Always Aubrey: April 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Budgeting Bloggers: April 2014

I actually had a few Poshmark sales this month, namely a Coach bag and the resale of a J. Crew necklace I bought earlier this year.  There was a buyer who wanted it more than I did, so I sold it and recouped my exact cost.  Easy come, easy go!  Overall, this month I got some things I really love (Gap and Old Navy were awesome) and I hardly spent anything when you factor in my sales and blog earnings.


  1. LANY Meow Meow Bag in Green ($65 w/shipping):  When I saw the LANY cat bag that Kaelah got at WWDMAGIC, I knew I had to have one.  I followed LANY on Instagram to wait for it to come out, then became completely flabbergasted when there were a bunch of color options!  For a while I thought about the cobalt blue (I don't need black or brown) but settled on dark green because I thought I would wear it more.  It's the same color Kaelah got, but I figured we could be twinsies!
  2. Gap Legging Jeans (originally $70, paid $46):  I needed to replace my legging jeans in a size smaller (woohoo!) so I took advantage of an in-store sale where everything was an additional 40% off.  I like the midrise of these jeans, but the stretch means you do need to try a size down to find the right pair.  (Note: I did add tax to my Gap purchases since it's high in my area.)
  3. GapFit Train Racer Tank (originally $30, paid $13):  I spotted this on sale for $20, plus the additional 40% off in store.  I couldn't resist such a great deal on a workout top.
  4. Fabletics Outfit (FREE):  See review of these pieces here.
  5. Old Navy Jersey Faux-Wrap Dresses in Coral & Cobalt (originally $30 ea, paid $13 ea):  Wrap dresses are universally flattering it seems, and knowing I have a trip for work coming up in Florida, these felt perfect for warmer weather.  They were $15ea and then 15% off sale items.
  6. Old Navy Halter-Neck Maxi (originally $47, paid $33):  This dress was just beautiful, so I had to see if it worked on me.  It's a dream.  I wish I could buy more in similar styles without looking crazy.
  7. Old Navy Chambray Popover (originally$27, paid $14): Picked this top up when I was in store returning something.  It was on sale, and perfect for the warmer weather.  I liked the quality!
  8. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star in Red (originally $45, paid $35):  I had a $10 DSW reward, and I wanted some comfy kicks for a trip to DisneyWorld.  Instead of red Toms, I decided these would do.  They're classics, after all.
  9. Forever 21 Top ($30, not pictured):  Purchased a cream-colored top with long sleeves before my vacation/work trip.  I'm always looking for top with sleeves because hotel conference rooms are cold.  It was a bit impulsive, but it's a cute top!
$262 spent - $167 Posh/Blog = $95
$112 savings

Quarterly Budget: $500 - $95 April = $405 remaining

I would like to buy some cute vintage reproduction dresses for summer, as well as a couple of A-line or circle skirts as summer basics.  I am also thinking about a pair of shoes from b.a.i.t. footwear.  I am really loving vintage styles these days, something about the warmer weather.  I also find I am much more picky about what I add to my closet.  It has to be something I can wear to work, or something I will wear enough to make the purchase worthwhile.

As always, linking up with Fran's budgeting bloggers...  check out their hauls this month!

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Brown Sugar Banana Bread

My favorite bakery in Savannah is Back in the Day Bakery.  Their cupcakes are perfection to me.  I recently found myself noticing three ripe bananas on my kitchen counter that needed a good end.  I pulled down the bakery cookbook from my shelf, an autographed copy gifted to me by my friend Lindsey.
Brown Sugar Banana Bread.  Perfect.  All I needed were some pecans, and I chose praline pecans because they reminded me of Savannah's Candy Kitchen.  Everything else was in my pantry.  I mixed molasses and sugar to sub for brown sugar, allspice instead of mace, and vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla.
I couldn't wait to taste!  I smelled it baking as I lay on the sofa.  I think it helped me recover!  It was deliciously warm, so I kept it in the microwave to keep it that way until Dan got home.  Delicious...  I'm so happy those bananas found a beautiful end.
I don't like to republish recipes from cookbooks because I want to support the authors, but this recipe has been shared out on other blogs with some minor alterations if you care to search Google.

Happy baking!
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Friday, April 25, 2014

DAR and Paging

This site is not an official NSDAR Web site, and the content contained herein does not necessarily represent the position of the NSDAR. The President General is the official spokesperson on issues that have not been addressed as policy of NSDAR.

