Thursday Thoughts

Thursday has always been my favorite day. I chose this day to post a couple of ramblings just to shake the blog up a little bit. Sometimes you get to work with such great partners you realize you havent done much more than product placement or a restaurant review in a very long time. I have a lot of thoughts, theories and rants and raves and what better home could this be on a weekly basis. Be very excited! 

We are getting a new bed. The lady at Mattress Giant was interesting, she tried to play off that we couldn't decide which one to get, like marital problem related...but really we always make fair and balanced decisions. Getting a mattress is just an interesting process and full of choices. What kind, what size, adjustable, double adjustable? The Mister initially wanted a dual adjustable bed which I was not really for...if nothing else, I am sorry ...but extended twin sheets?? Do they even sell a high thread count in extended twin sheets? It looked esthetically stupid. That is what it is-two extended twins to make a bed. I have a plethora of queen size sheets that I loved so I was happy when the 10K sticker shock took that discussion right off the table. 

I know that this sounds really gay, but I am a little sad that I am giving up my mattress. Not the way you would think, gutter heads but a lot has happened in that bed. I recovered from brain surgery for six weeks on this bed and I watched countless hours of amazing television...and it was one of my first major purchases that I bought and paid off all on my lonesome. Apparently Felicity is having some attachment issues as well. 

Speaking of great television, I can't stop watching the Travon Martin/George Zimmerman trial. Literally glued. I caught myself fresh out of the shower, towel on head, eating potato chips, leaning in towards the TV completely engrossed and hanging on every word. Its amazing. The girl who last spoke to Trayvon and was the State's star witness makes me incredibly sad for the future of America, She was disrespectful, and clearly has no parents that trained her how to behave like a human being. That is about as involved as I want to get before I start ranting. Please google her deleted tweets, Class act. 

I had a fun fabulous book club this week. We discussed The Paris Wife and my pick for next month will be Z, the story of Zelda Fitzgerald. I hear she is bat shit crazy! I cannot wait! 

This weekend, I hope to get some sun in anticipation of the 4th of July. Also known as the middle of the Summer already! Can you believe it? My friends are coming to race in Daytona for the Coke Zero 400. I have a weird feeling that one of them...we are friends with four teams are gonna win this race. So, now that it is shall happen! Yay! 

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Chicken Salad Salad at La's Bistro

Probably one of my favorite things about being self employed is the freedom that it gives you when you think about how you spend a day. The pressure is always on, but luckily if I have a computer and wireless connection I can pretty much spend my day anywhere I want. So, I am always looking for unique places where I can relax outdoors and work while smiling politely to the ladies in suits who are clearly rushing through their lunch in the time clock crunch. I don't miss those days at all. 

My favorite place to do this is in Ormond Beach is La's Bistro. La's Bistro clicks off a lot of things for me to make a place a place I return to again and again:

Outdoor Seating
Friendly Staff and Owners
Awesome food
Good Site for Spotting Friends 
Wireless Connection

Check, Check, Check and Check! Some other non-work related highlights: a Mimosa Club, Fantastic Brunch and lots of yummy wine! In fact, it is one of my secret hiding spots on Fridays around friend Diane and I spent all summer last year stealthily meeting to kick off the weekend early.

As I tend to do when I find something I like, I usually order the same is so good and healthy and I crave it. It is the La's Chicken Salad Salad. The chicken salad has little mayo and nuts over spring greens and a honey vinaigrette that is to die for. 

What is always a nice touch is that one of the two owners (they are husband and wife) usually stops by and sees how my meal was. Really happy to spend time and energy at a place that cares about their people. 

Chicken Salad Salad

La's Bistro on Urbanspoon Pin It

Hoping to Go To BlogHer13

I'm really trying to weigh my options on going to BlogHer 13 in Chicago. My partner in crime, Megan is not going to attend as she has a glorious reason to save money. I really enjoyed my trip to BlogHer last year. I met some great people and had the best experience, had a chance to connect with some great brands and the sessions are great. Not to mention, it was in the greatest city on Earth and I got to dance with the Rockettes!

I really want to go this year, but I feel guilty going by myself and spending the money after the wedding last month. I decided to enter a contest that The Mission List is holding. The Mission List connects non-profits, NGOs, and socially conscious, pro-woman brands with people who are passionate about taking meaningful steps to increase awareness of and take action for social good causes. If nothing else, I am so glad I have had a chance to learn more about The Mission List and I will be participating in the future.

