Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Favorites ~ Travel Tips & Must Haves

Happy Friday!
Today I am linking up once again with Erika & Andrea to share my Friday Favorites.
Since I am a huge lover of traveling and everything that goes with it, today I'm sharing some of my favorite travel tips, tricks and items I absolutely can not travel without!
I have been all over the country and to a few islands. When I was 11 I drove across the country with my mom dad and brother in a conversion van (Circa 1993) This was of course before i-anything, TV's in cars, phones, etc. We had to rely on good old fashioned car games, mad libs, activity books, mini travel games and all that "old school" fun stuff. My mom kept a laundry basket FULL of goodies and fun stuff between the two front seats. 
She always had everything, this must be where I get it. 
My brother and I spent countless hours playing the license plate game. We would name all 50 states and then name their capitols. We played very serious games of tic tac toe. You get creative and name it, we played it.
It was a lot of fun to see our beautiful country. I believe we saw 32 of the 50 states in that trip. We saw major things like Mount Rushmore, The Grand Canyon, The Old Man in the Mountain, The Gateway Arch in Missouri, Old Faithful, and so much more! I have a big photo album and scrap book from the trip, ya know in an old school peel up the clear pages and stick your actual printed out photo on that sticky page under the clear one...yeah a big book like that...this is similar to what our trip looked like...
Except we were cruising in a bad boy like this:
Nowadays traveling is a lot easier, I think...
Since Ted & I just got back from our honeymoon, this is still fresh in my head...
so here we go...
The most important thing to traveling is ORGANIZATION!

At least in my book. I can't go away and not have lists, containers, bags, zip locks, just EVERYTHING organized.
Therefore my first tip is this:
An amazing suitcase!
We got these as a Wedding gift. They are from Kohl's and on sale for $199.00
(grab a 30% off coupon and your out the door with $300 luggage for like, $160!
We used the 2 biggest ones for Aruba. I packed everything in both for both of us.
I always unpack once I'm in the hotel if we are staying long, so I did just that.
Then once clothes are dirty I folded them up and put them in the large suitcase.
This way that suitcase is strictly for dirty clothes and shoes when we go home and anything still fresh or anything we purchased on the trip goes in the smaller suitcase.
This always works out so well when we travel.
The next thing is something to do on the plane/car/train ride!
I like to bring options.
Southern Living's most recent magazine because even though I'm born and raised a Jersey girl, I'm a huge fan of the south.
(I could easily live in Texas, Savannah Georgia, Alabama - you name it, I could do it, my surfer ocean loving husband on the other hand, not so much)
I like to have a book to read. I believe I brought this onewith me...
I love this dog! Read this book. It's a sad story with a great ending!
(I mean really, look at that face!)
I also bring my iPad with me.
This trip Ted & I watched a movie since the flight was so long, but we both ended up falling asleep since we didn't sleep the night before...
Once we got to the hotel, phones & iPads went into the safe and we enjoyed the vacay!
(That's also a must for trips like this, DISCONNECT!!)
Another part of my some what OCD like organization is in regards to the airport. 
I have a little Coach wallet/passport holder thing that I keep our passports, licenses boarding passes and luggage receipts in.
BOTH passports fit in it even though it's meant for one. It's a fabulous accessory!
 This way we aren't scrambling for the 25 times you have to show all that and it's nicey nice in one place...that I hold...because I need to be in total control when we travel. 
My husband knows this and accepts this.  

Next up is a fabulous carry on bag with lots of pockets. 
We both have Dakine skate packs. 
(Hey I married a surfer/skater) 

 That's the one I have. There's a little cooler area in that front zip part which is fabulous for the bottle of water you get once you're past security and are waiting for 2 hours to get on the plane. 
And there's a small pocket on top lined with a fleece for your sunglasses. 
There's pockets for pens, iPads, phones, notebooks, laptops. Lots of stuff. It's my favorite thing to travel with and so comfy. 
That's Ted's pack. 
Same setup. But mine is prettier. 

Airport selfie!

Alright. Sticking with the pack... I always stuff it with gum, a sweet candy, some type of chocolate and something salty like combos or pretzels. I don't care where we're going or how long it's gonna take,
I fully stock up my pack for whichever craving we may have whilst traveling.
This is totally appreciated. 
Trust me.  
(ps: Bottlecaps are a must)

And I don't know about ya'll but I'm a ginger ale on the plane kind of gal. 
Every. Single. Time. 
I'm also absolutely TERRIFIED of taking off. It's not horrible, but I'm usually pretty nervous. I squeeze the crap outta Teds hands. Yes both of them.
But once we level off I'm good to go. 
Now I want to go on vacation. 
I think I'm going to look up our airline miles and see where we can go!
Speaking of which, one last thing...
A few years ago we got a Southwest Visa card to accumulate flight points. Since we often go to Texas (like once a year) to see my best friend and her family...
We figured it was a good idea. 
I'm not a huge fan of the annual fee, but it's a pretty decent card. And Southwest is my favorite airline to fly. 
AND their planes are awesome... I mean..

