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The Perfect Christmas Cracker Recipe

December 19, 2017

Right before Thanksgiving, I shared the recipe of these crackers on my Instagram Story. I got so many messages asking for the recipe to live on my blog, so it’s easily accessible. So here you go!

I and the rest of my family are completely addicted to these crackers. I think I made about 7 batches over Thanksgiving and I know I have more in store when I go home for Christmas. They are so easy yet so delicious and 100% addicting. It takes very minimal cookware, only a few ingredients and zero knowledge of cooking to make them.

Here’s everything you need:

  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Measuring Cups (both cups and teaspoons)
  • Cookie Sheet
  • 1 Package of Oyster Crackers (10 oz package)
  • 1/4 of a cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Pack of Dry Ranch Mix
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Lemon Pepper Seasoning
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dill Weed

I picked up all my kitchen utensils from Gordmans. I love Gordmans because they have tons of options for kitchenware all at really great prices. They also have something called their “Lowest Price Guarantee.” To make sure that they can give shoppers the lowest possible price, if you find a lower price somewhere else on any item you found at Gordmans, they will match the competitors’ price and they will give you a $5 Gordmans gift card!

They also told me something interesting about their Lowest Price Guarantee. They want to offer their shoppers the lowest possible prices on merchandise, so they watch their competitors’ prices and adjust their prices to beat them. But with their huge assortment of merchandise, sometimes they don’t catch every item. So, they actually use their Lowest Price Guarantee program as a “flag.” When you use the Lowest Price Guarantee, they are alerted and they’ll work on lowering the price on the item you price-matched. Pretty cool! All you have to do is show the competitor’s current ad, website or a receipt featuring an identical item, and Gordmans will match the price, plus they’ll give you a $5 Gordmans gift card. To learn more about this program, visit their website.

Christmas Crackers Recipe

(Instructions Below Recipe)

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Mix 1/4 of a cup Vegetable Oil, 1 Pack of Dry Ranch Mix, 1/4 Teaspoon Lemon Pepper Seasoning, 1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder and 1/2 Teaspoon Dill Weed in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Stir until all ingredients are combined.
  4. Add oyster crackers in and gently mix until all crackers are covered.
  5. Pour out on cookie sheet
    • They don’t have to be in a single layer, they can be piled on top of each other.
  6. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes and let cool.
  7. Try not to eat all of them at once!

Angela is a paid blogger. You can find Angela’s original blog post at Thrifty Pineapple!

Fashion Uncategorized

Cozy on a Budget

December 6, 2017

We’re having a heat wave here in the Midwest this week (okay, not an actual heat wave, but I’ll take 50 degrees in November any day!), so I’ve been putting away my parka and trying to soak in the “warmer” days as much as I can before the winter hits us like a ton of bricks. Even though I’ve lived in the Midwest my whole life, I still get a little anxious about just how crazy cold it’s going to be in Chicago in the winter, and I’m dreading the day when I wake up to see -10 degrees on my iPhone weather app. If you live in anywhere warm during the winter – congratulations, you made an excellent life choice 😉

But honestly, the winter isn’t all bad. Cold weather is the perfect time to cozy up at home, light a million candles, drink hot cocoa (or mulled wine, let’s be real) and layer up on cozy layers all season long. I’ve loaded up on scarfs, sweaters, coats, slippers, extra-thick socks, and everything else you need to effectively hibernate all season long.

The one problem? Loading up on cozy clothes seems to cost an arm and a leg these days. In the world of $900 winter jackets, luxe cashmere sweaters, and all the crazy expensive things you “need” to stay warm this season, when you start to add them up you realize that by the time you get everything you won’t actually be able to pay your heating bill this month (which is probably a little more important than designer slippers, right?) And since I’m on a budget, I wanted to find everything that will keep me warm without completely breaking the bank (so yeah, the $900 jacket was definitely a no-go!)

To find a few cozy layers that wouldn’t break the bank, I stopped by Gordmans to check out their selection of jackets, sweaters, scarves, winter dresses and more. I’ve always loved Gordmans since they opened back home when I was in high school (we won’t talk about how long ago that was…), and since then it’s been my go-to place for finding quality, layered pieces on a budget. On another note – it’s also an awesome place to get cute, affordable gift sets for your co-workers or toys for any cute kids on your Christmas list!

