A Simple Favor


You ever have a pleasant encounter with someone and said to yourself, “Gee, that was a nice person”. That was the case when I met a soft spoken gentleman last summer during our town’s 49-Mile Yard Sale.  He told me about him and his wife buying a historical (fixer-upper) house in our town.  I love to hear stories about people buying old homes and bringing them back to life.  Many times I’ll ride past an abandoned home and wonder how did it get that way, and why would someone let it go to rot.  He briefly told me the story of how he was attached to the property and his family’s heritage to it.  After our conversation, I wished him well, gave him my business card and bid him farewell.  About a month ago I received a phone call from him and he asked a favor of me.  At first I was a bit skeptical, because I really didn’t know him.  Of course, he stated he would understand if I said no, but when he told me what the favor was, it really wasn’t a problem and it  was quite simple.  He needed a picture of the house and wanted to know if I would go take a picture and send it to him.  They were chronically taking pictures of the renovation process and the dumpster was delivered.  Since they lived out of state and were not able to get here at the time to take pictures, they wanted to know if I could do them that favor.  Given this is a small town, and it wasn’t too much of a task – I truly understood and obliged the favor.  Me and mom took a quick ride to take pictures and I texted them to him.

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One thing for sure…. he didn’t exaggerate when he said it was a complete fixer-upper.  I was like “YIKES”  they really have their hands full with this one (but I could truly see their vision).  The least I could do is take a few pics for them.  I truly commend their efforts, but this will be a long process.   Last week I received a text from him stating he left a “thank-you” gift on the porch.  Of course I responded, it was not necessary because it was no trouble at all.  His response was he appreciated what I did and just wanted to say “Thank You”.  In my mind, it really wasn’t a big deal, and it definitely wasn’t necessary.. when he responded “thank-you” after I sent the pictures, that was sufficient for me.  When I got home, to my surprise, I couldn’t believe the gift… it was a hand-woven wool rug…

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A total shocker…and even more of a shocker is that I’ve been thinking about a rug for our family room, and it matched perfectly!!

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Although it was a tad bit too long, I just tucked the edge in a bit, but for the most part, I was truly pleased with this surprise gift.    It really warmed the space

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I sent them a picture and they were excited to see it was perfect match.

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Although there was no need to give such a generous gift, but I must say, it is tenderly appreciated.  So, I’m saying a big “Thank You to Mr. & Mrs. Alaji.  Life really has a way of bringing wonderful people in your circle.. just as it did with my blog.

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Simple acts of kindness is always a good thing… Even if you get a simple, heartfelt “thank you” – it makes it all worthwhile.  As the movement “Pay it Forward” goes.. continue to do kind things and perhaps kindness will come back.  That’s how a circle goes.. around and around.  So friends.. I hope you enjoyed my “Simple Favor” story.. and until next time….may peace be with you..   Smooches!



Tuscany Shrimp Pizza

There’s no shame in my game – I’m here to confess —  I LOOOOVE pizza –  especially Jersey Style pizza!  But ever since I ate Red Lobster’s Lobster Pizza, I enjoyed pizza on another level.  They use chopped tomatoes instead of pizza sauce…  If you haven’t tried it, here’s what theirs look like..


I decided to give it a try and create my own and here’s my recipe I made with shrimp:

1 12oz bag of shrimp, cleaned, deveined, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped (remove the seeded part)

Kirkland brand Basil Pesto

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

2 tbspn grated Parmesan cheese

8oz grated mozzarella cheese

1 1/2 tspn Victoria Tuscan Seasoning

1 1/2 Spicy Garlic Seasoning

6 small flour tortillas

Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 380 degrees.  Heat a small frying pan and coat the bottom with olive oil.  Add shrimp, Tuscan seasoning and Spicy Garlic.  Sautee until shrimp are done.   Brush each tortilla completely with olive oil.  Then spoon small amounts of basil pesto on each tortilla and spread.


Next sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Top with tomatoes, basil, shrimp and  mozzarella cheese and spread evenly.



