Black Friday Tips

Growing up, Black Friday wasn't really our thing. We were always at my grandparent's house for Thanksgiving and there's not a whole lot of places to shop near their small town. Since becoming an adult, I've stood in a couple lines for big ticket items...but, mainly I walk around aimlessly for the sheer spectacle of it all. Here's some tips I hope more shoppers could consider this year: 


Β 1. THINK SMALL. I've always had the best luck on Black Friday in smaller towns and stores that aren't in the most popular part of the city. Most people automatically go to the biggest stores, while smaller ones nearby have the same items for the same great prices. Plus, they're a little more chill. Think "regular Target," verses "Super Target." 

2. STOP THE MADNESS. Do not shop anywhere until at least 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. It angers me so much that stores are opening up earlier and earlier each year. Not allowing employees the opportunity to have Thanksgiving dinner is unfair and ridiculous. If we all quit showing up at 6 p.m., they won't have to open at 6 p.m. 

3. HELP OUT. If you're waiting around for friends in lines, use your free time by helping straighten up the shoe aisle, fold some clothes or pick up toys from the floor. People are crazy (and extra rude) on Black Friday, which causes messes and madness for retail workers. Make their day a little easier by helping out. Every little bit counts!

4. BE KIND. Again, I have seen my share of mean-ness on Black Fridays. Don't be that person. Be extra kind as you look for items, stand in long lines and interact with the cashiers. Even if you're sleepy. Even if you're stuffed full of turkey. Even if someone got the last tv in front of you. It's your decision to go out and shop. Don't drag anyone else down because of that choice. 

5. STAY HOME. Wait, What? Yeah. Stay home. If you must shop at all, online is a whole lot you can probably spend some extra time with your relatives and loved ones!

Happy Thanksgiving

Fooding New York

I think we're all pretty aware that I'm not a foodie by any means. I enjoy a cheap fast food item as much as some people would savor foods made by Wolfgang Puck himself. It doesn't take a whole lot to make me happy! With that said, I had plenty of great foods when I was in New York with my friends last weekend. Here's some of my favorites:

1. Big Daddy's Diner: We went here last time I was in the big city and I sure wasn't upset about going back! There are several locations in New York. Great burgers, better milkshakes. Yum. 

2. Starbucks: Can you really go to New York without stopping by one of the million Starbucks? No, the answer is no. This time around, I got a Peppermint Mocha frappuccino, which I didn't even know was sold in frap form! It was a happy surprise!

3. Calle Ocho: Luckily, before I even knew I was coming to visit, my friends booked a brunch date at Calle Ocho. They are frequent brunchers at this particular cuban-inspired spot. 

4. Waffles in the Park: After walking around in Central Park for a bit, we passed by a waffle vendor and split one between the four of us. It was definitely the perfect treat for a chilly walk in the park. 

5. Homemade Breakfast: One morning, we all cooked breakfast together. Bacon is always good, but there's something about making bacon in your own home. Smells good. Tastes better 

5. Home Made Taqueria: Through the Seamless app (total NY necessity), we ordered some amazing tortas and tacos not once, but twice. These tacos are the real deal, y'all and I am already craving them again. 

6. Starbucks: I know, I know. This time around, I had to go get my peppermint mocha in it's original delicious hot form (as it was much colder this day). Look at all that Christmas spirit, by the way. 

Okay, now I'm hungry. 

Central Parking

I've finally seen it, y'all. I've been to Central Park in the middle of fall! I was so excited to take this trip a couple weeks ago to see my friends, but also because I knew Central Park was in its prime autumn beauty! And. It. Was. 

Everywhere you looked was a new, bright color. It was definitely a site to see. 

After walking around for a bit, looking for the "prettiest" trees, we stumbled upon the Belvedere Castle. It was such a cool find, and it gave us some great views of the great lawn and the city.

