Happy New Beginnings!

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What an incredible year this has been! I graduated from college, accepted a job that is relevant to my major, met awesome new people, started my blog site, helped my son enjoy his “Best Christmas EVER,” and rung in the new year on a positive note. I am so thankful that I have reached so many of my goals in just one year. Many, many thanks to my family and friends for their support–I am truly blessed!

The one thing I haven’t done yet is make a new years resolution. Personally, it has never been a big deal to me because I set personal goals for myself all the time. One of my goals, however, is to challenge myself by fully committing to this site and expanding my creative horizons.

2012 has been very exciting for me so far. I am moving into an apartment on my own for the first time ever! I will be adapting to my new budget, which should make for interesting posts in the future, as I learn thrifty ways of staying stylish, coming up with fun things to do, and experimenting with DIY projects for our new place!

Click here to see how Case of the Gimmes did in its first few months!

Thank you for your support!

Merry Celebrations

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Dress: check. Shoes: check. Hair & make-up: check. Everything fell into place as I met my coworkers (with my great friend, Lindsey) at the Mariott in Lancaster’s Penn Square to celebrate a prosporous year for our company. Even more exciting for me is that next Monday marks my first official day as a permanent employee! I am so grateful to have found stable work after a long journey to (finally) finish college. I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas gift.

What will you be wearing to celebrate the holidays? I think the green dress from my last post would be PERFECT for Christmas eve.

🙂

Holidazed: What to Wear

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May your days be merry and bright in the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle. I like to avoid shopping crowds like the plague because this time of year can bring out the crazy in people. Having experience working in retail, I know how chaotic things can get, so the last place I want to be is at the mall. When a dress I ordered online for my company’s holiday party didn’t work out, I had no other choice!

I really had my hopes set on this dress that is simple, versatile, and pretty but the fit was too big and unflattering. Highly disappointed, I begrudgingly pulled into the parking lot of the mall, doubtful of what the stores had to offer. The first store was all amiss, only heightening my level of frustration, but the next store quickly turned that around.

Francesca’s Collections is one of my favorite stores at the mall. It reminds me of a small clothing boutique that makes me forget where I really am. Instantly relieved by the atmosphere alone, I began to peruse the racks, picking up at least 10 dresses on my way to the fitting room. Once I closed the curtain to begin trying on the dresses, I already knew I was going to have a hard time making a decision.

This is not the only time I’ve had a hard time making a decision. In general, I have a hard time making decisions largely because I do not like limitations (this can make ordering food at a restaurant very stressful). I should have thought of bringing a friend with me, but of course, I didn’t. Luckily, technology came into play and I was able to consult with friends after all. 🙂

Which one would you choose? Stay tuned to find out which dress I took home, making me a very happy and relieved gal!

Delight Your Tastebuds!

Empanadas are always a big hit among my circle of friends and family. They are easy-to-make and delicious!  What more could you ask for??

Make your own empanadas!

Ingredients:

  • 2 packs of Goya discos (small orange ones found in the frozen international food section)
  • 2 lbs. of ground beef (or chicken or vegetables or whatever your little heart desires)
  • 1 container of 14 oz. sofrito (found in the frozen international food section)
  • 1 – 8 oz. bag of cheese, Mexican blend
  • 1 packet of jamón seasoning
  • 2 packets of sazón seasoning
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sour cream
  • Hot sauce
  • Sliced green olives (optional)
  • Chopped vidalia onion (optional)

Directions:

Defrost/thaw frozen discos and sofrito. Cook ground beef; strain. Mix together in large bowl: ground beef, sofrito, cheese, jamón, and sazón. Let mixture cool 5 minutes before preparing empanada (to prevent discos from getting too doughy). Place a heaping tablespoon of ground beef mixture into the center of disco and pinch ends together with a fork on both sides. Deep fry in vegetable oil at medium heat until disc is fully cooked and crispy. Place in container with paper towels to absorb extra oil. Cool and serve with sour cream and hot sauce as dressings on the side.

I like to get creative with empanadas by putting different things inside (e.g. pumpkin filling with nutmeg and cinnamon topped with cream and honey drizzle). Use your imagination and come up with your own concoction!

