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Friday, November 27, 2015

Fab Friday Faves 11.27.15

A happy Friday and a very Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the US of A!  Or I guess a Happy Black Friday? I'm not sure that anybody is really very happy on Black Friday if they actually partake in the shopping part.   I managed to get pretty much all of our furniture shopping done this week, thanks in part to some pre-Black Friday sales.  We now have a couch, loveseat, chaise, accent chair and ottoman, bedroom set, mattress set and all the bedding, coffee table and console table, dining room table and chairs and buffet and a massive cantilever umbrella for the pool area.  Oh and I got a floaty chair for the pool haha.  That is really all we have been doing all week!  I also finally have a US credit card, so I'm pretty pumped about has only taken three years!  The weekend was rainy, like monsoon rainy all day Saturday.  We attended a couple events but not for long, it was just too rainy!

Alright, everyone keep enjoying your Thanksgiving weekend.  I hope your time is spent with friends and family and that you have lots to be thankful for this year.  I know we do!

Thanksgiving dinner.  I haven't done the big holiday meal since last Christmas, and I always find it kind of fun.  Especially for Josh and I because I don't have to make a ton of anything and if I mess something up, Josh doesn't mind.  This one turned out pretty great.  I did a ham, green bean casserole, stuffing, potatoes au gratin and a pumpkin pecan pie.  I wasn't really aware that you HAVE to do a turkey for Thanksgiving here I guess, it seems a bit crazy to me to do a turkey, eat leftovers for at least a week then make another in in another three weeks.  Because to me, Christmas has to be turkey!  Regardless, I was super happy to have a nice big holiday meal and so was Josh.

We have a Joe's Crab Shack about 10 minutes from our rental house and since I have wanted to go to one for YEARS, we decided to try it our earlier in the week.  We both got Steam Pots, mine with a white wine butter sauce with crab, mussels and scallops, corn on the cob and potatoes, Josh's with Cajun sauce, crab and shrimp, corn and Hush Puppies.  The service was great and the food was AMAZING!  We also had a very friendly squirrel buddy that came right up to our food, not in love with him trying to steal off our plates but it was pretty funny.  

On Saturday was The Dunedin Celtic Rock and Craft beer festival right across the street in Highlander Park.  Sadly, it started to pour about the time that the event started, but it went on even in the pouring rain and cool temperatures.  I actually sat in our little screened in patio and listened to the music most of the day (like literally, right across the street) until it stopped raining around 3:00 and then we went over and enjoyed some of the awesome celtic rock, beer and food.  It was a great time with a lot of kilts and drunk Scots.  One of the world's biggest Celtic rock bands, The Red Hot Chili Pipers played in the evening as well and put on an amazing show.  If you get a chance to go see these guys you absolutely have to!

Okay okay, I know I have had my wildlife sightings on here the last three weeks but I don't care, here is another.  I saw the Great Blue Heron out fishing in the canal on Wednesday morning and I just thought it was a great photo op.  Such a beautiful, majestic bird.  I saw the Gopher Tortoise yesterday afternoon after having stalked his den for about a week.  I knew he had to be in there but I always go for my walks in the morning when it is still too cool out for sunbathing.  I went yesterday morning and then back in the afternoon and finally caught him!  He ran back in his burrow as soon as he saw me but I am going to be his friend eventually!  Fun Fact- Gopher Tortoises burrows can be up to 10 feet deep and 40 feet long!

 One thing about being away from Manhattan is that I have to order more things online that I used to be able to just go into the city to get.  Like my Nespresso pods.  We were running low so I put in a huge order earlier this week.  My one complaint about Nespresso, especially the Virtuoline, is the lack of seasonal flavors, but they came through this year with the Swiss Chocolate pods.  So chocolaty and delicious!  I am going to be ordering more soon before they are gone for the year.

Today I'm linking up with:

Lauren @ Style Elixir
Erika @ A little bit of Everything
Tif @ Bright On A Budget
April @ A. Liz Adventures

Monday, November 23, 2015

*Recipe* Slow Cooker Beef Stew

In the fall, there is nothing better than a good beef stew.  I'm not going to lie, it is a bit different when the weather is warm, but it was still delicious!  This one is a slightly different recipe than I have used before but it turned out great!  I put it on in the morning and we spent the day at the beach and when we got home it was all ready and smelled amazing.  The Mushrooms really added an extra meatiness to the dish so don't skimp on those.  Also, this does not freeze very good, trust me, I accidentally froze the leftovers (don't ask) and the stew was not nearly as good after I thawed and reheated. 



