12.26.2018

After Christmas Sale Picks: Nordstrom & Loft

I have been eyeing some things at Nordy for a while, but I didn't pull the trigger on them until this morning.  I have a few of my top deals below, some are 60% off!  Don't delay, I am not sure how long these will last!


I have been wanting to get this dress for at least 6 months.  Every blogger on the planet seems to have it and it looks great on everyone.  I even had this one in my cart and almost bought it for myself before Christmas.  But I am glad I waited!  It is 60% off making it less than $25!  It comes in 5 colors too.


If you are looking for a fun NYE outfit, this gorgeous lace romper is on sale for under $25 too!  I love the details and the lace, it makes it so feminine and gorgeous!


This black knit dress with a cut out would also be perfect for NYE or anytime you need a LBD.  I think the cutout adds a cute touch and gives a fun and playful twist to a basic dress.  The best part?  It is under $30!

I love Adidas right now!  And even though I can't always wear athletic clothing, I can always wear a dress.  This classic three stripe dress is 50% off!  So cute with adidas kicks too!



If you are on the market for a cute bag, this pink one from Rebecca Minkoff is 50% off!  The color will transition perfectly for spring too.  


I also love this rust red crossbody.  And it is under $35!  So cute for winter and crossbody bags are so comfortable, in my opinion.

Another cute crossbody that is under $30.  It comes in three color options too!  Grey, blush and olive!  

Are you on the market for some rain booties?  What makes these even better is the leopard print!  And they are super reasonable at $32.96!  


I am loving these 1.State pumps for 60% off!  They are available in multiple colors and are classics!  

Caslon skinny jeans look like they will fit perfect.  I can't wait to try them, especially since they are 55% off and under $31!




Everyone knows that I love Loft.  I think they have some of the cutest skirts, dresses and work wear items for me.  And they are made well.  I tend to invest in pieces that I think will stay in style for a while and that I will get a lot of wear out of, and I can use in other seasons by layering or changing the way I style them.  The best part?  When they have an extra 60% off sale items, you can score some great bargains!  I have some of my Loft picks below:

I love these button fly jeans.  And truthfully, I love the way that Loft jeans fit me.  I think they run TTS and are comfortable and flattering.  The dark denim will look great with most everything too.  And they are only $24!!  


I actually got this leopard dress for Christmas, but I think it runs a little big and I am going to have to exchange it.  Regardless, I love the subtle leopard that could be dressed up or down. And it is $14!!


This smocked red dress is really classy and flatters most shapes. And the sleeve detail is so good.  It would be perfect for Valentine's Day too.  And it is selling for $16!  Such a steal!


I love detail on skirts.  This one has floral embroidery that is perfect.  You can pair it with a royal blue top, white top or even chambray and it will look different each time!  Plus it is only $12.  


I am loving this floral jacquard skirt.  The colors are so pretty and you could easily wear this in the spring and summer too.  It is flirty and could be styled so many ways.  And it is $14!


You really can't go wrong with the lace detail on this sweater.  It comes in 2 other colors for the same price and one other color for slightly more.  It would look great with jeans, dress pants, skirts or layered over a dress.  The pink color would be perfect for Valentine's Day and spring too...only $20!


I love this blue cable back sweater.  The details are so pretty and the sweater looks great with black or white pants.  I love how it will transition perfectly to Spring as well.  And the color is gorgeous.  It comes in a white as well, which is perfect for layering. And it is only $18!


I love a striped tee and it is even better when there is a little fun embroidery on it.  This tee is only $6!  And you could pair it with jeans, a navy, white or red skirt or knot it over a dress.  So many fun ways to style it and it is a steal.  



Do you shop after Christmas sales too?  I would love to know if you like these picks as much as I do! Let me know if you have a retailer you want me to scope out for the best deals!