Fashion Owl: Costume Ideas

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I love Halloween, but I’m afraid that I’m getting too mature to spend my money on skimpy, expensive, and cheaply made costumes that I wear only once. I’m over it! I’m growing up and becoming more practical when it comes to spending my money. I would rather buy something I can use throughout the year or get thrifty by going to goodwill and my grandmother’s closet.

Although I haven’t decided whether I’m dressing up at all, here are two costumes I can wear any day of the year:

Joan Harris from the show Mad Men is sexy, sophisticated and a little devilish. I love her confidence and the bright colors she wears. Her style has inspired me but not my wallet! These items, however, are tasteful and timeless and although pricey–well worth it!!!

All of these items can be found at J. Crew.

Audrey Hepburn has beauty and grace that every girl wants. Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s has inspired this classic and elegant look that will never go out of style. Just add white gloves, a long cigarette holder, and maybe a tiara!

What are your costume ideas?

Picture Perfect Pumpkins

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I’ve been having so much fun getting crafty with the family lately. From drawing creative fortresses to making friendship bracelets together; I find myself getting hooked on coming up with more fun things for us to do.

In light of the season, the most obvious choice is pumpkin carving! We all enjoyed carving out jack-O-lanterns and I couldn’t resist making my own pumpkin owl. If you are interested in creating your own pumpkin owl, good luck in finding white pumpkins. Apparently, they are very popular (at least in my area). Note for next year: Buy early!

Fang and Jacki by Xavier and Gabe

Trick or Treat!

Jack-o-lantern Skellington by Alexander Lefever

Jack'owl'antern by yours truly

I forgot to grab toothpicks for the ears and feet, but I improvised, and even added wings! Now, if only I could be just as creative in coming up with a Halloween costume…

Simple Pleasures

Taking a moment to appreciate the small things…

After recently discovering Berries Frozen Yogurt right next door to my gym, I find it incredibly fulfilling to cool off with this guilt-free sweet treat!

The not-so-guiltless pleasure of being in the office Dark Chocolate Club. 🙂

Having a cute and cuddly visitor at work.

Getting in the holiday spirit.

Fashion Owl

The air is crisp and the leaves are turning. The autumn colors have been a major inspiration to my wardrobe, especially after a shopping trip to purchase mums and pumpkins (more on those in a future post). I love the deep reds, red-oranges, and mustard yellows. What colors are you wearing this season?

photo by: Alexander Lefever

Make-up Du Jour

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After several failed attempts at finding the perfect shade of red for my lips as a younger gal, I had all but given up. Recently, I saw red lips on the Kardashian sisters and Christina Aguilera and I just couldn’t help but revisit my personal longing to be able to pull this look off. After a couple of hours in the drug store and Sephora, I FINALLY found the one…along with some other items!

  • Lipstick – REVLON in Orange Flip
  • Nail polish – Essie in e-nuf is e-nuf (to match my new favorite lip color)
  • Mascara – Diorshow Extase (combine with lash primer)
  • Liquid eyeliner – SEPHORA in glitter black (I initially wanted to replace my flat black color but when they were sold out, this ended up being a pleasant substitution)
  • Face primer – Laura Mercier (free sample at SEPHORA!)
  • Perfume – Lola Marc Jacobs (heaven in a bottle)

Inspired by 1950’s glam and a viewing of Burlesque, I hopped on the beauty wagon with Sophia Loren, Bridgette Bardot, Christina Aguilera, and Dita Von Teese by sporting the coveted red lips and cat eyes.

So Long Sweet Summer

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As much as I am looking forward to fall, there are some things I am certainly going to miss:

1. Cookouts, fire pits, and expanding my palate. Hotdogs, shish kabobs, and roasted marshmallows never taste as good at any other time of the year. This past summer, I picked my own crab and conquered my fear of those slimy looking things in shells (clams) with a little help and encouragement from some close friends.

2. Bug watching. Anyone who knows me knows that I am terrified of bugs. This summer, however, I got a little closer to some “cute” bugs that didn’t cause me as much anxiety.

3. Sunsets at the Chesapeake Bay. St. Michaels, MD was the perfect summer getaway. I was able to recharge my soul with simple, yet breathtaking moments like this.

4. Aromatic enchantment. Beautiful flowers, fresh cut grass, and coconut are scents which give me that summertime sensation. Mmm…

5. Strolls in the park. I love scoping out the animal and plant life, throwing frisbee, and enjoying a picnic on the plush, green grass – especially with my most favorite person in the world!