Wednesday, December 12, 2018

2018 Holiday Gift Guides for Him & Her (and Them, Too!)

His, hers, and theirs gift guides just in time for that last minute holiday shopping.  Let's be honest.  I still haven't started my Christmas shopping.  However, after curating these lists I know exactly what I'm buying.  I guess that's a step in the right direction.


1. Money Soap - a stock stuffer that keeps giving. Money inside every bar ranging from $1-$50.  Cleans AND carries cash.  Pretty special ;)

2.  The Chef's Portable Multi-Tool - this is such a fun little gadget for any guy on your list.  This multi-tool comes equipped with a can opener, zester, paring knife, serrated knife, cheese grater, garlic crusher, peeler, carving fork, stirring spoon, corkscrew, bottle opener, and channel knife.  Everything but the kitchen sink for less than $35.

3.  SipCaddy Portable Cup Holder - have a guy on your list who doesn't like to go anywhere without his drink?!  Well now he doesn't have to. Great for the shower or anywhere else he might need a cup holder.

4.  Casio Black Resin Watch - This water resistant resin watch is lightweight and looks great!  For a watch that's less than $15, this one can't be beat.

5.  Pocket Mini Screwdriver Key - because you never know when they'll need a screwdriver.  I bet MacGuyver would've loved something like this.

6.  Dad Jokes Joke Book - they've all got 'em, so let give 'em more so they don't keep telling the same ones over and over again.

7.  Zippo Refillable Hand Warmer - sign me up for a few of these too, please!

8.  Rapid Car Charger - for the guy who doesn't like to wait, this car charger comes complete with 5 USB ports & delivers the fastest possible charge.  I think they all need one of these.

9.  Survival Kit in a Sardine Can - I love random, practical gifts and this one is just that.  A little emergency kit for any outdoorsman.  And just like sardines, there's A LOT packed inside these little tins!!!

10.  Leather Ear Bud Case - no more tangled cords.  These are especially life changing for the guy who frequently travels!

11.  Stainless Steel Manicure Kit  - I'm hoping this solves the recurring "where are the clippers????" question I seem to get no less than 12 times a week.

12.  Drunk, Stoned, or Stupid - Okay, so this suggestion isn't meant to offend, but I literally laughed out loud when I saw this because I guess I have the humor of a 16-year-old teen.  It's an immature game that's meant to make you laugh, so take that for what it is.  I'm super curious, so this might end up in Mr. Spouse's stocking.  Research purposes, of course ;)

13.  Pocket Ref - this pocket sized reference book has a lot of information about a lot of different things and I can think of several guys on my list who'd love to have something like this on hand.




1.  Native Union Dock Wireless Charger - this charger is compatible with most wireless phones and charges insanely fast!  

2.  BirchBox Grooming Box Subscription - this is the gift I want to keep on giving...and it does!  Perfect for that special guy in your life.  A monthly curated box filled with top shelf samples from the  best grooming brands on the market.

3.  Men's Moccasin Slippers - okay, Pottery Barn.  I see you.  And I'll see these on my husband's feet all throughout the cold winter months. 

4.  USA Beer Cap Map - for the guy who loves his beer, this is the neatest display for all those stray bottle caps.  

5.  Patagonia Better Sweater 1/4 Zip Fleece - I'm all about this pullover.  AMAZING quality...lots of comfort and warmth. 

6.  Smokeless Indoor BBQ Grill - this indoor grill sounds just about perfect for those cold winter months and it must be something pretty special because it made Oprah's favorite things list.  Yes, please!

7.  Leather Travel Duffel Bag - this is a gift that's definitely on the pricier side, but if you're looking for just one "big" gift, this would be a great one...especially if he loves to travel.

8.  Manscaped Perfect Package 2.0 - this perfect package of manscaping tools & products includes a trimmer, shaver, moisturizer, toner, and MORE!  Ahh!  

9.  UGG Men's Harkley Winter Boot - I love winter boots...especially when they look great and keep the toes warm.  These Harkley men's boots are perfection.

10.  Slim Charging Wallet - a modern update to the classic leather wallet.  And holds a phone charge, too.

11.  Popover Shawl Sweater - so this was a gift for Mr. Spouse I couldn't resist buying on Black Friday and instead of waiting until Christmas, I gifted it to him as soon as it came in the mail. Hahaha.  SO much for surprises.  Anyway, he LOVES it and I think the guy(s) on your list will, too!!!

12.  Wood Phone Docking Station - love that this docking station isn't just for phones...handy little spots for his wallet, keys, and watch, too!  And Lord knows I'll do anything to keep those items from being strewn all about the house.

13.  Baja Sweater - as the description states, "A cross between your favorite, most comfortable hoodie and your softest, warmest sweater."  This is already in the cart!!!

14.  Beard Grooming & Trimming Kit - if you've got a guy with a beard on your list, this grooming and trimming kit is a must have!  For him, of course ;)

15.  Square Whiskey/Scotch Glasses (Set of 2) -  these handmade glasses are a perfect gift for the guy on your list who loves to imbibe.

16.  Kabob Grilling Basket - these kabob grilling baskets are the neatest.  It's the gift my husband didn't even know he needed, but he's definitely getting, LOL.

