Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What I Wore to Work - Wet Seal Dress


Dress - Wet Seal (Goodwill)

Stepping out to work in another Goodwill find, a sleeveless, gray Wet Seal dress.  For a summery pop of color, I wore my yellow floral pin.  One of the executives visiting our office commented the flower really brightened his day!    


A close up view of the plunging collar and fitted waistline.

Mary Ellen


pleated poppy

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quick Meals for Working Moms - Penzey's Taco Rice



Taco Rice
Local, grass-fed beef served over organic brown rice, topped with shredded lettuce, sour cream, chunky salsa and shredded raw cheddar cheese 

I was so excited to find out a Penzey's spice shop had opened in Raleigh's Cameron Village.  I had seen the quality of their spices praised on many a blog, as well as their affordable prices.  I'm like a kid in a candy shop at Penzey's!  So many new and wonderful spices and blends to try.  And it doesn't hurt the store is within easy walking distance of the yummy Cafe Blue cupcakes from Cafe Carolina & Bakery :)

Aside from having great coupons for FREE goodies, the Penzey's catalog (can be requested on-line here) has recipes submitted from customers.  Browsing through my summer catalog, I found this great recipe for a quick and easy Mexican inspired meal.  Perfect for a weeknight dinner after work!

Taco Rice Recipe
submitted by Jamie Kiefer
from Penzey's Summer 2011 catalog

Brown 1lb ground beef or ground turkey over medium heat.  After draining the meat, add 4 tablespoons of Penzey's Bold Taco Seasoning.  Add 3/4 cup of water to the pan, reduce heat and simmer for 8 - 10 minutes until most of the water has cooked away.  While the meat is cooking, add 1 tablespoon of Penzey's Salsa Salad Seasoning to a bowl of salsa (I used Trader Joe's chunky salsa).  Let the salsa sit while the meat is cooking.  

Serve the meat over cooked brown rice and top with taco fixings of your choosing.  We topped ours with shredded lettuce, sour cream, the chunky salsa with added seasoning and shredded raw cheddar cheese.  I also served organic tortilla chips and homemade guacamole on the side.  Delicious! 


Spicy goodies from my most recent trip to Penzey's.  The large bottle of Northwoods Seasoning was FREE with coupon from the Penzey's catalog. 

Mary Ellen

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Earth Moved Under My Feet

Did you feel it?!?

The kids and I were sitting in our living room, when the house began to shake.  The windows in the sunroom started to rattle.  I jumped up immediately not knowing what was going on.  Not seeing anything unusual, I assumed it must have been a large truck passing by.  It wasn't until Dave called from his office, I found out it was an earthquake!  Which did cause me some moments of temporary freakout.  We're good now - as long as everything stays in place!  Hope everyone is okay.

Mary Ellen

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back To School Blues



About this time of year, I start feeling a little blue.  Our Summer is coming to an end...sigh.  The first day of school is rapidly approaching.  Sure its exciting to meet the new teachers and new classmates.  To get started on new lessons, to make new friends and reconnect with old friends.  But I LOVE our long, lazy summer days.  And I'm always a bit sad to see them go. 

Mary Ellen

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What I Wore to Work - Mellow Yellow My Michelle Sundress


Dress - My Michelle (Goodwill)

I find it impossible to feel anything but cheery when wearing this yellow My Michelle sundress found at Goodwill.   


Shoes - Mudd T-bar heels (Goodwill)

White shoulder straps, waist band and eyelet detail peeking from underneath the hemline, contrast the dress' vibrant yellow color.


To complete the look, my favorite accessory item - a flower pin!  

Mary Ellen


pleated poppy


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vocalpoint - FREE Swiffer Duster Offer!


Are you a member of Vocalpoint?  If not, you should be!  I signed up a few months ago and have been pleasantly surprised by the wonderful offers I've received.  The $1 off Motts for Tots apple juice coupon I used for Super Doubles came from Vocalpoint, along with additional coupons and a sample juice box.



Vocalpoint is currently offering it's members a chance to receive a FREE classic Swiffer duster.  Visit Vocalpoint's website to reserve your free duster!

FYI - I'm not receiving anything from Vocalpoint or Swiffer for this post.  Just wanted to pass along the new offer as it just arrived in my inbox :)

Mary Ellen

Not So Extreme Couponing - Harris Teeter Super Doubles & e-VIC Coupons (ZVRs)


Sunday's haul from Harris Teeter's Super Doubles

During my hiatus from couponing about a year or so ago, Harris Teeter unveiled a new discount program allowing you to upload electronic coupons to your VIC card.  The best part about this program (compared to some other stores I've seen with similar programs) is per the Harris Teeter coupon policy, you can combine the e-VIC coupons (ZVRs) wtih paper coupons!  When you also factor in sales and double/triple coupon promotions, that can mean some serious savings!

