Thursday, November 30, 2017

Girls Night at Lady Gaga

We've always been big Lady Gaga fans!  I (Carrie Beth) has seen her perform live twice at the Super Bowls she has performed at...once for the National Anthem and once for the half-time show and both have not disappointed.



She's such a talented artist and an amazing performer! So, just after the Super Bowl last year when she killed it during half-time, tickets for her tour went on sale and we decided that it would be such a fun girls night to see her concert when she came to Atlanta.  I (Jen) coordinated and bought tickets for us and a few friends and then we kind of put it on the back burner.  Fast forward 9 months and the date was finally here!  On Tuesday we met up for what would be super fun girls night out.

We rode together down town and had a less than impressive dinner.  We ate at a really nice restaurant close to the venue and it kept going from bad to worse.  Bad service, took forever to get our food, and little to no compassion for the fact that we were trying to get to an event and had been there with reservations with more than enough time to spare.  However, we enjoyed each other's company and catching up with one another.


After we finally finished up dinner and settled our bill we headed over to the show we were late for only to find out that our tickets wouldn't scan properly to get in the doors.  We were all dumbfounded at this point and thinking no way the night could get worse. However, you hear all kinds of stories about counterfeit tickets and although we bought our tickets directly from Ticket Master, we were so confused as to why they were sending us to the Ticket Office instead of letting us in to our seats.


The gentleman helping us was really nice, but he was making us very nervous.  He was checking our ID's, checking his computer, asking all kinds of questions and getting other employees to assist him.  In the end we found out the section we had purchased our tickets for no longer existed after a recent remodel to the venue so we were being upgraded!!!  We acted like 10 year old girls at that point and started screaming and jumping up and down.  He was such a good sport and snapped a photo with us.



That moment totally turned our night around!  We were so pumped and couldn't wait to see our seats, but once inside we needed a quick picture first!


#HeadsDownEyesUp was the advice of our awesome photographer and fellow Gaga fan.

When we finally got to our seats we couldn't believe how close we were!  We originally had been in the nose-bleed section.  Tickets weren't cheap, but even still we were going to be WAY up there.  This was such a different experience and such a great view.


When Lady Gaga finally came on stage she was amazing.  Her costumes, the dancing, the lights and all the theatrics made for such a great show. Fun old songs were mixed in with the new and it was all so entertaining.  You can tell she has such a loyal fan base and we loved being there being a part of it.





During the night she moved all over the venue to mini-stages all over the floor and giving everyone a great view.  It felt like a very intimate venue, even though there are about 12,000 people there that night.


It was a great night with great friends and reminded us all that it is so important to take time out to spend time with your best girl friends.  We all have kids and have super busy lives and getting away for night on a random Tuesday night takes a lot of preparation and very early wake-up calls the next day, but it was so worth it!


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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Celebrating the Holidays with Apple Cranberry Sweet Tea Punch


Hurray! The holidays are officially here and in full swing! I love love love this time of year. From the fun parties, to the anticipated arrival of the big guy delivering goodies, to the panic about moving that elf, to all the yummy treats (mmm...the treats!) - bring it all on! 

My absolute favorite thing is being a host during this time of year. I love filling my home with the delightful chaos of the holidays. Witnessing all the happy around me, and creating lasting memories with all the special people in our life fills me with joy. Not to mention the festiveness of the holiday season makes it super easy to plan a little soiree. The theme is in the holiday itself and the options of creativity are endless. Whether we choose to celebrate all the holiday things with an ugly Christmas sweater party or a more upscale dinner, I've learned the best way keep the stress at bay and enjoy your role as host is to have a few go-to seasonal food and drink recipes that work for any situation. Keep it simple. Keep it easy. Then you get to keep it FUN


And as any good southern host knows, no event worth speaking about is an event without sweet tea. Milo's Tea is without a doubt one of our favorite southern staples, and when it comes to serving our guests we only want to serve them the best tasting.  


I'm not the only huge fan of Milo's Tea. It's award winning taste has been savored for generations.  Milo’s Tea was created in the famous Milo's restaurant founded in 1946 by Milo and Bea Carlton after Milo returned from serving his country in World War II.  The teas are all naturally brewed with no colors, acids, additives or preservatives to keep in line with Milo and Bea's vision for using high quality ingredients to never sacrifice on taste. Today, Milo's Tea is still a family owned company located in Bessemer, Alabama. So quite literally every sip provides a little south in your mouth.