17. Personalized Leather Toiletry Bag - LOVE this option for ANY guy that's on your list whether they travel or not.  Every guy needs a nice toiletry bag!




1.  Lily Etched Flask - this etched flask is a perfect gift for the girl who loves her spirits.  

2.  Quartz Facial Roller - this anti-aging skin care roller is everything.  Whether it's for you or one of your favorite girls, this roller is sure to give your skin the extra glow it's been lacking.

3.  Little Mouse Table Cleaner - this battery operated little vacuum is just as cute as it is practical.  Perfect for cleaning up all those table and countertop messes you just don't want to.

4.  Tiled Monogram Coasters - I love anything that's monogramed and these tiled coasters are no exception.  Simply stunning.  I love this idea for a group girls gift or a set of 4 for your favorite gal pal.

5.  Bath Bombs - whether you gift these particular bath bombs or something like them, this is such a great gift idea.  I loved the packaging, so these immediately caught my attention.  Bath bombs are...well...the bomb.  #lamejoke

6.  52 Week Gratitude Journal - if you or a lady you know loves to reflect on the things that matter most, this beautiful 52 week journal is exactly what you (or her) need in your stocking.

7.  Soap for the Basic - handmade soap for the most basic girl you know

8.  Mario Badescu Facial Spray Trio - this facial spray trio is perfect for the gal who can't ever decide.    And with this trio, decisions are almost impossible to make!

9. Zodiac Treatment Catch-All Tray - every girl needs a catch all,  but if you're anything like me, you need about 10. And they're all sitting on your bedroom dresser.  But what do I know?!

10. One Line a Day: Five Year Memory Book -  loving this darling little journal for writing down daily memories...one memory a day for five years!  Sounds like a perfect keepsake to me...or something perfect for bribery.  Your call.

11. White Druzy Wine Stopper - THE perfect girlfriend stocking stuffer...that is, if there's any wine left in the bottle to save ;)

12.  Fast Drying Hair Towel - this ultra absorbent, fast drying hair towel is legit the gift that keeps on giving.  A must have!


1.  Women's Tech Kit - the tech kit every woman needs!  This one comes with 10 tech essentials ranging from earbuds and a cord wrapper to a flash drive & fisheye lens.

2.  Martha Stewart Faux Fur Pom Throw - every Hallmark watching woman needs a good blanket to cuddle up with while binge watching cheesy movies and this one is PERFECTION.

3.  LashStash - A multibranded collection of mascaras....yes, please!

4.  UGG Fleece Lined Socks  - Fleece lined socks from the creators of comfort?!  Yes, please!  Rumor has it that these pair really well with that faux fur throw.  

5.  Sperry Syren Gulf Duck Boots - My Sperry Duck Boots are my most favorite pair of waterproof footwear and I am dying to add this color to my collection!

6.  Birthstone Zodiac Mini Disc Necklace - this hand-stamped zodiac pendant makes such a great gift for ANY lady in your life (pssst...YOU included ;) )

7.  No Spill Wine Glasses (Set of 2) -  These are the NEATEST glasses!!!  They pivot on a stainless steel ball which not only helps your drink stay in its glass, but also improves aeration!  Cool!

8.  Oversized Chenille Tunic - this one is just as comfy as it is cute.  I have this and can't get enough!

9.  Patagonia Women's Los Gatos 1/4-Zip Fleece - I'm all about a cozy fleece pullover and this one is at the top of my list this year!  I love the quality of Patagonia apparel...everything holds up so well and keeps me extra warm and cozy.  Great quality always!

10.  Kodak Photomatic Instant Digital Camera - Eeek!  A camera that prints photos instantly!!  Yes, please!

11.  AE Striped Jegging Pullover - this has quickly become one of my most favorite lightweight sweaters of the season.  Easy to throw on and go while looking adorable!

12.  Mini Suede & Leather Mix Backpack Purse - I am LOVING the backpack purse trend for so many different reasons.  They're cute and functional and they take all the pressure off that one shoulder that bears the brunt of my heavy purse wearing ways.  Sign me up.

13.  Hunter Refined Leopard Hybrid Rainboot - these rainbows are a GREAT gift option.  Instead of owning Hunters in every shade imaginable, grab a pair of these that go well with absolutely everything!  The best kind of neutral! 

14.  Cashmere Texting Gloves - keep those digits warm while you scroll!  These are beautiful!

15. Calacatta Gold Tumbler - I love a good S'well tumbler and this one gives me all the heart eyes.

16.  Sleep Mask - this anti-aging sleep mask is perfect for a good night's rest

17.  Rotating Makeup Organizer - this adjustable rotating makeup organizer is perfect for corralling all those stray brushes and shadows.

18.  Uncommon James Girl Boss Earrings - these girl boss gold earrings are everything.  The perfect combo of classy and edgy and they go with absolutely everything!

19.  Foreo Luna Cleansing Brush & Exfoliator -  an exfoliator and cleansing brush all in one.  This should be at the top of every girl's list!

20. Vintage Pajama Set - This vintage pajama set is stunning!  Lightweight and extremely comfortable!


1.  Wireless Charging Accessory Tray - this wireless charging + accessory tray made it to "Oprah's Favorite Things" list...something tells me it will make it to yours, too.

