What I’m Loving {Wednesday}

After having been gone for a few days, I wanted to get caught up with some of the things I’ve been loving, and pinning lately. I try to bookmark things that I’ve enjoyed all throughout the week so that I can share them with you on Friday’s Lust List’s, but this week there’s too much to wait.

1.|| This yummy southwest chicken salad from MSK

2.|| Buying one of these “Hustlin” mouse pads for my husband, and another for myself.

3.|| I love these leggings for Camryn

4.|| What a beautiful living room!

5.|| I love this quote.

6.|| My yellow lab, Aly, needs one of these chic little doggy beds.

7.|| Get in my belly. I would trade in my husband for this delicious looking cake. ;-)

8.|| DIY gold lip wine glass.

9.|| I received a bunch of new coffee table books for Christmas and my birthday, and the Kate Spade book was one of them. It’s soooo good you guys. I’m absolutely smitten with it, and it looks so pretty sitting on my table.

10.|| My daughter was given Living Sand as a Christmas gift from my husbands grandparents, and it’s absolutely AMAZING!! Have I mentioned this to you guys already? I’ve been telling everyone I know about it. It’s super easy to clean up, doesn’t stick to anything or dry out like playdough, and has been hours of fun for us. It’s also non-toxic and anti-bacterial. We own the large set, but there’s also a less expensive smaller set. Parents of toddlers, go buy some. You’re welcome!

11.|| I was really sick again all day today, so I lounged around and relaxed in the bath…which looks eerily similar to this one. I’m hoping to be back to myself by tomorrow. I have a long list of my favorite blogs to get back to reading. I’ve discovered a few new bloggers that I’ve really been enjoying, so I’ll share those with you guys soon. Maybe I can get some of them to come by and say “hi”, and tell you a little about their blogs themselves.

I’ll sure be glad when Friday arrives…until then, Happy Hump Day!

XO – Samantha

Green Smoothies

Image Via

Many of you have vowed to eat more veggies (and less fries), exercise regularly, and be healthier in the new year. We all want to lead healthier lives, but eating the amount of veggies that the Doctor recommends isn’t always easy, or tasty. One of the ways I consume my veggies with very little prep, cooking time, or even the hassle of doing many dishes is by drinking green smoothies. It’s also the easiest way for me to keep my toddler healthy and eating her greens, and she drinks them without a battle. In fact, she requests them, because they really are delicious!

There’s an easy formula to follow to make a great tasting, and great for you smoothie. It’s 5 simple steps:

1.|| Pick your base: Coconut water, almond milk, coconut milk, orange juice, filtered water, green tea….

2.|| Pick your leafy greens: spinach, kale, collard, swiss chard, beet greens, romaine (sweet in flavor)

3.|| Pick your fruits: Strawberry, Raspberry, Blueberry, Mango, Peaches, Papaya, Avocado (I always add avocado, no matter what other fruit I add), Banana…

4.|| Healthy Additions: Grains, Seeds, Proteins, Nut Butters, Spirulina…

5.|| Sweeten if needed: Stevia, Honey, Agave, Maple Syrup…

BLEND! So easy, and so healthy.

Here’s my BASIC go-to green smoothie recipe that Camryn and I share regularly:

1/2 Avocado (I buy a bulk amount of avocado, cut them into 1″ cubes, and freeze them so they’re at the ready when I want to make a smoothie.)

1 banana (I do the same with my bananas as I do my avocados)

2 large handfuls of Spinach – If you’re thinking “Oh hell no!” at this point, then stop. You can hardly taste the spinach, if at all.

1/2 cup greek yogurt

Frozen Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries

1 tbsp Chia Seeds – These are SO good for you, give them a shot!

1/2 Cup Coconut Milk (add more or less liquid to achieve desired consistency)

BLEND. Camryn and I always change our smoothie depending on what I have on hand, but the avocado, banana, coconut milk, spinach, and chia seeds is our constant.

If Camryn has a sweet tooth then I’ll use chocolate milk and replace the berries with peanut butter for a chunky monkey smoothie.

Cheers to a healthier 2014!

