February 25, 2013

Wayfair Rewards

I want to let you in on a little secret.... it's an online website that has zillions of really nice items for sale at surprisingly affordable prices!  Most of their items ship free (and fast!) and their selection is huge -- I can (and have) spent hours drooling over their merchandise.  Plus, their customer service is top notch.


I discovered this internet gem about two years ago and have been smitten ever since.  The icing on the cake is a really neat rewards program that allows you to accrue credits for each purchase you make and apply those credits toward future purchases!  That's right... you get free stuff for shopping!  Signing up for Wayfair Rewards is free, and easy.  You fill in your email address and then get 3% back on a zillion things home!

And, if you use my referral link to sign upwe'll both get a discount on a future purchase!  Most items on the website ship for free, and the prices are really affordable.  So, click on my referral link and start browsing!  You have nothing to lose, but I have a feeling you're going to find something fantastic to buy.  ;)

Member Benefits:
+ Earn 3% on every purchase you make.
+ Receive an extra $10 for every friend that you refer.
+ Get access to exclusive members-only email offers.

To give you a taste of their selection, here is some of my favorite Wayfair eye candy:
Crosley LaFayette Expandable Bar Cabinet in Vintage Mahogany
Kaleen Regale Blue Rug
Graham & Brown Watercolor Meadow Printed Canvas Art

Well, what are you waiting for?  Get shopping!  This site has everything you could possibly want, and more!!!  If you've already bought something from Wayfair, I'd love to see what it is!  :)

NOTE:  For reach friend who makes a purchase after signing up for Wayfair Rewards through my referral link, I'll get a $10 credit.  You'll get the same once you refer friends, too!!!  I was not compensated in any way by Wayfair for writing this post and the views expressed are solely my own.  I simply love saving mula, and also love passing savings on to friends, so it's a win-win!  Enjoy!!!

February 14, 2013

Five Year Engage-aversary!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!  Today is a special occasion not only because it's a Hallmark holiday celebrated by millions of people all over the world; it also has personal meaning to Shep and me.  Let's take a stroll down memory lane, shall we?

Five years ago today my handsome hubby asked for my hand in marriage.  Or at least that's what he tells me.  I can't swear on it because I sort of blacked out in an amnesiac way as soon as he got down on one knee.  (It's my very own version of 50 First Dates, which I highly recommend if you haven't seen it!)  I remember him saying that he loved me, and then he knelt down "to tie his shoe" (which seemed really odd to proclaim aloud), and the next thing I remember is some girl taking our photo and swearing while she looked at my ring.  I think I also remember asking Shep if we should invite her to the wedding as she walked away.  Luckily for me, my always-prepared beau thought ahead to bring a camera with him that night, so although I can't remember the entire proposal, I can at least look back at photos to relive some of the moments of the night.  :)  And oh how I love me some photos...

Click here for more proposal details and photos:

I can't believe it's been five years! In a way, it seems like only yesterday. But on the other hand, I cannot imagine my life without my hubby or remember what it was like not to be in love with him.  I giggled for months at the word "fiance" but now the word "husband" is so natural for me to say.  February 14, 2008 was the start of a whole new life for the two of us.  During the year that followed, we made plans for our wedding, and since then we've shared so many wonderful memories as husband and wife.  If the next 50 years of our marriage are anything like the last 5 have been, I will be one lucky wife.

I tease Shep all the time by telling him I wish he'd recruited a friend to secretly record the proposal or gotten some friends in on the plan (like this guy!), but the truth of the matter is I'm just glad he asked me!  He was brave enough to ask me to marry him on Valentine's Day, at the top of the Empire State Building, in front of dozens of strangers.  What's more, we never seriously talked about marriage up to that point and he later admitted he thought there was a 30% chance I might not say "yes", but he still asked!  Now, it's my turn for a public declaration.

Dear Shep, I love you as much today as I did five years ago.  In fact, I didn't think it possible at the time, but I love you even more now.  Thank you for taking a chance on proposing to me five years ago -- I'm so blessed to have you as a husband and so thankful you agreed to share your life with me.  Love always, Nicole

February 10, 2013

Potato Veggie Soup Recipe

Since we were expecting a blizzard this weekend, I decided to put my Crock Pot to use and make some homemade soup to keep us warm.  :)  I searched the world wide web and ended up combining a couple different recipes to create my own.  I'm a super novice in the kitchen, so if I can pull this recipe off, anyone can!  ;)

The veggie ingredients you use can be customized for your preferences, but I used: potatoes, celery, chicken and vegetable broth, carrots and scallions.