1. Pour flour and onion soup mix into a 1 gallon Ziplock bag.  Add meat, in batches, and shake to evenly coat all pieces.
2. Add oil to a large skillet and heat.  When the oil is hot, brown meat. Transfer meat, when it's browned, directly to crock pot.  Add 1  1/2 cups water and bouillon cubes to the skillet and cook, stirring up the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet and dissolving the bouillon cubes. Remove from heat and add tomato paste, Italian seasonings, garlic powder, steak spice, bay leaves and black pepper and stir to combine.  Pour into the crock pot over beef. Add the onions, potatoes, carrots, celery and mushrooms.
3. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until the beef and veggies are tender. If needed, add more water.  Add the thawed peas the last 20-30 minutes of cooking.  Discard bay leaves and Serve.  Salt and Pepper to taste.   

Recipe adapted from

Friday, November 20, 2015

Fab Friday Faves 11.20.15

Happy Friday everyone!  The time is flying so quickly I can't even believe it!  In two weeks, my bestie Miranda will be arriving, and in just over three weeks my parents will be here for Christmas.  I can't wait!  I guess i can finally share our biggest news, Josh and I have finished the inspection period of the house we are buying and everything went great, so sometime around December 11 we will close and be able to move in.  We are so excited and have been out furniture shopping and doing all of the things you ave to do when you are buying a house.  We also made it out to the beach a couple times this week which was great because we are having some record breaking heat again.  

I would also like to send out prayers and love to all of the people, all over the world, that have died, lost loved ones and suffered in the horrendous chaos of the last few days.  

Everyone enjoy your weekend, and stay safe.

1. Here it is, our house!  I took these pictures the other day during the inspection.  We love it and I cannot wait to relax in that pool!

2.  On Sunday, Josh and I drive down to St. Petersburg for Ribfest.  A huge Rib contest from some of the best Ribbers in the U.S. We got some AMAZING food, but we also got to listen to some great country acts.  The Cadillac Three, Michael Ray, Chase Rice and Kip Moore all performed and they all put on awesome shows!  

3. Friday night and Saturday afternoon and evening we rode our bikes to downtown Dunedin and took in the Dunedin Wines the Blues Festival.  There were tons of awesome wines and craft beer as well as some great local bands and delicious food.  The shut down the entire downtown for this huge event and I swear the whole town was out to enjoy it.  If you ever get the chance to check out "Gloria West and the Gents", you have to, I am in love with this band!

 4. I know I included this last week sort of but I have had even more awesome wildlife moments here.    Last Friday after I did my blog, I went for a walk to Hammock park and watched a family of raccoons fish in the creek for about 30 mins.  It was so adorable.  Unfortunately, it was just far enough away that my iPhone did not take very good pictures.  I also saw these Parakeets right outside our rental home, and a Dolphin right off shore at Fred Howard Park just north of our new house.  These egrets are everywhere here but I got to watch this guy strut up and down the creek fishing and making really funny noises.

5.  On Friday, after about three hours of hassle at the DMV (my green card is currently expired and useless even though I have a very official extension letter from the government and I have no mail to our current address because we are in a all inclusive rental so we have no bills or anything, only a couple slips from Amazon packages) I was able to become a resident of Florida and get a drivers license again!  YAY!

Today I'm linking up with:

Jennie @ The Diary of a Real Housewife
Tif @ Bright On A Budget
Lauren @ Style Elixir
Erika @ A Little Bit of Everything
Amy @ {The Farmer's Wife}
April @ A. Liz Adventures

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

*Recipe* Homemade Chicken Yakisoba

I love Asian food.  Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, I love it all.  When I saw this recipe I knew that it wouldn't be "authentic" Yakisoba, but regardless it still sounded delicious and something different, not to mention super easy and low cost.  I really did just use to packs of the cheapest ramen at the grocery store, but next time I might get some better quality noodles.  It was still delicious with the Ramen, but just to make it a little healthier I might try another kind.  When I made it I used a ton of vegetables, but I really could have probably double the amount, since more veggies never hurt anyone.  Josh absolutely loved it too so I will be trying this one again very soon!


