for a nap, which ended up working out because it gave us a chance to catch up a little bit.  Once he woke up, my mom and I took Jack on a stroller walk to Hallmark.  Apparently we are all very last minute people, because no one of us had gotten wedding cards!  It wasn't too long after lunch that we were all getting ready and heading out to the farm - the afternoon just really flew by.

The wedding was absolutely amazing.  From the venue to the music at the ceremony to the ceremony itself, it was all just extremely special.  My cousin is my brother's age, and she had one of their high school friends who is now a pastor, officiate.  It was so neat seeing him up there, and it made it that much more personal.  My cousin looked AMAZING.  My aunt made ALL the food, which included a soup, salad and main course.  Everything was really delicious and just the effort put into it all by everyone was wonderful.  I can't really put into words how great everything turned out, so I will let the pictures do the talking.  The best part though, was being able to catch up with so many people.  My dad has a large family and with people all over the place, weddings give us an opportunity to all come together. 

Shout out to my dad - he made the doors!  And my mom suggested the mason jars - too cute!

Jack was up early the next morning so I got some extra time in with him, which I just love.  We had a yummy breakfast, then my brother's family left.  I hung out a bit more with my parents and took a walk with my mom before I headed back to St. Louis.  For some reason, the drive seemed like it was taking forever, so I was super thankful when I actually got home.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing and getting a few things ready for the week.  If only the weekends were just one day longer!

Happy Monday!

Linking up with Biana.  

Friday Favorites 9.23.16

It's Friday!  Having a work conference the first half of the week really threw me for a loop, with after hours events in the evenings.  I have to say, it was a blast, but I was sure glad to get back into more of a routine.

The conference definitely held some of my favorites this week, the first being a happy hour Monday night, complete with karaoke.  Now I prefer to sing in my car, alone, but I work with a few people that LOVE to karaoke.  The night started out with "Born To Be Wild" and also included a male rendition of Shania Twain's "Man, I Feel Like A Woman".  It was fun to catch up with people I don't see as much, as well as hang out with some of my favorites.

Tuesday night was one of the best social events I have been to through work.  We got to go to Busch Stadium, where the St. Louis Cardinals play, and have dinner on the track behind home plate.  Not only that, but we were able to go on a tour of the stadium, get our drinks in the dug outs (and take pictures) AND we got to go to the bullpen and throw pitches to a few workers who were dressed in uniform.  To say it was the highlight of the conference would be an understatement.  I plan to share more about that night next week!

Part of the conference includes an HR session.  Usually it's some type of team building that includes us having to do something that is really outside of my comfort zone.  One time we were blindfolded, and had someone directing us to a specific item that was strewn all over the room.  We had to come up with the best way to get all the items in their proper place, which of course ended up with everyone having to work together, rather than just work in your individual team.  However, crawling on the floor blindfolded is something I could have done without.  Another year we had to "perform" a commercial, have it "approved" to then move forward with our next task, which was really awesome (building bikes for kids), but again, could have totally done without the whole commercial thing.  This year was MUCH more tame and so much more enjoyable for me.  It was all about gauging your development level and then being able to communicate your needs to receive the type of support needed from other co-workers and your boss.  Very useful and super interesting.

Moving in a different direction, another favorite is that fall is finally here!  While the Midwest still is feeling the heat - Mother Nature needs to get on the cooler temps, stat! - it is officially fall now.  I, along with so many others, LOVE fall.  I just love all that fall brings.  If you missed it yesterday, Sarah and I shared our fall decorating, and in the weeks prior have covered our favorite fall fashions and fall recipes.  Next week is the last edition - our favorite fall activities - so make sure to check back for that!

My brother sent a video of Jack this week that was just so dang cute.  He was playing with stacking cups, got super frustrated when he couldn't get them stacked right, but then once he did, he stood up (using my brothers head to help push himself up which was hilarious) and then continue to just give my brother the biggest bear hug.  SO sweet.  Getting glimpses of him is just the best.

Enjoy your weekend!
Linking up with AndreaAprilKatie and Amanda.


Fall Favorites 2016: Decorating

Happy fall!  It finally is fall, although I know myself and a lot of others think of fall as starting after Labor Day.  It's the real deal now, though!

Today's topic is fall decorating.  So far Sarah and I have shared our favorite fashions and recipes for fall, as well as a little bit about ourselves.  I feel like every time I prepare a post for our series, it is my favorite and this week the feeling is the same.  I love to decorate, especially come fall.  I love the richness of the colors and just how cozy my apartment feels with all the extra touches.

Here's a look inside...

Linking up with Annie.