Bake for approximately 15 mins (or until cheese is melted and edges are slightly browned).  Here’s my Tuscany Shrimp Pizza.



Slice and enjoy!!   The flour tortillas make the perfect thin crust. .. A bit crunchy with the right amount of chewiness.  The basil and Tuscan flavored shrimp really gives this pizza the best Italian flavor


Mmmmmm…. I must say, this was VERY good and a big hit with the family!!  So, now I can have pizza as often as I like.. and so can you..  I hope you enjoy it..


Friday Finds

You remember my post Right Time Right Moment when I found the perfect barware while in Florida.  This past weekend I needed to go to Chester and decided to go their indoor flea market.  I came across this sweet elderly lady selling some items.  I couldn’t believe my luck.  She was actually selling another set of  the Culver glasses that I snagged back in Florida.

She had the rock glasses, which I didn’t have with my set.  You know my eyes lit up.. (more for my collection – yaaayyyy!!) When I asked her how much.. she said $1.00 a piece.   Mind you if this was Goodwill, I’d be jumping joy happy, but for this woman, I felt bad that’s all she asked, but I was glad because I had $5.00 left on me and just gave it to her (I honestly am one of those people who don’t carry much cash on me, but if I go somewhere on a whim, I’ll grab a few bucks – just in case) She told me how she had them for a long time and needed to clear out somethings.  She had them marked for $2.00 for a while but no one bought them (I’m starting to really believe they were meant for me).  She could see how happy I was to have them and said she was glad they were going to a good home.  I told her about my other set and this completes it.  After getting them home and seeing them with my set, I can’t be more pleased with my set.

As I reflect back on what Ginene, who blogs at Fox and Finch Antiques, wrote about “When They Can’t Take it with Them”, I was disgusted at the conversation she overheard about a woman haggling.  Although I was estatic about my find and the price, I still felt I cheated her out of what she really wanted.  This weekend I’m headed back to Chester and I hope this woman is still there to give her $5.00 more for her set.. They are clearly worth her asking $2.00 for, because if I had $10.00 on me I’d given her that for the four glasses.

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Sometimes in flea markets, people love haggling because it’s fun, but in some cases it’s not worth haggling.. I know a great deal when I see it.  So Ginene, you’re not the only crazy lady who feels the way you do.   Here’s wishing you all a wonderful weekend.  This find was featured on A Designer At Home blog as a ThriftScore Thursday.  Don’t forget you can be featured on my blog using hashtag #urthriftygirlfinds ..    Tah-tah for now!



$2.00 Tuesday

Remember this throwback series?? Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a $2.00 Tuesday.  Not because I didn’t want to, but I hadn’t found anything to share with you – until now…  I went thrifting this past weekend and came across this coaster set.  I’m sure you’ve see these around before, and the price usually ranges from $7.00 – $15.00.

I needed new coasters, because the lasts one I had were rattan-like and for some reason when the little ones were around, they always seem to play with them (pretend they’re making miniature pizzas – heeeheee… kids and their imagination.. it’s so cute).  So for $2.00, I figure I could use these for my family room.  Naturally they need to be spruced up a bit.  Instead of pictures I wanted to monogram them.  I printed out the perfect “W” and inserted them instead of pictures.  I also repainted the base for a bit of glamour.


They’re perfect for the coffee-table.  I like that they each have their own color, so I could switch out the top for a bit of a variance look


Not bad right??  Especially for $2.00


She had two sets… now I wish I’d got them both… lol.. oh well..my lost.


Now that it’s a new year… let’s hope I (we) find more of these terrific bargains for $2.00.  Have you found anything lately?  If so, follow me on Instagram using hashtag #urthriftygirlfinds so I can feature your finds here on the blog.  Until next time lovies!!  Smooches..!!!


Brisket Breakfast Bake


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It’s Saturday morning and wondering what to make for breakfast.  Here’s a easy — delicious, AND easy dish to make.  I had some leftover brisket and decided to make a breakfast bake.