BlogHer 12 in NYC was hard to beat, but these are some of the reasons why I don't want to miss BlogHer 13:

It's in Chicago. I have never been to Chicago and its on my top five list to visit. Everyone says I will love it and I think it would be a lot of fun. As much as this girl loves NYC, the Chi-town food and the atmosphere is calling my name!

Its all about the speakers 'Last year Martha Stewart and Katie Couric were two the keynotes so we awaited patiently to see what was really up BlogHer's sleeve this year. The names did not disappoint! Ree Drummond,Sheryl Sandberg Brit Morin to name a few! All iconic women in my social media and blogging world. It is always nice to hear from women who have made what you do a success and a reality, If I dont go, I sure hope they telecast it. 

Great Brands and Great Swag. Yes, the swag is good but the brand face to face is better. Last year Megan and I had a goal to get out there and talk to brands that we could relate and connect with. This gave us some awesome opportunities and great relations with really cool brands like Wholly Guacamole, Manilla, Dole, to name a few! The stuff was great to take home and share, Im not gonna lie, that was really neat!

Like minded individuals-I just read a great article from Nina Badzin. Notice that is a couple years old, but she says she stands by every word to this day and I would too. Its nice to know that there are people out there that you don't have to badger to read your blog. People that don't look at you like you are crazy and say..Wait, you do this for FREE? People that get it.

Even if they are strangers, being in a mecca of blogger gives you a sense of unity! Attending conferences like BlogHer strengthens this mentality. I have made some great connections even by following the #blogher13 feed on Twitter.

Reignites the Blog Bug- When I came home from BlogHer last year I have almost a dozen different blogs I wanted to write! There are still things in my notes that I never got to. Conferences like these inspire you to write and blog and write and blog some more!

I come to learn- On top of all this, the breakout sessions are awesome. Whatever the reason you sit with your blog day in and day out, BlogHer has a session and a track with you in mind. Check out their schedule here.

Check out The Mission Statement on Facebook, on the web and Twitter

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Wedding Etiquette: To Thank Or Not To Thank...That is the Question.

My wedding planning is coming to a close as we finalized our thank you notes and will begin the daunting process of writing them out. Thanks to the amazing help of Wedding Wire, whatever anyone gave us along the way is in an amazingly neat and organized manner. 

I am so glad that my friend Heidi introduced me to this site. It answers every need of the obsessive compulsive in you. Aside from one or two that I forgot to input, it also very much gives you a great report of who was invited to your wedding and didn't give you anything. 

A glaring report that makes you question a lot of things.

What you may or may not know about me is that I am solely materialistic. This means that I love things, all kinds of things but I love even more that I am solely responsible for buying said things. I have never relied on anyone to buy me the finer things in life and I take great pride in my 95 Juicy Couture suits from 10 years ago, 4 pairs of Uggs, the Ann Taylor Loft popup store that is my closet,  and just a ridiculous amount of stupid handbags and designer sunglasses that I had to have. Because I bought them on my own. 

The point of this digression is that this isn't about the fact that you didn't buy us something off our registry. 

It's about doing the right thing

This rant may be a little bit premature, but according to this article, the people I am glaring at have about three more weeks to do the right thing. That whole one year thing? 1980 called and wants it mentality back. In today's day, with this little thing called the internet- the one year to give a wedding present is no longer a standard.

As I am looking at this list, my heart hurts a little bit. I am a little sad that this is what is bothering me, but I blame the Italian in me for demanding the principle of the matter. I am sad that I invited some of these people and they came to my wedding without a gift or not sending immediately after and think that is ok. I am also sad that the people who declined or couldn't to come to my wedding think that it is ok to NOT send a gift just because they couldn't come. By the way, that doesn't get you off the hook on the gift giving! That just means you missed out on a great time and a lot (and I mean a lot) of free booze! I am also sad that I feel like a terrible person to complain about this

I am gonna say it again, its not about the money or the gift...its about disappointing me and the fact that I really like having people in my life that do the right thing. Its about disappointing your parents because they should have taught you better.  

So my question to you is do I send them a Thank you card or not? Because I guess I do want to thank them for spending their day with us. See, I am not that horrible...just a girl who probably needs to be a little less ranty. Or maybe people don't know and I just was raised differently? Well, I would like to thank YOU for reading this and giving me your thoughts below! 

Sneak Peak Thank you! 

