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Pumpkin Pie Baked French Toast

07 December 2017

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Eight O’Clock Coffee for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
One of my favorite things about the fall & winter seasons is the flavors. Ok, yes, everyone loves their pumpkin spice lattes, but I like to dig a little deeper when it comes to my cup of morning Joe. I love that pop of flavor when I'm caffeinating first thing in the morning and Eight O’Clock Coffee Infusions Super Spice blend of Arabica coffee with turmeric and cinnamon flavor is currently doing it for me. Add a little milk and maple syrup to sweeten things up and we're really talking. It's basically fall in a cup without having to get dressed and walk over to the cafe. If you haven't checked out their new Infusions line, I highly suggest you run -don't walk- to the store, and check out all of the Eight O'Clock Infusions blends (coupon to buy online). They're rich with flavor and have some super unique added ingredients across the line including ACAI berries from the Acai Glow blend. If you love New Orleans coffee this is almost spot on for it. They also have Alert Hi-Caffeine with Guarana for Mondays and Relax Decaf with Lavender & Chamomile to help wind down after a chaotic week. 

In honor of the Infusions line and my current favorite flavor the Super Spice blend with turmeric and cinnamon I created an equally spicy and fall-appropriate recipe to enjoy with your freshly brewed cup of Joe. Meet my Pumpkin Pie Baked French Toast chock full of pureed pumpkin, fresh crusty bread and a variety of spices aligning with the Infusions Super Spice. Pumpkin pie for breakfast just became socially acceptable! Enjoy hot or chilled, alone or with the entire family (Okay! I'll admit it: I ate half the pan while shooting the pictures). Pro tip: Don't forget the whipped cream. 

Pumpkin Pie Baked French Toast (4-6 servings)

1 16oz Can of Pumpkin Puree 

3-4 cups crusty bread, cubed

1 Cup Milk, chilled (or Condensed Milk)

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 Cup Sugar

4 Tbsp. Maple Syrup

1 Tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 Tsp. Turmeric

1 Tsp. All Spice

1/4 Tsp. Ground Ginger 

1/4 Tsp. Salt 

1. In a greased pan add the cubed bread. Set aside. 

2. In a medium/large bowl combine pumpkin, milk, sugar and eggs. Stir in maple syrup and spices. 

3. Pour over bread until it's evenly coated. Tap the side of the pan a couple of times to coat all of the dry pieces. 

4. Refrigerate mixture for at least 30 minutes (or overnight) to soak thoroughly before baking.

5. Bake for 40-50 minutes in a pre-heated oven to 350˚. 

Let cool and serve warm with maple syrup, whipped cream and Eight O'clock Infusions Super Spice

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8 Fun Holiday Traditions To Start This Year

06 December 2017

I was asked by Carusele to participate in the #Papyrus campaign, sponsored by Walgreens. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.
There's something magical about spending the holiday season in the city: experiencing everything from tree lightings and the over-the-top retail windows, to ice skating and hot chocolate in Central Park. It puts even the greenest of Grinches in the holiday spirit. This year I've teamed up with Duane Reade and Papyrus to share the holiday spirit with Papyrus's boxed holiday cards found at one of my favorite spots in the city, Duane Reade.

Ok, I'll admit that I definitely forgot to send out our cards last year and ended up with 50+ postcards piled on my desk with our pregnancy announcement on them; so this year, I reverted to the classic way of sending out cards. That is, buying them from the store and then adding a family picture inside the envelope. That way extras can be reused for next year, if needed.

For me, holiday cards are a classic family tradition. When I was a kid, I would help my mom pick out our holiday cards and I remember seeing them all spread out over the dining room table as we filled them out. I got to add each stamp to the envelopes before mailing them off to friends and family. So now, I love to throw on a pair of festive pajamas, grab some hot chocolate and fill out our holiday cards together. This year's cards had to be festive but still be luxe, so I went with the Papyrus Gold Foil Poinsettia Card and The Glitter Holiday Card. Both have that pop of glam that I love and are crowned with that seal of approval, the gold foil Papyrus sticker. 

I will say I did stand in front of the display for a good 10 minutes trying to decide on my picks. There were a ton of options and I finally narrowed it down to these two. So as I fill out my cards this year, I thought I would share eight of my favorite holiday traditions for you to try this year. Whether it's just you, the two of you, or a whole brood, these are sure fire ways to get you in the holiday spirit...

1. Christmas Cards & Decorating
For us, Christmas cards and light decorating is first up. We pull out all of our Christmas decorations, put on some Christmas music, and start putting up the decorations as we fill out our holiday cards.
2. Decorating the tree
One of the most obvious of the bunch, but quite possibly my favorite. I loved helping my parents and grandparents decorate their tree. So having the opportunity to watch my boys pile ornaments on the tree is one of my favorite things to watch. It's definitely holds a few chuckle-worthy moments...

