That’s Mancktastic! Office Edition

That’s Mancktastic! Office Edition

A few months ago, I got a MAJOR office upgrade in the form of… a “big kid” desk!

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I got a new desk at work!!! A real desk! 😀

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For over a year, I’d been trying to manage a dual-monitor setup on a desk no deeper than 11″. Combine that with my binder obsession, and I was sitting on my floor to try and get work done… a lot. I was… not the most mature work stance, you could say.

One day, my patience was rewarded with my new-to-me wooden desk and credenza, donated to work by a bank! Oh, it was a glorious day. I reorganized my whole office – I even have a visitors chair so I can have meetings in my office. It’s awesome!

Along with the re-org, I’ve also been working to make my office graphic designer creative, while still keeping it profesh 🙂

First things first, I made a little Instagram collage of my boys to keep me company. I printed the squares through Social Print Studio – high quality, quick shipping, nice thick stock! Then, I added an encouraging care to remind me to be a “yes and” instead of a “no but” co-worker (from Ink and Dolly on Etsy).

Next things next, I had a whole bunch of purple wall that was looking awful nekkid. Enter the crafty girl’s default decoration: the corkboard! I found a nice cheapy, unframed board at Michael’s (thank you 40% coupon), hung it on a thick ribbon, and then trolled my office and apartment, plus Etsy to fill that sucker up.


  1. Homemade initial made from random wrapping paper
  2. Hand-lettered botanical calendar from How Joyful! on Etsy. (that link is for a perpetual calendar – she no longer carries my 2015 monthly version)
  3. Our Lady of Prompt Succor prayer card that I found in a re-used office binder (this is what happens when you work for a Catholic organization)
  4. Calligraphied prayer my mom gave to me years and years ago – from the Sarum Primer
  5. My 2015 word of the year – DELIBERATE – which I hand-wrote and pasted onto a Rifle Paper Co. pattern I tore out of a HOW Magazine.
  6. A George Bernard Shaw quote on a poster I pulled out of one of our printers’ spec books.
  7. What could be complete without a Tina Fey quote? This great print is from PrintHappyStudio on Etsy.

Aaand… that’s my bulletin board! What do you think?

That’s Mancktastic: Cappuccino Edition

That’s Mancktastic: Cappuccino Edition

About a month ago, Bill randomly got a wild hair to go out for cappuccinos one night just before we went to bed. (Honestly, I think it was an excuse to drive around in his “new” car)

I decided to go with him for a mini-date night and was blown away by how much I loved the foamy, rich coffee!

Sidenote: I gave up caffeine this year, completely unintentionally. I went a few days in the New Year without it, and decided to just roll with it. My caffeine-addict of a husband finds this beyond the pale.

As the weeks went by, I customized my Starbucks order to just how I liked it: grande, decaf cappuccino with sugar-free vanilla syrup. Then… my (cappuccino) life changed forever when we went up to Albany for vacation and visited our favorite coffeeshop: Perfect Blend. -cue the angels singing for THE BEST COFFEESHOP OF ALL TIME-

There, the espresso was delicious, lacking the burned quality of most Starbucks roasts, and they were GENEROUS with the foam. Over our two week stay, I watched the baristas like hawks to deduce all their secrets.

Since we’ve returned to Houston, I am getting close to mastering the perfect homemade cappuccino – which is good for my wallet – and here’s a That’s Mancktastic! of my favorite tools 🙂

Espresso Machine: IMUSA 4-Cup Espresso Machine

We bought this espresso machine a few months ago to try and wean Bill off his Starbucks addiction since we needed to buy a new car and he had one priiiiicy habit… It’s super-easy to use, cleans up easily and, most importantly, is cheap!! I mean, $30 for an espresso machine? That’ll do. It’s a no-frills work-horse that doesn’t take up a lot of counter space and it’s just what we needed.

Milk Foamer: Kuissential Deluxe Automatic Milk Frother

One of my main loves of cappuccino is the FOAM! After our New York trip, and the deepening of my cappuccino obsession, a ManckWhite household decision was made that we must needs get a milk frother of some sort because I am incapable of steaming milk.