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Opa to Dimitri's

There is a lot to be said for an amazing view and delicious food. Even a better bonus is that the food is of the Greek nature. Dimitris used to be in South Daytona and ever since they moved beachside I have been a big fan! Even when they first opened and you could sit in the A/C with the cute decor it was great but about a year ago they built a ginormous upstairs deck with the best view in Daytona Beach! Its really nice and has wifi so if you have had enough of your day...a quick jaunt to Dimitri's will remind you why you live in Daytona. 

Its the kind of restaurant that you would suffer through any type of fare, but the fact of the matter is the food is delicious! I am extremely picky on my Greek salad tastes. The greek salad at Dimitris is awesome! 

When we were there last week, I tried the grape leaves...hard to mess up for sure but they had an interesting sauce that tasted awesome.  

The View

Dimitri's Artisan Sandwiches on Urbanspoon Pin It

Today is National Martini Day!

Admission, most every day is martini or vodka day for me...but I will take on every opportunity to celebrate without feeling guilty!

Three Olives Smores vodka is awesome, on the rocks, with water or in this delicious martini that I am able to share the recipe with you!

Campfire Martini

3 parts Three Olives S'mores Vodka
Crushed graham crackers, chocolate syrup, marshmallows
Dip the rim of martini glass in chocolate syrup and coat with crushed graham crackers.
Pour Three Olives S'mores into martini shaker filled with ice.
Shake and strain into martini glass.
Garnish with a skewer of three toasted marshmallows!

About Three Olives Vodka

Three Olives® Vodka possesses the attributes of an ideal suitor: Polished. Approachable. Full of Verve.Inspired by the classic vodka martini served with a garnish of olives, Three Olives launched as a non-flavored vodka brand in 1998 and became a pioneer of the flavored-vodka market when it introduced the first-ever cherry and grape varieties in 2001.

Acquired by Jersey City, N.J.-based Proximo Spirits in 2007, the super-premium vodka brand now offers over 20 different flavors that have fueled a three-fold increase in sales to nearly 1.5 million cases from half a million.

As implied by the brand’s other popular flavors - Cake, Bubble, Dude and S’mores - Three Olives delivers one-of-a-kind drinks that appeal to polished individuals who revel in their uniqueness; they are clever, witty, and loath to take themselves too seriously.

Three Olives Vodka is imported from England where it is harvested from wheat and undergoes quadruple distilling to produce a smooth texture that is easy on the palette, without burn or strong alcohol taste. The brand’s flavored 70-proof vodka is 35 percent alcohol and its 80-proof clear vodka is 40 percent alcohol, appealing both to newer consumers who like to socialize and those over 35 years old who relish quiet moments.

Find more about Three Olives on Facebook and on the web
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The Wrong Way To Use Facebook For Business ( a tiny rant)

Technology really has made things easy for us. If you have noticed, wireless companies like AT&T have eliminated their minutes plan and have started to charge for data because people just aren't communicating with their friends and family via phone calls like they used to.

I am not even sure that they using email as much as a contact, when it is just so easy to text or Facebook message for an immediate response. Most of us have smartphones and get notified straight away when we get a message on FB. I am a big fan of instant contact and can say that my phone habits have changed  and are not the same that they were a year ago.

Of course with everything, it must be used in moderation and with some common sense.

Some thoughts from a girl who is cranky on this issue:

Contacting a person for new business via text message or (personal) FB message

As far as I am concerned, your personal Facebook page is for you, your friends and your cute cat and kid pictures. Writing someone on their personal Facebook page with a long drawn out business inquiry in their personal inbox is just wrong. Even if the phone (you should pick it up and call, then) or FB is your only connection, there is a better way to ask business related questions.

Be proper and apologize for bothering them on their personal Facebook and ask if they have an email you can use for this inquiry. 

Texting or Personal Facebook Messaging for Impersonal Reasons

So you are an employer looking on your personal Facebook page...maybe enjoying your friend's recent vacation pictures or wondering how big is your niece going to get. My point, is that this is your personal time with you and with Facebook., and in comes a message from Facebook...someone you only know, not are even that good of friends with-"Hey, I was wondering if you are hiring?" or "Do you know anyone at the radio station that can get me tickets to One Direction" (This is actually a true story from someone I hadn't talked to in five years.)

The Do here is Don't do that. Ever.

Understanding a time and place rule.  