2. 23 & Me DNA Kit - this is a great gift for him or her...or even both!  If you've got family or friends into genealogy or just want to know more about themselves, this is a gift that keeps on giving

3. Mini Moso Bags - these linen bags can be placed inside shoes (or in a tight space) to eliminate odors & absorb moisture.  The best thing about these little bags is that they can be placed out in the sun to rejuvenate and use again.

4.  Hickory Farms Gourmet Bloody Mary Crate - Bloody Mary mix (regular and spicy), beef sausage & cheddar cheese snack sticks, jalapeƱo olives, rim salt, and mixed nuts are everything you'll find in this delightful crate of happiness.

5.  KeySmart Pro - the KeySmart Pro needs to be under my tree like, last year.  This handy gadget is a key organizer with Tile smart location that allows you to track your missing keys on a map all from an app on your phone!  YES!

6.  Atlas Coffee Club - Know a couple who loves their coffee something fierce?!  These monthly subscription boxes come with coffee and a postcard from a new country each month and tasting notes and brewing tips for each batch.  I know several friends who would love a gift like this! (cough, cough...us included)

7.  Pudus Slipper Socks - another one of Oprah's favorite things, these slipper socks are everything.

8.  Family Time Conversation Kit - this conversation kit is perfect for the family who loves to sit down to dinner together and spend QT talking.  A recipe box full of conversation starters including blank cards for recording the family's most favorite chats.

9.  Who in the Room? Party Game - a hypothetical game to find out what your friends really think about you.  Play at your own risk.

10.  HyperChiller - this handy little gadget is perfect for the guy or gal who likes their beverages cold, but doesn't want to wait for them to cool down.  Chills hot coffee in 60 seconds without dilution and MORE!

11.  Temperature Control Ceramic Mug - never drink another cup of cold coffee ever again (unless that's your jam.  And if that's the case, this mug can handle that, too.)

12.  Family Fun Bucket List - never get the question, "what are we going to do now???" ever again!

13.  Suede Rinse Free Hand Wash - think hand sanitizer, but non-drying and smells a gajillion times better.

14.  Harry & David Sweet & Salty Gift Box - this is the kind of gift that needs no explanation.

15.  Echo Auto - think Alexa or Google Home, but for the car.  SIGN.ME.UP.






Thursday, December 6, 2018

2018 Holiday Gift Guides for Kids & College Students

If you're anything like me, you'll take all the suggestions you can get when it comes to gifts and gift giving.  It's December 6th and I haven't even started my shopping, but I have my lists made out so I guess that's a start.  I hope you're farther along in your holiday shopping journey, but if you still need some ideas maybe these will help :). 

Let's go ahead and get the kids...big and small... taken care of, shall we?!  Here are some great gift  ideas for "big-ish" & big kids alike.  All kid...and parent!... approved ;)

*This post contains some affiliate links*



1. Invisible Spy Pens - what kid wouldn't love the chance to be a little mysterious and secretive every now and then?!  The kids write their message, wait for the ink to disappear, then use the attached UV light to read the invisible ink.  I wish there were something like this for texting, but not like SnapChat because I'm too old for all that mess.

2.  Broken Leg & Mermaid Tail Bookmarks - Got an avid reader?!  Or one who needs an incentive to read?!  These fun bookmarks should definitely help with all that!

3.  Paint By Sticker - Who didn't love the "paint by number" pages we were given as kids?!  Here's a fun twist on an old classic.  There are several different versions of these paint by sticker books (stickers included, obvi)...but we like this zoo version the best!

4.  Joke Book  - what kid doesn't love telling jokes?!  And when they're telling jokes that make sense, that's just a bonus for the parents :)

5. Little Stinker Cotton Candy Bites - if you're offended by potty humor, this might not be the gift you want to add to those stockings.  We're all about the gross humor over here, so these little Unicorn Toot and Dog Fart bags of cotton candy nuggets will definitely be stuffing their stockings.  #wereallalittleimmature

6.  Surprise Hatching, Growing Unicorn Eggs - it's the gift that keeps on giving.  A hatching unicorn that keeps on growing?!  Sign me up.

7. Crayola Globbes Squish Toys - if you've got a little fidgeter...or if you live life fidgeting yourself...these little globules are great to keep those little fingers busy.

8. Slow Rising Jumbo Squishies - speaking of things that squish, these JUMBO squishes are everything!  And they smell delightful, too.

9. Hair Chalk  - my inner 9 year old would've gone crazy for something like this as a kid.  Instead I'm spending my adult years with actual hair dye and a salon bill that makes me sick.  If only I could go back in time and enjoy the inexpensive version.

10. Smart Games IQ Puzzler Pro - I love any kind of game that requires thought and these types of puzzler games are a household favorite.  BONUS - they're compact & portable, so HELLO road trips!

11. Speed Cube - just think Rubik's Cube...on speed.  I mean, bigger is always better, right?!

12.  Illusion Science Kit - This one is already headed our way x2 because for my boys, a gift like this is their jam.  20 optical illusions for under $10 sounds like a steal to me!





1.  Echo Dot - Kids Edition - we have Alexa in our living room and literally use it every single day.  I love this kids version.  The boys use our "big" Alexa to help with homework questions mom and dad can't answer, weather forecast and temperature (to help them get dressed appropriately in the mornings), etc.  They'll love having their own miniature versions and I'll love knowing their little ears are kept in mind with this one.  This little dot tells jokes, reads stories, plays music...all while keeping   in mind that little ears are listening.

