I offered to cook Thanksgiving dinner. You're probably thinking ... WHY WOULD YOU DO SUCH A THING? ESPECIALLY WHEN WE ALL KNOW YOU CAN'T COOK! I'm starting to realize that wasn't such a bright idea. I thought it would be FUN. Then I started googling HOW to cook Thanksgiving dinner and realized there are WAY more steps involved that I originally anticipated. My husband also requested REAL mashed potatoes, so I can't even skimp and use instant. My plans this weekend include making a list and shopping for everything I will need to prepare Thanksgiving dinner ... so here's where you can help.
I'm looking for EASY side dishes and mayve some tricks/tips for preparing/cooking a fresh turkey. No tip is too simple ... thanks in advance!
I hope you have a great turkey day with friends and family. Pour yourself another glass of wine when the family drama kicks in, wouldn't be the holidays without it! ;) XO -A
After weeks of Jeff taunting me with carbohydrates … I’m happy to report that it’s been 5 weeks on the diet plan I’ve been following and I haven’t cheated a bit! It hasn’t been easy, especially because of my LOVE of pizza, but it’s been doable and I feel great. Many of you have emailed me for the title of the book I read and the plan – it’s the Metabolism Miracle and it was actually written by a woman originally from Taylor, PA! A friend of mine followed the program and had great success … and as a self-proclaimed Carb-aholic, I knew I needed to cut back on the processed foods and carbs. While I miss PIZZA and the convenience of throwing pierogies in the oven with a salad for dinner, I feel so much better laying off of the carbs ... even if it's temporarily to follow this program which limits you to 5 net carbs every 5 hours. If you want more info. on that - check out http://www.themetabolismmiracle.com/
Hope you have a great weekend! John and I are going away to Niagara Falls, Canada to celebrate our first wedding anniversary! Can you believe it's already been a year?! Nuts. I also beat Jeff's guess that we'd be expecting a baby within the first year ... he refuses to believe we're waiting a little bit! ;) XO
Hi! Hope you had a great 4th of July weekend! I tweeted a photo of my famous Jell-O shots and had so many people ask how I made them, so that's what you'll find in this blog. I've been making these red, white, and blue Jell-O shots for a few years and EVERYONE loves them. If you prepare a few days in advance they are REALLY easy to make.
All of the little cups and lids are found at Party City ... it's the Jell-O that's the problem. Finding WHITE Jell-O is a chore, but if you're willing spend a little extra, I found Pina Colada Jell-O on Amazon and that's what I used! (It takes awesome too!) The trick to these jello shots is to let each layer color set in the fridge for an entire day before adding the next layer on top! For first timers - make jello like you normally would, but replace the COLD cup of water, with a cup of vodka or rum! I used a different flavor vodka for each color Jell-O!
In all, it takes 3 days to make these ... but trust me, it's totally worth it. They are a total CROWD PLEASER on the 4th of July! Save for next year! :) XO
Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to SUMMER and after this LONG freaking WINTER, I'm bringing in the SUMMER FUN ASAP! John and I were talking about having nothing to do Memorial Day weekend and VOILA, his parents texted us that they are going to have a BBQ. Perfect! I was assigned drinks! My favorite! His family has come to expect over-the-topness from me, so I can't disappoint. I quickly did a PINTEREST search for festive beverages for the party. If you're doing it up this weekend - check out these drinks ... perhaps be the party starter and bring them to the party you're attending!
For the grown ups (I still think it's weird that I'm considered one of those) a sangria ... and for the kiddos (I'm totally trying one of these too) a red, white, and blue drink!
For the kids: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/202662051956591429/
For the adults: http://welcometomontalvocountry.blogspot.com/2012/06/red-white-and-blue-sangria-white-wine.html
We all live very busy lives. We make choices every day that determine our tomorrows. We often ignore things that don’t affect us and some of us only care about things that we or loved ones are passionate about or affected by.
May is Melanoma Awareness Month. If I can inform just 1 person of the dangers of the sun and how SCARY it is to face melanoma, I will be happy.
When it comes to cancer, we all know someone. When they are diagnosed, we google it, learn all about the kind, and hope for the best possible outcome.
