Cheese Ball-a-Thon

By 4:41 PM
I have the world's best job! Wanna know why? It's because at my job we have an annual cheese ball-a-thon, well technically this was the first year we had it but we decided to make it annual.

Wondering what a cheese ball-a-thon entails? You make a homemade cheese ball full of whatever you want and you bring it in to work. Then there are judges who judge the ball on cheesiest, spreadability, cracker pairing, taste, and appearance. This year I was a judge. Don't believe me? I have pictures.

It was quite a ballin' day!

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Yard Sale Frame Becomes a Chalkboard Treasure

By 4:00 PM , , , , ,
I found this frame at a yard sale this summer for $10. When I saw it I knew I had to get it. I had a vision and when you have a vision you must act on it.

Although I loved the blue color I didn't have a place in my home that it would go and I have been wanting to turn my bonus room into a black and red UGA themed room

So I bought a can of UGA red sample paint at Home Depot and got to painting. If you didn't know you can buy a sample can of paint of any brand and any color and it is less than $2. There is more than enough paint to paint a few coats of a color on practically any piece of furniture or household craft. I buy these sample colors all the time and would highly recommend them.

After painting my frame I bought a piece of plywood and a can of black spray paint and cut a piece of plywood to fit onto the back of the frame. I then spray painted the plywood with chalkboard paint and attached it to frame.

Last but not least I hung my new creation in my bonus room. I am very pleased with my vision. What do you guys think?

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Christmas Weekend Fun

By 4:21 PM , , , ,
This weekend was crazy busy but a lot of fun for the Thompson household. We started the weekend off by attending a Tacky Christmas Sweater/White Elephant Party Friday night. It was a a lot of fun. We ended up with a new angel ornament and a bag of Reese's so it all ended well as far as White Elephants go.

But who knew Christmas sweaters would be so hard to find? We are having our own Tacky Christmas Sweater party this coming Saturday so we have been hunting the Goodwill for the past month in search of the perfect Christmas sweater. Surprising we have had very little luck. I was able to find a Christmas sweater vest (hot, right?) about a month ago but we haven't found a second sweater for my husband. Fortunately my husband was able to borrow a Christmas sweater last weekend but the loaner needed it back so he is still searching for one for Saturday. I know you are all dying to see us in our sweaters so without further we are:

Saturday we had a date day together and spent the day in Atlanta goofing off. We ate at Figo Pasta for lunch (which is amazing by the way) then headed to Lenox Mall for some window shopping. It was miserable. Not being with my husband. That was wonderful. What was awful was the masses and masses of people. It took us over 30 minutes just to find a parking spot! You couldn't even move in the mall because their were so many people. What a mess! We stayed just long enough to take a few pictures then we moved on.

Lenox Mall Santa and Pink Pig

Lenox Tree

We then moved on and met some friends for dinner and a movie. All in all it was a wonderful day with my love!

Sunday we finished up our weekend with a Christmas tree decorating party with my husband's cousins. The wonderful lady in the middle of the picture is named Lila and is my husband's grandmother.

Such a fun holiday weekend!

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Torani Syrups Are a Must Have in Your Pantry

By 3:48 PM , ,
Torani Syrup is a great embellishment to drinks and many other unique food possibilities like cookies. The syrups have been around since 1925 and there are over 120 flavors! It's one of the top syrups in coffeehouses and comes in regular and sugar free varieties.

This year I was given a chance to try out Torani's flavored syrups through SheSpeaks. I received a hazelnut and a sugar free vanilla flavoring.

Of course I used the sugar free vanilla to make delicious vanilla coke zeros. My absolute fav! The hazelnut was a little trickier to put to use but it tasted pretty good in my coffee. I'm not an avid coffee drinker but I occasionally drink it when I've had a late night the night before a early morning.

I began by brewing up some coffee in my K-cup machine at work. Once finished, I added cream and Torani's hazelnut syrup in my cup and stirred it all together. This was easy, simple, and most of all..delicious.

Torani's website has all kinds of recipes and a list of their many different flavors so be sure to check it out! Also, get yourself a $1 off coupon HERE and enjoy your own Torani's syrups!

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Giving Back This Holiday Season

By 11:47 AM , , , , ,
Tis the season for fa la la la's and ho ho ho's. But what are you doing this year to share the true meaning of the season? The birth of Jesus Christ.

So far this holiday season I have had three different opportunities to give of my time and talents to share the true meaning of Christmas with others.

The first opportunity I had to volunteer was at the Operation Christmas Child warehouse sorting shoe boxes to be sent to children around the world. If you are not familiar with Operation Christmas Child I highly encourage you to check out their website and watch some videos on their purpose. Operation Christmas Child allows you to pack a shoebox full of gifts for a needy child. When volunteering at the warehouse you sort through these boxes to ensure every child has a full box of goodies and that there is nothing breakable or food that will melt in the boxes. It was a ton of fun to volunteer. My favorite part was seeing the cards that children from the US had written for the children they were sending their boxes sweet it just melted my heart!

