Thanksgiving Adventures

My favorite holiday has ended and it’s Christmastime! But before I can go into full blown Christmas-mode, I need to reflect on how lovely Thanksgiving is. It’s my favorite holiday because there are no obligations other than being (and eating) with family and friends. There’s no stress of buying the right gift, staying in a certain budget or partaking in any part of the consumer world.. other than buying food!

Instead of thinking of the things we don’t have, we focus on the things we are thankful for. That focus on gratitude and things we have is so key to living a life of happiness because it helps us remain positive. This dose of gratitude seems perfectly timed to be right before Christmastime when we are inundated with advertisements and messages to buy things that will make our lives better.

In contrast, when I reflect each Thanksgiving on what I’m most Thankful for it is always the intangible things that can’t be bought – my supportive family and amazing friends! I have a feeling I’m not the only one who feels that way too. My goal is to keep that feeling of gratitude throughout the whole holiday season, so I can truly enjoy the holiday season and avoid comparing what I have to what others have. I know this is much easier said than done, so I’ll get off my soapbox for now and share some highlights from my Thanksgiving weekend.

This year, I did Thanksgiving a little different with my family. We went out to the mountains for a couple days with aunts, uncles, cousins and my 88-year-old grandfather. It was extra special to have family on my dad and mom’s side together, since it has been a long time since that has happened.

We drove through the Blue Ridge Mountains on Wednesday and had dinner at a tiny, local diner before we arrived at The Homestead. Located close to the West Virginia border in Hot Springs, Va., The Homestead is a beautiful hotel with historic charm and lots of outdoor activities. If you are in the DC area, it really makes for a great long weekend trip.

Once everyone arrived on Wednesday, we all had dinner together. On Thanksgiving Day, we went on a hike along a trail that followed several waterfalls. It was beautiful and the perfect activity to increase our appetite right before eating Thanksgiving dinner (read: piling our plates with turkey, dressing and mashed potatoes)!

While I missed being in the kitchen and helping cook, it was so refreshing to be outside in the country and away from the craziness of city life. After Thanksgiving with my family I was able to catch up with some high school friends over some delicious fried chicken at Hen Quarter in Alexandria’s Old Town, go on a lovely walk with Will and Maddie and do a little relaxing before Monday.

Did you have a good Turkey Day? What are you most thankful for this year? I always love hearing about how friends spend Thanksgiving because there are so many ways to enjoy the day and so many different traditions out there.

Cheers to the holiday season!

SC

 

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Cyber Monday Roundup 

Happy Monday! It may in fact be the happiest Monday out there for my fellow online shoppers. If, like me, you were traveling or too busy with family and friends over the weekend to partake in the Black Friday shopping discounts, then today is your day.

Below is a roundup of all the great Cyber Monday sales happening today and the code that will save you money. Some of the sales do restrict certain items, so you may want to read the fine print on the site you are shopping. Nevertheless, there are some great deals out there. 

AG: 30% off online and in-stores using code “AGTHIRTY”

Alex and Ani: 20% off your purchase

Aldo: Enjoy 20% regular styles plus 50% already reduced styles

Bath & Body Works: get an extra 25% off with code “CYBERWOAH”

Banana Republic: 50% off any five regular priced items in stores and online, with code “BRFIVE”

Bauble Bar: 25% off one item with code “SAVE25” and 35% off any 2+ items with code “SAVE35”
Club Monaco: Shop 25% off orders $150+, 30% off orders $250+, 35% off orders $400+, and 30% off sale, use code “THANKSAGAIN”

Current/Elliott: 25% off your purchase using code “THANKS”

DL1961: up to 50% off select styles

Dolce Vita: Shop discounts up to 60% off, plus an extra 20% off sale with code “CYBER20”

DUO: 30% off in stores and online using code “thanks8”, plus free shipping on all domestic orders.

