Penny's Passion: April 2018

Friday, April 27, 2018

Mother's Day Giveaway

Mother's Day is right around the corner and we have a Mother's Day Giveaway to celebrate!  Enter below for your chance to win $125 in gift cards.  Who couldn't use that!?!

Now on to the giveaway!

We are so excited to be giving away $250 in cash prizes for Mother's Day to two lucky readers. The prize will consist of 2 - $125 gift cards. Each winner will choose the gift card you want. Please choose a gift card which comes from an online store and can be paid by US dollars. EX: Amazon, Target, Walmart, Macy's, Kohls, etc. You may ask for more than one gift card but must add up to $125.
Now its time to meet our wonderful co-hosts who have made this giveaway possible.

Kenyatta at My Design Rules | Kim at Shopping Kim | Carrie at Curly Crafty Mom | Jeanne at Home Garden Joy | Holly at Pink Fortitude | Dana at Create to Donate | Trish at By Trish Sutton | Tammy at Creative K Kids | Susan at Culinary Envy | Meredith at The Mom of the Year | Audrey at That Recipe | Linda at A Labour of Life | Leslie at Once Upon a Time & Happily Ever After | Sinea at Ducks 'n a Row | Penny at Penny's Passion | Habiba at Craftify My Love | Gladys at Moms to Grandmas | Mitch at Gay NYC Dad | Emily at Domestic Deadline | Kristin at White Arrows Home | Michelle at Our Crafty Mom | Beverly at Eclectic Red Barn | Marie at The Inspiration Vault | Melissa at Deliciously Savvy | Pam at P.S. I Love You Crafts| Tammy at My Life Abundant

Please stop by and say hi to these wonderful ladies and their blogs.
The giveaway will end midnight on Friday, May 11th, a few days before Mother's Day. You will have 48 hours to respond to the email claiming the prize. If we don't hear in 48 hours, we will choose another winner. The giveaway is open to anyone over 18 years of age and able to receive e-gift cards from the U.S. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Five on Friday - April 27, 2018

Whoa - it's Friday already!  Not sure how that happened so fast, but I'll take it.  This weekend the weather prediction is sounding pretty fantastic and I'm looking forward to spending some time outside.  Before I start the weekend, here's my five for this week ~

1.  National Superhero Day
Tomorrow is a fun day for all you Marvel fans out there -- it's National Superhero Day!  Dress up in your favorite Superhero cape and head to the new Avenger's movie that is being released today.  Who's your favorite?  Batman ranks up there pretty high for me.  Even though they are fictional, they serve as great role models for us by always serving and protecting while fighting evil.  Their positive attitudes aren't so bad either.  As the Green Lantern would say, "In fearful day, in raging night, with strong hears full, our souls ignite, when all seems list, in the war of light, look to the stars, for hope burns bright!"

National Superhero Day April 28

2.  Burt's Bees Lip Mask
I have a terrible habit of picking at my lips.  Without even knowing it, my fingers will gravitate to them when I'm nervous or thinking really hard or bored.  The result is not pretty.  I picked up a package of Burt's Bees Lip Mask at Target this week and sometime over the weekend I'm going to try this highly rated product.  Here's what Amazon says about it:

  • These ultra-conditioning, single use lip masks will instantly hydrate and define your lips leaving them soft and smooth with the lasting flavor of our lip balms
  • Hydrating lip mask blended with natural ingredients including Meadow foam Seed and Almond Oils that act as a natural lip moisturizer to enhance your pout
  • Burt's Bees Lip Mask acts as a soothing lip care that moisturizes, reconditions and nourishes your pout and brightens your smile naturally with a 100% natural blend of nourishing oils and ingredients.
Want some?  Click HERE to get a pack of 6 from Amazon.
Burt's Bees Moisturizing Lip Mask, 6 Count
3.  Color Flame Candles
This week we helped a friend celebrate her birthday and I picked up the coolest candles.  These babies truly had a colored flame.  I kept thinking about all those pictures I have of Ian blowing out birthday candles and how much cooler the picture would be if the flame on the candle would have been from these candles.  Just thought I'd throw this out there in case any of you are like me and tend to want everything (even the flame on the candle) to be coordinated with your party.
Image result for celebrate it color flame candles
4.  The Light Within Me
Some of you know Ainsley Earhardt from Fox News and others may recognize the name from her children's books, but this week her new book The Light Within Me was released and the reviews are excellent.  Here's the description from Amazon, "The celebrated Fox News star and #1 New York Times bestselling author offers a powerful, uplifting look at her life and her spiritual journey, reflecting on her family, her faith, and her successful career.

