Key Traits to have in order to Reach Your Financial Goals.

Key Traits to have in order to Reach Your Financial Goals.

Happy Belated Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of My Smileys! This past month has been a cherished time for me. I got to spend time with family and friends and am truly blessed to have had and have certain people in my life. Of course, I did not forget my Smileys and I want to end and begin the year encouraging you to press forward and don’t give up in regards to your goals.  This month, I have four traits that are essential to reaching your financial goals. However, these traits are beneficial in regards to any goal that you have set for yourself. They are:

  1. Diligence
  2. Persistence
  3. Discipline
  4. Don’t Quit (A Never Give Up Attitude)


  • Stay the course and keep working at your budget. Even if you did not successfully follow the budget that month, continue to create a budget and keep that budget at the forefront of your mind.


  • Be active and proactive about creating a budget, clipping coupons, finding sales and deals.


  • Say NO: to yourself and others. Stay away from places that cause you to unnecessarily spend your money.
  • Always have a budget: whether weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Set aside the necessary time that you need to create your budget.

DON’T QUIT: A Never Give Up Attitude

  • This one is my favorite because many times we get stuck or give up when we didn’t successfully follow our budget and it is easy to say: “forget it!”. But there is nothing wrong with trying again. You didn’t successfully stay within $200.00 for the groceries last month. That’s OK!!! Try again next month! Don’t throw away all of your hard work because of one shortfall.  Being successful in regards to your financial goals is going to take time, hard work and a lot of starting over again. So….


  • You will reach your goals, Just take your time, stay the course, stay disciplined and don’t give up.

Hope you find these tips helpful and encouraging. Have a Safe and Happy Holiday. Most of All, Remember JESUS is the Reason for the Season.

XOXO, Happy Saving, Smiling Danny




Hi Smileys!

Thank you so much for your support this past year. It has been such a joy sharing some of my passions with you. Whether it be cooking, wine, or tips to financial peace you have been here and I truly appreciate it. Family and friends have wanted me to start a blog for years and I wasn’t really interested. I took a stab at it by starting on YouTube first but  eventually added the blog. I enjoy sharing on both avenues but what I love most is that I have been able to have a central place where everyone can go when they have a question for me in regards to a recipe, wine or finance.

I look forward to many more posts and I hope that you are enriched each time you visit.

Keep Smiling, XOXO Danny


Happy Anniversary in Hye, TX

Happy Anniversary in Hye, TX

Hello Smileys!

I hope that you had a wonderful month last month, I sure did as hubby and I celebrated 10 years of marriage. As part of our anniversary festivities, we took a trip to Hye, TX and visited William Chris Vineyards. We had such a wonderful time!

Once we arrived at William Chris we were welcomed with a glass of their Pe’tillant  Nature’l. This was a nice refreshing glass of Rose’. It had notes of grapefruit that wasn’t overbearing and had a nice effervescence that cooled us off in the Texas heat. Next, we were escorted to the tasting room where we were able to taste six of their wines.

This month, I thought I would share with you notes on three of the wines that I enjoyed during the tasting. Yes, only three, that way, when you go you will have your own fresh experience.

  • 2017 Mary Ruth: This is a blend of Malvasia Bianca, Muscat Blanc and Blanc du Bois. You can enjoy it as an apertif or with a good book. Mary Ruth is a light, dry white wine with an aroma and notes of peach. She has a hint of sweetness but finishes with a subtle acidity.
  • 2017 Roussanne: Bouquet- Crisp, Light, Hint of Raisin and Cobbler. Taste- Sweet, Butter, Prune with a nice acidity.
  • 2017 Malbec Rose’: This wine is special because it was aged in concrete. The Rose’ can also be enjoyed as an apertif with notes of strawberry and cherry and very little acidity.

I truly enjoyed my time at this Vineyard. There is so much history associated with the wines, the vineyard and even the uniqueness of the wine label. I encourage you to visit and tell ’em Smiling Danny sent ya! (not sponsored).

It was our goal to visit several wineries while in Hye but I recommend that you visit one winery at a time that way you can truly experience the wine and pick up on the distinct notes of each one.

Happy Tasting, XOXO Smiling Danny


Danny! Please Help!

Danny! Please Help!

Recently, someone reached out to me on Instagram and shared that they enjoy wine but have a hard time picking and choosing new ones. So, I thought that this month I would share some tips on picking wines and share some of my experiences with trying new ones.

It all started back in 2007, it was my first glass of wine, and I shared with my now hubby that I had not had any wine before. This was exciting news for him, he knew that I loved juice so he figured that a sweet wine would be right up my alley. After doing some research and reaching out to a cousin of his, they determined that a Riesling would be the best wine for me to try. Long story short, I DID NOT LIKE THAT WINE! And haven’t had a glass of Riesling since then! But recently, hubby and I went out on a date night and the waiter recommended a glass of Riesling that he was sure I was going to love. We decided to try it and low and behold I DID!!! It was crisp, had a light effervescence, with notes of peach and green apple. It was a 2016 Dr. Loosen Riesling and I paired it with a clam chowder. Deeelicious!! So it took 11 years for me to discover that I did indeed enjoy Riesling.