5 eggs, beaten

1 cup chopped cooked brisket

1/2 tsp Victoria Tuscan Seasoning

1/4 tsp Dean & Jacobs Spicy Garlic

1/2 cup chopped portabella mushrooms

1/4 cup chopped shallots

1/2 cup grated pepper jack cheese

1 tblspn butter

Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat small frying pan on medium high heat.  Coat the bottom with olive oil and add butter.  Once butter is melted add brisket and shallots.  Next add mushrooms and seasonings.  Continue to sautee until mushrooms are cooked and ingredients are well blended.   Lightly butter two ramekins and divide mixture into each dish.

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In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs until they are well blended (yes I still use a hand held mixer for eggs) Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Evenly pour eggs into the ramekins and sprinkle top with cheese.   Bake until cheese is melted and top feels firm, approximately 15 mins.  (Do Not overcook because eggs will be dry).

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Remove and serve hot

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This makes a very hearty breakfast, and its packed with protein to start your day.  See how simple that was..  Remember, cooking is always easy with “TLC”.   Have a great weekend and I’ll see soon!




Monday Mix

Hey Everyone!!!  Once again, I’m wishing you a happy, healthy and wonderful New Year!  Thanks a million for following along in 2015 and I look forward to what 2016 has in-store for us to share with one another.  For my first post of the new year, I’d like to talk about being eclectic and venturing outside the norm.  So many times, we are stuck in the mindset, “things HAVE To MATCH”.  Well it may be true for 90% of our lives, but when it comes to table settings,  I think we can break the rule- well at least I’m going to break it.. and I’ll show you how.


Many times, I’ve gone to estate sales, thrift stores, garage sales and would see a plate, saucer, or cup and love the pattern but often times, it’s not a complete set.  So, I decided to mix it up!  I found different patterns that tend to blend and decided to create my own eclectic setting.  I started with these nicely patterned placemats I stumbled across at Walmart.  I’m glad I ventured to that isle and found them.


Not bad right?  At $1.99 each and having the perfect metallic gold finish, I figured they would pull the look together.  Modern placemats mixed with thrift score dishes would create a beautiful table setting.  Next I added gold crackled charger plates, which were $3.00 for the set of six at Goodwill. Then, I layered the plates and here is the finished look.


I love soft floral pattern dishes and by using pastel blends of similar looks I was able to mix pieces for a cohesive style.  The dinner plates were about $1.50 ea, the bread plates were between $0.50-$0.75 ea, the brass napkin rings were found at Goodwill for $0.59 each and never used.  The white linen napkins belonged to my grandmother.


Also featured in my setting are limoges bone dishes, which are rare items to find and they blend with the floral patterns.  Limoges is a delicate fine bone china made in Limoges, France and began being manufactured in the late 18th century.  You can read more about its history here.  At the turn of the century, bone dishes were used to hold discarded chicken or fish bones, because it was considered improper to allow bones to remain on your main plate as it appeared to be an unsightly mess (the Victorians were very neat), henceforth, the use of the bone dish.


I also found the crystal (dumbbell shape) knife rests years ago and purchased them from an antique shop.  Knife rests are rarely used these days, but they are very handy when eating.  They offer a more convenient place to rest your knife while not in use, instead of leaning it on your plate.  Lastly, the gold flatware was a wedding gift.  Hard to believe I’ve had them almost 30 years.


As you see, you can create a pretty, delicately balanced table setting using thrift store and estate sale finds by mixing patterns.


The cute little place card is made of porcelain and I found the set at an antique shop about 20 years ago, when I was hosting tea parties.


This is the complete set  –  Isn’t it the cutest.. Just use a sharpie to mark on them and wipe off with water..


I finished the look with depression glassware I inherited from my grandmother.  She had a complete service for twelve with water goblets and wine glasses, plus six smaller glasses (which I used for the children), along with the pitcher, salt & pepper shakers and two serving dishes.  It’s really a nice set, so I consider myself blessed to have it.


You see how mixing patterns, styles and eras could blend together to make a beautiful setting?   Not only does it look pretty, but it also adds a bit more interest.  Have you ever mixed patterns to create a table design?  If not, would you?  If so please share – I’d love to see it.

