A family tradition that I’m still doing featuring Ball products.



As a lifestyle blogger, something I normally don’t do every day is can some pickles, but when the Ball(R) Brand reached out to me to try out their preserving pot, I could not have been more excited! This post is sponsored by Ball® Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

When I was growing up, I used to can vegetables with my Grandma all of the time. My grandparents would purchase their vegetables from local farmers and can them themselves to save money at the grocery store. From sauces, jams and pickles, my Grandma did it all!

I loved canning vegetables with my Grandma, but my favorite was canning pickles. So, I decided the first thing I would do when I received my pot from Ball was to can some pickles!

Luckily, I have mini cucumbers in my garden, so I used those for my pickles, but you can use any size cucumber. The preserving pot comes with a “Ball(R) Blue Book” which includes recipes. I followed the “Kosher-Style pickles” recipe to make mine.

Canning the pickles was so easy and fun, it reminded me of when I was a little girl making pickles with my Grandma! I followed the recipe exactly but didn’t add bay leaves since my Grandma didn’t have bay leaves in her recipe, and I wanted them to taste as good as they did when we made them together.

You can find Ball products at Target. I love their smaller 8oz. Ball® Quilted half-pint jars, which I used to can the pickles I made! You can find them at this link: HERE. The Ball® Blue Book recipe is easy to follow and includes all the pro tips like pre-warming your jars before the hot brine is placed in the jars, and how to safely execute the canning process. The recipe calls for using the larger jars, but I love using these smaller more decorative ones. Using different jar sizes can affect the flavor of the pickle, the size shown will give you a true kick in the taste buds!

I was a little apprehensive about making pickles without my Grandma, but they turned out AMAZING! She’s so proud of me! It’s a tradition I look forward to sharing with my future children and grandchildren one day. Also, I ate the whole jar in one sitting, so now tomorrow I’m making more!!

Next on my list is this mixed berry jam recipe!

xx, Tonya Michelle

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Day 2 of NYC – OOTD’s and Restaurants!

New York City is my favorite city in the world, so I was thrilled that Caroline and I were able to experience more than one day!

On our second day, we decided to sleep in a bit and get an early lunch after we shot some pictures for the blog. We met a friend who suggested Merriweather, a cute coffee and light bites breakfast and lunch spot located in West Village. Caroline and I both opted for the Mediterranean salad which did NOT disappoint! It was so tasty and just the right amount of food that didn’t make us feel bloated as we continued our trek across the city.

After stopping by Tractenburg and Co. for a meeting, we decided to walk around the city a bit and stumbled upon an adorable Italian-style restaurant called, “Rosemary’s.” We were drawn in by the decór and had some time to kill, so we stopped in for a midday snack. Caroline and I took advantage of their happy hour specials and ordered a rosemary infused lemonade spritzer and it was to DIE for! We loved it so much, we asked for the recipe so we could make it ourselves! We also got some bread and prosciutto which was also seasoned with rosemary. It was the perfect mid-day snack and the most inviting and fun atmosphere!

 

Next, we took a walk around town and headed to “While We Were Young” for an early dinner/another mid-day snack! We were on a hunt for good food and drinks and were not about to be stopped! I had been here before and was so excited to show Caroline one of my favorite spots in the City.

These sunnies have been EVERYTHING since I got them in the mail, they come in a range of colors and you can get them for $60 if you use my code ” tonyamichelle ”  when checking out!

My OOTD for walking around the city:

Wrangler Tank *currently 40% off under $18

Faux Leather shorts I purchased in Japan last year

Rachel Roy booties I found thrifted!

While We Were Young

Featuring blush décor and marble tables, your Instagram feed will thank you for stopping by this quaint cocktail bar. Their drink menu features a “night out” theme, which was fun to order. I had the “while we were young” and Caroline had the “too good for you.” Following drinks we ordered more food of course: garlic truffle French fries, roasted Brussel sprouts and a corn summer salad that were all incredible. We topped it off with some “frosé” (frozen rosé) and could not stop taking pictures of our drinks and the food!

Headed out to the hotel before dinner! Yes, all we did was eat and drink, haha.

Backpack:

Dress: BooHoo (Boutique Rose Metallic Polka Dot Skater Dress)

To finish our food-and-drink-filled-day, we met one of my good friends Adelle @fashionistalab at La Pecora Bianca, an Italian restaurant located in Midtown. We drank wine and enjoyed their homemade, fresh-in-house pasta. It was the perfect ending to a long day and the pasta was incredible! La Pecora Bianca has a cute outdoor seating area where we enjoyed the last bit of sunshine.

