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Dec 17, 2015

Guys Behind the Blog // December

I'm a little off my game this morning, but it's time for the Guys Behind the Blog! This month, we're asking our guys all about Christmas (of course!).  Grab your guy and join in with Laura and I!

1. What's on your Christmas list this year?
Just stuff for my xbox.  I asked for games that I could play online with my brother, Lucas.  He never wants to play with me, but I still asked for those games.  And I will lose all of them.

2. Did you believe in Santa as a child? Do you have any funny Santa stories?
No, I didn't.  This past Saturday, though, we tried to drive to a place called Christmas Village, which is like 20 minutes away, but we waited in traffic for an hour and a half and a police officer was mean to me and wouldn't let me turn.  But luckily we got there and found out that the place apparently never closes since it was open an hour after it was supposed to close.  And then we waited in line another 20 minutes to see Uncle Santa (my uncle plays Santa there) and when we finally reached him, he looked at us and said "What time is it?" because he had been on his Santa chair for about 6 hours at that point.  So we got a picture with Santa this year. 

3. What is a Christmas tradition you hope to pass on someday?
We open presents with my mom's side of the family on Christmas night which is always the best part of the day. My cousins and my aunt come in from northern PA and they are hysterical, and of course everyone is in a good mood at that point because presents and junk. We all dress down in pajamas or sweats and it's really just fun and comfortable! Then each person opens a present (we don't do it all at once, because we're not animals) and we usually all go nuts when each present is opened. It's really like being part of a Christmas mob. It's pretty great.

4.  Do you open presents on Christmas morning or a different time?
It's unAmerican to open presents any other time than Christmas morning.

5.  What is your favorite Christmas song?  Movie?
I don't really like Christmas music, so this is more like the Christmas song that bothers me least, and I'd have to say Relient K's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.  My favorite classic Christmas movie is The Year Without a Santa Claus because that's the one with the Heat Miser and I like the Misers.  My favorite newer Christmas movie is Elf because obviously.  It's perfect.  


This month's link up will be open through next Friday, so join in with us!

In January we'll be back to our regular schedule of the last Thursday of the month, and Laura and I will be announcing the January questions after the holiday!

Dec 15, 2015

The Holiday Workout Playlist that You Don't Want to Miss

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RockTheHolidays #CollectiveBias

I'm a strict "no Christmas music before Thanksgiving," but once December hits, it's all Christmas, all the time!  In the car, at home, and even at the gym, if I can listen to holiday music, I listen to holiday music.  

That includes the music I listen to at the gym.  I always take my phone along with me when I work out, and right now, I'm totally rocking my holiday workout playlist, filled with super fun holiday pop and a cappella!  AJ and I just joined a gym near us (well, switched gyms), and it's been really fun to workout together.  Plus, with my upbeat holiday playlist, I'm totally set to hit the treadmill and enjoy the season while I workout!  

I love the holiday season.  Between the decor, the food, the events and the music, it's just such a happy time of year.  I recently got the opportunity to check out T-Mobile's Simple Choice™prepaid plan and the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime and it took my holiday season to the next level.  So often, I want to enjoy Christmas music while I'm on the go or at a place like the gym, but I'm worried about all of the data that streaming music is eating up.  But with the T-Mobile Simple Choice™prepaid plan, streaming music doesn't count agains your data usage, so you're able to stream unlimited quantities of music at high speed without any extra charges 

I also enjoyed streaming my playlist around the house and my office.  It's great for playing while AJ and I make dinner, for decorating the tree, or for checking off the many items on my to-do list to get ready for our Christmas Eve services!  The fact that I can stream my playlist all day every day without it affecting my dad is basically just the icing on the cake...total Music Freedom!

You can catch my upbeat holiday playlist on Spotify here:

Rock the Holidays this season with a T-Mobile Simple Choice™prepaid plan from Walmart!  While shopping for your next holiday occasion, make sure to stop by the wireless section to check out their amazing prices, the latest and greatest wireless devices, and the best plans!  Who knew that you could get all of the of premium brands and plans from the best carriers at Walmart?!  The T-Mobile Simple Choice™prepaid plan can help lower your monthly cost and give you great service with unlimited music streaming on your favorite apps like Spotify and Pandora, all for just $50 a month!


Dec 14, 2015

Quick Lunches the Whole Family will Love!