XO – Samantha

Lust List + Giveaway: 12/20

It’s Friday! Ahhh that feels so good to say. IT’S FRIDAY!!! I feel like this has been the longest week, and I am so exhausted and ready for the weekend. If you guys could see the bomb that is currently my home….I would take a picture for you to laugh at, but honestly you wouldn’t find it funny. You’d probably just feel really bad for me. Yeah, it’s that bad. I have storage boxes from all our Christmas decor sitting in a stack by my front door because I’m trying to force myself into re-organizing my hall closet. I had cleaned and organized it over the summer (when I wasn’t thinking of Christmas at all) and managed to pack all Christmas related boxes in the very back of the closet. Everything had to be pulled out, and made a mess of, just to get Christmas decor out. Organize fail. I keep meaning to go buy a garage shelving unit from Lowes for in that closet so I can easily stack boxes and still be able to access all of them without it being a huge chore. Add it to my to-do list. Speaking of organizing and de-cluttering, I think that will be my New Years resolution. I despise clutter, and lately I feel like we’ve accumulated too much “stuff”, and we need a good purge and some fresh organizing to happen. Maybe I’ll do a “30 days organized” challenge in January and tackle a different space each day.Would you guys be interested in tackling this with me, in your own homes? A different task, or space each day, and then we’ll have happier and more enjoyable spaces to live in! Add it to my to-do list. ;-)

I have been so busy posting about products, giveaways, and the holidays lately that I haven’t had a chance to sneak in a good chit-chat with you. What is going on in your lives lately? We’ve been doing a lot of potty training work over here, and moving from daytime potty training (which we’ve been doing for months now) to night time and nap time potty training. It’s been hit and miss. 3 days without any accidents, and then yesterday she pooped in her undies while sleeping…not my fave. She’s really been doing good though, so we’re sticking with it. The hardest part is having to limit liquids close to nap time, and not allowing her to take a water to bed with her. She’s notorious for chugging an entire sippy cup of water down when she gets in bed. I’m so glad that we tackled potty training in the summer when it was warm enough to run around the house without pants, because it’s too cold here to do that now. If you want to see a post dedicated to our potty training failures and successes, leave me a comment. Otherwise I’ll stop boring you with #2 talk.

We are going to visit my husbands grandparents next week, and spend some holiday time with them, and then my mom and her husband arrive on the 26th (my birthday) to have Christmas with us. Last year was so much fun because Camryn was finally old enough to understand the idea behind Christmas, and had too much fun opening gifts. This year she’s been asking me every single day if she can open presents yet. She’s fully aware of what’s going on, and she knows that inside all those boxes there are toys for her to play with, and the anticipation is killing her. I feel like I say “Not yet…X many more days…” at least twice a day. She’s going to be bummed when she realizes that 90% of those gifts aren’t even for her, and are going to the little girl we “adopted” at the Ronald McDonald House. The anticipation of bringing that family their gifts is killing ME. I feel like a real life Santa this year, it’s been so much fun! I’ll take pictures when we go and share them with you.

OK, enough of my blabbering….Here are the things I’ve been loving this week:

Lust List Image

1.|| This family is awesome, and their Christmas “card” is even cooler.


2.|| Beyonce’s visual album is amazing. She always looks flawless.

3.|| I tried out a new food delivery service called Plated, and showed two meals and gave my review over on My Simple Kitchen. I used the code FBFIRSTPLATE to try 4 meals (“plates”) free.

4.|| Have you met Surya the orangutan and her hound dog BFF?

5.|| Jessica from Afternoon Style featured holiday recipes on her blog, including my peppermint milkshake. Told y’all they are YUM!

6.|| I mentioned that I recently visited Ikea – here’s an article about incorporating Ikea finds into your space in chic and sophisticated ways. Love me some Ikea.

7.|| “What does my kid say?” Mommy anthem.

8.|| What are your sentiments on the Phil Robertson interview with GQ that caused him to be “suspended indefinitely” from A&E’s Duck Dynasty?

