Category Archives: Products

Stocking Stuffer Gifts 2014


Christmas is almost here! I can’t even believe it! I’ve had Pentatonix on repeat this weekend, which is totally getting me into the holiday spirit. I’m currently home for 5 days between Thanksgiving and New Years, so I’m soaking in the decorating Andrew and I did back in the beginning of November.Christmas Decorations

A few years ago, I started making Christmas stockings for my mom, dad, and Andrew because I have so much fun finding little gifts to put inside. Here are some of my favorite things from this year that I would love to find in a stocking:

Teeny Bud Vase: I am in love with these adorable little vases! They are so cute with a single stem flower. I think the teardrop shape of this one in particular is so beautiful. Whenever I come home to visit, my mom always has a little vase like this with a few flowers in it on my bedside table – it’s really sweet! I currently have one for each bedside table in our apartment, but I want to get more to use for setting our kitchen table.Teeny Bud VaseLuggage Scale: This little gadget has been my best friend for all of the travel I’ve been doing over the last year – it prevents that awful scene at the airport of pulling things out of your suitcase at the check-in counter to get under 50 pounds. With this, you can weigh your suitcase at home and make sure you are under the limit. I have gotten a lot of comments by the check-in agents about hitting the 50lb weight limit exactly – little do they know that’s exactly what I planned for!

Luggage Scale - Stocking StufferNon-stick Baking Mats and Maldon Sea Salt Flakes: We just recently got these baking slip sheets and I have loved  making cookies with them – no sticking and such a breeze to wipe down after. And if you are going to be baking cookies, then you need a little sea salt to sprinkle on top. Maldon is a “finishing salt” for sprinkling on cookies right after baking. The salt crystals will stay flakey and crisp without melting into the cookie. It also works deliciously well for sprinkling on roasted vegetables or meat right before serving. Maldon is flakier than kosher salt (which is best sprinkled on vegetables and meat before cooking. Or rimming a margarita glass, of course :)

Baking Slip Sheet and Maldon Sea Salt Flakes

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – This is my favorite book that I’ve read this year! It was SO entertaining! Bernadette is a mom to a 15-year-old daughter and wife to a Microsoft guru and has developed such distaste of Seattle that she disappears. The commentary on her life in Seattle was hysterical to me, even though I’ve never been to the city. I tried explaining the plot to my dad and it didn’t really excite him – but to be fair, he’s not the target audience. So for the men in your life, try Unbroken. It’s an incredible story and the movie is about to come out! But all you ladies: please read about Bernadette!Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Silicone Spatula – I use a silicone spatula just about every day. When I learned to use one of these to make scrambled eggs, it was a game changer. I swear. So much easier to scoop the eggs around in the pan. It’s also great for sautéing veggies, making stir fries, stirring dough, just about everything! Everyone should have one of these in their kitchen. Get It Right spatulas are made of silicone so won’t melt if you accidently leave it in the pan while cooking. They are strong and made of one piece so they won’t break with a tough dough. Plus, they come in a ton of fun colors!Get It Right Spatula

Do you need an idea for a white elephant gift? How about this inflatable moose head?? I think he is hysterical! Andrew and I got one for our apartment after we saw our friend Ty hang this moose up with his Christmas decorations. I seriously smile every time I look up at him. We got one for my mom and I think she did a great job accessorizing her moose for Christmas:Inflatable Moose Head

I hope this list gives you some ideas for how to stuff your own stockings this year! You can also see my lists from Stocking Stuffers 2013 and Stocking Stuffers 2012 for more ideas. Happy holidays!!

I’m engaged!


December has been a month full of celebration!! It all started December 6th, when I got home from 2 weeks of traveling for Thanksgiving and work. Andrew told me how much he missed me and wanted to make us a nice dinner. He doesn’t cook very often, so I was thrilled at the gesture. He put together a very impressive menu! He made lobster soup, bacon wrapped filet mignon, and my favorite Brussels sprouts. I’ll have to ask him to write a separate post on how he wrapped the bacon around the steak and seared it – the flavor was to die for! I even have a picture of the meal before we started eating because I texted it to my family to show what an amazing dinner he had made!I'm engaged! / started right into the steak, while Andrew started talking about our relationship and where it all began (in Vegas!! haha!) I thought to myself, “Wow! He really missed me! This is so sweet!”. Meanwhile, I’m about half way through the meal and he’s barely touched his steak – I should’ve suspected something. After a lot of loving words, he stood up and pulled a ring out of his pocket! This is where it all gets blurry and my memory is a bit fuzzy because I was hit by a wall of tears. Apparently, Andrew came over, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. But, you’d have to get those specific details from him! Later that night when we called my family, my mom asked if he gotten down on one knee when he proposed. I said “No, we were sitting at the dinner table so we were both sitting.” He looked at me shocked and said “Are you kidding me?? I was down on one knee that whole time!!” Like I said, it’s all a bit blurry once that ring came out and I realized what was happening! I spent the rest of the dinner in shock, admiring my new ring, while he finally got to enjoy his steak. Our friend Elaine came over later and took this photo of us with my cheeks still tear-stained.I'm engaged! /