After watching this very informative video about which milk frother is right for you, we settled on the Kuissential because we wanted the heating and the frothing to happen all together instead of several steps. In addition to the hot foam for cappuccinos, it also makes warm, non-frothed milk and cold milk froth for iced drinks in COMPLETE SILENCE.

We’ve had this frother for a week now, and it’s just great. Works really quickly, easy to clean, and make yummy, yummy foam. I use the foam on every coffee now, not just cappuccinos 😉

Espresso: Lavazza Decaffeinated Ground Espresso

Before I was spoiled on the Perfect Blend home-roasted espresso, we’d been contenting ourselves on Starbucks brews and the in-house beans from HEB. Since we’re back, we’ve upgraded to the Lavazza which Bill said was his go-to before grad school made him poor 😉 Now that we’re DINKS (dual income, no kids), we’re back on the good stuff! Flavorful, no burnt essence, and beautifully ground.

Vanilla Syrup: Torani Vanilla Bean Syrup

This is the main takeaway from my Perfect Blend addiction – Vanilla Bean is the key! Something about the extra oomph of vanilla BEAN as opposed to straight vanilla brings the whole cappuccino together. The drink is traditionally unsweetened, but this makes it perfect for me.


So, there you have it. The perfect ManckWhite cappuccino tools are simply… Mancktastic!
Let me know what your home barista secrets are!

(note, these are affiliate Amazon links – thanks!)

That’s Mancktastic! – Albany/New York edition

That’s Mancktastic! – Albany/New York edition

Earlier this summer, Bill and I took our annual summer vacation up to see his folks in Albany, NY. I took a week and a day off work so we could take our time and road trip up and back again, stopping at my parents’ house to grab the truck and see my Grammy.

We prefer this “slow” method of travelling, instead of flying, because it means Bueller can come with us, we can take up/bring back large items, and we can set our own schedule. It takes 2 days of driving to get to Albany, with a stop in Knoxville, then we stay in Albany for 4-5 days, then the 2 day drive back. If you aren’t a road trip person, I know this sounds like torture, but Bill and I just soak it up. Puggle on my lap, podcasts on the radio, perfect.

The time always goes by way too fast as we basically do nothing in Bill’s hometown. There’s a lot of walking to the coffee shop, random trips to the grocery store, playing computer games, reading, and having delicious food with the in-laws. It’s perfect! No real plans, no schedule to keep, and a nice changes from the disgusting heat that envelops Houston.

So, I’d share some of my Albany favorites with y’all! It’s a great place to visit, especially when you have in-laws there to spoil you 😉


OMG WE'RE AT PERFECT BLEND! This is the best :) #vacationneccesity #vermoster #albany
OMG WE’RE AT PERFECT BLEND! This is the best 🙂

There is this AMAZING coffee shop/cafe right down the street from Bill’s parents’ place: Perfect Blend. We walk there every day for breakfast, and usually for lunch, to have delicious beverages and delightful food. I am a huge fan of their Frozen Chai, while Bill loves their mochas, of course.

Breakfast is always a toss up between pastries, the Vermonster ( Two Eggs, Bacon, Cheddar & Vermont Maple Syrup on a Cheddar Biscuit), and the Morning Rush (Two Eggs, Sharp Cheddar, Apple Slices & Bacon on Multi-Grain Bread)

Then, for lunch, they have great sandwiches and fantastic salads, also to be enjoyed with a coffee or fruit smoothie.

Perfect Blend is also where I discovered the wonder of Harney & Sons tea, and where a toddler hugged Bill this year. Both were AMAZING 😉

See that awesome shirt Bill is wearing at Perfect Blend? It’s amazing! I don’t remember how he stumbled across it on the internet, but we bought one from TeeFury and the minute it came in, he had to put it on. And then wear it throughout New York to show where his loyalties lie 🙂

It may be a little pricy at $22, but it’s great!

Oh Polar waters, I've missed you so!
Sugar-free, caffeine-free, calorie-free nectar of the Northern gods!

Perhaps you’ve heard me sing the praises of Polar Water before, but let me do so again. I LOVE IT!