9.|| Leigh Viner’s etsy shop is a HUGE source of inspiration to me, and her art literally makes me stop and stare in awe. This is one of the many pieces that I’m eyeing (no pun intended). I already own a few of her prints, but I’m dying to snag an original in the new year.

10.|| A celebration of a mom’s love – this will definitely make you teary eyed. Pass the Puffs!!!

Today’s giveaway will be on my instagram at some point today, so keep an eye open! :-)

XO – Samantha

Influenster: Jolly Vox Box

The nice people at Influenster sent me some complimentary goodies this week to test out and I thought I’d share my thoughts with all of you. You’re probably wondering what Influenster is, and why they’re sending me free stuff…Influenster creates a bridge between companies and bloggers (or youtubers, etc). If you’re a blogger, vlogger, or just have a large social network, then Influenster might be of interest to you.

influenster This is my “Jolly Vox Box”, as they call it, which contained:

Rimmel London Show Off Lip Lacquer

NYC HD Color Trio Eyeshadow

Ducklings Mini (duck tape) Rolls

Skinny Cow Candy

Puffs Tissues

What an awesome surprise this was! All of the products are full-sized, which is great because sometimes it’s hard to really test a product off a sample. Things like skincare especially need full-size or generous sized samples.

I busted open the skinny cow chocolates first, of course, and they are so yummy! They have peanut butter filling and taste a lot like a reese’s peanut butter cup. These are the perfect late night snack when your sugar cravings kick in.

I’ve been wearing the NYC eyeshadows the last few days and I’m really impressed. I knew I would like the NYC eyeshadows because I’ve tried other palettes of theirs before. I am really loving the neutral colors in this palette, called Long Beach Sands, because they are slightly shimmery, and easy to wear day-to-day. They are a little bit chalky in comparison to a higher end palette like Naked’s, but have good color payoff and are a bargain.

I’ve also been wearing the Rimmel Lip Lacquer, and no surprise, I love this product. Rimmel is easily my favorite drug store brand, and I frequently order products online from them that aren’t available here in the US. The “Wake-me-up” foundation and concealer are two of my favorite products from them. I was actually lucky enough to try this lip lacquer prior to them sending it to me because I snagged one on my trip to Paris. You guys know I watch beauty videos on Youtube, and I had heard all my favorite girls raving about this product, so I had to get my hands on it ASAP. I had purchased “Big Bang” which is a gorgeous red, and I was just sent “Aurora” which is a beautiful pinky mauve. These lip lacquers aren’t sticky, they stay glossy for a really long time, and leave behind a beautiful stain so you don’t have to reapply constantly. I would compare them to the YSL glossy stains.

The Puff tissues are a no-brainer. I buy them constantly to keep in my purse, and they always come in handy, especially with a 2 year old. If you’ve never used a Puffs tissue, you’ve been living on another planet.

The Mini Duckling tape is so fun, and Camryn and I have been using it to craft this week. I got a paint splatter effect that is bright and colorful. These would be great alternatives to washi-tape for crafting, and I’ll be using mine to tape gift cards into Christmas cards this year. Speaking of Christmas….is it seriously less than a week away?! AHHHHH!! I’m in full-on panic mode now, and shopping and wrapping gifts like a mad woman.

Have you guys tried any of these products? Bloggers, are you Influenster members? What fun goodies have you received and enjoyed?

Have you entered all this weeks giveaways? Click on the “Giveaways” to the right of your screen to view all posts containing giveaways.

Come visit me over on My Simple Kitchen. I’m reviewing the food delivery company “Plated”, and cooking white bean chicken chili.

XO – Samantha

Peppermint Oreo Milkshake


I hope you all had wonderful weekends. We spent ours at IKEA buying a few items for my husbands new work office (that place is like a grown-ups playground, and I loved every second of it), and then we finally put up our tree. It feels so good to knock that off my to-do list. Woohoo!


While we were being oh-so-festive, I made the most delicious milkshakes that I’ve ever tasted. If you like oreos, and a little dash of peppermint, then you’re going to L-O-V-E these shakes. My daughter was chugging hers so fast we kept having to take it away and make her take breaks to avoid brain-freeze. It only requires 5 ingredients, and takes 5 minutes to make. Can’t go wrong with that, can you? I would also HIGHLY recommend adding some liquor to these.