Since then, December has been a month full of happy tears, tons of excitement, and a lot of champagne toasts! I haven’t quite gotten used to this gorgeous ring on my finger and keep trying to get a picture of it in the best light! There are suddenly a lot of photos of my left hand in my iPhone, out on a walk or playing cards or in front of the fire…I'm engaged! /’ve read that December is the most popular month for getting engaged and I can understand why! It’s perfect timing for celebrating with friends and family. My family does not take celebrating lightly. I showed up at the Milwaukee airport and saw a sweet man dressed as Santa sitting in the waiting area, with little kids at his feet staring up in awe. I got a little closer and saw that Santa was my dad!! He got a lot of double-takes in baggage claim, to say the least. Knowing my mom doesn’t like to be outdone, I should have known Mrs. Claus would be waiting for me at home!I'm engaged! / was a very Merry Christmas in Milwaukee with my family and Andrew all together. My mom certainly knows how to decorate a home full of cheer! There is no place I’d rather be for Christmas! I'm engaged! / and I have received some really sweet engagement gifts that have made this time for us even more special! An engagement gift is a really thoughtful way of sharing your excitement with the couple. I thought I would share some of them with you, as ideas for other friends when they get engaged. As a person who loves to plan parties, I never predicted feeling at such a loss for where to begin with my own wedding. My sister gave me this stack of magazines to get me started, which has been really fun to page through. Also, from what I’ve read so far, every bride should have The Wedding Book by Mindy Weiss. It is a completely comprehensive book full of information and great little tips on everything you could possibly think of.I'm engaged! / hold that beautiful new engagement ring, every bride should have a beautiful ring dish, like this Kate Spade ring holder below. An engagement celebration isn’t complete without a champagne toast, so a bottle of champagne and flowers are always a perfect gift. We got our first ornament from my family, this Two Turtle Doves ornament from Reed & Barton, a very special memory to hang on our tree each year. I cannot get enough of this fun “Prince Charming” bottle opener with a 6-pack of beer. He cracks me up every time I see him – and yes, I found my prince charming!I'm engaged! /’s to 2014! Happy New Year! Let the wedding planning begin!

To see more of our wedding details, you can find more posts I’ve written here!

Stocking Stuffer Gifts 2013


I love the excitement of a Christmas stocking full of surprises! It’s a fun opportunity to give someone a few little practical or silly gifts. Last year, I shared with you some of the things I put in my parent’s Christmas Stockings 2012. This year, I have picked out a few more of my favorite things to fill their stockings! (I have made my family promise to stop looking at my blog until after Christmas, which I know pains my dad ;).) I hope this list gives you some ideas to fill someone’s stocking with goodies…or maybe your own!!

Coconut Body Butter from Trader Joe’s: I LOVE LOVE LOVE this body butter. It smells unbelievable, almost like coconut vanilla frosting. You are going to want to lick your fingers. In the dry winter season, it feels amazing to cover yourself in this thick whipped lotion that blends quickly into your skin and leaves it so soft. I feel good about using this because it’s made with pure coconut oil, shea butter, and other natural ingredients. Best part, it’s only $4.99 at Trader Joe’s!Stocking Stuffers 2013 /

Wall-mounted Bottle Opener and Magnetic Cap Catcher: A wall-mounted bottle opener is a fun gift for cracking open a bottle of beer or soda. You can find all different kinds, such as this Coca-Cola opener or this bear opener I got my dad for his cabin, or my favorite: Drink Wisconsinbly. You won’t have to search in a drawer for that missing bottle opener again! The other fun thing I found to go with the bottle opener is a magnet that you hang right below the opener. It is so powerful that it catches all caps that fall from the opener – no need to catch the cap yourself! The magnet will start to collect caps on top of each other, like bottle cap Jenga!Stocking Stuffers 2013 / www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comStocking Stuffers 2013 /

