Friday, October 29, 2010

Last-Minute Ghouly Ideas

If you are like me, Halloween has just absolutely snuck up on all of us. I thought it was just yesterday that I was posting about summer vacations and the cruise!

Whether you are ready for it or not, the weekend is upon us. For a lot of you, that means the kiddos are going to come a-knockin' on Sunday afternoon and evening, and candy shall be had. For others of us, the get-together might be more grown-up in nature, meeting up before heading out on the town. Either way, is your home ready for the visitors?

I have been ear-marking a special magazine edition of Woman's Day called "Budget Celebrations: The Hostess Guide For Year-Round Entertaining on a Dime." This abridged version of the full-scale book hit the magazine racks last month, and features easy decorating and cooking ideas for the holidays from now through the New Year. (Note: the full book features holiday ideas for the entire year, and would be a perfect gift for any hostess friend!)

If you are in the mood for some last-minute easy ideas for Sunday, these things might be right up your alley. Most of the supplies can be found at your local Target or grocery store, and can be whipped up in no time.

Like these ghost decals for your front door, or lanterns made out of simple votives. These would be simple to make with a pair of scissors and craft paper or black sticky paper.

Pumpkin Patch Bites -- awww LOVE these. You can't beat hand-held ham and cheese melts. 

And while I am at it, from the Woman's Day website, how fun are these? If you have a glue gun, you can make these in probably 20 minutes, and they could even last year-to-year.

Enjoy crafting -- and enjoy the fun day!

PS. Check out my mummy dogs! BIG success and oh so easy! They were perfect with ketchup/mustard and a big salad.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Binder Challenge: Part 1

I get baking and cooking inspirations from everywhere.

Behold my cooking binder. This nifty tabbed folder holds recipes from every type of publication. Print-offs from Yum Sugar or Southern Living. Tear-outs from Cooking Light or the newspaper.

Hand-printed cards from Mom, and hand-printed cards of my own.

I just can't get enough.

Part of the resulting problem, though (other than what really would work better is an actual binder with ringed pages haha), is that I forget to reference this treasure trove of ideas, or the wonderful recipe books I own, when I am in the mood for a menu-change. I often select something brand-new, instead, and try that. As a result, I have accumulated a lot of recipes that have never been attempted.

This summer Winter (I wrote this draft months ago, FAIL), a goal of mine is to actually try (and then keep or discard) some of these meal ideas. And you, my friends, will hear about the failures and successes sure to follow :)

First up: I told you about the fantastic burgers we had in Ohio over the summer. So what catches my eye while flipping through, what else, the coupon pages of the Sunday paper shortly after our trip, but an ad from Dole Pineapple for Teriyaki Burgers, complete with coupons for some of the main ingredients.

Done! These tasty-sounding burgers took top precedence on my must-make list. What resulted was true fabulousness, and I had to share it here. If you associate turkey burgers with words like dry or flavorless, you won't after having this one, I promise. They are healthy, cheap on the budget, and company-worthy to serve.

This recipe? A total keeper -- it's front and center in the binder :)

Turkey Teriyaki Burgers
Enjoy with some handmade potato wedge fries or a salad.

1 can (20 oz.) pineapple slices
1/2 cup Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce
2 lbs. ground turkey or chicken
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
8 hamburger buns (or sandwich thins, if you are watching your waist!)
8 slices cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

1. Drain pineapple; reserve 1/2 cup juice. Reserve 2 pineapple slices for snack or other use.
2. Stir together marinade and reserved pineapple juice in small bowl.
3. Mix together turkey, ginger, breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup teriyaki mixture. Shape into 8 patties.
4. Grill patties, brushing with remaining teriyaki mixture, until desired doneness. Place pineapple slices on grill and cook until light golden brown.
5. Serve burgers on buns with cheese and pineapple. Serve and enjoy!

To grab a printable card directly from Kikkoman, click here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Graveyard Madness

I just can't help myself with holiday-themed baking. I am making mummy dogs later this week, and my cousin has suggested a great pumpkin spice cake that I might make for the office, too.

When it comes to sweets, I love baking, and then -- this is the crucial part -- GIVING IT AWAY. I make things for my coworkers, my friends, my family, and sometimes, even random strangers. All is well and good unless it comes home with me. Because it is there, my friends, that all restraint breaks loose, and this somewhat-structured nutritional gal can. not. stop. eating. sweets.