3. Picnic By The Tree
Now that the tree is decorated, why not enjoy it? We're a 'picnic' family and constantly campout in the living room for dinners on the floor and I have to say it's one of my favorite things to do. Grab a pizza or your favorite finger foods and have a picnic next to your newly decorated tree...

4. Game Night
This is a new one in our house but it's already starting some traction. Pile everyone up and grab all of your board games for family game night in front of the tree. Personal favorites: Twister, Connect Four and Guess Who?

5. Cookie Decorating
You can't celebrate the holidays without cookies! You train all year just to add those holiday inches to your waistline. Last year we had a cookie decorating party and invited all of our friends over to decorate the cookies of their choosing. Tip: pre-bake cookies for later decorating.

6. Movie Night
Snuggle up with a huge bowl of popcorn, hot chocolate, and a Home Alone marathon. I'll admit we're probably going to do this more than a few times as we go through the Christmas movie rotation...

7. Giving to someone in need
In the spirit of giving, pick a new charity, family and/or individual to gift each year. It doesn't have to be big or over-the-top.

8. New Pajamas
Each year I buy everyone a new pair of "festive" pajamas to get us through the holiday season. Last year's theme was buffalo plaid but I think this year's will need a little more color and prints... Maybe Santa's family? Colorful holiday shapes? Reindeer and elves?
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?

Don't forget to head into Duane Reade for all of your holiday essentials, including Papyrus Holiday Cards...

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Papyrus. The opinions and text are all mine.

Mini Cranberry Clementine Upside Down Cakes

05 December 2017

This post is sponsored by Cuties. All opinions are my own.
Growing up in Florida there was no shortage of citrus growing in our yard so it's probably not surprising that I ended up a long-time fan of the tart, juicy flavors of the many tribes of citreae. However, my appreciation for Cuties didn't start until I had kids and one of our neighbors brought over a crate for the boys. She went on, gushing about how perfect they were for their little hands and how easy to peel they were. She was not wrong. My then 3 year old peeled them with ease (though our then 1 year old took a little longer to learn how to peel them).  Thanks to Grace, the boys had a new favorite fruit and one that made them feel 'big' enough to peel and eat themselves. Almost 6 years later they have become a staple for lunches and snacks in our house.  

So I'm sure you can imagine my excitement when Cuties tapped me on the shoulder to create something special for the Cuties #100DaysOfSummer campaign. Since the holiday season is upon us, the boys and I decided we wanted to create gift-able treats for our neighbors but wanted to step outside of the cookie and chocolate box. After some deliberating and brainstorming we came up with this Mini Cranberry and Clementine Upside Down Cake recipe. It's perfect for little helpers and is the perfect combination of holiday flavors. Wrap them individually in clear cellophane with a little bow and voila! edible gifts...

Like I said before, this is a great recipe to make with your little ones- especially during the holidays. They can arrange the clementines and cranberries in the muffin tins without the worry of them having contact with raw eggs from the batter. They can snack on extra Cuties slices and be the 'official taste tester' once they're pulled from the oven and cooled. Though, I will say, they are best when warm! 

Check out the recipe below and grab yourself a bag of Cuties
( I got mine at Target, because what don't they have?!).

Mini Cranberry Clementine Upside Down Cakes 
(12 Mini Cakes)

1 1/2 C Flour
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp.  Fresh Ginger, grated
1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon
6 Tbsp. Butter, Melted 
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
3/4 Cup Plain Yogurt (Greek, Whole Milk)
2 eggs
Juice of 1/2 a clementine

3 Tbsp. Butter
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar 
1/2 Cup Fresh Cranberries
3 Cuties (Clementines) Peeled

Pre-heat oven to 350˚

1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, and cinnamon. Set aside. 

2. In another medium sized mixing bowl combine eggs, clementine juice, 6 tbsp. melted butter, yogurt, sugar and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. 

3. Add wet mixture to flour mixture, 1/2 Cup at a time, stirring until combined.

Next, for the fruit! 

4. In a small saucepan add butter and brown sugar. Bring to a medium heat and stir until smooth. 

5. Spoon the brown sugar and butter mixture into greased muffin tins. 

6. Arrange the fruit on top of the brown sugar and butter to your liking. I stuck with one slice and a couple of small cranberries. 

7. Spoon batter over fruit, filling tins 2/3 of the way. 

8. Bake for 15-20 or until toothpick comes out clean.

Best enjoyed warm.

Check out Cuties on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes, inspo and tips.

