Welcome to my blog!

This blog highlights all my favorite picks and ponderings. I share book recommendations, yummy recipes and fashion favorites! I throw in some surprises every now and then and share my life happenings and LOTS of pictures of my adorable sons, Joey and Teddy:) Hope you'll keeping stopping by!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sweet sippin'


Ok, I think we can all agree, smoothies are the hot thing to be sipping these days. EVERYONE makes them, and posts pictures of their beautiful, healthy looking concoction. And truthfully I want to be one of those people! Not only does it look delish, but I also think I would feel super healthy drinking one. So I set out to make a yummy smoothie. Now, I think I am pretty healthy. Healthy to me is just making smart choices. Moderation my friends, moderation. We all know I love carbs, I can't live without dairy, and my sweet tooth...well let's not go there. So I like to make smart choices without depriving myself, so with that in mind I gathered, I mixed, I blended. Maybe this smoothie is for you:)

1 scoop of yogurt

1 banana

a handful of frozen mixed berries

a scoop of quick oats

1 TBS of honey

1/3 cup of cold water

Throw it in the blender and voila! Yummy goodness:)

Want to add a serving of veggie? Today I added spinach to the above recipe, not quite as good, but hey, not too bad for an extra kick of antioxidants!

Would have posted a pic, but I slurped my smoothie right down before I finished this post, whoops!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saw it. Bought it. Loved it!

Today is the first day I have ever worn a cami! Can you believe it? I ALWAYS always layer my clothes. I like my under layer to be longer than my top layer, it is a weird little quirk. But for some reason the look of a cami was always very off-putting to me. It looked awkwardly shaped and it looked like it would be too short on my unusually long torso, as most shirts are! Seriously, the only reason I am tall is because of said torso. So anyways, I have always just settled for wearing a standard tank top. However, I was shopping yesterday and had a gift card to Forever 21(I know I am probably too old to shop there, but my sweet brother got me the card for Christmas!) with a only $12 left on it. Several camis were about the extent of what I could purchase so I bit the bullet and invested in a couple. And OH.MY.GOODNESS I am in love. In LOVE I tell you! The material forms to your body perfectly, and is it me, or do they kinda hold in your fat?? Oh it's just me? Well I am going to pretend that they do anyways! I also love the way they fit at the bottom, they don’t ride up and they stay below my top layer just perfectly! I got a a standard white and a really lovely lilac color. I cannot believe it has taken me this long to jump on the cami bandwagon. Is there such a thing?? Well if there isn’t, there should be! Jump on; it's my pick of the day:) Click here if you want one too!
 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spring Picks


It is an absolutely beautiful day out! After spending all morning outside with Joey, he is now napping and this mama is sitting in the backyard working on her tan or lack thereof:) It finally feels like spring, so I decided to do my top picks for spring fashion!  I am in no way, shape or form an authority on fashion, however, these are some fun things I love and maybe you will too!

First up is a jean jacket. I love a jean jacket in the spring. But DO NOT, I repeat do not wear a jean jacket with jeans! Ugh full denim outfit is not cute! But a jean jacket is pretty versatile otherwise! It can totally complete an outfit! Here is a really cute one from American Eagle.


                                          Click here if you are interested in buying this one!

My next item for spring is a maxi dress! I have not always been completely sold on maxi dresses because I use to feel like I was wearing a big tent! But I have changed my mind and here is why. 1)My legs are ghostly white! Until I can get a nice summer tan, a maxi dress is perfect for Spring to hide these heinously white monstrosities and 2) The right maxi dress can really flatter any body type! I am partial to a fun print or some slimming stripes! And check out all the celebs that rock the maxi!



And a maxi would look super cute with said first pick, jean jacket! My girl Jessica Simpson rocks the look to perfection!



Ok, finally my last item is a cheerful scarf! Just because it is getting warm doesn't mean we need to abandon the scarves! I am nothing if not a scarf girl! A colorful, lightweight scarf is the perfect addition to any outfit! Here is a really cute green paisley scarf from Old Navy that I am dying for!  Click here if you NEED this beauty in your wardrobe!