This is a good example. I was inspired by Mom to make a cute Graveyard Cake last week, decor and all. I started off my making the tombstones with Vienna Finger cookies.

This was followed by me eating a few of them before they could get on to the cake. I don't know what came over me, I promise.

Then I made chocolate jello (stick with me here, I didn't do the typical frosting and cake combo. I thought jello might make it "lighter." HA. What a joke.), spread it over my chocolate sheet cake, and used some reserved cake to make the "dirt" on top. And yes, I may have eaten the leftover jello and cake. Sue me.

At this point, I couldn't eat any more of it, though, because I was then in decorating mode! Enter the bats and pumpkins and sprinkles and candy corn, oh my!

This was awesome, a cake to share with the PR Ladies, and I'd have none left over to deal with later at home.

Wrong. We all sugar OD-ed at our Girls Night and so most of us came home with large portions of our dishes. This cake came home with me, and I'd be lying if I didn't say that I had another piece as a nightcap with a nice cold glass of skim milk. YUM.

Holiday Baking is really quite successful. As long as I can guarantee I can fatten other people up other than myself :P

Pita Pit: I Heart You

This is hereby a request to The Pita Pit to quickly open a location in the immediate Atlanta area. Your "Coming Soon" location in Decatur is taunting us.

Yes, I realize that you usually have locations of your budget- and health-friendly joints in college towns like Auburn, Gainesville, and Clemson.

But then why have you not yet opened a location in the "college town" of Atlanta, home to Georgia Tech, Georgia State, and Emory?

It is a tragedy that the residents of our fair town have to travel to places like Athens and Valdosta to sample your simple yet masterful blends of lightweight pitas stuffed with gyro meat and feta, scrambled eggs and ham, or anything else our hungry hearts desire.

Pita Pit's falafel pita with feta, tzatziki and hot sauce, and hummus? I heart you. Can't wait to have you again on a college-town road trip. Or, if we are lucky, right here in town someday (hint, hint franchisees...)

In the meantime, I suggest my ATL friends hit up Marco's Pita on Ponce. This mainstay from my GT days is as good as it always was. Get the lamb or falafel gyro! I die.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Top Ten {Tuesday}: Lots of Thoughts

Top Ten {Tuesday} Sometimes I struggle with my lists to include for Top Ten {Tuesday}. I never try and force a post, because honestly, that usually means they are lame and who is going to want to read a lame post anyways? The Top Ten {Tuesday} lists usually give me a theme to work off of ... if I am creative enough to think up one.

This week, I had that theme. I thought about it yesterday in the shower and while I was drying my hair. But then I forgot to actually build out on the theme. So I am left with nothing for today. Except my thoughts. And well, wouldn't you know it, my thoughts are all over the place these days. Here's ten of them (oh how convenient, a list of ten! :P )

1. Halloween. It's here! We are all set with our costumes, and if we don't win at least some kudos from the contest people at our various events, well then, I don't want to know who actually wins, because these are going to be AWESOME.

2. Spring-Cleaning ... in the Fall. Sunday involved spring-cleaning the condo, and putting everything in its place. It feels so nice to relax, not having to worry about the clutter that was slowly building up around me. And yes, I am aware that makes me slightly OCD.

3. Eww. Speaking of clutter and OCD, last night we watched Hoarders for the first time, and OMG these people are RIDICULOUS. They are seriously ill in the head, living in homes where you can't see the carpet or walls because it's covered in 7-feet piles of STUFF. The one last night also involved a woman with 36 cats in there with her. 23 of them were living. And she saw nothing wrong in her actions. GROSS.

4. Feeling Blah and Working Out. I really need to amp up my weekly workouts. I tell this to myself all the time, but I still don't get in the 3-4 workouts a week that I know make me feel my personal best. Today I am feeling the changing weather patterns more than normal, and while I really would love to crash on the couch later, I know a spin on the elliptical will do this body and mind good.

5. New Year's. We booked our flights (no driving, hooray!) to NJ/NYC for the holidays. Except that the way the holidays fall this year, we are coming home on NYE instead of January 2 or 3. I have only spent one NYE in Atlanta in my adult life. What is going on in town that would be fun/affordable/easy to do? Side note: As Grandma Joan used to say, "New Year's is for amateurs." I do not need a $200 shindig to make my night/year complete. 