So there is my travel tips and tricks. 
Most importantly though the only thing to remember when you're going away is be safe, have fun and make amazing memories !!! ❤️
Our Honeymoon in Aruba!
The Riverwalk in San Antonio
Rita's on the Riverwalk (San An)
An evening in NYC
Throwing it way back to 1986...
In the Bahamas with my dad ❤️
Miss him everyday. 

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Recipe Club ~ Shredded Beef Tacos!

Shredded Beef Tacos
Oh My goodness! My cousin gave me this amazing recipe after he made these shredded beef tacos for me and my husband when we went to visit him once. He is an amazing chef! I often tell him he needs to open his own bistro! You can read his blog here and find some AMAZING recipes!
Ok, enough chit chat, here is the recipe....

2lb chuck roast
Salt and pepper
1/2 tablespoon of ancho chili powder
1 large onion (chopped)
1 red bell pepper (chopped)
3 gloves of garlic (crushed)
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
 Canned Chipotle peppers  & some of the sauce
(I usually use 2 or 3 but they are hot so start with one and see how spicy you want it)

Pat the chuck roast dry with some paper towels and then season it heavily with salt and pepper.

Heat some olive oil in a dutch oven and sear the chuck roast on all sides.
Chop up your onion...
 And garlic & pepper
Add the chopped onion, the bell pepper, and the garlic and stir together
Cook for a few minutes and add the whole can of tomatoes, the chili powder, and the chipotles
Simmer the meat for a good 2 to 3 hours
Once you are able to shred the beef with a fork, pull it out onto a cutting board to cool a little bit

Put the shredded beef back into the pot of saucey deliciousness!
Mix it all up and simmer a few minutes more... 
Serve as tacos or in a bowl!
I like to put cheese, tomatoes and avocado on mine
I'm sure the possibilities are endless!!
These are seriously delicious!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Superstorm Sandy ~ 2 years later

I did a blog post about Sandy back in August. You can read that one here. Today marks the 2 year anniversary of when we were starting to seriously feel the storm upon us. I actually looked at my "time hop" app on my phone last night and saw that I had posted something from a Halloween party Ted & I went to at a local bar on the water. I remember it well, it was a fun time and we left somewhat early. He drove me to my house and remember this awful wind. That was when I made the decision to go get my ducks and bring them into my garage.  

Something, to this day, I chuckle about. I loved those ducks. I went down to the yacht club religiously every day/night to check on them and give them water.
The quick back story on them is that someone got little baby ducks for their kid one Easter and then bam, cute little fury babies end up to be big needy pooping everywhere ducks :)
So that yacht club that I am a member of kind of adopted them. They hung out there all the time. Someone inside would randomly throw corn to them once in a while, but I of course, was on another level. That being said, when Sandy was approaching, I KNEW I had to bring them in to a safer environment. If not all 3 then definitely these two. The third was the youngest and would most likely be ok. These two old guys couldn't really walk that well. So here we are, in my 2 1/2 car garage at my moms house which was stuffed full with 3 British cars, tons of yard items, furniture, cushions, etc. I managed to get 3 cars in AND make this little duck area. I must say, I impressed myself :)
Both ducks survived past Sandy but didn't make it much longer than that.
I cried when my old boy crossed the rainbow bridge. My sweet husband (then fiancé) reassured me that I definitely made their life better and certainly prolonged the enviable.
 The Boardwalk in Seaside Heights
 The JetStar Rollercoaster - this image was all over the news
The breach in Mantaloking - Another pretty famous image.

It's kind of scary to think that 2 years later, in my neighborhood alone and for sure all over the areas where Sandy ruined towns, we are still re-building.
There are tons of houses in my moms neighborhood vacant.
Many houses have been or are waiting to be lifted onto pilings.
It's crazy. And again, we were spared. The waters came up VERY close. A little too close for my liking, but spared us none the less.
Today I am thankful that we are at this point, looking back saying we got through it.
Got through the smell of natural gas in the air for 3 days
Got through having no power for almost 2 weeks
Got through not having work for 2 weeks
It still is a rattling thing to think about

Here are some pics I took with my camera when we were able to get out and walk around our destroyed neighborhood.....

This is a street...kinda hard to tell - a lagoon is to the right

This was the fence to the neighborhood park

A family friends home, ripped to pieces

The inside of our yacht club. Completely destroyed

Another home in our neighborhood

Tune in tomorrow when I link up with some fabulous bloggers to share an amazing slow cooked shredded beef taco recipe!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Favorite Things Party ~ Random Random Random



Happy Monday!
Linking up with the fabulous Andrea & Erika to share some of my favorites!
I love a favorite things party! I thought of two fabulous things I wanted to put on this list, but oops they are over $10! So I'll mention one of them just because, at the end of this post! It's worth the extra money :)

Rimmel Scandaleyes Retroglam

My favorite mascara found here
I've tried lots and lots of mascaras throughout the years I’ve tried the expensive ones, the lash extending ones, the promising ones that commercials rave about – but I am pretty set with this one. And for $6.99 you can’t go wrong! I promise you will like it. The applicator is awesome and it goes on so well.