Be sure to send me your picks for spring too!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis


This is a classic case of DO NOT judge a book by its cover (or title).  I picked up the Storyteller  in the young adult section at the library, assuming I was about to embark on a sappy love story geared for the innocent, happily ever after mentality of a teenage girl(because yes, sometimes I need a little banality in my lifeJ) But I could not have been more wrong.  This book is a perfect mix of thriller, romance and fairy tale. It is gritty down to the core, yet, I found myself a champion for the characters.  I was astounded by the mesmerizingly lyrical way with which the author uses words.  This book is bleak. This book is hauntingly tragic.  And not tragic in a against all odds triumphant kind of way.  No it is not that at all. It is dark, it is fragile and it is stark.  This book really, really got under my skin and not always in a good way. It made me feel outraged, disheartened and sickened. Yet, I truly loved the characters and their sad and even horrific story and the idea that somewhere inside a desperately damaged person, there lies a tiny, unscathed, sacred place – a place for fairy tales.

 Here is the book summary:

Anna and Abel couldn’t be more different. They are both seventeen and in their last year of school, but while Anna lives in a nice old town house and comes from a well-to-do family, Abel, the school drug dealer, lives in a big, prisonlike tower block at the edge of town. Anna is afraid of him until she realizes that he is caring for his six-year-old sister on his own. Fascinated, Anna follows the two and listens as Abel tells little Micha the story of a tiny queen assailed by dark forces. It’s a beautiful fairy tale that Anna comes to see has a basis in reality. Abel is in real danger of losing Micha to their abusive father and to his own inability to make ends meet. Anna gradually falls in love with Abel, but when his “enemies” begin to turn up dead, she fears she has fallen for a murderer. Has she?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Toddler Muffins


So my little guy is a tad picky when it comes to eating his vegetables. Like his mom.  He does, however, love eating anything in the bread family.  Also like his mom.  So I needed to figure out a way to trick him(like any good parent) in to eating vegetables. I looked up a recipe for toddler muffins and then tweaked it a bit to serve my purpose and created what I like to call Joey’s Dinner Muffins! Original, I know.  But no mention of the V word makes a muffin sound more appealing don't you think?:) Did I mention we love carbs in the Paladino house?? Because we do and Joe gobbled the muffins right up!  I enjoyed one myself;)   Here is the recipe:

 

½ cup of baby oatmeal

½ cup milk (I used whole milk since that is what Joey drinks)

½ cup sugar

1 cup flour

2 ½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

Dash of vanilla(optional)

4 TBS of melted butter

1 egg

1 jar each of stage 2 squash, sweet potato and applesauce

Preheat oven to 425. Combine oats and milk.  Set aside.  Mix together all dry ingredients.  Add egg and butter to oatmeal and stir to combine.  Add to dry ingredients along with your jars of baby food. Mix well. Pour into greased muffin pan.  Bake 20 minutes.  Makes 12 muffins. 

The beauty of this recipe is that it is super easy and you can mix and match what fruit and veggies you may want to include for your little one:)


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Summer in a cup:)

This will be short and aweet because my eyes are heavily drooping as I type. I am not a huge Dunkin Donuts fan because I don't think they have great coffee and it's rather overpriced for a below par cup, but I am loving their coconut coffee! Yummy yum it is summer in a cup:) Pick of the day!