6. I love my new boots. I wore both pair over the weekend and am continuously planning outfits to go with them so that I can wear them as much as possible :)

7. I have a Starbucks addiction. Mostly grande nonfat chai, but sometimes grande nonfat pumpkin spice with no whip. Can someone help?

8. Rules of the Road. People that block the box (aka block the intersection after the light turns, for you non-NYC friends) really, really REALLY irritate me. As do people who try to cut in at the last second to the turn lane, like they own it. (This is why I try and take MARTA. The rage comes out otherwise!)

Image credit here.

9. New 'Dos. I have a haircut on Saturday and am doing away with the straight bangs after 10 good months. I have enjoyed them but am feeling the itch to trade them out. Perhaps no bangs at all? TBD.

10. Food Fights. Shopping at Publix makes me happy. Shopping at Disco Kroger makes me stressed out. Publix wins. Plus I feel more yuppie shopping there, pretending like I have all sorts of money. Ugh, I have a problem.

What's something that's been on your mind this week? As you can see from my list, seriousness of thought does not count :P 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Comfort Food Menu for the Week

I hope everyone had a great weekend! We went and saw my beloved Jackets lose on the road (Clemson v. GT is always a toss-up, blah) but then were excited to see that the Auburn Tigers are now #1! War Eagle! At least one team did well for us this weekend :)

After all that football, it got around to Sunday, and I sat down to do what has become normal routine for me on the weekends -- first reviewing the coupons/sales at the stores, and then planning out my weekly menu based on that and what recipes I am in the mood for.

Ironic side note: I posted about menu-planning almost exactly one year ago. It must be the cool weather, shorter days and upcoming holiday season that makes me rethink my weekly dinner strategy!

Menu-planning really pays off bigtime for me, in both time and money -- I can usually save about $15-20 on groceries with coupons and sales. The best weeks are when I don't have to go to the store any other times during the week, and we can come home to a stocked fridge with a few different meals to choose from. 

This week, I am shooting for similar success. Here's my menu-plan for the week. Right now I am all about Fall and coziness and comfort foods, but I am trying to keep it quasi-healthy at the same time. This menu will also let us chill out after work, without having to cook up a storm.

* Taco Pie -- the taco fixings are on sale at Publix this week with their recipe for Taco Nacho Rice, so I stocked up on cheese, ground chuck, tomatoes and shreds for this family favorite. I use crescent rolls to layer out the beef and cheese, but here's another version of the recipe from Betty Crocker (picture credit) that sounds delicious.

* Halloween Hot Dog Mummies with salad -- for the child at heart in all of us :)

* Teryaki Pineapple Turkey Burgers with sweet potato fries -- this recipe is a quick fix by using frozen Jennie-O burgers instead of making them from scratch. I will roast up the "fries" in the oven.

* Pasta with asparagus tips and sauce -- gotta love an easy night with little to no "cooking" actually required :) We picked up a fun-shaped Archer Farms bag of pasta from Target that will jazz up this weeknight basic.

What does your menu look like for the week?

Stay tuned! Later this week, I am going to take you inside my recipe binder (and all it's chaos, as you will see) and share with you some of my go-to healthy meal favorites. Happy Menu Planning!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Happy Hour: La Passeggiata

It's Friday, and nothing gets me more excited than thinking about upcoming weekend plans. A few weeks ago (or months? I bookmark things often and forget about them oops), I read a great article over at Fodor's about an Italian tradition that takes place right in the sweet spot of a Friday -- Happy Hour.

La Passeggiata marks the end of the workday in Italy, and brings everyone out in the streets to roam and promenade about. As the writer mentions, it's all about "simply seeing and being seen" or in language, "vedere e farsi vedere." (Note to self: learn Italian someday. So pretty.)

The whole experience reminds me a bit of our college football halftime tradition of stealing out of the sun to the concessions area, where everyone mingles about for 20 minutes, catching up ... and of course, showing off our perfectly-coordinated Game Day outfits :P

In Italy, though, La Passeggiata goes beyond just socializing out in the plazas. Young girls of marrying age take advantage of this dusk tradition to flirt about and meet respectable suitors. It's like Cotillion, but all grown up. On the weekends, this is THE social event in their country.