12.17.2018

Standing Rib Roast: The Perfect Holiday Meal

Christmas meals are a big deal around my house.  As a kid, we always went to my Papaw and Mamaw's house on Christmas Eve for a big meal and gifts. After all of our Christmas morning festivities, we would go to lunch on Christmas Day with my Granny and Grandpa.  Both of these events had a lot of food because I have a pretty big family.  I am so proud to say that I was born into a family of excellent cooks, on both sides, so cooking has always been fun for me.



Last Christmas I wanted to cook a really nice meal for my parents and my in-laws.  I was determined to make it feel extra special and went to visit my favorite local butcher (M&M Meatlocker) and I picked up a standing rib roast for the occasion.  He assured me that even though it looked fancy and difficult, that it was actually super easy to make and would be the hit of the night.

I was really stressed about making the rib roast on the day of the dinner, but just like my friend told me, it was really simple and turned out perfectly.  It was seared and browned on the outside and juicy on the inside and the flavor was impeccable.  If you are still wondering what to make for your special holiday meal, let me stop you right there and tell you, get a standing rib roast.  You won't be disappointed.



Before I get started on my cooking how to, let's talk about some other important things to know and consider when buying a standing rib roast.  

  • A standing rib roast can contain anywhere from 2 to 7 ribs.  This is the same cut of meat that butchers use to cut ribeye steaks from, which is probably why it is so yummy.
  • If you have a local butcher, most will cut and tie, so that it makes carving extra easy for you.  But if you want it to stand on a platter, you may not want it cut.  The flavor is the same either way. 
  • I always tell people to buy their meats and seafood from a local butcher.  I live in Hendersonville, NC and my butcher of choice is M&M Meatlocker.  If you don't live locally, find a local butcher in your area.  Trust me when I say it makes a difference.  
  • Butchers can do speciality cuts, explain things better than the grocery store or big box retailer, and advise you on how to prepare things.  Additionally, they are great at helping with special requests and getting hard to find items.  
  • But the best reason?  I just think their products are better. The standing rib roast that I purchased was fresh, never frozen.  The same for my turkey at Thanksgiving.  My butcher shop grinds their ground beef fresh in the store with no additives, they make fresh breakfast sausage that is amazing and I guarantee you that the steaks they sell rival any you have had at any restaurant.
  • When it comes to good quality food for my family, I am always going to choose the quality at M&M over any cheaper price.  You can just taste the difference in their products.

So now for the cooking part!  It is so simple and easy.  The recipe that I followed is linked here, but I also went ahead and filmed a YouTube video for you that I embedded below.  I would love it if you would watch it and let me know your thoughts and if you enjoy a standing rib roast this holiday season!  The cooking temperatures and full recipe are below the video for your reference too!



Perfect Standing Rib Roast courtesy of Sweet and Savory by Shinee

1 5.5 pound standing rib roast
1 TB kosher salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
  • The night before cooking, remove the standing rib roast from the package and coat it with the salt.  Leave uncovered, in the roasting pan, in the refrigerator. 
  • Two hours before cooking the roast, remove from the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
  • Coat the standing rib roast with the cumin, black pepper and garlic powder mixture.  
  • Place it in the roasting pan, ribs down and fat up. 
  • Place roast in a pre-heated oven at 200˚, uncovered.
  • Roast for 3.5-4 hours.  Keep a watch and use a meat thermometer to reach the appropriate temperature, per the chart below.  
  • Once temperature is reached, remove from oven and cover with foil.  Let stand for 30 minutes.
  • Turn the oven up to 500˚.  After 30 minutes return roast, uncovered to the oven.  
  • Keep a careful watch, once the outside is seared and browned (approximately 15-30 minutes) remove and let sit another 5-10 minutes and slice.
Rare:  125˚
Medium Rare: 135˚
Medium:  145˚
Medium Well:  155˚
Well:  165˚

Do you have a holiday meal you love?  Or a secret to a standing rib roast?  Comment and tell me below.  And if you try this recipe, I would love to know what you think!