I heart Hart of Dixie:)

Ok so if you know me at all, you know that I am obsessed with Hart of Dixie, OBSESSED! It is my pick of the day. If you are not watching this show, well you absolutely need to start. I randomly started watching one day when I was at the gym. When I work out at the gym I NEED to be watching tv or I get absolutely bored to pieces. So I have Netflix( how fabulous is Netflix?! Whoever is the creator of this gem, I salute you!) on my phone and decided to start watching Hart of Dixie because my aunt was telling me how it was such a cute show. Well needless to say I was immediately infatuated. I began to whiz through the first season! Anytime I could sneak in an episode I would, which was extremely convenient since I could watch right on my phone! Then I encountered a big conundrum. I finished season 1 but since season 2 is currently airing it's not on Netflix. Good news, the show was on its winter break. Bad news, I desperately needed to catch up so I would be ready when it returned. It wasn't pretty and my house went neglected for days on end because I would have to sneak in episodes (found probably illegally downloaded on the internet) during Joey's nap, but I finally caught up! Ahh it is so good. I seriously want to move to a small town in southern Alabama, have a big football player turned mayor best friend, eat breakfast at the Rammer Jammer in the morning and have a beer at the bar at night and start a love/hate relationship with the likes of Wade Kinsella(totally hypothetical, doesn't get much better than Andrew Paladino;)) It's not a heavy drama, it's not realistic, it's a bit clich├ęd. But as a weekly viewing experience: it's lighthearted, fun, charming, entertaining and it works without having to try so hard. It's very reminiscent of Gilmore Girls, I adored Gilmore Girls, so ipso facto, I adore Hart of Dixie:)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Heroes

My pick of the day are the heroes that stepped forward in a time of tragedy to show what it truly means to be courageous, brave and selfless. God bless all those affected by the horrific events that unfolded yesterday in Boston. What should have been a joyous day, turned terribly wrong. Once again we were shown true compassion and humanity in the face of such an inhumane act.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Gone Girl-Gillian Flynn


Ok, so many people recommended Gone Girl to me that I HAD to read it for fear of being out of the loop! And holy moly it did not disappoint!  As soon as I heard of this book I went right to the library to grab a copy, but much to my dismay every copy was checked out from all the local libraries!  I put my name on the request list and then quickly forgot about it.  Two months later, a copy FINALLY became available. Sheesh now that is a must read book.   I always get a little nervous before reading a book that comes highly recommend because I worry I will be the only one that doesn’t like it and to be honest I wasn’t fully committed right at the beginning.  But I soon became engrossed, appalled and riveted but the premise of the novel.  It starts as a true crime novel that takes a salacious twist!  As Nick and Amy alternately tell their stories, marriage has never looked so menacing, and narrators so erratic.  I don’t want to say too much about the plot because I don’t want to give away the shocking turn that it takes, but Gillian Flynn is ingenious and cunning and creates characters that are a psychological vision. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

crazy about my crockpot:)

My perfect dinner for a cool, brisk day is definitely something in the crockpot. Easy yet delish, what could be better?! My new fav recipe is apple BBQ chicken compliments of Mix and Match Mama! I have made it every week since discovering it and I am obsessed! It is so easy and beyond yummy! All you need is 1lb of boneless chicken breast, 1 large bottle of BBQ sauce of your choosing and 2 cups of apple juice. Pop it all in your crock put and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours! When it's ready remove chicken and some sauce from slow cooker into a bowl, shred up with two forks (add in a little more of your sauce if needed). Serve shredded chicken on a fresh sesame seed bulky roll and voila! you are DONE! See how simple that was? The chicken is super tender and juicy and very flavorful. The apple juice really adds a little sweetness without being too over-powering. This lovely little recipe is my pick of the day:)


Monday, April 8, 2013

Shop at Maxwell's Pottery!

I am fortunate enough that I get to be a stay at home mom and play all day with Joey! But a couple days a week I do a shift at Maxwells Pottery in the Old Port! I have been working here about 8 years! It was my summer job in college and then a part time gig I kept when I was teaching. It's such a fun place to work:) But it is even more fun to shop here! Today Maxwell's Pottery is my pick of the day! We have a little bit of everything and a range of prices. We are the perfect place for wedding/shower gifts, birthday presents, Christmas presents, linens, mugs, glasses of all sorts, soaps, jewelry and so much more! Stop on by and check us out:)   Here are a few fun things we sell!



