Thursday, December 31, 2015

Not So Basic Dress + Champagne Punch Recipe

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ― Clare Boothe Luce

Although I enjoy lace details and vibrant prints, a simple basic design is a wardrobe staple. Every woman owns a little black dress, and perhaps you've even added a little white dress to your collection. A simple dress can match almost any accessory or shoe that you have. Perhaps you don't even need to add much to make a dramatic statement.

A simple dress suits almost any occasion well including parties, work, or play. Add your favorite accessories and you're ready to shine.

For winter, I love rich, deep hues that I associate with the tones found in nature at this time. The rich, forest green color of this informal long sleeve dress flatters every skin tone. The traditional round neckline frames the face and collar bone and a cut out in the back adds flair and contemporary style. The empire waist and substantial fabric flatter and slim. For reference, I ordered a small and the dress fits well.

Shein Dark Green Long Sleeve Casual Dress maryland lifestyle preppy blogger review

How are you planning to celebrate the new year? Natalia and Alexia have an early celebration planned with the youth group from church and will be at home by 9:30. Although we're going to be at home this year, I still plan to make some special treats.

Champagne punch is a delicious treat and tastes so sweet. With only 3 ingredients, it's a snap to make for any festivity.

raspberry champagne drink recipe new year maryland blogger

Directions: Combine a bottle of champagne with a 1 liter bottle of raspberry ginger ale. Add a bag of frozen raspberries to the punch bowl. Garnish each glass with a raspberry. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

When It's Warm in December

What do you do when the thermometer registers 70 degrees in the winter and you long to see cold weather reminders of winter? You go to ICE! 

We packed a bag with scarves, hats, and gloves and ventured to the Gaylord National Resort to see the amazing ice display. The walk through attraction is kept at a chilly 9 degrees, but the blue parkas that we were given to wear over our winter coats kept us quite comfortable. I never felt too cold in the exhibit.

maryland lifestyle blogger gaylord national ice

Seven large rooms of ice displays told the story of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." I loved the vibrant colors of the animals and people portrayed in the elaborately carved ice. In total, there are more than 2 million pounds of ice that make up the exhibit! We also watched one of the artists as he worked on more ice sculptures in a live carving zone.

gaylord national ice reindeer

But my favorite part of the ice display was the nativity scene. The clear colored ice made a stunning visual representation of the Holy Family.

gaylord national ice nativity scene

After a visit with Santa at the Gaylord and a quick tour around the resort, we explored National Harbor. If you're looking for a great dining option, I highly recommend Rosa Mexicano, just a quick walk from the resort. I enjoyed walking along the waterfront.

j crew chateau parka sorel boots maryland preppy lifestyle blogger

Sunglasses  /  Chateau Parka  /  Pants  /  Boots

Natalia and Alexia especially enjoyed the 150 shops at National Harbor. The Peeps store is always a favorite.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

$14 Half Sleeve T-Shirt Dress

Wearing a dress makes getting dressed a breeze. I love wearing dresses all year long because it's easy to wear and accessorize any dress. A soft and comfortable t-shirt dress is even better, offering a perfect (wrinkle free!) solution for travel or a busy day of errands or work.

When I spotted this red half sleeve casual dress, I knew that I needed to pick it up immediately. The stretchy jersey knit dress has a substantial weight to it and is not flimsy or clingy at all. After carefully reading the fit reviews on the website and seeing that the dress runs slightly large, I selected a size small, particularly because I was concerned about the length. Overall, the dress fits me well, although it is a little bit big.

shein website review red half sleeve tshirt dress maryland preppy blogger

Dress /  Tights  /  Necklace (old, but similar ones here)  /  Boots 

I paired the casual dress with some fleece lined tights, a statement necklace from J. Crew, and tall boots. The simple outfit is easy to style and wear, but the best part of all is that the dress is a steal at only $14! A word of caution...shipping from the website was very slow, taking almost 3 weeks for the tracked package to arrive. But for $14, I'll wait patiently!

j crew statement necklace on sale maryland lifestyle preppy blogger

Sunday, December 27, 2015

After Christmas Sales

At our house, Christmas was a whirlwind of food, family, and fun! We celebrated at 3 different gatherings, each one spent with family and accompanied by delicious treats. Natalia and Alexia love the Vineyard Vines Shep shirts and the Bean boots that Santa ordered for them many months ago. I added a few pieces to my collection of nativity scenes including a gorgeous angel and nesting set that my aunt picked up for my in Sausalito, California. 