Before I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, I didn’t know what melanoma was. I had heard the word few times, but never really knew what it was. Skin Cancer wasn’t on my radar AT ALL. I was in my early 20’s, focused on my career, and living in my own little bubble. It never crossed my mind that I would be faced with a potentially deadly cancer. It also never dawned on me that a little mole on my breast would turn my life upside down. I try to share this story with anyone who will listen because the fact that I had no idea what melanoma was, means there are other people walking around without a clue too.
It seems like until many people know someone personally that has been diagnosed with melanoma, it’s still one of those things that they think won’t happen to them. Until I share the details … the painful, sad, scary details … the words don’t leave an impression.
If you don’t know someone who has been diagnosed with Melanoma, LET ME BE THAT PERSON. Let me be the person you have a direct connection to … the reason you educated yourself what to keep an eye out for. If you're going through it and need a friend, reach out. I'm happy to talk with you! XO
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. It is the least common form of skin cancer, but the deadliest. Never did I imagine that I would be the one dealing with it … especially in my 20’s. If I knew THEN what I know NOW, I would have done many things differently.
Before: I tanned here and there, but never regularly. I just didn’t have the time. I grew up in New England and while I don’t remember having horrible sunburns growing up, I’m sure I had a few. (One blistering sunburn early on in life doubles your chance of developing melanoma later in life) Sunscreen was something I used when it was around, but I didn’t seek it out. Sunglasses were purely a fashion statement, never a necessity. Hats, same thing. I didn’t think twice about the time I spent outside in the sun and often complained that I could never get a tan. Looking back, all of that was stupidity and ignorance. The reality of it was … I didn’t know better. I didn’t know anyone who had melanoma … it was never a topic of conversation ... so I knew nothing of it.
What is that? I’m not even quite sure what made me realize that a new mole on my breast was something to be alarmed about. I noticed a small dark dot on my breast when I was getting out of the shower one day. I was 24. I noticed it and carried on. A few months later, I noticed it again and this time it seemed to be a little bigger. Again, I carried on with my life and thought nothing of it. It was a 2 months later than I noticed it was changing. It was darker, bigger, and had edges that were a different shade of brown. The center was almost black. While I didn’t think “skin cancer,” I did wonder if that was normal. (Skin cancer didn’t even cross my mind once – that terrifies me for other people who like the 24-year-old me, know nothing about melanoma)
I showed a friend. Showed her again weeks later. Again a month after that. Finally she insisted I show my doctor. I had a gynecologist appointment coming up, so I waited until that appointment to bring this mole to a doctor’s attention. The moment she saw it, she told me I needed to call a dermatologist and tell them I needed to be seen immediately. I didn’t even have a dermatologist! I called, waited 3 months for an appointment (more waiting – meanwhile the cancer could be spreading) and was finally seen. That’s when a mole changed my life.
Diagnosis: My dermatologist performed a biopsy and confirmed the diagnosis of malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. (Those results took weeks to come back) When he told me I would be needing to schedule an appointment with an oncologist the next day, I THEN started to understand what was happening. The word melanoma meant nothing to me, but I did know what an oncologist was. I teared up, but knew I just had to face it a day at a time. He told me not to go home and google melanoma … which of course I did. He warned me it was going to say scary things, which it did. Everything I read talked about it being the most aggressive skin cancer and how fast it spreads. I have a hard time expressing how scary this was. I went from blissful ignorance to being face with all of this scary information very quickly.
The treatment: Days later I was undergoing multiple surgeries to remove scoops of my breast (leaving about a 4-5 inch scar) and surgery to remove lymph nodes from underneath my arm to determine whether the cancer had spread. (The survival rate for melanoma that has traveled to distant organs is only 15%) I’ll spare you the details, but one thing I will NEVER forget is how PAINFUL some of the injections were before the surgery. Thankfully, my melanoma was discovered at an early enough stage that there was no evidence that it had spread to other parts of my body.