Adelle looking PURE fabulous as always!

xx, Tonya Michelle

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Day 1 of my NYC trip 7/18! Restaurants & OOTD!

As I sit here in the airport waiting for my flight home that has been delayed yet again, I have some time to reflect on the amazing trip to NYC that I brought my personal assistant, Caroline, along with!

We had so much fun and made the most of our trip that we wanted to share with you some of our favorite spots that we visited.

Umi Sushi

We had some time to kill before our first meeting, so we went looking for somewhere to eat a quick lunch. We stumbled upon Umi Sushi, and both being sushi lovers, we decided to check it out and were not disappointed! They have very inexpensive lunch options. We both opted for the Chicken Teriyaki Bento Box which included a salad, miso soup, rice, California Rolls and Chicken Teriyaki all for $10! Not to mention it was amazing. If you’re looking for sushi in the city, I highly recommend Umi Sushi!

 Conrad Hotel

If you’re in New York, chances are you’re not thinking of going out to dinner at a hotel. But let me tell you, you NEED to go to The Conrad’s Atrio restaurant.  Caroline and I had incredible cocktails, garlic fries that you cannot pass up, some lobster gnocchi and a Caesar Salad. For dessert, we had the churros dipped in chocolate sauce. The food was amazing! We were so full by the end, but not too full to enjoy some cocktails at the rooftop bar, Loopy Doopy! Caroline had been to Loopy Doopy before and said it was a must-go place on her New York bucket list. We headed up to the 16th floor to enjoy one of their prosecco-pop cocktails and I was absolutely blown away by the view! The sun had just gone down and the view of Jersey City across the Hudson River is something that can’t be beaten and our drinks were just as good!

You can see more of our dinner at Atrio on my Insta-stories highlights called “NYC” 

Day one was amazing, NYC has always been my favorite city and I think always will be, even though I’m dealing with delays currently, haha.

Also, my outfit details:

Dress – @vicidolls (use code TONYA20 for 20% your order)

Heels: @lolashoetique (use code TONYA for 20% off)

Earrings: Bauble Bar

xx, Tonya Michelle

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My favorite color of the season!

Every season I find a color and I usually can’t stop buying it…haha. Truth! Last year I was obsessed with coral and this year lilac is my new obsession. Anyone else find a color and wear it nonstop? I used to be huge into neon colors during the spring and summer and I think the older I get the more I tone it down. Tone it down meaning I’ll go for pastels now. 😉

This Pleated Batwing Midi Dress comes in 3 colors. Lilac, White and Black! I’m wearing a size 4.

It’s currently 50% and under $40!

The last 5 picks are an additional 50% off!

This dress was one of my favorites when I went to NYC in April, I got so many compliments on it! I’m wearing a size 4 and it’s also currently on sale. Above you can shop it and some other of my lilac favorites.

What’s your color of the season?

xx, Tonya Michelle

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Celebrate every season with Wines of Provence.

Who doesn’t love a nice refreshing glass of rosé in the summertime? I’ve partnered with Wines of Provence to bring you to Provence, France to experience the birthplace of rosé with me!

Provence, France, produced 139 million bottles of rosé in 2017 alone—making Provence the home of 5% of rosé in the entire world!

I couldn’t wait to try this new rosé with my best girlfriends and with Kristin’s birthday coming up, we thought it would be the perfect occasion to celebrate Kristin, as well as Wines of Provence rosé coming to the U.S.A with a birthday barbecue!

The girls and I had a nice picnic with fruit, cheese and crackers, and antipasti. All of us thought that the rosé was really refreshing and the taste of it didn’t overwhelm our palettes allowing us to enjoy everything we brought to our picnic.

The following weekend, Carl and I threw a little BBQ for our friends and family grilling steaks with hot dogs and hamburgers. What was great about our BBQ is that we didn’t have to limit our food options to accommodate the wine. Wines of Provence rosé goes with everything from meat and seafood to dessert!

As the sun went down and it started to get a little chilly, the rosé was still as refreshing as it was when we first opened the bottle which got me thinking that a nice glass of Wines of Provence rosé can be refreshing any time of the year. I could picture our upcoming girls nights this winter and fall enjoying rosé around the fireplace or coming in from shoveling the snow to relax with a glass of rosé.

I highly recommend Wines of Provence’s rosé. It’s light, crisp and refreshing and when you close your eyes, you can picture the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea with every sip!

When do you like to enjoy a bottle of rosé?

xx, Tonya Michelle

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How I overcame bias in the workplace

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Olay. The opinions and text are all mine.