Eberjey: 20% off with code “MERCI”

Equipment: 25% off with code “THANKS”

Frame: 10% off orders over $300, 15% off orders over $500, 20% off purchases over $750, and 25% off purchases over $1,000, plus additional marked-down styles

Furla: 20% off regular priced items and 50% off sale, all sales final

Guess: Up to 60% off and free shipping on all orders

J.Crew: 40% off your purchase and free shipping with code “MONDAY”

J.Crew Factory: 60% off everything (prices as marked), plus free shipping & extra 40% off clearance with code “HAPPYSALE”

Joe’s Jeans: 25% off with code “Cyber 25”

Joie: 25% off your purchase online and in-store (some exclusions apply) using code “THANKS”

Juju Active: 20% off all purchases

Kate Spade: 30% off with code “WIRED”

Kendra Scott: 15% off online and in-store

Loft: 50% off everything and free shipping

Love Adorned: 15% off your purchase with code “HOLIDAYLOVE”

Michael Stars: Shop 25% off using code “CYBER25”

Milly: Spend $250 get $50 off using code “MILLYMONEY50”, spend $400 get $100 off using code “MILLYMONEY100”, spend $650 get $200 off using code “MILLYMONEY200”

ModCloth: Enjoy 30% off site-wide with code “CYBER16”, plus free domestic shipping

New Balance: Enjoy 20% off site-wide

Nine West: Shop 50% all boots and booties, up to 50% off everything else, plus an extra 30% off orders over $125

Old Navy: 50% off, plus receive a free pair of socks with your purchase

Rent the Runway: Receive $40 off all orders $100 and over

Revolve: Shop with discounts reaching over 75% off

Shutterfly: Up to 50% + extra 25% off, with code “CYBER25”

Ted Baker London: Receive up to 50% off in-stores and online

Trina Turk: Enjoy 30% off your online purchase

Vince: extra 25% off sale items

Vitamin A: 25% off all coverups and beachwear with purchase of one full-priced swimsuit or bodysuit

World Market: Up to 30% off with code, “CYBERSAVE”

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’ll share a recap of my holiday and long weekend soon. Let me know if you find any great deals today. 

Cheers!

SC

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One-Pan Pasta

Hi friends!

Last week I hosted dinner club (note: I’ll share more about what this is in the future!) and made a new dish for my girlfriends to try. The best part about this recipe is that you only need one big pan to cook with. This is a major plus for me since my kitchen is … “cozy.”

Another thing I love about this recipe is that it encompasses all the main food groups – carbs, protein and vegetables – into one dish, making for a well-rounded, easy dinner option. You don’t really need a side dish or anything else if you make this. I came up with my one-pan pasta concoction with a mix of inspiration from similar pasta recipes and a little experimentation.

Ingredients:

  • salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 large white onion
  • 16 oz. chicken sausage
  • 8 oz. orecchiette pasta
  • 3 oz. baby arugula (can be substituted for baby spinach)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Steps:

  1. Heat pan with olive oil and throw in chopped up onion, adding salt to taste. Let onions cook for a few minutes.
  2. Mash up chicken sausage and add it into the pan, mixing it with onions and olive oil.
  3. Once ingredients in the pan are incorporated and have cooked for a few minutes, add in the chicken broth.
  4. Once the broth has begun to boil mix in the pasta and let it cook for 15 minutes.
  5. As the pasta finishes cooking, lower the heat and mix in the baby arugula until it wilts.
  6. Serve and top your dish with parmesan cheese to taste.

Serves: 4            Prep Time: 10 minutes            Cook time: 25 minutes

This meal can be easily adjusted to your liking by substituting different types of pasta or greens. You can even add in chopped cherry tomatoes or pine nuts, if you’d like an extra something in there. My proportions are also heavier on the meat than the pasta, so you may want to adjust that if you’d like more pasta than meat.

In general, this recipe is pretty forgiving. Over the weekend I had some leftover ingredients and was able to easily eyeball a similar dish using baby spinach and a different type of pasta. Hopefully, if you are looking for an easy dish during the cold, wintery months ahead, you’ll find that this is an easy option to throw together a hearty meal.

Do you have similar recipes that are simple and easy to make? I’d love to hear about them if so.

Here’s to a lovely holiday week–cheers!

SC

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