                                                                  soy candles, no soot and smell great


                                         festive glasses in a variety of colors (wine, margarita, DOFs and highballs)

girlfriend wine glasses, great for bridesmaid gifts or 21st bdays:)


bright cheery linens-placemats, napkins and dishtowels


Christmas ornaments


French soap with shea butter, smells great and is good for your skin!



                                                                         glass earrings-match any outfit
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                                                                   my favorite polka dot mug!


                                                                           our adorable watering cans

my favorite pottery!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Thoroughly Modern Millie

First of all, South Portland High School does a amazing job every year with their musical, and this year was no exception! My pick of the day is this year's performance of Thoroughly Modern Millie! Seriously these kids perform in such a way that you forget they are high schoolers and really feel like you are on Broadway...and not just a couple streets up;) See what I did there??;)
The fantastic singing, the lively dancing and the impeccable comedic timing will truly get your toe a tapping and and give you a fully engaging experience! I know I left feeling completely entertained, but also a little sad. Don't get me wrong they are awesome! I am sad because I WiSH I was in the play too! Think it would be weird if I try out next year?? I can't sing but, they can just stick me in the back, I can bust out a few dance moves:) My cousin, Michelle, played a stenog and a Modern and I couldn't have been more proud! She was absolutely adorable! It was also great seeing a former student I had in middle school, Ethan, who played the male lead! Besides making me feel incredibly old, it made me incredibly proud to see the great things former students have gone on to accomplish! Today is the last day of performances, and if you haven't gone yet, you should! It is at the high school and tickets can be bought at the door! I'm telling you, you will feel like you've taken in a show in NYC, without traveling seven hours:) You've done it again SP, well done!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Red Snapper, please!

Today was a beautiful spring day! And as the positive thinker that I am, I am choosing to believe that we have turned the corner and sun shiny days are in our future! Nice weather means one thing at the Paladinos: grilling out! And tonight I am indulging in my pick of the day, a red snapper! Mmhhm yum nothing like a red snapper with ketchup and mustard hot of the grill! DE-lish:) Happy days are here again:)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mix and Match Mama it up!

My pick of the day is a my favorite blogger, Mix and Match Mama!  I stumbled across her blog quite by accident and haven't left! While watching this past season of the Bachelor, I discovered the blog through twitter because Mix and Match Mama is Sean Lowe's sister, Shay! If you're a Bachelor fan you might remember Shay from her visit to talk some sense into her brother in episode 7 in St. Croix!  You can see her recap from her visit here.  But Shay has celebrity in her own right. She has quite a successful foodie blog! Her recipes are delicious, but even better they are easy! I love to cook and bake but give me a recipe that looks slightly challenging and I abandon it quickly! But I have already made several recipes from Mix and Match Mama! Her name is quite appropriate because she take recipes and then mixes and matches different ingredients to create another take on it. She is famous for her variety of bundt cakes, which I can attest are delicious! I just made her pink velvet bundt cake for Easter and it was to die for! Shay also has a Mix and Match Family blog where she writes about her personal life; her beautiful family, fun fashions, travel and such! So take some time and pop on by, you won't be disappointed:)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Earrings are a must for me

I love me a good pair of  earrings.  I don't feel complete unless I have earrings on! I sincerely HATE the shape of my face so I need to wear earrings at all times to compensate.  The only time I don't have on earrings is when I am sleeping.  For Christmas my wonderful mum bought me the absolute best earrings!  They are the Bella earrings from Swarvoski and they are my pick of the day!   My Bellas are the clear crystal but they also come in gold and sapphire.  They are amazing.  They can seriously be worn for any occasion.   You can make them casual chic or glitzy and glamourous.  I wear my at all times, from the moment I roll out of bed in the morning(yes I put earrings on immediately, seriously my head is oddly shaped and yes I have a complex!) until I collapse there again 16 hours later.  I wear them around the house, when I doll all up and even when I work out...they are that versatile!  If you are in need of a "go to" pair of earrings, Bellas are a must.  Click  here to check them out!

Sandra Brown is my pick of the day!