I’ve partnered with Olay today to share how to overcome bias in the workplace. Olay is a brand that celebrates women and female pilots who break boundaries to rise above and live fearlessly. I’m thankful to share my story with you!

As a young business woman, I’ve always had to deal with bias in a workplace environment. Bias is everywhere, but most often affects women and younger employees. I was both of those things. I’ve gotten, “aren’t you a little too young for this?” more times than I can count.

I remember when I got my first promotion at my first job when I was in high school. I was the youngest employee promoted to customer service. The rest of my co-workers in customer service were in their mid-40’s to 50’s, and everyone seemed to question why I was promoted “so young.”

I would often experience helping a customer, provide them with all of the correct answers to their questions, and then watch them walk away and ask an older employee the same questions, just to make sure I had given them the correct information.

Later in life, before I became a full-time blogger, I worked in the real estate industry. Luckily, I had a boss that truly believed in me and my abilities and always stood up for me. She was my biggest advocate, and always reminded clients that they didn’t have to go to her for answers when “Tonya can answer all of your questions for you.” I really appreciate that. I believe that teamwork in a work environment is very important and I was lucky to have it for my last job, my others I wasn’t so lucky.

The biggest takeaway from my experience as a young woman in the workforce is that you can’t take things too personally. Naturally, people want their answers validated and will gravitate toward what they believe is an authority figure to get those answers validated. I always tried to be the best employee I possibly could, and when I didn’t know the answer to a question, I found out that answer for the customer.

Age is just a number. Just because you may be older or younger than someone, does not make you smarter or more equipped to do the job than they can. Focus on your strengths and build off of them. Everyone has different skill sets. Use them to your advantage!

Never let someone’s attitude affect yours, I could have easily been defeated in any of the situations where this happened over and over to me. BUT I didn’t – I stayed professional and proved myself, which I will always do. I know sometimes it’s easier said than done but in the end, not letting someone affect you, will make you stronger.

Have you had a similar experience? Share below! I would love to hear how you overcame it as well. We are learning more and more to stand up and speak for ourselves – I could not be more proud.

xx, Tonya Michelle

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New beauty weekly recap!

I’ve decided since I receive so many of the newest beauty products that I would start doing a weekly recap each week for you guys to let you know what just came out! So some of these below are NEW products on the market and also products I’m trying/seeing for the first time.

Nars, Fresh, It Cosmetics, Bite Beauty, Too Faced, Lancome, Urban Decay, Neutrogena, ColourPop, Bath & Body Works.

Urban Decay – NEW LO-FI Lip Mousse: Whipped to airy perfection, Lo-Fi Lip Mousse is a weightless, buildable, waterproof lip color. Lo-Fi provides high-impact color with a velvety soft finish that feels like you’re wearing nothing. I love that ultimately can use this as a blush and lipstick.

Nars 7 Deadly Sins – Coming soon! Hasn’t hit stores yet. It’s perfect for traveling when you might need options and don’t feel like bringing 7+ lipsticks with you!

It Cosmetics – I’ve been a huge fan of this brand for a few years. If you’re looking for a lightweight matte foundation – this is a must. I love how their products don’t CLOG your pores, I’ve had a lot of foundations in the past really end up hurting my skin.

Bath & Body Works –  Lovely Dreamer is one of their newest scents and I LOVE IT. Caroline was like “where is this from” and she couldn’t believe it! Right now it’s BUY 3 and get TWO free or BUY 2 and get 1 FREE. It’s a blend of fluffy musk, clean woods, white iris & fresh bergamot.

Fresh – Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence -fights pollution and signs of aging while increasing moisture and luminosity for a lustrous complexion.

Too Faced – When these first arrived I thought they would be too “metallic” to wear day to day, but after swatching them I was wrong and pleasantly surprised. These would easily work for any look. I would love some more color options!

ColourPop – 9 colors in this eye palette: New Digs: matte pastel peach, Anthem: metallic bright pinky copper, Dynamite: matte burnt orange, Hotel: metallic vivid copper, Motel: satin hot pinky coral, B+B: metallic pinky gold, Floaties: bright metallic orange, OOO: hot orange coral, Unwind: matte rich terracotta.

Neutrogena – I dove into this body gel this weekend – the smell is amazing! Left my skin feeling soft and not dry. I get super dry after showering, even in the summer. I hope to try their other scents after I finish this one. I’ve always been a huge fan of their makeup wipes so I’m glad they are expanding their body line.

Lacome- L’ABSOLU LACQUER GLOSS – These are the perfect buildable lipglosses – I personally love these because it depends on how much color you’d like you can apply more.

