Penny's Passion: November 2014

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Weekending - November 28, 2014

The last four days have seriously been a blur!  Thanksgiving was a wonderful day full of family and food.  We have so much to be thankful for.  I loved spending the day with family!  Here's a picture of our Thanksgiving table.


On Friday, my mom, daughter-in-law and I headed out to conquer Black Friday shopping.  We all did a pretty good job putting a dent in our Christmas gift shopping.  I still had some birthday rewards to cash in before the end of the month.  This reward stuff is getting to be a pretty sweet deal -- this year I received the following rewards for my birthday:

$15 from Ann Taylor Loft
$25 from Tommy Hilfiger
$10 Godiva (Have you ever had one of the chocolate drinks?  DELISH!!)
$5 DSW
$10 Kohl's
$10 World Market

See what I mean -- not a bad deal!  The Ann Taylor Loft coupon basically went straight from my mail box to the store.

Here's what the back of our vehicle looked like after our shopping day on Friday:

I honestly have no idea what I did on Saturday.  I know I was busy all day, but I really don't have much to show for it.  Ever have days like that?  Suddenly the day was gone and I still had a million things I needed to get done.  Welcome to the holiday season!  I did manage to whip up this banner. 

Sunday we were at the Rams game.  The game where the Rams won 52-0.  I know, we were playing the Raiders and they aren't having the best season.  But the Rams haven't really been a sure thing lately, so it was good to see them show up and play. I think Tre Mason might be my new favorite player.

                                                St. Louis Rams running back Tre Mason, right, runs with the ball as Oakland Raiders defensive end Benson Mayowa, left, gives chase during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, in St. Louis.

Monday begins December.  How did that happen?!?!  This year has whizzed by!  We've got one more month in 2014 and I'm looking forward to making the most of it.  Are you with me!  Let's do this!

Check out what others were up to this weekend.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Five on Friday - November 28, 2014

Oh my goodness, guys -- who is still full of turkey?!?  We had so much great food for Thanksgiving and I believe I could go a week without eating.  Of course I won't, just sayin' I could.  Leftovers from Thanksgiving are the best and I'm looking forward to feasting on them for the next few days.

Before I head to the kitchen for another piece of pumpkin pie, here's my Five on Friday:

1.  Hostess Gift
My wonderful daughter-in-law brought me the best hostess gift -- Calvin Klein Winter Fruit Candles.  I wish you guys could smell this!!  The box says, "crispy apple and mandarin orange are blended with nuances of ginger, cinnamon, and clove warmed by subtle hints of black vanilla bean".  I say, super great smell, buy some -- they're wonderful.

2.  Burnouts, Geeks and Jesus Freaks:  a love story
A huge shout out to one of my sorority sister - Karen Gordon.  She's an author!  You can grab a copy of her book HERE.  Here's a brief description:
They’re burnouts - a little short on parents, money and plans for the future, but they've got each other and a whole lot of fun. With a world of crazy at home, Carrie Gould needs them to keep her sanity. To stay in their world she needs to keep dating the guy with the party house, which would be fine, if she hadn’t fallen in love with someone else. 
He’s such a geek. Ben Gorman is obsessive, smart, strong-willed and on the fast track to his dream of becoming an Army Ranger. He’s also the only geek with a girl. Joelle Welker is perfect for him; a self-proclaimed Jesus freak, who is dedicated to her beliefs and to building a future with Ben. But those plans don’t include his neighbor, Carrie, or Ben’s dedication to her. 
Their friendship started by chance. Their love started with trust. 


3.  New Boots
When I bounced in Sam's Wednesday to grab some last minute things for Thanksgiving, guess what was there -- these boots for the great price of $40!  They came in brown and black.  I kind of needed some new brown boots.  Heck, for $40 who couldn't use some new boots!  Let's just call them an early Christmas present to myself.


4.  Rolo Pretzel Bites
I whipped up a match of these babies for Thanksgiving and they were a fan favorite.  Have you ever had them -- DELISH!!  They are super simple and quick to make.  Here's the 411:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cook sheet with parchment paper and lay out your waffle shaped pretzels.  Place a rolo on top.  (Hint:  use the rolos in the roll so you don't have to unwrap each rolo one at a time.)  Put in the oven for 2-3 minutes.  Pull out of the oven and press a pecan on top.  Place the entire cookie sheet in the frig.  When cool, they are ready to go.  I made 40 of these in literally under 10 minutes.

5.  Black Friday Truth:


Hope you have a great weekend!  I'm enjoying the day shopping with my mom and daughter-in-law.  Can't wait to see how many bargains we find.

Linking up with:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

                             Happy Thanksgiving

On this day of thanksgiving, many of us will hustle and bustle around trying to get our meals together or travel to someone's house to enjoy the day - never stopping to relax and reflect.  There are so many things in our lives that we take for granted or expect, we sometimes forget to be thankful for them.  As we celebrate today, please take a minute to reflect on how truly lucky we are -- not only for the things we currently have in our lives, but also for the opportunities we have to make our lives better.  

We will be celebrating with our son and daughter-in-law, my parents, my brother and his family and Eric's mom.  I love hosting holidays!  Here's a picture of our table.

The silver I blogged about HERE is making its first appearance (but definitely not the last).

I would also like to thank each of you for stopping by my blog.  I appreciate you, your comments and your loyalty.  Hope you have a glorious day!

Enjoy more Thoughts for Thursday at

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Weekending - November 21, 2014

Eric and I flew back from Charleston on Saturday and we are experiencing a bit of an adjustment getting back into a routine.  I blogged about where we stayed HERE so you can imagine how it felt to wake up Sunday morning and realize there would be no quiche, hot tea or fruit being delivered to our bedroom.  Then when I sat up, the site I saw was our dirty laundry and unpacked suitcases everywhere.  The good news was it was Sunday and I had a day to get my act together before I had to head back to work.

We decided to ditch the responsible thing to do of getting things in order and instead headed to the theater to see Mockingjay since we missed seeing it on opening day because we were on vacation.  Popcorn and soda wasn't quite as good as the breakfasts we had on vacation, but it would do.


Both of us enjoyed this installation of The Hunger Games.  Did you see it?  What did you think?

After the movie, we headed to the grocery store for stuff to make chili.  We just wanted to get home, fix some comfort food and watch the Ram's football game.  Results of the game -- can you say DISAPPOINTMENT.  The washer and dryer could be running as we laid on the couch and I could still feel like I was getting something done.

Sunday was a cool, rainy day and perfect for me to wear my rain boots.  I love these things!  I first saw them years ago in Memphis when we were at the Memphis in May Music Festival.  Everyone there had fun rubber boots and I knew these had to be mine.  Perfect for a rainy day.  If you know someone on your Christmas list who might like a them, you can pick a pair up at Kohl's.


With Thanksgiving this week, like many of you I've got a busy few days ahead.  We are hosting the holiday at our house -- which I absolutely LOVE.  We'll have 11 people here for Thanksgiving and I can't wait for everyone to get here.  I'm going to Time for Dinner on Tuesday night to prepare my dressing with cranberries, apples and sausage and praline sweet potatoes.  Time for Dinner is located on Manchester Road in the Brentwood area.  If you're running short on time and need some assistance with your Thanksgiving meal, I highly recommend giving them a call.


Just a reminder -- you have until Wednesday to enter the giveaway for $250 in prizes.  You can enter HERE.  Pop on over there and enter -- who can't use $250 to spend?!?!

                                                Cash for Christmas Giveaway $250

Okay, guys -- I need to wrap this up and get my head in the game to prepare for my week ahead.  I realize this post is pretty full of randomness -- pretty much how my mind is working today.  LOL

Check out what others were up to this weekend.

Charleston - Where We Stayed

Our trip to Charleston was definitely enhanced by the hotel where we stayed.  DISCLAIMER:  We really enjoy a good hotel.  I recognize this isn't important to some people and I totally get that.  There are times when we are just looking for a cheap, clean place to rest our heads.  But for this trip, we chose to spend the extra money and stay at a nicer hotel.  For our trip to Charleston, I didn't have a ton of time to research different hotel options so I made my decision pretty quick. Luckily the hotel we choose - French Quarter Inn - was a WINNER!

French Quarter Inn in Historic Charleston, S.C.
Photo courtesy of French Quarter Inn
Upon arrival, you are greeted with a glass of champagne (how fun is that!).   Our room was ready even though we were checking in early so we were able to dump our bags and relax a little before heading out and about.  Entering the room you were greeted with soft music playing in the background.  I immediately began to feel relaxed and cozy.  Jenny, the great lady working the front desk, was able to steer us to a trendy lunch spot in addition to making dinner reservations for us.  Actually, every staff member we encountered was friendly and had great recommendations on things to do and places to see.

The French Quarter Inn has a wonderful turn of the century look and feel.  With quaint sitting spaces and fireplace in the lobby, you feel as though you are being welcomed by a close friend instead of staying at a hotel.


Each afternoon around 5:30 pm the hotel hosted a little wine and cheese spread.  It was great to come back to the hotel after being out all day to a glass of wine and plate of cheese before getting ready for our dinner adventure.


Then around 8:30 pm they would set out cookies, milk and port wine.  Yes, please!  This is not to overshadow the fabulous turn down service.  Each evening, the hotel-provided robes were neatly placed on the bed and chocolates were left on the desk.  I'm talking nice chocolates, you guys. Accompanying the chocolates was a note filling you in on weather information for the next day - what the morning and afternoon temperature were going to be, time of sunrise and sunset, and sky prediction.  This was sweet info to have when planning your clothes for the next day and knowing what time to be at the Battery to watch the sunset (you won't want to miss the sunset at the Battery and I'll show some pictures when I post about the attractions in Charleston).

Bicycles are also provided by the hotel if you want to pedal around town.  It was a bit chilly on our visit to take advantage of this amenity, but maybe next time.

The down side to the hotel (and it was my own fault) was we had three different rooms in 5 days.  There was an internet special for an upgraded room the two days in the middle of our stay.  So, the first day we stayed in a traditional room, moved to a suite for two days, then had to move to another room our last night.  The hotel did upgrade our room the final night to a larger room with a fireplace and balcony - SWEET!  In retrospect, I probably would have just stayed in the traditional room the entire time.  But it was fun getting to see all the different room types. And fun having a fireplace and balcony our last night.  Okay, maybe changing rooms was worth it.

To recap, here's my top and bottom five for the hotel:

Top Five
1.  Free complimentary breakfast delivered to the room each morning -- breakfast is not just a donut and juice.  We had quiche, halved brulee grapefruit, Greek yogurt parfait, and petite charcuterie and cheese.  Oh, and I almost forgot, Bloody Marys. 
2.  Location -- placed at 166 Church Street, this smaller hotel is very centrally located which made walking easy to the many attractions and restaurants in downtown Charleston.
3.  Overall amenities -- wine in the evening, cookies before bed, chocolates at turn down.  NICE!  They also have complimentary drinks (fruit infused water, rosemary lemonade, iced tea, coffee and hot teas) in the hallways and lobby all day.  Lots of pampering!
4.  Friendliness of staff -- seriously EVERYONE was kind and pleasant.  No bad experience or attitude from this staff.
5.  Newspaper placed on your door -- not just thrown on the ground like yesterday's trash.  It is actually hanging from your door in a cute little bag.  And we received a paper on Saturday (most hotels, if they give you a paper, is just Monday-Friday).

Bottom Five
1.  Having to change rooms -- again, my fault.

Ummmm, I really can't think of anything else.  So I guess this is my bottom one.

Sorry for the lack of great pictures from the hotel -- I didn't realize I had taken so few until after we had left.  You can visit their website to see their official photos.

I'll have upcoming posts on places we ate and things we did soon.  For now, I need to adjust to the reality of making my own bed and setting the alarm.

Special shout out to the adorable lady we sat next to on the first leg of our flight home - Amy.  She was travelling back home from her grandmother's funeral and we had the best talk the entire flight.  Isn't it great when you meet someone fun to talk to on airplanes?!?!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Five on Friday - November 21, 2014

Live from Charleston -- it's my Five on Friday!  We are loving it here and having so much fun despite the weather being downright cold on the cool side.  I'll be posting about the trip soon, but for now here's this week's Five on Friday.

1.  Charleston, South Carolina
I have fallen in love with Charleston, y'all!  This city has been so much fun and so rich in history.  I'm not all that into history, but Eric is and there's plenty for me to admire while he's soaking up all the history information.  I'll be blogging more about our trip, but for now I just wanted to say, I love Charleston.

2.  Fleece Lined Tights
We've been walking around Charleston all week and these babies really help keep my legs warm.  Right now, Target has their fleece lined tights on sale for $8.00 and they come in 5 colors.  I also love wearing them to work in the winter, when I run out shopping -- oh heck, I just love wearing them everywhere!  Great stocking stuffer.

3.  World Hello Day
Today is World Hello Day!  This day was established to promote world peace.  Participating is easy -- just say hello to 10 people today.  Brian and Michael McCormack created this day and believed world peace starts with communications, hence the saying hello to 10 people.  So here's to world peace -- Bon Jour!


4.  Olives
The holiday season is upon us and we will most likely be attending a party that will be serving tasty olives.  But you might be worrying about what you're going to do with the pit.  Don't swallow it!!  Choking at a party could be really embarrassing.  Here's what Emily Post says to do:
Eat olives from an antipasti platter with your fingers; you also use your fingers to remove the pit from your mouth while using your hand as a screen. The pit goes into a small dish provided, or on the side of your plate.
When olives come in a salad, eat them with your fork. Remove a pit from your mouth either with your fingers or by pushing it with your tongue onto your fork; then place the pit on the edge of your dinner plate.

5.  How true is this!?!

                                         November...The month where people who have complained on Facebook for the past 11 months become thankful for 30 days. | Seasonal Ecard

Happy weekend everyone!  Next week will be a short work week for me because of Thanksgiving and I hope you're in the same boat.  I'm looking forward to hosting Thanksgiving for my family and spending some time with them.  Hope you stop back by next week to hear all about it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thanksgiving Is Coming

Thanksgiving is right up there as one of my favorite holidays.  I was just talking to my friend Linda this past weekend about Thanksgiving and we both agreed it was one of the more stress free holidays where you can truly enjoy the time with your family.  The menu is pretty set (who doesn't have turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving?!?), you don't have to worry about the whole gift exchanging, and decorating isn't as elaborate as Christmas.

I'm linking up today with some blog friends to talk about all things Thanksgiving.  I'm going to highlight some of our decorations.

Let's start with the front door.  Thanks again to my friend, Carol, for a wonderful Fall welcome wreath.  

We have a ledge between our first and second floors.  It's so easy to throw some leaves up there to give it a touch of Fall.

This is the year of the mantle for me.  I decided one of my goals for the year was going to decorate the mantle each season.  Here's what I came up with for Thanksgiving.  The banner is super simple to make.  The burlap banner flags were purchased at Hobby Lobby.  I painted chipboard letters, glued them to the flags and used baby clothes pins to attach them to a ribbon.  Easy peasy.  

The tray made a quick transformation from Halloween to Thanksgiving my removing the Halloween items and adding a turkey.

This little gold frame stays on the sink of our guest bathroom.  You can find the cutest free printables on Pinterest!  I try to keep the frame filled with something new and fresh by changing the picture frequently.  Here's our Thanksgiving edition.

Little touches of pumpkins and pilgrims appear throughout the house.  These little guys have been around since Ian's first Thanksgiving 23 years ago.

Speaking of Ian -- I always loved putting little notes in his lunchbox.  I gave some of these adorable Thanksgiving Lunchbox Notes to my Kansas City friends to slip in their kids lunchboxes.  

I'll be posting my dining room tablescape a little closer to Thanksgiving.  Setting a pretty table is a passion of mine.  And this year I'll should have enough silver to go all around the table thanks to the good fortune I had in finding a matching set to my grandmother's pattern.

Enjoy the days leading up to Thanksgiving!  Fall is only here for a short time so soak it in.  I'm going to enjoy all things pumpkin a little longer before we have to move over to Christmas and all things peppermint take over.

Holiday Linkup

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Weekending - November 14, 2014

Wow -- what a birthday weekend!!  Friday night we headed to Kansas City for some fun with friends.  And FUN it was!!

Saturday Eric headed over to spend the day with the guys and that left me and Linda to enjoy some girl time.  After a relaxing morning, we decided to have lunch at Henry's Antiques and Collectibles Tea Room in downtown Lee's Summit.  Located in an old church, the quaint tea room could not have been cuter.  The menu is delivered verbally and we had a hard time deciding between the five entrees.  

 While we waited for our lunch, we munched on shortbread cookies and sipped flavored hot tea.

The Tea Room was located in the basement and after eating we decided to meandered around the upstairs looking at the antiques.  As we entered, the sales lady told us if it was the month of your birthday you could have 50% off one item.  I thought that was pretty cool since it was my birthday month and all.  Well, guess what I found!!  There, right in the middle of store, was a box of silver that matched my grandmother's pattern.  I was very close to my grandmother and after she passed her silver was given to me.  I treasure using it on special occasions, but rarely have enough place settings to go around the entire table.  We are now the proud owner of eight more place settings AND I got 50% off to boot.  So excited to be able to add this to my collection!!  It will be making its' debut at Thanksgiving.

After spending the rest of the day shopping, we met up with some of our sorority sisters from college at La Bodega Tapas & Lounge.  


So much fun!!  It's great to see friends that no matter how long it's been since you've seen them, you can pick right up as if no time had passed at all.  

I'm not really that short!

Sunday was my actual birthday and celebrating it at Linda's house was a fantastic place to be!  She had surprised me with this adorable box of goodies upon my arrival and spent all weekend having fun with me.

We joined a group of friends for breakfast at La Peeps in Lenexa.  We don't have this restaurant chain in St. Louis and I really wish we did.  Their breakfast is mouth-watering delicious!  Just look at this.

After breakfast, Linda and I caught a movie.  Has everyone seen The Best of Me by now except me?  Did you read the book?  The movie was a bit different than the book.  Haven't really thought about how I felt about the differences.  What did you think?


A warm beverage sounded great after the movie, so we stopped by The Roasterie.  I truly wish I knew how to make the top of my drinks look like they do!

Not that we needed more food, but you have to have a birthday dinner -- right?!?  So off to J. Alexander's we went.  Great food, fun friends and wonderful atmosphere.  

Thanks to everyone who helped me celebrate my birthday this weekend!  It was great and I'm very blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life.  You are all truly special to me!

Make the most of the week everyone!  I'll be back on Tuesday with some Thanksgiving ideas.

Check out what others were up to this weekend.