In her bestselling children’s book Take Heart, My Child, Ainsley Earhardt drew on her childhood and the inspirational notes her father wrote her before school each morning. In this moving memoir, she reminisces about growing up with a father who loved his children unconditionally—a cherished model of parenthood she has adopted with her own daughter—how her Christian faith has shaped her life, and the dynamic journalism career that has made her a trusted household name.

From her insightful political coverage, including a sit-down with Melania Trump, to her powerful reporting covering some of the most headline-making national events, to her live coverage, including Pope Francis’ visit to New York, Ainsley considers her career and the factors that have propelled her to the top of her field, becoming a cohost of Fox & Friends and contributor to Hannity. Ainsley credits her success to the values she learned from her parents, and to the enduring Christian faith that has been her ballast through thick and thin, in good times and in periods of great difficulty.

Filled with inspirational quotes taken from Scripture and illustrated with sixteen pages of never-before-seen photos, her memoir is infused with her spiritual beliefs and will touch the hearts of all her fans, reminding them to count the blessings God has given them every day of their lives."

Sounds like it could be a great gift idea for Mother's day!  Click HERE to pick up a copy.

5.  Yep....

Haha yeah something along those lines.

Have a great weekend!  I'm looking forward to some sun and being outside without cold or rain.  Tomorrow there will be a giveaway for you to enter, so pop back in and get signed up to win some cash!

Linking up with:
The Blended Blog
This post contained affiliate links.  I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase.  Thanks

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Friday Favorites Linky Party - April 27, 2018

Welcome to Friday Favorites!  Love seeing what you guys share!  I had a hard time picking my favorites this week, but am excited to try to make it.  Make sure to check it out below.

Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:
Jerri at Simply Sweet Home - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Maisy at Becoming Alice - FB | G+ | Pin
Sheree at Stage Presents - Twitter | FB | Pin | Inst | Inst
Lisa at Condo Blues - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Penny at Penny's Passion - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Kelly at Under a Texas Sky - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst | BL
If you are featured this week, be sure and grab a featured button for your blog!
You can show your love for this week's favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing!
And if you love all of this week's favorites, please pin, share, and invite your friends to this week's linky party!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Thinking Out Loud Thursday - April 26, 2018

Happy Thinking Out Loud Thursday!  Only one more day until the weekend.  Let's all do a virtual high five on that one!

Last night I had a few friends over to watch the season finale of Married At First Sight.  This Lifetime show has had me hooked since season one.  If you've never watched this reality drama, the down and dirty of it is three "experts" match three couples.  The couples get married having never met - literally they get married at the first sight of each other.  They have eight weeks to decide if they want to stay married or get a divorce.  There is a lot of drama that goes down in those eight weeks, let me tell you!

Are you a watcher of the show?  This season we've followed Jon and Molly, Shawniece and Jephte, and Jaclyn and Ryan.  I won't give anything away in case you are a watcher and haven't had time to see the Final Decision episode.  What I will say, though, is there is a heck of a surprise at the end!

Wonder what's happened to the past couples??  This is the sixth season for the show and their divorce rate is pretty high.  So out of the fifteen previous couples (not counting our three from this season) that have gone through the experiment, there are currently three that are still together.  Two of those couples are actually from season one and the other from season five.

Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner from Season One
MAFS Jamie and Doug 2018

Cortney Hendrix and Jason Carrion from Season One
MAFS Cortney Jason 2018

Ashley Petta and Anthony D'Amico from Season Five
MAFS Anthony and Ashley 2018

Watching this show is like getting a mini marriage counseling session with each episode.  Sometimes it's a bit scary when you see yourself doing something just like the couples in the episode and you realize how crazy it is.  Thanks Eric for forgiving me for all my craziness!!

If you're not a current follower of the show but would like to check it out, past seasons are available on Hulu.

As an added bonus, last night we also celebrated my friend Mariah's birthday!  Check out the cool colors of the birthday candles.  Check back on my Five on Friday post to read all about them.

So that's what I'm thinking out loud about today.  Now it's your turn.  What's on your mind?  Link up and share your thoughts.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Weekending - April 13, 2018

Holy cow -- it's Tuesday and I'm just now getting to my weekending post.  I have to be honest, I could have wrapped it up on Sunday night but I was really enjoying laying on the couch watching TV and reading.  Sometimes it just feels good to have some down time!


