This Weekend…

… Just a few photos from a fun weekend

My new favorite beer.. illusive traveler

My new favorite beer.. illusive traveler

fresh fruit in our kitchen keeps me going!

fresh fruit in our kitchen keeps me going!

Dining out with my bestie, and our bf besties ;)

Dining out with my bestie, and our bf besties 😉

a wonderful present from a dear friend!

a wonderful present from a dear friend!

Top 5 Can’t-miss Blogs

Each day I have a ritual, besides the focus and attention on my own blog, I check out a few of my favorites as well, here are my 5 can’t-miss blogs!

  • J’s Everyday Fashion – This was probably my first fashion blog, the one that sparked my interest by offering up suggestions for copying high fashion looks on any budget. I use this site daily as a resource to help me to find new ways to wear my existing wardrobe and also gather ideas on what to buy next. Plus how cute is J?!

  • Pink Peonies – Rach of Pink Peonies just has such a way of putting together outfits that I find aspirational. I aspire to recreate her looks with what I have in my own closet. Feminine and chic, I always leave the site with a.few more pins on my style boards (Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter)

  • View Along the Way – This blog my go to for home improvement ideas, step-by-step DIY instructions, and great room makeovers. I really appreciate the hard work put into each project, and my boyfriend and I share the same passion for doing things ourselves. Absolutely check it out.

  • The Pioneer Woman – This list wouldn’t be complete without a nod to my favorite cooking blog. I’ve borrowed more than a few of Ree’s recipes and each one has made for a spectacular dinner party, holiday preparation or weeknight meal. The photos are great, and Ree provides a really nice tutorial before including the recipe, injected with her own style of cooking and flair. Her personality is what has kept me coming back to read daily, even when a new recipe isn’t posted. I just love getting a little glimpse of life on the ranch and reading Ree’s writing. The giveaways are also fantastic, and you can watch The Pioneer Woman on the Food Network!

  • Gal Meets Glam – Gal Meets Glam really rocks as far as photography, each photo is top notch, with great lighting, color, juxtaposition and balance. I really enjoy checking in daily to see what looks, backdrop and scenery Julia has put together.

I follow them all on Bloglovin’, be sure to follow me and all my favorites too, and let me know what your favorite blog is below! I then wrap up my morning ritual by visiting Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, making a quick stop at Tumblr, and then taking my adorable Boston Terrier for a nice long walk outside!

your new faves

#HerbalEssences Naked VoxBox

Yay! It is my first month participating on Influenster and I was chosen for the #HerbalEssences Naked VoxBox! Thanks @influenster!!

The box arrived via mail and was just so darn pretty, it made me even more excited for what was inside!

First up was the Herbal Essences Naked Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner

travel size, perfect for summer vacas!

travel size, perfect for summer vacas!

The scent is amazing on this entire line of products- I am really pleased with the freshness of the shampoo as well. It went on silky, left my hair feeling clean but not dry or greasy when rinsed, something that shouldn’t be taken for granted! I used it first on the hair that frames my face, since that tends to get a bit greasier than the rest of my hair, and it was clean as a whistle after washing, and the scent stuck around for quite a while. I later used the shampoo on my entire head of hair and it left everything feeling moisturized, without any residue.

Next I used the conditioner, which left my hair very soft to the touch, however, I have color treated hair, so I often feel like I need something a bit heavier for conditioning purposes, and, as fresh and clean as this product is, that is my only gripe. It is a nice light summery conditioner, something I would use as a leave in on wet hair at the beach or pool to keep it safe, and protect it from chlorine and the sun!  

Last in the box was the Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo, and I love it so far! I sprayed a little on my hair a few days after a wash, and it smelled amazing! This dry shampoo is lightweight, and does not make my scalp itch, something I have struggled with when using dry shampoos in the past. Has anyone else had this experience with dry shampoos?

I also read a recent post by Good Housekeeping on new uses for dry shampoo, so I sprayed some in my sneakers in lieu of baby powder, my feet feel fresh!

helpful tips from Good Housekeeping!

helpful tips from Good Housekeeping!

I look forward to receiving more from Influenster, and testing out more products in the Vox Box lineup! If you are interested in getting updates from Herbal Essences, follow them on Facebook (facebook.com/herbalessences) or Twitter (@HerbalEssences).

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

A Weekend in Las Vegas

I just returned from an amazing trip to Vegas, in honor of my dear friend Andrea’s last few months of singledom- she’s getting married this summer- and it was such an amazing time!!