I picked up this stitched field jacket for less than $40, as well as this pretty plaid scarf that was only $13 – both of which are super cozy and definitely didn’t break the bank. I love that the jacket looks just like the $300 jacket I’d been having my eye on for awhile, and the pretty snap details, faux leather accents and the tied waist make the jacket super special and fit perfectly. I also found this perfect white cable sweater for under $20 that’s one of those everyday sweaters I can wear throughout the winter. It has a fold-over turtleneck to keep you cozy underneath your favorite jacket, and looks good with an oversized sweater on those extra cold days. I’ve already gotten a few compliments on a few of these new wardrobe staples, and when I tell friends that I got it at Gordmans they’ve been surprised – and then when I’ve told them how much it cost, they’ve been extra impressed.

Maya is a paid blogger. You can find Maya’s original blog post at Charmingly Styled!


4 Ways To Style Your Hair For Prom

March 3, 2017

4 Ways To Style Your Hair For Prom

Prom Season is finally here, and that means it’s time to enjoy beautiful dresses and getting dolled up for one night of fun. We want to make sure you look gorgeous for your prom, so we’ve put together a list of hair styles that are sure to turn heads on the dance floor, along with what you’ll need and a step-by-step guide on how to conquer these prom hairstyles yourself!


Pinned Back

What you will need:

1” barrel curling iron, heat protectant spray, hair pins, light hold hair spray

How To:

  • Start by curling the hair all the way around.
  • Spray using protect and shine product for heat protectant and maximum shine.
  • Part down the middle. Take 2 1″ sections on each side of temples twist back, pin, and finish using hair finishing spray for a soft romantic hold.

Top Bun

What you will need:

Hair tie, hand full of hair pins, teasing comb, high hold hairspray

How To: 

  • Start by smoothing hair into a high ponytail.
  • Tease whole pony enough to give volume to the bun.
  • Smooth pony in circle rotation on top of the head, use pins to hold in place.


Fish Tail Curl

What you will need:

Curling iron, small hair tie, couple hair pins, medium hold hairspray

How To: 

  • Curl entire head in multiple sections.
  • Spray hair with medium hair spray, sweep it all to one side, and fish tail down to the end, finish with small hair tie.
  • Pull out face framing pieces in the front, twist front bangs to the back with a hair pin.

Wavy Curls

What you will need:

Curling iron, high hold spray, teasing comb

How To: 

  • Curl entire head away from face in multiple sections.
  • Flip head upside down, hairspray all around.
  • Tease front sides and high hold hairspray to finish.

Any of these hairstyles are sure to make your prom night special! Which one is your favorite?

Décor Family Fashion Shop Uncategorized

9 Sweet Valentine’s Day Treats

February 14, 2017

9 Sweet Valentine’s Day Treats

A bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates might be the most traditional, but when it comes to Valentine’s Day gift-giving, there is so much more out there to show your affection for the ones you love. Whether you’re looking for a special surprise for your spouse, child or friend (and don’t forget to treat yourself, too!), these options are as sweet as can be.

The hand-made details—a dark denim rosette, metallic heart cut-out and hand lettering—of this wood-grained Love Frame ($11.99) make it an extra-special perch for a favorite photo.



How cute is this Together Makes Life Beautiful pillow ($9.99)? One side features a heartfelt message, while the other is covered edge to edge with x’s and o’s.


With its heathered gray tones, comfy knit fabric and sweet screenprint, this Inspired Hearts Hacci Raglan Hoodie ($19.99) should be required attire for a cozy movie Valentine’s Day date at home.


Whether or not it’s sandals season where you live, you can’t help but go googly-eyed after one look at these Emoji Heart Eyes Flip Flops ($3.99).


Any modern romantics in the house? If you prefer crisp and clean-cut designs to pink, red and frills, pick up this Derek Heart High Neck Screen Tank ($4.99) with a simple black-and-white motif that nods to Valentine’s Day without seeming overly sappy.