Tonight, or this weekend, keep La Passeggiata in mind while you make your plans. It's perfect weather to go mingle (and flirt with suitors?) at outdoor after-work venues like Sweetwater Brewery or TAP. Stretch those social skills and hit up a new place rather than heading straight home. Even if you are already happily paired off or not looking for a relationship, La Passeggiata is also all about staying in touch with friends and meeting new ones -- make the most of your weekend evenings!

Passa un buon fine settimana! (Have a great weekend!) 

Read the full story about La Passeggiata on Image source:

Halloweeny Bites Galore

Well this is quite possibly the CUTEST compilation of Halloween-themed snack foods that I have ever seen. I added this fabulous blog to my Reader faster than you can say "Great Pumpkin!"

Some of my favorites ...

Candy Corn Cupcakes -- how adorable, and these are easy to make with a little food coloring.

Nutty Ghosts -- no recipe even needed!

Mummy Dogs -- no recipe needed for this one, either, but how cute are they?! Yum!

Sara (and Kate) at Our Best Bites is one of my new favorite bloggers for quick and easy party fare. Thanks for the ideas, Sara -- I can't wait to get baking!

All pictures straight from Our Best Bites

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ketch Me If You Can

I am oh so sad that I am going to be missing out on a friend's birthday celebration this weekend while we are road-tripping to Clemson to see our Jackets (hopefully) kick some football booty. Lord knows, our two schools' teams always make for an entertaining local rivalry game.

I am bummed partially because I, of course, want to be there with her on her special day ...

... But it's also because they are celebrating at The Big Ketch, a brand-new spot in Buckhead that sounds fantastic and very fun!

The Big Ketch is all about fresh seafood at a very reasonable price. Taking a look at their menu, I already know some things I can't wait to try:

Blackened scallops appetizer with GA peach dipping sauce (I love local touches to mainstay dishes like this!) -- $8.95

Hot buttered lobster roll, a 1/4 lb. of lobster goodness (I die) -- $14.95

The mixed grill, shrimp and scallop skewers grilled or blackened with any two sauces -- $17.95

Their Pink Lemonade signature drink, a mixture of Van Gogh Citroen, light lemonade, cranberry and raspberry -- $6.95

So Happy Birthday to my gal Kelly! Have some fantastic food (and drinks) for me ... and you KNOW I am going to be heading here soon enough, so any one else wanting to try it out, let me know :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

G is for Ghosts

This one's a winner, especially for people like me that have never been to Oakland Cemetery before. It's on my Atlanta Bucket List -- or at least it's on the Q+DD Bucket List, one that I have definitely referenced before as my own :)

Who's in? You just need to RSVP by Friday. Tin Lizzy's is right across the street with a great patio for afterward .....

Thanks, Atlanta INtown!

**Update: I checked with the friendly folks at Atlanta INtown Paper and they said people are welcome to come any time between 5 and 7PM, so don't be intimidated by the early start time. Come meet up with me - I am definitely going!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Top Ten {Tuesday}: Date Nights on the Cheap

Charlotte: What did you do last night?
Carrie: Went to a movie.
Charlotte: With who?

Carrie: Myself.
Charlotte: On Date Night?!
Carrie: Are we still gonna have to call it "Date Night" in our 50's??

I am pretty sure I could find a somewhat-relevant Sex and the City quote for every single post I do on this blog :)

Like that great scene from Season 5 "Anchors Away" depicts, today I am going to talk about Date Night, budget-style. And as you might also guess, this one isn't just for you lovers. While those of you in relationships probably love finding new ideas for keeping it fresh with your significant other, this is also for you single gals and boys, or those of you with families. All that is required is A) an open mind, B) a desire to cut costs on your social lives and C) someone to join you in crime -- be it a husband or wife, a roommate, a BFF or a sibling. Pets are perfect too unless otherwise noted :P

Remember: "Date Night" doesn't have to be a bad two-letter word associated with $100+ outings to dinners and movies. Keep it low-key, fun, and rediscover the simpler side of life!

Ten Ideas for Date Night, Buckhead Betty Style

1. A Day in the Park -- Bust out the frisbee or football and get out and enjoy the crisp air. Local parks to hit up: Chastain, Piedmont, Frankie Allen, Chattahoochee River. Bring a cooler with some sodas and beers, and a blanket to lounge on. For a real date "night," bring a picnic for dusk!

