West Elm Online Sale!

Hello friends! With the frigid temps blasting the rest of the country, what better time to do a little online shopping? One of my favorite stores is West Elm, which can be pricey, BUT right now they're having a 15% off sale online UNTIL TONIGHT! They're also offering free shipping (excluding furniture/rugs) today only! And what's even better? There are TONS more sales happening online! So sales on top of sales! I thought I'd share some of my current favorites & recently purchased items in honor of the excitement. I mean, who doesn't love a sale?  Scroll to the bottom for the 15% off online code!

***Note, this is NOT a sponsored post despite my boastings. Remember folks, I'm not that cool

Bird Bowls

Mini Abacus Table Lamp - Mercury

Jay Street Ashti Pom Pom Pillows

Faceted Mirror - Small

Coyuchi Organic Dobby Duvet  
And some of my own recent purchases...

And the MOST exciting new purchase (that is back ordered a few more weeks...)

Online code to use at checkout: T3ZW-V3GK-TGPK



{Travel} Viva Las Vegas!

Oh man, this post is SO long overdue, but as usual, life has its way of interfering, My 30th birthday was a few weeks ago & I knew J had something up his sleeve but all I knew was we were going out of town for 2 nights.  I didn't know what clothes I had to bring, I didn't know if we were flying or driving & I certainly had no idea that when I arrived in our hotel suite, my friends, sister & brother-in-law would be waiting in the room ready to scare the crap out of me! The funniest part? Getting to the room, the key not working & me trying to figure out why J was getting so upset! The destination was Vegas (which if you know me is one of my favorite places) & the surprise was a complete success! (Please note, all photos taken from my iPhone, so SUPER high quality here) 

We stayed at V'dara & everything was simply perfect.  From what J has told me, Edward Giustiniani in Guest Services/Concierge was phenominal to work with & nailed every detail. From the champagne that was waiting to the chocolates brought by later that evening, it was just perfect.

 I have to give some MAJOR credit to my friends/sister/brother-in-law for 1. Keeping their travels a complete secret from me, 2. For trekking across the country to come surprise me (& then getting stuck/changing plans due to the damn snowstorm) 3. For just being awesome. 

I also owe a huge THANK YOU to my family & friends who couldn't be there, but sent champagne, cake, flowers & appetizers at dinner. And of course, J gets the BIGGEST thanks for pulling off one of the best weekends of my life. What an awesome way to start this new decade!  I only wish we could go back & do it again!! You all know how to make a girl feel loved.

At the recommendation of my old boss, we went to China Poblano for dinner on Night #1. The restaurant was Chinese/Mexican...but not exactly fusion. There were Chinese items & Mexican dishes & it was all glorious!  After dinner, we decided to take in the strip via The High Roller at The Linq. It's basically the worlds tallest ferris wheel & the best part? Some of the pods had a bar, all you can drink. PARTY POD!!!!

After floating above the strip, we went back to Aria (which was across from our hotel) & spent the rest of the evening gambling & sipping cocktails in one of their many lounges. Perfect first night! The next morning, we headed over to The Bellagio for their infamous all you can eat buffet. I'll spare you my food picture. After the night we had, a big meal was incredibly necessary.  After brunch, we played around a bit in the hotel & their Botanical Gardens which were celebrating the Chinese New Year.
It was then necessary to spend some dough, so we hit  City Center & The Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace.  From there, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner at my favorite Vegas restaurant, STACK.

After dinner, it was time for more gambling because I just hadn't lost enough. Oh...and more cocktails. The next morning, we lost some folks to early flights (thanks winter storm) but those that were left ate a casual lunch, then it was time to get back on the road home. Such an awesome weekend!


Reading Challenge: Book #3 Review

I just finished book #3 out of 52 for the reading challenge I've decided to take on. Book #3 fills the category: A book you own but have never read.  I have quite a few books that I've purchased over the years that have just been collecting dust so I had a decent selection to choose from.  I decided to go with, Little Bee by Chris Cleave.  The reviews for this book were excellent & used words like "magical".    I have to say, I wasn't really a fan of the ending. I felt like it just sort of ended & I wanted to know more.  I would still recommend reading this book, though it took me way longer to get thru than book #2. There is no summary included with the book as the author/publisher/whoever would prefer you just read the book. Well, I won't do that to you guys so once again, stealing the summary from goodreads.  If you've read this book, I'd love to know your thoughts!

Little Bee, a young Nigerian refugee, has just been released from the British immigration detention center where she has been held under horrific conditions for the past two years, after narrowly escaping a traumatic fate in her homeland of Nigeria. Alone in a foreign country, without a family member, friend, or pound to call her own, she seeks out the only English person she knows. Sarah is a posh young mother and magazine editor with whom Little Bee shares a dark and tumultuous past.

They first met on a beach in Nigeria, where Sarah was vacationing with her husband, Andrew, in an effort to save their marriage after an affair, and their brief encounter has haunted each woman for two years. Now together, they face a disturbing past and an uncertain future with the help of Sarah’s four-year-old son, Charlie, who refuses to take off his Batman costume. A sense of humor and an unflinching moral compass allow each woman, and the reader, to believe that even in the face of unspeakable odds, humanity can prevail.