11.27.2018

Giving Tuesday: The Amyloidosis Foundation



The Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday has been designated as Giving Tuesday.  It seems fitting that after Thanksgiving and during the holiday season we should try to give back to others.  I had not really heard of Giving Tuesday until this year, but it seems like the perfect time to pay it forward.  I have so many things to be thankful for this year.  And I am especially grateful that my mom was able to enjoy Thanksgiving after her stem cell transplant.

You may have read my post about making southern dressing for Thanksgiving, and I talked a little about my mom and her diagnosis of Amyloidosis.  Today, I want to share a little more and explain why this Giving Tuesday I am supporting the Amyloidosis Foundation.


First of all, you may be wondering what Amyloidosis is anyway.  To try and simplify, it is a rare bone marrow disorder where a protein called amyloid is overproduced and then clumps together and deposits itself on organs, nerves and tissues in the body.  The more the production of amyloid increases the more health issues are cause by it.  My mom has the AL form of the disease.  In her type, it typically affects the kidneys, heart, digestive system or the nervous system.  

The first symptom for my mom was when her lymphnode swelled under her arm in August 2017.  The believed that she had lymphoma; but after lots of tests, she was eventually diagnosed with amyloidosis instead.  At first, they did nothing to treat as they believed the amyloid was only affecting her lymphnodes.   But then she began to be unable to eat and lose weight.  She coughed all the time.  Her legs and feet hurt a lot and she had neuropathy as well.  My mom is a shopper like me and when she could not even shop because her legs hurt too much we knew something was not right!  

Back in February, Mom had an endoscopy that confirmed the amyloid was present in her GI tract and that is definitely what was causing all of her digestive issues and her cough.  Even though the amyloid in the nerves in her legs was never officially diagnosed, they believe that is what was causing the pain there too.  After this was discovered, she started a treatment plan of a chemotherapy injection called Velcade, along with some oral chemo medications to try and combat the amyloid production.

To make a long story short, the Velcade was not working so the doctor changed the regimen to a new drug.  After a couple of months on it, it was determined that it was not working great either.  The only other treatment option was a stem cell transplant.  I say treatment, because Amyloidosis has no cure yet.  The goal of the transplant was to kill the plasma cells causing the  overproduction of amyloid.  And hope that they stay a way for a long time.  

The week before her transplant, I went to Chapel Hill with her to many appointments.  She had to have her apherisis catheter implanted, meet with nutritionists to review what foods were off limits, meet with physicians and pharmacists.  It was completely overwhelming at times.  We also went to a wig shop in the hospital because her hair was going to fall out.  I have to say, it was something we were both dreading, but the ladies in UNC were amazing and made the experience fun.  One morning we got up super early because we could not sleep and went to Belk for the charity day sale.  I think it was a way to get out one more time and shop and enjoy ourselves before the hospital confinement started.

While we were in Chapel Hill, she had to begin injections in her stomach so her body would produce more stem cells for the collection that was set to take place the following week. Her stem cells were collected on one day the following week, and then the following day she had a massive dose of chemo called Melphalan.  The very next day, 8/31/18, the stem cell transplant took place.  During this time, my dad was there with her and I know I was driving them crazy calling all the time to check on her.  That weekend I drove down with one of my moms friends to visit over the Labor Day weekend.  Honestly, she was doing remarkably well.  I could not believe how great things were going, but I was super happy about it, especially since I was so worried.

The next Saturday, I drove down to stay for a week and give my dad a break.  I swear from the moment we switched places, it went downhill for her.  Her numbers began to drop, as was expected.  She was so sick that entire week.  She could not eat anything, it made her so sick.  Even walking was difficult.  She was exhausted and dehydrated most of the time.  She had to have IV fluids a lot and have a transfusion because her white blood cells went so low.  

