Thursday, December 5, 2019

Christmas Porch Decorating Ideas

Everyone decorates the inside of their homes for Christmas, but I love having outdoor spaces that I can decorate, too!


I have always decorated our front porch for different holidays and thought that not many people see the inside of my house, but lots of people see the outside.


This is the first year that I also decorated our screen porch for Christmas and I love spending time out there, now!


I'm sharing lots of easy tips for decorating your porches today on Savvy Sassy Moms. Head on over and a check it out HERE!



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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Book Club: December

This post contains some affiliate links. All thoughts and opinions are our own! 

It's one of our favorite posts of the month...Book Club day!!!  


This time of year might be one of the busiest for moms with all things holiday, but that hasn't slowed down our reading (or listening).  Part of that is because we both indulged in some GREAT books this month.  They were all so different, but so many that we really enjoyed!   


WHAT WE READ...

CARRIE BETH
The other day I was cooking dinner with my headphones in while kids were running around the house and my daughter asked me why I was always listening to my book.  Ha!  I told her it was so I didn't have to listen to them yell.  Really though it was because I just love having something to take my mind off the mundane tasks of the day to day.  Folding laundry and listening, cleaning bathrooms and listening, doing dishes and listening, packing lunches and listening.  You get the point! 


My first book of the month was Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane. I typically love stories that are emotional, dramatic, messy, and complicated so when I read a review saying that is exactly what this book was I was so excited to read it and had really high hopes.  It was all of those things, but I kept waiting for something really big to happen and it never did.  It's about two families and how they are intertwined with each other's lives over a long span of time. There was issues of mental illness, substance abuse, pain and heartache. It kept me listening and wanting to know how it ended, but I just didn't love it. 



Next for me was The Simple Wild by K.A.Tucker.  My friend, Jaime, recommended this book to me and I thought it might be a nice light read after the heavy book I'd just finished.  This was a sweet love story, but touched on more than just a boy meets girl.  There was heartbreak, family dynamics and illness woven into this story, but ended in the best way possible.  It is about a young woman who hasn't seen her father in over 20 years and has had very little contact with him over that time.  She ends up going to visit him where he lives in Alaska. Let's just say the city girl has a hard time adjusting to the drastically different lifestyle the Alaskan people live day-to-day. She ends up reconnecting with her father in the best way possible and comes to love everyone who is a part of his life.  She has some difficult decisions to make when it comes to her future, but I loved the way this book ended.  I would definitely recommend it!



My friend, Vanessa, gave me this book for my birthday!  Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson was a book for her neighborhood's book club, so she thought I might enjoy it, too.  This was full of suspense, betrayal, blackmail, hidden pasts and lots of twists I didn't see coming. The main character, Amy, seems to have a nice normal suburban life, but when a new neighbor moves in and instantly inserts herself in Amy's life she starts to dig up secrets about her past that no one knows.  Amy gets blackmailed, but learns how to play the game and outsmart the new neighbor. There were so many twists I never saw coming, but they kept me wanting to know more and more about how all of these characters were woven together. It was full of drama and ended in a totally different way than I had expected.  If you like books with suspense and dark twists, this one is for you!



I started American Royals by Katherine McGee kind of on a whim and was immediately hooked.  I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!  I never watch TV so I have never gotten into any of the royal shows or series, but I feel like if I did have time to sit down and watch something I would most certainly love all things royal.  This book was written as though America, in it's very earliest days, had granted George Washington a crown and he had become the first King of America instead of our first President.  I thought that aspect of the story was so fascinating, smart and clever. The story focuses on the current royal family (a king, queen, two princess and one prince) and how the eldest princess is being groomed to be the first ruling queen. I loved all of the characters, hearing their connection to the crown and to each other, and it really made me me think about what life in the monarchy would be like. I loved the royal balls it described, the pomp and circumstance mixed in with everyday pop culture and it had me rooting for my favorite characters to end up in love and together.  I had been warned that this book just ended abruptly, but it left me wanting more and I feel like that is often a good thing.  Apparently, it is the first in a series so there will be a second book next fall!  This book could be considered Young Adult and was totally PG, but it was SO fun and really different and one that I just adored!

