Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Blog of the Week: AA

Welcome to the Blog of the Week!  This week our blog of the week is AA written by Allison.  Meet Allison in this weeks blog of the week interview!

Tell us a little about you:
I'm a 32 year old native New Yorker. I work in the online advertising industry in New York City and live by the beach (doesn't get much better than that!). I have a passion for fashion (that rhymed), music, photography and obviously writing. My friends and family mean the world to me and I'm happiest when I'm with them.

What is your blog about?

It's a personal blog -- I share personal stories and experiences, share music and photos, touch on relationships/dating, talk about current events, hot topics and celebrities, and ALWAYS try to incorporate my signature sarcasm/humor :) 

What is your favorite spot to visit in the Northeast?
Central Park in NYC. It's so beautiful and you can go a hundred times and see something new each time you're there. I absolutely love it.

What do you love most about blogging?
I love starting a dialogue and seeing my friends and followers chatting about a topic I've written about. I'm happy to write even without feedback or comments, but when I get them it makes it SO much better. I want my writing to make people think and also share their personal experiences or opinions. 

What is your favorite form of social media?
It fluctuates, but right now I'm loving Instagram. I've always had an interest in photography, and IG is a great way to showcase my pics of NYC, friends/family (obviously my adorable niece) and even funny things.

Where do you live and what do you love about it?
I live in a beach town in Long Island. I grew up going to this specific beach and have incredible childhood memories of the town. Now, as an adult -- it's a GREAT place to live especially for young single folks and there are great bars, restaurants, people and of course -- the ocean!         

Thanks Allison!  Be sure to visit her blog this week and follow her on social media!

Check out a few of her favorite posts here:
Happy New Year everyone!
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Monday, December 29, 2014

New Year Resolutions--What's On YOUR List?

Well Christmas has come and gone and it seems everyone is looking towards the New Year and thinking about their resolutions for this year.

We all have our own personal resolutions but it always seems like losing weight, saving money and getting organized are the Top 3 New Year's Resolutions and to be honest with you, those are my resolutions as well. Resolutions image

 Here are some of the ways I plan on achieving my goals in 2015:

 1. Losing weight--last year I lost quite a bit of weight through dieting and daily exercising but like many other people I started slacking again and I stopped watching what I ate and my daily exercising.  I am determined that after the New Year I will make sure to eat healthy and more importantly, I want to start a daily exercise program. Last year I was doing the Focus T25 program and plan on starting that again.  I found that when I ate healthy and exercised not only did I lose weight but I felt great, my emotions were more in check and I had unbelievable energy!  No more sluggish feeling at 3 pm! 

2.   Saving money is always easier when you have a plan in place and again this year I plan on following the 52  Week Savings Challenge.  You may be familiar with this plan already but if not, it is a simple plan where each week you save a certain amount of money so that by the end of the year you have over $1300 saved....and it is easy because the first week you only save a $1!  We can all start with a $1 right?

I also plan on having my kids get in on saving money this year.  I took a large plastic pretzel container and cut a hole in the top.  All year long I am going to encourage my kids to add any of the change they find lying around the house and add it to the bucket.  At the end of the year we will use the change collected to do something fun!

 3. Finally, with a busy schedule and 5 kids getting,  and more importantly staying, organized is a never-ending process.  This year I plan on doing a 52 Week Cleaning and Organizing Challenge where every week I will declutter and organize a certain area of my house --and then keep it that way!  Details on the full challenge will be available on my site later this week so make sure to stop by!

I will also be having my kids help me declutter and organize so hopefully they will be motivated to keep it clean as well.

That is all my goals for now, what do YOU planning on tackling this year?

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmahkkah, Yo.

Our little family is one of mixed religions. My husband, Pete, is a Catholic who follows Lent to about 85% accuracy and goes to church when one of our nieces or nephews makes a Sacrament, and I am Jewish and only lit the Hanukkah candles on night one this year. After that, my son, PJ, was down for the count with strep throat and that was the end of the nightly fire and prayers.