  • -1/2- 2/3 head cabbage (I used green but purple     would be fine)
  • -1 medium yellow onion 
  • -2 stalks celery
  • -4 medium carrots 
  • -1 crown broccoli
  • -a pack of sliced mushrooms,or about 10 whole 
  • -2 inches fresh ginger 
  • -1-2lb chicken breast 
  • -2 Tbsp vegetable oil 
  • -2 (3 oz.) packages ramen noodles
  • seasoning packets discarded (you really could      add the seasoning packs in if you wanted)
  • -1 tsp sesame oil (optional) 
  • -1/3 cup soy sauce 
  • -1/3 cup worcestershire sauce 
  • -3 Tbsp ketchup 
  • -1 Tbsp sriracha hot sauce (or to taste)
  • -1 Tbsp sugar 

1. Before you begin, prepare the meat and vegetables for stir frying. Peel the ginger with either a vegetable peeler or the side of a spoon and then grate it with a cheese grater. Peel and grate the carrots with a large holed cheese grater. Remove the core from the cabbage and cut into thin strips. Slice the onion into thin strips. Cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Slice the chicken into thin strips.

 2. Begin boiling a medium pot full of water for the noodles. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the grated ginger, saute for about 30 seconds to one minute (its okay if it sticks to the pan but don’t let it burn). Add the chicken strips and cook until they are no longer pink (about five minutes).

3. Once the chicken is cooked through, add all of the vegetables. Stir and cook until wilted (about 5-10 minutes). DO NOT OVER COOK THE VEGGIES!  You don't want them mushy!  Meanwhile, once the water boils, add the noodles and cook just until tender (2-3 minutes). Drain, return to the pot (with the heat turned off) and toss with the sesame oil to keep from sticking.

4. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, ketchup, sriracha, and sugar. Use only ½ tsp of sriracha if you don’t want it spicy, use up to 1 Tbsp if you like it hot. Stir until the ketchup and sugar are dissolved. Pour the sauce into the skillet with the chicken and vegetables with the heat still on medium high. Add the noodles, stir to coat everything in the sauce, and heat through (just a few minutes).


Recipe adapted from Budget Bytes

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Fab Friday Faves 11.13.15

Happy Friday the 13th darlings!  I'm not going to lie, I had a hard time coming up with five favorites this week, seriously all we have done in the last week is view houses and the last couple days, furniture shop.  Not that that house shopping isn't Friday Favorite worthy and fun but it isn't that exciting for anyone other than Josh and I!  Speaking of, next Friday, there should be some exciting news on the home search front ;)  The Florida weather is still fantastic, but I think I kinda put that on here last week, and I probably shouldn't use it every week!  Alright, enjoy your weekend,  we have some events going on around here that I am excited to check out so stay tuned for those!

1. Across the street from where we are staying in Dunedin, we are lucky enough to have one of the most amazing parks, Hammock Park.  This is a gorgeous park filled with amazing trails, canals, a lake, different trees and animals and pure Florida beauty.  We have been here not even two weeks and I have seen a gator, a tortoise, a bunny, crabs, numerous species of birds, butterflies, a nutria, hundreds of squirrels and of course a crazy amount of geckos and lizards.  I have been going for an hour walk almost every morning and discover new things everyday.

2. Last weekend, Josh and I decided that since we have an amazing downtown area a mile and a half away and the beach a couple miles as well that we should get bikes so we don't have to walk or drive everywhere.  We stopped in at the local pawn shop and got a couple awesome bike cruisers for about 100$ for both.  They both work great and we have been really enjoying using them!

3. In our lovely downtown, every Friday we have an amazing Farmer's Market.  This is seriously one of the greatest Farmer's Markets ever, with everything you could ever want.  I ended up getting some pickled beans, matcha covered walnuts, The BEST Bloody Mary mix I have ever had, garlic infused olive oil and an variety pack of fruit hot sauces that make delicious salad dressings when mixed with balsamic, meat marinades and pretty much anything else you can think of!

This really should be #1, but these are in no particular order, just how I manage to come across the photos usually.  Of course Wednesday was Remembrance Day in Canada and Veteran's Day in the US, and nothing is more important than what all of our veterans, active duty members and men and women who have lost their lives protecting us and giving us the freedom that we have.  We should thank them every day, not just one day a year!