2. Board Games -- Never underestimate what a board or card game can do to enrich an otherwise regular evening. Think: Monopoly, Apples to Apples, Jenga. Add for additional fun: friendly wagers (someone has to clean up the dishes afterward, or give a back massage, oo-la-la!), adult beverages (duh?), fun snacks (Chex Mix, Muddie Buddies).

3. Arts and Crafts -- Recently, I have been in the mood to scrapbook again. I made a great one after college, and there's nothing stopping me other than sheer laziness (and picking/printing off the actual photos) in putting together a post-college collage of sorts. This is perfect for a rainy afternoon with wine and music! For the brawnier men out there -- build something together, like cornhole boards.

4. Exercise -- Yes, you can go for a run or walk. But get more creative, and go rock-climbing, hike in the woods, or hit up the tennis courts. Same (friendly) wagers apply as #2.

5. Dinner and a Movie ... At Home -- Whip up a nice meal, sharing the responsibilities in the kitchen. Put on some great music and enjoy an appetizer and cocktails (do you see a pattern here? Haha!) Even if the meal doesn't turn out perfectly, you have (hopefully) enjoyed each others company as you relax to watch a movie. After all, there's always Chinese delivery if the food catches fire :)

Image Credit here

6. Local sports -- Beyond the obvious choice of the big teams (here in town: Thrashers season has started, and there are always the Hawks too), the smaller venues offer a more intimate experience at usually half the price. Ideas: Gwinnett Gladiators, the lesser-known Atlanta Dream.

7. Seasonal activities -- Right now, go pumpkin-picking. When the snow falls, go ice-skating at a local rink. You get the idea. Work with what the seasons give you.

8. Coupons for Creativity -- Some of the best Date Night ideas can come from the local coupon deal sites online. Recently, I have seen a few that would be datable excursions: Trapeze Classes, Polo Lessons (yes, like on the horse), North GA Canopy Tours.

9. Explore with a "Staycation" -- Pick two or three of the above and make it into a full-weekend thing. Turn the ringers off your phones, ditch other plans, and "escape" from your reality. Bonus points if you can find a sitter for your kids for the day, if applicable :)

10. What would you add to complete this list of ideas? 

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tailgating Recipes to Share

It was another beautiful Fall weekend here in Atlanta full of relaxation, reading, and ... oh, of course, football!

We do not show up to our tailgates empty-handed, and this weekend was no exception. I made two recipes to share, and then made a bonus batch of pimento cheese for the tailgate's burgers, too. While I am not going to share that one (a Betty's gotta keep some family recipes to herself, after all!) I did want to share the other two with you here, because they got rave reviews and are SO easy but yet perfect hostess additions.

Oriental Salad
This one comes via my mom through a friend, but it's also one that Paula Deen and Cooking Light have documented versions of, as it is a Southern ladies favorite. It's perfect for tailgates and other outdoor adventures, since it has no mayo in it, and it is a snap to make the night before. 

1 bag cabbage slaw mix
2 bunches green onions, chopped
1 c. sunflower seeds
1 package beef ramen - reserve spice packet for dressing
1 c. slivered almonds, toasted

3/4 c. canola oil
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. white or rice wine vinegar
Ramen spice packet

Mix together first 3 dry ingredients. Crumble in ramen noodles. Mix together all dressing ingredients, and pour over salad, mixing well. Refrigerate for a few hours, preferably overnight. Mix in almonds before serving.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cookies
Thanks to Pillsbury for this "Semi-Homemade" style dessert that is easy and super cute. You can't beat cookies at an event with a lot of food, because they are easy to snack on and transport, too. I have amended the original recipe with more flour and peanut butter to give them a better shape - they fall a little flat otherwise.

1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury refrigerated peanut butter cookies
1 egg yolk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp of peanut butter
Orange decorator sugar crystals (or RED since my Kroger seems to think orange ones at Halloween are not necessary to sell, grrr)
14 pretzel sticks, broken in half (make them short)

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray. In medium bowl, stir dough, egg yolk, flour and peanut butter until well mixed.

Pour sugar crystals into small bowl. Shape dough into 28 (1-inch) balls; roll in sugar crystals. Insert 1 pretzel piece into each ball for pumpkin stem. Using toothpick, make lines around sides for pumpkin ridges. Place balls 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.