Sugar Lip Balm: This lip balm feels so luxurious on your lips, it smells delicious and it will stay silky smooth on your lips for hours. My favorite is the clear balm in the brown tube below, which is perfect for everyday wear. I also have the petal balm, for when I’m looking for just a tint of color. It’s a bit of a steep price, but I think it’s totally worth it, along with the other 5,500 reviewers on Sephora who gave it an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars! It does have SPF 15 in it, but don’t take this to the beach with you because it will melt in hot temperatures.Stocking Stuffers 2013 /

A good CD: a perfect gift for transitioning away from the Christmas music they’ve had on replay the last month or two! Plus, it’s always great to get a recommendation of a new artist to listen to. I started listening to Gregory Alan Isakov recently and love his songs. His voice and guitar are so soothing and I can listen to him over and over again on repeat. To preview what he sounds like, listen to “The Stable Song” and “Raising Cane” from his CD That Sea, the Gambler.Stocking Stuffers 2013 /

Beaded Crystal Headband: this is a fun accessory for adding some sparkle to your holiday outfit. My favorite way to wear this headband is with my hair up in a messy bun – a little bit elegant and a little bit edgy. This one in particular from Banana Republic is very comfortable and worth the purchase – look for holiday discounts!

Stocking Stuffers 2013 /

Chocolate: because every stocking needs something a little sweet! I LIVE for these chocolate covered almonds from Trader Joe’s. The combination of the rich dark chocolate, the crunch of the turbinado sugar, and the slight hit of saltiness is divine. I bought some while at home with my family to take a picture and the tub was half gone before I could finish photographing them! Trader Joe’s has the best selection of chocolates above their freezer section, these in particular are only $3.99.Stocking Stuffers 2013 /

Some other ideas for stocking stuffers from my past blog posts: a few of these Nail Polish Remover Pads, a good book or two, these spiral hair pins, or a lemon/lime juicer for making my favorite margaritas.

I hope this gives you some good ideas! What would you want in your stocking this year? Any suggestions??

Word on the Street


When my family gets together for holidays, one of our favorite things to do is play games. “Word on the Street” has become one of our favorites the last few years. You would not believe the competitive spirit this game brings out of everyone! By the end of the round, don’t be surprised if you find yourself standing because you got so caught up in the action. You should absolutely bring this to your family’s Thanksgiving celebration!www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comYou divide into two teams, we always play boys vs. girls, and sit on opposite sides of the board. The goal is to earn more letter tiles than the other team. On your team’s turn, you pick a category card and have 30 seconds to work together to come up with one word that fits the category and uses as many letters as possible that are on the board. Meanwhile, the other team can do their best to distract you!

For the word that you choose, your team will spell it out and move each letter tile one lane closer to your side of the street. For example, if you got the category “something that runs”, you could choose “dog”, but that wouldn’t get you as many letters as “antelope” or “fence”. Once you pull the letter tile off the street on your side, your team gets to keep the tile. However, as long as the tile is still on the board, the other team can try to spell a word that will pull the letters back from you and towards their side of the street. With only 30 seconds to work with, you have to think of a word and spell it out quickly!

www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comThis is a great game for a party because it can be learned in a few minutes and you work with your team to come up with a word, so if you don’t have an idea, someone else on your team might! Bring this game out at your Thanksgiving family gathering or give it as a hostess gift for a holiday party. You can order it on amazon here.

If you are looking for more games, another one that I LOVE playing with a big group is Fish Bowl. All you need are pens, slips of paper, and a group of people.

Have fun!

Wunderlist App


This app is a life-changer. I have never been so organized or prepared! Wunderlist allows you to keep multiple organized lists stored in the app, so your “To Do’s” and grocery lists are always at your finger tips. (Assuming you didn’t forget your phone at home!) I love that all of my lists are in one place, stored electronically, and easy to update any time of day, no matter where I am! And, it’s free!! I keep it in my favorites at the bottom of my home screen:

www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comAnything that I used to keep written on a notepad, now has it’s own list in my Wunderlist app. I keep an ongoing list of groceries, things I need to do, movies I want to see, packing lists for vacation, etc. You can create and title as many lists as you want and then when you click into that list, you can add items to it. To cross an item off the list, you can check the little box to the left of the item. Or, if you want to prioritize something, you can click on the little star on the right, which it marks the item red and moves it to the top of your list.

www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comIf you click on the little arrow in the bottom right hand corner, it gives you the options to share ownership of the list with someone, email the list to someone, or organize the list alphabetically. If you click to share the list with someone, they are able to add items to your list or cross things out. This could be great for sharing with a roommate a list of communal things you both need, such as paper towel. Or, you can click to email your list to someone and an email with your bulleted list pops up. I used it to send a list of groceries to my mom for an upcoming vacation.

www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comThese are two examples of lists that have kept me prepared: I keep a list of recipes that I want to try at some point. When I click into the recipe, there is a little notes section where I can keep the ingredients listed for when I’m ready to make it. I also like to keep a list of gift ideas, when I think of something my family or friends might like or if they mention something they want. When I click into their name, I can makes notes of the gift ideas.