After reading my friend Jen's blog recap of state conference, I realized there is definitely a lack of stuff out there on the internet about DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) in general, especially in a day and age where technology is so important.  I think that it is even more important for growing and maintaining junior membership in the organization.  I must admit... as a Gilmore Girls fan my first impressions of DAR were Emily Gilmore.  Good thing I love Kelly Bishop!

I cropped this photo so the under-18 pages would not be pictured.
This is a group of the pages with our State Regent.

So, despite my past hesitancy to talk publicly here about DAR, I'm ready to talk.  I have only been a member for just over a year now, and I do not pretend to represent the organization.  I am also only using photos that the official conference photographer took (or that my blogger friends knew would be shared) to respect the privacy of the ladies.  But I think it's important as a Junior Member to talk to others about it, especially since I know my readership is mostly women like myself.

To join the DAR, you have to prove your lineal, blood line descent from an ancestor who aided in achieving American independence.  I did this on my father's side by collecting documents such as death certificates and marriage certificates to prove my line.  Once you are a member, you are authorized to purchase and wear insignia, then add to your insignia over time based on your qualifications.  Yes, you have to be qualified and verified for your pins!  My favorite is my DAR Serving the Nation pin for my military service.  There is an order of precedence for pins, just like awards in the military.

Photo of me wearing my insignia

As an under-35 member, you are considered a Junior in the organization.  And as a Junior, you may choose to serve as a Page, acting as hostesses, errand-runners, personal assistants, and flag-bearers at state and national events.  This year, at my second state conference, I chose to serve as a page.  I was selected to be a personal page, and I had a fantastic (and exhausting) weekend serving.

Learn more after the jump!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bern's Steak House - Tampa

I really don't know how to express my experience eating at Bern's Steak House in Tampa, Florida.  I would simply have to say it was a true privilege.  From the moment you walk into Bern's, you're struck by the history of the place.  It started as a single dining room in a strip mall, but grew to fill the entire space as they bought out the building.  To call the place in institution is appropriate.  They say it's about the "art of steak", but truly it's about food as an art.


Everyone who dines at Bern's is able to take a tour of the kitchens and the wine cellar.  According to my wine cellar guide, one of a few who spend all night finding the wines people order in the massive library, only 15% of their wine is housed in the cellar.  The rest is in a warehouse nearby.  We're talking HALF A MILLION BOTTLES and 6,800+ labels to choose from on a given night.  There's a wine worth $30,000.  There is port made from grapes that were grown when Abraham Lincoln was a CHILD.  It was like a library of wines.  It was like the Hall of Prophecy from Harry Potter, but filled with wine.  The guy said you could drink a bottle a day for like 18 years and never drink the same bottle twice.


The kitchen was no less impressive.  Our tour, given by a waiter in training, allowed us into the busy, loud world of the kitchen.  They have 60-100 people in the kitchen alone.  They have huge grills for the meat that take up some serious square footage.  Thousands of pounds of steak per week, tons of salads from their garden... it's an insane operation.  They even grow some herbs in the kitchen for the salads.  (Note: I do not like salad, but I ate like 25% of mine... and the waiter told me not to feel bad, because all the rest would go into compost.  Yeah, I was totally being environmentally conscious, right?)


I figured I needed to have a steak... but had no idea everything that would come with it.  Without asking, your steak comes with a French onion soup course, salad with so many dressing options, a baked potato, fried onions, and fresh vegetables. Oh. Em. Gee.


My side of the table also indulged in some White Truffle Macaroni and Cheese... which I could have eaten as my meal.  Seriously, what was in that?  It was divine.  The best macaroni I've had in my life.  I need to recreate this decadence.  Oh, and the steak was perfect.  Of course!


One nuance about Bern's?  You need a separate reservation for dessert.  No joke.  You head upstairs to semi-private rooms (built with giant wine casks as walls) to page through the most intensely amazing dessert menu I have ever seen.  I could have eaten multiple courses there and stayed all night.  The private rooms are so sweet and intimate.  I chose the Banana Bread Bread Pudding: toasted banana pecan bread baked in banana custard, dulce de leche, banana caramel ice cream.  I DIE.


Traveling for work is exhausting.  It takes me away from my home and my boys for days... but there are definitely perks. Being taken on culinary adventures is one of them.  Bern's will remain in my memory as one of those unforgettable meal experiences for sure.  Tampa, I'm impressed!