Both the girls and I also received some gift cards that we plan to spend during the after Christmas sales. Lots of amazing deals currently tempt me online. 

Anthropologie's Tag Sale includes over a thousand items with an additional 25% off the currently marked price with the code TAGTIME. I love this tunic dress!

anthropologie lanka tunic dress on sale

Wear this stunning pleated poplin blouse in warm weather winter! 

During the Nordstrom half yearly sale, many items that rarely go on sale are offered for a fabulous price! The Hunter Original High Gloss Boots are 40% off with free shipping. 

Hunter original high gloss boot on sale nordstrom
With the warm weather that we have had this month, I find myself reaching for half zip sweatshirts on a regular basis. Pick up this adorable flamingo half zip sweatshirt and stay warm in style. 

Belk crown and ivy flamingo half zip sweatshirt like similar to lilly pulitzer popover on sale

What did Santa bring to you this year?

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. - Isaiah 9:6 

Merry Christmas to you, your family, and your friends. Christmas is a season of great happiness: a time for fondly remembering the past and hoping for the future. I wish you much peace and love to fill your heart with joy during this wonderful season. Last night, I enjoyed Christmas Eve church service with my cousin and our families. I'm so blessed to be surrounded by so much family.

Singing Christmas Carols at church is always a highlight for me. I also love to see the younger children in bow ties and smocked dresses who eagerly await Christmas morning. Our church offers an array of programming and activities for children, youth, and teens. It means so much to me to watch my daughters grow in their faith.

mud pie dress maryland lifestyle blogger preppy christmas eve

maryland preppy blogger christmas eve elizabeth mckay louis vuitton

After church, we enjoyed some Christmas cheer at our neighbor's party. What a perfect way to end the day! Finally, after the girls went to sleep, Santa's elves worked diligently to prepare for Christmas morning.

preppy christmas gifts vineyard vines lilly puliter maryland lifestyle blogger

This morning, my parents are coming to our house to see the girls open their presents. Later we'll go to John's parents' house and to my aunt's house. It will be a whirlwind of family, food, and fun!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Mad For Plaid

During the summer, I love my pretty prints, but nothing is better than plaid in the winter. It's festive, fun, and classic. Add flair to your wardrobe and with these updated pieces for a classic trend. In a bold color choice, plaid makes a fashion statement.

preppy plaid sperry plaid vest pajamas black watch plaid wine tote insulated thermos

Brushed Mohair Check Poncho  /  Tartan Plaid Vest  /  Black Watch Plaid Dress (only $25!)
                                              Tartan Tennis Shoes  /  Insulated Thermos

Stay cozy and warm on cold winter mornings with the sparkle plaid flannel pajamas. With a metallic sparkle thread in the flannel, this updated tartan is a winner!

plaid j crew sparkle pajamas on sale preppy lifestyle blogger

Black watch plaid has always been one of my favorites. Flattering darts and lines show off your shape in this gorgeous dress. Best of all, at only $25, you can afford to add this piece to you collection today. 

plaid mod cloth preppy black watch plaid dress on sale

Ponchos make a perfect choice for the mild winter that we've had this year. Layer this soft mohair plaid poncho over your favorite sweater and it's a classic look that Audrey Hepburn would admire.

Vests add warmth without adding bulk. This tartan plaid vest offers a fantastic shape that is somewhat fitted at the waist. I chose my regular size in this vest.

Tartan Plaid Vest (40% off!)

What plaid do you like to wear?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Winter Lights

One of my favorite holiday traditions is seeing holiday lights. Whether you see community displays or your neighbor whose spirit animal is Clark Griswold, stay warm and cozy from the comfort of your car. So pile in the car with friends and family, fill a plaid thermos with some hot chocolate, and play some Christmas music as you make holiday memories!

Last night, we visited Winter Lights, at Seneca Creek State Park. We arrived shortly after the display opened at 6 p.m. so we didn't have much of a wait even though probably a hundred or so cars lined the entrance at that time. During the 3.5 mile drive, we saw more than 365 illuminated displays and 65 animated vignettes that light up the night.

winter lights maryland lifestyle blogger christmas lights

I loved Cinderella's Castle. Little details like the pumpkin coach and the animated unicorn delighted visitors.

winter lights maryland lifestyle blogger christmas lights

Lights illuminated every area of the park, but I especially enjoyed the lights in the water and on the willow trees. Santa waved goodbye as we left the park.

winter lights maryland lifestyle blogger christmas lights

It took about an hour for us to observe the displays and we never felt rushed  even though it was so crowded by the time we left. If you go, I recommend that you arrive early to avoid crowds.