Sandra Brown is one of my favorite authors.  I have read more than two dozen of her novels.  I can’t believe I haven’t done a recommendation of one of her books yet!  That changes todayJ  Sandra Brown writes romantic suspense to perfection.  I think what makes Brown such a talented writer is her resonant characterization and her convincing dialogue.  I have said it before, and I will say it again, I like books with vivid well-developed characters.  Brown creates an authentic character with a dialogue that is completely believable.  What is even more remarkable is the way in which she constructs such a convincing male character.  Brown specializes in the apparently criminal hero who is more often than not the prime suspect but ultimately charms the beautiful, stubborn and smart woman protagonist, who has a flair for tortuously challenging his heroism until justice triumphs.  Here are a few of the book summaries of a couple of my favs!  These were taken from the book jacket or online stores.

 Lethal delivers the romance with a great story. When her four year old daughter informs her a sick man is in their yard, Honor Gillette rushes out to help him. But that "sick" man turns out to be Lee Coburn, the man accused of murdering seven people the night before. Dangerous, desperate, and armed, he promises Honor that she and her daughter won't be hurt as long as she does everything he asks. She has no choice but to accept him at his word. But Honor soon discovers that even those close to her can't be trusted. Coburn claims that her beloved late husband possessed something extremely valuable that places Honor and her daughter in grave danger. Coburn is there to retrieve it -- at any cost. From FBI offices in Washington, D.C., to a rundown shrimp boat in coastal Louisiana, Coburn and Honor run for their lives from the very people sworn to protect them, and unravel a web of corruption and depravity that threatens not only them, but the fabric of our society. With a plot involving drug and people trafficking, crooked cops and a facilitator known as the Bookkeeper, this is a great suspense.

White Hot is, well, white hot.  When she hears that her younger brother Danny has committed suicide, Sayre Lynch relents from her vow never to return to Destiny, the small Louisiana town in which she grew up. She plans to leave immediately after the funeral, but instead soon finds herself drawn into the web cast by Huff Hoyle, her controlling and tyrannical father, the man who owns the town's sole industry, an iron foundry, and in effect runs the lives of everyone who lives there. As she feared, Sayre learns that nothing has changed. Her father and older brother, Chris, are as devious as ever, and now they have a new partner-in-crime, a canny and disarming lawyer named Beck Merchant, who appears to be their equal in corruption. Soon, Sayre is thrown in closer contact with Beck and becomes convinced that something more sinister is at play than her father's usual need to dominate people and events. As she sets out to learn just what did happen to Danny, she comes to realize that there are many secrets in Destiny -- secrets that hide decades of pain and anger, and that threaten at any moment to erupt and destroy not only her father and brother, but perhaps Sayre herself. Underneath the rigid control that the Hoyles exert over the town, trouble is brewing. Old hatreds foster plans for revenge, past crimes resurface, and a maverick deputy sheriff determines that Danny Hoyle's death was not suicide, but murder. As tensions mount, threatening to ignite a powder keg of long-held hostility, Sayre finds herself inextricably drawn into a struggle with striking laborers, her unscrupulous father, and her own emotions over the love/hate relationship that is growing with Beck, a man apparently with his own agenda, and mysteries of his own.
 
Envy is an explosive tale of a long-ago crime and the victim's plan for revenge. When New York publisher Maris Matherly Reed receives a tantalizing manuscript from someone identified only as P.M.E., its blockbuster potential-and perhaps something else-compels her to meet its author. On an eerie, ruined cotton plantation on a remote Georgia island she finds Parker Evans, a man concealing his identity and his past. Maris is drawn into his tale of two young friends and a deadly betrayal ... and to Parker himself. But there's something especially chilling about this novel, its possible connection to Maris's own life, and the real-life character who uses her, or anyone, to get what he wants.

 

 
Sandra Brown writes a novel that is fast-paced, intriguing and romantic.  I have yet to read one of her novels that I didn’t like. I usually just grab another one off the shelf at the library at each visit!  Give her a try if you haven’t already, you won’t be disappointed.