Friday night Eric and I had a little movie date.  We had both been excited to see I Feel Pretty, so that's what we decided to see.  Now, I wasn't expecting an Oscar winning movie, but I did feel a little let down.  This film just seemed flat to me.  It had funny parts, but nothing really pushed it over the hump.  I gave it a 7 out of 10, Eric's rating was a 6.  Did you see it?  What did you think?

Speaking of feeling pretty -- I'm so over Carrie Underwood's face saga.  I'm sorry that she fell.  Sorry that she had to have stitches on her face.  But Carrie - some people are grossly disfigured and there is nothing they can do about it.  This was your chance to step up and say, "Hey, whatever you look like on the outside is okay."  Instead you hid your scars and acted like you just couldn't be seen in public because of them.  Doesn't she know it's what is on the inside that truly counts?!?  That new little line on your face doesn't make you less of a person.  Get over yourself!  (I'll step off my soapbox now.)

Saturday is a complete blur.  Eric had to work and I piddled around the house flitting from thing to thing and not really accomplishing much of anything.  I did get my 2018 Spring Bucket List done.  If you missed it, you can catch it HERE.

On Sunday, Eric once again had to work.  Ian, Kayla and I headed to Montgomery City for the Historical Society's Bi-Centennial Celebration.  Turns out, my ancestors were one of the first families to settle in Montgomery County.  Many of the townships had displays set up which dated back many years.  It was a fun afternoon spent with my parents and well worth the trip.

Sunday night I did a whole lot of nothing.  I did start watching a new series from Netflix - Broadchurch.  This BBC, highly acclaimed, series is in it's third season so I have plenty of catching up to do.  Season 1 is an 8 part series focusing on the murder of a young boy in Dorset.  It weaves into the story several of the small town residents as the detectives try to solve the crime.  I'm three episodes in and can't get enough!

That puts a wrap on the weekend.  Hope you had a nice one and your week is off to a good start.  I'm looking forward to the upcoming weekend because we are actually supposed to see the sun!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

2018 Spring Bucket List

It's spring - or so says the calendar.  The weather, on the other hand, isn't really reflecting spring in our area.  This week, however, might just change that.  I don't think we'll be breaking any high temperature records, but it is supposed to be in the sixties, so we'll take it.

Today I'm joining a group of blogger friends to share our spring bucket lists. This winter I've become somewhat lackadaisical in my approach to life and I'd like that to turn around this spring.  Hopefully writing out my bucket list will help get me back on track.  So here goes ~

Get More Organized
Organization has totally went out the window this winter at my house.  My craft room is even more out of control than it typically is, my nightstand is piled high with books and magazines and my kitchen cabinets - oh my - is in desperate need of some help.  And I won't even tell you how out of control my pantry is!!  I want to spend some time organizing and sprucing up around here!

Make A Hefty Donation of Unused Items
When I switch my winter clothes out for my summer ones, I want to take a hard look at every item and donate those I'm never going to wear.  Do I really, really need 50 t-shirts?  I think not.  Why I feel the need to stuff my closet and drawers with items I know deep in my heart I will never wear is beyond me.  This year I want to give up some of those drawer-crowders and free up some space.

Plant the Garden
Eric and I have a postage-size garden in our back yard and love eating fresh tomatoes and herbs from it.  For the last couple of years we haven't given the space much thought, instead just plant the same things in the same spots.  This year I want to be a bit more intentional.  There are some new herbs I want to plant and maybe try less tomatoes and add in more lettuce.

Do a Weekly To-Do List
At some point over the winter, my weekly to-do lists went away.  They need to come back!  I'm the type of person that needs to write it down or it can be totally forgotten.  Truth be told, I also love the act of crossing things off the list too.  Heck, sometimes I write stuff down that I've already done just for the joy of crossing it off the list!  Am I the only one that does that??

Spruce Up the Patio
Our little concrete pad out the back of our house is in desperate need of attention.  It houses our patio furniture, grill and fire pit.  And it's boring.  I'm going to throw myself into Pinterest and hope to find some ideas that will turn the little space into something more attractive and inviting.

We have some happy occasions coming up with a graduation and retirement.  I'm looking forward to making a few decorations and enjoying celebrating these major milestones with my friends.

Start Walking More
The weather has really stopped Eric and I from taking our evening walks.  At least I want to blame it on the weather.  With warmer temps on the horizon, I hope we can resume them again.  I would also love to find a place where we could take a hike.

Read More
I've got about 47834738 books on my to be read list and I'm hoping to conquer a few of them this spring.