JEN
This month I started off reading a book a friend gave me by one of my favorite authors. About 15 pages in I put it down. It isn't a bad story or un-intriguing. It just opened up a little heavy, and I decided I needed a little more light. I'll come back to it, but switching gears proved to be a great move because I enjoyed every single book I read this month.

First up...


American Royals by Katharine McGee. I think it is so funny Carrie Beth and I picked out the same book this month. We have similar tastes in a lot of things, but reading can sometimes be hit or miss. We were at a girls night she was hosting chatting about books and we laughed when we both said this one at the same time as a suggestion to someone. We read it together and didn't even know it.

First, I love anything that has to do with royalty. Television shows, movies, books, etc. So when I saw American Royals I was intrigued. Like Carrie Beth said - it was so good! It's definitely a young adult novel, but I loved it's drama filled fun. Royal balls, forbidden romances, family chaos - I loved it all. It ended a little abruptly for me, and then I realized it's the first novel in a series. I'm curious on how it will all play out. (I'm also curious if my over filled, over tired brain will remember to pick up the second one when it comes out next year.)


Next up was The Last Wife by Nicola Marsh. This was my Audible for the month and it was such a good listen. I was so sucked in right from the start. The story is filled with family drama from the get go, and I actually looked forward to car pool and my mom taxi duties every day because it meant I could sneak in a few minutes to listen. The story follows Ria and her involvement we her ex-husband's family. Her ex disappeared five years prior in a scandal, but Ria still keeps in touch with the family. The Parker family is one of the richest families in Chicago, and one day Ria is given information on each of her family member's deepest, darkest secrets. She decides to keep them to herself until something bad happens to each family member. I was so shocked at who the culprit was, and still have questions on some of the final details, but this was a great listen/read. 


Okay, so sometimes Amazon's suggestions are a little far fetched and sometimes they are spot on. I was on my way to our annual Friendsgiving weekend at our cabin, and needed a good book to read on my Kindle. Broken Knight was in my "suggested reads" list that popped up. I mean I don't know about you, but that cover had me intrigued. The synopsis was a little vague, but had me curious enough that at $2.99 I thought, "Meh, I'll give it a go." 

I read it in a day. 

It had a lot more substance than typical romance novels, and between the drama, the heartbreak, the missed opportunities, the tragedy, and the romance I could. not. put. it. down. I stayed up until 3:30a.m. on vacation just to finish it. It was that good. I immediately told Carrie Beth to read it because it reminded me of  her favorite book of 2018

It's a romance book for sure. It has rated R content and language (not bad, but enough that it elicits a warning). It touches on substance abuse, mental health, rape, and terminal disease. All wrapped up in a love story. 

There were times I didn't even like some of the main characters. There were times I might have cried. Who knew a cover like that would take me down this reading journey. Touché L.J. Shen.  The ending was a teeny tiny bit rushed, but it gave such closure after so many emotional roller coasters along the way I didn't even care. Now go read it so we can all talk about it! 


WHAT'S UP NEXT...


CARRIE BETH



My next book has to be Broken Knight by L.J. Shen. When Jen told me she stayed up until 3:30 AM reading this one I knew I had to make it my next book.  When she told me it reminded her of my fav book from 2018, I was sold. I can't wait to share about this one next month!

JEN

It's December and that can mean only one thing - HOLIDAY BOOKS! I have a stack of these holiday books ready to go. Bring on the cozy blankets, warm fires, and all the holiday reading!

1. What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
2. Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
3. Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory
4. Christmas in Paris by Anita Hughes


And don't forget about two awesome holiday books we read earlier this season -  Coming Home for Christmas & A Wedding in December.  See our full reviews here.



What should we put on our reading lists next? 


BOOK CLUB 2019 

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November |



Follow along with us on Goodreads!