  Harris Teeter has been running a Super Double coupon promotion since last Wednesday (today is the last day!).  Here are some of the great deals I was able to get during the event:

(1) Crest Pro Health Rinse 4.49 - 2 zvr - 2/1Q = .49

(1) Always Infinity Pads 3.99 - 1 zvr - 1/1Q (doubled) = .99

(1) Always liners 2.99 - 1 zvr - 1/1Q (doubled) = FREE

(1) Dawn dish detergent 1.69 - .50 zvr - .50/1Q (doubled) = .19

(1) Motts for Tots apple juice 2.99 - 1/1Q (doubled) = .99

(3) Gain dish detergents .99 - 50/1Q (doubled) = FREE

(3) Sure deodorants 1.99 - 1/1Q (doubled) = FREE

(3) Dentek flossers 2.85 - 1/1Q (doubled) = .85 ea

(1) Purina Cat Chow 3.50 - 1/1Q (doubled) = 1.50

(1) Ban Solid deodorant 2.99 - 1/1Q (doubled) = .99

Dave also got a FREE jar of Harris Teeter cheese dip when the price at the register did not match the price on the shelf.  I love, love Super Doubles at Harris Teeter!

Mary Ellen





Monday, August 15, 2011

Upstairs Master Bedroom Reveal


Check out BEFORE pictures here

The upstairs master bedroom transformation is complete!  And all it took to bring new life to this room was paint and a few new accessories.  For the wall color, I chose a relaxing gray (Gravity from Lowes Valspar).  Depending on the light, you can see hints of blue in the color.  We also replaced the lamps on the nightstands.  You may remember seeing those lamps in the Target circular a few weeks back as part of their dorm decor.  I thought the color and shape of the lamps were so cute, even if they were intended for a dorm room!  I picked up the white shag accent rugs from Target as well, after some indecision and exhaustive searches of Kohls, Homegoods, TJMaxx and Pier 1. 


The bedding is also from - you guessed it - Target!  But purchased a few months back.  I want to find "something" to go over the bed, I'm just not sure what yet!  Maybe even something in a soft yellow to bring in a pop of color. 


I'm making a vow to keep the room "quiet" by making sure the dresser is kept clear of clutter.  Of course you will notice the clutter next to the dresser!  Those are school supplies, bagged and separated awaiting the final teacher supply list.  I can't believe this is the last full week of summer before school starts :(


Dave installed this new ceiling fan from Home Depot.  Looks so much better than the 80's faux wood/brass number we had before.  And it doesn't shake or make weird noises when it's on high!


The closet doors and door leading to the bathroom also received a fresh coat of paint.  What amazes me most about the room now is that even though we kept the same furnishings and placement, the room looks so much bigger!  Definitely more inviting and relaxing.  And all thanks to my hubby's hardwork!  

Mary Ellen    

(Note:  The Target.com links are affiliate links.  Read my disclosure policy here).

Friday, August 12, 2011



I sit back and think about them good ole days.

The way we were raised, and our southern ways,

And we like cornbread, and biscuits,

And if it's broke round here we fix it.

-Jason Aldean, "Dirt Road Anthem"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What I Wore to Work - Ruby Rox Retro Style Dresses


Dress - Ruby Rox (Goodwill)

One dress brand I look for when browsing the racks of Goodwill is Ruby Rox.  I love the retro inspired look of some of their dresses, like the black dress above.  The dress has white stitching around the waist and two large white buttons up the front. 


The two buttons have anchors stamped into them.


Dress - Ruby Rox (Goodwill)

As luck would have it, on a separate Goodwill shopping occasion, I came across the exact same Ruby Rox retro style dress!  This dress however is black with white polka dots, has red stitching around the waist and red buttons (also with anchors).


I love my Ruby Rox dresses!

Mary Ellen

This post is linked at The Pleated Poppy

pleated poppy


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Market Day - Midtown (North Hills) Farmers Market



My little garden - except for a few grape tomatoes -  has pretty much succumb to our 100 degree days.  But there is still plenty of local goodness to be had at the Midtown Farmers Market at North Hills.  My Saturday mornings always include a trip to the market for local, organically-grown meats and vegetables for the coming week's meal plan.  There's just something so special about interacting with the person responsible for growing and raising your food!

Mary Ellen

Friday, August 5, 2011

Work In Progress - Upstairs Master Bedroom

This week, my very industrious husband has been tackling our upstairs master bedroom.  When we moved into our house 7 years ago (can't believe it was that long ago!) we quickly started painting some of the main rooms.  I believe Ashleigh's room was first.  She was 1 1/2 at the time and we wanted to make the transition from our apartment to house special for her.  Then we painted the room that would become the boys room as I became pregnant with Clay about a month after we moved in :)  But life got busy and time and money ran thin.  So our bedroom upstairs got pushed to the backburner.  It wasn't pretty, but it was functional. 

Fast forward to today and I am beyond thrilled that we are finally working on our bedroom.  Can't wait to share the transformation!  Stay tuned.



Before - Bed


Before - Closet


Before - My dresser


Saying goodbye to the old and yellowed wallpaper!



With the furniture out, sanding begins


We had to move the mattress downstairs to the family room much to the enjoyment of the kids!

Mary Ellen