Gap Argyle Socks!
My favorite socks found here
Well, Gap cotton socks in general really. Usually several times a year they run a special and they are like 3 for $10. My mom usually stocks me up on these at Christmas time. They are so comfy and so fun. The website doesn’t have a whole lot of different options, but in the stores and in the outlets they have so many different kinds.
$3.99(ish) $1.99 on sale
I love me some Mallomars. They are so stinkin' good! I usually buy these when they are on sale at Shoprite. They are a little dollop of heaven I tell ya!

O.P.I. Blackberry Chutney
My favorite nail polish found here
This is my go to polish. I get it all year round but it is especially fitting for fall.
I get it in the gel polish too. I love the dark burgundy purple color.
And it's super cheap through Ulta!
So there's my faves under $10
And like I mentioned before, I am sharing something NOT under $10 just because it is fabulous and it is new to me!
It's pretty pricey at like $25 a bottle, but it is the best lotion ever!
I bought the lotion, aloe and cooling gel while we were in Aruba on our honeymoon
This stuff smells amazing, feels amazing and IS amazing.
It's available online here but I prefer buying it in Aruba....because well, look:
Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Favorites - Foodie Edition, Eats across America

Linking up with the fabulous Erika & Andrea for a Friday Favorites!
All About Food!
Find me on Instagram @ Ladybugg07
I'm sharing some of my absolute favorite places to eat around the country today.
I love to travel and love discovering new places to eat and experiencing new foods.
I've been to Texas a million times so there are quite a few places in Texas alone that could fill this post up. But there are also several others so here it goes...
We ate here in August of 2013 while traveling to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan for a wedding.
It just so happened to be a Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives spot as well!
This place is located in Ferndale and was only about 15 minutes away from where we were staying so we absolutely had to go!
I had gingerbread waffles with sautéed apples, cherries and cinnamon syrup!
Ted had the "Green Eggs & Ham"
-Eggs with roasted poblano pesto & jack cheese with seared city ham-
I was SO jealous of this meal. While my waffles were delish, this was off the charts!
Honestly, If you get the chance, GO to this place! It was so good!
And for fun ~ Here's a pic of us at the wedding :)
TEXASSan Antonio
This is hands down, an absolute MUST VISIT every time we're in Texas.
I've had quite a few things on their menu.
My favorite app is the Range Rattlers...
Jumbo jalapenos stuffed with whole shrimp and cheese then fried! HELLO!
Then once you've stuffed your face with these delicious pieces of heaven and all the Shiner Bock break you can handle... go for this....

Steak & Shrimp
It's ridiculously delicious!
~~ Heading North East ~~
Atlantic City

This is one of the best sushi places I've eaten at. It's located about 45-55 minutes from
where I live and it a bit pricey, but totally worth the drive and cost.
Crunchy Lobster  Roll
~ Mango salsa, shrimp tempura, avocado, Serrano ~
I was hesitant to get this at  first because I was afraid it would be too spicy, well I was way off. It was perfectly spiced and oh so delicious.
Next up ~ My home town favorite!
Via Napoli
Ya'll I can NOT get enough of this place. We ate there just last night. It's so delicious.
We order in from here, we get pizza from here, salads, apps, you name it, we eat it!
My favorite thing is their 2 for $25 menu!
You get all of this for just $25 per couple.
 1 Appetizer to share
2 Salads -or- Soups
2 Entrees
2 Desserts 
For TWENTY FIVE dollars people.
That's a steal!
And it is SO good!
This is their amazing Pizza selection, which changes often so you never really know what you're gonna get.

Couldn't you just
I know I could!

So back to the 2 for $25
We usually split the Spicy Shrimp appetizer which is 6 big shrimp in a spicy marinara sauce
We each get a salad with their white balsamic house dressing
I usually get the chicken parm over angel hair
Ted mixes is up - last night (yes, we ate there last night) he had the gnocchi Bolognese
And we usually both get a cannoli - I get a chocolate dipped one because, well, everything is better dipped in chocolate!
So if you are ever traveling to any of these places, give these restaurants a whirl.
I promise it will be worth your while.
And for kicks, here are a few other fabulous places to eat...
10th Avenue Burrito  - Best Mexi-Cali food (Featured on DDD)
Zinburger - AMAZING Burgers! AND Zucchini fries!
Texas Roadhouse - Who doesn't love throwing peanuts on the floor?
Cheesecake Factory - Has the BEST chopped salad!
Thankful that it is Friday people. Can't wait for this work week to be done.
Lots of fun things happening this weekend including the annual Halloween Parade!
Happy Friday! Happy Weekend!
~ Tiffany ~