Monday, April 30, 2012

We have a Winner!

I know...

It's Monday. Everybody's favorite.

To get the week started right, how about some of my favorite peanut butter chocolate chip M&M cookies? Decked out in their finest pastel M&M's. Naturally.

And let's not forget the Blade Buddy giveaway!

The random number generator has spoken and we have a winner!

Congrats Manda! I'll be in contact with you.

Last, but not least. Mother's Day is coming up soon! I'd share what I got for my Mom, but I know she reads the blog (Hi, Mom!). Instead, I'll share Meagan's super idea. She's getting her Mom this Mother's Day gift box from Rachel of Elephantine and Mignon Kitchen Co. Love it!

Treat Mother's Day Greeting Cards

And if you want to make your Mom a personalized card, Treat* (formerly TinyPrints Greeting Cards) is offering one free greeting card now through Mother's Day! Use coupon code "FREETREAT"

Hope this helped make your Monday a little brighter!

*Treat is a Fiscally Chic awesome affilitate.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Date Night Done Right

Kate Spade gumdrop earrings, J. Crew crystal cupcake necklace, Mark and James by Badgley Mischka Reza II espadrille wedge, Madewell white tee, Thakoon Addition maxi skirt

Depending on the week, our Friday night can either look like:
A. Cook an elaborate meal and enjoy a drink.
B. Heat up some leftovers or a frozen pizza and enjoy a drink.
C. Go out to eat.
D. Meet up with friends.

This week, it's looking like Option B. But if it were a C or D, I'd love to wear the outfit above. Clearly I'm still on a maxi skirt/dress kick, so when Lara shared that skirt yesterday, I knew I had to include it. Too bad I won't be adding it to my closet any time soon.

But don't worry, last Friday was definitely an A. I decided to make Eat Live Run's seafood risotto and it was well worth the ~1 prep time!

I also picked up a bottle of chardonnay that was just OK. The label and cork were much better than the wine itself.

What are you up to this weekend?

{And don't forget to enter my giveaway!}

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Award Season

{Have you checked out my giveaway yet? There's still time to enter!}

I know the major Hollywood award season is over, but that doesn't prevent bloggers from sharing awards! Recently, Melissa shared the the Liebster Award with me. (Thanks, Melissa!)

“This award we’ve discovered is given to bloggers who inspire you and have less than 200 followers. The Liebster Award takes its name from the German word meaning ‘Beloved, Dearest or Favorite.’”

I learned of Melissa's blog, Inspiration and Rough Drafts, through a college roommate who knew Melissa from home. Melissa and I started our blogs around the same time, so it's fun to see how we've "grown up" as bloggers. Plus, Melissa recently started her freelance writing business, Melrose Street Custom Content, which is super exciting!

As part of passing on the Liebster love, I'd like to recognize the following ladies and thank them for supporting Fiscally Chic.

Stephanie and I were set up on a "blind date" and never looked back. We met up for coffee when she still lived in Chicago and we became fast friends. It turns out we had all sorts of things in common: She's married to Jon, I'm married to John. She's Catholic, I'm Catholic. She was at a career crossroad, I was at a career crossroad. And so it went. Now Stephanie is in California and about to start a new job. Good luck!

Bye Bye, Bitters 

Helena and I are Big 4 survivors accounting buddies. She found me through a MML contributor post when I was talking about changing jobs. Helena just changed jobs herself by starting SweeterCPA! (It seems like I'm drawn to job-changers.) You should stop by because she's funny, smart, and loves her cats :)

Rebecca of The Bake and Brew

Rebecca is a girl after my own heart. Craft beer reviews and recipes for tasty baked goods. Let's just say that I read her review of New Belgium's Lips of Faith: Kick and made John call around to different liquor stores to find it. And let's not forget about her gorgeous photography! 

Winners, if you wish to participate, please keep the love going and refer to the instructions below.

1. Link back to the person who gave it to you and thank them.
2. Post the award to your blog.
3. Give the award to 3 to 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers that you appreciate and value (It’s a great way to get to word out there about other blogs!!)
4. Leave a comment on the 3 to 5 blogs to let them know that they have received this award.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

A Green Giveaway

Hi there! Did you have a good weekend? Ours was filled with food, friends (Hi, Heithaus's!), and relaxation. Earth Day was on Sunday and it had me thinking about the different ways we're green. Composting and using the reel (manual) push lawn mower automatically come to mind.