Bern's Steak House on Urbanspoon 

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Monday, April 21, 2014

My Life in GIFs, v.5

You guys.  The other day, I fainted.  I was out cold for 5-10 seconds.  So dramz!  And to make matters worse, it was in front of my friends from work, Dan, and everyone else at the brewery.  I wanted people to calm the eff down and totally tried to brush it off like I was fine.  I was so embarrassed.  I tried to be like:


I was super thankful for the people there to help me out, even though there was this one chick I didn't know who's a nurse talking to me SUPER slow like, "Hi, do you know you fainted?"  And I was on the ground like:


But then everyone wanted me to go to the Emergency Room.  I didn't even hit my head, and I really just wanted to go home:


But Dan and one of our brewery family members took me to the ER.  And I had to explain that I'm an idiot and didn't hydrate enough while taking antihistamines and decongestants.  FAIL.  They wanted to give me a CAT scan, but I was lucid enough to know that is expensive shit, and I was already worried about how much this SNAFU would cost me.  Not to mention they needed to draw blood and I'm terrified of needles:


And then because my little veins were all constricted from my idiotic dehydration, it took two nurses FIVE attempts to find a vein, resulting in three blown veins as depicted in this actual photo:

My actual arm and bruises.

When people saw these bruises in public later, I felt all like:


So basically I decided to be a hermit for the better part of three days, drinking Gatorade and living on the sofa.  Basically, I was like:


Finally, I felt good enough to put the fainting spell behind me and start to live life normally again.  Sure, everyone's going to be force-hydrating me for weeks and looking at me like I might faint at any moment.  But I figured I might as well just move on and not make that mistake again.

Then I found out more than one person was disappointed that my fainting was not a side effect of pregnancy.  And I was like!!!


I knew it was time for another edition of My Life in GIFs.  You're welcome.
P.S. THANK YOU to my wonderful friends and boyfriend for taking care of me during this unfortunate event.  It sucked, but I had the best help anyone could ask for.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Vintage Cookbook Giveaway - WINNER


CONGRATULATIONS to Connie on being the winner of the Vintage Cookbooks!
Look for an e-mail from me to claim your prize.

I love her comment about the vintage Betty Crocker cookbook being a  favorite, as I grew up seeing one in my Mom's kitchen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Making Fresh Pasta

After a Viking class and another class in Chicago, I decided to try my hand at making fresh pasta at home.  I ordered pasta roller attachments for my Kitchenaid mixer, which cost quite a bit but are worth every penny!  It's so much easier to roll pasta on your own with the helping hand.
Love using the food processor Dan gave me for my birthday.
I used a semolina pasta recipe out of the Making Artisan Pasta book for my first attempt.  The dough made plenty for a couple of meals for Dan and me!  It surprised me how easily the dough came together... flour, egg, water.  So basic!  So much simpler than I thought!
I had a lot of fun playing with the dough.  Like my classes, I started on the low rolling setting, folded the result into thirds, then repeated a few times before moving up a setting.  I found that using the fettuccine cutter was difficult on my own, but cutting the pasta with a dough cutter and making butterflies was much easier.
These look so fun, but are so easy to make!  You just pinch them!
I made so much pasta, we let some of it dry to use later.  I really liked the texture and taste of the fresh stuff!  This has inspired me to stop buying boxes of pasta and start making my own more often.  It will cut down on the occasions I eat pasta, but quality is better than quantity.   I'm excited to do some doughs with herbs and other flavors to change it up.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

CK Mondavi: Wine and Warriors #CKMondaviHeroes


As a military veteran, I was honored to be selected to sample two bottles of wine from CK Mondavi, all in support of their Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.  After all, not only do I love supporting the military and American companies/manfacturers, but I love my wine!  CK Mondavi is run by a WWII veteran (like my grandfather) and four generations of his family, and it's the only American made & grown wine in the “supermarket wine under $10” category.  As a girl who heads into the store looking for great value for my evening glass, it felt good to know the history and origin of these bottles.  It seems like the Mondavi family, like my own, has a history of service and patriotism.

With my father at West Point as a toddler, then as a cadet myself, then in Iraq!

I come from a long line of military veterans.  I've traced my lineage back to the American Revolution!  But since I left the service, I've had mixed feelings about so many companies clamoring to feature military imagery and emotional stories in their commercials and campaigns, knowing that they were using patriotism to sell product vs. actually helping the veterans they claim to care about.  They don't put their money where their mouth is, but they're happy to make you tear up during their ads.  That's why I'm excited about CK Mondavi.