Using Facebook or Text messages to check in on your vendors for progress out of business hours has its own set of rules. This is a Do and a Don't. I think if you have someone you work with or for-you can check in with them via text or ask them a quick question, obviously. But during business hours only. Sending an email, text or Facebook message other than between the hours of 9-5 Monday-Friday is NOT ok! Unless your building is on fire, please don't do this!

It is understandable that you are not being conscious of the time because you dont want to forget the question or situation at hand. Rely on services like Boomerang that will delay your email and send it at a more appropriate time. As someone who gets up at 5a, I would die without this feature.

An actual expert weighs in.
Founder and Director of The Etiquette Seed, Heather Post says "Facebook posts and texting are considered two of the most casual forms of communication and using these for cold calls or to apply for employment can imply that the recipient is not important enough for face-to-face or "human" contact.  These forms of communication should not be used in formal business situations where a first impression or building a relationship is key."
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Weight Loss Wellness For Summer: Detox Drinks From Cell-nique

As much as I loved Savannah, you go there to eat....and drink...and eat some more. My friends, this isn't California goodness, its southern awesomeness-fried chicken, mac and cheese, biscuits and gravy, carb, carb and more carbs. This morning I was excited to start my journey with a new healthy drink -Cell-nique Super Green Drink. Cell-nique Super Green Drink is a USDA organic drink that energizes, detoxifies and nourishes your body with the equivalent of 8 servings of fruits & vegetables in every bottle. After eating like I was actually Paula Deen-anything that would promote itself as a detox drink was calling my name. Screaming it...actually.

The great thing about Cell-nique is that it is Vegan, gluten-free, and low-calorie-it is also an energy booster which made for a great Monday! All flavors of Cell-nique Super Green contain the same 31 organic super foods.  Most of the sugar count comes from the naturally occurring sugars in the fruits and vegetables, with a small amount of stevia and organic blue agave.

Although all the flavors would great, the tropical fruit one was my favorite.

I think Cell-nique is just what I am looking for to kick off my loss of indulgence in Savannah. They also gave me an exclusive opportunity to share with you! Try your choice of any 1-3 bottles of Cell-nique now and get FREE SHIPPING! Redeem this offer here 

The Cell-nique website has a lot of great information for however you decide to use their products. For weight loss, they have some dos and don'ts, on their athletes page, you can read about the athletes like new NY Mets pitcher D.J. Carrasco and his experience and success using Cell-nique. There is also a section that has some great information on natural energy and good sugar vs bad sugar. For more information on Cell-nique, find them on the web,  Twitter & Facebook 

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Monday Musing

When your life is happy go lucky like mine has been lately, it's hard to remember what's it's like to be gloom, despair and agony. I don't why but I like this little saying when you are down in the dumps. Good for a Monday though, right? 

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Wedding Weekend In Savannah

This weekend, we had the honor of attending a wedding in Savannah. It was my husband's college roommate and a group of us went up there for the weekend. It was kind of cute, although he would shoot me if he read this, but my brother-in-law got in the car and said with a big smile-"Our First Official Tacinelli Road Trip!" Savannah is very beautiful and it waas a quick three hour jaunt from Daytona to get there. 

I was excited because finally there was a wedding that I could sit and enjoy and revel in its awesomeness and I was certainly not disappointed. It was at the Mackey House which is a 200 year old property that has an amazing history. It was gorgeous!! I was really jealous impressed that they pulled off a small, intimate wedding. Embarrassingly, I cried through the whole ceremony...that isn't terribly out of character for me...but fairly I love them both but I havent known them that long.

Maybe it is because I now know how special marriage is. It isn't that it is much different, but just better...does that makes sense. I smile a lot more. Its a weird inner peace. I think I have said that already, but it bares repeating.

Funny enough, the groom and my husband chased each other down the alter....not on purpose.

With two extremely patient girlfriends, we got engaged within a month of each other and married within a month of each other as well. It was kind of neat because even though the two girls didn't know each other that well, having that in common was kind of cool. You do know planning a wedding can make you bat crazy yes? I think the boys enjoyed the commonality as well. They shared a couple of lengthy phone calls on the trials and tribulations of the wedding process! 

This the end. The end. 

Luckily I had just come back there in late April so I was Julie the Tour Guide for most of the trip, but I think I did a great job! We got our eat on at The Old Pink House, The Warehouse for consistent libations on River Walk and Rocks on the Roof and Rocks on the River.