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®, Rubbermaid® fasten + go, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #FastenNGo http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

AJ and I are almost always on the go.  I work most of the week from my office at church and he has an hour and a half long commute to Purple Audio, where he works one day a week from their office and then works from home the rest of the time.  Between commuting and working in different directions, and just being out and about a lot, we've gotten into a really bad habit of eating out.  In the interest of not only saving money, but just living healthier lives, we're making an effort to pack our lunches and always make sure we have some fulfilling, healthy snacks with us when we're on the go.  

I used to pack my lunch in high school every day, and back then, I had a cute little lunch box that I packed and toted with me to the cafeteria.  As an adult, I appreciate a good design and convenience above all.  AJ and I recently discovered NEW Rubbermaid® fasten + go kits and we're in love.  

They're designed well, snap together into one convenient little container (carrying strap included!), and the minimalistic, chic style is great for a girl, guy, or a kid to carry around.  The sandwich kit includes a base for your sandwich, one 1-cup capacity side containers, and two 1/2-cup capacity snack containers.  It's all microwave and dishwasher safe, and it all snaps together for convenient carrying.  This nifty little box has already come in handy on some Christmas shopping trips when I've packed it with snacks and thrown it in my bag.  

Since sandwiches are the bread and butter (pun intended) of every good lunch, we've rounded up some of our favorite sandwich recipes for you!

If you've got a toaster oven at work, then this one is for you.  You can prep your grilled cheese at home so that it's ready for grilling when the lunch bell rings.  Simply butter the outsides of two pieces of bread (your favorite is fine, but we love picking up some artisan bread at our local grocery store) and then layer in your cheese.  My favorite cheese combo is some Jarlsberg, American, and Provolone, or, swap out that Jarlsberg for some Muenster and mmmm...so good!  Throw a piece of foil in your toaster oven and "grill" your sandwich on the highest settings, flipping when the top is golden.  Pair with some tomato soup (and the fasten+go soup kit!) and you've got one delicious lunch.

AJ's a big fan of spicy food, so when he discovered chipotle aoili, he was in heaven.  You can typically find chipotle mayo in the deli or dressing aisle at your local grocer, and it makes a fun addition to any sandwich.  Grab some smoked turkey and sliced smoked gouda from your deli and layer slices of each with a few strips of bacon, some lettuce and tomato, and finish off this yummy lunch option with some chipotle aoili on thick slices of bread.  So good!

Perhaps one of my favorite sandwiches is a good chicken salad.  We will often grab a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store (so much easier than cooking your own!) and pull it apart to make chicken salad.  Toss the pulled chicken with mayo (the amount varies based on your preference, but start slow and add until it's how you like it!), halved red grapes, and diced pecans.  My favorite way to enjoy this chicken salad is on a sun-dried tomato bagel.

All of these sandwiches are best enjoyed with some good sides....a few of our favorites (pictured here), include:
+ clementines
+ sweet potato chips
+ cranberry-almond cracker thins
+ popcorn with olive oil and sea salt
+ pretzels
+ pickles
+ applesauce
+ and for your sweet tooth, a sea salt caramel

Starting on 12/27/15 head to your local Target store to purchase the NEW Rubbermaid® fasten + go kits! Available in Entree, Sandwich, and Soup Kits! These kits are awesome options for food storage, and can help make meal planning and meal prep easier!


Dec 11, 2015

Holiday Baking: Easy Chocolate Chip Surprise Cookies

The chocolate chip cookie.  Classic, easy, and a definitely crowd-pleaser.  But what if you want to remix these timeless cookies and don't have a ton of time?  Enter pre-made Nestle Toll House cookie dough.

You know those brownie cupcake cookie concoctions?  Well these easy cookies are like that, but better.  I was looking for a way to shake up the classic chocolate chip cookie for a fun treat one night, and decided to pick up some Dark Chocolate Delight cookie dough to go along with the chocolate chip cookies.  

The Dark Chocolate Delight cookie dough is pretty fantastic all on its own, but like I said, I was trying to remix the classic chocolate chip cookie, so I nestled a little bit of the dark chocolate cookie dough inside a shell of chocolate chip cookie dough and then followed the baking directions for the chocolate chip dough and what resulted was a gooey, fudgey, delicious cookie.  I'm not sure that I can eat plain old chocolate chip cookies anymore!  
These cookies are perfect for any holiday party you have coming up...they're super simple to throw together and the little surprise inside will have your guests coming back for more!  I kept my on the relatively small side, so that they were more like bite-sized cookies, but you could easily make them as big or as small as you want!