Also during this week, her hair began to fall out.  She made the decision to shave her head while I was there. The nurses could not find their clippers and they used her electric razor for her legs.  That was the worst day.  The electric razor did a terrible job of shaving her head and left it patchy and gapped looking.  I wanted to just cry for her.  I know hair is just hair and will grow back, but it was still not pleasant to watch it take place.  Also, I did go to Target and get some clippers to fix all the patchy areas and it is finally starting to grow back some!

On Saturday, I switched with my dad again, and while she was still some sick, it was much better.  She was released from the hospital later the next week and had to stay in Chapel Hill for  a few more days.  She has been home since late September and will be able to go out in public without a mask very soon.  The transplant has been very successful so far and at this point, no further treatment is required other than regular follow ups.  While I know the disease will return at some point, I am just extremely grateful that the stem cell transplant was an option.  Years ago, this would not have even been available.  

More research is needed in this disease, but since it is rare disease (less than 4,500 people a year are diagnosed), it may not always get the most funding.  But this is a very near and dear to my heart cause, and if nothing else, I hope that this blog post will raise awareness.  If you would like to donate, please visit the Amyloidosis Foundation site.  


Lastly, I would like to thank the staff at the UNC BMT. The nurses there were exceptional.  There is also a place that patients families are allowed to stay called the SECU Family House. The people and support you receive here is also amazing. And here in Hendersonville, I would like to thank Dr. Navin Anthony; he is so fantastic.  He is one of the kindest and most empathetic physicians and really cared about my mom and still continues to monitor her.  

September 2017
My parents, Easter 2018

Mother's Day 2018 with my mom and siblings


August 2018: 2 weeks before transplant






11.21.2018

Just A Few Black Friday 2018 Sale Picks



There is one thing about me that is a fact.  I love a good deal.  There is something about getting a bargain that is just invigorating to me!  Haha!  It is always my goal to save more than I spend.  Black Friday and Cyber Week make the perfect time to stock up on great deals that you may need or just want.  

If I am being honest though, I used to be a huge Black Friday shopper.  But when stores started opening on Thanksgiving and staying open all night, it just made me want to shop online instead. I loved getting up early, having my coffee and a plan of attack.  I think shopping all night does not appeal to me because I am so not a night owl.  I am usually in bed before 10. ;-)

One of my tips to save even more on these deals, is so easy!  Sign up for Ebates!  It is so easy and when you are shopping online you automatically earn cash back on things you are buying anyway.  It also searched for coupon codes so you can save even more.  It really is the easiest thing to earn more cash back.  I love it!  Sign up here:  Ebates Sign Up

Amazon Deals

Please note, deals are time sensitive and have limited quantities, they may sell out.

I love this deal on the Amazon firetv stick because you get prime video channels AND you get Starz free for 2 months.  Here is the think about Starz, you can watch Outlander.  And personally, I think that alone is worth the price!  If you have someone that loves a great historical TV show, this would make the perfect gift and it is under $25!


If you know someone that is easing into the "smart house" lifestyle, this echo dot/light bundle might be just the ticket.  It is a great starter pack and will allow someone to control their lights.  I got this for my parents last year and they use it all the time.  


A great tablet for kids is the Amazon Fire Kids Edition.  It has parental controls and is protected with a case too.  It comes in multiple color options such as pink, blue and yellow.  And it could help encourage reading as well.  My niece and nephew love theirs that we got them last year.

Amazon has so many great deals this week, but since they are quick as some of them only last an hour, it is hard to link you to them all.  If you are looking for something specific, send me an email or comment and I will help you look for it and send you link if I find a steal for you.

Other Great Deals I Love


I love these pull on jeans!  I hate wearing a cute tunic or a top and seeing the button poke through.  It drives me crazy.  These are under $15 and come in 4 colors.



I love a good pajama set.  The buffalo plaid on these is so cute. And I think they would make great photos on Christmas morning.  The best part is that they are on sale for $14.99.


I love some cute athletic wear.  The lace up detail on this sweatshirt is so cute!  And it is 40% off!  