5 Party-Ready Essentials Under $150

02 December 2017

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx. All opinions are my own. 
Now that the holidays are in full swing it's time to start getting yourself holiday party ready. I know, we've all been there and most of us dread the marathon that is holiday party prep, but I figured I'd help you out a bit with some new-to-me essentials (thanks to BabbleBoxx!) that will make getting it all together as painless as possible. After all, you need to save up all of your energy for making small talk and avoiding your crazy relatives. 

So let's get this show on the road, so you can grab your essentials, get yourself in the holiday spirit, and look good while doing so...

First up, grooming

I'm going to start with brows because, truthfully, they're still a work in progress on my end and I need all the help I can get. So I'm 100% on board for the Nad's Facial Wand Eyebrow Shaper. It has a super SLIMTIP™ precision applicator to make shaping your brows a breeze. It's super quick and easy to use, requiring no heating. Plus, it's dermatologist tested and hypoallergenic. 

Next, that gorgeous smile. For me, I'm obsessed with teeth. Call me super weird but I love looking at everyones smile's and teeth, leading me to believe I'm not the only one so I better be on top of my game. I'm loving all of the Primallife Organics dental care essentials. I've been using the Mini Dirty Mouth™ Natural Tooth Cleaner for the last couple of weeks and I'm SOLD. It takes a little getting used to if you're accustomed to paste, but I have to say I love brushing with the powder. Just dip your wet brush in the powder and brush! It's super easy and I don't think I ever want to go back to 'the other stuff'. It also doesn't hurt that it's Vegan, Paleo and Gluten Free. I also got the LED Teeth Whitener, Boost Whitening Paste and Charcoal Infused Bamboo Toothbrush

Now Beauty. I'll admit I hate having to rifle through a bunch of different products to achieve a look, especially when I'm in a hurry, so after finding the Woosh® Beauty Fold Out Face Palette in my box, I was thrilled. Two words: All-in-one BABY! (wink) It has everything you need to create your perfect holiday beauty look in ONE place. It comes in 6-different shades and includes eye shadow, eyeliner, brow definer, concealer, contouring, blush and powder. Plus, a 4-in-1 secret brush set. This is basically going with me EVERYWHERE. Note: my shade is Medium-light. 

Of course, you can't leave the house without a spritz of scent and I was pleasantly surprised with Rosé Rush by Paris Hilton. The scent is light and fresh without being too overpowering. Also, the bottle is kind of amazing. I mean, that glitter! 

Finally, the kicks. These Vince Camuto Porta2 Chelsea Boots are officially coming with me everywhere. How gorgeous is this leopard print on the chelsea boot shape? It's super luxe and perfectly paired with everything from dresses to oversized sweaters. Also, it doesn't hurt that they're super comfy...You can grab them exclusively  at VinceCamuto.com or Vince Camuto Stores (find one here). 

What did you think about my Babbleboxx goodies?

Layering Your Summer Dresses

28 November 2017

Don't put away your summer dresses just yet, you still have use for them! Extend their 'shelf' life by layering up with a sweater topper, coat and boots. I mean, we have a few more weeks of fall left so you might as well make the most of the 'pre-winter' layer weather. 

P.s - I'm currently obsessed with my Madison Reed color touch-up. It's Vesuvius Red, if you're loving it too.. 

Sweater c/o Chicwish, Dress Kmart, Jacket Chicwish (similar), Boots c/o Aerosoles, Bag Who What Wear Collection

Cyber Monday Sales: My Picks

27 November 2017

I know everyone and their mother is posting about Cyber Monday Sale but I've had a few requests on where to shop and what to buy right now so instead of replying to each email individually I'm putting together this post...

First off, I did some serious damage between Friday and Today. There's some great offers out there and I highly suggest you jump on a few of them. Whether it's for your or your gift-list. 

Here we go...

ASOS - Extra 30% off with EPIC30.

My Pick: Pretty Little Thing Embellished Jeans, $56 (before promo, just bought these!)

Amazon - Sony A6000 BUNDLE, $498!

FOSSIL - 30% off with full-price styles with CYBER30.

My Pick: Skylar Satchel, $238 (before promo)

H&M - Extra 30% off EVERYTHING + Free Shipping. 

Old Navy - 50% Off Everything + Free Cozy Socks with all orders! Free Shipping on Orders $50+ 

Target -  Extra 15% Off 

Kohl's - 20% off + $10 off your $50 purchase. Free shipping on $25 orders. 

My Pick: The Big One 12-piece towel set, $26.99 before promos (org. $89, I got white!)

Nordstrom - Extra 20% off Sale Items + Free Shipping Always

TJMAXX - Free Shipping 

My Picks: Agate Drawer Pulls (set of 6), $24.99

Lord and Taylor - 25% off Sitewide with code "CYBER" + Free Shipping

My Picks: The Boots SALE!

Bloomingdales - 25% off + Free Shipping 

Shop My Picks: