Penny's Passion: February 2015

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Pretty Little Beauty Swap

I love making blog friends and when I saw the opportunity to do a beauty item swap AND meet a new blogger I just had to sign up straight away!  Chelsee at Southern Beauty Guide and Justine at Sleepy Single Girl hosts this great beauty swap four times a year (January, April, July and October).

                                            Grab button for PLBS

This round I was so lucky to be paired with Jasmine at Green Eyed Monster!  She blogs about all kinds of fun things including great beauty product reviews.  I enjoyed not only learning more about her, but also about the products she blogged about.  It was so easy to fill up the box I sent her -- but I'll let her share that part of this story.

Let me show you what Jasmine sent me!!  You know how much I love, love, LOVE getting stuff in the mail.  Well it was like winning the mail lottery the day I saw this on my porch.  You can't really tell by this picture, but Jasmine has wrapped the package in cool zebra print duck tape.  Nice touch!

I absolutely loved everything in my box!  What's really cool is I received a couple things I can't wait to try and would probably have never purchased for myself.  

Jasmine was thinking of my trip to Florida when she chose this set of three mesh bags.  They are going to be perfect for packing my toiletries!

Check out the nail polish!  I'm excited to try the glitter polish.  This is one thing I've wanted to try, but never purchased for myself.  And the new organizer -- yes, please.

The chocolate was over the top wonderful.  I hadn't tried one of these bars before and will be on the lookout for a store that carries them.

Thanks Chelsee and Justine for hosting the Pretty Little Beauty Swap.  Jasmine -- I can't thank you enough! Your box brightened my day and will continue to make to smile for some time to come.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Five on Friday - February 27, 2015

Can you believe February is almost over!?!  This month seemed to fly by!  But I'm not sad that we're getting closer to Spring.  What's the saying - if March comes in like a lion it will go out like a lamb.  Well, if the forecast is correct there's a 70% chance of snow for us on Sunday.  I'll be looking for some "lamb-like" weather towards the end of the month.

Here's what I've been loving this week.

1.  St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
Ok, have you tried this?  Well, we stumbled across it last weekend and I'm here to say -- IT'S GOOD!!  I little pricey for my budget ($55 per bottle), but tastes fantastic!  My friend, Tracy, is ready to go work for them.  Apparently the elderflowers are collected by bicyclists in the French Alps.   Each bottles is numbered and reflects the year the flowers were picked.  Yes, it does sound like a pretty awesome job.  We've been drinking it straight over ice.  Anyone else tried it?  Have any good drink recipes that use it?


2.  Mailbox Wraps
The Valentine's decorations came down when I was decorating for the Oscars party.  When the Oscar decorations came down this week, St Patrick's Day decorations went straight up.  I just love this St. Patrick's Mail Box Wrap!  I have these wraps for about every holiday/season and they last for several years.  This is the exact one I have and I would have shown you a picture of it on my mailbox, but it was spitting snow and cold outside so I copied this picture from Amazon instead.  I also have the matching garden flag.  Put these out, slap a wreath on the door, and BAM - your exterior is ready for St. Patrick's Day.  If you order with Amazon Prime, your mailbox could be looking pretty Irish by next week.


3.  Downton Abbey
Anyone else excited about the two-hour season finale of Downton Abbey on Sunday?  There's some questions I'm just burning to know the answers to:  Can we ever put the Mr. Green situation to rest so Anna and Bates can have some peace?  Is everyone really too stupid to figure out that Marigold is the love child of Michael Gregson and Lady Edith?  Will Lady Edith finally have enough of Lady Mary's insults and just slap her face?  You know where I'll be Sunday night.


4.  Giveaway
I'm participating in a giveaway this week -- $80 in cold, hard cash!  Who couldn't use that?!?!  I can think of so many things I'd buy.  You can't win if you don't enter, so enter today.

Check out these beauties, and then get entered below!

5.  Words of Wisdom from Countess Violet Grantham


Have a great weekend everyone!  I'm helping a friend with her wedding invitations Saturday morning and going to a party Saturday evening.  Sunday I'm hoping to spend the day catching up on all the shows I have recorded on the DVR, going to book club and scoping out some recipes to try next week.  Don't you just love weekends!!  

Thinking Out Loud Thursday - February 26, 2015

Welcome to Thinking Out Loud Thursday!  Today I'm just thinking about how lucky I am to have so many great friends.  Three of my friends (pictured below) spent hours at my house last Saturday helping me get ready for the Oscars party.  Then showed up on Sunday early and helped immensely before, during and after the party by doing everything from answering the door to bartending to cleaning up. That's right -- even cleaning up!  When they left my house Sunday night after the party my house was almost completely back to normal.  Best.Friends.Ever!

In addition to these great friends, I also have my Kansas City bunch of friends.   For years I was the only one not living in the KC area.   Recently another bird flew from that nest  (TW) and is living up north in Wisconsin.  TW and I have been been friends for years and I just love him.  The week of my son and daughter-in-law's wedding, TW came to my house and spent the entire week doing anything and everything asked of him.  Even more than doing wedding preparations, he helped keep me calm, cool and collected as sane as possible.

He also keeps me laughing most of the time.  I'd like to share with you an excerpt from our email conversation he started with the KC crew and you will be able to see what I'm talking about.

TW:  So, we should totally plan the Girls weekend. I know, in my boldness and experiencing how much fun it was to do something different with the guys this past year, I mentioned that we should put together a float trip for the girls. I think some of you were definitely interested, some of you were in the middle of the road and maybe some of you were like "this crazy mofo needs to lay off the sauce". I think it would be great fun and I will happily make the preparations if we do want to turn this into an official outing for Girls Weekend. I assure you there will be no sleeping outside, unless you get drunk and feel like that's where you need to be. Who am I to dictate how you spend your sleeping time! There are an abundance of canoe/rafting facilities in KS and MO that have cabins for us so that we can have a home away from home experience. 

For those of us who still think I am a crazy mofo, I am willing to make your sacrifice as easy on you as possible. You don't have to cook, or paddle, or do anything except have a good time and booze it up as much as you want. I personally hate rafting and would much rather be in a canoe, however, if lounging in the middle of a raft and sipping your pina colada is how you want to spend your GW Rafting experience, I will gladly raft for you.

Me:  I'm in - with conditions.  First - I'm only a rafter.  Canoes scare me and pair that with my fear of water, well it's not pretty.  If everyone else wants to canoe, I will run alongside on the bank of the river.

TW:  I just cracked up when I visualized Penny in her nice hair, nice clothes, scarf, long necklace and a martini glass trompsing through the river banks shouting conversations to us as she keeps pace with us on the river.

Janet:  LOL, you know Penny would get a Moped or something, she wouldn't ACTUALLY be running along the bank!  LOL -- can you drive one of those things and drink?
Something like this comes to my mind.
Me:  I've thought about this more and maybe I'll rent a horse and gallop alongside the river.  Mopeds kind of scare me too.

This looks like fun!
TW:  I would be way more scared of the horse.  It has a mind of its own.  What if it decided to throw you off and your boot got stuck in the stirrup?  You would be drug through the brambles by the river bank instead of casually cruising through them on your moped.  You would get cockle-burs in your hair.  Ask any dog, those are HARD to get out.

Me:  Before I rent a moped, is anyone else interested in a raft?

TW:  I vote raft.  I don't think I would survive the fallout if I ever saw Penny with cockle-burs in her hair.....

Janet:  I'm good with that.  Wonder how THE hairspray and cockle-burs would go together??

TW:  I think they would have to be removed with fire but then she would have flaming burs of cockle in her hair.  Probably wouldn't end well.

Can't wait for the float trip!!  And that's what I'm thinking out loud about today.  Please link up and share with me and Vanessa from X-tremely V what you're Thinking Out Loud about -- we'd love to hear from you.
                                               X-tremely V

Enjoy more Thoughts for Thursday at

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Who Wants To Win $80?

How about some free cash on this glorious hump day, mmmk?
 I have teamed up with some other blogger friends to bring you some cold hard cash.

There are so many things that I can think of to spend $80 on.
Exercise clothes.
A new pair of shades.
A hair cut.
A pedicure.

The options are endless.
How about you?