Now: It was a terrifying experience. It didn’t end there, but I’ll end the story there. Ever since (the past 4 years) I’ve undergone many other tests (countless MRI’s) and biopsies for fear that the melanoma did in fact spread. I’ve had MANY more suspicious moles removed (all of them being pre-cancerous or non-melanoma) and continue to teeter on the fine line of being vigilant and paranoid.
Prevention: Wear sunscreen. (Check the expiration date, they DO expire quickly) Reapply often. Cover yourself. Wear a hat when you’re outside during midday hours. Wear sunglass – melanoma CAN develop on your eyes … and avoid indoor tanning! Embrace the skin you’re in. You don’t need to cook it for it to be beautiful!
What to look for: Everyone should know the warning signs of melanoma, which are as simple to remember as A, B, C, D and E—
“A” stands for asymmetrical. Does the mole or spot have an irregular shape with two parts that look very different?
“B” stands for border. Is the border irregular or jagged?
“C” is for color. Is the color uneven?
“D” is for diameter. Is the mole or spot larger than the size of a pea?
“E” is for evolving.
Hi friends! Hope you had a nice weekend! John and I spent the weekend in my hometown in RI so that I could attend a bridal shower on Sunday. One of my best friends from high school is getting married in May and had her shower yesterday. I ordered the wine rack from their registry, but wanted to take the gift to the next level. (This could be part of the reason why everyone says I'm over the top, I like to call it creative)
I can't take credit for this idea at all, I found it on Pinterest ... but love it and put my own little spin on it. Along with the wine rack, I gave her a wine basket of firsts! A bottle of wine for a few big FIRSTS she and her soon to be husband will have.
First Fight - a bottle of Clean Slate.
First Anniversary - a bottle of Monogamy
First Baby - Sweet Bliss
First Christmas Eve - Spiced Apple wine
First Dinner Party - Champagne!
Each bottle had it's own cute poem label to go with it! If you want to do this idea for a shower, you can print out the cute little labels on this website in a variety of colors. Totally free. Just scroll down to the bottom for the link. http://www.occasionsonline.com/bridal-shower-gift-wine-basket-poem-tutorial-free-download/
It was a big hit and a bunch of you asked for more info. when I posted it to Twitter! So here ya go! If you have any questions, email me! Amanda@985krz.com. All of the wine was found at my local PA Wine & Spirits! :)
I'm starting to wonder if I should be writing reality tv blog. I email, tweet, and facebook message with so many of you that watch the same shows and I feel like we should all just be having one giant conversation. They sometimes happen in facebook threads ... but there is just so much to cover.
I'm not even going to waste my time or energy on last night's Bachelor finale. The sum it up - Juan Pablo turned out to be a real dud and showed his true colors. I'm not even mad at him for not saying "I love you" because if you don't feel it, don't say it ... but I am mad at him for being so COMPLACENT! Nothing fazes this guy. Anyway, the After the Final Rose was totally awkward and fake. There is NO way he and Nikki are actually together. That's all I have to say about that.
Onto more important BRAVO matters . . . Real Housewives of New York returns tonight and I can't help but wonder . . . does anyone look at Carole and wonder . . . ARE YOU STEVEN TYLER'S SISTER??? Is it me ... or do they look like twins?
No really ... take a look. CLICK HERE. I posted this picture on Facebook a few days ago and no one really said anything. Whether you watch the show or not you can appreciate how THE SAME they look, right? I'm not hating on her, I actually like her a lot ... but how come no one else is noticing this?!?!
Please tell me i'm not nuts and they really do look related.
Hi friends! If you're looking for a nice night out that will help support a wonderful local cause, please join me for a happy hour to support Candy's Place at Susquehanna Brewing Company! If you're not familiar with the amazing work Candy's Place does, visit CancerWellnessNEPA.org and poke around. Candy's Place offers free wellness services and programs to cancer patients and their caregivers. It is an incredible place and helps so many here in our community. Join us for some drinks and fun to support this amazing place! XO
Friday, March 14 from 6-8 p.m.! Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Admission includes beer and wine tasting, brewery tours, beverages, food tasting courtesy of area restaurants, and live music!
