Monday, September 30, 2013

Potat-OMG Skins

Potat-OMG Skins
I can't keep up with amount of sports leagues currently going on. I mean with baseball, football, hockey,  and basketball starting any day now I really need to install some more TVs in my home. Having moved away from a large metropolis called Chicago, Sundays were the days to watch the games and just relax, eat bar food and drink beer. Brunch was a big thing, too, but you had to make sure your place had TVs. So, as I have gotten older, the thought of sitting in a bar anywhere on a Sunday isn't so appealing to me anymore. I certainly don't miss that wet-mop and stale beer smell of these locales. There's nothing like re-grouping in front of my own TV with snack and drink and watch the game on my terms. Mr. Challenge is the same way. While we have been known to frequent friends' houses and such, there's nothing like your own couch, especially when you have TiVo or another DVR device. I can stop and pause when I like, find another task amongst the house, and walk around aimlessly.

But today was different. Mr. Challenge kept asking if anyone was coming over to watch our beloved Bears. Alas, there were no people. I kind of felt bad since I hadn't really thought about it or planned for food or a mini-party. We had the ubiquitous chips and dip but we were missing so much more. So, amongst ourselves, I decided we would tailgate at home. I ordered a small batch of wings from Wingstop, picked up the new Might Wings from McDonald's and then headed home to make this....Potato Skins! Potato Skins are Mr. Challenge's favorite. Already perched on the couch with a Bloody Mary, I decided to tackle them. If you haven't tried Mighty Wings...don't bother. It's basically fried bone-in chicken with a slight spice to them. They don't even offer wing sauce, just the basic sauces McDonald's already features. Just thought I would save you the $5.79.

Now, onto Potat-OMG Skins. Let me just state that they were awesome! I used a bag of russet potatoes from the .99 Store. They are .99 for a reason as they are very small, almost like a small red potato of normal size. But, they were perfect and almost bite sized. I followed the recipe and they turned out PERFECT. I was a bit hesitant about brushing them with the butter but it really made them delicious. Another trick I did was cook the bacon in the oven at 400 degrees on a jelly roll pan lined with parchment. I have been doing this lately. The bacon crisps up nicely and the mess is almost none! I garnished with freshly chopped scallions. This is a great, inexpensive fall appetizer or even an entree paired with a salad. Delish!

I hope you had a great weekend no matter what you ate, drank or did. Give these potato skins a try next time. Oh, and congratulations to Arizona State University for clobbering USC. My weekend was totally the best.

Disclaimer: I am not paid nor compensated for any reviews here. The opinions are my own.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Great Faux-ll Top and Accessories

(Get it "faux-ll"..... fall?)
Image via Target
Hahaha! A little play on words but it did get your attention. Welcome to more Fashionomics. I am liking the new fall trend of leather and leather embellished pieces. However, I am too cheap to actually use real cash for real leather. I came across this top from Target recently and purchased it to go with some jeggings (mentioned in previous entries) and skinny jeans.

The sleeves have a faux leather, pleather, whatever you want to call it. It has a minor sheen but doesn't look too faux-ny. The faux leather gives it just enough edge along with the geometric print. I plan on wearing it with my new Old Navy jeggings or last year ON Sweetheart skinny red denim pants. They also have a solid sleeveless version which was meh and a dress that could look cool with some tights and boots depending on where you live. Plus, this is age-suitable for me without looking like I am trying to hard.
Via Walmart

I am also kind of digging this military coat from Walmart. Yea, before you get all riled up about Walmart, think for a second on how much money you will save for something that is a tad trendy and you will probably wear one season or a few times. This one from Walmart is cute and classic and the price just can't be beat.

Via J Crew

Compared to the one from J Crew, you could buy one from Walmart for each one of your best friends! It's cute but I am never one to go for too much trend. I like more classic pieces that I can actually wear year after year. Some of my best, inexpensive pieces are the ones that have really lasted the longest.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Traveling to Find The Perfect Travel Bag

We have a BIG trip coming up. It's big because it was kind of one of those trips that wasn't really on our list of places to go but it was too good to pass up. That in itself makes me nervous because sometimes the old adage is if it's too good to be true, it probably is. Mr. Challenge and I  bought a family trip to China. It was one of those things where we were celebrating a big anniversary and birthday and really didn't need to buy each other gifts. So off to China we go late this fall.