"Calvert Vaux, co-designer of the Park, created the miniature castle in 1869 as a whimsical structure looking out on the reservoir to the north (now the Great Lawn) and the Ramble to the south. Belvedere provides the highest and best views of the Park and the adjacent cityscape. The castle's name is fitting, because it translates to "beautiful view" in Italian." -  Central Park Conservancy

Since we did have such a great view, we had to stop and have some mini photo shoots. I think everybody went away with a new profile picture that day!

25 Dallas

I'm a pretty good secret-keeper, but I'll admit that that skill was put to the test over the past week as I had to keep some super fun Adele news on lockdown. Adele's team hosted 25 album listening sessions and invited 25 fans to each of those events. One of those 25 was hosted in Dallas, TX...and I was invited! Hear Adele's long-awaited album two days early? Yes, please! Here's what I think about the songs, now that I've heard them both with a group of devoted strangers and alone in my living room:


1. Hello - You've probably already screamed at the top of your lungs and blown out your car speakers to this one. The radio will try to wear us out on this...but, it's not possible. This voice never gets old. "Hello from the outside | At least I can say that I've tried | To tell you I'm sorry for breaking your heart | But it don't matter, it clearly doesn't tear you apart | Anymore"

2. Send My Love (To Your New Lover) - Holy cow! When I heard the chorus, I knew this was my favorite. It's full of pop, but keeps the soul. I have already danced around my living to this one...more than once. I'll have this one on repeat today! "Send my love to your new lover | Treat her better | We gotta let go of all of our ghosts | We both know we ain't kids no more"

3. I Miss You - This is so sultry. Different from her usual, but I don't hate it, y'all. "I love the way your body moves | Towards me from across the room | Brushing past my every groove | No one has me like you do"

4. When We Were Young - So many beautiful lyrics, power and nostalgia in such a short song. This is another one of those blow-the-speakers out songs. "Let me photograph you in this light | In case it is the last time | That we might be exactly like we were | Before we realized | We were sad of getting old | It made us restless | It was just like a movie | It was just like a song"

5. Remedy - This is the love song to sing to your boo-thang when they are sort-of mad at you, but not too much. "No river is too wide or too deep for me to swim to you | Come whenever I'll be the shelter that won't let the rain come through."

6. Water Under The Bridge - In an upbeat way, this totally represents the temporary break-up fight. The kind where you both love each other, but it's just time for some separation. It's not really over, but it's over for now. "If you're gonna let me down, let me down gently | Don't pretend that you don't want me | Our love ain't water under the bridge"

7. River Lea - Pronounced "Lee," as we all quickly found out. This choir/backup in this chorus is so awesome. Makes me want to snap, clap and dance all day. "But it's in my roots, it's in my veins | It's in my blood and I stain every heart that I use to heal the pain | It's in my roots, it's in my veins | It's in my blood and I stain every heart that I use to heal the pain"

8. Love In The Dark - Dang. Realizing you don't love someone can't be all that great. Get ready to feel that pain in every word in this one. "Take your eyes off me so I can leave | I'm far too ashamed to do it with you watching me | This is never ending, we have been here before | But I can't stay this time cause I don't love you anymore"

9. Million Years Ago - If you want to get in your feelings really quickly about getting older, time flying, missing your younger self...this is your song. I teared up so fast. Literal tears. Sounds so much like her "19" tracks. "I feel like my life is flashing by | And all I can do is watch and cry | I miss the air, I miss my friends | I miss my mother, I miss it when | Life was a party to be thrown | But that was a million years ago"

10. All I Ask - Just plain sadness. Why do you have to do this to us, girl? Adele truly makes us miss exes we don't even have and it is doing THE MOST in this ballad. Bring your tissues. "If this is my last night with you | Hold me like I'm more than just a friend | Give me a memory I can use | Take me by the hand while we do what lovers do | It matters how this ends | Cause what if I never love again?"

