Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Recap - Fun but Exhausting!

I hope ya'll had a wonderful Thanksgiving and safe travels returning home! The hubby and I had a great trip to see my parents and his family and managed to avoid any traffic arriving or returning, which if you're at all familiar with the DC Metro area this is quite an accomplishment!

Thanksgiving morning we headed to my parent's house just outside of Charlottesville to have my mom's feast with my sister and her fiance. It was great seeing everyone and the food was absolutely delicious. Straight out of a Paula Deen look book, but even better tasting! She honored all of the "kids" requests for their favorites; mine being macaroni and cheese and the not-so-traditional macaroni salad, she "owed" me from the past couple of times I'd requested it and she didn't come through! ;). And of course my sister's favorite, homemade, from scratch, fresh from the oven sourdough bread, yuummm!! We had all of the traditional southern sides, green beans, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and more. Then the greatest mom ever whipped out F.O.U.R, yes I said 4 homemade desserts. She was determined to cater to each family member's sweet tooth. Pineapple Chiffon Cake for moi, Italian Creme Cake for my dad, Carrot Cake for my hubby and Pecan Pie for my sis and her fiance. Can we say my mother is a cooking and baking goddess!! Thank you mom for an amazing feast and being such a wonderful cook and mom!

After the usual over indulging we were sent to the in-law's with oodles of leftovers, including mac and cheese and helpings of each dessert. Yum!

We then headed to my hub's home to be greeted by my ever-so-cute niece, my hub's parent's, brother and sister-in-law. And we ate again! The highlight of his mom's cooking, in my opinion, is always the green bean casserole and my sis-in-law's Turkey and Wild Rice soup to kick off the meal. I'm still getting used to having soup as the starter on Thanksgiving, as my family never had soup, but it's delicious and I can't wait to make some thanks to her generosity and sharing the secret recipe. The other highlight of the meal was my niece's obsession with the homemade mac and cheese. I think she could have eaten the entire dish had we let her. After dinner we played and giggled in between my sis-in-law and I tearing through the Pink Friday ads to map out our plan of attack. We ended the night with two fun games of Scrabble, which I won, before the SIL and I headed out on our Pink Friday adventure.

I normally do Black Friday with my mom and sis but since I wasn't in Charlottesville, I talked my SIL into going with me. This year was a different approach from the 5am start. The outlets about 30 minutes away were doing the "midnight madness" thing and so we decided this would work best since we were already up and since I'm SO not a morning person. We mapped out our plan of attack while en route and decided to hit up Banana Republic first and work our way to Gymboree (a must on the SIL's list) and through the mall. Banana was having a fabulous sale, 50% off the entire store! Plus I had a 15% off your total purchase coupons so I really made out. I found lots of fabulous things and walked away with almost $600 worth of clothes for just under $200! Sadly enough, it was all for myself! My SIL worked the line while I tried on clothes and thanks to BR's efficient line we were out the door in under 5 minutes and onto our next stop by 12:20am. This wasn't the case when we hit Gymboree for my niece. The only good part was it was our 2nd stop so we were plenty engergized, thank God. Gymboree was having a great sale too, lots of huge markdowns and cute Christmas pj's for the kiddies for only $5.99! We grabbed some pink gingerbread ones for my niece, a true classic! The SIL and I enabled the teamwork approach and it worked for the most part. She'd grab stuff and I'd hold it or ask for the needed size and wait on it. Two hands are much better than one when trying to snatch clothes, hairbows, tights and accessories amidst a mob of pregnant ladies and grandmas. Then came the exhausting and never ending line. About 15 minutes in we noticed the line was a bit lengthy so I jumped in it while my SIL finished shopping to cut down on our wait time. I shouldn't gotten in line the second my foot hit the Gymboree floor. An HOUR AND A HALF later we finally got to check out! This was only after taking breaks from the line for a change of scenery, coffee and to check out other stores. I figured we'd be seeing daylight by the time we left Gymboree but it was still dark out. We then headed to Kirklands, the Nike Store, Gap, just to name a few, and last but not least Homegoods! I was so exhausted by the time we go to Ralph Lauren that I decided to forego it. The store looked trashed with clothes strung everywhere and I decided I didn't have the energy to dig.

Here was my big purchase of the day...

JUST KIDDING! But can you believe that! These REAL lollipops, that weighed a ton, were $30 at Homegoods! Who in the world would buy that! It was so hysterical, to our sleep deprived selves, that I had take a picture! I failed to look at the nutrition info on the back, I can only imagine!

Our pink Friday was a huge success and lots of fun with lots of laughs to keep us sane. And most suprising of all was that we didn't encounter a single rude, angry or overcrazed shopper, nor did we witness any fighting! Success, I think so!

How did you make out on Pink Friday?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Holiday Deals and Pink Friday Steals!

My shopaholic-ness has gotten the best of me! I keep an email account strictly for store coupons, sale emails and alerts only! This morning I logged in to print off any coupons that I might want to use on Pink Friday and was overwhelmed to find over 500 emails! YIKES! After sorting through the ones I wouldn't be needing I managed to come up with some pretty darn good ones and thought I share them with ya'll, my fellow savvy shoppers!