Just writing these down gets me a little more motivated to actually get them done!  How about you?  What's on your spring bucket list?  Link up and share!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Five on Friday - April 20, 2018

It's Friday!!  This week seemed to fly by for me.  How about you?  Still not spring weather around here, but next week looks promising.  Hopefully, my five today will warm you up ~

1.  National Park Week
I got an email this week from the National Park Foundation that I thought was well worth sharing.  Here's what it said, "This Saturday, April 21, all national park sites that normally charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone.  That’s right, all 84 million acres of historic places, cultural treasures, and the world’s most spectacular scenery will be open for free!"  How cool is that?!?  Looking for a park to visit?  Click HERE to find a beautiful park near you.

National Park Foundation Spring Poll Results

2. New Flavors of M&M's
Have you heard - M&M's have three new flavors: Crunchy Raspberry, Crunchy Espresso, and Crunchy Mint.  They are hoping you try all three and vote for your favorite by May 25th.  The winning flavor will be launched in August.  If you happen to be at the Color Run this Saturday in St. Louis, they will have a booth set up for your tasting pleasure.  Visit M&M's website to vote for your favorite.

M&M's packs

3.  I Feel Pretty
Amy Schumer's I Feel Pretty movie is opening today and it is definitely on my list to see.  Her movies are typically pretty goofy, but they make me laugh.  Here's the synopsis from Fandango, "In I FEEL PRETTY an ordinary woman who struggles with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy on a daily basis wakes from a fall believing she is suddenly the most beautiful and capable woman on the planet. With this newfound confidence she is empowered to live her life fearlessly and flawlessly, but what will happen when she realizes her appearance never changed?"

At the end of March, Giada De Laurentiis released her newest cookbook and it is definitely on my wish list.  The photos are shot on location around her native Rome.  We recently booked our vacation to Rome for this fall and I want to see all the places she talks about in her cookbook!  Am I the only crazy person that reads a cookbook like a good novel?  With the help of this cookbook, I'm sure I'll be whipping up her Italy dishes in no time.  Would someone you know like a copy?  Click HERE to purchase.

5.  Let's pretend.....

Image may contain: 1 person, meme and text

Have a wonderful weekend!  I'm going to spend Saturday catching up on a few things and Sunday with my family (except Eric because he has to work - insert sad face).  My Easter decorations are still up so getting them down should probably be high on my priority list.  Stop back by next week to see how that goes.  

Linking up with:
The Blended Blog
This post contained affiliate links.  I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase.  Thanks

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Friday Favorites - April 20, 2018

Hello to Friday!  Enjoyed all your links last week and can't wait to see what you show us today.  Have a great weekend!

Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:
Jerri at Simply Sweet Home - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Maisy at Becoming Alice - FB | G+ | Pin
Sheree at Stage Presents - Twitter | FB | Pin | Inst | Inst
Lisa at Condo Blues - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Penny at Penny's Passion - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Kelly at Under a Texas Sky - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst | BL
If you are featured this week, be sure and grab a featured button for your blog!
You can show your love for this week's favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing!
And if you love all of this week's favorites, please pin, share, and invite your friends to this week's linky party!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Is Hamilton Really That Good?

Hey there!  Welcome to Thinking Out Loud Thursday.  This is an open forum where you can link your blog post about anything that is on your mind.

Today I'm thinking out loud about the date night Eric and I had on Tuesday.  The musical Hamilton was playing at the Fox Theater and we were in the audience!

I have to be honest, I was a little worried that I would be the one person that didn't really like it.  We have friends who have traveled to Chicago and New York for this 11 time Tony award-winning show.  Not a single person I know that has seen Hamilton has had a negative reaction.  I feared that it would be one of those things after hearing everyone rave about, my expectations would be too high and I would be let down.  Has that happened to you before?

Hamilton has been in St. Louis since April 3 and we had resisted the urge to buy tickets.  I had faithfully entered the lottery through the Hamilton app every single day to win a chance to buy $10 tickets.  Each day the message "Try Again!  Sorry you did not win." appeared on my phone.  But think how exciting it would be to win!  So worth entering every day.

On Monday I couldn't resist any longer.  There were a few seats remaining for the Tuesday night performance and I just had to see what the hype was all about.  Guys - I was not one bit disappointed.  This musical was fabulous and deserves every good comment we have heard about it!