Bake 11-13 minutes or just until set in center when touched with fingertip. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Take That Vacation, Betties and Beaus

Do you all remember how relaxed I was when I came back from that much-anticipated vacay last week? Well that feeling has stuck right with me since re-entering the "real world" -- just in time for my social world to ramp up for the Fall and Holiday season. Sure, it's been tough to re-adjust to no 4pm-cocktail hours and no 10am-brunches on a random weekday, as you might expect it to be :) But the memories of that week on the high seas are enough to boost me through until my next week-long vacation (plus some) at the holidays.

Did you take your summer vacation early this year, and now are wondering if and when you will ever get away again? Are you stressed about trying to use up all of your vacation days this year? Do you have days to take, but don't want to "waste" them if you can't actually afford to get away anywhere?

Don't delay, my fellow Betties (and Beaus). Take those days! It doesn't matter if you go anywhere other than your living room. It's the mental break that is worth it. As if you need them, here are some reasons to DEFINITELY "get away," as soon as possible.

Reason #1: Americans are the most overworked country EVER. Read it and weep. Or read it and have a martini, as I was inclined to do. Not at the office though, obviously :P

Reason #2: Americans take less vacation than anyone else. We remain the only industrialized country in the world that has no legally mandated annual leave.

Reason #3: At least 134 countries have laws setting the maximum length of the work week; the U.S. does not. 86% of men and 66% of women work more than 40 hours a week. Ugh.

Reason #4: This graph. Double-ugh.

P.S. The 20-Something Finance blog is a goodie...

Reason #5: Why would you work through a day that your employer is literally giving you for free to take off? 

France gets 30 days off each year by LAW, and we can't even take our measly 10 to 15 (on average) days? This is just getting sad. What is stopping you? Start researching destinations, or staycation ideas.

And while you are at it, sign this pledge that Westin is hosting, and be eligible to win one of 200 4-night stays at one of their posh hotels. So even if you can't afford to leave town on your well-earned vacation days, you might be able to enjoy a taste of luxury right here at home :)

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation to Westin. Other than it being utterly fabulous and my hotel of choice if/when I have hotel money to splurge. Just sayin.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Top Five Fashion Finds for Fall

I have been lusting over Fall clothes for about three months now, ever since that first fall-themed catalog came to my mailbox. Fall is my favorite season to dress for -- just the thought of a light jacket thrown over a cozy sweater makes me smile.

My challenge? How to pick just a few items to save up for out of all the options out there, since I am trying to prioritize my budget and all :P

As you might imagine, 15 pounds down later (thank you WW), a large majority of my work wardrobe is a bit ... off. Pants have been donated, dresses are being cinched in with belts, and skirts are hanging around my hips rather than at my natural waist. All in all, my "professional" wardrobe isn't looking so professional anymore, and I am getting the itch to pick up some key pieces in their right sizes.

Here are my Top Five for Fall -- complete with a spread of some of my favorite picks at the bottom. What things are on your Must-Have list for Fall and Winter? If you are need of more inspiration, check out In Style's list of staying comfy, cozy, and CHIC!

1. Flat boots -- I caved on this one yesterday and used a 20% code on two pairs of on-sale boots on Piperlime. Use the promo code STYLE20 if you find a pair or two you like too before it expires today!

2. Camel-colored winter coat -- my ivory one is looking a bit sad after losing a battle to some red wine at an outdoor wedding last year :( Camel-colored things are all the rage, but are also one of the most classic color picks for a quality wool coat. I am a fan of anything beltable, but swing coats are a trendy-yet-classic version, too.

3. Long-sleeve work dresses -- We live in Atlanta, so the idea of wearing dresses and skirts year-round is a little more palatable than it might be in the chilly NE, where even a pair of leggings might not save you in the winter.

4. Leggings and skinny jeans (for casual Fridays). You heard me talk about this yesterday. LOFT, GAP and Banana all have great skinny jeans at good prices. And I have seen quite the assortment of leggings for about $25 a pop at Macy's, and H&M usually has a lot, though theirs can be see-through (yikes!). Any other ideas for good places to pick some leggings up?

5. Turtlenecks -- specifically, black, brown, and jewel-toned ones. I could live in tutlenecks. They are perfect to layer under jumpers and vests for work, but also can be dressed up on weekends with dangly earrings and chunky necklaces.