This coat is perfect for winter.  It comes in 5 colors, I just love the winter white.  The gold button details and the fur trim are so gorgeous!  And it is only $66!  You save 70%! 



I am in the south, so flannel is standard among the men I know.  These are only $9.99 and come in a ton of colors!  You should definitely grab them.


I have so many more options that I love, but my internet connection is running sooooo slow.  So, I am going to post to attempt to post some more deals tomorrow on my stories and here.  Please head to my last Instagram post and tell me the best deal you found!  Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!  I am truly grateful to each of you that take the time to read my blog.  






11.13.2018

Thankful Tuesday + My Mama's Southern Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe



Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  It is a day filled with some of my most loved things; family, food and shopping!  While I am always thankful for my family, this year I feel especially thankful for my mama.  It has been a year full of struggles for her and I finally feel as if we can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

A brief back story for those of you that may not know me on a personal level.  Back in August of 2017 my mama woke up with a really swollen lymph node under her arm.  She went to the doctor and was told that it was probably an infection and they administered IV antibiotics.  When that did not fix the problem, she had a biopsy and the lymph node was removed for testing.  At this point they believed that she had lymphoma of some kind.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and she still did not have results.  You should probably know that I am a pretty impatient person. I know I was driving her crazy calling her every hour asking if she had heard results from the doctor.  I could not understand what in the devil was taking so long!  FINALLY, the doctor called and told her that she had something that he did not really understand enough to explain and that he would schedule her with a hematologist/oncologist to review, but that she did not have lymphoma.  (Yeah, it is comforting when the doctor hasn't heard of it.)

On one hand I wanted to be excited because it wasn't lymphoma but on the other, the unknown is frightening!  I went with her and my dad to the doctors appointment and she was officially diagnosed with Amyloidosis.  I linked you to a page that can explain this disease further.  This disease is pretty rare and only about 4,500 a year are diagnosed with it.  I feel like I am a pro at explaining it at this point, but it is so complicated the link is probably best.

My mama has had a year filled with tests, scans, chemo and a stem cell transplant.  She has been sick with nausea and stomach issues from where the amyloid impacted her GI tract both before and after the transplant.  Food does not taste very good at times and even when she gets a craving for something it doesn't quite taste like she hoped.  But even with all of that she will still get up sometimes, cook a huge meal and call me after work to come and have dinner so I don't have to cook when I get off.  I can't even begin to tell you all how much my mama amazes me with her strength and giving heart.  I will always be extremely grateful that God blessed me with her as my mama.

Thanksgiving is a family affair.  I have a pretty big family and we all live very close to each other.  My brother and sister in law have 6 children (3 biological and 3 adopted, I will write about that story one day soon!).  My sister has 3 cute kids and I have 2, but my oldest is 22 so she isn't really a kid anymore.  Typically, my uncle, cousin and Mamaw come too, so it is a full house.

We take our food very seriously at Thanksgiving.  My mama has always made the dressing for as long as I can remember.  And this year, she is making one and I am making one too.  Even though I followed her recipe to the letter, for some reason I bet hers will still taste slightly better.  What is it about your mamas food that makes it better than when you make it? Haha! ;-)

I made a video below that goes through the steps, give it a watch and comment either here or my last Instagram post to tell me what you think.  The full recipe is below the video.  I was a little nervous to film myself, so forgive my constant RBF.  I was happy, I swear! LOL!  I would love to hear how you do your dressing different and tell me what your favorite Thanksgiving food is too!