Check out these beauties, and then get entered below!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Let's Be Friends Blog Hop - February 24, 2015

Welcome to the Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!
A blog hop is a set time frame for current or aspiring bloggers to find new blogs and quality content. It is a great way to make new friends and find inspiration! It is also a fabulous way to promote your own blog and posts.
Dear Friends,
What a day to celebrate! This is the 106th week of the Let's Be Friends blog hop! Thanks for joining us on this special day. Chelsee and Tiffany are extremely delighted to see the way this hop has grown and love to see your faces each week!
Join us every Tuesday at 7am (MST). This blog hop focuses on content. LINK UP YOUR FAVORITE POST from last week in this fun content-sharing blog hop! I love the idea of blog hopping, but I love the idea of reading posts and quality content on new blogs I've never been to even more. Instead of simply linking up your blog button, you are now able to link up your favorite post you recently wrote. Have a delicious recipe to share, DIY tutorial, or heartfelt post? Share it with us! All hosts and co-hosts put up some unique and fun content from the past week. Make sure to check them out. P.S.- you may still link up your blog button and blog name, but it is encouraged to link up your favorite post instead. You will get more page views and interest if you do so! Some of the most successful blog hops I have participate in focus on content rather than just exchanging follows. You never know who will become a loyal follower or pin that delicious new recipe you posted!
The BEST part of this blog hop? Each week there will be a WINNER! That's right, each week we will choose one lucky blog to feature from the previous week's hop. This hop receives thousands of page views every week, so your blog will have the chance to be center stage for free. You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win. Only those who link up a specific post are eligible to be featured! *You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win.
The last exciting change is that the co-host spots will now be available to all sponsors of The Dwelling Tree or Southern Beauty Guide. If you are interested in co-hosting the blog hop, email Tiffany or Chelsee about sponsorship opportunities and how to co-host the weekly hop!
There are a couple of great giveaways going on right now at Southern Beauty Guide and The Dwelling Tree. Go check them out! :)
Let's Be Friend's Blog Hop Guidelines
1. Link up your favorite post from your week.
2. Follow your hosts and co-hosts.
3. Grab the button and post it on your blog so we can share the love.
4. Visit 3 other blogs, comment, and follow them along!
5. Tweet about this blog hop, using #letsbefriends
6. Pin the button on pinterest so we can spread the news!
***Once a week, one blog will be chosen to be the featured blogger from the previous blog hop.
Meet your hosts:
The Dwelling Tree: Blog, Bloglovin'
Southern Beauty Guide: Blog, Bloglovin'
Meet this week's co-hosts:
PicMonkey Collage
***This weeks featured post from last week's hop:
Thank you all once again for continually linking up at our blog hop. It is such a fun time and I am so impressed each week with all the amazing posts. Please continue to link up an actual post instead of your blog. We want to keep reading your content and it makes it more fun to pick a winner!
Is there anything we can do differently or better? Please share in the comments!
... onto the winner!
Hello everyone! This is Tiffany. Wow- there were so many great posts. This week I picked a blog post that resonated with my current needs. I have been trying to carve out a little time every week just for myself. As a mom, it can be really hard to make myself a priority at times. I will wait to pluck my eyebrows until they are fully grown out, or I might make excuses why I don't have time to go on a run. The truth is, it is good for me and my family to take care of myself. A morning run or a hot bath can go a long way!
I loved this post because it is a very simple concept to practice self care, but for many of us it is a really challenging habit to implement. I think it is really important.
Check out Sheryl's blog, How to make a life. You will love it!
Keep posting awesome content! You make it so fun for us to read all your posts! If you can, please link up a specific post. It makes it easier for us to come and visit!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekending -- And the Oscar goes to...

What a whirlwind of a weekend!  It was a great one -- mostly spent getting ready for the Oscar party we had at my house.  Did you guys watch?  What did you think of NPH?!?

Friday night we had hopes of seeing Whiplash -- but mother nature had different plans.  It was sounding like the weather was going to get cold and icy, so we decided to stay home instead of going out.  Good choice!  Around 6:30 pm the rain started coming down and the roads began getting slick.  Luckily, it warmed up enough on Saturday that by noon the road were back to a normal state and we could carry on with our normal business.

The girls were coming over Saturday afternoon to help prepare for the Oscar party.  Thank goodness for these guys!!  They helped so much with all the prep.  The party wouldn't have been the same without their help.

We had a great time putting everything together.  After getting things in order, we decided to head to a new restaurant in our area -- Peel.  We had visited Peel in Edwardsville before, but some of us hadn't been to the O'fallon location.  This place has fantastic wood fired pizza.  The salads are great too.  I really need to venture out on their menu and try some different things, but the pizza and salad are so good I always end up getting that.


Sunday was more prep for the party.  The rest of the post is going to be photo heavy.  The party was a blast and I'm so glad many of my friends got to come by.  Let's take a look.

Every Oscar party needs a red carpet!  Also a must -- a ballot.

We played Oscar bingo and filled out a ballot.
Here's the favor table.  The favors my guests took home didn't quite have the same value as the Oscar presenters ($160 thousand each), but they still had some fun stuff in them.
Favor Table
 We had Oscar touches throughout the house.

