Monday, December 31, 2012

Bling in the New Year linkup!

Allie, Mia, and myself hosted an awesome swap. What better way to ring in 2013 than with some new bling ... right?

I am the worst host, no really I am. Please accept my apologies for not showing photos of my loot. I can not find my camera at the moment where my photos are stored.

My swap buddy was Carrie from Frugal Foodie Mama who is the absolute best. She sent me a pair of awesome dangly (?) earrings and those awesome hair tie/pony holders that are all the rage these days. LOVE.THEM.TO.Pieces! She went on an Etsy shopping spree to get my goodies. Thank you so much Carrie for taking the time to be a part of this swap. You did a great job! Go check out her wonderful blog where she discusses being budget-conscious on her journey through motherhood.

Tell me just one thing

With 2012 coming to a close please tell me just one thing you learned about blogging this year. As you all know I only started this little safe place near the end of the summer.

It can be anything! A tip or trick you learned or advice you read or received.

I look forward to reading your answers after a yummy dinner tonight with friends.

Thank you to all my friends and followers. Looking forward to a happy healthy 2013. Make this year count and if the tragedies in 2012 hit any nerve remember to be kind.

written from the Blogger app so excuse any errors.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday in photos

Used my new crockpot to make a delish Beef Stew for Eric and my parents.

Watched the Patriots squish the fish with Lincoln snuggling.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dinner and a movie

Maybe the other way around.

With the holidays somewhat behind us Eric and I can finally enjoy a nice afternoon together.

Going to use one of our many gift cards to go see Lincoln. Really excited to see it

Has anyone seen Lincoln yet? Thoughts?

After the movie we are going to grab a bite to eat at Carrabba's - another gift card to use!

Yay to a free day of food and entertainment.

Eric and I need to relax this weekend so we can continue to beat the crap out of our illness.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Our stockings were hung with care.

It's ridiculous how in love with our new fireplace I am.

We were without one for almost a year because our old one had a slight gas leak ... oopsie. The previous brass surround circa 1980 was not our style anyway.

The materials and style are so sleek and modern. We used black slate for the immediate surround and hearth. My husband built outer surround from metal and the mantle is painted wood.

It was fun to decorate a mantle again. The framed photo is of a Corgi sitting in a doorway with antlers on. Sticking with the antler theme I had to have the antler stocking holders from Target. The vintage sled was Eric's fathers when he was kid. Our festive stockings are from last year off Etsy.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I promise

that I am still around for those that might have missed me.

Can not believe I am still sick though. This asthma is really kicking my butt. I am sure the weather is not helping matters either - one minute it is 50 degrees and the next it is 20 and snowing. WTF?

My husband has been great support in all of this which is a huge help especially when I had a house full of guests for the holiday. I just don't have the energy to do much. I am back to work and by the time the afternoon rolls around I want to take a nap. Eric makes me tea with honey and I crash while watching tv.

I am making it a goal to blog more this weekend but for now enjoy this baby photo of me - circa 1976. And yes I am still this adorable at 36!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Aunie Sauce's Decemeber giveaway

Check out Aunie Sauce blog this month for some great items in her December giveaway.

She is truly a sweet gal and I am very happy to be a part of her blog family this month.

Aunie Sauce

Thursday, December 20, 2012

So much to do and I am in bed!

On Monday night into Tuesday morning I woke up gasping for air around 4am. I was extremely scared (and making things far worse) I was crying and telling Big E to bring me to the ER.

By 4:30am I was in the ER having blood drawn, an EKG done, and hooked up to a heart monitor. They immediately gave me a breathing treatment that did nothing ... nada! The nurse called for a chest x-ray and then I had another breathing treatment. Finally this treatment worked and I had a tiny bit of relief.

X-ray came back negative for pneumonia and a strep test came back negative as well. The doc said that I had adult croup (sp?) but labeled it as a severe asthma attack and an upper respiratory infection. I left the hospital with a script for an inhaler and prednisone to reduce the inflammation around my lungs. Great! I was on the way to being mended.

Cue Eric being sick. Cue me developing a couch like no other. To our primary care doctor we go on Wednesday. Filled our new scripts - not one wink of sleep on Wednesday night. Just lots and lots of coughing. Even our dog couldn't sleep (poor little bubba). I had to take double the dosage of my meds just to get to sleep around 4am - I slept till noon today and I feel a tad more human.

Our house has just been under the weather for most of the week and I think of all the items on my to-do list to get ready for Christmas. Ugh - Happy Holidays!