Another interesting experience I have had with trying a new wine occurred one day when hubby and I were taking a Texas Wine Trail tour. At this point in my wine journey I had really enjoyed Cabernets and Zinfandels. They are full bodied, dry wines with hints of berry and earth. Sometimes you will find some with hints of oak but usually they are not heavy on the oak, at least the ones that I have had thus far.  I wasn’t too fond of Merlots and I explained this to the Sommelier but he insisted that I tried this particular Merlot. Unfortunately, I do not remember the name of the wine as I had not started my wine journal at that point in my life but I remember the scenery of the vineyard. Anyway, the Sommelier insisted that I try this wine and was very offended when I told him that I did not like Merlots. His response was: “Have you had every Merlot that was ever made?” No, I responded. “Then you shouldn’t say that you do not like Merlots. Instead, you didn’t like that particular Merlot.” He was right! I did enjoy that glass of wine. Now, it could have been that I had a couple of tastings prior. It could have been that I was more open minded but I’m sure he was right because I did a blind wine taste with hubby, Velvet Devil was the wine, and I enjoyed the wine and it had Merlot in the blend.

I shared these experiences with you just to encourage you to be adventurous when exploring wines and know that just because you had a Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir or Chardonnay and didn’t like it, doesn’t mean that you don’t like that particular grape varietal or that you don’t like wine in general. So, Tip #1: Be Adventurous and Don’t Give Up when trying New Wines.

 Tip #2: Attend Wine Tastings, Wine Dinners, and Sample Wines while at the Grocer or Beverage Center. Usually, the distributors, definitely the Sommeliers, and those handing out the wine samples are skilled in their field. Feel free to ask questions, take advantage of the free sample and see if you like the wine before buying it. Also, by going to wineries, you will gain a vast range of knowledge about wine and wine pairings. Also, the Sommeliers are highly trained and love giving recommendations, use that opportunity to tap into their brains. They will help you find a wine that you might enjoy.

Tip #3: Ask Questions. Anytime I go out to eat and before I order a glass of wine with my meal, I ask the Server a few questions:

  • What wine would you recommend with this dish?
  • What is your favorite wine on the menu?
  • Which wine is popular here?
  • I am looking at getting this glass of wine, have you tried it? Sometimes, they will give you a sample before you order the glass.
  • I don’t particularly care for heavy oak notes, so I will ask if the wine is heavy in oak (for Red Wines). Feel free to share notes you like or don’t like and the Server should be able to direct you.

 Tip #4: Pair the Wine with Food or Let it stand alone. There have been several times when I tasted a wine and did not like it but when my meal came the wine suddenly was exquisite. Sometimes, food, whether it be a whole meal or a light snack such as cheese, crackers, olives or cured meats will really open up the profile of the wine.  This works in the reverse as well. Sometimes, the wine is bettered enjoyed on its own and food will just detract from its beauty. These wines are bettered enjoyed as an aperitif (before the meal) or by itself for relaxation, good conversation or deep thought. Such as a Port, these are a good after dinner treat.

Tip #5 Let the Wine Breathe.  There also have been times when I sipped some wine and just did not like it or couldn’t pick up any notes but after letting it sit for about 30 mins the sip was much more pleasant.  After letting the wine breathe, I was also able to pick up on the notes that I had not been able to 30 minutes prior.

Well Smileys, I hope that you find these tips helpful and that this opens your mind and hearts to new adventures in your Wine Journey.

Salúd! XOXO, Smiling Danny

One Pan Dinner, Delicious!

One Pan Dinner, Delicious!

Hi Smiley’s,

You know I am always trying to find ways to make life less hectic all within a defined budget. But I must say, cooking everyday, three times a day, can be very exhausting. Especially when it is followed by mountains of dishes. YES, I use the dishwasher and YES, I use paper plates but some items must be hand washed and paper plates don’t rid of all dishes. And to be honest, I’d rather wash plates then buy them because that is money that goes into the trash everyday, literally!!!! Anyway, it is a small sacrifice that helps lighten a burden.

Well, this month while drowning in loads of laundry and dishes, I found myself thinking: “There’s got to be a better way!!!” For centuries, hot, delicious and nutritious meals were made all while houses remained spotless. Where am I going wrong? I mean there’s always: sandwiches, salads, and eating out. But eating out all the time has it consequences: budget and health. Sandwiches, same thing, a bunch of refined carbs and processed meats shouldn’t be the foundation of one’s diet. And salads, salads are great but everyday, twice a day and that’s it?? hmmm, nooo, my family likes me to break up the monotony and now I’ve grown accustomed to it.

So, one day I was out at Barnes and Noble and normally when I am down in the food menu planning dumps I go buy a cookbook but this time I thought I would browse the Magazine section. While doing so, this recipe caught my eye! It was the answer I was looking for: One Pan Meals!!! Yes, Yes, Yes. So we have the CrockPot… Now, we are adding this beauty to our Toolkit of Simpleness. And what I love most is that it stays within my guidelines of Nutritious and Delicious.