2.  Clocky Alarm Clock on Wheels - have a kid who struggles getting out of bed in the morning or enjoys hitting the snooze button as they roll back over in bed?!  Struggle no more.  Clocky the Alarm Clock on wheels is the most annoying...yet effective...wake up tool to hit the market.  This gadget will literally jump off the nightstand when the alarm goes off and continue rolling away and bumping and bouncing into different things until the sleeper gets out of bed and shuts it off.  GENIUS.

3.  Screenless Smart Phone - our kids don't have a smart phone or any phone at all and as a family we've decided they won't get one until they're in high school.  This cell phone alternative works like a walkie talkie and is compatible with your phone with the use of an app.  Communication without the scrolling distractions.  

4.  Simon Air - we loved the classic version as kids, but this version *might* be better.  Everything gets better with age though, doesn't it?!

5.  Pomsies - These little plush creatures react to touch and sound.  They let you know they're tired or hungry by making one of over 50 sounds with which they come equipped.  If you don't want to commit to a real animal, this might be the next best thing.

6. Cornhole for Kids - honestly, this is just a great game for the whole family.  This is a 2-in-1 reversible board with bags and washers.  Play it outside or in...whatever suits your fancy.

7. Ultimate Coding Kit for Kids - we're all about coding here in this house and this kit is a great one for starters!  Over 60+ coding projects that control circuits.  Pretty dang cool if you ask me.

8.  Nintendo Labo - Variety Kit - I know this made the kids' lists this year, but let me tell you that it made mine, too.  The nostalgic kid in me wants my own.  From over 5 projects to MORE, make your games come to life with this interactive kit.  I can't wait to get ours!

9.  Dot Creativity Kit Robot - This little interactive robot comes with over 20 project cards for kids to complete.  I love a gift that keeps 'em busy.

10. Not Parent Approved Card Game - inspired by Cards of Humanity, but completely and totally family friendly.  Sounds like a winner to me!

11.  Emoji Gumball Machine - this one comes with emoji gumballs and needs no introduction.

12.  Disgusting Science Kit - this is an experiment kit to teach kids all about their bodies and byproducts.  Sounds pretty gross which means my kids will be all in.

13.  Color You Talking Hamster - I guess parrots weren't enough. This battery powered plush rodent repeats back anything and everything you say...in any language.  Could be a great opportunity for your kids to hear just how much they talk in a day.  Ha.

14.  Crayola Light Up Tracing Pad - got a budding artist on your hands?!  This light up tracing pad should be right up their alley!  

15.  Indoor Basketball for 2 - this game always seems to get the most attention from my boys when we go to carnivals, so bringing it to them to master before we spend no less than $100 on attempts to win a 10 cent stuffed animal sounds like a great idea.  Makes arcade sounds, too!

16.  Unicorn String Art  - this string art kit comes with two foam boards, string, push pins, directions,  and lots of opportunity for creativity and imagination.

17.  Gravity Maze - this is the neatest. It's a combo marble run, combination logic game, and STEM toy...contains 60 challenges from beginner to expert.




1.  Game of Phones - what college kid doesn't have his/her phone on them at all times?!  Think scavenger hunt with prompts..and a whole lot of fun!

2.  Tile Mate - I can't tell you how much grief this would've saved me as a college kid...and if I'm being honest, it would save me a lot current day as well (ahem...stocking stuffer, please Mr. Spouse).  If there's something they lose frequently, be it car keys, phones, wallets, or textbooks, these handy little Tiles will help them locate it in no time.  

3. Pizza Rescue Kit - they're eating pizza all the time anyway, so they might as well be prepared to make ANY pizza taste its best.

4.  Katana Safety Arc - a portable, personal alarm system connected to a 24/7 response center.  I personally think this one is a MUST for ALL kids...adults, too.

5.  Homesick Candles - got a kid whose missing home or somewhere that feels like home?!  Grab them a candle that smells like it.  These homesick candles are a favorite.

6. Bar Game Coasters - these aren't your average coasters.  These coasters are each designed with drinking games, puzzles, and quizzes.  Great conversation piece or something to carry with you when you head to the tavern.  LEGALLY, of course.  

7.  Keurig K-Mini - cheaper than Starbuck's and in the comfort of their own dorm/home :)

8.  The Hungoever Cookbook - from the author, "Everything you need to know to assess, understand, and improve a hangover is here: dozens of comforting recipes, very clever graphic tests for analyzing your state of mind, and quizzes for tracking your progress."

9.  Pizza Socks - because who doesn't love socks?!  And if I'm being honest, the packaging sold me on these :)

10.  Portable Charger Jackery Bolt - we know they're on their phones all the time so we might as well equip them with the power to keep it charged wherever they are.  And this one has extremely fast charging speeds!

11. I Adulted! A Sticker Book for Grown-Ups - when you can't be there to praise them, help them acknowledge their accomplishments with their very own adult sticker book :). The next best thing to your encouraging words.

12.  Cable Bites - these adorable little cable bites are great for reinforcing charging cables and prevent breakage, too! 