HAPPY READING! 



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Monday, December 2, 2019

Your Official Cyber Monday Guide 2019

We know you guys have probably been inundated with Black Friday deals left and right. Trust us, we're tired of all the emails too. Now the deals typically span over the course of the entire month. There's pre-Thanksgiving sales, Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday, and Cyber Monday...with a hours of major sales sprinkled in. 

Today we're sharing kind of a quick run down of all the sales going on for Cyber Monday. Then you can just happily click that little trash can on your email inbox. This is semi-selfish on our parts too because we want one place to look to see what all the deals are while we shop. Plus we can do this from home in our pajamas and that's waaaay more fun than battling all the large crowds out there. From SPANX (20% off!!!) to great Nike discounts, and our forever shopping assistant Alexa on Amazon - we've got you covered!



CYBER MONDAY GUIDE 2019

NATIONAL SALES

  • SPANX - 20% off site wide. No code needed. (We also found SPANX discounted on Amazon!)
  • Target - Up to 50% off site wide. (Air Pods on sale! Instapot on major sale! Apple Watches on sale!)
  • Under Armour - 30% off + free shipping with code UAGIFT2U
  • Matilda Jane - $5 deals, free gifts with $150 purchase, and free shipping on all orders. 
  • Lilly Pulitzer - $20 off every $100 spent. 
  • Jack Rodgers - 30% off + free shipping with code CYBER19
  • J.Crew Factory - 60% off + extra 10% off with code SOAMAZING
  • Blenders Eyewear - 50% off Sunglasses & 30% off Snow Goggles. 
  • Abercrombie - 50% off everything if a member (its free!) or 40% off for non-members. BOGO on fragrance. 
  • Snapfish - 70% off site wide with code CHEER70BCCOC 
  • ULTA - 50% off almost everything. (Including our favorite products from LivingProof and the infamous Urban Decay Eyeshadow Palettes!!)
  • Serena & Lily - 25% off with code THANKFUL
  • Sephora - Up to 50% off everything. 
  • Best Buy - Get 20% off one full priced item with code APPLY20RMNNOW
  • Keds - 30% off everything + 10% off sale items with code + free socks with code CYBERSALE. 40% Kate Spade with KSNY40. (These glitter shoes are our kids favorites!) 
  • Old Navy - 50% off everything. (extra 20% off for card holders)
  • Pier 1 - 30% off + free shipping with code CYBERMONDAY
  • Athleta - 20% off with code BEMOVED
  • Audible - Under $5 book sale. Buy 3+ books and receive a coupon. 
  • Saks Off 5th - Take 50% off most styles with code CYBER. Free shipping on all orders with code CYBERMON
  • Tervis - 50% off everything + free shipping
  • GAP - 50% off everything with code GAPCYBER
  • Academy Sports - 30% off most everything
  • SAKS - $50 off every $200 spent with code CYBER19SF. Extra 15% off beauty purchase with code CYBER. Free shipping with code FREESHIP
  • American Eagle - 40% off + free shipping. 50% off sweaters. 
  • Forever21 - 40% off everything + 50% off sale with code GOWILD
  • Nordstrom - Up to 50% off site wide (doing a lot of price matching) + gift card with purchase. 
  • Macy's - Extra 20% off using code CYBER
  • Dick's Sporting Goods - 25% off your order + free shipping (no code needed). (Hydro Flasks on major sale!)
  • Bath & Body Works - 40% off with code CYBERDAY
  • Walmart - Up to 60% off site wide. (PowerBeats on sale! Bose Earbuds on sale! Barbie Dreamhouse on major sale!)
  • Loft - 50% off everything + free shipping with code CYBER.  

LOCAL SALES 


We will update this throughout the day with deals and codes as we get them! 


Happy shopping and saving everyone! 


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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Gift Guide: Girlfriends

'Tis the season for giving! And at the top of our list - our girlfriends! We couldn't do life without the help of our mom squad, and can't think of a better set of people to put on our gifting list than them. 