Here is to hoping that by Saturday I will be at least 75% healed and I can clean the house to make it guest ready. I just can't wait to wash my sheets and blankets.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pssst Kathleen L. you are a winner!

Kathleen, I have been trying to reach out to you but your email continues to get returned. If you are Kathleen or know Kathleen please get in touch with me so I can hook you up with your giveaway goodies.

If I don't hear back from Kathleen by this Thursday I will choose a new winner.

Giveway Link

Sunday, December 16, 2012

We have a winner!

Sorry for the huge delay in announcing the winner from my giveaway. I have been not been feeling well (thanks Eric!).

Anyway - if you are the winner please reply so we can hook you up with the loot!

Giveaway Link

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Weekend recap {a few days late}

Nothing too exciting happening around these parts lately. This past weekend Big E and I attended my company holiday party. It was held at one of the local hotels and we had a free room so why not right?

The party was pretty uneventful ... except for the outfits. I mean come on does no one own a mirror or have a sense of style or class? My favorite outfit of the evening was the full on gold latex dress. I swear all she needed was a safety word.

My outfit was a cute lightweight gold shimmery sweater and black wool shorts that I paired with super black opaque tights and heels. Finally the first year where I was comfortable the entire time.

This was my hair/makeup.

Annnnd after several White Russians, a shot with colleagues from my department, and with the heat turned up to 120 degrees my hair/makeup no longer looked like this.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Heavy hearts in Upstate NY

An extensive outpouring of love and support to a local community the past few days has made it hard to be on any social media outlet, watch a news channel, or even read the local newspapers online without being sucked in to the latest on this story.

This past Saturday a Ford Explorer carried four high school seniors home from a rivalry college basketball game up I-87N ... a highway that connects Albany NY to Canada and is notorious for chewing up cars and spitting them out. These teens were just about 15 minutes away from their exit and homes when a drunk driver (who also attended said basketball game) flew up the highway weaving in and out of lanes at a high rate of speed.

When all was said and done the four teens ended up in a multiple rollover crash and the driver of the car landed in the woods on the other side of the road. Two of the teens did not survive ... they happened to be the boyfriend and girlfriend of the two that survived. Baily was thrown from the vehicle while Matt was partially thrown.

First photo: (L) Chris and Bailey (R) Deanna & Matt
Second photo: Chris and Deanna (best friends and classmates)

Chris and Deanna lost their lives in probably the most horrific of ways. I can not fathom the pain their parents, family, and friends are feeling. The local communities and schools have united in a way I have never seen before.

It seems as though everyone in the 518 (our area code) is accountable for getting #tebowcallmatt to trend on Twitter. On Monday night Tim Tebow, of the NY Jets, phones Matt in the hospital to offer support, condolences, and they prayed together for healing.

I won't stand on my soap box and preach but let's all please phone a cab, friend, family member, or just walk home when you have been drinking. Do not get in the car and drive. It will ruin lives.

Article in local newspaper

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Woop Woop {giveaway}

The blog has been my haven lately and I love sharing my daily rants, raves, and randomness with you. A huge THANK YOU for being a loyal reader and always willing to give me advice when needed ... and maybe not when needed.

If it were not for all of you I would feel like I was talking to myself everyday. Wait ... I do that anyway. No I am not crazy {much}.

Without further procrastination let's move onto the giveaway shall we.

Up for grabs to one lucky reader is:

"Winter Revival gift bag" from the lovely Georgina over at Notes on Lifestyle from Georgina.
1. Small Maison soy candle (Grapefruit)
2. 1 sample of my favorite energy and immunity drink supplement by Jillian Michaels: EBoost in Pink Lemonade
3. 1 sample size of Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream
4. 1 Honest Company (Jessica Alba's company) Hand Soap in organic lemongrass
5. 1 Coco de Soleil high-gloss hair masque by Gloss Moderne

Ad space from Brin at Bold Butter Baby.
350x350 - valued at $12.00

Beautiful set of stackable chevron rings from Sweet Fashion Deals.

$10.00 gift card to Sephora

and more ... but all of those items are a surprise!
Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 30, 2012

Is this thing on?

Is this just a bad time of year? My comments seemed to have fallen off the map the last few weeks.

Am I boring? Should I spice up my content? Thoughts/suggestions?

As a first time blogger I don't honestly know what to expect. Would love to hear from you on how I could change things.

New Ride(s)

Ever have one of those days? Just minding your own business and then ... boom someone hits your car as you are driving.

Well that happened to Big E. He was casually driving home on the same roads as usual when a gentleman pulled out of a gas station and hit him. Crash, bang, boom and it was all over for the Grand Am. No real loss there.