Tickets may be purchased in advance at Candy's Place, by phone (570-714-8800), or online (www.cancerwellnessnepa.org). Proceeds benefit Candy's Place.
XOXO Have a great weekend! Hope to see you in 2 Fridays!
HEW! After months of keeping this secret … Saturday was finally the day! I threw my husband John a SURPRISE 30th Birthday Party and it was a total success! With the help of tons of friends, we pulled off an awesome surprise and had the best night celebrating with friends! Just looking at him all night, you could see how happy he was to be surrounded by all of his favorite people!I over-share everything and talk all the time (lucky him) so it was so incredibly hard to keep this party a secret, especially because we needed to get to Harrisburg to make it happen. The majority of his friends live in Harrisburg, so it made the most sense to have the party there. I arranged for a couple hour long open bar and just needed to get him to the bar, but first to Harrisburg. So a few weeks ago I told him our friends Dan and Becky wanted to go out to dinner for his birthday. That was our plan. I told him to invite some friends to meet us out for drinks after dinner. He texted all of his friends and everyone claimed to be busy. (They were all in on it)
We went to dinner with Dan and Becky and had a great time. In his mind, that was our plan for the night. We went out for an after dinner drink to kill some time because we weren’t due to arrive to the party until 8:15. Finally at 8:10, we had one of his friends (thanks SteveO) text him to tell him to come meet up at the Susquehanna Ale House. It was right across the street (part of our master plan) so we walked over. The moment we opened the door, John walked in and 45 of our closest friends screamed “SURPRISE!” It was AWESOME! He was totally surprised. The video isn’t great because of the lighting, but you get the idea.
He was shaking. I’m not sure why he addressed his friends as “Ladies and Gentleman” but it was adorable. Looking at him all night, you could just see how HAPPY he was. He had no idea!
It was a Jack Daniel’s theme because he usually drinks Jack and Coke. I didn’t want to make it too girly, but wanted to have a little theme. It was perfect. The bar was great (so nice!) and the night was awesome. I ordered Jack Daniel’s cake pops from Amy’s Dipped in Pittston to give everyone as a favor. They were a big hit! My friend Alyssa made the JD label cake which was also a HUGE hit. People were eating it until the next morning for breakfast. My friend Tanya (so ridiculously talented) made the SIGN! I’m obsessed with it! It all came together perfectly and I’m so glad it’s over … it was a secret that drove me CRAZY to keep! It was all worth it to see John SO happy and surprised!
We had an after party back at our friends Dan & Becky’s (they were so awesomely helpful through all of the planning and everything) and had a giant sing along in their living room. Dan is super talented and jammed out on his guitar and piano as everyone sang along. There was a keg and beer pong of course … my husband may be 30, but it’s still a frat guy at heart. :)
Have you had to keep a secret that DROVE YOU CRAZY!? This one drove me nuts, but I’m so happy it all worked out and was a SUCCESS!
2014 is off to a great start! We have lots of fun things in the works for the year on the show and as of Sunday, I've been married for 3 months! 3 months down, a lifetime to go. Married life is great ... there's something really cool about promising to spend forever with your favorite person. :)
10 days ago I started Weight Watchers online. So far, I really like it because it's easy to track on the app ... but to be honest, I really havent, my routine hasn't really changed. I was already making good choices, so I'm hoping maybe the close attention will make the difference. I'll wait an entire month before posting any results because I want to give it a fair chance. So many of you tweeted me your success with the WW program, so I'm hoping to see the same. The one thing I NEED to do is step it up at the gym. It's just so hard to actually get there. I really need to drag my ass there before coming into work.
Speaking of making good choices, I found the best (GOOD FOR YOU) protein bars ever. Most protein bars are candy in disguise... but not these. Check out QUEST bars if you're looking for something sweet that's REALLY low in sugar, high in protein and fiber. You can thank me later. I've tried most of the flavors, chocolate peanut butter is pretty much the most amazing thing ever.
This weekend my 2 godchildren are coming for a visit. I'm so exicted! I have a fun filled weekend planned for them and will check in on twitter! If you have any ideas or MUST DO things with kids in Poconos - email me Amanda@985krz.com!