Other Local Holiday Displays

34th Street in Hampden, Maryland



If you know of any fabulous holiday displays and lights in the area, please let me know. I'd love to add it to my list.

Where do you like to see holiday lights?

Friday, December 18, 2015

Top 10 List: America's Favorite Holiday Comfort Foods

It's my favorite (and most delicious) time of the year! 
Preparing holiday meals is an extremely important tradition in my family -- it has been since I was a little girl. During the holiday season, we'd always make tons of casseroles and sweet treats for our extended family. I used to love the smell of everything browning and bubbling in the oven. I still do. Everyone in my family has a certain specialty. My mom is known for her delicious pies, while my Aunt Kathy's banana bread disappears almost instantly. 
I recently partnered with Del Monte (the makers of premium canned vegetables and so much more) to share with you some fun stats on what Americans love to eat during the holidays. They just published their Del Monte Comfort Food Index, which ranked the Top 10 Holiday Comfort Foods.

Throughout the holiday season, we have pretty much all of these dishes on the menu at one point or another. We love potatoes in our household, but casseroles are always a huge hit too. Who doesn't love casseroles?
Going through the Del Monte America’s Recipe site, I discovered some recipes I'd like to try out for this year, both during and after the holiday season. 
Cheddar Corn Casserole may be the ultimate holiday comfort food. You can also add ham or turkey to it to make it a complete meal. 

Another guaranteed holiday hit is Green Bean Casserole. In fact, it's not surprising to hear that 57% of Americans find it comforting and nostalgic to eat green bean casserole. (I'm certainly one of these folks.)
And... Pie. I could probably eat a fruit pie everyday. Del Monte's Peach Slab Pie recipe is so easy to make, I'm excited to try it! The crust is mixed into the pan, it doesn't get simpler than that. 

So, just how important is comfort food during the holidays? Very important. The survey also found:
-  46% of Americans agree that their family "shows love and comfort through food."
-  44% of Americans look forward to the food more than presents during the holidays. (Totally true in my family!) 
-  62% of Americans say that they are "traditional and like to make or eat classic comfort recipes in the same way every year."  
-  38% of Americans say they "like to change things up and prefer modern twists on favorite comfort foods." 
Looking for more quick and delicious versions of comfort food? Check out some of my new faves which match the top 10 comfort foods:
1.  Potatoes (mashed or scalloped):  84%  Skinny Scalloped Potatoes 
2.  Pie:  82%  Peach Slab Pie 
3.  Baked goods (cookies and muffins):  81%  One Bowl Carrot Oat Muffins 
4.  Macaroni & cheese:  75%   The Best Macaroni, Cheese and Peas 
5.  Cake:  71%  Individual Mandarin Tin-Can Cakes 
6.  Casserole:  69%  Cheddar Corn Casserole and Green Bean Casserole 
7.  Stews and hearty soups:  68%   Shrimp and Corn Stew 
8.  Meatballs (with or without pasta:  65%  Meatball Pasta Bake 
9.  Sweet potatoes (mashed or cut):  61%  Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Pear, Sage and Browned Butter                     
10.  Cornbread:  60%  Golden Sweet Cornbread 

Find more of Del Monte's top-rated, family-approved holiday recipes here: Del Monte America’s Recipe site.
I'd love to hear which of these recipes you want to add to your holiday dinners! Let me know in the comments below. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

$1 Gift + Plaid Vest

Are you getting ready for Christmas? The countdown is officially ON at Casa Pink and Green. Luckily I'm finished with all of my shopping and already wrapped the majority of the gifts. I love to give gifts to many people to let them know that I care about them, but it breaks my budget to spend a lot on numerous gifts.

People remember personalized items and DIY crafts for a long time after they receive the gift. Natalia and Alexia prepared gift bags for their teachers filled with a personalized note pad, a few brightly colored Sharpies, and a candy cane.

preppy lifestyle blogger christmas teacher gifts personalized note pads

But a tempting treat tops my holiday gift list this year. For only a dollar a pop, I purchased Frosty Key Fobs from Wendy's. This magic ticket entitles the holder to a free Jr. Frosty with every visit to the restaurant. To sweeten the deal even more, ninety cents from every dollar goes to charity!