If I could tell you to go anywhere, that probably would be there. It is attached to the Bohemian and they have the best Bloody Mary's and the most fantastic Shrimp and Grits. The Rocks on the Roof visit was my first time there and we went (when else) at sunset. Absolutely gorgeous views, great drinks and reasonably priced. Good Stuff.

Life is Good Today

Last night we went to a dueling piano bar called Savannah Smiles. It was fun, but boy were we the oldest people in the place. There were four or five bachelorette parties there. Lets just say THANK GOD we never went there when my hens and I were in Savannah for mine. haha! Get out the wheelchair, its over! It reminded me of the Sex and the City episode when it was Carrie's 35th and the girl next to her was turning 25 complaining how old she was. But who doesn't like a singalong and it was the nice way end the weekend.

Hope you had a nice weekend as well and Happy Father's Day. I miss my daddy terribly today and I am thinking of my two friends who have just recently joined the Daughter's Day club. It sucks. But it will get better! My friend Nada shared a great article from Darling Magazine on What To Say To A Fatherless Friend On Father’s Day.

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Dining for Women Ormond Beach Chapter

I have a little problem. I can't say shopping, to wine, and to supporting a new cause. My friend Julia who is our executive director of Ormond Mainstreet invited my friend Judy and I to a new cause to champion...the invite was adorable and the concept was really interesting! Dining for Women is a dinner giving circle. The chapter members "dine in" together as a chapter once a month, each bringing a dish to share, and their "dining out" dollars (what we would have spent if we had eaten at a restaurant) are sent to programs empowering women worldwide. Dining For Women then combine all donations from hundreds of our chapters to support carefully selected international programs each month. They fund grass-roots programs in education, healthcare, vocational training, micro-credit loans and economic development. These programs are aimed to improve the living situations for women and their families, by providing the tools they need to make changes. 

I was excited to meet some new people, and to connect in a different way. The funny thing, half of our Junior League showed up including my friends Erum and Kelly! Which was great, it was nice to catch up with them. I'm looking forward to something completely different for a really cool cause! Want to join our chapter? Contact Rachel or  look for a chapter in your area! 
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Celebrate Ball Point Pen Day with A Bic #giveaway

When you get married, you get prizes!! You register for a bunch of stuff you don't need or think you want and then you come home and say Oh! What was I thinking?! Where am I going to put everything?! So I spent most of my weekend figuring that out! 

I also heard about these romantic stories when a husband and wife exchange a gift the day of their wedding....we somehow forgot about all that!! But it gave me a perfect platform to champion my need for a new I-pad Mini. 

Yes, I know I have a MAC problem but I love it! Its so cute! But, what I really like is what I got with it to make me feel a little more savvy! Its new from Bic, and its the coolest thing to use for work or for writing! Now I can have the best of both worlds with the new BIC® Tech 2-in-1 Stylus and Pen. 

Today is Ballpoint Pen Day-Here is a story to make you smarter-On this day in 1943, brothers Laszlo and Georg Bíró filed a patent for what's now one of the world's most common writing instruments. In 1945, the pens went on sale in the U.S., at Gimbel's in New York, for $12.50 each ($145, inflation adjusted). The store sold $125,000 worth on day one, and Bic, which bought the patent, has sold 100 billion-plus since 1950. 

The  new BIC® Tech 2-in-1 Stylus and Pen features a lightweight stylus on one end and a retractable ballpoint pen with smooth-writing Easy-Glide System® ink on the other, the BIC Tech 2-in-1 Stylus and Pen is there wherever inspiration strikes. It comes in PINK!! I love it! It is very convenient and I like that it keeps my Ipad fingerprint free. 

As part of the launch, BIC also created a free app, My BIC Notes, which enables consumers to take notes, write to-do lists, draw and doodle using the Stylus on their tablet.

Features of the BIC Tech 2-in-1 Stylus include:
·         Lightweight stylus for capacitive touchscreen devices, including tablets and smartphones
·         Easily glides across screens providing fingerprint-free precision and control
·         Retractable ball pen with Easy-Glide System® ink—BIC’s exclusive ink technology for smooth writing
·         Available in four metallic barrel colors: silver, blue, pink and aqua
·         A suggested retail price of $4.99 for a one-pack and $7.97 for a two-pack

To celebrate Ball Point Pen Day-how about a giveaway? Your chance to win a brand new Bic Tech 2-in-1 Stylus in your choice of color! 