Above: Some of our friends checking boxes
Below: Boxes still to be checked
Above: My hubby packing the big boxes to be shipped out
Below: Boxes of shoesboxes ready to be sent to children

The second opportunity I have had to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas this year was by volunteering at the Winshape Christmas Party for foster children. This was such a neat volunteer opportunity and I really believe I was blessed by the children more than vice versa. My favorite part was at the end of the party when the children received Christmas gifts from staff members at my company. The pure joy on their faces was enough to bring me to tears.

Below: A picture of the wonderful family I got to hangout with at the party

The final thing I had the opportunity to participate in this Christmas season was baking and distributing Christmas cookies at a local nursing home and the local fire station and police station. You guys...if you are looking for some way to spread Christmas cheer this season I really encourage you to go visit with the residents at your local nursing home. The fact is we are all going to be old one day and everyone loves a little company!

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The Challenges of Christmas Day

By 4:24 PM , ,
Tis the season...our second Christmas as a married couple is quickly approaching! It's amazing how time flies isn't it?

It seems like yesterday that I was writing a post about last Christmas and the *joys* (I say that both seriously and sarcastically) of starting your own family traditions. It is joyful in that my husband and I are now are our own family and it is very important to establish our own traditions. However, we have found it quite the challenge with the demands from both sides of parents who each want us to maintain all the holiday traditions we had as children. Easier said than done when we both have families that live nearby and both want/expect us to be with them on Christmas day. Boy, oh boy does it make it fun for us.

We have resorted to the fact that as long as it's just us we can continue to drive around the hour parameter our family lives in on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to spend time with everyone but as soon as we decide to throw a little one in the mix we're going to have to stop the craziness.

The complicated part of the equation is that there are already grandchildren on my husband's side so the scheduling gets even harder. My entire family including my husband is only 6 people so without us its just four (aka no fun).

That being said last year we had a plan that seemed to work pretty perfectly (especially since Christmas Eve was on a weekend last year). We spent Christmas Eve morning/day/afternoon with my husband's family where we pretended it was Christmas day. We then loaded up and headed to Christmas Eve service an hour away with my fam and then went out for dinner to celebrate my dad's birthday (which just so happens to ALSO be Christmas Eve). Christmas morning/day we spent with my family and then headed back to my husband's grandmothers for his extended family Christmas. Finally we did our own Christmas together the day after Christmas. Exhausting but it worked.

Problem is this year as you all know Chrismas Eve falls on a work day which means I'm going to have to take a vacation day to do Christmas with the hubby's family and will be unable to take an extra day the day after to celebrate with my husband.

So...for all you married people out there (especially those with both families nearby)...I'd love to know?  How do you celebrate Christmas as a couple and also divide time between both families?

On another note I just celebrated my first anniversary as a blogger! Wow, does time fly! Influenster was kind enough to send me a free box of chocolates to celebrate. And aren't they just beautiful? Thank you Influenster and Ferrero Rocher!

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California Wine Club December Review

By 1:30 AM ,
Great wine enjoyed with friends is one of life's simplest and best pleasures! 

I was thrilled to have received a two month's subscription to the California Wine Club. Really I enjoyed this club soo much. The club really wasn't hard to enjoy...I mean who wouldn't love receiving two bottles of fine California wine delivered directly to your front door once a month? All four of the wines I received were fantastic! The club even sent me a wine tote to carry my bottles of wine to the holiday parties I am invited to. 

This club is something I would really like to join again in the future. The California Wine Club also makes a fun and unique gift for friends and family. I enjoyed my subscription so much that I am giving a subscription to a family member of mine for Christmas. All though the club is a little pricey in my opinion (prices start at $39.95 a month) it really is a unique, fun thing to be a part of. 

This month the two wines I received were 2009 Central Coast Merlot and 2011 Santa Barbara County White Hills Vineyard Chenin Blanc. Both were fantastic and both had won all kinds of awards. 

So if you are looking for a unique holiday gift why not give California Wine Club Club Membership to that someone special on your list?

Be sure to follow CWC on Twitter @cawineclub

This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own. I received a 2 month Membership to the California Wine Club for the purpose of this review.

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Holiday Tour of Our First Christmas at Our New Home

By 8:44 PM , , , , , ,
Since I have written several posts about our new home but not posted many pictures I thought it would be fun to give you a holiday tour of our new home all decorated for Christmas. 

So if a picture is worth a thousand words here goes nothing...
(please don't judge me too harshly we've only been in our home a few weeks)

Welcome to Our Home

Entry Wall Table with Snowman and Silver Ball Christmas Tree
 Welcome "T" with greenery in the dinning room

Pallet shelf on the wall with Christmas decor, antique bottles, and Santa countdown below
Our Christmas Tree (all 10ft of it)

Our Living Room
 Of course we have our manager on the left of the mantle, silver Christmas trees on the right, and lantern full of glass ornaments on the mantle.

 The wonderful UGA Santa 

Love this Santa that I snagged for a buck at a yard sale this summer

Our bedroom Christmas tree 
(this tree has been in my room since I was an infant so of course it had to go in our new home)

That's the majority of all I have decorated now...not yet ready to expose the guest bedroom rooms, bathroom, and bonus. 

Hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season! 