11. Sweetest Devotion - I knew one of her songs was written for her kiddo and I assumed by the title this was it. Not going to lie, it made me have one of those, "Oh, I wanna be a Momma right now" moments in that listening screening. It's really the sweetest. "The sweetest devotion | Hitting me like an explosion | All of my life, I've been frozen | The sweetest devotion I've known"

Did I mention that the listening event was held on our 3rd wedding anniversary and he got to go with me? Pretty perfect timing and a special way to to make this day more memorable. So glad I'm still Adele-ing with that same boy I met during the "19" days. He's my remedy. 

Word on the street is that Target has a deluxe album with extra songs, so I'll be making my way to get my hands on those tracks as soon as I can in the morning. Happy 25 Day, folks. It's certainly been a long wait and it is truly worth every minute. 

Skipping Thanksgiving

There's two types of vocal people this time of year - 1. Ones who are singing Christmas carols as soon as the clock strikes midnight on Halloween night. 2. Ones who ban all jingle bells and Christmas activity until Black Friday or beyond. 


I don't care if you're in the second group. More power to you for being so patient. However, I am basically Buddy the Elf and I will always decorate my home for Santa as soon as the first weekend in November arrives. Some people think that's crazy, too early, ruining Thanksgiving. Well, here's some reasons I don't mind "skipping Thanksgiving:"

1. I don't actually "skip" Thanksgiving. I'll sit around at my grandmas with my family, stuffing my face with turkey and watching some exciting football games. I'll even be extra thankful this month. Promise. 

2. Reds and browns and burnt oranges are just not my favorite colors and I don't want my home decorated with them. Are those colors beautiful on fall leaves? Yes. My favorite leaves are found in the fall. For sprucing up my home? Not if I have anything to do with it!

3. Snowmen are cute. Santa is cute. Reindeer are cute. Baby Jesus is even cute. Turkeys? Oh, my. Turkeys are the silliest looking things I've ever seen. I don't want any figurine I own to have a red "snood" hanging from its neck. Yuck!

4. Christmas lights are just plain beautiful. I'd have my little trees up year-round, but people would think I've even weirder than I already am. Getting an extra month out of it is the least I can do for myself. 

5. Peppermint trumps pumpkin all-day every day. I've already had a Peppermint Mocha this week and I have not one regret. Keep on sipping your PSL and I'll be over here enjoying some Christmas deliciousness and having a candy cane or two. 

6. I'm totally getting a jump on my Christmas shopping. Once the tree is up and it's all bare and sad underneath, I realize that I really need to start Amazon-ing it up. More gifts to wrap now, less stress in December. 

7. I do not host Thanksgiving. No one will see my home on or around Thanksgiving. As a matter of fact, there may not be anyone visiting this entire one is forced to see my crazy Christmas ways. 

8. Christmas has fun music. Christmas has cheesy-awesome original movies on all the best cable channels. These things bring me joy and I will not deprive myself of them for another month. 

My sister and I are both already enjoying our Christmas-filled homes and I know we're not the only ones. Let me know if you're in the Christmas-in-November club too. Us crazies have to stick together! 

IKEA Family: Oct 28 - Nov 24

Every month, my favorite blue warehouse puts tons of items on sale at a discounted price for all IKEA Family card holders. Not a family member? Sign up now. Along with the discounts, you get free coffee or hot tea in the restaurant, more SmΓ₯land time for the kiddos and a 90 Day Price Protection. Basically, you really shouldn't shop at IKEA without it!

Here's some favorite items I've chosen from the family discount list this month. There's plenty to get you prepped and ready for Thanksgiving. You can always go see all the discount items on the IKEA website:

Frozone + Mrs. Incredible

To celebrate the dress-up holiday this year, I did something I don't normally like to do: non-DIY costumes. Yep. We purchased a costume! He'd been planning his outfit for quite a while (kind of a running joke with some of the kids he coaches that he's Frozone). So, Frozone he was! I wanted to get in the Pixar fun and coordinated in an Incredibles outfit..this was a little more DIY, as the shirt is the only thing I bought! 