Carol and Tracy were two gals up for an award.  It was all fun until......

they got in the fight over who was going to take it home.

Have a happy Monday!  Thanks for stopping by -- hope you come back soon.

Check out what others were up to this weekend.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Five on Friday - February 20, 2015

Friday is finally here.  Boy am I glad!  Sunday night is my Oscars party so I have a ton to do between now and then.  Thank goodness I have friends coming over tomorrow to help.  But before then, here's this week's Five on Friday.

1.  Apothic Crush
We tried a new wine on Valentine's Day -- and it was wonderful!  I'm a fan of Apothic wines and here's another one to add to my list of favorites.  Apothic Crush is another limited release and will be on shelves between February and April.  Per their website:  "The limited release blends Petite Sirah and Pinot Noir to create luscious aromas of caramel and chocolate, with a velvety smooth mouthfeel."  If you see a bottle, pick it up and give it a try.


2.  BLT Salad
Speaking of Valentine's - I made a BLT salad I found on that was superb and complimented our Shrimp and Scallop Stroganoff perfectly (see it hiding in the upper left corner of the picture?).  If you missed the recipe for the stroganoff, you can get it HERE.  Here's the recipe for the fabulous salad:

1 pound bacon
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1 head romaine lettuce - rinsed, dried and shredded
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 cups seasoned croutons

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet.  Cook over medium high heat, turning frequently, until evenly browned.  Drain, crumble and set aside.

In a blender or food processor, combine mayonnaise, milk, garlic powder and black pepper.  Blend until smooth.  Season the dressing with salt.

Combine lettuce, tomatoes, bacon and croutons in a large salad bowl.  Toss with dressing, and serve immediately.

3.  Oscars Host
I'm anxious to see how Neil Patrick Harris does hosting the Oscars.  Little Doogie Howser is all grown up and will be hosting one of the most challenging events, especially after Ellen was such a hit.  I'm rooting for him!  If you want to print a ballot or an Oscar bingo card, pop over HERE.

                                     Neil Patrick Harris

4.  Macey Hensley
Did you get to see Macey on Ellen this week?  ADORABLE!!  In honor of President's Day, take a look.  I would love to have her on my trivia team if presidents was one of the categories!

5.  Feeling
It's been cold here -- like REALLY cold.  Makes me feel like this...

Enjoy the weekend guys!  I'll be back on Monday to let you see a peek into what I did.  Please keep your fingers crossed that the weather doesn't mess up people's ability to get to my house.  This darn weather!!
Linking up with:

Thinking Out Loud Thursday - February 19, 2015

Hello!  Here we are at Thursday before the Oscars and I'm busy in my mind trying to pull my Oscar Party together.  If you don't mind, I'm going to do a little thinking out loud about the party.  Over the years, I've had several Oscar parties so I know the lay of the land, but still need to mentally think through all the logistics of Sunday night.  This is one party I love to throw -- sitting around eating great appetizers with my friends, being catty watching the red carpet is always a good time!

At the time of publishing this post, I've seen six of the eight best picture nominated films.  My favorite for best picture right now is a close race between The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game.  Selma has dropped out of many theaters near us so I'm going to have to do some searching to see it and Whiplash is on my agenda for Friday night.  Has anyone seen all eight movies?  Which are your favorites?  I know everyone is saying Birdman is the front runner, but I just didn't love it.

American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

If you're thinking of having a little Oscar-themed soiree, some of the below items might help you out.

First -- everyone needs a ballot.  Not only does it help answer questions like "who is up for best actor", but it also is fun to see if you can guess the winners correctly.  Sugar and Charm has this adorable free printable.  Even if you're watching alone or with your roommate, this is a fun thing to print out and have handy.


To have a little fun while watching (and to keep you focused on the actual award ceremony), here's a printable Oscar Bingo card.  Over at, you can find this cute set of 15 bingo cards for you and all your guests.  
                                                     Printable Oscar Bingo for your Academy Awards party!

I'm still working on my menu and decorations.  Thankfully I have this crew coming over on Saturday to help me set up.  They are the best friends ever and I'm looking forward to the set up as much as I am the actual party.  You know how fun pre-parties can be!!

So that's my thoughts for today.  I'll show you the end result next week!  Don't forget to link up and share with me and Vanessa from X-tremely V what you're Thinking Out Loud about -- we'd love to hear from you.
                                               X-tremely V

Enjoy more Thoughts for Thursday at