For more Holiday baking recipes, check out Nestle's Pinterest feed!

Dec 10, 2015

The Golden Vlog // December

I'm so excited that it's time yet again for the Golden Vlog!  It's so much fun to get to host this link-up with some of these other lovely ladies, and I love creating these videos each month!  This month might have been a little bit frustrating, however, because I had some technical difficulties.  I filmed my entire vlog and then my computer wouldn't export the video, so after trying everything I knew how to do (which, let's be real, is very little), I ended up just re-filming the darn thing. Please tell me I'm not the only one that this happens to!  Anyway...we made it, it's here....the Golden Vlog!

Life w/ Mrs G & the Artist ~ Twitter | Instagram | Bloglovin
Amanda Moments ~ Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Brave Love Blog ~ Instagram | Bloglovin | Twitter
Heaven's to Betsy ~ Instagram | Twitter | Facebook
My Favorite AdventureTwitter | Instagram | Pinterest

The Lilac Linnet ~ Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Here are the Rules . . .
1. You must follow your hosts on at least ONE form of social media to linkup w/ us. 
2. We want to see your face! How many times you roll your eyes, and if you talk with your hands! So link up a post featuring your VLOG answering this months questions! Please link up a post not your blog's home page, and be sure there is a VLOG (video blog) featured! This is the Golden Vlog after all ;)
3. Add the button above or a text link to one of the hosts to help us promote this crazy thing!
4. Spread the love! go watch, listen, and comment on other blogs and make some new friends!

Feel free to use #GoldenVlog on twitter let us know you are linking up with us as well. We will be checking the hashtag through the day and retweeting when we can. :) If you have any questions at all or want to be included on our monthly Golden Vlog Letter with next months questions just email lifewithmrsgandtheartist@gmail.com
*all links not featuring a vlog or this months questions will be removed!

Dec 8, 2015

Perfect Holiday Eggnog Smoothie

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HolidayWithChobani #CollectiveBias

I know that I say this with every season, but I really can't believe that it's December!  With the holidays quickly approaching, there's the never-ending to-do lists, shopping and wrapping, and of course, hosting and attending lots of holiday parties!  One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is the wealth of goodies to enjoy!  

One of the holiday things that I've never been able to fully enjoy (before now) was eggnog.  Any time I'd had it, it was just too sweet and too milky for my liking.  But I feel like eggnog is one of those timeless, classy holiday indulgences, and you just can't go through the season without having a glass or two.  So, I decided to take the classic flavors of eggnog and turn it into a smoothie...perfect for an after-dinner treat at your next holiday party or at a festive holiday brunch!  It's an easy alternative to the classic eggnog that your guests will definitely love.  

Made with Chobani® Greek Yogurt, this smoothie is low in fat and high in protein, making it a great choice for the base of this treat.  Chobani® is an awesome choice because it has some great benefits, including three types of probiotics, 40% less sugar than other yogurts, and no artificial sweeteners.  Check out this simple recipe and enjoy!


Key Ingredients:
+ 1/2c Chobani® Vanilla Greek Yogurt
+ 1c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
+ 1 banana, frozen
+ 1/4 c chopped pitted dates

Additional Ingredients:
+ 1/2 tsp cinnamon
+ 1/4 tsp nutmeg
+ 1/2 tsp almond extract
+ 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
+ whipped topping (optional)

Mix together all of the ingredients in a blender and serve topped with whipped topping and cinnamon!  It's that simple, and a great treat for after dinner or even for breakfast!

I found all of the ingredients I needed to make this tasty smoothie on a quick trip to my local Walmart!  It was easy to pick up everything I needed for this quick smoothie, perfect for any occasion!  And when you grab the 32oz container of Chobani® Greek Yogurt, you'll have plenty to whip up these smoothies for a big party, or to have a yummy breakfast parfait the next morning!  (That's what I did with mine!  Just layer some granola and berries in with the yogurt...yum!)

Check out more Chobani® recipes here, or connect with Chobani® on their Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest!