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Choosing A Married Name Is No Easy Task

On Saturday, low and behold-I received my marriage license. Not being able to sign things with my new last name has left me not really believing I was really married...but it is an arduous process, to say the least. So this week has been full of really fun field trips....

On Monday, I went to the Social Security Office and was reminded of this video, as it was indeed the first of the month-

I'm glad I had the giggle to keep me amused because when I walked in, the security guard said you must shut off your phone while you are here. So, after about ten minutes of withdrawals, I politely asked "Can I check email or do I have to shut it off completely?" Thankfully, it was the former so I was able to "check email", also known out of air quotes as play Candy Crush as I waited an hour with very interesting characters.

After that hell on Earth challenging process was over, it was on to the DMV the next morning. For some reason this started a little bit of melancholy and a smidgen of panic...even though I was married for three weeks...this was identification was over as I knew it. 

Not that was a bad thing, but what if my dad was looking down there are no more Nanganos...I should have had a boy? I know this sounds silly but it was a little misty eyed panic that my sister had to talk me off of.

Not that I ever said my last name a bunch, how many Darlynn's are there that you know? (I hope I am your favorite) But with this comes the inevitable mispronunciations-Darlene, and the dreaded Daryl-Lynn...sounds like derelict-doesn't it? So I never threw my last name in the mix for fear people would stop acknowledging me all together. I know my fears were silly. But, I am sure I am not the first newly married to feel this way.

But, what to call myself? Darlynn Nangano was my given name, Darlynn Ann Nangano was my legal name after confirmation in the 8th grade (its on all my legal docs) D.A. Nangano is how I sign my name. Now I have this monster new name to decide where to do what with.

D.N. Tacinelli will look terrible in a signature. 
D.A. Tacinelli wins that battle. 
(I have been scribbling that for years in the back of my notebook anyway!) 

If by that small chance I email someone and they don't recognize Darlynn Tacinelli, I felt I had to put my maiden name in there for the time being in my email signature. Check that one off. 

But, guess what happened when I left a comment this morning on Aubrey from i talk to food's blog (she is getting married too!)?

!@$!%&*#!!!! Cussword! So, I guess Darlynn @ The Little Blog Dress will go there. This is clearly something noone dares whispers to you during the wedding planning. 

After deciding what you want to be called...I am sure that its not such an OCD process for almost all other then get to start changing everything you ever owned to reflect this new change. 

There are services like Miss now Mrs that will do all the paperwork for you and I am still considering looking into it, as I am sure I am missing something. Actually after looking at their list, I certainly did miss a bunch! The Post Office? The IRS? Damnit!!! 

Upside, I get pretty new credit cards! We saved $200 on our car insurance just by being married (I sound like a Geico commercial, but its true!) And above all, I am now a Mrs. in the eyes of the state of Florida and everywhere else I can think of-I think my dad would be ok with that. 

Mrs. Darlynn Ann Nangano Tacinelli 

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Looking for a Three -Peat! Please Vote for Little Blog Dress

Vote for Little Blog Dress for Best All Around Social Media

Little Blog Dress currently is the 2011 and 2012 Reader's Choice for the Daytona Beach News Journal in Social Media...that's a nice honor! Lets make it three times a charm!

I would love if you vote for me again by clicking here and scrolling down to Goods and Services on the right hand side and fill in that little line that says Social Media. Thank you!

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Trendy Testimonial Wendy's Berry Almond Chicken Salad-On The Go Healthy

We are busy bees on the go and it is nice when there is a healthy option through the drive through! I really liked this salad and it was hard to believe that it wasn't from one of my favorite bistros. Wendy's really delivers on this salad, I just wish they had it all year long! Go get yours now, as it is only for a limited time! It is awesome!

Wendy’s Berry Almond Chicken Salad returns this summer for the third-consecutive year … for a limited time only!Featuring fresh summer produce, this salad is packed with plump, tangy blueberries and hand-cut California strawberries picked at the peak of freshness atop a blend of 11 types of field greens. Warm grilled chicken breast, shaved Asiago cheese and California almonds roasted with sea salt round out this robust salad.

The Berry Almond Chicken Salad is served with a fat-free raspberry vinaigrette dressing – made from real raspberries, acai juice, shallots and balsamic vinegar. Favorite Berry Almond Chicken Salad Returns to Wendy’s

The full-sized Berry Almond Chicken Salad supplies three servings of vegetables and one serving of fruit, and has 460 calories (360 without dressing), while a half-size portion provides two servings of vegetables and a half-serving of fruit at 270 calories (220 without dressing). The blueberries and strawberries are super foods with super flavor, packed with antioxidant-rich nutrients that promote good health.