This production was witty and fun.  Here is the synopsis from Playbill: From bastard orphan to Washington's right hand man, rebel to war hero, loving husband caught in the country's first sex scandal to Treasury head who made an untrusting world believe in the American economy, Hamilton is an exploration of a political mastermind. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Eliza Hamilton, and lifelong Hamilton friend and foe, Aaron Burr, all attend this revolutionary tale of America’s fiery past told through the sounds of the ever-changing nation we've become.

Have you seen it?  Is it coming to a city near you?  If you need someone to see it with you, let me know.  I would definitely see it again!

Now it's your turn -- what are you thinking out loud about?  Link up and share - I'd love to hear form you!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

30 Hours in Cleveland

Last weekend my friend, Debbie, and I headed to Cleveland for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.  Months ago when we learned Bon Jovi was being inducted, we knew we had to be there to see it in person!

Our flight left St. Louis bright and early on Saturday morning.  After flying through Chicago, and having a couple delays there, our flight touched down in Cleveland early in the afternoon.  We were greeted with rain - and the rain stayed with us for the ENTIRE weekend.  Sometimes it was light.  Sometimes it was heavy.  But it was always there.

The first thing we did was do a drive by of the induction location.  Since we were unfamiliar with Cleveland, we wanted to make sure we knew where we were going and scope out a place to park.  After that was accomplished, lunch was our next priority.  We decided to pop in Wahlburgers.  Not going to lie, I voted yes on this joint because I just love Mark and Donnie.

Turns out that brother Paul cooks a pretty mean burger!  As you can tell by the amount of food we ordered, we were hungry!  Highlights were the sweet potato tots and the onion rings.  So good!

With full bellies, we headed to the hotel.  Even though we booked back in January, many of the downtown locations were already full so we chose to stay at the Tudor Arms Hotel a few miles from the event location.  On our way to the hotel, in the pouring rain, we decided to Uber it that night.  Great decision!

Red carpet started at 5:30 pm, doors opened at 6:30 pm and the event began at 7:30 pm.  We knew we didn't really want to stand out in the cold and rain for an hour, so we arrived a few minutes after 6 - just in time to see the entire Bon Jovi band arrive.  How lucky was that!  Thanks, Jon, for waiting on us to get there before you walked the red carpet.

The lines were long getting in, but we managed to snap a picture and be in our seats just as the program began. 

Jon and gang were the first of the night to be inducted.  Howard Stern gave a speech that at times was very heartwarming and other times quite funny.  Howard, like many of us were thinking, spoke to the fact that it was surprising the legendary Bon Jovi hadn't gotten in the Hall of Fame years ago.  He reminded us that with the 130 million Bon Jovi albums sold, that number was higher than the death toll from the bubonic plague, the American Civil War and atomic bomb drops.  Each band member spoke and then they entertained the crowd with some of their classics.  It was so great to see Richie Sambora playing with the band again!  

The rest of the program was anticlimactic for us after Bon Jovi left the stage, but there were some great highlights.  The Roots and Paul Shaffer played for the Nina Simone tribute.  Steven Van Zandt introduced the new category - The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Singles.  Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes sang a special rendition of That's All to honor Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

We skipped out as the last group was being honored to head over to the after party at the House of Blues where Questlove was showing off his DJ skills.

Overall, it was an absolutely fabulous night!  One of those things that is a once in a lifetime experience.  On our way back to the hotel, our cool Uber driver pulled over so I could snap a picture of the world's largest outdoor chandelier.  I think he pulled over because he was afraid I was going to fall out the window trying to get the picture.

Sunday we had the day to explore the city a bit more.  We found our way to Little Italy for lunch at Mia Bella's and a little dessert from Presti's Bakery.

Then it was on to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum.  If you like music at all, you will love this place!  You could spend hours roaming around this 6-story building.

So many fond memories came flooding back when I saw varies displays.

They also had things honoring the new 2018 inductees.  If you look very close, you can see our reflection in this picture.

We wanted to grab a bite to eat before heading back to the airport and was anxious to try the popular Lola, a Michael Symon restaurant.  The menu is quite interesting with things like beef cheek and calves heart being some of the most popular items.

As we were leaving the restaurant, the Cavaliers game was just letting out and traffic was quite a bit heavier than we had anticipated.  That made it a little tighter on time than we anticipated to get to the airport, but we made it with a tad bit of time to spare.  Thank goodness we only had carry on luggage and were TSA pre-check approved!

Our 30 hours in Cleveland were packed with fun and worth the weekend of little sleep.  I would definitely head back to the Rock and Roll Capital of the World and do more exploring.