{Recipe Update!} Pan Roasted Chicken Stuffed with Spinach & Feta

Time to update this recipe! 
Old photo...

New photo...

Update...clearly I didn't grill the chicken this time, went with the easier method of pan roasting.

It's been a while (3 months!) since I posted a chicken dish that I actually made. When I found this recipe online, it screamed MAKE ME. I mean, anytime there is cheese involved I'm usually game. The chicken was so tender & creamy....I actually found myself wanting more after I finished my dinner!  I found the recipe at Skinny Mom & only made a few modifications. She also said that a serving size was half a piece of chicken.  I don't know about you, but half a piece of chicken is not going to cut it for me.  However, even by multiplying the serving size, this dish still remained relatively healthy! J & I chose to grill the chicken, but this could easily be made stove top or baked.

Serves: 2
Cook time according to Skinny Mom: Doesn't say
Cook time according to Rachel: 30-35 mins + 2-3 hours marinating time (or overnight)
How difficult was this for Rachel? Stuffing the chicken was a bit challenging, but maybe you'll be better than me.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup crumbled basil & tomato feta cheese
2 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup pre-washed fresh spinach
2 cups Greek dressing
1 large ziploc bag

That's it!


Place chicken breasts in ziploc & cover in Greek dressing. Let marinade at LEAST 2 hours.  

Next time I make this, I might try over night.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil.  Add spinach & cook for 2-3 minutes until it softens.

Remove from heat & set aside.
Old photo:
New photos:
(Pretty close to the old!)
In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese & feta
Old photo:
New photo:
Here comes the fun part.  Cut the chicken in half & then slice the insides making a pocket. 
Take 1/4 of the cheese mixture & 1/4 of the spinach & stuff the chicken. 
Make sure to shove the cheese & spinach as far down into the chicken as possible.
Old photo:
Grill chicken until completely cooked through. 
Old photo:

New photo:
Once cooked through, I added a tad more dressing on top & serve!


{Recipe} Slow Cooker Lasagna

We got a new TV!! Isn't that SO exciting for all of you?! It took 3 years worth of J saving up Best Buy gift cards, but we finally got the new TV he's always wanted. So what the hell does a new TV have to do with lasagna? Well, the new TV wasn't going to install itself & nobody  trusted me to be the 2nd set of hands to un-mount our old TV & mount this new sucker (because everyone is smart) , so we decided to call our trusty friend Dan for the job.  J, being the kind-hearted friend he is, didn't want to just use Dan for his muscles, so instead we lured him with a home-cooked meal provided by moi.  Now, I had just come off a 17-days-in-a-row-hell at work & wasn't up to being super fancy, so crock pot it is!  A while back, I made a lasagna in my crock pot & it was SO easy & delicious.  I figured this would be the perfect dinner...plus, I knew Dan loved lasagna since  he recently attempted to make one with 6 different kinds of noodles (yes ladies, he IS single). I logged on here to look for the recipe & couldn't find it in my recipe box. Hmm, odd. So, I went to Pinterest thinking I for sure saved the original recipe there. Wrong.  Well, shit. I started looking around on Pinterest thinking if I saw the original photo I might recognize which recipe I made. Nope.  OK then, let's start over.  I went to one of my staple recipe sites, Six Sister's Stuff & of course they had a version of the recipe. I have to say, I REALLY enjoyed it!  I always read the comments on recipes (I hope people don't come to my blog looking for comments because people rarely comment here...*ahem*) & some people said they felt the recipe was a bit bland. SO, with that knowledge, I was able to modify my ingredients & lacking flavor IT DID NOT.  It didn't take much prep time at ALL which is always a bonus for me.  I also realize I've posted 3 different lasagna recipes in the last month or so...I may have a problem.

Serves: 6-8
Cook Time: 4.5-6 hours
How difficult was this for me? Psh, easy!

1 lb. lean ground turkey (I used Jenny-O Italian Seasoned)
1 jar 24 oz. spaghetti sauce (I recommend using something with seasoning, I used garlic)
1 cup water
1 pkg Italian Cheese (or mozzarella)
1 (15oz) container of Ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, separated
1 egg
2 tbsp. parsley (I forgot this part)
6 regular lasagna noodles, uncooked

Brown meat in large skillet. Drain.

Stir in spaghetti sauce & cup of water 

In a separate bowl, combine egg, 1.5 cups of Italian cheeses, ricotta, 2 tsbp parm, & parsley.

Spoon 1 cup of meet sauce into bottom of slow cooker. I left my meat a tad chunkier.

Place 3 uncooked noodles on top of sauce. I used 2 full noodles, then broke up the 3rd. 

Spread half of the cheese mixture on top of noodles. I used a spatula & it spread pretty easily.

Cover with 2 cups of meat sauce.  Top with remaining noodles, cheese mixture & meat sauce

Sprinkle with remaining cheeses (parm included) & cover with lid. Cook on low for at least 4-5 hours.