With it’s powder pink hue and sugar-sweet message, this Heart String Art ($9.99) is just the right fit for the littlest valentine in your life. Bonus points for adding these utterly adorable Rainbow Heart Sunglasses ($3.99)


Wear your heart on your sleeve with this Crystal Bangle with Heart ($7.99). Between the rose gold-tone metal and the twinkly crystal heart and band, it’s right-on for Valentine’s Day.


Lapel pins are making a comeback, big-time! Your BFF would really dig the Orion 3 Piece Bff Heart and Donut Pins ($3), which would look super-cute pinned on a jean jacket or backpack.


Family Food Party & Event Ideas Shop Uncategorized

Couples Game Night Ideas

February 13, 2017

Valentine’s Day is the biggest date night of the year, but that doesn’t mean you’re obligated to vie for a reservation at a fancy restaurant like everyone else in town. Hosting your own game night for two at home can bring out your playful sides. We’ve got four different game night suggestions to choose from based on when you met your partner. Pick from the options below and, in the end, everyone wins!



Take yourself back in time with some of your favorite childhood pastimes. Play card games such as Go Fish or Uno, or whimsical board games such as Candyland, Chutes & Ladders or Twister.
On the menu: Continue the old-school theme by making mac ’n’ cheese, hot dogs or PBJs. Then, pick your favorite lunchroom drink and make re-imagine it as an adult beverage with the addition of your favorite spirit. Vodka and lemonade or rum and Hawaiian Punch are obvious choices, but you’re only limited by your own creativity (Ecto Cooler and Midori, anyone?). For dessert, popsicles, pudding cups or ice cream cones would be the perfect finishing touch.



If you and your sweetie met in high school, take a trip down memory lane with a game that reminds you a sport you played, like Table Top Tennis, or tried-and-true a classic such as Monopoly. To really harken back to the kissing games of your youth, surprise your partner with a two-person game of Spin the Bottle or 7 Minutes in Heaven.
On the menu: Assemble a spread of snacks inspired by your favorite nostalgic treats of the time. Depending on when you met, that might be anything from pizza bagels to Doritos to s’mores. Make a toast with whichever soda you loved as a teenager–maybe it’s Dr. Pepper or Orange Crush–served in champagne flutes just for fun.



Did you hit it off with your significant other at freshmen orientation, chemistry lab or a Greek party? Then a college-themed game night is just the ticket. See if you still have your drinking game prowess with the Bingo Shot Glass Game or Boozeball Shot Glass Game.
On the menu: This one’s a no brainer: Pizza and beer, of course! Order delivery from your favorite local pizzeria or buy all the fixing at the grocery store (dough, cheese, sauce and your favorite toppings) and roll one out together.



If you met as adults, it’s time to break out those board games that are just for grown-ups: Think Cards Against Humanity, Battle of the Sexes, Dirty Minds or Rotten Apples.
On the menu: Recreate a meal from one of your early dates, whether that was burgers and fries and a bar or a multi-course meal at a swanky restaurant. Or for less time in the kitchen and more time relaxing, throw a wine party for two with a cheese and charcuterie platter and a bottle of your favorite vino.

Food Series Uncategorized

Salad of the Week: 1-17-2017

January 17, 2017
Make this easy salad to meet your 2017 goals

The New Year is off to a good start for this mama.  Mostly because I have dedicated the next five weeks to ME!  It feels oh so good and then I feel oh so guilty at the same time.  I mean, salad prep and gym time cut into the hours of my day and leave me less time to spend sitting on the floor doing puzzles and playing Legos.  BUT, I have decided I need a jump start and it’s going to take full concentration on my health and fitness.  We work so hard year round and what do we get but a bunch of “ewww I don’t want that for dinner”, LOADS of laundry (some of which isn’t even really dirty, but our kids tried it on and were too lazy to put it back in their closets so it instead goes into the dirty basket-like we don’t know?), mess after mess to deal with whether it’s food being thrown on the floor by our littles, or this and that cluttering the counters each day and just piling up because mom hasn’t put it away. Then there is helping with homework, school projects, and being an after school taxi cab.

So when is it our time?