Good before & after Pink Friday:

The Stationery Studio is offering a daily promotion on various items November 25 - November 29. They have LOTS of fun things besides stationery and many are available with personalization!
Today's promo is for personalized soap sets. These are fun to buy for upcoming wedding & shower gifts to add in with monogrammed linens.
November 26 - Personalized Ornaments
November 27 - Personalized Cutting Boards - another fab gift for the newlyweds or new homeowners!
November 28 - Personalized Stationery
November 29 - Stick Figure Products

Ralph Lauren and Rugby are hosting their Holiday Friends & Family Event through December 7th! Save 25% on all purchases (every time) you shop. The online code is "HOL2009".
J. Crew is offering 20% off sale items through November 29th! The code is "EXTRA20" and is only good on sale items! They're also offering free shipping on orders of $150 or more.
Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy & Piperlime are all offering free shipping on orders of $50 or more through December 14th. No code is needed, just select the free shipping option at checkout. Yes, I'm jumping for joy too!
Bloomingdales is having their fall designer handbag sale now! 30-40% off your favorite handbags!

If you're heading to the outlets, Last Call Neiman Marcus is giving an extra 25% off purchases from midnight to 8am on Pink Friday. No coupon needed!
I hope you all have a safe and fabulous Thanksgiving! Happy Shopping!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankfulness, Success and Pink Friday!

Yes, I've been MIA but for very good reasons. Last Saturday was the St. Jude Give Thanks walk, which was held in 40 cities across the country. The GTW walk is a 5k family-friendly walk that kicks off the Thanks and Giving campaign that begins on Pink Friday, aka Black Friday. As the committee formed to plan this inaugural event in the DC Metro area this summer, in a moment of whimsy, I decided to buck up and chair the event. What was I thinking? I have no clue. Although I had my moments of doubt, down and out and discouragement that this could be a success, I'm elated to let ya'll know that my small committee of 9 managed to pull off a big success for the kids at St. Jude. The DC Metro walk managed to attract 623 walkers with 150 kids and we raised a total of $59,630 for the hospital!! I could not feel more accomplished and productive. This would not have been possible without my amazing committee who worked tirelessly for months and especially the two nights before the walk pulling everything together. What greater way to end my year of philanthropy then on such a triumphant note. And although I only got 5 hours of sleep over 3 days it was COMPLETELY worth it! I am so blessed to have opportunities to give back to others and to work with such selfless and giving people! So for that I am truly thankful and cannot wait for next year's walk!

Now that I have my free time back, temporarily, I'm so excited for Pink Friday! Yes, pink, not black! My sis-in-law and I are heading out for some midnight madness shopping with hopes of finding some fabulous finds. Speaking of fabulous be sure to check out LP's Pink Friday event! This is perfect for those of you who don't have the courage to brave the crazed shoppers!
Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Will The Shred, Shred?

So I've been contemplating doing the latest in fad workouts, Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. It seems like something that will keep my ADD self interested long enough to make it 30 days and the results seem amazing, although I'm sure not typical! I despise working out and always have. I've never been able to find that one niche that keeps me motivated and grabs my attention. I'm usually staring at the clock to see when the class will be over, or the treadmill to see how many more tenths of a mile I have left. Truly, if I had it my way I'd never go to the gym and take naps while the hubby works out instead. Unfortunately for me, fortunate for my body, the hubby insists on dragging me to the gym. I never get out of it either unless I have a damn good excuse; shopping, mani/pedi appointment and dinner do not count. Although he irritates the living daylights out of me about going, I know he means well and has good intentions. Not that he doesn't love me the way I am, but he wants me to be healthy for when we begin the little bambino era of our lives. So really, its a win, win. I want a baby, he wants me to be healthy and in the best shape to carry one, which also benefits the little tadpole so I guess I can't complain. I'll just suck it up, fork over $30 for The Shred DVD and give it a whirl. What do I have to lose besides a few pounds and maybe looking like this? (Ha, we can all dream!)

And since I'm behind A.G.A.I.N. with my 27 days of Thankful, I have two; my hubby for encouraging me to workout and be healthy and for my BB that keeps me occupied while on the treadmill, in a pilates class or on the bike. : )

If anyone has tested the Shred or has completed it I'd really appreciate any feedback and thoughts you'd like to offer, good and bad.

Monday, November 16, 2009

27 Days of Thankful, 16 Days Behind!

Amanda at Serenity Now is hosting a "27 Days of Thankful" party for the month of November. I loved this idea and had every intention of beginning this on November 1st but two charity events this month have taken over my life, just a bit. As the saying goes it's never too late to say thank you {or in this case, what you're thankful for} so here goes!

1. My bed. The most comfortable place in the world. I swear I could live there permanently kinda like Charlie's Grandpa Joe in Willy Wonka. Except my bed is much fluffier, softer and spa-like!

2. My parents. Although I'm a grown, married woman, I could not live with out my parents. From their constant support and undying love to their smiles, jokes and laughs. I'm not sure what I'd do without them. Hence why I always tell my mom she'll live forever!

3. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Not just for the life saving work that they do to find cures for childhood cancers, but because it motivates me to get out, give back to others and spend my time in a positive way that is rewarding to my heart and inspires me to be a better person.

4. My agenda. I know everyones' lives are crazy but I could not keep up without my agenda. It's my scheduling bible. More specifically this one.

5. Long lost friends. Over the past year and a half I've been blessed to reunite with quite a few girls from school. Some I grew up with since kindergarten and others I met in high school. Reuniting has allowed us to form a unique bond through prayer with each other. Although we all live miles and miles away from each other, we're able to bond, pray and support one another via email, FB and blogs. We've laughed, we've cried for each other and I hope I've been as great of an encouragement to them as they have been to me!

6. My job. I struggled for a few years to find a job I really liked. Just ask my hubby. Poor guy had to listen to me gripe and put up with my meltdowns until I was finally blessed with a great job, excellent co-workers, a great boss and excellent benefits. Given the state of the economy I can truly say I'm blessed and thankful for my job and although some mornings I don't want to get out of my comfy bed, I'm happy to go to work.

7. Bloghers. This past year I've slowly entered the blog world and have found some fabulous blogs to read. I can say without a doubt that all of the blogs I follow have inspired me in one way or another, whether it be creatively, spiritually or just to be a better woman. I love that they offer free humor and relaxation when you want to escape the craziness called life for a few minutes.

8. Etsy. My go-to anytime I have a shopping dilemna and can't find exactly what I'm looking for at the mall or online. So far, Etsy has helped divert all moments of shopping crisis!

9. Sweet Tea. I'm not too picky as long as it's sans ice and has lots of sugar! There are just some days that only sweet tea will quench my thirst.

10. Babysitting. Not a babysitter but families to babysit for. Yes, I'm married and yes, I still babysit. I know, a bit odd to some. I babysit for fun, not because I need the money. I love babysitting because it gives me a break from the real world, free of all the trivial stresses of adult life. I love the fact that I can have the absolute worst day ever and a few hours of babysitting from favorites can put everything into perspective and make you forget about everything and just play and laugh. So I'm blessed for the little kids in my life, whose parents bless me with the opportunity to watch them.

11. The hubby. He keeps me sane, he calms me down, he loves, he forgives, he supports and is a constant rock for me. The fact he's a good looking is just an added bonus. I'm so blessed I met him 10 years ago on the tennis courts my sophmore year of high school.

12. My USB. It contains all of the vital records of my life. From addresses to recipes, business contracts to oodles of lists and photos. It contains at least half of my life on there so if I ever lose it I'm beyond screwed.

13. Pickles. The way I eat pickles and crave pickles you'd think I'm preggers. Not the case, I just have a crazy obsession.

14. My name. I used to hate it because I always had to repeat it or spell it, but I truly love it. I'm blessed to have what I think is an amazing name. In fact, now my fleathers get a little ruffled when I encounter another Cherish.

15. Mary Kay Andrews. Her books are so entertaining and offer a true Southerner like me, who is stuck in a northern hell, an escape to where my heart truly belongs. Now if she would just write some books that are less than 400 pages I could get through them without having to renew the maximum number of times and get billed for a "lost" book (which isn't lost at all, just merely unread) from my local library. God love her.

16. G Chat. I can talk to my friends at work all day long without the boss having a clue!

Wheww, I made it! Next year I'll be sure to stay on track! Here's to staying current the rest of the month!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Steals and Deals to Kick Off Your Holiday Shopping

As I begin my holiday shopping, I thought I'd share some steals and deals with ya'll that are sure to pump you up to kick-off your holiday shopping while keeping your wallets plump. Enjoy!

Bloomingdales Friends & Family Discount - Hurry, should have posted this sooner!!

40% Off plus Free Shipping
through January 31, 2010
Use code "HOLIDAY09"
Fontaine Maury
Use code "REALSIMPLE2009" $38.25

Tiny Prints - Just in time for your Christmas cards!
10% off through February 28, 2010
Use this address and code RSHOL09

 also has all desktop and daily planners on sale 25-40% off and for the month of November they're offering free shipping!
No, you don't have to be a mom to use these, I love mine to keep me organized and sane!
They can be monogrammed, too!

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Sad Day for Southerners

While perusing through a recent Southern Accents issue I came to learn of some sad news. Southern Accents, the magazine that many of us have swooned over and reserved as the bible for all things home decor is closing its doors. Which means no beloved Christmas issue! Below is the note from the editor, Karen Carroll. Rest in Peace Southern Accents, you will truly be missed!

Message from Editor in Chief, Karen Carroll:
As many of you may have heard by now, Southern Accents is closing and the September-October issue will be our last. For the past 32 years, it has been our great privilege to work with so many talented, creative people to showcase beautiful houses and gardens, and to be a champion of the gracious lifestyle of this wonderful region we call home. We deeply appreciate the loyalty and support that our readers–both of the magazine and our blog–have shown us. You are the reason it has been such a joy to be a part of this industry and we appreciate you more than we can say.