CK Mondavi supports the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF), which serves U.S. military personnel wounded or killed in service to our nation and their families. (For more information, visit www.fallenheroesfund.org.)  They are funded entirely by public donations.  To do their part and walk the walk, CK Mondavi is donating a percentage of each bottle sold between May - August to IFHF (up to $50,000).  That is an incredible commitment to helping veterans, and we can do our part by buying these great American wines at a great value.

A humanitarian mission in Iraq...  Yes, that's me!

I can endorse the program all day long, but how about the wines?  I was a French major, after all!  (I was even in the wine-tasting club on my semester in Paris.)  I was sent two wines, their Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.  I can vouch for them both.  Dan and I both agree we'd buy the Cabernet again, as it's our shared favorite kind of wine.  It was really smooth and good; I finished my first glass quicker than I thought I would.  They're a fantastic value to boot, under $7 a bottle in some places.  I will definitely be buying more between May and August to support this cause.

Thank you, CK Mondavi!



Please comment below to share your own story about supporting veterans and/or American-made products. I will select ONE reader to be entered into CK Mondavi’s grand prize drawing by May 15. The grand prize is a $500 donation to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund in the winner’s name!


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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. Thank you for supporting those who support me!

Monday, April 14, 2014

@Fabletics - Outfit Review v.4

I look forward to the 1st of every month, when I get to pick out my next Fabletics outfit!  (Please check it out using my referral link!)  This month, I was sitting on outfit credits and some store credit, so all three of my pieces were FREE again.

Since I need black capris, but I also love graphic prints, I chose the Rotunda outfit (graphic tank plus capris) and the awesome-looking Carmo skirt.


I can't believe I've finally found a subscription service I love! Every other one I've tried has ended up a disappointment after the first or second round. 

With these new black capris, I was finally willing to part with an older pair that was becoming threadbare.  The running skirt is fantastic, because I feel like it prevents thigh rub while still allowing for some warm weather shorts.  I think I'll be ordering more of these in the future.
The tank top surprised me.  In my rush to order this fab print, I neglected to see that it was a support top... i.e. it had a built-in bra.  I typically avoid these tops, because the thin double layer of fabric doesn't usually hide my, um, assets.  This top, however, features soft cups.  I haven't run-tested the top yet, but the "hop tests" make me confident enough to wear these to the gym for classes.  I'm keeping all of these items!

Disclaimer:  I subscribe to Fabletics on my own dime, and did not receive anything in exchange for this review.  I earned this outfit for FREE using referrals!  If you're interested in signing up for Fabletics, I would LOVE if you'd use my referral link!  For every two friends of you who purchase, I can earn an outfit.

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P.S.  There's still time to enter the vintage cookbook giveaway!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Vintage Cookbook Giveaway

Hey y'all!  I was cleaning out my cookbook cabinet, and I'm a lucky gal to have so many tomes... but I found a pair of vintage cookbooks (circa 1950 and 1970) that deserve a better home, because I just don't use them.  So I decided... why not have another fun giveaway?

These books are in beautiful condition, and the Charleston Receipts book actually has some handwritten recipes inside the front pages!  Are you ready to get cooking?

To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter Widget and leave a comment below about your favorite cookbook.  You can also earn multiple entries.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Business Cards with Moo

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Dan was recently promoted to Brewmaster at the craft brewery where he works.  After watching him network (and ask me for scraps of paper from my purse to hand out his contact info), the corporate diva in me knew what he needed:  snazzy business cards from Moo.

image source

I've ordered mini cards and business cards from Moo before, so I knew I could customize the cards to fit the brewery's aesthetic and Dan's personal penchant for the color black.  I chose to do the brewery logo on one side, and Dan's info and a color photo on the other.  The photo was from a shoot done at the brewery, and I felt like it just screamed "beer".  I love the matte finish on the cards, so that was definitely something I selected for this set.

I know, watch me subtly try to cover up information linking to Dan's job... mostly to spare
him the embarrassment of people reading my nerdy blog and telling him about it.

Since this was a surprise gift, and I knew Dan would eventually get a new work e-mail address, I only ordered a small quantity.  Moo saves the design, so I can always go back in and tweak the contact information.  You can even do multiple designs in one order, which may be another thing we do someday!

Dan loved the gift.  They're his first professional business cards to date, so he was extremely gracious and has already started to carry them with him.  I'd say this was a successful surprise for my guy, one that will hopefully help him as he takes this next step in his career.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Guest Post on Nerds & Nomsense

Hey Game of Thrones fans!  I'm guest posting today over at Nerds & Nomsense.  Check out my Top 5 favorite GoT ladies, and my thoughts on Girl Power on Game of Thrones.



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