I hope this has sparked an interest and the next time you see a pretty plate, get it and build on it to create your own blend of tableware.


I hope you enjoyed my Mix It Up tableware?  If so, let me know….  As always, remember, beauty doesn’t have to be costly.    Thanks for reading and until next time..  Smooches!






FROM MY HOME TO YOURS, I’M WISHING EVERYONE A HAPPY, HEALTHY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!   Thank you for following along and I look forward to sharing more of the VivalaVintage lifestyle with you.  May 2016 continue to bring more of the Vintage Glam that we love the thrill of hunting for.  CHEERS!!!


Caesar Chicken Alfredo

caesar chicken

On that crazy night when you need something fast and delicious..It can’t get any easier than this creamy delightful dish.  Let’s get started with the ingredients

4 chicken cutlets (sliced thin)

1 tablespoon Tuscan seasoning (or Italian chicken seasoning)

1/4 cup Ken’s creamy caesar salad dressing

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4  tspn ground sage

1/8 tspn ground nutmeg

8oz box penne pasta (or half of the 160z box)

In medium bowl season chicken with Tuscan seasoning then add Caesar salad dressing and coat the chicken evenly.  Let marinade for about 1/2 hour (or to save time prepare chicken the night before and let marinade overnight)

Boil pasta according to directions on the box.  Strain and set aside.  Using a cast iron pan, thinly coat the bottom with olive oil. Heat pan on medium high heat, once the pan is hot add the chicken and brown on both sides, making sure you don’t overcook to maintain the juiciness.  Remove and place on cutting board and slice chicken.

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In the cast iron skillet, add the heavy cream, cheeses and remaining ingredients.  Bring to a light boil and then simmer down stirring until thicken.  Texture should be a creamy consistency.  (Here’s where I tend to play around.. take a taste.. if you need more cheese (which I love) add a bit more to achieve your taste.

Then add pasta into skillet and blend into sauce.  Next add sliced chicken and blend.  Add a light sprinkle of black pepper.  Let simmer for 10 minutes, serve hot.

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I hope you enjoy this simple recipe and remember cooking is always delicious and easy with “TLC” TwinsLuvCooking




Chair Gone Wild

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Monday Makeover and I’m rested from my Girlfriends Vacay bliss, I figure I’d show my latest chair fettish makeover.  It’s funny when you have a chair fettish, you always see a chair you need in your life… except once you get it, you have to find a place for it.  So, I’ve decided it’s time to sell one in order to make room for another.  It was a tough choice, but I’ve decided to sell a wing back I’ve had around for about 15 years.   I hope it sells soon..  So, moving right along.. here is the latest chair that needed my attention.

I know you’re probably wondering- what’s up with all these chairs….right???  Well, this chair has a history also.  You’ve heard me talk about my friend Joyce.. I bought this chair from her about 20 years ago as is..  Like I said, I have a chair fettish.  She would always ask me, “how could a person with a small butt need so many chairs… Lol”  but she understood my obsession.. Chairs are such an easy piece of furniture and if you have an empty corner somewhere, you can always fit a chair in it to fill the spot.  When I saw this one,it was a “gotta have her” moment.  It’s a club chair and I didn’t have one.  If you’ve ever sat in a club chair, you know how comfortable they are.  This one was the perfect size, not too big and yet had a dainty appeal.  Sort of like a ladies club chair.

This chair was manufactured by H. Lauzon Furniture Company located in my home state Englewood, NJ.  Happy to know this chair was a Made-in-America piece (which is one of the perks of vintage items).  I love a chair with chippendale legs

Okay, so you feel me with this chair?   I’m going to name her Sheba…which I think is a perfect name for a chair that walks on the wild side.   You remember Kittra, well, I couldn’t help myself.  I wanted more of the cheetah print so, I decided to go all the way with Sheba.  Here is her new look:

I’m in the (slow) process of making a few changes in the living room piece by piece, and she’ll fit right in. But in the meantime, she’s here, making herself at home


I made the black velvet ostrich feather pillow years ago and it’s  great match for my furry friend

The rich color of this fabric is stunning and makes a big impact on her new look.