When you first open the app, you can use your email address to create a username. It will then take you to your inbox. Swipe to the right to start creating your lists. Your screen will look like the one below on the left with the default lists already created. You can delete any you don’t want by clicking the edit button in the bottom left hand corner. Or, you can select “Add a list…” to create any personalized lists you would like.

www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comYou can log into your Wunderlist app from anywhere! You can access it from your iPhone, iPad, or sign in online from any computer. There have been so many times when I wasn’t planning to stop at the grocery store, but it ends up being on the way and I have my list ready to go on my phone! I hope you’ll give this app a try and that it helps you keep your life organized!

Recipe Binder


My younger sister graduated from college last weekend – congratulations, Emily!! I am so proud of her, she is going to make an amazing teacher! Look how happy she is to be done…and how happy my parents are to finally get their last child through school :)Recipe Binder /

I’m excited because Emily is taking after my own heart (and our mother’s) by wanting to learn how to cook! So, for her graduation, I made Emily her own recipe binder to pass along my favorite recipes and for her to collect new ones. Having a recipe binder is the best way to keep all of your recipes in one place, especially since so many recipes are online these days. You just need a cute binder, page protectors, section dividers, and print-outs of your recipes.Recipe Binder / www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comFirst, determine what sections you would like to have in your binder and make the labels for each section. For Emily’s binder, I used these sections: Breakfast, Breads, Appetizers, Salads & Sides, Dinner, Cookies & Bars, Cakes & Pies, and Other Desserts. Depending on what kind of cooking or baking you like to do, you can decide which sections work for you. One of my favorite things about the binder is keeping a section at the back for “Recipes to Try”. These are recipes that look good and I have printed out, but not made yet. When I’m looking to do some experimenting, I flip to this section to find a new recipe to try out. Once I’ve tested the recipe and found it’s worth making again, I move it forward into the correct section. Otherwise, I toss it out.Recipe Binder /

If you want to get a little more creative with it, you could make yourself a front page. I used pictures I cut out from food magazines and some alphabet stickers to make this one for Emily:Recipe Binder / www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comAlso, if it’s a gift for someone, you could use a cute recipe card to write them a little note and stick it behind the front page like this:Recipe Binder / Finally, take all of the recipes and insert them into page protectors. You can put two recipes in each page protector so that they are back to back and allows you to flip through them like a book. Then, go in and arrange all of the recipes into the different sections. I keep extra page protectors in the back for new recipes.

When you head to the kitchen to cook, just remove the particular recipe from the binder you want to make and clip it to your fridge. The plastic page protector acts as a natural shield to spills that you can easily wipe clean when you are done with it! Having a recipe binder makes it so convenient to keep track of your recipes and keep them in good shape. Try making one for yourself! I actually have two, one for just desserts and one for everything else!Recipe Binder /

Spiral Hair Pins


Have you guys seen these fun new spiral shaped bobby pins?? They are perfect for throwing your hair up into a seamless bun and it’s so easy to do! They twist right into your hair, hold  firmly in place, and you can’t even see them in there! Your up-do will stay all day because they lock in very tightly (but painlessly!). How great is that? Instead of 20 bobby pins, you just need 2 or 3 or these!

You can find spin pins anywhere they sell hair accessories or online at amazon. You can buy either gold or brown for light or dark hair and either 3 mini or 2 regular sized pins depending on the length and thickness of your hair. For my hair, I find the 3 minis are best, otherwise sometimes the long pin sticks out the other side of my bun.

Goody Spin Pins /

Gather your hair at the back of your head, but no need to use a pony tail holder. Before wrapping the hair into the bun, I find it easier to twist the “pony tail” like this:

Goody Spin Pins /

Then, start to wrap your hair into a tight bun. Tuck any loose ends into the bun.

Goody Spin Pins /

Take the first pin and twist it clockwise into the top of the bun. Take the second pin (and maybe a third) and twist it in from the base of the bun. Spin the pin all the way in until you can’t see it anymore.