With that, I am in a conundrum with what type of carry-on bag to take for this 13 hour flight. This may the only time in the past 12 years that we are checking luggage, or at least I am. Mr. Challenge thinks he can squeeze by for 10 days in a rolling backpack which is what we normally use. I would agree but I would like to baggage check some liquids/medicine, etc along with emergency snacks in case Little and Big Challenge are challenged with the foreign cuisine. Generally they are great eaters and will pretty much try anything....once. So, I had initially ordered the Lo & Sons OG Bag I had been reading a lot on many blogs. I thought the espresso color would be great. Once I received it, I did think it was a great carry-on bag except just not for me. I like to have my things under the seat within reach and I felt this was too cumbersome for me. It did have an incredible purple interior. elegant hardware, and lots of pockets for stash and organization. I also couldn't justify the price even though I know it would be a piece I would own forever. With my recent employment challenge, it didn't make sense. Plus, I preach to the choir about value, good buys, savings....

I then found another blog toting the LL Bean Expedition bag which I also ordered. With a promo code and free shipping, I think I ended up paying like $63 bucks for it. Plus, I ordered the orange which was really cool. I did like it but wasn't sure about the actual backpack straps. The tote straps were long enough to be comfortable without sliding off a heavier coat. I returned this as well and kind of regret it. I think this would have been suitable for holding a change of clothes, toiletries, electronic gadgets, charges, etc and a blanket. It also looked like it would have fitted better under the seat in front of me for easy access. Well, orange is sold out so now my choices are blue, olive and black. This is still in my mind.

Onto another bag, the Mosey Getalong Overnight bag which I am not actually sure if I saw on Pinterest. I initially found it on Zappos at a much high price. After Googling a bit, I found it on Orvis for a bit cheaper even with paid shipping. I even signed up to receive $10 off which made it even cheaper than Zappos. (Don't get me wrong, I usually find great deals on Zappos and love the two-way shipping). Zappos also had more colors but I chose the platinum color from Orvis. It looks like it has quite a bit of what I am looking for with compartments and straps. The bag should be here Monday so I will report back! In the upcoming days, I will also include what I am packing in this illustrious bag. If you have any other bag suggestions, please let me know!

I do not receive compensation or product for this post. These are my opinions only.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Giving the Boot to Flip Flops

Target Taupe Kaelyn, Kaitlin Black Ankle, Old Navy Red
I recently wrote about a few items I think I will add to my fall wardrobe on the cheap. The other items that I also want to add is a few pairs of boots into the mix. The problem is weaning myself off flip flops. Not just any flip flops but my Tory Burch flip flops. I have at least a half dozen pairs in various colors and patterns. I get a new pair whenever they are on sale. I like them and am willing to pay up for them. I find the rubber to be more comfortable than the cheapy brands, and the pattern last longer for me. Plus, having that gold TB medallion at the thong part adds a bit of sparkle. I do not get the thin or wedge versions, however. I wear flip flops all year long since our climate is so temperate.

Which brings me to boots. I have seen so many cute ankle boots lately that I decided to get a few pairs. I recently came across this pair from Target, the Kaelyn Ankle boot. They did not have the taupe in my size so I found possibly an exactly match at DSW with their Pink & Pepper Duster Boot plus they had free shipping over $35! They are the perfect height heel plus they feel like real suede. I also ordered these from Target, the Kaitlin casual boot in black. They are also amazing! It also comes in an olive color. Both boots are perfect with leggings/jeggings or a dress, etc. I like that the heels aren't too high and they are actually walkable. Plus, the price is right. No one is going to be staring at a label or logo to see if you spent a ton of money. This way, you can probably get a few pairs instead of just one high end pair. Both of these boots seems to be made of high quality and I have gotten tons of compliments on both. Target also has a BOGO half off so hurry before this sale ends

I am also considering an entirely different color like these from Old Navy. They are a ruby, brick red color which I think would be a huge departure from my standard black uniform! Again, they are very reasonably priced and have good workmanship. I saw them in the store but haven't pulled the trigger yet to purchase. I think any of these choices would be stylish yet economical for the fall/winter season no matter where you live. If you have any other fashionomical tips, let me know. I'd love to post them for you!