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Finished Kitchen Pub Tables and Bar Stools

By 7:57 PM
And now ladies and gentlemen...boys and girls...But really, it's finally time for the big reveal!

Remember when I teased you here with how much talent my husband has and showed you a glimpse of the table he made me?

Well the kitchen pub table and bar stools are now finished and I'm content. 

And without further ado here it you can all admire his handiwork with me:

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Farmrich Review

By 12:06 PM ,
Farm Rich sent me a few coupons to try out their snacks and appetizers. And boy are they good! I purchased their Queso Bites (which is their newest product) and the Mozzarella Cheese Sticks. Both were very delicious and very affordable (priced at $6.99 depending on your local retailer).

 Some of their other popular snacks include: mozzarella bites, pizza slices, and stuffed pretzel bites! You can see their full list of products here. You can buy Farm Rich at your local grocery store or Walmart.

Farm Rich offers coupons and recipes on their website so be sure to check them out and let me know what you think. 

The Giveaway
One Reader will win 2 coupons to try out the Farm Rich products of your choice for free!
Enter Below via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received these products complimentary for testing and review purposes from Farm Rich. I did not receive any form of compensation from the company. All opinions are my own.

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Torani Holiday Syrups Review

By 7:02 PM ,
I was fortunate enough to "bring home the authentic coffeehouse flavor" by receiving two bottles of Torani syrups to review. I am one of those kind of people who loves a flavored drink whether that drink be a vanilla coke or a holiday spirit so I was super excited to receive these syrups. 

 Torani is the #1 brand of flavored syrups in America, offering over 100 delicious flavors! The syrups are made with the highest quality ingredients like cane sugar. Torani sent me Vanilla Bean and Pumpkin Spice to try. Both were great. I put the Pumpkin Spice in my mocha to make a delicious Pumpkin Spice Drink and of course I added the Vanilla Bean to my coke zero to make a homemade vanilla coke. Delicious! 

Torani syrups also reduce the need to hire a bartender for your holiday party. Just follow their simple recipes to make unique, flavorful cocktails for your holiday guests!

So what are you waiting for? Bring home the authentic coffeehouse flavor from San Francisco. I invite you to be inspired and create delicious drinks at home!

I received these products complimentary for testing and review purposes from SheSpeaks and Torani. I did not receive any form of compensation from the company. All opinions are my own.

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CoverGirl Blastflipstick Review

By 6:19 PM ,
I was lucky enough to receive several of COVERGIRL's new BLAST FLIPSTICKs to try. These lipsticks, created by COVERGIRL's Global Creative Design Director, Pat McGrath, are really neat because they are two lipsticks in one! The lipsticks feature an ultra blendable formula and are expertly matched to pair perfectly together. 

The BLAST FLIPSTICK has two ends, one side has a creamy, bold color and the other offers a shimmery shade that looks great as a topper to the bold color. The lipsticks come in 13 different colorful, complementary, expertly matched shade duals and are available in most grocery stores, drug stores, and major retailers. They retail for $8.49. 

I was lucky enough to receive the Pucker, Cheeky, and Minx colors and have really enjoyed using them. If you are looking for a new look this holiday season I would highly recommend trying these shades out. The shades even won the Cosmetic Executive Women Insiders' Beauty Award!

I received these products complimentary for testing and review purposes since I am a Buzz Agent. I did not receive any form of compensation from the company. All opinions are my own.

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PEOPLE Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive 2012

By 9:48 PM , ,
Here it is in all its glory...PEOPLE Magazine's Annual Sexiest Man Alive issue:

Can I just say that I really love reading PEOPLE Magazine? I mean seriously...what's better than spending an hour with a glass of wine or a cup of hot coco flipping through the magazine getting caught up on all the latest gossip? That's why my excitement got the best of me when it was out on the shelf at Kroger and I couldn't help but take a picture. Don't believe me? Here's proof.

I particularly enjoyed this years PEOPLE Magazine's Annual Sexiest Man Alive issue. Not only was it full of pictures of gorgeous men but it also had lots of interesting articles. I was excited to find out that Channing Tatum had won the Sexiest Man Alive since he was one of my picks. I mean come on...who doesn't like this?

The magazine was full of other great articles including the article on Lauren Scruggs whose amazing story I believe has inspired us all. Wow. What a woman. Hands down favorite pic was of her and Bethany Hamilton (you know the girl who got her arm bitten off by a shark while surfing??). Talk about inspirational woman. You two are my heroes. I particularly admire your faith. Thanks to both of you for being wonderful examples of Godly woman. 

I've gotta say the most disappointing picture in the magazine was hands down the below photo of Matthew. I don't care if he is playing the part of a character with AIDS. I mean gross! Anyone with me?

I can't conclude without first mentioning how impressed I was with Channing Tatum in his interview in the magazine. He mentioned his wife just about every paragraph which I thought was very sweet.

Overall I loved this issue of PEOPLE Magazine and hope you all enjoyed it as well. 

On a final note I'd like to give a big CONGRATS to Allison Downes the winner of my Kroger giftcard giveaway. Thanks to everyone who entered. Until next time...stay sexy! 

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™, but all my opinions are my own” 

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