5.  I have to have this on the list for all of the cat ladies out there.  I have wanted to start using World's Best Cat Litter for years, but because of Jinx's kidney issues he went to the bathroom a lot and I didn't want to disrupt his good bathroom habits.  I decided to start switching Smudge over when we got here and I do not regret it.  The litter does not smell like cat at all and actually I got the lavender scented and it smells amazing!  It is also flushable and clumps really well so it is so easy to keep the litter boxes clean and fresh.

Today I'm linking up with:

Jennie @ The Diary of a Real Housewife
Erika @ A Little Bit of Everything
Lauren @ Style Elixir
Tif @ Bright on a Budget
Christina @ Carolina Charm
Amy @ {The Farmer's Wife}

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Alice's Tea Cup/Fall in Manhattan

We may be in hot and sunny Florida now, but that doesn't mean that my NYC stories are quite over yet!  A couple days before we left, I decided to take on last trip into Manhattan just to say goodbye to a couple of my favorite places, and have one last new adventure.  

Somehow, after a year and a half of spending many days researching things to do in NYC and just wandering there, I missed ever hearing about the three Alice's Tea Cup locations.  As the name pretty much states, they are tea houses based on Alice in Wonderland, all located in Upper Manhattan. 

I started out just wandering up 5th ave, enjoying the fall colors and displays.  Unfortunately it was pouring pretty good, so I didn't stop and take the time that i would have liked to because even with my umbrella I was soaked pretty quickly! 

The New York Public Library looked beautiful as usual, but even mores accented by the yellow leaves and their beautiful flowers in front.  

I made a quick stop at Rockefeller Plaza.  The skating rink is open, but was closed on the day I was there because of the rain.  They also have some lovely mum arrangements as well as huge bowls filled with all different sorts of gourds in the fountains.  They always have the prettiest displays for all the different seasons.

After walking about 30 blocks in the pouring rain, I made it to Alice's Tea Cup Chapter II on East 64th Street.  It was just a cute little unassuming building, tucked around the corner off of 5th ave.  Maybe why I never noticed it before.  It is also pretty much across the street from the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM so it is not like i have never been near it before!  haha

I walked in and instantly noticed the array of fresh baked scones sitting in the front display case.  This made me even more excited because I love scones!

I was seated upstairs, overlooking the street.  It was not quite so whimsical as just really cute and cottage like.

The table was even made from the base of an old sewing machine.

A second tea room upstairs filled with butterflies.

The stairway down.  The whole place is filled with painted pictures and sayings from the book.

The menu.  I was expecting it to be a small teahouse menu but actually it was quite large with cocktails, dozens of teas and food such as sandwiches and burgers.  My waiter was a super friendly guy, but I must say i was a little disappointed with the attire of the staff.  just pretty casual street clothes.  I don't think they needed to dress like characters but maybe a little more dressed up or whimsical.

I hadn't planned on ordering a cocktail but I find it hard to resist a good martini!  I got the Tweedledum, a combination of Rosemary and Ginger tea infused simple syrup, Roiboos Kimberley infused Gin, with a splash of Prosecco. Delish!

For my tea I decided to try Alice's Fairie Potion, of Osmanthus flowers, Elderflower and Lavender.  So light and refreshing.

For food, I got a lot more than I needed but I had to try everything!  and I was hungry from my walk in the rain all the way there.  I got "The Nibble" which consisted of a sandwich of my choice, a scone of my choice, the pot of tea and some various cookies.  I chose the the "Chopped Tea Egg Salad Sandwich" and the "White Chocolate Raspberry Scone." Everything was so yummy, I wish I had more chances to go back to try the many amazing looking things on the menu.

They also have a huge selection of loose leaf teas that you can buy at the counter.  Normally I would have gotten some but I have a million and with moving I did not need anything extra to pack!

 With a full belly and slightly drier clothing, I headed back out to take a little walk through Central Park.  The rain was actually coming down even harder than when I went in to Alice's.  Fantastic!  The rain does though make for an empty Central Park and some great photo ops.  I started out up by the zoo and worked down toward Columbus Circle.

I love this one with the horse and carriage in the rain on the cobblestone street.

My favorite place in the park, the pond.  It has the most beautiful colors of anywhere in the park and that bridge!

The ducks were out and absolutely loving the rain and probably some peace and quiet without having so many tourists there.

I think this is my favorite!  The colors!

After once again getting soaked, I decided to walk back to the PATH on Fifth Avenue, and got one last picture of the love statue, because I LOVE NYC!  I will miss you!