Turns out there was over $6000 in damage so they totaled his car out thus putting us in a whirlwind to find a new car. Ohhh the options ... and headaches. He sure knows what he wants and doesn't want.

Eric finally decided he wanted a white 2012 Scion xB. Roomy and a smooth ride.

Well I couldn't let him have the only new vehicle could I? Nope - it wasn't intentional at all but the deal was right. Ohhh boy did I negotiate. The dealership ended up being upside down on the deal because they had to bring more money to the table than they originally wanted to.

My new ride is a 2012 Crimson Honda Civic. Love!

All in all both dealerships were good to work with and we were both glad we got the salesmen we did.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


There are no real words to describe devastation left behind by a natural disaster. If you are lucky(?) enough to see the wreckage first hand then you know what I am about to say will tear at your heart strings.

You have most likely been bombarded by posts talking about donations and what you can do to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Over Veterans' Day weekend my company chartered buses each day for those of us (along with friends and family members) who wanted to get their hands dirty and do what we can to ease the pain of some even if it was just for a few moments at a time.

Living in Upstate NY (near Albany) we didn't get much of the weather downstate did. So to see cars that were filled with moisture and mud with their windows busted out gives you the chills. Knowing that water and wind ripped through the area and created new landscapes in a few hours puts life into perspective.

Our bus headed to a church in Coney Island. Not one of us knew what was in store for us when we arrived. This church was a food pantry before the storm hit and when we stepped off the bus it was barely a place of worship. The stench in the air was a mixture of ocean air, mud, mold, and raw sewage. The storm surge brought in 8 feet or more of water filling the basement to the ceiling and completely destroying walls, a children's library, food pantry area, and a small living space for the church caretaker. About 80 of us were on hand to literally shovel crap (mixture of mud, earth, and sewage) out of the basement, rip down drywall, throw away drop ceiling remnants, furniture, and pack up thousands of books and audio cassettes into garbage bags to haul it to the curb for the garbage truck.

Area residents lined up at the church and around the corner starting at 10am. Later we found out that they wait in line each day at this location for more than 6 hours to receive 3 bottles of drinking water and a little food. If they require special needs such as diapers or animal food they will receive that as well. A very touching site to say the least. A Red Cross food truck set up shop out front and handed out 400 hot meals - they do this daily as well. Several random vehicles pulled up to the line that formed and started to serve hot soup from the back of the car.

I will have more pictures in the future - the devastation is still something we all talk about. As you finish reading this entry and take a look at the few photos below take a moment to realize what you have around you and cherish each moment and possession.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Still time to sign up for the BLING swap!

Allie, Mia, and I very excited to bring the BLING in the New Year swap to everyone!

Getting a special new piece of jewelry is always fun AND even better when you can wear it to ring in 2013.

Grab this button to display on your blog.

Grab button for insert sarcastic remark here

Sign up here!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

No Reply Blogger - please help me!

Turns out that I am "no reply" blogger. Just when I thought I fixed it too.

Any help or suggestions? I am at a total loss. I have Googled for help and well you see where that has left me.

Feel free to email me ... mczicki AT gmail


Monday, November 26, 2012

BLING in the New Year Swap sign ups!

Today is the day! Today is the day!

PhotobucketAllie, Mia, and myself are proud to host BLING in the New Year perfect party accessory swap!

With Thanksgiving now behind us it is the perfect time to start thinking about New Year's Eve and your awesome outfit. Who doesn't a love a little bling or sparkle to put you in a celebrating mood?

Sign up today below and shop for the perfect New Year's Eve accessory(ies), whether it be a sequined scarf, cocktail ring, or bling earrings. We encourage you to chat with your swap partner to get to know their style and possibly get insight on what their NYE plans are and maybe what they are thinking about wearing.

Sign ups end on Monday, December 3rd.
We will email your swap partner to you by Friday, December 7.
Make your purchase between $10-$15.
Please mail your accessory(ies) out by December 20 so there will be plenty of time for your partner to receive the package to ohhhh and ahhhh over it.
Link up will happen on Monday, December 31st and will be open for a few days.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Wanted: 1 Antler Stocking Holder

Made by Threshold and sold at Target.

Each of our local Target locations are sold out with the exception of one but theirs are damaged.

I bought the one and only I saw with hopes of getting to another Target to snag the 2nd. Ahhh they are all sold out.

In your travels to Target can you please look to see if they have one - I will pay you back I swear.