I wanted to share some of the photos from our trip, and some of the great places we visited!

Day 1

We arrived on day 1 and donned our adorable “That’s what she said” tanks (The bride’s said “Yes” so stinkin’ cute) and headed to the Strip for a casual lunch at Margaritaville. We all shared a tower of delicious Margs and then walked around enjoying the 104 degree humidity-free heat.

After lunch we relaxed for a bit and got glammed up for a night out at XS in the Encore hotel. The hotel itself is gorgeous, I could have walked around and snapped pics the whole night, but there was dancing to do! The music was great, the crowd was fun and the best part about this club was the mix of inside and outside. And you could gamble right by the pool without leaving the club, because Vegas. We all wore massive plastic diamond rings (because he put a ring on it) and we danced our butts off. We felt like rock stars and had the best time- aren’t these ladies gorgeous?!

Day 2

Day 2 started off with an all-you-can-eat brunch at Pink Taco- this restaurant has the coolest vibe and decor! The food was yummy, and prepared us for a day at the Rehab pool party! This was such a great day in the sun, hanging out and laughing!

I’m noticing I have a lot of pics of food- it’s usually the first thing on my mind 😉 I had too much fun eating like a maniac- Vegas is really one of the best destinations for cusine of any type. 

After a light lunch, we headed to Nobu for dinner- can I tell you, this was the best meal I’ve had in ages! My friend and I already made plans to bring our men to the NYC location. Trust me, if you can make it to one, you have to go!

We ended the night at the Chippendale’s show, starring Ian Zering – yes, Steve Sanders. Who looks damn good!

Day 3

For our last day, one of my gf’s and I snuck over to the spa for another kind of Rehab- we certainly needed it. We then took to the Strip for lunch at Paris, and some shopping for goodies at Planet Hollywood. I was having such a craving for macarons!!

That evening we took in the fountains at Bellagio, which I strongly recommend, and headed to dinner at STK. The steak was divine, the wine was flowing and the company was superb!

Thank you again to Alecia for putting up with my constant tourist photo taking, and for being patient before we ate any meal while I photographed. 🙂 Thank you also to Rachel for contributing some awesome shots of the scenery. Last but not least, thanks again to Andrea for being the best Bachelorette ever and making sure that everyone had an amazing time!!

I can’t say enough how much fun I had with the girls on this trip, it was an amazing Bachelorette weekend! What is your favorite Girl’s Weekend destination?

your new faves

BYO Painting Class- a must try! #winanddesignrahway

After our day of outlet shopping and dining in Red Bank, NJ, my friend Natalie and I attended a BYO paining class at Wine and Design, in Rahway, NJ. 

We attempted Flip Flops on Beach , and here is the event description, sounds easy enough… 

Here is Natalie's work of art..

Here is Natalie’s work of art..

Here is mine

Here is mine

I think we did a pretty great job! It was a fun night, and we absolutely became better at painting as the wine bottle became more and more empty 🙂 The instructor was friendly and knowledgeable, and was able to help out anyone who had messed up- but it’s art! You can’t really mess up!!

Everyone’s paintings were great, and we got to take them home to hang in a prominent place! There are really a lot of talented artists who use the studio, and the artwork featured all around you was inspiring and beautiful. It was really a great time!

Thanks again #wineanddesignrahway

Wine and Design gallery

Wine and Design gallery

After the class I made a quick stop to pick up a notebook to help me plan out my blog posts, check it out, fiery red!

invaluable!

invaluable!

I have already planned out quite a few weeks worth of posts, so I hope you keep reading and enjoying!

What to do in NJ- Rainy beach day…

… outlet shop, dine and sample amazing desserts!!

Last week my friend Natalie and I set out for the beach, only to be met by storm clouds, but we were already at the Jersey Shore.. what’s a girl to do?! We grabbed some delicious drinks from Starbucks, and headed into the Jersey Shore Premium Outlets and got our shop on!!

We perused kate spade, Gap, J. Crew Factory, ALDO and Geox before waltzing into Banana Republic and finding some great deals!

There was this amazing summer bag and hat, just screaming to be paired with white shorts and a bright coral tank, this assortment of patterned and colorful cover ups, and this sunny yellow trench that I would happily wear in the rain.

Gap sneaks

Gap sneaks

In addition to the great selection at Banana, the Gap had the most adorable sneakers, so I picked up a pair of these for $20!