Just like last year, we left our Halloween treats on our porch before we headed out for a night with friends. I'm not sure if I just live by really honest people or my fun little sign sounds a little more threatening than I mean for it to: "Just Take A Few...The Goblins Are Watching You." We always come home to lots of candy left. I'm just waiting on the year for someone to dump the entire thing or take the bowls with them! So far so good. 

I joined in the Teal Pumpkin Project this year and offered treats for kiddos that may have different food allergies. Honestly, after purchasing some of these fun things, I may get rid of candy altogether. It's (a whole lot) cheaper, gives the kids some variety in their bags and doesn't melt or stick or cause cavities!

We had a great night hanging out with friends, handing out goodies to trick-or-treaters, watching old scary movies and doing our best at making some pumpkin masterpieces. 

I love seeing all your Halloween pictures. Don't forget to set all your microwaves, ovens, cars and manual clocks back an hour sometime today. If not, you may be really late this week. Happy November!

Halloween Monster Eyeballs

Last year, I made a simple little snack for a Halloween party and though this year, I'd change the colors up a bit. Monster Eyeballs only require three ingredients, take minutes to put together and are sure to ghoul-up your Halloween spread. 

Here's what you need: ONE: Regular Oreos (Double-Stuff, if you'd like) | TWO: Regular Peanut M&M's | THREE: Black Icing Writer

Here's what you do: ONE: Separate the Oreo cookies. Ditch/eat the non-cream side. | TWO: Add a dot of black icing in the middle. | THREE: Press a colorful M&M into the icing. | FOUR: Add a "pupil" to the M&M with another dot of icing. 

Last year, I used all green M&M's, but this year I added in orange and yellow. 

Tag me @savannahsmiled or use #savannahsmiled on social media to let me know if you make your own batch of Monster Eyeballs! I'd love to see them!

Hello. It's Her.

Today is the day, you guys! Today is finally the day! Adele is officially back after a near 5-year album hiatus and I could not be any more happy. I've never been the type to scream at boy bands, cry at their good looks and obsess with their every move...however...Adele's beautiful voice can bring a tear to my eye any day. Perhaps already this morning. 


When I listen to 19, it brings so many beautiful emotions. I quite literally fell in love with my husband during the 19 days ("My Same"), as a freshman in college. When we had a mutual break up for a month or two at one point, I would wail those lyrics and cry myself to sleep with this album ("First Love"). 

By the time 21 arrived, I was turning 21 myself, living with my very best friends, loving my guy and on the home stretch of my college classes. The upbeat "Rumour Has It" and "Rolling in the Deep" were the anthem to most days as I walked to campus. 

For the past 4.5 years, I've still constantly sang my heart out to my Adele albums and playlists, awaiting the return of my favorite artist. Today's the day. 

I woke up at 5:45 this morning to pre-order the (Nov. 20) album 25, get the first single "Hello," and check out the new video. Two hours later, I think I've heard the song 5+ times. I'll have it memorized before lunch, I'm sure! 

Happy Hello Day, friends!

Halloween Costumes for Pets

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. You can read more about affiliations on my disclosure page.

Let's all pretend for a moment that putting a costumes on a pet works out. I'm kidding! I have seen a couple dogs wear costumes all evening. I've also seen my sister's cat wrestle off a sweater in 2.5 seconds, as if it was on fire.

Anyway, if your pet is one of those that may bare a costume for the spooky holiday, here's some of my favorites that ship right from Amazon (I obviously have a firm belief that pets should dress as other animals!): 

1. Rare Unicorn | 2. Stinky Skunk | 3. Bunny Rabbit | 4. Bizzy Bee | 5. Jack-O-Lantern | 6. Tall Giraffe | 7. Left Shark | 8. Intimidating Lion | 9. Beautiful Butterfly

Does your pet have a costume for Halloween?