Seltzer is like a thing on the East coast in a way it certainly isn’t down here in Texas. Growing up, I actually hated fizzy water – it made my tongue taste weird. But, my palate has aged, I suppose, and now I love seltzer water. Polar is my absolute favorite – they have wonderful flavors, aren’t sweet, and are just perfectly refreshing.

Each year, Bill and I bring back a huge box full of seltzer for me and birch beer for him, but it’s just never enough. HEB’s seltzer keeps me hydrated until I head northward again, but it’s just not the same…





Hey y’all! I just wanted to give you a heads up (in case you didn’t notice) that the blog address has changed to

You might want to update your readers and links to make sure you’re still getting to me for food, fashion and favorites. Thanks and see you tomorrow for a deeeeelish Greek Mac and Cheese! : )

That’s Mancktastic! – Randomsauce edition

That’s Mancktastic! – Randomsauce edition

Hi all! I hope you’re having a very nice Saturday. Down here in Houston, it’s a beautiful, sunny day, so we’re enjoying open windows and nowhere to go : )

I’ll be back tomorrow with the 4th Sharp-Dressed Lady, but for today I thought’d I share some Mancktastic things I’ve enjoyed this week!

These new super-fast, fancy curlers from Remington haven’t added much time to my morning routine, but have definitely brightened my days. They heat up in just 2 minutes and set a curl in 5 minutes, even in my thick hair! I’ve really enjoyed having nice hair this week; for such a minimal effort, they really are great results especially for such an inexpensive product. Highly recommended!

Even Bender the card box is impressed with the hair today!

I’ve always loved the music of Nickel Creek, but I didn’t realize til this week that Chris Thile, mandolin player of the now-defunct band, was the recipient of a MacArthur Genius grant! He’s an amazingly talented mandolin player, as well as singer, who’s been involved in many musical projects, including Punch Brothers. This week I couldn’t stop listening to “This Girl” by this group!

For months, I’ve lusted after this simple bangle from Kate Spade:

Screen Shot 2013-04-20 at 3.35.54 PM

I’d promised it to myself if I got the work opportunity I talked about a while back, but I gave up on the bracelet when the work thing didn’t work out. Well, I found it for a bargain on Ebay, so I went ahead and splurged on it for myself this week.

I love the green and gold (SJ’s color is green and my wedding ring is gold), plus the lightly optimistic engraving on the interior.

In weird synchronisity, I just found out I might have a chance to help out more around school the upcoming year since we have a coach shortage! (Boo shortage, yay for getting to help)

Now, don’t think I’m a boozehound, but I’ve found my most favorite drink! One of my birthday gifts from my parents was the most delicious bourbon cream liqueur from a distillery in Butte, MT: Orphan Girl.


It’s creamy, not too alcoholic tasting, and absolutely perfect enjoyed slowly, on the rocks, with a nice book : )

Bourbon cream on ice and lotsa books :)

And that’s this random Saturday’s edition of That’s Mancktastic! Hope you enjoy some of these as well : )

That’s Mancktastic! – Yogurt Edition

That’s Mancktastic! – Yogurt Edition

Hello folks, it’s time for another edition of That’s Mancktastic! Today, I’m going to focus on… yogurt!

Yogurt is a staple of my diet; I have a small cup every day in my lunch and I enjoy it in smoothies and frozen as after-dinner treats. The happy little bacteria in yogurt help my belly stay balanced, the calcium content is good for my bones, and it’s tasty to boot. Lately, my favorite yogurts have been of the Greek variety since their extra protein helps fill and fuel me without weighing me down. So, here are three of my favorite yogurts as of late!