Yes!! I’m wild about this chair!! As you see I have so many plants in this room, which is partly the reason I’m making a few changes.  Thankfully, majority of them go outside during spring, summer and partly fall months.

I think this chair deserves a roaring cheer ☺️….  What do you think of Sheba?  Until next time lovies, I hope everyone enjoy their  Christmas and have a safe and blessed holiday season.



Girlfriends Getaway


Bon dia, Bon dia!!  Hopi tempo sin wak bo, conbai cubo? LOL!!! Ok, ok let me stop… I just said Hello, hello, long time no see… how are you?  Yes, it’s me and I’m back from my glorious GG vacation.  This year we ladies vacayed to the paradise island of Aruba.  It’s been a couple years since we’ve taken our – what use to be- annual trip, so this trip was well deserved.   If you’ve been to Aruba, you know what I mean, if not.. please go.. it’s one of the most beautiful islands with the best beaches.

Sand in my feet, breeze blowing softly and music in my ears.. ahhhhhh .. Here’s the story of my travel therapy to One Happy Island.


This year it just four of us who went: Me, Amina, Sharon (my sister-n-law), and Ethel (my aunt who I featured on the blog here)

Our days were filled with sun, sun, sun, and more sun… along with music and drinks!


Our mornings started with a delightful breakfast we enjoyed at Aromi D’Italia..  We were pleased to find a restaurant that served turkey bacon (woo-hooo)!

Walking along the white sandy beach while gazing into the crystal blue waters really takes your stress away and allows your mind to be at peace.


After our first day there, Amina realized she left her sunglasses, so we went out shopping that night to find her a pair.  The next day, she was all set.. here she is striking her “check out my new shades” pose heeeeheeee..


On our breaks from the sun, I had the most delicious fish sandwich.  It was grilled grouper with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and the most delectable aioli sauce..(I fell in love with it, so much so, I had the chef give me the recipe – now I’m on the hunt for aji mojido – which is what they used to mix with mayo)


On another day, we had massages done at Etnika Spa, located on the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort


I immediately fell in love with the decor.. it’s so Zen-like (I wish I could have brought this little guy & basket home with me)


The earth tones were so calming and soothing…


Here’s the outdoor sitting area located next to the spa


For playful times,they had these giant outdoor board games for chess and checkers players.



Or if you wanted, you could shoot a game of pool on the outdoor pool table..


and of course beach volleyball was a given.  How could you not enjoy a good game with this backdrop


At a restaurant where we dined, these two men serenaded us with the lovely tune “Hello” by Lionel Richie (awwwwww… how lovely)


On another night after dinner, we stumbled upon an Outdoor Club “South Beach Lounge” and the DJ was pretty cool.. He enjoyed giving us Jersey Girls a shout-out!  We danced our meal off that night – chuckles..


Another day out and about, here we are exploring the town.  We had so much laughter going on.. I loved, loved, loved my time with these ladies.




We ventured into town for a day of shopping.  Pookie was quite happy with her purchases..heeheee..


Even though she blamed us for the purchases….. Yea Right!! I told her to blame it on the boogie-  LOL

Meanwhile, I found a  cute kitchen accessory, that pretty much described my struggle.. So it had to come home with me..


How many of you feel me with this– lol…

I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this stunning window design at Dolce & Gabanna


While there, I learned a neighborhood friend was there as well, so we all got together on our last night and had a wonderful dinner.  The evening was filled with more laughter, joy and good times.


This vacation was absolutely fantastic and I look forward to our next Girlfriends Getaway.  I treasure these moments, because having my sister and girlfriends in my life is definitely something I need to maintain a good balance and times like these are essential to my continued well-being.  It’s so funny, because as I sat there, thinking about life and filling my head with dreams, I opened my eyes and saw this cap sitting in the sand and said to myself “WOW”  that’s me.. I’m always a dream-chaser.