1 gift for christmas wendy frosty key fob

 As Christmas Day approaches, I find myself pulling out my favorite plaids to wear. Recently I spotted this plaid vest and knew that I had to add it to my collection. The incredibly versatile puffer vest matches with so many things that I already own.

talbots plaid puffer vest preppy lifestyle blogger maryland

Plaid Vest  /  Dress  /  Shoes

What gifts do you give to a group?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Holiday Brunch with Friends

Every year, some of my friends and I gather together to celebrate Christmas at our annual ornament exchange. Often someone hosts the festivities in her home, but this year we decided to enjoy brunch at the Comus Inn. This delightful historic property boasts stunning views of Sugarloaf Mountain and offers delicious regional cuisine.

Jessica and I pondered the menu for about 10 minutes before ordering several appetizers to enjoy before our meal. I highly recommend the banana bread (served warm!) and the crab hush puppies. The crab hush puppies tasted so delicious that we ordered a second batch to share with the rest of the ladies. 

maryland preppy blogger holiday brunch at comus inn

Although most of my friends ordered eggs Benedict, I chose the pecan chicken chopped salad. With the apple cider Dijon vinaigrette dressing, crumbled bacon, and crispy pecan chicken, I made the right choice! The service and attention that we received was impeccable.

maryland preppy blogger holiday brunch at comus inn pecan chicken salad

After our delicious meal, we exchanged ornaments and holiday gifts in a white elephant type exchange. Normally someone "steals" a few gifts, but this year, everyone loved their pick so much that no one stole others' gifts.

maryland preppy blogger elizabeth mckay dress kate spade skirt
Dress  /  Necklace  /  Skirt

After lunch, several of us explored the grounds of the Comus Inn to admire the amazing view.

Coat  /  Shoes

What traditions do you and your friends do for the holiday season?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Stocking Stuffer Ideas Under $20

As much as I loved all of my Christmas gifts as a child, I think that I enjoyed looking at the goodies in my stocking as much as more than the other gifts. I fondly remember oodles of Bonne Bell Lip Smackers and Lifesavers in a story book. My tastes have matured, but the delight that I take in choosing stocking stuffers has not diminished. I enjoy finding extra special things for the stockings.

Today I'm sharing my favorite ideas for your Christmas stocking. Best of all, these gifts are all $20 or less!

Top your favorite bottle and show your state pride with a slate state bottle stopper. I love the quality craftsmanship of these! Right now, coloring books for adults fly off store shelves, but I've found an extra special coloring book. Unicorns are Jerks is a hilarious interpretation for a stress relieving adult activity. It might sound strange, but I like to receive socks at Christmas. I rarely splurge on nice socks for myself, so I welcome a pair of Fair Isle socks to add to my collection. A pack of eos lip balms allows the lucky recipient to stash one in every bag and desk drawer.

Make every morning special with a chic travel mug. What a fantastic way to start your day!

anthropologie travel mug stocking stuffer ideas under $20

Beauty products always make an excellent choice for gifts for a Christmas stocking. Ordinary hand cream becomes extraordinary presented as an ornament for the tree! Pick up a limited edition set of lip glosses like this set from smashbox for your favorite beauty lover.

stocking stuffer loccitane hand cream smashbox art love color lip set

Christmas means that you'll be spending a lot of time with family. Share some fun memories with a card game using this unique set of cards.

stocking stuffer idea under 20 fredericks and mae playing cards

What items are you putting in stockings this year?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

70 degree temperatures this weekend didn't dampen my holiday spirit. If anything, the warm weather offered an opportunity to spend time outdoors. I loved being able to walk in the neighborhood this weekend; it's such a treat this time of the year. On Saturday, I think that I was outside almost all day!

At home, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I wanted to try to recreate a Williamsburg inspired look for the house. I picked up 75 feet of natural garland to hang from the porch and picket fence in front of the house.

traditional christmas decoration window swag williamsburg style

A pineapple and apple-topped cone sign welcomes holiday visitors to the house! I picked this up on my last trip to Williamsburg. Soon, I plan to buy a cone mold to make a centerpiece.

williamsburg welcome door sign pineapple apple christmas

Window swags hang over each window on the first level of the house.

traditional christmas decoration window swag williamsburg style

traditional christmas decoration window swag williamsburg style wreath

I enjoyed the fabulous weekend weather sitting on the sofa on the front porch.

Later this month, we will visit Williamsburg to see all of the Christmas decorations and houses. I hope to get more ideas for future decorating projects.


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