Takara Sushi review (and a $25 gift card for one of you!)

I was invited, along with the Tampa Bay Bloggers to participate in a complimentary tasting at Takara Sushi and Sake Lounge in Tampa in exchange for a review and blog post. In addition, I received compensation in the form of a gift card, however all deliciously fishy opinions are my own.

I’m not sure if fun is allowed on Tuesday evenings. Continue reading


Easy gift giving with HipChip!

Have you ever been in charge of collecting contributions toward a teacher appreciation, baby shower or bosses day gift from a group?

I find myself in this situation quite often. I have a close knit group of girlfriends and we chip in for presents, like gift cards, each time one of us has something to celebrate! Continue reading


20 Days Until Christmas!

Where has the time gone? How are we just 20 little days from the most wonderful time of the yearrrrrrrrrrrr?

Did you sing that with me? Good. I don’t think it’s possible to just “read” that part. It must be sung. 

My holiday season started off with a BANG when I got my chicas together for a holiday dinner and gift exchange a few days ago at Macaroni Grill. We decided to get together early since someone is expecting a little one next Friday!! 


Aren’t we a gorgeous bunch? I just love them! Of course, what happens at chica’s events, stays at chica’s events, but let’s just say our conversations are NEVER boring. Of course we talk about girly stuff, like love, babies, engagements, food and good wine, but then there are the occasional topics that pop up like squirrels with nuts, baguettes, slip n’ slides, and bathroom aviaries. Oh the joys of inside jokes among friends. 😉

And to top it all off, we had quite the waiter!


He may or may not have given me his name to look him up on Facebook and tag him in these mystery pics he took of himself… 

I may or may not have given him my blog link. :::everyone say “Hi Macaroni Grill Waiter”::: in case he’s tuning in!

With just 11 more wakeups of school until a long 2 week vacation, I’m finding that I’m more than ready to bring on the holiday spirit! The Christmas decorations are starting to pop up all along our house, and the guy said that outside lights might be in our Thursday evening plans. I wonder if I can convince him to go tree hunting as well…. hmmm…. we’ll see! 

I’d like to have the house all beautified and ready to go for this weekend as I’m hosting a little holiday cookie and/or appetizer exchange with my nearest and dearest! If you recall, I hosted a group of Tampa Bay Bloggers last year for a HUGE sugar swap! I swear I am still finding powdered sugar in the nooks and crannies of my house from LAST year! This year Caroline has graciously offered to host the 2nd annual cookie extravaganza in her beautiful new home. I’m always excited to mingle with fellow bloggers, especially since so many of them have become friends. And you might be wondering…. have I abandoned No Sugar No Grains? Well, no. I’m still going strong. I did have a small piece of pumpkin cheesecake and a modest scoop of regular stuffing (there really is just no replacement) on Thanksgiving, but other than that I’ve stuck with the plan. It’s surprisingly easy once the first 30 days has passed, and even Brian double checks on restaurant options when we’re planning to go out to dinner. (Chipotle, for the win!).

So why in the world would I agree to host AND attend multiple cookie swaps this holiday season? Well, I can’t help but love a good social event, and in the end, that’s really what it’s all about. Camaraderie, friendship, the spirit of giving and sharing. The temptation is worth the experience, and to be honest, there most likely won’t even be any. Especially when I have these recipes in my back pocket! I’m still debating as to which two I should whip up (Caroline is NSNG as well, so I can’t wait to see what she has planned!). 

Which ones do YOU think I should attempt? Honestly, I’m kinda leaning towards the last one. Bacon always wins, right? 😉

Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Paleomg

Rice Pudding Balls from Tasty Yummies (yes, these have some coconut sugar and rice, so these won’t work for strict NSNG, but they look damn good). 

Nom Nom Chocolate Truffles from Nom Nom Paleo

Infamous Bacon Cookies from The Food Lovers Kitchen

What holiday events do you have planned over the next 20 days? Do share! 

-Steph 🙂