Santa's little helper...

It’s official! I am truly one of Santa’s helpers. No, seriously, I am. I am literally helping Santa light up my town…and by that I don’t mean taking shots at the Dublin House and streaking down Monmouth Street. I will be one of 6 groups strategically [albeit secretly] placed around town to flip our perspective switches to make the town glow. Aohhhhh! Do you think this will automatically get me placed on the “nice” list this year?


Where is everyone gonna sit...

The way I see it - we can comfortably fit 14 people in our apartment. The more the merrier. 'Tis the holiday season, after all. But after telling 3M the list of everyone I invited during a party on Saturday night, he continues to ask "where are we gonna fit everyone?" Each time it's a little more curt. In fact, it's now getting to the point that now I am beginning to worry.

I figure people will be outside [please Jack Frost be on my side] and then you'll have those who like to wanderer and [thank god for French doors so] we can even open up the bedroom and have people migrate in there.

We'll be ok. And if all else fails we start the music every 10 minutes and have a collective game of musical chairs.


Weekend assignment...

I don't want to hear "the dog at my homework" or any other lame excuse. Do it. I did and I crack up watching everytime.

Check out ours here:

Send your own ElfYourself eCards


Whoa Verizon lady...

I dialed up Verizon today just to inquire about different packages [i.e. - the DVR box, I prefer to pick and choose my battles and the one over the remote control is just one I don't choose to have anymore.]

The woman, Sylvia, sweet as can be, who was also my Verizon customer representative of the night went down the list of her required questions: name of person she's speaking with, if this was the same as the name on bill, state calling from, zip code, address on bill. Then, apparently, the bill was up on the screen. She said, again, "Ohh, so your name is this name - the name that's on the bill here?"

I don't know why but a pang of insecurity hit inside. I, the strong female I [think I] am quickly burst out, "well yes, um, you know - I'm not married yet, so I, um, prefer have my name on the bill. I always pay it on time anyways so it shouldn't matter either way."

To which she replied "Oh, Shannon, please...don't rush to get married. And really think about if you want kids. That's not something you want to rush into, either!"

Whoa, Sylvia.


Closer...and closer...

The commercials are beginning to run on television, malls are decorated with garland and ornaments, street lamp posts have the lit snowflakes attached....you know what that means?!?


Three more days. I can hardly wait! It's THE must-do activity of the holiday season. It's so easy to complete and I guarantee you will laugh so hard your milk [from drinking while eating Christmas cookies, of course] will squirt out your nose.

This avatar-esque promotion is sponsored by Office Max. You can take a digital or scanned picture of anyone: yourself, your roommate/boyfriend/dog/boss [make sure he/she has a good sence of humor] and put it on the head(s) of these virtual elves that dance and play. It's one of those "had to be there" kind of things - so do this and you'll know exactly what I'm talkin 'bout.

Last weekend's challenge was to clip a Michael's coupon and this weekend's challenge is to elf yourself! You won't be sorry [make sure you do it on Sunday, though!].


Mindless Day...

On the go for the past three days straight - from networking event to panel discussion breakfast...I'm pooped! Can't wait for some mindless downtime catching up on some much needed blog-time. [Reading more-so than writing...]

In the meantime, if you are here searching for some great reading material check out my newest colleague, Carly and her blog. She provides some insight as a former Georgia Peach who up and left onto the Big Apple [good for her!].

Happy reading! You're gonna love it!

[This HiYa bunny is saying ByeYa - for now...]


Of friends and spices...

You know that murky wasteland of the twenty-somethings, where you are no longer talking around the boxed wine and cheetos of the state of drunkenness of the previous weekend and who's relationship is in turmoil but around the dinner table discussing the state of the economy and who's job is in jeopardy? Well, I'm wading it it...up too my neck in it, to be precise.

Last week we had a dinner party with three other couples. [..and actually, the setting was not-too-different than a junior high dance - boys on one side of the table and girls on the other.]
So dinner's going along just fine [T made some delish chicken parm] when all of a sudden, C called the conversation to a screeching halt. She couldn't believe the context.
Since you, of course, weren't there, here's a snippet of it:
T: I haven't really bought much baking supplies, like spices. I was thinking I could just get one of those rotating 30-in-one things, like in Bed Bath and Beyond, right?
S: Yeah, those would be ok...but sometimes I like to buy as I go along, because some of those spices I would never use.
M: But then how are you going to organize them?
S: Nah, I'm alright for now, if I get a surplus, they have those little in-cabinet shelves you can put in, too.
M: Actually, I like the shelves that you have to hammer into the door. Great space savers.

So that was just a precusor to this totally fantastic website I found today, helping women enjoy dinner parties and cooking together everywhere: http://www.cookingwithfriendsclub.com/
The site is so creative, so well-organized! It celebrates camaraderie and cooking and...I just love it! I'm thinking about taking their "soup swap" idea and modifying it for the Holidays as a "cookie swap". How fun!