Bite Beauty – Lip crayons. This brand is one that I tried years ago and have been a fan of their formulas! I personally like the lip crayons better than regular lipsticks cause of travel and I like the sleekness of it.

xx, Tonya Michelle

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My top 6 money saving apps!

With all of the anniversary and semi-annual sales going on, you’ll need to save some money to pay for all of the fun new clothes you’ll be getting! And who doesn’t love saving money, especially if it’s so easy!

I’ve compiled all of my favorite apps and Google Chrome plug-ins that will save you money while you shop and make everyday purchases!

Drop

This is a newer app that I discovered and one I love. Drop syncs your credit and debit cards that you use every day and asks you to pick five places that you use your cards at consistently. I picked Uber, Lyft, Chipotle, Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. Whenever you use your cards at those locations, you can redeem your points for gift cards! I just got a $5 gift card to use at Starbucks just by using my cards like I normally do!

Honey

This one is for all of my online shopping addicts. Caroline showed me this Google Chrome plug-in and I don’t know how I lived without it before! When online shopping, Honey automatically searches for coupons in the background and applies them when you go to check out! I have saved SO much money using Honey, and I almost always find a coupon code to use!

Acorns

THIS IS MY FAVORITE!!! For those that have a hard time saving money, this one’s for you. Acorns syncs to your credit and debit cards and automatically rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests it for you! I have over $4,000 in mine and it’s been almost 2 years. It’s forced savings for those who are bad at saving money and it’s so easy to use! You’ll feel good about saving too. Get $5 when you use my invite link: CLICK HERE 

Gas Buddy

This is another app that Caroline recommended to me. Gas Buddy is an app that tracks your location to show you the lowest gas prices in your area. It syncs to your checking account when you order a Gas Buddy “debit card” and will save you 15 cents per gallon the first time you use it, and 10 cents per gallon every time after that! I haven’t filled up my gas tank without Gas Buddy since!

Cartwheel for Target

For all of my Target addicts! Cartwheel is an awesome app that will show you all of the deals going on at your local Target. Simply add the deals you want to use to your “shopping cart” within the app and pull it up in store when you check out to use all of your coupons!

Shopkick

Shopkick is another app for shopping addicts looking to save money. Tell Shopkick your favorite stores and whenever you go into those stores, all you have to do is “check-in” and you get points that you can redeem for gift cards! I recently redeemed my points to get a gift card for Home Goods! It’s that easy!

Do you have a favorite money saving app?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

 

xx, Tonya Michelle

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Add a graphic T-shirt to your day and share a laugh!

This summer, graphic T-shirts have been my go-to outfit to pair with jeans, shorts, or even workout leggings. I love being able to express myself when it comes to fashion, and graphic tees make it so simple and fun to share a laugh with friends and family or even a stranger walking by that yells out “I love your shirt!”

Most of these graphic tees are under $40 and SO cute I’m about to get rid of all of my graphic tees just so I can buy these ones! I swear these make my day! Which is your favorite?

Also, don’t forget to add a pair of sunnies to seal the deal! Below are some of my favorites. You can use code tonyamichelle to get $15 off any item!

xx, Tonya Michelle

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The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale – The first of our picks!

It’s that time of year again! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is one of my favorite shopping days of the year, besides Black Friday of course!

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale starts next week, July 12, if you’re a Nordstrom card holder and July 20 for non-card holders. My personal assistant, Caroline, and I have compiled a FEW of our favorite picks to make your Anniversary Sale shopping experience fun and easy! We will pushing out more posts as the sale goes on!

Caroline’s Picks:

Rompers/Jumpsuits

I love rompers and jumpsuits in the summer time. Nordstrom sells some of my favorite brands that give off a summer-beachy vibe which is definitely my kind of style.

Tops

Most of the tops in my closet are going-out tops, but you can never have too many right?

Shoes

I’m not a big shoe girl, so I usually opt for the comfy ones because I get such bad blisters. I loved these picks I found.

Bags

I’m also not a purse kind of girl either! But recently, I’ve learned to love them. These were my non-purse girl approved picks.

Sunglasses

I usually splurge on sunglasses, but I also like to switch it up every now and then with a fun, cheap pair!

Dresses

Whenever I shop for dresses, I usually stick to neutral colors so I can match them with fun accessories I have!

Fall Inspo

Last but not least, these are my top picks for fall!

Tonya’s Picks

Rompers:

Shoes:

Bags:

Sunnies:

Dresses:

Fall Inspo:

 

xx, Tonya Michelle

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