Our apathetic religious feelings aside, it has always been important for us to share the magic and tradition of both holidays with our son. It's truly unfortunate that strep struck this year, because I was looking forward to teaching PJ the Hanukkah prayers and lighting the candles with him. The story of Hanukkah is such a sweet one- the miracle of a tiny drop of oil lasting for eight nights, enough time to rebuild a temple. We missed our chance this year to sit as a family and watch the flames flicker, but next year, PJ will be six by the time Hanukkah rolls around, old enough to hold the candles <i>with no help</i>, a privilege I was so excited to get when I was his age. I'll teach him how to play the Dreidel (a skill I never mastered as a kid) and we'll eat gelt to our hearts content.

As for Christmas, I would love for PJ to know more about the story of the birth of Jesus versus the birth of Santa's chubby butt down a chimney. The whole <i>magical getting presents</i> deal is so much fun, especially since I became a mother. But my Jewish, teenage self was in choir and absorbed the powerful music of the holiday, all of the real <i>take me to church</i> music. I hope we can take him to midnight mass one year. PJ is already immersed in the traditions Pete grew up with, and I would love to not only expand his scope of Christmas in the religious sense, but to begin our own traditions within our little family.

As for this year, there's two nights left of Hanukkah and PJ is healthy, so we will light the candles tomorrow after the sun goes down and pray over the little flames. Tonight, when I was getting PJ ready for bed, I threatened to call Santa and cancel his presents when he balked at taking his amoxicillan (it totally worked! Score!). We do the best we can to merge the two worlds we brought together when Pete and I married and had PJ, and hopefully, the love of the season will cover up any mistakes we make along the way!

Brie Latini is a thirty-something mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and fan of guilty-pleasure television. She currently lives in Collingswood, NJ with her husband Pete and son PJ. A work-a-holic turned stay-at-home-mom, Brie is enjoying her emerging second career as a writer as it now gives her a better excuse to pass on housework (“You load the dishwasher; I have to write!”). Brie’s work has been featured at Jersey Moms Blog, Mamalode, and MetroKids Magazine Online. You can read more about Brie’s journey through life as the mother of a special-needs child at her personal blog, {...a breezy life}.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Last Minute Christmas Cookies

Happy Holidays everyone! My name is Megan and I blog over at Soup of the Day. I’m also the DE/MD state rep and love popping in every month to share some tasty treats with you!

This year I’ve made a conscious effort to slow down and really enjoy the holidays. It seems I’m exhausted by December 20th each year and just want to relax and enjoy the holidays but I only have a few days left! This year I had all of my Christmas shopping done by the beginning of the month and have only SLIGHTLY exhausted myself on baking goodies for my friends and family.

My favorite cookies that I made this year were my chocolate crackle cookies. They are so easy to make and SO delicious. No more tedious icing and cookie cutter disasters (well I may have had one or two this year…) and they look beautiful as well. My favorite part is that they can be made with ingredients that most of us have handy in our homes aka the perfect last minute cookie! 

If cookies aren’t your thing you can ramp up your gifts this year by doing the following:
  • Make a hot cocoa in a jar gift
  • Use your holiday cookie cutters to shape blocks of frozen cool whip to decorate your hot cocoa
  • Make reindeer cookies from nutter butters and broken pretzel pieces
  • Skip the gingerbread houses and make ice cream cone trees

But just in case the chocolate crackle cookies are calling your name, here’s the recipe! Enjoy!
 photo BFE0EF42-D106-4966-BE7F-C33C9AD57FA0_zpsj0hbs6oe.jpg

Christmas Crackle Cookies

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla or almond extract (both work well!)
  • 2 1/3 cup of flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • powdered sugar
  1. Combine granulated sugar and oil in a large bowl and combine
  2. Add in cocoa powder, eggs, and extract. Mix well
  3. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt
  4. Slowly add flour mixture to cocoa mixture, making sure to mix well in between each addition
  5. Cover and refrigerate dough for 3-4 hours
  6. Set oven to 350 degrees Farenheit
  7. Shape dough into 1 inch balls, roll in your hands, roll in powdered sugar and place on a greased cookie sheet
  8. Bake for 12 minutes
  9. ENJOY! 