And let's not forget the Blade Buddy! I reviewed the Blade Buddy back in January after using it for a month. And guess what? It's April and I'm still using the same razor blade!

Shaving is neither green nor frugal. The average consumer spends hundreds of dollars a year on disposable razor blades and creates an exorbitant amount of waste each year. It's estimated that two billion blades and their packaging are thrown out each year, resulting in two million pounds of plastic waste. Yikes!

So to help reduce your shaving expenses and waste, I'm giving away a Blade Buddy to one lucky reader!

Here's how to enter:
  • You must be a follower on Google Friend Connect... so click there in my sidebar first if you haven't already! Then, check out Blade Buddy and leave a comment with one way you're "green."
Additional entries (leave a comment for each):

This giveaway closes on Sunday April 29, 2012 at 11:59pm Central.
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Picnic Primped

Loft orange maxi dress, Gap white denim jacket, Jess LC Diversey necklace,
Dolce Vita Bagley sandals, foutas from One Sydney Road, KDNY by Kelsi Dagger Jaycee Dome tote,
Hive & Honey bangles, J. Crew braided belt

Happy Friday! I might be starting a slight obsession with maxi dresses and skirts. It all started this past weekend when I purchased an orange maxi dress from the Gap factory store. Which inspired me to figure out how to sew a maxi skirt. Which brings us to today's outfit. This week's Friday's Fancies theme is "picnic primped" so I thought I would create an outfit based on my new orange dress. I already have similar pieces in my closet, so it's just a matter of when!

We have some friends visiting from St. Louis this weekend. If the weather cooperates, we'll be grilling! If it isn't warm enough to eat outside, maybe we'll have an indoor picnic.

Sources for pictures of lemon herb quinoa, cucumber and tomato salad,
raspberry beer cocktail, apricot squares

If a picnic is a part of your weekend plans, why not bring along some cucumber and tomato saladquinoa with lemon, herbs, and pine nuts, and apricot bars. And don't forget something tasty to drink. Perhaps some raspberry lemonade or a wheat beer.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Maxing Out

Over Easter, my Mom brought some vintage fabric from my Grandma's to share with me and my sister. We're talking fabric that's older than me. But you wouldn't know it based on some of the fabric I snagged. The neon pink polka dot is totally on trend. And the polka dots and gingham (not pictured) are classics. Even the black and white tropical pattern reminds me a bit of Kate Spade.

Which had me thinking. Between the curtains, purses, and pillow covers, I haven't tackled sewing an item of clothing yet. After a quick Google search, I found my first project.

This maxi skirt tutorial from Lorenna Buck.

anthro skirt

I can't wait to start! I wanted to sew either a skirt, shirt, or dress, but figured a skirt would be the easiest. Famous last words, right?

I'll check back in next year when it's done :) 

PS - I just found another maxi skirt tutorial that might be a little easier! Especially since I don't plan on working with silk chiffon the first time around.

Leanne Barlow of Elle Apparel has a super tutorial (with pictures!) on sewing a jersey maxi skirt. I might give this one a go with the brown fabric pictured above.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Tax Return Time

Hi friends! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty busy with family things and a little shopping. I got a few new things including the pink gingham shirt I'm wearing to work today. How long do you wait before wearing something new? I didn't waste any time this time around :)

As I'm sure you know, tomorrow is the deadline to file your US tax returns or an extension. To "celebrate" I thought I would share an interesting infographic from about how one could spend or invest his or her tax return. According to the IRS, the average tax return in the United States is around $2750! Enjoy!

PS - If you're a blogger that still has to file their taxes, don't forget to read this post.

Make Money with Your Tax Return Infographic

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Playing Hooky

Starlight Woods gingham earrings, Marc Jacobs gold watch, gold Sperry Topsiders,
Kate Spade "Play Hooky" shirt and pink pants

This Friday, I'm thinking about playing a little hooky.

Want to join me?

We can sleep in late. Get our nails done. Drink too much coffee.

And eat dessert first :)

Have a fantastic weekend (whenever it starts)!

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Apricot Bars

Old habits die hard! Because wouldn't you know it...I'm back sharing another dessert recipe :)

Like my favorite peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and guacamole, these apricot (or raspberry) squares are in the year-round rotation at our house. And the crust is extremely versatile because you can swap out the fillings for other fruit preserves or apple pie filling to make an apple crisp.