They were not located with the other holiday items. I found them located in the area where the Nate Berkus display is (where all the funky holiday items are in the middle of the store on endcaps).

Friday, November 23, 2012

What are you doing with your Tday leftovers?

How many of you braved retail stores today to get your shopping on? I stayed away ... far away.

Ok I lie - I just got home from Target where I picked up a stocking holder, a tree skirt, and some socks.

Not sure what to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers? Check out my guest post on The Life of a Modern Day Wife for some delicious recipes that will leave your family wondering why you didn't think of them before!

Don't forget to come back Monday to sign up for BLING in the New Year accessory swap!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gobble Gobble

Don't forget to check back on Monday, November 26 to sign up for the swap.
Grab the button below for your blog to promote!

Grab button for insert sarcastic remark here

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It has been forever!

Long time no chat it seems. This last week has been a roller coaster of events ... no really a.roller.coaster! Between going down to Coney Island to volunteer after Hurricane Sandy to my husband getting a new car because someone hit him and totaled his car there have been some highs and lows. It seriously feels like I have been away from the blog for months - oh hey how about those guest bloggers I had. What was your favorite guest post?

I will be back to normal entries this coming Monday so be on the lookout but till then there are some random thoughts.

But wait ... hold the phone girlfriend!

It is true, there will be a giveaway coming soon on the blog.

Just a huge "thank you" to all of my readers for being loyal and keeping me on my toes. Reading your comments make my day go by faster and for that I am truly appreciative!

Stay tuned to read all about what will be included for you to win. I am planning something really special for all of you.

Also don't forget about the BLING in the New Year party accessory swap coming on Monday! Grab the button and help promote ....
Grab button for insert sarcastic remark here

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Yummy Fall Recipes {Life, Love and Puppy Paws)

Sniff Sniff - is that food I smell? Check out what Jen has cooking ... I bet it is delish! Go check out her blog and say Hi! (comments turned off here)

Thanks so much to Allana for letting me guest post today!

Hi I’m Jen

from over at Life, Love and Puppy Paws. I started my blog a few months ago to share my journey of moving in with my boyfriend, and the combining of our 2 furball families. Over at Life, Love and Puppy Paws, you might find posts about these three cuties…

…but I also love to cook and bake and thought it would be a ton of fun to share recipes for 2 of my favorite pumpkin desserts.

The first recipe is my trademark fall recipe and it’s for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. I have made these for Thanksgiving, family reunions, Halloween parties, etc., and they are always a huge hit. A few years ago I got similar cookies at my local grocery store and loved them so much I just had to hunt down a recipe to make them at home. They are a cake-like cookie, so they are very moist and soft, and the chocolate believe it or not goes so well with pumpkin…who knew?!?

The second recipe is for Chocolate/Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. I originally saw this on a Halloween episode of Down Home with the Neely's. I had a whoopie pie one time on vacation in South Carolina, and just loved it. When I saw the Neely’s making a pumpkin version I just totally had to try it. I actually made this for Thanksgiving about 2 years ago, and they are just so delish! Similar to the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, the cookie/sandwich portion is very cake-like, and is a dark rich chocolate. The filling is a pumpkin/cream cheese-base and is super tasty as well.

I would recommend trying out both of these for any fall themed parties coming up, or even for Thanksgiving. They are a little different than you typical fall-pie recipes, and are great conversation starters as well.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
• 1 cup white sugar
• 1 cup light brown sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (small can)
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
• 2 cups (12-ounce bag) milk chocolate chips, not semisweet
• Nonstick cooking spray or parchment paper

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper. Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chips. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks. Enjoy! 


Chocolate/Pumpkin Whoopie Pies


• 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
• 1 1/4 cups sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• Pinch salt (aka 1/16 teaspoon)

• 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
• 1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
• 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
• 1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Using a stand mixer, add the butter and sugar and beat together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, then the buttermilk and the vanilla. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients in increments to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined.

Drop heaping tablespoons of the batter onto parchment lined sheet trays, leaving a 2-inch space between each cookie. Put in the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on rack.

Beat together the cream cheese and butter, in a small bowl, until smooth. Slowly add in the confectioners sugar. Once smooth, add the pumpkin puree, the cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Beat until smooth and well mixed. To assemble the cookie, spread a heaping tablespoon of the filling to the flat side of a cookie and sandwich with another. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Transfer to a serving platter and serve.

Thanks again Allana for letting me guest post today, and if you get a chance, stop on over to Life, Love and Puppy Paws for even more fun recipes and crazy puppy stories.