 
Mama's Southern Dressing

  • A pone of cornbread, staled for a day or two
  • 4-5 leftover biscuits, staled for a day or two
  • 3-4 pieces of stale loaf bread
  • Pepperidge Farm Cornbread Dressing Mix (One 14 oz bag)
  • 1/2 lb high quality breakfast sausage (I buy mine here)
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1/2-3/4 stick of butter
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of onion, chopped (put as much or as little as you personally like)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of celery, chopped (put as much or as little as you personally like)
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 32 oz carton of Swanson Chicken Broth (or you can make your own broth) 
  • Poultry Seasoning (to taste)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Directions:  
Crumble the cornbread, biscuits, bread and dressing mix into a large bowl.  Heat water and butter on medium heat and add the onions and celery, cook until tender.  While the onions and celery are cooking, brown the sausage.  Once it is browned, add sausage (+ pan drippings) and the hard boiled eggs to the bread mixture. When the onions and celery are tender, add them as well.  Mix well.  Add salt, pepper and poultry seasoning to taste.  Add two eggs and slowly add the chicken broth and continue to mix.  Once it is mixed well and has a sticky consistency, crumble the dressing mix into a buttered casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until browned.  You can make the dressing ahead of time and freeze.  Just take it out of the freezer and thaw completely before placing in the oven.  

10.30.2018

Camo, Leopard, Cardigans and Complete Fall Fashion Trend Looks Under $60, Affordable Fashion Edition

If there is one thing I love its cute clothes that don't break the bank.  I am a bargain shopper to the core and nothing excites me more than finding a great quality product that is reasonably priced or on sale.  While I love some brands that are pricey, I also don't think you always have to spend a fortune to look good.  I try to have a good balance.  

A couple of weeks ago on my Instagram stories, I asked what you guys wanted to see.  Overwhelmingly, I had people ask for clothing options that were budget friendly.  And one person even challenged me to create complete outfits, including shoes, under $50.  I don't typically back down from a challenge, so I am happy to share with you three complete outfits that also incorporates some of this seasons biggest trends; camouflage and leopard.  Two of these are right at $55 and one is right at $60, but that is for everything even cute shoes.

First up, can you believe this cowl neck tunic sweater  is only $17!?!  It comes in multiple colors, is super soft and runs true to size.  I don't see this pink online, but it was in my local store.  I think the olive color is great too.  They would be perfect with leggings too because they are long enough to cover. These high waisted jeans are really good quality, hold things in and are flattering.  I think these jeans run slightly small, I am wearing a 4 for reference.  Finally, these fringe booties are so cute!  They are comfortable and stylish.  And for under $20, they can't be beat.  They would look great with dresses and skirts too.  I think they run true to size as well.


Complete Outfit Total:  $54
Tunic    Jeans    Booties






The next outfit is the same skinny jeans, but this time I paired them with a black cut out body suit, camo duster cardigan and some slip on tennis shoes.  The bodysuit is so soft.  And I love the cutout detail, it is so edgy looking!  Plus, bodysuits remind me of high school so that makes me feel young.  Ha!  It is a junior fit, so I sized up to a medium for comfort.  The camo cardigan has a hood and is duster length.  It also has pockets, which I love.  I sized up to a medium on it as well for the same reason.  I finished the look with comfortable slip on shoes.  (I could not link the exact bodysuit, duster or shoes online, but check your local store! I am sorry!)


Complete Outfit Total:  $57
Duster (similar)   Bodysuit    Jeans    Shoes




The final look is an adorable cream sweater with button details.  It is perfect to pair with a lot of different things, but you can never go wrong styling it with skinny jeans.  I can't find the exact one on their site, but I found one that I might love more with fringe!    But my favorite part of this outfit is by far the leopard booties.  I have been searching for some that are reasonably priced, because lets face it, who knows how long they will be trendy.  These are so budget friendly and come in at $20!  The are comfy and would look fantastic with leggings, dresses or skirts too.

 Complete Outfit Total:  $54
Sweater    Jeans    Booties




Now, would you believe that everything in these looks came from Walmart?  They have completely stepped up their game.  (And this post is not sponsored!) I can't wait to hear what you guys think of these looks.  I would love to know if you love the camo and leopard trend too.  Head over to my last Instagram post and comment to let me know your thoughts.  While you're there, let me know if you want to see more posts like this with budget friendly looks or something completely different.  As always, thank you so much for your support and kindness.