Happy Halloween!

I was looking through all my Halloween pictures from this weekend (I only have 429 of them, haha) and I found this one. I actually won “Best Costume” at Molly’s party on Sunday. She really had everything planned out perfectly (too bad there wasn’t a “Best Hostess” award). She had decorated her entire yard with pumpkins, spiderwebs, skeletons, and a huge bonfire. And there was two tables for beer pong, twister, and bobbing for apples (which I had never done before). In addition to the cute award with candy and five dollars inside. I had a blast!

Oh, and Molly definitely crushed us all when it came to bobbing for apples!

Though I didn’t do half bad myself. The trick was to pin the apple against the tub.

What are your Halloween plans for tonight? (I’m just staying in.)

Black and Red – The Georgia Colors

Today I went for something classy and simple, since I had a bunch of errands to run. But I also wanted it to be warm , because it’s been freezing here ever since the hurricane Sandy came around – don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful that our only problem is a bit of cold and wind. And I hope everyone effected makes it through alright.

Hey, at least the wind makes my hair look good, haha. Just kidding. But I think from now on I should try to take these picture before my errands, because I look like a ghost when using flash in the dark.

Victoria got me this top for Christmas, she knows how much I like tops with an open back.


Right now I’m curled up on the couch, drinking mocha, and writing this year’s Christmas list. This black and red outfit and my previous post has kind of put me in the Christmas mood.

Cardigan: Wet Seal. Scarf: Target. Skirt: Pitaya. Shoes: Chaps. Oh, and Dolce Gusto coffee – delicious!

10 Christmas Savings Ideas

I know that this is a little early, but it’s almost November and I am trying to get my Christmas presents done early this year. So I sat down to think about the different things I should keep in mind before making plans for the holidays, and I figured I might as well make a list. I doubt I’m the only one who gets stressed out and end up spending more money than planned when things are done last minute.

Me and my family last Christmas. It is definitely my favorite time of the year! Btw, what I’m wearing is a typical, old-fashioned Norwegian festive dress called “bunad” – look it up.

Anyway, I found some of these tips at thenest.com, and added some comments and ideas of my own.

  1. Create a budget. I always find things that I’d love to buy for friends and family, but that simply end up being too expensive. We all have a limited amount of money that we can spend on Christmas gifts and we should be careful not to exceed it.
  2. Make a list of everyone you’re buying gifts to. Then sit down and come up with ideas for what to get each person – you might also want to estimate how much to spend on each gift so that you can distribute your budget somewhat evenly. This could save you both time and money when it’s actually time to buy stuff.
  3. Consider buying things online. Most retailers will wrap and ship your presents for you, and they often offer free shipping during the holidays (find a list at FreeShipping.org).
  4. Use reward points. If you’re planning on doing most of your shopping online, try using MyPoints.com. It offers reward points per transaction at many retailers. Rack up the points, then redeem them for gift cards for a ton of stores – including Barnes & Noble, Target, The Home Depot and more.
  5. Never pay retail. Before you start your holiday shopping, check RetailMeNot.com or MyBargainBuddy.com to find promotions and deals for a wide variety of retailers, ranging from Best Buy and Pottery Barn to Gap. Found the perfect gift but it’s a little out of your price range? Register it at ShoppingNotes.com, and they’ll email you when it goes on sale.
  6. Scan a deal. Too busy (or lazy) to comparison shop? Download the ShopSavvy or RedLaser app, and you can scan an item’s bar code to see what it costs at other stores and online. If you find a lower price, just ask the manager at your current locale to match it.
  7.  Pay attention to sales. If you re in the US, black Friday is a great day for getting some Christmas gifts out of the way. Starting early is always a good idea because you don’t have to buy everything right away, and you can wait for a sale to come around.
  8. Buy discounted gift cards. If you plan on giving gift cards this year, check out PlasticJungle.com and ABCGiftcards.com. Both sites offer gift cards that others didn’t want – at a discounted price. You can save up to 35 percent.
  9. Give the gift of you. There are so many things you can make yourself that still make a great gift. Personalized gift cards, homemade food, candy, or drink (a friend of mine made a delicious raspberry liqueur), something your knitted or cross stitched, a photo album, Christmas ornaments, and so on.
  10. Small things can often add up. You can send a personal email with a couple of pictures instead of buying Christmas cards (or how about just calling to catch up?). And don’t spend a lot of money on wrapping paper, cheap versions are often just as pretty. Or you could use magazine pages, news papers, comic strips, and wrapping papers from gifts you have received yourself. And everyone worry about how they look during the Christmas season, but instead of buying an expensive gym membership you should simply work out at home instead – although this might require a bit more structure and planning.

Last year my sister-in-law made these beautiful ornaments for everyone in our family.

If you have any other ideas for how to save money this Christmas, please let me know!

Spicy Ground Beef, Corn & Rice Skillet

I found this recipe on thesmartcookiecook.com and it looked like something both me and Andy would enjoy. So I gave it a go for dinner today (I just added some ground beef and served it with sour cream).

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of ground beef
  • 1 pouch of cooked boil-in-bag rice
  • 1 can of corn
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 can Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • A few handfuls of Mexican cheese (or as much as you want, really)

Boil water and add the rice. Fry the ground beef, drain the grease and add the olive oil and chopped onion before the ground beef is completely done (to not overcook it). Also add the cumin, salt, and pepper.

Mix in the corn and canned tomatoes (I drained both of them first).

Mix the cooked rice in with the rest (note to self: use a bigger skillet next time).

Cover everything in cheese and add a lid until it’s melted.

Andy loved it, so I think that means it’s a success. And we have lots of delicious leftovers.

Nail Polish Winner

Hannah Ackroyd is the winner of two pink nail polishes from OPI! (I left a message on your blog so just send me an email with your address and I will get the nail polishes to you right away.)

I had 20 participants – thank you all for commenting! – and I used random.org to draw a winner.

Stick around, though, even if you didn’t win this time. I’ve decided to have a similar giveaway when I reach 200 followers! Because everyone loves free stuff, right?

OPI – Melon of Troy

This is one of my favorite OPI nail polishes that I wear all the time. Melon of Troy might be more of a spring/summer color, but that doesn’t stop me. I just love the color (I think it’s a little closer to the picture without a flash. It isn’t a very big contrast to my skin color and blends in nicely without being too bright). However, even though I still love this nail polish, it is probably not one of OPI’s best ones. It needs three layers to get full coverage, and you need to make sure it is even so that you don’t get any streaks in the color. But it does last just as long as the others – especially with a good top coat.

With flash:

Without flash:

UPDATE: I’ve just been told that it has been discontinued – unfortunately. But you can still buy it online, so I’m ordering another one right away, hehe.