Ingredients (For 2 shakes):

3 Cups Vanilla Ice Cream

5-8 Oreo Cookies (whatever kind you prefer, I just used what I had on hand)

1 cup Milk

1/2 Candy Cane (Or peppermint schnapps)

Whipped Cream

In a blender, add ice cream, milk, oreos, and crushed candy canes. Blend until smooth. Serve in cold glasses and top with whipped cream & crushed oreos. Enjoy!

I’m also taking over My Simple Kitchen all week so come say hi! I’m using my leftover oreos to make White Chocolate Oreo Popcorn, and showing you how it can make the perfect gift for friends & coworkers. 3 ingredients, and less than 10 minutes.


Have you entered my current giveaways? If not, you still have time.

6th Day of Christmas Giveaway

7th Day of Christmas Giveaway

Today’s giveaway is all about the pout. I’m giving away a few of my favorite lip products, including Revlon, Burts Bees, Rimmel, Maybelline, and MORE!! Follow me on Instagram to see sneak peeks at all my favorite lippy products!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck! XO – Samantha

*UPDATE: Janet Martin, you won Giveaway #5! Congratulations!*

A Little Chit-Chat

Image Via (This is actually a beautiful art print. I kinda love it)

Good Morning Everyone. I’m getting this post to you a little later than usual because I spent my evening getting in some much needed R&R. I always strive to bring you quality posts over quantity, and last nights quality wouldn’t have been very good. Today’s post is a very chit-chat kind of post, so go grab yourself a cup of coffee and get cozy. (I’m drinking an iced latte from my nespresso machine, and eating mini powdered donuts….New Years Resolution: No more donuts!!)

If you’re looking for a delicious muffin recipe, check out this one from My Simple Kitchen. These look so yummy, and just a tad naughty. Perfect with coffee, obviously. What doesn’t go well with coffee? Ok, maybe toothbrushing.Yuck.

My husband is moving offices, and has asked me to help make the new space a little less cave-like for him. The office is in the center of the building, in “pods”, and doesn’t get much natural light. His current office has 2 full glass walls facing towards the window and gets tons of light, so this is going to be quite the downgrade in those terms. The room lacks windows, so I need to find a lot of colorful art to hang on the walls and give life to the space. I’ll take pictures of the before for you guys this weekend when I go visit. Even though this will be a huge challenge, theres nothing that makes me more giddy than a clean slate needing decorating and an open wallet.

Did you ladies watch the VS fashion show on Tuesday night? I missed it (quietly sobs) but I’ve been watching a bunch of the backstage videos. I usually enjoy these more than the actual show anyways; I love seeing them get their makeup done, and all the shenanigans that happen behind the scenes.

I bought my daughter the ever-so-famous Elf on a Shelf yesterday. After about 30 minutes of researching, I decided that this little guy is:

1. A Bully (and kind of a nark)

2. High Maintenance. All of you moms out there creating these amazing setups, like elf bubble baths with barbie, or “snow ball fights” in the kitchen with flour, you all deserve to be on the naughty list. You’ve raised the bar TOO HIGH!! We’ve had him for 24 hours and I literally woke up this morning to my daughter saying “Mr. Elf, where are you?” over her baby monitor….and guess who forgot to move him last night? Yep, this shitty mom. Fail. I quickly hung him from the banister on my way upstairs to get Camryn, and when she found him I said he must have been “riding down the banisters last night”. I’m almost positive that will bite me in the ass when she’s big enough to climb onto the banisters. “But Mom, Mr. Elf got to do it!”

3. How is this naughty elf, who stays up all night making messes for me to clean, teaching my daughter to be good? Ahhhh I’m creating a monster!!

He’s a “must have”, as told by moms, so we’re going to give him a try. Camryn is already smitten with him, so I see the appeal. I read a hilarious post by another (lazy) mom like myself who didn’t move the elf and told her kids that he didn’t move because they must have been naughty and needed to try harder. Parenting…you’re doing it right. :-)

Kristin from 6th Street Design School is selling some of her gorgeous living room decor, so if you’re looking for some new pillows or curtains go check these out!!