UPDATE: The black Kaitlin boot from Target is amazing! So comfortable and looks alot more expensive than it really is!

The opinions stated above are my own. I do not receive product nor compensation for any of the above products.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Perfect Day

I have been pretty burned out lately looking for a new job. Looking for a new job has turned into a full time job itself with all the emailing, applications, networking, etc. It's too bad I am not getting paid for it. Today I decided that after dropping Big and Little Challenges at school, I would head up the coast with the Pup Challenges for a day for me...and them. Here on the west coast, the weather has been spectacular. The mornings are cool but warm up nicely around 10:30am with no marine layer at all.

Image Via Google Images/Haute Cakes
I started out having a casual breakfast at Haute Cakes in Newport Beach. It's one of my go-to cafe spots for a simple yet delicious breakfast. My usual French omelet is no longer on the menu so I decided to try the avocado toast with poached eggs which is quickly becoming my favorite breakfast or really anytime food! It's just a simple outdoor space with additional tables inside. The Pup Challenges love it too. The avocado was perfectly seasoned with salt and pepper and had two delicious poached eggs onto. I like to make avocado toast at home by using a Rustic Puglio loaf from the store, lightly toasted, then top with mashed avocado, drizzle of oil and dusted with salt and pepper. Mmmmm. I finished it off with a latte served in a real cup!

Delicious Scone

Off to Ce Si Bon off of Riverside also in Newport Beach. When we lived there, this was my go to spot for French bread and these apple cinnamon scones which are to die for. The scones aren't the typical dense door stop kind. The cake is lighter with real pieces of apple, cinnamon and a touch of sweetness. The Pups waited in the car and practically charged me as I entered with a bag of fresh baked goodies. I could tell they were bored so we drove over the hill to the new dog park near city hall.

Newport Dog Park
This used to be a giant mountain of dirt and plants and really a very valuable of real estate with ocean views in Newport. The project is finally finished with a new city hall, library addition, park areas and a new dog park. The view is spectacular. It is made of faux grass and pea gravel. Water and bags are also available. The Pups had a blast frolicking with a Lab named Dude, a Frenchie, an Akita, another Lab and a Pug. They were wiped out for sure and drank a bottle of water in the car! A good time was had by all. Nothing could complete the morning then a ride back down Hwy 1 back down south to the house. Both Pups came in, drank some water, and laid down on the floor. Even they had a perfect day.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fabulous Fall Fashion - Obsessing!

As our seasons overall are mild here, I always like to add a few pieces that stand out in my wardrobe for the upcoming fall and winter seasons. I recently found this scarf from Crave. I think it can be worn with inclement weather along as a statement accessory with any top, sweater or blouse. I think I am loving the grey and navy the best as I am trying to get away from my standard usual black. I also LOVE these pumps from H&M. They are surprisingly very comfortable and seem to have a hidden platform inside. Don't let the heel fool you. They are really comfortable and will be a WOW anywhere you where them. It's a nice departure from leopard or another animal print. They have a nice glossy look to them without looking too cheap. Plus, you cannot beat the price now. Be warned, you cannot return to H&M store right now so you will have to mail back if they don't work. They might look great with these that I mentioned yesterday, Old Navy Jeggings. I think they are cheaper in store but with the current promotion, it might all work out great online as well. I also picked up a couple of these tops in white, pistachio and navy. I don't think the colors are available online so you will have to check your store. They also had an army green which was really interesting. Did you know that Old Navy sends your items in a bag that can be used to return items? It's very convenient.

My whole look is that it has to be comfortable, affordable, classic and pretty. I think I have done just that with this little ensemble. Simple yet chic, at any age! Don't forget to do a web search for any promo codes that might be out there. I think I found one for HM for another 20% off!

Good luck and Happy Fall!