One appy down, ??? to go...

Last night, while watching "THS: Hulk Hogan and the Hogan Family" [p.s. - Hulk Hogan and I share a birthday and a middle name, weird, huh?] I began to make our pre-Thanksgiving party menu. I cuddled up on the couch with the Joy of Cooking and Come On Inn...the St. Ignatius Loyola Church cook books and started researching.

As learned in grad school, the first step of any project is RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH! I have a list of about 15 items I would like to make for our party [not including store bought dip/chips/etc.]. That list will dwindle down to about five [maybe six or seven]. My mind will change on a daily basis, as I obsess.

So far there are two definitive menu items: crab quarters (a cheesy-crabby spread on English muffins) and cocomoka (an alcoholic latte-esque hot cocktail).

I decided to make the crab quarters this morning. It's a beautiful fall morning and the local Acme is an exact straight-shot 2.0 miles down the road - so I grabbed a reusable shopping bag, tied my sneaks and went on my way. A quick stop at D&D [you MUST try the pumpkin coffee - SOO good] and an iTunes mix including Coldplay, the Killers, Frankie Sinatra and Kings of Leon made the trip go fast.

I have to tell you - these community cook books are second to none. After my mom gave me this one from our family parish for Christmas a few years ago, I don't think I have ever made a recipe that didn't get raving reviews. Plus, the fact that you know there is probably a good family story or two is behind it - makes whatever you're making taste that much more yummy.

Well, appy #1 is in the freezer setting into place before I can cut it into quarters and save until party day.

Here's the recipe for the Crab quarters (compliments of Nancy Plummer and Clare Flechsig/St. Ignatius Loyola Church Cookbook)

1/4 lb. butter
1 jar Old English cheese spread
1 1/2 tsp. mayonnaise
garlic salt (to taste)
7 oz. can crab meat
seasoned salt(optional)
6 English muffins, split

Blend first 6 ingredients. Spread on muffin halves. Place in freezer for one hour. Cut into quarters and freeze until ready to use. Bake frozen 15-20 minutes at 350. Serve hot.


A diamond in the rough...

Many times after either telling a colleague I'm going shopping at Michael's or showing him/her my purchase, the reaction is very similar "what are you making" or "you put that together?" I know that Michael's marketing department even dubbed it "the arts and crafts store" but there is just so much more. Please believe me when I tell you how fabulous it is. Sure, when you first walk in the doors, you may be overwhelmed with the beads and craft glue and fake flower arrangements but don't walk out the door just yet. Continuing to the back of the story and the back corner is where you can find quality home decor products for way less than you'll find in the more up-scale stores.

Since there are no fancy displays - it's going to take some imagination. If you don't feel your home decorating creative juices flowing, fear not, my friend - that's what subscribing to the up-scale catalogs and window shopping is for. [Actually, rather than subscribing to magazines just to waste all that paper peruse the on-line catalog..the displays are mostly the same and sometimes they have interactive set-ups, where you can rearrange the room you'd like! Cool, huh?]

So here is my weekend challenge to you - buy a Sunday paper, clip out the Michael's 40% off coupon and venture on. Roll-up those sleeves and dig a little deeper, explore a little further and you too, may find a great deal and scratch off someone on your Christmas list!


Our first party...

3M and I moved into our humble abode mid-June and just now are having our first bash. We live in a small, one-bedroom apartment and I never wanted to have an open ended party with fear that it would get stuffy and uncomfortable. [Ok, maybe it was selfish thinking because I get so worked up when company is over and am running here and filling a dish there and picking up trash and dropping off more hor'dourves and I needed room to breathe.]

So...knowing that one of the biggest party days of the year was just around the corner, we decided to have our apartment christening party the eve of Thanksgiving. We live in a fun, hip town with lots of bars that we actually can walk to from our house. The idea is that our friends will come over, park their cars here, have a few drinks [save a couple bucks that would have been otherwise spent at the Walt Street] and we can go out and paint the town its namesake color before calling cabs for the ride home. It's a win-win situation.

...and so, we embark on the planning phase.



Hello! Welcome to my second blog. Fact is, I started my first blog Sparkle Meets Sporty over the summer and have since realized that I did not want to be pigeon-holed in the sports genre, but rather broaden my horizons to include home decorating, cooking, organizing and the like.

So sit back, grab a nice cup of International Cafes Sugar-Free Chai Latte and enjoy. Hopefully you can learn a tip or two and please feel free to let me know your thoughts and weigh-in on your favorite things too!

Spurred by a letter to Santa...

Dear Santa,

Due to the nature of the corrupt leaders, businesses and people in recent times, I am led to believe that my own, personal actions over the past year qualify me to be a viable candidate for the "nice" list. Please consider my Christmas list, which can be found below. The items are in no particular order.

Should you have any problems with the files or have trouble locating any of the items, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you so much for your time and enjoy your day!

...updated for 2009, of course...