I always make sure to have a variety available on hand though, and often during the summer months I  often serve our second favorite southern staple - their delicious lemonade. It comes in a variety of different options (no calorie, unsweet, and a tea lemonade combo), but my favorite to serve is Milo's All Natural Sweet Tea because it is sweetened with pure cane sugar. 


I found Milo’s at my local Target in the refrigerated juice and dairy section, but they are available at lots of retailers. Find a store near you by using the store locator.


The All Natural Tea is also my favorite to mix in to make other tea based drinks. I'm never one to shy away from a yummy cocktail recipe during the holidays, but for any gathering this time of year I try to have a more family friendly drink available since guests of all ages are in attendance. My go-to drink is this delicious Apple Cranberry Sweet Tea Punch. It not only looks festive, but it tastes it too! It is beyond yummy and the moment the holidays roll around I can't wait to serve it to anyone and everyone (and have a drink or three myself). It is just one of those drinks that is suitable for any party, and made with only a few ingredients we already have in our pantry.  


The Apple Cranberry Sweet Tea Punch is super easy to make. Depending on the situation you can craft this delicious holiday crowd pleaser to be a single serving or easily make it in large batches. Either way in just a matter of minutes you have a delicious holiday beverage. It is always a huge hit, and is perfect for serving even to our tiniest of guests.

So give it a try, and bring a little southern sweetness to your next holiday soiree!

Celebrate the holidays with this yummy and easy to make Apple Cranberry Sweet Tea Punch. The perfect holiday drink made with the south's favorite Milo's Tea. #PassTheMilos #pmedia #ad

HOW TO MAKE APPLE CRANBERRY SWEET TEA PUNCH


Serves: 10-12
Prep Time: 5 mins


Ingredients
- 2 cups of apple juice
- 2 cups of cranberry juice
- 2 cups of sparkling water or club soda
- 2 apples, sliced
- 1 cup of cranberries 


Directions
1: In a large punch bowl mix chilled sweet tea, apple juice, cranberry juice, and sparkling water. 
2: Add slices of apples and cranberries for garnish. (Note: Freeze cranberries beforehand to keep punch cooler longer.)
3: Serve and enjoy!


What go to drink do you like to serve during the holidays? 



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This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Milo’s Tea Company, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #PassTheMilos http://my-disclosur.es/OB

Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday Favorites: So Thankful Edition

Happy post-Thanksgiving everyone! Today, I feel as though my pants are still a little too tight, and my food coma hasn't worn off. All signs of an awesome Thanksgiving! 

We've had a fun break, and I can't believe how quickly it has flown by! So glad we still have the weekend ahead, and lots of holiday shopping in the future. ;)

CB's had an awesome Thanksgiving break too! I've been living vicariously through her tropical turkey vacation on Instagram. I am anxiously awaiting for her arrival home this weekend so I can hear all about it! 

Today I'm linking up as usual for Friday Favorites. I have so much to share! 



We kicked off the break with tons of fun. First up was seeing my baby cousin get married! Mr. Cute and I left the kids behind early and made our way out with some family for a little pre-wedding cocktail. 


We had a blast visiting with out of town family, eating some yummy food, watching a gorgeous bride, and doing a little dancing. Weddings will always be my favorite. Someone else needs to get married stat! 



The day after the wedding, we met up with some of my out of town relatives for lunch. I brought the kids this time, and they kept us entertained. 



Who knows where they think of these things? But if sliding down on the hotel lobby stairs keeps them happy, fine by me. #badmom


It could have been the result of visiting Rocket Fizz just beforehand. This little candy shop located in downtown Decatur had every kind of candy you could imagine. The kids went crazy! 

(Obviously.)



It also had a million different kinds of sodas. Everything from peanut butter and jelly soda to pickle juice soda (yes, you read that right!). 



We were cracking up at some of the titles of them. We were even brave enough to give a few a try. 


Thanksgiving obviously makes one of my favorites this week. We hosted this year and while it wasn't our first year hosting, it was our first year making the turkey. 


I was a little nervous, but then I did what any good host would do, and delegated. Mr. Cute took over and I gladly supervised. We made two turkeys (one in the oven and one in the Egg). We figured the odds of ruining two turkeys were small. 

But we still had a few restaurants on backup. Luckily, both were delicious and we can check that life milestone off our list. 


My favorite thing about Thanksgiving though has to be the Macy's Day parade. I love seeing all the different groups that come through and remember loving all the floats when I was a child. On my bucket list is actually being in the parade one day. Anyone know how to make that happen? I don't think I'm quite up to being a Rocket anymore, but could totally rock being clown number seven. 