I have a new balm that I’ve been using on my dry hands that I don’t think I could live without. The winter months always make my cuticles dry, and my hands get rough from constantly washing them, and this extreme cream by Zoe Organics is exactly what they needed. I bought mine from milk + honey spa here in Austin, but it’s available online if you’re interested in snagging some. (Update: milk + honey spa will also ship any of their available products to you) This would be such a great gift for anyone in your life who suffers from dry skin, eczema, and especially anyone pregnant and trying to avoid stretch marks. It’s 100% organic, packed with vitamins, and it doesn’t leave you feeling greasy, which I always hated when I was pregnant and had to try and get dressed feeling sticky and gross.

Speaking of pregnant….

Nope, not me. I wish. :-( BUT my sweet sister-in-law is, and I just found out she’ll be having her baby shower in January back home in Washington. My husband and I both went to school in WA and moved to Austin about 8 years ago. It’s so fun getting to fly home and see friends, and all their babies, and let our kids play together. My sister doesn’t find out my niece/nephews gender until days before the party, but it will be even more exciting getting to see her and knowing who that the little person inside her belly is. I haven’t seen her since finding out the news, so I literally CANNOT WAIT!! Finally getting to be an Auntie is a close second to getting to be a Mom for me. I’m so curious to see what their baby will look like, because Camryn looked just like her Uncle as a baby.

The VONBON coupon for 15% off ends today, so go get your vonbon on using coupon code VONBONPEARLS.

Go Enter all my current giveaways. There are makeup brushes valued at $50+ as well as a beautiful blue ombre scarf up for grabs. I announced on Facebook yesterday that Amber Hibma won the Alice + Olivia for Starbucks mug (and special surprise), and Julie Giller won the Christmas Gift Kit. Congratulations ladies!

Keep scrolling down if you want to see yesterdays post with Emily of The Style Hunter, and see how we both styled Cobalt Blue.

I’ll be a guest over on Simply Lulu Style tomorrow, and co-hosting a giveaway with her, as well as hosting a 2nd giveaway here on Playdates + Pearls, so you definitely don’t want to miss those.

Wishing you all a great Thursday. Thanks for hanging out with me and having a chat. What’s new in all of your lives? Seriously, I love hearing from you guys, tell me what’s new in your lives.

Oh, and I’m NOT in NC like I had mentioned. There was a change in plans very last minute, so I am home, just in case you’ve been watching my IG account wondering why NC looked so familiar….yep, just my house.

XO – Samantha

Lust List: 12/6/13 & On The 4th Day of GIVEAWAY!

Well everyone, we survived the week, and now we get to enjoy a little R&R this weekend. Wahhooo! You know what I love most about Fridays? Knowing that I get to sleep in tomorrow morning because my husband will be home and will get up early with our daughter. I volunteer him for morning duties every Saturday. He’s a gem. :-)

Let’s kick this Friday off right with my Lust List, and then Day 4 of my “12 Days of Giveaway”!

Lust List Image

1.|| How Kids Decide Who To Marry (Short & Sweet Article that is sure to make you smile!)

2.|| I love this gift topper tutorial from the blog “The House That Lars Built”

3.|| I was sent a sample of an exfoliator that has officially stolen my heart. It’s the Microdermabrasion Paste from Rodan + Fields. It smells of citrus, warms as it exfoliates, and leaves your skin feeling softer than a babies bum. You guys know I love my face masks, and I will gladly put this in my top 5. It reminds me of Kate Somerville’s Exfolikate, but not as stinky, or green. I’ve had the opportunity to test a few Rodan + Fields products, and I’m really enjoying them. My favorite (daily use) products so far are part of the Redefine line, which are targeted at aging skin. I really appreciate the emphasis on using SPF, and that the package includes an eye cream focused on fighting wrinkles, which sadly, I have. :-( I’ll do a full product review when I’ve finished sampling all the lines. For reference, my skin is combination-dry, and does breakout on occasion. I have a lot of freckles, which make my skin look discolored the older I get (I swear the little bastards are joining together to become one giant freckle!) I love exfoliating products, and brightening products, or anything that helps fight wrinkles. I have deep set eyes, and in the last 2 years I’ve developed fine lines around the inner corners of my eyes, so I’m always on the hunt for a good eye cream. A special thank you to Paula for allowing me to try all of these products out and give my honest feedback and recommendations to all of you. My opinions are my own, as always. :-)

4.|| The perfect appetizer. These make my mouth water just looking at them.