We can keep making excuses that are a mile long, believe me, my list is never-ending as are most moms.  But hey, let’s face it, we are never really going to catch up on that list in this lifetime.  So let’s start now, by eating healthier and focusing on ourselves just a little.  We will feel so much better about ourselves.  And our kids will also see this change and want to be part of it.  My 18 month old and 3 year old love digging into my salads, mostly because what kid doesn’t want to stab little things with a fork, but then once they try them, they can’t stop.  Full blown salad eaters in my house, spinach, carrots, artichokes, brussel sprouts…they eat them and don’t complain!  Crazy, huh?

Main ingredients for this yummy salad

all the chopped ingredients you need

Let’s—as moms—put us first, leave the guilt behind, and focus on eating healthier for the next 30 days!   After that we will have our jump start and be in the mindset to care more about ourselves.  We deserve this.  I mean, we have one body and if we neglect it to take care it, who knows what health issues will arise and if we will be around to experience years and years to come.

To make the dressing for the salad you will need these ingredients

 Cheers to another salad to kick-off 2017!

This one is actually easy to prep and makes a huge Tupperware full.  You may want to share this one and help another coworker or friend get on the salad wagon! The more you practice salad making the easier it gets. Trust me, after two years of salads weekly, I can whip these things out in no time!  And you will too!

A great salad that is easy to make and healthy


Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Chickpeas, Kale, and Pearl Couscous

Prep time:  20 mins

Yield: 8 side dish servings, or 4 main course servings


4 Tbs apple cider vinegar

4 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp honey

2 tsp Dijon mustard

½  tsp salt

¼  tsp black pepper



1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded, and cubed into ½-inch pieces

2 Tbs olive oil

½ tsp salt, divided

⅛ tsp black pepper

1 C cooked whole wheat pearl couscous (according to package)

1 medium sweet onion, diced

5 oz kale, washed, de-stemmed, and finely chopped

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Combine salad ingredients, mix salad dressing and enjoy!

Share your salad

Do you have any easy salads to make? Share in the comments below!

This post was written by Gordmans cooking extraordinaire, Lindsey.

Décor Fashion Series Shop Uncategorized

Top Shopped: 3/20/16

March 18, 2016

Spring has sprung and we’re excited about new styles going live (and selling out!) on the website. From plush pillows to garden accessories, to kitchen gear and brand name denim, hurry and get yours before they’re gone!

  1. Furry pillows in bright white add freshness to your living room, not to mention total comfort!
  2. Get ready to try out some new recipes with this classic cutlery set.
  3. Fighting Illini Footwear = the best way to support your team.
  4. One of the key ways to transition your wardrobe to spring is with a cheery new handbag!
  5. Swim season is upon us and Gordmans has amazing styles to choose from, like this lace-inset one-piece.
  6. Line your walkways with this pretty, crackle-glass light for a fairy-garden feel.
  7. Great-fitting denim is a must, and these name brand jeans will be his new favorite!
  8. Sketchers knows comfort, and these slip-on sandals will feel good and look even better.
  9. Looking to take your bedroom from blah to beautiful? This Brighton bedding set is perfect!
Fashion Party & Event Ideas Shop Uncategorized

Alternative Valentine’s Day Plans

February 5, 2016

A romantic candlelit dinner may be the most popular way to celebrate February 14 with your valentine, but that doesn’t have to be the default. Let this list of alternate date ideas be your guide to mixing up the usual routine this year.


The couple that sweats together stays together, right? Pick an activity you’ve never tried before and enroll in a class or workshop together. Kickboxing, pilates, indoor rock-climbing, trapeze lessons … the options are only limited to what is offered in your area.

What to wear: Leggings, a comfy athletic top and your favorite pair of sneaks.


Bring out your competitive sides with an afternoon of game play. Try indoor mini-golfing or bowling, or go to an arcade and see who can rack up the most points in pinball or score a toy from the claw machine. This one is sure to bring back some early dating nostalgia.

What to wear: Army jacket or vest, colorful top, scarf and jeans.


It is entirely acceptable to order takeout and watch TV for Valentine’s Day, provided you mix up your routine from an ordinary weeknight. Order delivery from a restaurant you’ve never tried before and press play on a fresh series that you can binge-watch together from the beginning.

What to wear: Cozy sweatshirt and knit pants.