The kids sat and watched the whole time, and Cute didn't move the entire time. Their excitement at seeing Santa at the end was infectious, and a memory I won't ever forget!

Now that the holidays are in full swing, consuming every treat I can possibly get my hands on is in full swing too. Treats are always my favorite. I've been trying my hardest to stick to our clean eating ways, but somethings are just too hard to resist. 


Like these little snack treat mixes from Target. They have them each year and I LOVE them. A little too much sometimes. The Cinnamon Pecan popcorn and Rudolph's Mix are my favorites. I already need to restock. They make awesome gifts add-ons for neighbors, friends and teachers too!


I put out my favorites for the holiday in my new favorite stoneware pieces. I love the Tara at Home stoneware line, and just received these new pieces. I served the turkey on the Mila platter, and then the mixes in the Mila Ramekins. I love anything that can go from baking, to serving, to storing and still look that good! 


The pattern and quality are gorgeous, and they will be perfect to have out for the entire holiday season!

One thing I've noticed this break is how mischievous B.C. is. She is a climber to the extreme and no spot in the house is off limits. She breaks into child safety locks, and looks at us with a face that says, "That was supposed to be a challenge?!".


Her adventurous ways and lack of fear are not my favorite, but seeing her little personality emerge even more is. I've realized how quickly she is leaving the baby stage behind. She's becoming a her own little person, and aside from giving me a heart attack hourly, its super fun. 


(Yes that's a child lock on my pantry. And yes she dragged a stool over, opened it, dragged the stool again, climbed up and perused her snack options. Heart attack.)


How cute are these little shoes?!? Cute little baby girl shoes will always be my favorite. Always. 

B.C. is obsessed with shoes. She spends all day taking her shoes on and off. Telling people about her shoes. And wearing other people's shoes. Obsessed might be an understatement. 


When I saw these cute little pink boots I couldn't resist! Plus they squeak. And as mentioned before, girl could use some bells on her. 

She thinks the squeaking is hilarious. I love knowing where she is, and if the squeaking stops I know to see what she's getting into (or climbed on). 

There are a ton of other cute options from the same brand, so I'm thinking I might grab another pair for Christmas! I love the patent ones with bows on their toes! 




Speaking of amazing accessories, did you see my gorgeous navy bag?? 


This diaper bag is all sorts of amazing, and I professed my love for it last week on some of our social media accounts. It bears repeating though. It's so versatile and can be worn so many ways. I love how I can be hands free and wear it as a backpack, messenger or as a tote. 

Definitely one of my favorites of all time. AND...stay tuned this weekend on Instagram because a little birdie told me we might have a chance for you to win your own. ;)  




All Thanksgiving cooking aside, this week I actually had time to cook other new meals too. And by cook, I mean break out my favorite crockpot


I few weeks ago, I purchased Mix & Match Mama's Simmers cookbook. I love following along with her on her blog, and when I saw she was doing slow-cooker one I was all in. It's like she was writing just for me! I purchased Carrie Beth and I each a copy because when it comes to cooking (and most things in life) she's my soul sister. 


I gave the Chicken Spaghetti and the Beef Stroganoff  a test run this week and both are winners! So much yum!

 I found both recipes to be super easy and family friendly. Neither took a ton of time or a ton of ingredients. Just how I like it. 



Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, it's on to all things Christmas! I L-O-V-E being a parent at Christmas. It is just so much fun! 


This weekend I plan to use my two favorite shopping BFFs to knock out a ton of holiday shopping. I used to love hitting the mall first thing on Black Friday, but as I've gotten older I'm less of a mall girl and more of a sit in my pjs and order from the Internet kind of girl. 


My first shopping BFF is Amazon. It's my absolute favorite! If you aren't a prime member than you should be. I can't tell you how many times Amazon has saved me at the last minute. They have everything and it can be delivered straight to your doorstep in two days or less! I know this weekend they are doing a ton of our favorites on major sale. The Amazon Echo is one of our all time favorite gifts that we received, and I'm so excited this weekend it's on sale too. 


My second shopping BFF is Ebates. I use Ebates all year long, but during the holiday season you can find some amazing deals and get tons of cash back all in one spot. Signing up is free and it is totally worth it! You can also partner it with tons of stores - including my first BFF. :) 

Do you have other sites that you love? I'm always looking to add some new ones to my shopping squad. :)


That wraps up my favorites for the week! 


Now off to soak up the last of the holiday break, knock out my holiday shopping, and hit the gym so that maybe I can actually wear pants with a button next week. 

Happy weekend friends!

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