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Five Hop and 5 Tips for Taking Care of Yourself During the Holidays

Welcome to the Friday Five!  Each Friday we invite you to link up your Friday Five post with us!  No questions, rules or theme here- just a post of 5 things!  Be sure to check out our guest Friday Five post here before you link up!
Hi Northeast bloggers!  It's Danielle Kempe taking over the blog today. I'm your MA state rep and a blogger at Getting Fit in MA.

Five Tips for Taking Care of Yourself During the Holiday Season

1) Make a schedule
Get out your calendar and write down what needs to get done.

2) Make plans that are fun for you
Make sure your schedule includes tasks that re-energize you. For me, that's making sure I get fun fitness activities and gel manicures. (No, not at the same time.)

2) Give yourself permission to say "No" to requests on your time that don't energize you.
This seems to be the time of year when everyone decides to throw a party.
While well meaning, it can be a drag on your already packed "To do" list, and saying "no thanks" is OK!
And for things that you can't say "no" to but don't want to attend, plan ahead how much time you will spend there and stick to it.

3) Breathe
If stress is getting to you, take a moment to have a deep breath, and focus on reminding yourself why you're doing this particular task.
Is the parking at the mall insane but you need a last minute gift? See if you can figure out a less stressful way to complete the task. Would a less crowded store have an equal gift? (My go to is a small fruit basket from a local store.)

4) Make sure to eat
It's easy to get so busy checking tasks off the "to do" list this time of year that things we don't normally even think about go out the window. I make sure to carry snacks in my purse when I go out. (Almonds are a good one because they won't melt on you.)

5) Find humor where you can
I take a break to read a comic from "The Oatmeal" but figure out what works for you!

I wish you a joyous holiday season & a happy new year!
And now it's your turn!  Do you have a Friday Five post to share?  Link up here and be sure to visit and comment on a few others in the hop!

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

20 Days of Chill Writing Challenge: The themes

It seems like only yesterday that I posted about the 20 Days of Chill Writing Challenge.

Now, we are just a few weeks away from the start of it!

As promised, here is the theme list. This will, hopefully, allow each of you to maybe get a start on things. I hope we have a bunch of people who participate.

Remember, have some fun with this. Interpret as you see fit. These posts can be fact, fiction, true or fake -- all up to you. Test your writing chops.

The themes below came from many submissions I received. I randomly drew from those and a few I submitted and here's what we have. Some of these themes are quite interesting. Others a pretty simple and forward.

Remember how this works -- the day the theme is supposed to be posted, write a blog post, make it go live on your blog and go to my blog (A 'lil HooHaa) and link up! The hope is everybody will go and visit/comment on the other blogs. Without that, a challenge isn't successful.

Without further adieu, the themes are below:
  • January 5: Spilled milk
  • January 6: Favorite winter comfort food
  • January 7: Willy Wonka's greatest candy making secret
  • January 8: Travel
  • January 9: Invisible
  • January 12: What is "chill" and how do I do it?
  • January 13: Ten hotdogs
  • January 14: Favorite article of clothing for the winter
  • January 15: Dishing the dirt
  • January 16: The morning after
  • January 19: Word for the year
  • January 20: Newbies
  • January 21: Organizing
  • January 22: Bears, beans and beer
  • January 23: Frosty
  • January 26: 10 years ago, I was probably ___________
  • January 27: The awkward dinner party
  • January 28: Imagine that...
  • January 29: Steamed
  • January 30: And then there was one
As I noted when I first started this challenge, I have participate in several writing challenges, most recently the one done by We Work For Cheese. Alas, that one ended after last year, so I opted to do this with the idea that I love a good writing challenge. I wanted to change it up a bit, though, so this is what I came up with it.

I will also be launching a t-shirt campaign on TeeSpring for this challenge. We'll need to sell 10 for it to go through, so hopefully we can get to that level. I'll start it in late December, or right around the time the challenge starts as if I did it now... it ends in three weeks, thus meaning two days after the challenge starts. I want people to have the chance to buy the shirt as we go along, so I'll start it about the time we start.

I hope to see some familiar faces, as well as some new ones, when this gets going.

Remember, this will run 20 days in January, Monday-Friday.