13.  Mega Snacks Care Package - because they're always hungry and always looking for food. 

14.  Dorm Doc - A college first aid medical kit with over 125 pieces.  Did I mention it was designed by a pharmacist?!  Might not be their idea of a great gift, but I know a lot of moms who would love for their college kids to have one on hand.  

15.  Make Your Bed - have a college kid who needs a little extra inspiration?!  This one is honestly a must read for all adults :)

16.  Breakfast Sandwich Maker - the most important meal of the day shouldn't be expensive or take a lot of time.  Meet the breakfast sandwich maker.  The perfect breakfast solution!

17. UBER Gift Card - truly the gift that keeps on giving for both college kids and their parents. 


Monday, August 27, 2018

You Butternut Pout

My husband and I were recently talking about how our eating habits have changed since we got married 14 years ago.  I was an AWFUL cook.  Like, couldn't toast toast kind of bad.  For the first 3 years of our marriage, we survived on tater tot casseroles, chicken squares (gag), Hamburger Helper, and pizza.  We eventually moved onto a variety of meals to make up for those lost three years, but only in the recent years have we shifted toward a healthier diet.  I'm not saying we're perfect eaters 100% of the time.  We still love all the "bad" stuff, too.  But these days we practice the motto, "everything in moderation".  On nights when we want something that could easily double as a "bad" meal, we opt for this dish.  Savory with a touch of sweetness all wrapped into one.  So you butternut pout (see what I did there?!) because this is just as tasty and sinful as anything I ever cooked those first three years of marriage!<---see anything="" as="" because="" did="" div="" ever="" i="" is="" just="" little="" number="" sinful="" tasty="" there="" this="" tried="" ve="" we="" what="">



BUTTERNUT SQUASH NOODLES WITH SAUSAGE & SPINACH

1 pkg. butternut squash noodles
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. + 1/2 TBSP. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1 link turkey sausage, sliced
1 C. baby spinach
sea salt & cracked pepper, to taste

Optional
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
shredded parmesan cheese, to tase

Preheat oven to 400.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  

Toss salt, pepper, olive oil, and squash in a gallon sized ziplock baggie.  Seal and shake until the noodles are coated.  Evenly spread noodles out onto the baking sheet and cook for 10-12 minutes or until al dente.

You can spiralize your own butternut squash OR take the easy way out like I did and buy a pre-spiralized package.  You can typically find these in the produce department close to the bagged salads and whatnot.  




While the squash is cooking, saute the onion, garlic, & sausage in a skillet with 1/2 tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat.  Cook until sausage is browned and onions are translucent.


Remove squash from the oven and transfer to the skillet with the sausage and onion.  Add a cup of baby spinach to the mix and cook over low heat until spinach is wilted.  I added some crushed red pepper because I like things a little hot.  If you're into that sort of thing, I strongly recommend that optional addition.


If you're so inclined top your serving with a sprinkle of shredded parmesan.


This is one of my go-to dishes.  Quick enough to whip up for a weekday lunch or filling enough as a dinner for two.  Extremely flavorful and low in carbs, too (if you're keeping track).  This is one of those recipes that never gets old!


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Seeing Orange

I'm always on a mission to find dinners that are easy to prep and cook and take little time from stovetop to table.  When I can pair that winning combo with something that also tastes delicious and has me going back for thirds?!?!  That my friends is what I call 'winning'.  Yes.  Winning in every way possible.  If you're a fan or these flavors, I think you'll feel the same.  


ORANGE CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS

1 TBSP. olive oil
1 lb. ground chicken
2 tsp. minced garlic
___________________

Orange Chicken Sauce

1/2 C. Orange Juice
1 TBSP. orange zest
2 TBSP. soy sauce OR liquid aminos
2 TBSP. apple cider vinegar
1/4 C. brown sugar
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 TBSP. water
1/2 TBSP. cornstarch

____________________

Optional toppings

Mandarin oranges (canned) OR Halo/Cutie slices (fresh)
Green onions & sesame seeds, to taste
Butter lettuce leaves


I know that might look like "a lot" of ingredients, but chances are likely that you already have most of them on hand AND the prep takes no time at all (especially if you gather all the ingredients together before measuring and dumping).

Brown the chicken in a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil and two teaspoons of minced garlic and remove from heat.  

In a medium bowl, add the orange juice, zest, soy sauce (I used liquid aminos), apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, ground ginger, and crushed red pepper flakes.  In a small bowl, add the water and cornstarch and mix until combined.  Add the water/cornstarch mixture to the medium bowl and use a whisk to blend until ingredients are combined.

Heat the liquid mixture in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook until the mixture thickens.  As the OP says, "it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon".  I didn't spoon check it, I just kept an eye on it and continued to stir until I felt it was thick enough.

Once the sauce thickens, remove from heat and pour over the chicken (still in the skillet).  Mix well and then continue to cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat.

To prep, scoop a few spoonfuls of the chicken/sauce mixture onto a lettuce leaf.  Top with green onion, mandarin oranges, and sesame seeds.  We skipped out on the sesame seeds and loaded up on the green onion and a few mandarin oranges.  DELICIOUS.