Magazine: Diabetic Living, Summer 2018

Recipe: Sheet Pan Orange-Apricot Drumsticks

(Smiling Danny Tweaks/Additions will be notated with a **)

You will need:

  • 1 pound multi-color fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
    • ** I did not cut the fingerling potatoes
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
    • ** I bought Organic Green Beans that were bagged so I did not trim them since they didn’t have a stem
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
    • ** I diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • ** Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
    • ** I did not use salt, you get plenty of salt from the soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
    • ** I used all the pepper on the veggies and did not add to the marinade
  • 4 large chicken drumsticks (1½-2 lbs. total), skin removed
    • ** I used 5 drumsticks, skin attached
  • 1 orange
    • **I used 2 tablespoons of orange juice instead
  • 3 tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari
    • ** I used reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced


Preheat oven to 425°F.

Place potatoes, green beans and onion on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper. Nestle chicken into the vegetables.

Grate ½ tsp. zest from orange and squeeze it to get 2 Tbsp. juice. Combine the zest and juice, preserves, soy sauce (or tamari), garlic and the remaining ¼ tsp. each salt and pepper in a small bowl. Brush the chicken with half of the glaze.

Roast the chicken and vegetables for 15 minutes. Stir the vegetables; turn the chicken and brush with the remaining glaze. Continue roasting until the chicken registers at least 165°F on an instant-read thermometer and the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes more.





So Smileys, I hope this helps you this month with your menu planning and with making your life a little less hectic. This magazine also featured 35 recipes plus a week long menu plan (not sponsored). Check out the Wine section of the website to see which wine I paired with this delicious meal. Also, check out the Finance section to see my budget tip of the month. I also updated my Cooking and About sections. You can visit my YouTube Channel for more recipes. Channel: Smiling Danny.

In the Meantime, Bon Appetit and Happy Tasting.

XOXO, Smiling Danny

What Goes in an Emergency Fund

What Goes in an Emergency Fund

Hi Smileys!

Hope you have had a wonderful month and are ready to begin Summer festivities. This month I thought I would focus on what goes in an Emergency Fund.

According to Dave Ramsey, an emergency fund should include at least 3 to 6 months of living expenses. The fund should have 6 months of living expenses if there is only one spouse working. In addition to this, I have thought of some other things that should be included in the account:

  • All quarterly and yearly expenses: each year/quarter you know that you will have to pay for homeowner’s insurance, car insurance, license and registration for your vehicles, renter’s insurance, oil changes etc. Think of events that you know are going to happen and plan accordingly by saving for them throughout the year.
  • Emergencies: deductibles for car or home in case of a car accident or storm.
  • Car Maintenance such as tires, engines, mile service and more.
  • Home maintenance such as pest control, fence replacement, plumbing and electrical needs.
  • Vacations: if you are planning to take a trip within the year or two, plan accordingly by pricing your lodging, food, travel and souvenirs up front and save for them throughout the years.
  • Gifts: birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, graduations, congratulations, and being a blessing to someone in need. These events are likely to happen, set aside a few dollars each month for them so that when they occur you aren’t altering your budget in order to be a blessing.

Hope you find these tips helpful,

Smiling Danny

Hello Spring!

Hello Spring!

Spring is Here! That means we can get out of the house and really enjoy the outdoors. One of the things I really enjoy doing is going to different wineries. It’s always a pleasure to view the vineyard, learn about the grapes and enjoy a glass of the wine they are showcasing that season. I look forward to sharing with you in the upcoming months my experiences and the wines that really caught my eye. In the meantime, I thought I would share with you some of the wines that get me in the mood for Spring and before you know it; Summer!

  • San Antonio Winery Cardinale Sweet Red: This wine surprised me because it is the perfect amount of sweet for those who tend to prefer dry reds. For those of you who enjoy drinking wine for the taste and the social aspect, this is the wine for you! It is delicious. This wine can be served chilled or room temperature.
  • Hatch Green Chile Wine: I equate this wine to a party wine. It is a spicy white that pairs well with white meat dishes whether it be barbecued or a delicious Latin/Mexican dish. Shrimp, chicken, pork, fish, or vegetables this wine pairs well and ends with a nice kick of spice. This wine is to be served chilled.
  • Madria Sangria: This is my favorite store bought Sangria!!! When I have a glass of this wine, I feel like I am at a restaurant. Sangria is wine infused with fruit. Some will also add soda or fruit juice too when making their Sangria but traditionally it is just fruit. This wine you also serve chilled and pairs well with Latin/Mexican dishes, A Barbecue, appetizers or just great conversation.

I hope you try some of these wines. They are not too costly and they are delicious. Let me know your thoughts. Also, be sure to check out my YouTube Channel in the month of the May. This is where I will be sharing videos with different tasting notes, pairings and winery visits. My YouTube channel is Smiling Danny. Just go to and enter Smiling Danny in the search bar. Or, you can click the YouTube icon in the upper right corner of the home page and it will take you directly there.

Happy Tasting, SmileyDannyGirl