  • <First up, we have Greek Gods yogurt. I stumbled across this Greek yogurt at our HEB about a month ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. The classicist loving part of me enjoys that each flavor is named after (surprise!) a Greek god, but even more than that I love the flavors!  The plain is a great base for granola or a smoothie while the honey and honey-strawberry are tasty without being too sweet. This yogurt has a great thick texture that I love to mix with frozen fruit for a morning parfait. This week I’m enjoying Hermes in my lunchbox!71097_116520948763_3572512_n
  • Next up is a newer entry to the yogurt world: Yoplait Frozen Greek Yogurt.While I’d had their conventional refrigerated low-fat and Greek yogurts, I’d never tried their frozen Greek yogurt until this weekend when it was on sale at HEB. I picked up the Honey Caramel flavor and I’m pleased to say that it’s a delicious choice! This frozen treat packs even more protein than the Greek Gods yogurt with less fat. I’m really looking forward to trying out the fruit flavors from this brand when it gets warmer outside. yoplait-frozen-yogurt
  • Finally, we have another tasty frozen delicacy: Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars. At only 70 calories per bar, they still manage to deliver 6 g of protein apiece along with great fruit flavor. These are a little pricy for my tastes, but they’re a great treat. I really like that this company was founded by 2 childhood friends; they were just founded in 2011 and they seem to be expanding and thriving! For a while they were the only frozen Greek yogurt bars in the market, but now Yoplait and other bigger companies are getting in on the action, so I like supporting Yasso : ) FrozenTreats-Yasso-thumb-500x362-29877

I hope that you, too, find some of these yogurts Mancktastic! Enjoy your calcium and protein : )

That’s Mancktastic!

That’s Mancktastic!

It’s time for a new ‘segment’ here on Mancktastic: That’s Mancktastic! With this segment, I’ll share with you some awesome things I’ve stumbled upon and used recently. It might be recipes from elsewhere, products, apps or just great ideas! So, without further ado, here’s the inaugural That’s Mancktastic!

  • In the spirit of the New Year and resolutions, I’ve been working on goals and ways to better myself. Yesterday I found 2 great iPhone apps to help track my progress and keep me mindful of my blessings:
    • Good Habits follows the Jerry Seinfeld classic advice on how to create a habit: track it on a calendar and try not to break the calendar. You set daily habits you want to follow, then check them off each day as you complete them. This app is that rare combination of free, visually pleasing, and easy-to-use. As you can see, I have a lot of reading to do, but I’m also making time for video games and blogging 😉 Since I am very motivated by progress and goals, trying to keep a habit-chain unbroken really works for me.

      That reminds me: I need to take my vitamins!
    • GratitudeDiary is a basic app in the spirit of a line-a-day diary. Once a day, you enter something you are thankful at the moment. As time goes on, you can look back over what you were thankful and when to reflect on your blessing on good days or look back to better times on tough days.
  • I hope that some of you make a delicious Roast Chicken based on yesterday’s recipe because I have a great follow-up idea: use the chicken and potatoes left over from your initial dinner to make a Puff Pastry Chicken Pot Pie later in the week! Last night, Bill and I enjoyed a tasty pot pie with less work since the chicken and potatoes were already cooked for us. As a bonus idea, top your puff pastry with a thin coat of raspberry preserves! It adds a crunchy sweetness to the crust without being too fruity. Check out the neat way it turned out last night:

    Mmmm… pot pie
  • Though I’ve never been a big genealogy hunter, I came across some neat info about my family on today. It turns out my 95-year-old Grammy’s father lived to be 96 and HIS mother lived to 98! How astounding is that?! Also, my great-grandfather’s name was Quinley, after his mother’s maiden name; doesn’t that sound like a trendy little girl’s name for nowadays? Now, check out how beautiful and lively Grammy is in this picture, while ignoring that Bill and I are crushing her : )

    This is my current most-favorite picture in the whole world!
    This is my current most-favorite picture in the whole world!
  • Bill and I have become Keurig connoisseurs ever since we got our machine for Christmas, and last night we found our favorite K-cups yet! Sweet and Creamy Iced Coffee K-cups from the Donut Shop have a nice, mild coffee flavor, with creamer and sweetener included in the cup without the heavy taste you can get from added syrups. You get a nice cup of iced coffee, sweetened and creamer-ed at only 80 calories in just one step! These just came in last night, but they may be all gone by the time I get home…

    The newest facet to Bill's caffeine addiction
    The newest facet to Bill’s caffeine addiction

I hope that you also find some of these things Mancktastic! Tomorrow I’ll be back with a new recipe : )