I should also mention that we spiced it up a little bit more with Chili Garlic sauce.  Ummmm.  It was amazing, but my mouth is still on fire.  If you're not a fan of spice, don't go that route.  Honestly, the chicken mixture is fine as is!  You can reserve a little of the sauce to drizzle on top once you prep the wraps if that's your style.  

If you're counting calories or tracking your macros, here's the breakdown (found on Little Spice Jar)
per serving (1 lettuce wrap) = 112 calories / 8.5g carbs/ 8.6g protein/ 4.9g fat

I can't say enough good things about this meal. Took me about 20 minutes from start to finish and I'm pretty sure we devoured an entire pan full in less than 10.  Ha.  Really, really tasty.  We've had these several times in the past year and will definitely be having them a lot more in the year to come!  WINNING for sure!


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

His & Hers Holiday Gift Guides 2017

It's hard to believe December will be here in just a matter of days.  That means I have to actually start Christmas shopping.  If you're in the same boat as me and in need of some ideas for that "him" or "her" in your life...or if you just need some fun ideas for yourself....I created these gift guides just for you!  Hopefully this will help make your shopping a little easier this holiday season!
* This post contains some affiliate links.*

First up, stocking stuffers for HIM.  


1.  HD Dash Cam - because, well, you never know.  And coming in under $30, these make a great, albeit, random stocking stuffer!

2.  Jack Black Comfort & Joy Duo - great gift set for the guy who likes his hands & lips to stay soft during the cold winter months (unless you live in south Texas.  Where's our winter weather?!  Seriously!)

3.  Taco Tee - I have yet to meet a man who doesn't love tacos and the Paris Texas Co. carries my favorite, soft tees proclaiming love for the world's best breakfast fare.

4.  Gourmet Hot Sauce Sampler - for the guy who loves putting Cholula on EVERYTHING (cough, Mr. Spouse, cough), this is a great step-up!

5.  Jason Mark Sneaker Cleaning Kit - know a guy who likes to keep his sneakers looking like he just took them out of the box?!  This is the gift for him!

6.  Analog Leather Band Wrist Watch - I love mens watches that are inexpensive, but don't look it.  This one fits the bill.

7.  The Right Tool - This is an all-in-one credit card tool that's not only functional, but looks pretty cool, too.

8.  Universal Socket Grip - speaking of tools, this is a great one for your guy to have on hand and apparently lots of people feel the same way because this one is a best seller!

9.  Magnetic Stress Relief Desk Toy -  what's that saying?!  Idle hands are the devil's playground?  This stress relief desk toy is sure to cure that.

10. Groomerang - not only do I love the clever name of this product, but I also love that this is a tool to help both groom and shape your favorite guy's facial hair.  I konw what I'm putting in Mr. Spouse's stocking this year!

11.  Retro Vinyl Record Coasters - These speak for themselves.  SO fun!

12.  Multipurpose Grill Mat - These mats are AWESOME and right now they're being offered at a deep discount!!!  If you know a guy who loves to grill, put these on the list.

 13.  Fidget Cube - Say what you will about fidget toys, but I know several men...and women (cough, ME, cough) who could benefit from a little structured fidgeting every now and then!

14.  Shampoo Scalp Massage Brush - as if we need to give them a reason to prolong their showers, right?!  These scalp brushes...as random as they are...are AMAZING. 




Now onto the "big" stuff...



1.  Patagonia Men's Better Sweater 1/4 Zip Fleece - I used to balk at spending more than $50 on sweater type clothing...especially living here in Texas.  HOWEVER, there is something to be said for dishing out a little extra for quality items.  Patagonia is where it's at.  I love all of their men's AND women's outerwear and this one is perfect for us here in the south (anywhere, really).  Great quality, good looking, and lasts forever!

2.  Sperry Duck Boots - I LOVE these.  Waterproof and comfortable.  And good looking, too.

3.  North Face Denali E-Tip Gloves - these gloves are perfect for the guy who likes to keep his phalanges warm, but also needs access to his technology.  Bonus that they aren't fancy & keep well!

4.  Fulton & Roark Solid Cologne - this is one of my favorite men's products this year.  Inside of this trendy tin can is cologne in solid form...almost like a balm.  Smells amazing and can even be carried in his pocket for the guy who likes to smell delicious all day long.  Lots of scent options available.

5.  Skagen Men's Ancher Grey IP Mesh Bracelet Watch  - definitely pricier than the stocking stuffer option, but this watch is great!  Versatile and different than what I'm used to seeing out there.  

6.  Tan Suede Backpack - for the guy who likes to carry a backpack and look trendy/chic at the same time.  LOVE this option.

7.  Wooden Universal Docking Station - this docking station is handcrafted and doubles as a valet/catch all.  You can also have it personalized!  I love handcrafted items and this one is beautiful.

8.  Herringbone Henley - love this soft tee and the fact that it's on sale makes it even better.

9.  Fan Chest - know a guy who's crazy about a sports team?!  Check out Fan Chest!  These curated boxes contain lots of goodies any sports fan would love.

10.  Roku Express - I can think of several men in my life who need this little gadget!  If you know a guy without a smart tv, this reasonably priced Roku stick gives any TV streaming capabilities.  GREAT gift!!!