I started by peeling and cutting 6 large potatoes into cubes.  Next, I peeled and chopped up 3 large carrots.  Then came the celery -- I used 4 thick stalks because I had a whole head on hand.  Finally, the onions or leeks for flavor.  I used approx. 5 long scallion pieces since they were on sale!  As you can tell, you don't have to be exact in terms of how much and which veggies you use -- be creative!  Make sure you wash all vegetables thoroughly before chopping!

No fancy knife skills needed for this recipe -- everything gets mushed together at the end, so just cut them up into small pieces as best you can.

Once everything is chopped up, into the slow cooker it goes!  Cover with approx. 6 cups of chicken broth, vegetable broth, or good old H20.  Today, I used leftovers that were already open got fancy and mixed it up, literally.  I used 1 cup low sodium chicken broth, 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth and topped it off with 2 cups water since my veggies were still sticking out and I was out of broth.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

Once the concoction was done cooking, I mixed in 1 can of non-fat evaporated milk to thicken it a bit.  And, since I was craving a bisque instead of a broth soup with chunky veggies, I blended the soup until it was smooth.  But, you could definitely skip the blending step depending what you're in the mood for.  ;)

After smelling it cook all day... voila!

6 large potatoes (cubed)
3 large carrots (chopped)
4 stalks celery (chopped)
5 scallions (chopped)
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth or water (enough to cover)
1 can non-fat evaporated milk

Combine all vegetables, broth or water in large slow cooker.
Cook on high for 4-5 hours for low for 8-10 hours.  Add evaporated milk and stir before serving.
Optional: use immersion blender or food processor to puree before serving.


Although it was beautifully sunny today:

view of downtown Manhattan from our apartment

...it was definitely cooooold, so we appreciated our hot soup!  Shep made us some nice melty panini sandwiches to accompany the soup.  Delish!!

How did you stay warm this weekend??  I'd love to hear from any readers out there who have a favorite soup recipe they'd like to share!

February 8, 2013

Winter Storm Nemo

I do not want Nemo to find me.  The weather forecast is predicting heavy snow, winds and coastal flooding for our region.


I am quite tired of winter and want it to be over.  Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, we've had enough flooding for a whole lifetime.  And all the wind and cold temperatures over the first couple months of winter have already worn on my patience.  My skin is dryer than an alligator's, my nose has been running a marathon, and our bed is currently holding nearly every blanket we own.  I've written a note to Mother Nature.... now if only I could find her email address:

Please, please, PLEASE let the weather forecasts be wrong!  It certainly wouldn't be the first (or last) time, but this time it would be welcome.

Scram, Nemo!

I've heard hundreds of flights have already been cancelled.  I hope everyone traveling this weekend arrives safely to their intended destination.  If you can though, you should stay home!  Today, I am working from home -- I may or may not be in my pajamas.  ;)

Anyone else out there less than excited about this storm? Any readers out there have the unfortunate luck of having a vacation cancelled due to the storm?  I certainly know what that's like and can sympathize with you!

February 6, 2013

Twin Sets

According to Mel and Joe Schwanke, who have been married for well over 60 years, wearing matching outfits is one path to happy matrimony...

Well, I'm not one to question my elders, and I will certainly take any marriage advice I can get from a pair who's lasted so long together in love!

Shep and I actually became interested in what we call "twin sets" a few years back.  I'm not sure what exactly ignited the intrigue, but I do remember us toying with the idea of buying matching Hawaiian outfits while we were on our honeymoon.

We didn't end up buying the matching floral dress and shirt because they were a little on the pricey side and we figured we wouldn't have the occasion to where them once we left Hawaii.  (They're not exactly what we'd consider NYC office-appropriate clothing, unfortunately...)  But, we did notice during our short flight from Big Island to Kauai that our outfits were complimentary -- Shep was wearing a solid salmon-colored tee with khaki shorts, and I was wearing a brown and white flowered top with salmon at the center of each flower and khaki shorts -- and that happy accident definitely created smiles on our faces.

Ever since our honeymoon, we constantly joke about wearing twin sets.  Whenever we end up wearing the same color shirt, or see pairs of people out and about who are dressed similarly to one another, we giggle and simultaneously exclaim "TWIN SET"!  It's become something of a running joke actually -- twin sets, especially on adults, make us simply giddy!

So you can imagine our surprise when on Christmas morning we opened a gift from my mother-in-law that contained....

A TWIN SET!  We couldn't stop giggling.  Once we did, we took a photo to document our coordinating apparel.  We now officially own an actual twin set.  Cross that one off the bucket list!

So, tell me -- do any readers out there like to coordinate their outfits with their significant others?  There have to be other twin set lovers out there, right?!  :)

P.S. -- Read more about Mr. and Mrs. Schwanke here.

* I'm aware that the phrase twin set is typically used to describe a matching tank and cardigan sweater set for a woman, but we've adopted this alternate definition.  :)