After shopping we headed to Red Bank, NJ to have some lunch at an amazing seafood restaurant, The Boondocks Fishery, that is open rain or shine, just our luck!!!

yummy lobster!!!

yummy lobster!!!

We ordered some great shrimp tacos, and saved plenty of room for dessert, which was hard because these were delicious:

Next we took a walk to the main area of town, and picked up some amazing treats at Antoinette Boulangerie

Yes, everything did taste as good as it looked!!! All of these sweets gave us energy for the BYO wine & painting class that we took later that evening, but more on that to come…

The next time you’re at the Jersey Shore and you are rained out, don’t get stuck inside, step out and enjoy some pretty beautiful and tasty things!!

My Favorite Treats

In an attempt to sweeten up this Monday, here are a few of my favorite Dessert and Treat recipes, labeled by flavor, Enjoy!

And one I have been dying to try… I will be sure to blog about it if I do!! Snappy Baking!

your new faves

Snappy Smoothie Recipes

#smoothietime

#smoothietime

It’s #smoothietime on SnapGinger, and I am sharing some of my favorite smoothie recipes, so get blending and Snap to It!

Strawberry Pineapple Blended
What you’ll need:
1 banana
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, hulled
1/2 cup fresh cubed pineapple
1 teaspoon dried coconut
1/2 cup juice of your choice (I’ve used orange, pink grapefruit and juice blends in this recipe)
1/2 cup of ice

What you’ll do:
1. It’s time to get a little tropical! Add ingredients to a blender, layering from the softest ingredient to the hardest, add the banana, strawberries, pineapple, coconut, then the ice, adding the juice in last.
2. Blend until combined, about 30 seconds, pour, enjoy!

Snap Tip: 
*Garnish with an extra strawberry, sliced lengthwise 1/3 of the way up- now you’re feeling and looking tropical!

After School Snack Smoothie
What you’ll need:
1 banana
1 tablespoon chunky peanut butter 
1 cup milk (I used soy milk or Lactaid)
1/2 cup of ice

What you’ll do:
1. This one brings me back to my childhood, and is a great snack any time of the day, especially before a work out! Add ingredients to a blender, layering from the softest ingredient to the hardest, add the banana, peanut butter, then the ice, adding the milk in last.
2. Blend until combined, about 30 seconds, pour, enjoy!

Mocha Java Smoothie
What you’ll need:
1 cup brewed coffee, chilled (We live for Dunkin’ Donuts brand in our household, but use your favorite)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 cup of ice

What you’ll do:
1. Mmmmmm Chocolate… Add ingredients to a blender, starting with the cocoa powder, then the ice, adding the coffee in last.
2. Blend until combined, about 30 seconds, pour, enjoy!

Snap Tip: 
*Garnish with whipped cream, chocolate shavings and a swirly straw for that special fun touch!

Sbucks Chocolate Smoothie Dupe
What you’ll need:
1 banana
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup milk (I used soy milk or Lactaid)
1-2 teaspoons of chocolate syrup, such as Hershey’s (Depending on desired sweetness level)
3/4 cup of ice

What you’ll do:
1. A great dupe for the Starbucks Chocolate Smoothie, which I haven’t seen on the menu in some time, but continue to ask for. Add ingredients to a blender, layering from the softest ingredient to the hardest, add the banana, cocoa powder, chocolate syrup, then the ice, adding the milk in last.
2. Blend until combined, about 30 seconds, pour, enjoy!
3. Share with all of your friends and show them how you just saved $4.75!

Fruit Cocktail Smoothie
What you’ll need:
A mix of the following fresh fruit, in whatever quantities you have on hand:
kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, cantelope, honeydew, watermelon, grapes
1/2 cup juice of your choice OR 1/2 cup of milk
1/2 cup of ice

What you’ll do:
1. This is an upgrade to the fruit cocktail you know and love, and also is a great way to use leftover sliced fruit that is on the verge of spoiling. Add ingredients to a blender, layering from the softest ingredient to the hardest, add the kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, cantelope, honeydew, watermelon, grapes, then the ice, adding the juice or milk in last.
2. Blend until combined, about 30 seconds, pour, enjoy!

Snap Tip: 
*Add in chia seeds, if you have them on hand. I just recently ordered some from Amazon, and I am really enjoying the way they thicken up my smoothies, while adding protein, essential fatty acids, and promoting energy!

<Full Time Mama