Monday, November 19, 2012

All things Disney {From Here to There}

Heather knows her Disney. This is a great entry to read if you are planning a visit in the near future. Check out her blog and let her know what you like about Disney or what you want to check out. (comments turned off here)

Hi there! My name is Piglet! Oh, just kidding! I'm the lucky girl getting a sweet kiss from Piglet in that picture!  My name is Heather and I blog over at {From Here to There...} and I have agreed to write a blog post for Allana about DISNEY!  See, this past January I went to Disney and did the College Program.  I just moved back to my home town in August.  I was stationed at the Boardwalk Resort in Housekeeping.  The job sucked A LOT, but the parks were so much fun.  I had never been to Disney until I moved there in January so I learned a lot and I learned fast.  My boyfriend and his family are Disney freaks and so they were so excited when I got the job there.  They planned their trip for Spring Break so I had a lot to learn until then.  I'm going to give you a few pointers on how to Vacation at Disney and how to get the most out of your money!
Arrive before the park opens and don't leave until it closes
You want to get there before it's too busy because at that time you can fit in all the spectacular rides that have up to 2 hour waiting times the rest of the day.  If you go ahead and fit in these big rides right when you arrive, then you'll get so much out of your day.  I'm going to list all the important rides that have super long waits usually and these are the ones you want to RUN (yes, I meant RUN) to.  Also if you stay until it gets close to closing time, you can usually go back to these really great rides and ride them again. 
 *One time, a friend and I went to Animal Kingdom at 7pm and they closed at 8pm and we were able to ride Mount Everest (my FAVORITE ride) 6 times in a row! There was no wait!*
Magic Kingdom:
Space Mountain
Splash Mountain
Thunder Mountain
Animal Kingdom:
Mount Everest
Kali River Rapids
Hollywood Studios:
Tower of Terror
Rockin' Roller Coaster
Toy Story
Do Character Meet and Greets
I didn't take advantage of this until a few months into my program and now I wish I had of.  They really do create special memories and as long as the lines aren't too long and don't eat into your day too much, then take advantage of it.  I know when my boyfriend and I go back in January for vacation, I'm going to want us to take Character pictures! 
*one hint: At Hollywood Studios they have a "special" character location.  It's back past the Little Mermaid Show, but they have characters come out around 5pm I believe who aren't on the schedule and they are usually pretty cool.  I didn't get a chance to take advanatage of that, but it's the secret I heard*
I'll give you a glance into my character Meet and greet album!
-Sweet Tink-
-Evil Stepmother and Stepsisters-
-Pooh Bear-
-Tigger and Eeyore-
Pack snacks
Unlike most theme parks, Disney allows you to bring drinks and snacks into the park.  To save money and time standing in line, I suggest eating Breakfast before heading out to the parks, then taking snacks and a lunch to hold you over until dinner (remember that with all the running around and the heat, you'll eat more than normal, so bring plenty of snacks).  Then I suggest spoiling yourself for dinner.  Try out a fancy restaurant, splurge a little and enjoy!  There are so many interesting places to eat at Disney World. 
*One time, we had dinner at the Mexican restaurant at Epcot and were able to watch the Illuminations show while we ate, it was magical!*
Try to fit in the following things
While I was there, I realized that there are some things so much worth while than others and if you absolutely CANNOT make it to everything, then make sure you at least experience the following things!
Festival of the Lion King Show in Animal Kingdom (Shows every hour)
Cirque De Soleil in Downtown Disney (it costs money, but totally worth it!)
Stunt Show in Hollywood Studios
Illuminations in Epcot (shows every night at 9pm)
Staying at a Disney hotel is best if you're only going to Disney
If you plan on just using your trip for Disney (no Universal, no Sea World) then it's definitely best to stay at a Disney Hotel mainly because of Transportation!  You don't have to pay to park and you have transportation anywhere you need to go.  It may still be worth it to stay at a Disney hotel even if you do plan on going to Universal or Sea World
Check out Orlando!
Maybe this won't be as cool for everyone, I don't come from a really big city with a lot going on, so living in a big city was exciting for me.  I really loved living in Orlando, it's a fun city and there is a lot to do, so if you get the chance, check out the outlet malls, walk around Downtown Disney, go to the CSI Crime Scene thing (that I never went to), and the Mystery theatre (that I never went to), and I would even suggest going to Downtown Disney and doing the dine-in theatre where you can eat dinner while watching your movie.
I hope this was helpful and if you have any other questions about Disney, my experience working there or living there, or if you have any other specific items you want suggestions on when planning your Disney vacation, feel free to contact me!