The opinions expressed above are 100% my own. I received product in exchange for this review and post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."  Pin It

Skinny and Clean: Spaghetti Squash with Sautéed Vegetables

I did it. The impossible, not climb Mt. Everest...I got two grown men to eat a low carb meal with nothing but vegetables...and devour it like it was nobody's business. I have been interested in cooking spaghetti squash and I tried it once in the microwave that was supposed to be SO was SO gross, I haven't had the courage to try it again. 

My spaghetti squash came from Front Porch Pickings which is a local farm to door delivery service that I love. My only struggle is to make what I get and not let it go bad. I used my new Ninja 3 in 1 (which I will blog about very soon, and it was a one pot meal of awesome. You can literally throw any vegetables in there that make sense and I just did a little bit of this and that but I am gonna do my very best to recreate for you. 

 Spaghetti Squash with Sautéed Vegetables

Set the oven to 400. Cut a medium sized spaghetti squash. Cut in half long ways, scrap put seeds, brush w olive pil and lightly salt.  Cook in roasting pan covered w aluminum foil for 25 min, uncover and cook for 30 more min.  Once cool to be able to touch use fork to remove the strands. Set Aside.

While that is cooking, grab your vegetables to sauté...I used zucchini, onion, cherry tomatoes and spinach (be sure to put the spinach in at the end). Sautee your vegetables till they are soft. I used Pompeian Olive Oil and a little bit of margarine. While the vegetables are cooking, season them generously. Add a cup of homemade or (shudder) jar tomato sauce...please use organic if you are buying from the jar. Add a 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese and the spaghetti squash. be sure to break up the squash like you would spaghetti. Serve this meal like you would any pasta with a good healthy dose of Parmesean! Even cracked red pepper would be a delicious addition.

This is a good meal when you find yourself with a lot of extra veggies. You could use eggplant, peppers, yellow squash...really anything! 

I paired this meal with a delicious Italian Pinot Grigio. OGIO is a sleek, modern, stylish Italian brand with a unique design  The OGIO Pinot Grigio is a delicate pale straw in color. Mouthwatering citrus and melon aromas segue beautifully into a perfect balance of natural tartness and rich fruit on the palate. This wine is dry and soft with a lasting fruity bouquet. It was really good!

Ogio also has a delicious Prosecco and a Tuscan Red that I can't wait to try! Find them on Facebook.
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National Running Day is June 5th

As any one who hits the pavement on a regular basis will attest, every day is National Running Day! But it is nice to have a day of the world for celebrate too! Tomorrow is that day! 

The cool people at Yog are hosting a series of community runs this Wednesday to celebrate. To join one of the runs they have scheduled, open up Yog and look for runs titled: Nat'l Run Day. Be sure to share your pictures using #yogrunday on Instagram!

The benefits of running for me run the gambit. Today, it is officially LESS than six months before I hit a new decade. So, running for me is good the mind, the soul and the ass. I am only half kidding. I really love to run, and have accepted that I may not be the fastest or the longest but I am better than one who sits upon the couch. I can put on my headphones and jam out and solve the world (or at least my white girl) problems all in one thirty minute jaunt.

I am also starting to get in really great shape for my efforts. Yes, I am sore sometimes...but I noticed that my dieting efforts have stayed put and I have to think it is from the extra cardio. And when you are spending all that time huffing and puffing, you tend to think twice before you shove a donut in your mouth!(Someone PLEASE tell me what that Dunkin Donuts sandwich tastes like!)

Speaking of what you put in your mouth...the one lesson I have learned is that it is so very important to eat a little something before you venture out. If you are like me and like to run the minute the sun comes up, it can be a challenge. Its hard to go from dreaming to running in a couple of minutes not to mention to shove water and food down you...but your run will suffer if you don't. I personally rely on things that are quick and easy and take very little thought (it IS very early!)

thinkThin® fits that bill for me. The thinkThin® high protein bars has 0g sugar and the  thinkThin® Crunch (my favorite) is non-GMO and has 10g protein and 70% less sugar than leading fruit and nut bars. Also, the thinkThin® Bites are delicious and convenient! I have been devouring them and want to share the wealth! Giveaway below for a Wellness Box from thinkThin® which includes:

  • one 10 bar box of thinkThin® high protein bars (with 0g sugar)
  • one 10 bar box of thinkThin® Crunch (with 10g protein and 70% less sugar than leading fruit and nut bars)
  • three boxes of thinkThin® Bites.