Before I get to the actual recipe, I have to tell you a funny story about one of the first times I baked these on my own.

It was 4th grade and we had to give "how to" or explanatory presentations. I planned on bringing in the ingredients for raspberry squares and demonstrating to the class how to make them. And of course I had to bring in the final product since I didn't have access to an oven at school.

I made the raspberry squares the night before and put them in a shirt box to bring to class. Once at school, I put the box of raspberry squares in the lockers. When it was time for my presentation, I was horrified to find an army of ants eating my lovingly baked goods!

I don't remember if I still presented on my assigned day or if I was given an extra day. Either way, I brought in a new batch of raspberry squares the following day in an air-tight container.

Who knew that I would learn about proper food preparation in 4th grade English class!

Apricot (or Raspberry) Squares

Makes a 9x13 pan worth of bars

1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter
2 cups quick oatmeal
2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
16-18 oz (a medium jar) of apricot or raspberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350*.

Grease a 9x13 pan generously.

Mix together oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, and melted butter.

Pat 1/2 of the mixture down on the greased pan.

Spread apricot or raspberry preserves evenly.

Crumble remaining flour and oatmeal mixture over the preserves and pat down gently.

Bake at 350* for 30 minutes. Or until the preserves start bubbling through the crumbles and the crumbles are starting to brown.

Cut into bars when cool.

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Have a Hoppy Easter!

LexLuxe rough diamond stud earrings, Kate Spade Baublebox bracelet, Ann Taylor peeptoe pumps,
Lilly Pulitzer Margot shift dress, VellePurse aqua and gold colorblock clutch

Hi there! Easter is this weekend and I'm starting to think what I'll wear to Mass on Sunday. With all of the floral dresses on the scene, you'd think it'd be an easy choice. What you don't know is my history with very floral dresses. OK, most of them were when I was younger, but still. I'm having flashbacks. I present to you Exhibit A:

The 1995 Spring line of Pilgrim dresses. Let's not forget the white tights.

It wasn't thaaat bad. I think.

After you've picked out your new Easter dress, it's time to decorate the house:

Here's my quick and easy Easter decoration. I just dropped plastic Easter eggs into our trifle bowl. Any clear container would work. Maybe the Easter Bunny will fill the eggs with candy :)

Easter bantam eggs in graphic patterns from Etsy seller PsankyPanky.

Modern Parents Messy Kids has the perfect use for all the paint chips hanging out at our house. There's still time, so I might cut them into Easter eggs and string them into a garland.

Color Me Pretty: Easter Ideas

Beautiful painted eggs found in the Easter edition of Color Me Pretty on Decor8.


If you like your eggs with a little more zip, Oh Joy! shows you how to make neon dip dyed Easter eggs.

And just for fun, here are some linen napkins from Etsy seller imali folded into Easter bunnies. BHG has a video that shows you how.

Have a Good Friday and blessed Easter!

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

More Etsy Awesome Sauce-ness

Hi friends! Do you mind if I toot my own horn for a hot little minute? I know this blog is way to share informative and entertaining things with you, but it's also a way for me to remember things.

You see, over the weekend, a buyer from Canada purchased three of my 18x18 in. Marimekko green ombre pillow covers. Just like this guy:

That in and of itself is pretty cool. What's even better is how the buyer found me. He sent me this note:
You may be interested to know that I became aware of your Marimekko ombre green pillow covers in a feature in our national newspaper, The Globe and Mail. The Saturday edition includes a Style section.

The pillow covers are going to complement a very large piece of glass, a bowl by Canadian glass artist, Mariel Waddell. 
Wait....what?!?! My pillow cover was featured in one of the largest newspapers in Canada???

After a quick search I found it.

The Globe and Mail's story about adding a dash of ombre to your home.

Do you see it? It's my pillow cover!!

Since the story didn't list my shop specifically, and I'm in Chicago, I probably wouldn't have learned about the feature unless somebody had told me.

I'm OK with that. I'm growing my business slowly and organically. If I had a huge rush in sales, I would be busy out of my mind. I'd rather have a balance between my personal and business life, especially since I have a full time job.

A feature like this is the cherry on top of a job well done :)
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