We've rounded up some of our favorite gift ideas for girlfriends, and most are under $25! 




  1. PRETTY NOTEBOOKS & JOURNALS - There are five million ideas in our heads at any given time. From daily journaling to writing down the week's grocery list, why not have a pretty notebook to do so? This gold one is one of our favorites!
  2. PRETTY PENS - What goes better with a pretty notebook than a pretty set of pens? We love this glam pen set that comes in a set of four. You can keep them together, keep one for your self and gift the others, or split the set up to gift to different girlfriends on your list.
  3. INITIAL NECKLACE - These sideways initial necklaces have been a huge trend for the last year. We love this block letter style necklace and the idea of giving it as sort of a friendship necklace to all the ladies on our list.
  4. GLAM EYESHADOW  - We love a good eye shadow palette, and this time of year we tend to like to brighten our eyes with the season. This eye shadow palette has just a hint of sparkle mixed into a gorgeous warm set of colors. It's a favorite of ours this season. It is a bonus that it's packaged adorably in our favorite pattern - leopard!


  5. SCARVES - Cozy scarves always make a great gift, and this year we are loving these fun fringed ones. They are super soft, and come in a ton of fun patterns.
  6. BAREFOOT DREAMS SOCKS - These are the ultimate luxury when it comes to cozy feet on cold days. If you haven't put tried them yet, grab one for you and your girlfriends. These are the softest socks ever! They make for such a great gift and come in a ton of colors. They also come in two different lengths - calf height and knee length (these are perfect for boots!).
  7. HAPPY HOUR FUN - When we stumbled upon this fun margarita serving plate, we couldn't resist adding them to our girlfriends gift guide. Because what goes better with girls night in than margaritas?! We love that it comes in a set of six. So you can easily split these too!



  8.  KENDRA SCOTT EARRINGS - A few years ago Kendra Scott Earrings made their debut with their signature stone earrings. Years later we still love them, but once we spotted these new shaped studs we couldn't resist. We love how unique the shape is. They come in a ton of colors and go with everything. Such a great girlfriend gift!
      
  9. DECADENT BODY WASH  - Philosophy makes the best body washes, and during the holidays they usually come out with a fun themed scent or two. This year's chocolate vanilla scented body wash is so yummy. Perfect for your girlfriend who tends to have a sweet tooth!
  10. LUXURY LIP STICK - Glam lips for your glam girls! This is a splurge item, but your girlfriends will thank you. These lip sticks come in the best moisturizing shades!
     
  11. SPAFINDER GIFT CARD - Spa days are the best days. The Spafinder gift card is great for girlfriends who live both near and far. We love that it gives our girlfriends a spa day, but on their time at their favorite location.
  12. CANDLES - Candles always make for a great go-to gift. The Capri Blue Volcano candle is our absolute favorite and one we burn year round. It smells AMAZING and this time of year you can find it packaged in a fun glitter jar in a couple of different holiday colors.
  13. CORKCICLE EVERYTHING - We love Corkcicle products and they really do work the best when it comes to keeping your cocktails drinks cold. The Corkcicle canteen and stemless wine glass set makes for the perfect gift to give your girlfriends.
  14. STONE COASTERS - One of our favorite home trends for the year has been the use of stone in decor. These white quartz stone coasters are perfect for the home decor loving girlfriend in your life. They come in a round shape as well, but we love the gold edged natural cut.
  15. BRACELET KEY RINGS - We finally hopped on board the bracelet key ring trend, and we are so glad we did. We thought these fun leopard key rings would make for a great girlfriend gift. They come in a set of four so you can easily gift them all or split them up for inexpensive individual gifts.  

What gifts will you be giving your girlfriends this season? 



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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Fall Bruschetta Recipe

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and this year we are thankful we aren't hosting! Hosting is fun, but a lot of work. This year we both get to enjoy being guests and just soaking up time with our families. 