Nov 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!  I hope your day is spent with family, friends, and being grateful!

Enjoy the turkey, the potatoes, the football, and the post-meal nap! 

Nov 24, 2015

Whistle While You Work!

I'm one of those people who always needs background noise when I work.  Whether it's finishing up a blog post or working on editing a shoot, I need to have something to listen to or watch while I'm working.  If you're like me and you need to split your focus a little, then here are five easy tips for "whistling while you work"!

1 // Find a great way to watch your favorite shows online. One of my picks is the NBC TV Everywhere app!  You can watch TV without the TV using your desktop!  Catch up on your favorite shows like The Voice, The Blacklist (one of my faves!  So many plot twists and suspense...I get scared pretty easily, so watching this one while I have something to distract me a little, like work, is a good idea!), and Chicago Fire, among others.  The best part about NBC TVE is that you can watch full episodes of your faves anywhere, with no cable log-in required, straight on your desktop!  Great for when you're working on the go!

2 // Play some music.  This is a "duh" moment, but the kind of music you play can really affect your work!  I love listening to movie scores while editing a wedding, or maybe some up-beat pop music if I want 

3 // Have some snacks on hand.  I can't work if my tummy is grumbling, so I like to keep some healthy snacks nearby!

4 // Have a workspace that inspires creativity.  Check out this post for more tips!

5 // Get comfortable!  I'm a "comfort above all else" kind of girl, and I get the most done when I'm dressed comfortably and in an atmosphere that lets me relax a little.  Even my office at work is warm and cozy!

What do you do to whistle while you work?  

Nov 19, 2015

The Guys Behind the Blog // November

Woohoo!  It's that time of the month again...time for the Guys Behind the Blog! I love this monthly link-up where AJ gets a chance to take over the blog and answer some questions for all of you.  If you've never joined us, grab your guy and the questions below and linkup sometime in the next week!

1. What sports did you participate in as a child? What sports did you watch growing up?
I played Football, Baseball and Basketball.. I was really only ever any good at football and baseball though. Mostly because I was huge compared to other kids…

2. If you could line up your ideal Super Bowl, who would be facing off, where would they play and who would you pick to win?

EASY. E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLESSSSSS v Patriots… But the timing would have to be right. Ya see, the only Super Bowl that my team (the Eagles… Obvs) have played in while I have been alive was against the EVIL EMPIRE (AKA the Patriots). And if you are not a sports fan you should know two very important things… The Eagles only lost by 3, and THE PATRIOTS WERE FOUND CHEATING THAT SEASON. Coincidence?? I think not. I want to see the eagles CRUSH them hard… preferably culminating in Tom Brady and Bill Belichick retiring.

3. Do you prefer the summer or winter Olympics? If you could participate in one Olympic sport, what would it be?

I like the Winter Olympics the most. I love that event where a bunch of guys/girls are basically sitting in a bullet flying through an ice tunnel. That’s amazing. If I had to participate… I would choose almost anything but that event. Because it’s fun to watch but I value my life… 

4. What is your favorite food to eat at a sports party (ex: World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, etc.)?

My favorite food to eat at a sports party depends on the sport… If it’s football I love chili because it’s a great fall food. If I’m at a World Series party then the best thing is a Hot Dog! And finally if I’m at a Stanley Cup party (Which I never am), I will be craving wonton tacos… Mostly because I always end up watching the Stanley cup at an Applebees for some weird reason. 

5. Who is your all time favorite athlete and why?

BRIAN DAWKINS. This guy is the classiest. He was my favorite player on the Eagles growing up and has become a total legend in Philly sports. He’s a great example of an athlete who loves Jesus and hitting people, because you CAN love both! He also was just insanely fun to watch and always got the crowd pumped up. He is the voice/writer of this awesome video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4bb06sxWpg


For the record, I knew he'd like this month because it was an opportunity to talk all about sports!
This month's link up will be open through next Friday, so join in with us!

And here are the questions for December....join us starting December 17th for next month's link up! (we're going a week early again because of the holiday, but in January we'll be back to our regular schedule of the last Thursday of the month!)  
1. What's on your Christmas list this year?
2. Did you believe is Santa as a child? Do you have any funny Santa stories?
3. What is a Christmas tradition you hope to pass on someday?
4.  Do you open presents on Christmas morning or a different time?
5.  What is your favorite Christmas song?  Movie?