Good Luck and Happy National Running Day!

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Vince Carter's Makes For A Great Business Lunch

I have been to Vince's Carter's for a dozen of different occasions, but its is always a great place for business meetings. The location is ideal for a meeting because it is right off of the highway (LPGA and 95 in Daytona Beach). This was the first time that I had been in the main dining room usually we sit in the main bar area which has wall to wall televisions. 

I'm proud of Vince Carter's because they have stuck to their guns and kept going making subtle changes along the way. They have relied on the talent of local restauranteurs who knew the deal in Daytona (first John from Carabaa's and now Armondo from Inlet Harbor) and not just relied on the name and the "if you build it, they will come" mentality. 

You won't see Vince waiting tables in his off season, but Vince's mom, a philanthropist (and co-owner) Michelle Carter-Scott often dines there with her husband who was my favorite high school vice principal. 

The food at Vince Carter's is excellent and the service is always good. You can't beaat a burger that you can make it the way you like it, for only $9. One thing I love is that when they ask you how you want your burger and you say medium rare, they actually bring it out to you medium rare!! Conceptual! :) It is my usual go to meal there because I can get it without a bun and with vegetables and the waitress smoothly understands that instead of looking at me like I have three heads, I borrowed the photo from their website, because mine didn't turn out as pretty. Get the burger, you won't be sorry! Oh! Get the Bloody Mary too, they are excellent! 

It's nice to be proud of Vince Carter and his Daytona roots. (Why didn't you go to Seabreeze!!) Kind of makes up for the whole Ryan Lochte E! Entertainment thing.

Credit:Vince Carters
Vince Carter's is located at 2150 LPGA Blvd in Daytona Beach. They offer convenient call ahead seating-386.274.0015. Visit them on Facebook. Restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday, 11 A.M. until 11 P.M. Friday and Saturday 11 A.M. until 12 midnight. Happy Hour is 3 to 7 P.M. seven days a week. 

Vince Carter's Restaurant on Urbanspoon
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The Need To Be Validated

I was watching the Today Show (how many blogs can I start THAT statement off with, really) and they were reporting that Oprah spoke at the commencement ceremony at Harvard. The teaser was this: Listen to what Oprah has said to be the single most important lesson she has learned in her twenty five years in television. When Matt mentioned Oprah's piece of wisdom I almost dropped coffee. Oprah repeated in her words of wisdom to the Harvard graduates what I had up to that point thought she just scribbled on the back of her O Magazine several years ago to close out an issue.

Words that I have read and reread every other day since I first saw it.

I was at the gym for one of the first times getting back into the swing of things after my brain surgery (another story for another bottle of wine), I actually was walking on the treadmill reading the latest issue of O and these words jumped out off the page and smacked me right in the face. It answered exactly what I was going through at the time. 

I was at a job I have spend over a decade at that I loved like a family member...or at that point a very mean uncle. The economy was receding and so was my income in advertising sales. Everyone was pulling their radio ads and it was causing internal panic in the building because our paychecks were dwindling away. This was causing a fury of internal conflict and we were all fighting for the same buys. It was an emotionally terrible place to be. 

To be validated. It was so simple.  Such a good reminder, it's what was missing as I had lost my way. This moment changed my life.

At the risk of ensuring that I am not describing a B Movie, I looked in my Remember the Milk to show me when this happened to timeline my actions from that point on.

May 6, 2009

I had had enough....while my personal life was flourishing my professional life was at a dead stand still. I gracefully went back to work the next week and gave my two week notice after 13 years. It devastated me and it was a hard thing to do but I knew it had to be done. I just couldn't sacrifice the love for a job at the sake of my financial destiny anymore. 

Fast forward four years later, I run a successful social media company all by my lonesome and I am so blessed to say that the company that I left welcomed me back in a freelance capacity. I am eternally grateful. 

I used to say that being an entrepreneur was the most exciting and most nauseating thing I have ever done but I have a little help with some simple daily affirmations. Every day when my Iphone alarm goes off it has one of two messages on it to start my day:

She believed she could, so she did 


Be Validated

Thank you Oprah for reminding me what it is important. Read her commencement speech here

The Today Show piece is below.

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