11.  Otter Wax Leather Care Kit - this leather care kit is perfect for any guy on your list!

12.  Personalized Gold Cufflinks - Oh, how I love this cufflink set.  These would be awesome for your guy or maybe even an older relative.  And just looking far into the future, I could see how these would also be great for kids or grandkids to inherit (cue the tears).

13.  JCrew Crewneck Sweater - LOVE this sweater and the fact that it's 40% off right now.  This would be great paired with a collared button down & distressed jeans, but also looks great as is!

14. Bluetooth Transmitter -  this gadget has the capacity to give any device bluetooth streaming ability.  What guy wouldn't love that?!

15.  Stealth EDC Kit - Great for the guy on the go who likes to be prepared.  This little keychain kit includes a bottle opener, phone charger (both apple and android available), screwkeys, and keysmart.  

16.  Men's 574 Retro Sport Casual Sneakers - I have a bit of an obsession with New Balance tennis shoes for men and women.  This Retro version is my absolute favorite for guys.  Casual and sporty.  They look great dressed down or paired with a nice shirt and jeans.  LOVE these.

17.  Echo Spot - this gadget won't be released until Dec. 19th, but I'm pretty sure I'll be ordering one for Mr. Spouse anyway.  Instead of just being voice activated (like Google Home or Alexa), the Echo Spot has a screen allowing the user to view weather forecasts, music lyrics, see who's calling, and MORE!

18.  Bluetooth Tracking Tag - I can think of someone who needs this handy device for everything he owns ;)




Okay ladies!  Now it's our turn!  Here are some of my favorite stocking stuffers for 2017.

1.  Tile Style Anything Finder - speaking from the perspective of a person who would lose her head if it wasn't attached to her neck, I can say that this is a MUST have item.  I need them in bulk.

2.  Personalized Keychains - okay, is this a random gift?  Because let me tell you.  This ENTIRE Etsy store has just shot up the list to my most favorite!  I absolutely LOVE these keychains for any lady in your life.  While you're checking these out, browse through everything else that's offered.  You'll be sure to find something you'd love to give AND receive!

3.  Air Vent Mount - Okay.  Put the phones down in the car and place them somewhere safe.  Please.  This trendy air vent mount should be reason enough alone to put the phones down while we're driving!

4.  Gold Cactus Bottle Opener - know a lady who's fallen head over heels with this year's cactus craze?!  This is the bottle opener for them!

5.  Gold Cactus Bottle Stopper - this would be a great gift paired with the bottle opener,a personalized wine glass, and a bottle of wine!

6.  Silicone Wine Glasses - What these glasses lack in appearance they make up for in practicality.  There's nothing worse than a broken wine glass and red merlot all over your carpet.  Prevent that with these!

7.  Voluspa Candle Set - a set of three 11 oz. candles for the ladies who love things that smell good.

8.  Crayoligraphy Gift Set - know a lady who loves to letter or someone who's recently started to dabble in the art?!  This calligraphy set from Crayola would make the best gift!!!  

9.  Clip-On Selfie Ring Light - up your selfie game with this clip-on light guaranteed to enhance every snap of the shutter.  Move over, Kim K.  It's our turn to shine.

10.  Travel Size Poo-Pourri - okay, so scoff at this all you want, but ladies.  Let's be real.  In an emergency situation, you'd want to have this on hand.  And the travel size makes it perfect to carry around in your purse totally undetected :)   

 11.  Rose Gold Diamond Pop Socket - diamonds are a girl's best friend.  Show-off your love for the most adored gemstone with this fun pop socket.

12.  Wine Wipes - know a lady who loves wine, but after a few sips gets "wine smile"?!  Grab her a set of these to keep those pearly whites white!




All of these "big" gift items are under $100 with the exception of two.  Some I already own and love, and the rest I'd REALLY like to have (hint, hint Mr. Spouse).

1.  AEO Soft & Sexy Plush Drop-Shoulder Sweatshirt - Y'all.  This sweatshirt is everything.  I LIVE in mine.  Soft doesn't even begin to describe it.  I have the camo (pictured above) and this red.  I kid you not when I tell you I want the whole collection.  They're really that cozy!  I typically wear a small, but sized up to the M in the camo so that I could wear it with leggings (I'm 5'3", so this did the trick!).  I have a SM in the red and LOVE the way it looks with jeans.  This is my favorite sweatshirt of the year!

2.  Lash Boost - I know a lot of you are probably eyerolling at this one, but hear me out.  I was getting eyelash extensions for a while (which I loved!!!!), but I developed an allergy to the glue and had to say goodbye to them.  I was left without eyelashes and was desperate to grow them out (#firstworldproblems).  A few friends suggested Lash Boost and I begrudgingly gave it a try.  Now I can't be without it!  My lashes are longer and fuller than ever and this little tube lasts at least 6 months.  Best investment ever!!!  

3.  New Balance 311 Jogger - like I said earlier, I have a New Balance obsession and these wine colored kicks have been a favorite of mine this year.  The color is called "supernova red", but they're definitely more maroon/burgundy/wine.

4. Black Tourmaline Druzy Cuff - I love druzy anything and this cuff is just dainty and perfect.  Makes a statement without being too "in your face".

5.  Vici Amour Striped Sweater - if my mom is reading this, I can guarantee she's rolling her eyes and laughing.  My closet is FULL of stripes so it's no surprise this one made the list.  I love the dainty ruffled detailing on the shoulders.  