We still contribute though. Because Thanksgiving is a lot of work. Leaving it to any one person to do all the cleaning, cooking, and cleaning again will be a sure fire way to make any host sign up to be on a cruise the following Thanksgiving. 

We have a few easy recipes that we like to bring along as appetizers and sides. One that tops our list is worth sharing. Every time we make this Fall Bruschetta people love it. It looks festive, is a crowd pleaser, and (like all of our recipes) is super easy to make.  We also love that it is a little something different to bring to the table from traditional Thanksgiving food. 

Fall Bruschetta Recipe


FALL BRUSCHETTA RECIPE

Serves 4-8
Prep Time: 5 Mins
Total Time: 25-30 Mins

Fall Bruschetta Recipe

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups of diced butternut squash
  • 1 cup of diced apples
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp of all spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 8 slices of french bread
  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp of balsamic glaze


DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
  • Toss the butternut squash and apples with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, salt and black pepper. 
  • Place evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 15 mins. 
  • While the squash mixture is roasting, brush the slices of bread with the remaining olive oil. Set aside. 
  • Place the slices of bread in the oven for 4-5 mins, or until fully toasted.
  • Remove the bread from the oven and top with ricotta cheese and the squash mixture. 
  • Drizzle with balsamic glaze. 
  • Serve and enjoy! 
(Best served when warm.)


What is your favorite Thanksgiving appetizer or side?  


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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Kids Holiday Cookie Exchange Party

Tips on how to host an easy kids holiday cookie exchange

The holidays can be such a busy time, but they are also super FUN! I think sometimes we all forget that in the chaos of it all.  Especially when it comes to the kids. The magic of it all never dies...just evolves a bit as they get older. One of my favorite events to host, that is fun no matter what the ages of the kids are, is a cookie exchange. Because who doesn't love a good cookie (or twenty?)? 

Cute Official Cookie Tester Tees for Kids

This is one of those events that seems like it could be a lot of work - but it's not. One year I made the mistake of spending days making cookies. After that I streamlined the process and realized it was much easier to let the kids make one cookie recipe and the rest of the cookies we purchase from the store. We then leave it to our guests to bring either. Some of our friends are major bakers, and others are more like me (and are not). 


This year we did our annual exchange a little early because we had a rare free weekend open that worked for most of our guests. The kids are already so excited about all things Christmas, so we decided doing it a little early couldn't hurt. 

Host a Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange

I went with a fun holiday plaid theme, and found some of the cutest plaid party items at Oriental Trading. In fact, I was able to order almost everything I needed from Oriental Trading - including some adorable "Official Cookie Tester" tees for the kids. 


Oriental Trading always has the best holiday items. From home decor to classroom party needs they've been one of our go-to's for years. They've been running a ton of great sales lately too! Use our special code SQAUD19 to snag great deals all holiday season long. 


The party was a great success. There are some cookies the kids are still raving about, and some I might have hidden in the pantry in mommy's special place for further taste testing. 

Here's a peek at all the details before the sugar rush set in and the kids were banished to the backyard to play it all off. 















TIPS & TRICKS FOR HOSTING A KIDS HOLIDAY COOKIE EXCHANGE

  • To keep it stress free, keep it simple! Have the kids bring their favorite cookie to exchange. If that's an Oreo, let it be an Oreo. No need to make extravagant cookies if that's not normally your thing. 

  • Serve just a few drinks - no need to go over board! We served milk (because what goes better with cookies?) in these cute buffalo plaid coffee cups (because what goes better with kids than a cup with a top?). For the adults I might have served something a little stronger. ;) 
  • Bring 1-2 cookies per guest. No need to go overboard because with the idea of an exchange kids will be having a lot of cookies. 
  • No need to have a ton of leftovers! Have favor bags on hand for kids to take home their favorite cookies for later. 

  • Have a well coordinated party with out breaking the bank. We love using Oriental Trading to set the tone for our parties. Through the holiday season you can use code SQAUD19 to access a ton of great deals on top of their already good prices. 

What is your favorite cookie to bring to a cookie exchange? 






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