Stroll the grounds of your local zoo and get your fill of cuddly pandas, kooky chimps and regal tigers. If there’s not a zoo nearby or it’s closed for the winter, visit the local pet store and prepare for cuteness overload with a walk through the puppy department.

What to wear: Cable-knit sweater, jeans and boots.

Grab a sled or tube and hit the closest sledding hill, or lace on ice skates and glide hand-in-hand on a frozen pond or outdoor rink. If winters are warmer in your neck of the woods, go to an open skate night or curling night at an indoor ice rink.

What to wear: Puffy jacket, a hat and gloves! 

Fashion Shop Uncategorized

Get Your Kicks – 5 Ways To Wear Fashion Sneakers

December 4, 2015

How to style bright sneakers

From vibrant turquoise to fiery fuschia, bright sneakers are especially on-trend right now. Sure, you can throw them on with your workout gear and hit the gym, but it’s a lot more fun to use them to jazz up an everyday outfit. Read on for a few clever tips on how to rock them with confidence.


>>Skinny denim and a leather jacket or blazer

A leather (or pleather!) bomber or a one-button blazer are versatile pieces in any closet, and colored sneaks add some quirkiness to this otherwise sleek ensemble.

>>Leggings and an oversized tunic

If you’d usually wear this comfy combo with boots or ballet flats, just swap in those sneakers and you’re good to go.

>>T-shirt dress and a denim jacket

This one’s a good match for warmer winters—or just file away this look for spring! Go sockless or wear ankle socks in a contrasting color (you’ll see just flash of it peeking out) and roll up the jacket sleeves for a relaxed vibe.

>>Boyfriend jeans and a slouchy sweater

The effortless feel of this outfit makes adding sneakers a cinch. Roll your jeans a bit at the ankle to really put the focus on your fancy feet.

>>Long-sleeved collared shirt, straight-legged jeans add a puffy vest

Pair your classic white Oxford and favorite jeans with a sporty quilted vest for a fun, preppy outfit perfect for a football game or casual brunch.


 >>Play it cool with other colors.

Since your shoes are the star of the show, keep your clothing neutral. Think navy, khaki, white, black and shades of gray, from light smoke to deep charcoal.

 >>It’s all about the accessories.

Your other accessories are a great place to splash just a bit of coordinating or contrasting color, like a fedora with a colored band or a plaid or printed scarf incorporating the same hue as your sneakers.

 >>Lace up in style.

There are dozens of ways to lace your sneakers—criss-cross, straight bar, lightning, double-back—and all give a subtly different result. Try YouTube for helpful how-to videos and have fun experimenting!

Family Fashion Series Uncategorized

Under $30 Gift Guide – For Your Sister

December 1, 2015

You have a secret language. You’ve borrowed, (and probably ruined) items from her closet on multiple occasions. You’ve cried until unattractive red splotches appeared all over your face and she still told you that you were beautiful. You’ve fought over who got to take the car out on Friday night…and who got stuck with Mom’s Chrysler Minivan. You’ve bolstered each other up in life goals, love gone wrong and long lost dreams. She’s your PERSON.

Whether by blood or by bond, the women you consider sisters have a special place in your heart and deserve something extra sweet this holiday season. We’ve rounded up some top gift ideas—all for under $30!— that are sure to make her eyes light up, (and that will be perfect for you to borrow the next time you’re at her place!)

  1. A classic black handbag to match her savvy style: Jessica Simpson Handbag $29.99
  2. An eye defining makeup set along with the cutest printed case : elf makeup set $6.99 & cosmetics case $4.99
  3. The must-have item of the season, a bold blanket scarf: Scarf $16.99
  4. Luxury-in-a-basket spa slippers set to indulge in at home: Spa slipper set $16.99
  5. Cozy boot slippers perfect for holiday sister slumber parties: Slippers $9.99
  6. Her signature scent – or a new one she’s been dying to try: Burberry Brit $29.99
  7. A stylish yet comfortable open cardigan, (that you’ll immediately borrow): Cardigan $24.99
  8. Toast every occasion with cute coffee cups and sassy stemware: Wine glass $7.99, Coffee cup $5.99
  9. A pretty infinity bracelet to show her that your kind of friendship lasts a lifetime: Bracelet $7.99