And always remember this -- have fun!

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Blog of the Week: Stephs Cheers and Jeers

This week's blog of the week is Stephs Cheers and Jeers, written by Stephy!  Stephy lives in Vermont, loves owls and motorcycles!  We chatted with Stephy about blogging and living in the Northeast!  Meet Stephy:

Tell us a little about you:
My Name is Stephy Sumner and I reside in Southern VT with my future husband(Engaged since 2010) Scott, My Wonderful(Step) Daughter Justine, and Our Dog Loki and Cat Fuzzy Bear. Iv grown up in Vermont most of my life and I think its a beautiful state.I am what I like to call a Domestic Goddess(Meaning I stay home and hold down the fort) While my Husband works as a mechanic for Harley Davidson. I began looking for a hobby to the pass the time after I became injured and unable to work and share some of the wonderful things I have to offer with the world and BAM! Two Years ago I started my blog. I am OBSESSED with owls and Sons of Anarchy is my favorite show!  

What is your blog about?
My blog is mostly product reviews with some recipes and other goodies thrown in! 

What is your favorite spot to visit in the Northeast?
I ADORE Mount Washington in New Hampshire, I just love the White Mountains in general and they are BEAUTIFUL on a motorcycle 

What do you love most about blogging?
I love connecting with other bloggers!

What is your favorite form of social media?
Facebook because I find it has the most interaction. 

Where do you live and what do you love about it?
I live in Ascutney, VT. Its a TINY village inside of Weathersfield, VT. I love how cozy it is, everyone knows each other and looks out for each other.

Share some blog posts with us that you'd love everyone to check out!
Thanks Stephy!  Be sure to hop over to her blog this week to check it out and follow her on social media!

Would you like to be featured as our blog of the week?  Let us know!

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

5 Quick & Easy Holiday Decorating Ideas

Hi! I’m Christina, one of your state reps for Maryland & Delaware, and you can find me at Mom’s Messy Miracles. I have two little boys, ages 1 and 3, so decorating for the holidays is a bit of a challenge for us. I love getting out my decorations, but don’t have all day to do it.

1. Use Toys

In our house with two little ones, I can’t have a bunch of breakables and beautiful displays set up around the house. I can have toys though. I like being able to put out my Christmas Mickey and Snoopy dolls. They look cute out and it’s not the end of the world when someone pulls one down and decides to play.

2. Wrap Wall Hangings

We have a couple of pictures on the wall. It’s super quick and easy to pull them down, wrap them in some fun paper and rehang them. You can do this all over the house to add some holiday magic in every room (or maybe just the rooms that people will be occupying).

3. Toss Ornaments in a Dish

Now that our tree is covered in special ornaments, we don’t put our plain ones on the tree anymore. If you have a couple vases or big bowls, toss some of your extra ornaments (or hit the dollar store) in a dish. You can put this on the table for a quick centerpiece, on the mantel, or a random shelf.

4. Pinecones

Pinecones can be found everywhere it seems right now. They seem plain, but grab a couple and put them in a basket with a piece of fabric or ribbon tied around to make a bow, you’ve got another easy decoration.

5. Ornaments from the Ceiling

Use some ribbon and tie up ornaments from the ceiling or chandelier. Really, anywhere you can attach them around the house would be a fun addition. Easy enough and will only take a couple of minutes to do a bunch.

What are some of your favorite ways to decorate the house quickly?

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Monday, December 15, 2014

December Photo Challenge!

Welcome to our Photography Challenge!  This is a once a month challenge to take a photo that fits into the theme for that month.  This months theme is: HOLIDAY.  The link up will remain open the rest of the month so everyone has a chance to show off their photos!

Please make sure to visit other blogs on this hop if you link up and leave a comment on their photo!
Remember to link up directly to the post with your photos fitting the theme!  You can have more than one photo in your post, but please only link up once each month.  Please do not link up to your blogs main page, this link up is for the photography challenge only!

Be sure to join us for the January challenge next month! January's theme is: GOAL and will take place starting January 22nd!

Do you have a HOLIDAY photo to link up for this months theme?  Share below!

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