I’d like to believe you enjoyed reading about my Girlfriends Getaway and hope it inspired you to gather up your besties and hit the road for a getaway.  Until next time, I’ll chat with you soon.. Smooches!!


I have to give a big thank you to the Marriott Stellaris for such impeccable accommodations.  You can learn more about Aruba – One Happy Island by watching the video clip.


Joined at the Hip

Throwing it back two years ago, this was one of my favorite posts.. I hope you enjoy reading or re-reading it and the House music tune “Special”

VivaLaVintage - For Your Home

It’s been a week since I’ve been back from going home for Thanksgiving and I’m still reminiscing in the wonderful time I had visiting family.  I’d like to share my short story about the visit and staying with my twin.  It’s just amazing how even though we live hundreds of miles apart, when I go to her house – it’s like home away from home.. seriously.  Down to the point of when I look in her cabinet to cook something – we even have the same spices.. chuckles.. it’s really something to think about.  The week prior to my visit I had been playing a particular cd alot..”Caron Wheeler” the cd I used in my Lite as a Feather post.. I love the entire cd..well – I get to her house.. and guess what.. she has it playing in her kitchen (just like me).. now this is the odd part.. We were playing the same…

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Thrifty Finds

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving and had a gobblin’ good time!  As for me, I totally enjoyed my time.  I visited my family back home in New Jersey and after the big turkey day, while everyone was mall dashing,we spent our day thrifting.   My sister had been telling me about a new spot (new to her) she stumbled on located in Hillside, NJ, it’s called Kathleen’s Closet. She has made this her go-to spot to check out the goodies.  Well, if you’re ever in NJ, you may want to check out this spot.  Here are the goodies I found while there..   This mid- century coffee table wasn’t a bad deal at $25.00 (I could imagine seeing this piece with a fresh coat of paint and shiney gold paint for the leg’s brass fixtures.

The rattan shelving units were $20.00 (I would remove the bottom doors because of the hole and replace with baskets).  All in all, not bad a bad price!!!

This rattan table base was only $10.00 and was still sturdy.  Although finding a glass top would be difficult, but in the meantime, I would use it as a plant stand, by placing several different pots and create one big display (and of course paint it)

Not my taste, but this plaid chair wasn’t a bad price either for $15.00- no holes, tears or stains.

Leather top side table $10.00 (can you believe this??)  In great condition


Spotted this wooden bar cart –  Oh the possibilities with this  and do you see the price – yes – $10.00

Other than missing the door handle, (easy fix) there was nothing wrong with it.  This baby came home with Amina, and I can’t wait to see what she does with it.

Spotted this brass and smoked glass lamp for a mere $5.99 – and YES! it came home with me.  Just needs a new shade and I have a beautiful new lamp.

This mid-century china cabinet was a cheesey $45  (smh) can you believe that.. and it lights up!  Solid wood from Drexel Heritage Furniture.

Last but not least.. this double mirror Thomasville dresser – swallow hard-  $40.00 –I’m ready to pass out!!

I can’t F-N believe this!   All the hardware, all the drawers, nothing and I mean NOTHING was wrong with this piece.. the only thing that was really wrong —- IT DIDN’T COME HOME WITH ME!!!!!

Boy did I wish I had a U-Haul

Now here’s the clinker… You see how low the prices were, but if you were there on Black Friday, you got an additional 50% off your first 5 items.. So can you imagine… all these good pieces would have been even lower.  They had several other nice pieces but these were the ones I wanted to share with you.   Although we didn’t partake in the Black Friday frenzy, we did support the ShopSmall Saturday, which was equally appreciated.   I know I’m a bit behind with this post, but I’ve experiencing some hand issues again.. and have been resting my hands from the computer.  This week, I’m headed to the sunny island of Aruba for one of our Girlfriends Getaways – Yaaaaayyy… so I’ll be sunning and funning .  When I get back I’ve got another goodie makeover to share with you.. in the meantime,  have great week!  Smooches!