Goody Spin Pins /

I love using them on days when I let my hair dry overnight and need a solution for the kinks…or when I want my hair up, but looking a little fancier than just a pony tail.

Goody Spin Pins /

That’s it! It will last all day or night!

p.s. Thanks Ashley, for taking all of these pictures for me!

ITA Matrix – Booking Airfare


Today is my birthday!!! I’m now officially 26 as of 6:27am this morning. If I was at home today, I would most certainly be making and eating my absolute favorite Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake. However, I am going to have to trade that in for a margarita because I’m currently on my way to Cancun!! Not such a bad way to spend my birthday, right?!

Speaking of traveling, have you heard of using the ITA Matrix to book your flights? If not, this will seriously change the way you search for airfare. ITA Matrix is a great website to be able to visually see all of the flights available to you based on timing, not just price.

First you fill out the airport or cities that you are traveling between. I used it this week to search for a flight to Atlanta for my friend’s wedding. I wanted to fly LAX to ATL, leaving on Friday (but could select “or day before” to include red-eyes), and my preferred times for the return flight:

ITA Matrix - Booking Airfare

In the upper right hand corner, you can select “Time bars” and the results will appear like this:

ITA Matrix - Booking Airfare

How great is that?? You can visually see what time you leave, how long the layover is, and when you arrive. For my return flight, I could use this visual to pick a flight late enough in the day to leave time for post-wedding recovery, without too long of a layover, and one that doesn’t get back to LA too late:

ITA Matrix - Booking Airfare

You can’t actually book the flight with ITA Matrix. Once you pick your flights, then you can go to the airline’s website to book. But, I think you’ll totally find it’s worth to pick out the flights here first!

Bruschetta and Lentil Dip


This is one of those refreshing and delicious recipes that seems too easy to be true. Not only that, but it’s also extremely healthy – full of protein and fiber! Are you skeptical of lentils? This is a great recipe to change your mind! I promise you won’t be able to avoid going back for a second dip, or fourth.

Bruschetta and Lentil Dip

You mix together a few things from Trader Joe’s and you have an appetizer that will seriously wow the party! It’s also a perfect afternoon snack or light dinner.

Bruschetta and Lentil DipLook at all those fresh ingredients! Don’t you want a bite?

Bruschetta and Lentil DipTo make this a super healthy afternoon snack, you can use cucumber slices instead of crackers for dipping.

Bruschetta and Lentil Dip

Bruschetta and Lentil Dip


  • 1 package steamed lentils (refrigerated section of Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 container bruschetta sauce (refrigerated section of Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 handful chopped basil leaves
  • 1 container crumbled feta cheese (optional)
  • Crackers or pita chips (or cucumber slices)


Mix the lentils, bruschetta, basil, and feta in a bowl until combined. Let the flavors marinate in the fridge for half an hour if you have time. Serve with pita chips or crackers.

*To really step up the health factor, you can eliminate the cheese and substitute the crackers with cucumber slices.

Popcorn Valentines


I found these popcorn Valentines on Our Best Bites and think they are so cute!! They say “Just POPPING through with a VALENTINE for YOU!” I made them for my Valentine exchange with my girlfriends, but I also think it’s the perfect Valentine for co-workers or classmates because who wouldn’t love to snack on some popcorn amidst all the chocolate on Valentine’s Day ?? They were so quick to put together, so you still have time tonight!

Popcorn Valentines The best part might just be what I filled the bags with: Kettle Corn from Trader Joe’s. Have you tried Trader Joe’s Kettle Corn before? If you are nodding your head, you might also be saying “Yes, and I ate the whole bag in one sitting…” It is THAT good. It’s the perfect combo of sweet and salty, but still very light and airy so you don’t feel weighed down from eating it. Even if you don’t make these valentine’s, at least try this popcorn!

Trader Joe's Kettle Corn

Along with the popcorn, I bought cellophane treat bags and ribbon and printed off the popcorn labels here. (If you are short on time/supplies, you could always just use Ziplock sandwich bags!)

Cut out the popcorn labels and fill in the “to” and “from”. Fill the bag with popcorn, fold over the top of the bag, and then place a creased label on top. Hold them together to punch two holes. Place one end of the ribbon through each hole on the front. Then, pull the ribbons through the backside in the opposite holes. I used thin ribbon, so added some curls with a scissors. On the Best Bites website, they used thicker ribbon, which looks pretty too.

Popcorn Valentines