Date Night Essentials

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BeHealthyForEveryPartofLife #CollectiveBias

As newlyweds, AJ and I like to try to go on dates once in a while.  We love exploring our town, trying out new restaurants, and we've recently gotten into the habit of going out once a week and just sit down to have dinner and really talk.

I love those little dates, because they give us a chance to really connect after a busy week.  I'm learning quickly in marriage that it really takes intentionality to make sure that your spouse feels cared for.  Life can get really busy, and so it's important to set aside time that's free of distraction to spend together and focus on one another. 

No matter where we spend our date nights, I try to never leave home without some basic essentials in my bag!  There's nothing worse than setting out on a date and getting derailed because of a minor ailment like a headache, or just being uncomfortable because you forgot something or you have an outfit mishap.  I put together a little Date Night Essentials kit with a bunch of products that are must-haves in my option so that date night never gets cut short!

Here's what's in my purse on any given date night:

Advil Tablet Vial // Advil is probably one of my most-important purse essentials for date night or any day of the week!  Use Advil tablets for headaches, minor arthritis and other joint pain, muscle aches and pains of the common cold.  Keep the convenient, purse-friendly Advil Tablet Vial in your bag for any little ache that threatens to cut date night short!

Nexium 24HR // Let's face it:  having heartburn is enough to ruin any evening out with your man.  Having Nexium 24HR in your bag can help give you heartburn protection.  (May take 1 to 4 days for full effect.  Use as directed.)

Emergen-C // I always like to have some Emergen-C on me in the event that I feel something coming on.  I just feel good about having that little extra boost at my fingertips!  With over 20 varieties of vitamin supplement drink mixes, Emergen-C offers the formula, flavor, fix, and FUN you're looking for!

Lint Roller, Static Guard, & Stain Remover Pen // These are some of my biggest must-haves!  Having these practical items in your bag will ensure that you keep your date-night outfit looking picture perfect!

Deodorant // I can't tell you how many times I get so caught up in my morning routine that I almost forget to put on deodorant.  There's nothing worse than realizing that you left the house without smelling good, and keeping a small deodorant in your purse can come to the rescue in this sort of situation, or when you just need a quick refresh!

Nail File & Clear Polish // Keeping a nail file in your purse is a no-brainer...if you break or snag a nail, there's nothing worse than not having a way to fix it.  Having a nail file in your bag is a quick and easy fix in this situation!  Having a bottle of quick-dry clear nail polish is important because it not only can stop chipping, but it can also stop a run in your tights!

You can find all of these date-night purse essentials (and more) at Walmart!  One quick and easy shopping trip was all it took for me to put together the essential purse survival pack that's perfect for any and every date night!


Nov 17, 2015

Hunter Boots & Flannel

Boots:  Hunter | Leggings:  Fabletics | Shirt: Old Navy | Vest: Old Navy | Watch: JORD

Call me basic, or predictable, or whatever, but I'm just gonna say it:  I think I found my fave outfit for fall and early winter.  

I've had a pair of Hunter boots on my wishlist for a while now.  I can't tell you how many pairs of cheap rainboots I've gone through. I distinctly remember the first pair I got in college...they were a cute navy blue with little anchors on them.  And I thought they were great every time I boldly walked across a rain-soaked quad on my way to class.  But then, halfway across the marsh that our beautiful, grassy quad inevitably turned into in the New England rain, I would notice that my socks felt a little cold...and wet.  And so, the boots that I had trusted to keep my tootsies dry failed me.  So last week, when AJ and I were walking through Costco, I was shocked to find a stack of neatly-piled Hunter boot boxes.  They had no price sign above them, and knowing what they normally retail for, I figured they couldn't be more than $20-$30 less than the usual price tag, so I didn't even bother to ask.  Later that weekend, I thought about them and checked online and was shocked to find that they were only $80!  So I ordered a pair online and friends...they're popular for a reason.  They're comfortable, totally sealed, and so classic.  

I paired my Hunter boots with a pair of Fabletics leggings, a boyfriend flannel from Old navy (my new fave), and a puffy vest for a shoot that I had scheduled on Sunday, and after my client headed home, I decided to grab a few photos of myself, because it was one of those outfits that I just never wanted to take off (so comfy).   

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