6. Steve Madden Trace-L Mule - Leopard will always be my favorite neutral and these mules would be perfect dressed up or dressed down.  They're at the top of my list!

7.  TOMS Dodoma 201 Blonde Tortoise Sunglasses - Back in the Spring I bought I pair of TOMS sunglasses which I LOVED.  My husband did NOT.  Needless to say, he was really happy when I left them in Vegas over the summer.  Boo.  I wanted to replace them, but he wasn't having it.  SO, he gifted these to me so that I wouldn't be tempted to replace the others, LOL.  And y'all, I have to say that I'm SO glad he went this route instead of the other.  These are AMAZING.  Classic look, too, which I love.

8.  Josie B Doormat - These are my favorite doormats and I'm asking Santa to gift me with one this Christmas!!!  I'm not sure he'll oblige with this particular one, so I have a few on the list from which he can choose ;)

9.  Patterned Fuzzy Knit Cardigan - oh you guys.  These cardigans (insert all the heart eyes here).  Because I'm old and gaining weight in all the wrong places, I had NO idea Hollister was even around.  I thought it disappeared with my size 26 waistline.  They're definitely still around and making the CUTEST clothes!  I'm certain I can only fit into the tops, so when I found these cardigans I about fell out.  I have the leopard print (now sold out) and it's AMAZING.  I usually wear a small, but I should've sized down to the XS (it runs about one size bigger).  That to be said, I do love the "slightly oversized" look and it's cozy as all get out.  The buffalo plaid would be my next choice, but there's also a camo version that I keep eyeing.  And right now they're only $25!!!!!

10.  Burt's Bees Cotton Pajamas - I love pajamas and I always ask for a new pair each Christmas.  I typically won't splurge on PJ's for myself throughout the year...it's always college tees and 15 year old scroungy pj pants.  These are adorable and on my list!

11.  Sole Society Janine Satchel - While I do prefer crossbodys, this satchel is stunning.  I'm typically a "smaller is better" kind of person when it comes to purses, but I would LOVE to have this one!  This particular color is Sandstone (neutral enough to wear with everything), but it also comes in black and midnight blue.

12.  Sephora Favorites Nude Lip Kit - aaahhhh!!!  Give me ALL the nudes, please!  This is such a great gift set at such a great price!

13.  Lucky Brand  Druzy Cuff Bracelet - Again with the druzy, but I think this is stunning.  Simple and casual, but eye-catching, too!  And I really love the style.

14.  Patagonia Hooded Waffle Tunic - Remember how I felt about the AEO soft sweatshirts earlier?! That's exactly how I feel about this tunic, too!  This is such a versatile piece.  It runs true to size and covers all your lower lady parts :)  I have this exact one and wear it with leggings and my new balance sneakers.  My favorite part about this is the thumb holes...random!  But seriously.  It's great to wear on it's own or even over a base layer.  Looks great with a vest, too.  It's comfy and cute...really flattering fit!  It also comes in cream and blue.  This is one of my most favorite pieces in my closet!

15.  Lomography Lomo'Instant Milano Camera + 3 lenses - this instant camera isn't only adorable, but it's also perfectly practical for the girl who likes to snap memories. It comes with 3 interchangable lenses so you're covered in any kind of shooting scenario.

16.  Gianni Bini Suede Brewsten Tassel Mules - I don't have these, but they're on my list. I tried them on in store the other day and they are SO cute!  I'm always weird about mules.  Some look really cute off, but they're awful on and vice versa.  These look cute off AND on the foot (and they're true to size).  Right now the guilded gray & blush mules are permanently reduced to less than $50.  The guilded gray (pictured) is really more of a bone color in person.  The other colors....black and sugar cookie...are regularly priced at $80.  Cute and comfortable. I kind of want them in every color.  

17.  Large Initial Necklace  - my sweet sister-in-law was wearing one of these over the summer and it's been on my list ever since seeing her wear it!!!  LOVE these.

18.  Sherpa Lined Slippers - I was gifted this pair last month and y'all...they are every bit as comfortable as the more expensive sherpa lined slippers on the market.  THANK YOU, OLD NAVY!  While you might not be able to find this style online, you'll definitley see them in store.  They've been on sale for $10, but they're worth the regular price of $20, IMO.  I wear these ALL.THE.TIME.  Just be prepared because they make your feet pretty stinkin' hot! (stinkin' being the operative word, lol)

19.  Martha Stewart Buffalo Check Sweater Knit Blanket - I'm a sucker for cozy blanket and Martha Stewart makes some of my favorites.  I absolutely LOVE this black and white buffalo check blanket and this one, too, is on my list.  I've seen this as inexpensive as $35 this season, but no lower than that.  One thing I've learned about her blankets is that when they're finally clearanced out, they're gone.  Crossing my fingers for this one!

20.  Betsy Pittard Quatrefoil Hoops - I get asked about these earrings everytime I wear them. This is one of my favorite pairs because they're extremely lightweight (so much so that I have to check to make sure they're still in!) and verstile.  I can wear them dressed up or even casually running errands.  

There are still some GREAT deals being offered online with some of these retailers, so if you're interested, grab them while you can still get a discount!  Hope these lists help you this holiday season!