5.|| Speaking of things that make my mouth water…Anyone want a Kahlua Hot Chocolate? Go check out this recipe from Damn Delicious.

6.|| Danielle, from THE EVERYGIRL, shares her fabulous Chicago Apartment.

7.|| My friend introduced me to the amazing world of Pinterest Fails. My husband and I cried laughing in bed the other night looking through them. My favorite part? “Nailed it!”


8.|| Beautiful new “Influence” art by Jen of MadeByGirl would be the perfect addition to any gallery wall, or inspirational piece in your office, or closet. I love that Jen’s art is always classy, and clean, and always adds a touch of glamour to any space.

9.|| When you let your kids play ball inside the house…amazing things {sometimes} happen. Watch this video until the end. Very inspiring.


10. Day 4 of my “12 Days of Giveaway”!! Win this eclectic collection of holiday gifting items, like a gold glitter journal (great for keeping in your purse and making notes or lists), a gold polka dot bag, gift tags, gold polka dot pillow boxes (perfect for gift cards), red and white striped twine, magnetic to-do list, thank you cards, all occasion “&” cards, and fun pens. I want you to recieve these goodies with plenty of time to use them, so this giveaway will only last 5 1/2 days. All entries will be verified. This entry requires to follow Playdates + Pearls (by e-mail, or on bloglovin’) AND follow Playdates + Pearls on Instagram. All additional entries are optional. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


XO – Samantha

On the 3rd Day of Christmas….

starbucks card starbucks mug Starbucks-Creates-Wonder-Shares-Joy-with-Customers-this-Holiday-Season

Today’s giveaway is my personal favorite. I may or may not be a coffee addict, and also obsessed with all things black, white, and gold. I bought this darling limited edition mug by Alice + Olivia for myself, and knew I needed to snag another one for one of you.

I’ve been loving Caramel Brulee lattes lately, and the crunchy little golden sugar bits on top are absolute heaven. Camryn and I make trips to Starbucks a few times a week for Mommy/Daughter dates, and usually end up at our park afterwards. If I order her a hot chocolate, she promptly corrects me with “No Mommy, Cammy likes warm chocolate, not hot!” (Yes, she refers to herself in 3rd person….she’s a pistol.) Which holiday drink is your favorite?

BONUS…The mug comes with a special treat inside! :-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Because this mug is fragile, this will be a U.S. only giveaway. Sorry.

If you haven’t already entered Day 1, & Day 2‘s giveaways, GO NOW! The first winner will be announced tomorrow.

XO – Samantha

PS…A few of you have asked who won the Giveaway that I hosted with My Simple Kitchen for the Anthropology Apron and “Can’t Cook Book”. The winner was Aliesha Pentecost. Congrats to Aliesha, your gift is on it’s way!

Gift Guide: Gift Swap $25 or Less

Today I have rounded up my favorite gifts under $25. So many of you asked for co-worker gift ideas, or gift swap ideas, and I think these are all perfect. Many of these items are MUCH less than $25, so pick your price point and shop my finds. Gift Guide- $25 or Less

1.|| Pattern Post Cards

2.|| Turquoise Glass Water Bottle

3.|| Twisted Peppermint B&BW Set

4.|| Harry & David Snack Box

5.|| 2014 Calendar

6.|| Body Shop “Born Lippy” Balm Collection

7.|| Essies Winter Nail Collection

8.|| Rose Gold Travel Mug

9.|| Coffee Connoisseur Kit

10.|| Tea Lover Set

Gift Guide- $25 or less pt2

1.|| Fox Cocktail Shaker

2.|| Navy Anchor Note Set

3.|| Rifle Paper Co. Floral Coasters

4.|| Kate Spade Bookmarks

5.|| One Line A Day Notebook

6.|| Olive Oil Dipping Set

7.|| “Put some hair on your chest” Flask

8.|| Burts Bees Skin Care

9.|| Lush Rosy Christmas Set

10.|| Christmas Kisses Lip Prep Kit

I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving! I’ll be back on Friday, and kicking off the official “12 days to Christmas” countdown with a “Naughty or Nice” inspired giveaway. I will be hosting a giveaway every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday leading up until the 25th. 12 days, 12 prizes, DON’T MISS OUT!

Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 8.35.18 PM XO – Samantha

Guest Post: My Simple Kitchen

Today is the last day in my crazy week of guest bloggers, and I’ve saved the very best for last. I have Rene, one of my very best friends, guest posting from her blog My Simple Kitchen. She has always been an incredible cook, and I remember when we worked together she would always bring yummy lunches, and I’d be drooling, or she’d tell me about the meal her and her husband cooked on their grill the night before…and I’d be drooling, again! I remember getting to go visit her in Oregon (where she currently lives) and I went by her parents house and saw their beautiful kitchen, and they had a pot rack hanging with the nicest pots and pans I’d ever seen. I’m talking about EXPENSIVE, high quality pots and pans, not at all like the ones I have. They ENJOY cooking, and have passed that awesome quality down to her.

Here’s a VERY old photo of us. I adore her. <3


Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 6.46.42 PM

Hi all! I’m Rene, a brand new blogger over at My Simple Kitchen. I am so excited to be a guest at Playdates and Pearls today! My goal when I started My Simple Kitchen was to share recipes that are easy to prepare and taste great! I grew up with some awesome cooking from my mom. She always made healthy and creative dinners. But only in the last couple years have I really started to enjoy cooking and was able to appreciate all those homemade meals as a child. With our busy lives of work, family, activities, etc. sometimes it’s hard coming up with meal ideas that are quick, tasty, and don’t break the bank.

This meatball pasta is super easy, takes under 30 minutes, tastes great, AND costs under $15.00!


What you’ll need:

Sausage (you can use ANY kind you like. I like to use chicken sausage, makes me feel like it’s healthier :P)

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 ½ tsp. minced garlic

1 small onion, diced

1 jar marinara sauce (or you can be fancy and make your own)

2 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. thyme

Parmesan cheese

What you’ll do:

Roll sausage into meatballs. Or, if you’re using links like I do, pinch desired size meatballs out of casing.

Heat olive oil in skillet on medium heat.

Sautee onions and garlic until tender.

Add meatballs and cook until done. 5-7 min each side, depending on size.

Add 1 jar marinara sauce, oregano and thyme (If your sausage is already spiced, omit the oregano and thyme.)

Cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes.

Serve over noodles and top with parmesan cheese.

If you’re staying away from carbs or just want a lighter version, use zoodles instead.



Pardon the glove. I’m not a big fan of handling raw meat. Ewwww :P




Total cost for this meal for 4 = $14.39!

Thanks for reading and come see what Samantha whipped up in her kitchen!


If the picture of Rene, wearing her purple gloves, squeezing that “sausage” doesn’t make you cry from laughter then you need to scroll back up and look again. When she e-mailed me, I nearly lost it. She told me she took a TON of photos trying to not make it look so “nasty”. HA!

Rene and I are teaming up to bring you a very exciting GIVEAWAY! You can enter to win “The Can’t Cook Book” and a beautiful Anthropology Apron below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Scroll to see photos of both prizes.

Go say hi to me over on My Simple Kitchen. I’m cooking pizza, drinking wine, and pretending I know how to cook as well as my friend. :-) You can also follow My Simple Kitchen on Bloglovin’

XO – Samantha

P.S…My site was down for a short time yesterday, so if you didn’t get to see my guest post with Style by Kristen Blair, please go check it out. She’s so chic, and said the nicest things about me. *Blush*


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